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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [rhys] [ In reply to ]
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rhys wrote:
If there are folks out there doing 20K+ a week swimming plus what it takes on the bike and run to race a fast Ironman, well then hells bells, I will call them divorced/single and broke.

I swim 8 or 9K a week tops and swim 57mins in wetsuit. Double my time in the pool would get me what, an extra 2 minutes in the water? It's a triathlon; not a swim race.

IMO.

And that proves what? You're already at the pointier end of the stick.

John



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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [Rappstar] [ In reply to ]
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One thing I've been wondering is why include the pull buoy?

Wouldn't it be better to just use paddles?

Not so that you could work on kicking hard, but more so that you could work on timing the kick with the pull.

Maybe this depends on how good a swimmer you already are? Note I'm not talking about a really crappy swimmer, but someone who's a decent non-fish AGer.
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [Rappstar] [ In reply to ]
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I'll heartily disagree.....I can stay out of the water for a year and still beat 90% of triathletes in the water because it is a technique sport and technique trumps fitness/hours in the pool. I did IM CDA off of zero swim/bike training and still had a solid swim.....

Now for training - I'll also disagree and say that I think the opposite is more likely true. "Technique goes a long way in swimming and even trumps fitness. Working on your technique works on your fitness. The opposite is not true."

But then again - you're 3 steps above me as an athlete and Sousa is 3 steps above me as a coach (I'm not even one).....but I still disagree. Now maybe he is just trying to get people who work on technique 100% of the time to spend some time getting tired in the pool which is reasonable....but thrashing your way through 1000s of yards with bad technique is an inefficient way to improve in swimming in my opinion.

Dave
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [daveinmammoth] [ In reply to ]
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90% of triathletes shouldn't be in open water in the first place.

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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [jess_d] [ In reply to ]
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I understand that swimming and running are different sports. And good technique is better than bad technique. But, the one facet that holds true in all three sports is there is rarely a substitute for volume.

Here's what happens to most new(er) triathletes these days. They track down a coach or down-load a training program online and they have these great little programs with 2 - 3 workouts/week in each sport - and off they go. It goes well at first because it's all new to them and if they don't have a back-ground in any of the sports they progress well from the get go. But they plateau fairly quickly and find it hard and challenging moving beyond that point. What they need to do is toss the three sport training out the window temporarily and look at single sport focus blocks. Why? - because, volume, when done right, really does take you to the next level. So for 2, 4, 6 months or more, be a swimmer, or a cyclist or a runner - do that sport every day or almost everyday each week. Throw in a couple of sessions of the other sports for maintenance and to keep an attachment.

Many think there is some mystery here, or secret training program, or special talent required. As Simon Whitfield says, "Chop wood & carry water" - the results will come with time. However, many give up before they get to that time! Hint, the time lines for real improvement and base building in endurance sports are much longer than people realize!





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Last edited by: Fleck: Dec 28, 11 13:02
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [daveinmammoth] [ In reply to ]
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daveinmammoth wrote:
I'll heartily disagree.....I can stay out of the water for a year and still beat 90% of triathletes in the water because it is a technique sport and technique trumps fitness/hours in the pool. I did IM CDA off of zero swim/bike training and still had a solid swim.....

Now for training - I'll also disagree and say that I think the opposite is more likely true. "Technique goes a long way in swimming and even trumps fitness. Working on your technique works on your fitness. The opposite is not true."

But then again - you're 3 steps above me as an athlete and Sousa is 3 steps above me as a coach (I'm not even one).....but I still disagree. Now maybe he is just trying to get people who work on technique 100% of the time to spend some time getting tired in the pool which is reasonable....but thrashing your way through 1000s of yards with bad technique is an inefficient way to improve in swimming in my opinion.

Dave

Do you think you could learn proper technique if you could not complete 1500m in total workout?

John



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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [jess_d] [ In reply to ]
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I just went from a totally terrible swimmer (like 2:20/100) to mildly terrible (1:45 Tpace for 2000 now) over 2 years. Read everything on the forums here and BT, trained very hard for a newb (so hard that my shoulder strains were the limiting factor) and really focused hard on technique. Spent the entire first 6 months doing nothing but technique.

