monty wrote:I did not start biking until my 20's // You are lying, every kid rides some kind of bike at some point. And every kid runs doing some sport, or just runs, it is what kids do. But many do not learn to swim, ever. So after you are out of school and you never learned to swim, you are a AOS. And it makes a huge difference in this one particular sport that you did not learn it as a kid. This is why I coined that term, it is a distinct category. Can you overcome it and become great? Well eventually the sperm does get to the egg, so occasionally one does succeed... (-;
Monty, to some degree you are correct, and you've virtually watched my change into attempting to become a swimmer in my 50's. I am finding my body is morphing to actually conform to the water. Things like getting into this torpedo position 2 years ago, I just did not have the range of motion in my neck and shoulders to do:
neck and shoulders would not let me get into this position but 3000 km of swimming later it can
and forget about my core doing this 2 years ago, but now it can:
And I think my spine would snap trying this:
While it may not be entirely possible for us adult adopters of swimming to get to the proficiency level of those that did it in the teens (just like if I try to teach a 52 year old to head a soccer ball or do a bicycle kick which I can still feel in my bones when I watch a pro do it), I think with enough practice we can gradually increase our range of motion and also the associated timing and application of force to develop proficiency.
I THINK the other aspect that people leave out is that you need a decently big engine to do swim technique with great proficiency. Slowman wrote about it around 15 years ago in an article entiled "the high cost of good form". It is going to be easier for a 4.5W per kilo athlete to be able to do 10-15m of underwater dolphin kicks off a wall than a 3W per kilo athlete. The latter can swim all they want, but they suffer an aerobic capacity disadvantage that the 4.5W per kilo athlete has. All those 20-30 hour weeks you guys spent in the pool at teens while us runners were barely doing 6-7 hours per week at track practice, means you developed some seriously kick ass engines that not that many non swimmers developed in youth. It is no wonder that all you early day pros (yourself, Dave Scott, Mark Allen, Scott Molina) came from swim backgrounds. You just don't do enough volume in many of the other sports in youth to get to these massive aerobic engines. On this last card I lucked in because although I was not swimming, I was minimally doing track and soccer or track + baseball + soccer + tennis + playing the park through my youth. Iwas on the 3 hour per day training program through my entire teen life and did not even think it was training. So my engine got to evolve over multiple sports...plus my dad telling me to take the bus to practice or ride my bike, but no lifts....so I just rode or ran to practices.
I really don't think you can become a good swimmer without a good engine in adult life. The athlete with a small engine is doubly impaired because they can't carry enough oxygen to their muscles to pull fast enough to get to the next breath quicker, so they delay oxygen going in. If you put a 6W per kilo engine in me vs 4W per kilo engine, I am pretty sure I can easily take my 200 fly below 2:20 with the exact technique I have not. But right now, I am up around 3:30.
Or put it another way, if you put my engine inside Lionel Sander's body, that 18:50 1500m long course he swam, I bet turns into somthing like 23-24 minutes (which is just a bit faster than what I swam recently at swim Canada masters nationals).
In running terms you can take two athletes with exact same body proportions, muscle composition, technical ability (hard to measure) and training plan, and one guy will be a 38 minute 10K runner and another will be 31. Engine size does matter because it allows us to swim and run with better form and not every adult onset swimmer has a good engine to go with the hours of swimming they may choose to do.