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Swim Question
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I have a question about my swimming style. I am a middle of the pack swimmer with a 2:00/100m. I am confused and frustrated about my stroke rate. When I swim Masters of course I am in the slower lane. I often take a peak at the swimmers one lane over and I always notice their arms turning so much faster than me. Yesterday I counted there stroke rate and they are swimming 17-18 strokes per 25yds. I am at 25! Now the swim coach there tells me anything above 20 is too slow. Well now I am not out to KQ or win my age group since I do not have that kind of speed but If I try to swim any faster my technique just falls apart. So, what is best and what do you guys do in swimming. High stroke rate? Slower longer stroke? More kicking? More pulling?
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Re: Swim Question [spintela] [ In reply to ]
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Drills made the biggest difference for me. Catchup and one-arm drills, plus a better understanding of kick timing. At first I was at risk of drowning doing one-arm. I think the kick timing was the biggest lightbulb that helped my body work together more efficiently, which resulted in more speed with less effort. You might consider reading Slowman's guppy challenges - lots of info in there as swimmers try to improve.

After the kick clicked swimming was a lot less frustrating. I'm still "slow" by real swimmer standards, but I saw improvement once I learned to drill. I had no clue how to work on technique before that.
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Re: Swim Question [spintela] [ In reply to ]
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The fast turnover you have is basically just making you chop water instead of pulling it. You want to extend your reach out of the water as much as possible - ie: reach as far in front of you forward as you can before coming back in. The goal of the arm out of the water is to reach far forward, not high above.
Additionally, you want to pull underwater with as much power as you can to propel you fwd. The "catch" is essentially the most important part of the stroke. It will determine your turnover rate, IMO, because if you are "chopping" underwater instead of "catching" your arm is not going to have any choice but to move quickly. Make sure your palm is facing downward as soon as it hits the water and try to pull through (and only SLIGHTLY outward) all the way till about mid abdomen. At that point you won't be able to get enough catch to make it worth it, so that arm should now be on the way out of the water for the reach.
Drills are the best way to help with this. Train yourself to not allow one arm to start a catch until the hand of your other arm literally hits it down. Think of your arms as a relay during this drill. Right arm/hand waits for the left to recover and hit it, then the right can catch while left arm/hand waits extended out in front of you.
Youtube videos provide a good visual.
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Re: Swim Question [katcycles] [ In reply to ]
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katcycles wrote:
Drills made the biggest difference for me. Catchup and one-arm drills, plus a better understanding of kick timing. At first I was at risk of drowning doing one-arm. I think the kick timing was the biggest lightbulb that helped my body work together more efficiently, which resulted in more speed with less effort. You might consider reading Slowman's guppy challenges - lots of info in there as swimmers try to improve.

After the kick clicked swimming was a lot less frustrating. I'm still "slow" by real swimmer standards, but I saw improvement once I learned to drill. I had no clue how to work on technique before that.

This worked for me too^^ The first Guppy challenge I did was fantastic. Getting my kick to work in timing with my stroke instead of my feet just waving around aimlessly at the end of my legs made a huge difference. As I mastered (loose term) that, I also began to start feeling the water with my feet & legs and feel the pressure of the water on my shins and top of my feet . Kick drills work.

The other thing I think about a lot is something that ericmulk talks about over on the main forum - imagining dinner plates on my hands. I think this helps get a much better feel for catching & pulling. Particularly worthwhile when doing one arm drill.

I'm also a MOP swimmer and I'm a 'feel' person more than a numbers person so I'm always trying to think about how I feel and connect with the water more than how many strokes etc (apart from how many laps:-)) Often I try and stop thinking about getting to the end of the pool and imagine that I'm stationary and just focus on good stroke in the moment. Often I swim much better when I let go of the chase to the end and just work with the water I'm in.
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Re: Swim Question [spintela] [ In reply to ]
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As others have mentioned, one-arm drills are excellent. The other one I like is fist drill - swim with both of your hands in a fist. That gets good feel for the water on you palms. You can do both hands in fists, or one fist one open, then switch. I like 100s done that way... 25 both fists, 25 one/one, 25 switch so other hand is fist, 25 swim.

17-18 strokes per length is about right for me for a short course yard pool.

maybe she's born with it, maybe it's chlorine
Fishtwitch is chlorintined!
disclaimer: PhD not MD
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Re: Swim Question [spintela] [ In reply to ]
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I have issues w/my swim stroke too, and I've been a competitive swimmer my whole life.
Even though I've had a lot of coaching, some days stroke just isn't there. I found that hiring a coach
for an hour and doing some videotaping helped quite a bit, since I didn't exactly know what
I was doing right or wrong, it helped to see exactly where things went off the rails.
I know this isn't an immediate solution, but it sure helped me.
I can help you find someplace to have this done, if you like.
KS

Karen ST Concierge
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Re: Swim Question [spintela] [ In reply to ]
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I haven't heard anyone here talk about how you want to glide through the water.
Thinking about gliding farther (not to mention rotating your body somewhat to be more perpendicular to the top of the water) should also help you get your stroke count down.
Faster swimmers go farther on a single stroke.
A farther arm extension when reaching in front + rotating your body + proper hand entry + proper "catch" + proper pull should = longer glide + fewer strokes
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Re: Swim Question [spintela] [ In reply to ]
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I'm going to be different from everyone else and say turnover makes you a faster swimmer. It goes against what a lot of people say, but you're not pulling water when you are gliding, the only way to pull water more often is to increase turnover. It's not easy to do and it helps a lot if you have a good stroke, but the difference between almost front of the pack and front of the pack swimmers is sustaining a high turnover. Forget about counting strokes and keeping it low. Use a band to hold your feet together (you can use a buoy at first) swim 25s. The only way to stay afloat and move forward is to move your arms faster. Swimming with a band really works that.