I gotta say, I agree 100% with Paulo's statement. Sure, it's oversimplified, but not by much.

I absolutely HATE now when coaches or ex-racing swimmers say 'it's all technique' and that noobs should be swimming 1:30s with zero swim fitness just with technique alone. That's a complete bunch of BS.

Went through multiple coaches as well - all of them said SWIM MORE. A LOT more. 12k/week is NOT a lot. Heck, even 20k per week isn't a lot for a good swimmer.

My limiter is definitely my swim volume - logistically just can't do much more than I'm doing now. But I 100% agree in that there is a significant swim fitness aspect to technique, and while the fitness alone won't get you great technique, you can't just have 1:10/100m technique without it. I would honestly say that as a newly learned swimmer with no swim background, once I was sub 2:00/100m, 95% of my speed gains were from swim fitness. This does not mean technique was meaningless - but the small changes in technique I picked up came as I notched that pace down.

I don't think true noobs who can't hit 2:00/100m all out should be doing fast work, but pretty much anyone under that mark should be doing it, I think.

I also agree with the earlier comment that once your body position is close to flat, unless you're a champion swimmer, it doesn't matter hugely what your stroke looks like. I watched a fast masters group for quite awhile that was in the same pool I was in (I came too late to join) and everyone had some really different strokes, including some that could easily be critciized as 'wrong' until you saw that sub 1:10 pace. The two commonalities I was most impressed with was the near-flat body position and arm turnover. Fast swimmer invariably had fast turnovers. In fact, their turnover is so fast that I'm pretty sure that if I had that kind of turnover, I'd be throwing down similar paces.
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [Fleck] [ In reply to ]
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An overnight success takes 5 years, or is it 10?
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [daveinmammoth] [ In reply to ]
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daveinmammoth wrote:
I can stay out of the water for a year and still beat 90% of triathletes in the water because it is a technique sport and technique trumps fitness/hours in the pool.

Bingo.

Of course, to beat 99% of triathletes out of the water, you need both, great technique and great fitness.

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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [Devlin] [ In reply to ]
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And that proves what? You're already at the pointier end of the stick.
______________

interesting, I never ever have thought that of myself ever. I suppose I should say thanks; so thanks! You have opened my eyes a bit in that, I am viewing this in a very narrow context of the quicker Ironman. I will call that quicker Ironman sub 11 hours lets say.

I still don't think doubling a person's commitment each week to the pool and thereby sacrificing time to the bike and run (ie: 3 to 4 hours a week) will pull through faster overall triathlon race times. The swim will get faster at the cost of the bike and run. I argue, do the minimum in the water to be relatively quick and allocate remaining hours to bike and run. Cycling takes A LOT of time. Fast cycling takes even more time. The ability to run well off the bike, takes even more time! Sure this applies to being a faster swimmer too, but what I am trying to convey is, there are only so many hours available for the AG athlete to commit and the equation is better suited to the bike for a faster day.

IMO.

My other opinion is, gadgets and 'breakthrough workouts' and 3 weeks on/1 week off protocols etc. etc. is all great. But it boils down to consistent DO IT, LOG IT, REPEAT IT. It is this philosophy to why I have so much respect for the likes of Paulo, Sutton, Filliol as coaches.

I don't mean to be negative, I hope that is not how I am being read here. I hope I am conveying the equation of return on investment of training time. That is all.

thanks.

@rhyspencer
Http://www.rhysspencer.blogspot.ca
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [missinglink] [ In reply to ]
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missinglink wrote:
So you're telling me that you spent more time in the pool and your swim times got slower?

Nope, never said anything remotely similar to that.

I just said that, lots more swimming piled on top of bad technique will make for a very fit swimmer who won't be able to stay up with or beat swimmers with excellent technique who have worse fitness.

Even lance armstrong can't win a bike race (no matter how fit he is) with a big parachute hanging off the back of his bike. And that's what bad technique does to you in the water.