ETA: You should still reach, but as soon as you get as far as your hand can get...pull. So increasing turnover will really only help if you have decent form.

The faster turn over is something I still struggle with, I was to taught glide as well. But when I think of immediately pulling after I reach I get it and do go faster. And just like running it takes some time to get used to doing. I've had the best luck when I do it at the end of shorter sets and build backwards from there. I focus on it in the warmup, then swim w/o thinking then the last 500 of the workout I think about it and slowly add more yards.
Last edited by: GhiaGirl: Jun 8, 14 16:35
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Re: Swim Question [GhiaGirl] [ In reply to ]
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X2. Not being 6+ feet tall, nor having a 6+ feet wing span, I think this is what is left for the rest of us.

Turning my stubby arms over faster versus gliding longer on my stubs has brought me more speed.

DFL > DNF > DNS
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Re: Swim Question [space.monkey] [ In reply to ]
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space.monkey wrote:
I haven't heard anyone here talk about how you want to glide through the water.
Thinking about gliding farther (not to mention rotating your body somewhat to be more perpendicular to the top of the water) should also help you get your stroke count down.
Faster swimmers go farther on a single stroke.
A farther arm extension when reaching in front + rotating your body + proper hand entry + proper "catch" + proper pull should = longer glide + fewer strokes

Not neccessarily...

There are some great posts on swimsmooth on the topic of stroke count:

http://www.feelforthewater.com/...between-gliding.html

http://www.feelforthewater.com/...w-going-from-62.html
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Re: Swim Question [blackthugcat] [ In reply to ]
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good info :)
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Re: Swim Question [space.monkey] [ In reply to ]
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space.monkey wrote:
I haven't heard anyone here talk about how you want to glide through the water.
Thinking about gliding farther (not to mention rotating your body somewhat to be more perpendicular to the top of the water) should also help you get your stroke count down.
Faster swimmers go farther on a single stroke.
A farther arm extension when reaching in front + rotating your body + proper hand entry + proper "catch" + proper pull should = longer glide + fewer strokes

You are right that faster swimmers go farther in a single stroke. The glide stuff is incorrect though.

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Re: Swim Question [spintela] [ In reply to ]
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spintela wrote:
I have a question about my swimming style. I am a middle of the pack swimmer with a 2:00/100m. I am confused and frustrated about my stroke rate. When I swim Masters of course I am in the slower lane. I often take a peak at the swimmers one lane over and I always notice their arms turning so much faster than me. Yesterday I counted there stroke rate and they are swimming 17-18 strokes per 25yds. I am at 25! Now the swim coach there tells me anything above 20 is too slow. Well now I am not out to KQ or win my age group since I do not have that kind of speed but If I try to swim any faster my technique just falls apart. So, what is best and what do you guys do in swimming. High stroke rate? Slower longer stroke? More kicking? More pulling?

I don't come over here too often, but just happened to see this. First off, I think you are confusing stroke rate and count (count is not "slow" or "fast" , it would be "long" or "short").
Anyway, you will usually find that you want to take as few strokes as possible, without gliding at the front of the stroke. That means the instant that you get to maximum extension, your fingertips are diving downward. This is happening at the same time as your other arm is finishing the last phase of the push stroke, somewhere around your upper thigh to mid thigh.

A visual I like to get that maximum extension is to think about rolling your shoulders forward instead of side to side. That gets you a few extra inches in your scapula extension.

Rotate your body "enough" about 30-45 degrees. Any more than that gets you no more streamlining and slows you turnover.

Keep your core tight, head down, don't over rotate to breathe, and your hips and feet close to the surface.

Keep your palm and forearm aligned and as vertical as possible throughout the stroke.

If you can work on those things, you should see your stroke count go down and speed increase.

Hope that helps..

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Re: Swim Question [spintela] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks all for your replys! I have read them all and have been practicing some things you have suggested. Here is an update. First I tried sculling, ha I need to watch someone do that one I was moving forward but very slowly. Fist, did those too. I got that one but my arms are so short and my hands are little that I did get much power doing that drill, but I did it. Did the drill with me feet tied and my legs sank quite a bit and I just had to swim a lot faster and harder to not sink so much. I am reaching more trying not to have a pause and what has helped in doing the is the Finis Tempo Pro Trainer. I set it to mode 3 and have tired different speed beeps until I found one that made my stroke rate faster but not too fast that I my technique fall apart. I also tried the turning of my shoulders more with the longer reach that helped a bit. So, will keep swimming and will keep trying the advice that is best for my swimming style. Also, I too started swimming with the idea that gliding and less strokes was best but now I have realized that it made my stroke rate really slow created a pause and did not make me any faster. It just made me a very graceful swimmer.
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