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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [sentania] [ In reply to ]
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Probably closer to 10....unless of course you add lots of technique to that fitness....and lots of fitness to your technique...
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [bluepoint] [ In reply to ]
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The pull buoy at least helps put you in a wetsuit like position...which is what A LOT of the swims are these days. It takes the worry of having your legs sink out of the equation so you can focus on the pull a bit more. And, if you have a horrible kick, then it helps keep your legs together because that is one of the big things that will slow down poor swimmers besides body position...legs going all over the place. You can even practice a small two beat kick with the pull buoy. It helps to have a smaller pull buoy or at least narrower. That is one of the best ways to synch the kick and pull. Spending a ton of time to get a great kick is usually a waste of improving whatever type of swim you already have.

And to the couple of swimmers who have said they've had a one on one session. The Mrs.-Tex has been a swim coach since 2000 or so...myself as well. 9 times out 10 when someone wants a lesson they expect to hear one or two things that will magically save 10 seconds per 100 as has been said. 9 times out of 10 they get told 'your stroke is not that bad'. That is my experience too when looking at swimmers. They just need to swim more and swim harder.

Swimming more is not sexy. Paying $100 for a 1 hour session or whatever is not sexy. Swimming alone sucks. You may not save 10 minutes on an Ironman swim, but I bet you'll save it on the whole race. Unfortunately, you can't quantify how much 'energy' you saved by swimming the same time going 'easier' than you did a year earlier.

The biggest problem is similar to what Robertwb mentioned. That is open water swimming is different. What happens when you and 2000 of your closest friends start swimming? What happens when you can't extend out in front of you bc of someone else? You lose that great stroke length that you have been drilling to perfection. You HAVE to finish your stroke. It matters, and a lot of pool coaches will tell you there's no reason to finish your stroke. Stroke length is great, but what you get is a slow as molasses stroke rate and a slow as molasses time. Using a pull buoy can help you learn to keep that stroke rate up so that you can change paces. There's a lot of great info here on this thread.


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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [DarkSpeedWorks] [ In reply to ]
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DarkSpeedWorks wrote:
missinglink wrote:
So you're telling me that you spent more time in the pool and your swim times got slower?


Nope, never said anything remotely similar to that.

I just said that, lots more swimming piled on top of bad technique will make for a very fit swimmer who won't be able to stay up with or beat swimmers with excellent technique who have worse fitness.

Even lance armstrong can't win a bike race (no matter how fit he is) with a big parachute hanging off the back of his bike. And that's what bad technique does to you in the water.

Your logic is correct, but I think it's overstating reality quite a bit.

I've seen a lot of bad swimmers, but NONE of them are cranking out like 20k per week with lots of quality as would a good or serious swimmer. To think someone would do such a thing isn't realistic - anyone who's willing to train that hard on the swim is going to automatically pick up advice either on their own or through others to make significant stroke improvements so that they're not going to have god-awful form.

If anything, the bad swimmers I see don't push themselves hard enough, or ever. Lots of folks doing the easy 30-60 minute slow easy swim, only a few times per week. For these folks, a good kick in teh behind with hard painful intervals would wake them up quick to improving their form more than a coach would - when you're dying on every workout, the first think you look for is an easy way to go faster with less pain, which is technique.

I don't think it's really possible to NOT seek out technique improvement when faced with the daunting challenge of suffering day in day out with 4-5k workouts with intensity. I know after I tried that just for a few weeks, I was looking up every video and book and forum post to make life easier from the suffering I was taking.
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [-Tex] [ In reply to ]
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-Tex wrote:
The pull buoy at least helps put you in a wetsuit like position...which is what A LOT of the swims are these days. It takes the worry of having your legs sink out of the equation so you can focus on the pull a bit more. And, if you have a horrible kick, then it helps keep your legs together because that is one of the big things that will slow down poor swimmers besides body position...legs going all over the place. You can even practice a small two beat kick with the pull buoy. It helps to have a smaller pull buoy or at least narrower. That is one of the best ways to synch the kick and pull. Spending a ton of time to get a great kick is usually a waste of improving whatever type of swim you already have.

And to the couple of swimmers who have said they've had a one on one session. The Mrs.-Tex has been a swim coach since 2000 or so...myself as well. 9 times out 10 when someone wants a lesson they expect to hear one or two things that will magically save 10 seconds per 100 as has been said. 9 times out of 10 they get told 'your stroke is not that bad'. That is my experience too when looking at swimmers. They just need to swim more and swim harder.

Swimming more is not sexy. Paying $100 for a 1 hour session or whatever is not sexy. Swimming alone sucks. You may not save 10 minutes on an Ironman swim, but I bet you'll save it on the whole race. Unfortunately, you can't quantify how much 'energy' you saved by swimming the same time going 'easier' than you did a year earlier.

The biggest problem is similar to what Robertwb mentioned. That is open water swimming is different. What happens when you and 2000 of your closest friends start swimming? What happens when you can't extend out in front of you bc of someone else? You lose that great stroke length that you have been drilling to perfection. You HAVE to finish your stroke. It matters, and a lot of pool coaches will tell you there's no reason to finish your stroke. Stroke length is great, but what you get is a slow as molasses stroke rate and a slow as molasses time. Using a pull buoy can help you learn to keep that stroke rate up so that you can change paces. There's a lot of great info here on this thread.

That's exactly what several coaches told me once I was under 2:00/100. 'JUST SWIM MORE.' I'm pretty sure they're right. It ain't about some magic technique fix - there are technique issues, but you're not going to technique train your way into it.

I know running is different, but the analogy is relevant - you don't learn to run with the gait of a Kenyan or 2:0x marathoner by doing leg drills. If you don't have the physical ability to run that fast, you'll never look like that. This gets especially obvious when comparing slow out of shape runners to the good ones - it ain't just about the technique. While swimming is absolutely way more technique dependent, you ain't getting to 1:10 by swimmiin' easy.
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [bjorn] [ In reply to ]
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I haven't scanned this entire thread but perhaps the disclaimer that this applies to triathlon swimming should be stuck here. When you look to the pool most everything there is flawless. You can get away with much less in tri.

There are also outliers to this. Those who have swum their entire lives can hop into a session after months or years out of the water and still lead their lane. Perhaps such a situation occurs only in vastly superior technique situations. I think you and I might have a little knowledge about that ;)

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Last edited by: MarkyV: Dec 28, 11 15:06
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [salmon] [ In reply to ]
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"Don't you have an article somewhere about how minimum fitness is necessary for good technique?"

thank you for remembering. it was originally written in 2004, and republished a couple of years ago after we changed our architecture. it's called the high cost of good form.



Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [trail] [ In reply to ]
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TO:...For example doing 1:20 100's with the "fist" drill to work on feeling the drag through the forearm) ......PLEeeaase......Com on, how many triathletels do you honestly know that can swim 1:20's with a fist........Those fish are working on fitness like that, but.......most triathletes do drills of 25 yrds on 40 seconds with rest so no fitness
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [BeachboyWI] [ In reply to ]
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BeachboyWI wrote:

What I did find helpful, even in college, was a coach standing over me with a kickboard in his hands screaming at me that if I continued to be lazy and drag my hips he was going to bash me. Which is why I always tell people...if you are a bad swimmer, go get an experienced coach. (not someone like me who just swam in college).

You're now reminding me of the childhood days when my sister and I swam at a team about a half hour drive from home. She was with the junior group, and I was with the senior group that practiced afterward, and we were at pool deck for each others' practices because it made sense for Mom to only make the drive to the pool once. So I'd be hanging around, and one day coach was like, 'Hey you want to help out?' and he walked me over to the pull buoy cage and told me I could start throwing buoys at my sister if I caught her breathing between the flags on the set. Ah good times, and no, she didn't breathe between the flags at all on freestyle that practice.

I'm also not much for drills during a practice. What works better for me is to think of a couple of points of emphasis for a practice and tell myself 'You know how you tend to wiggle your hand on the catch while you're breathing when you get tired? DON'T DO THAT THIS SET!' and I know that if I get rid of the wiggle, I'm gonna get an extra 2 seconds of very nice rest per hundred on the main set. Course that requires a certain level of body awareness that came from a couple million yards/meters in the water.
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [Kenney] [ In reply to ]
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>.....most triathletes do drills of 25 yrds on 40 seconds with rest so no fitness

Really- for the bulk of a session? That's jacked up. In that case, I'll will step out of the way and let Paulo, Sutton, and Rappstar beat on them with 140-character Tweets of Truth.
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [DarkSpeedWorks] [ In reply to ]
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DarkSpeedWorks wrote:
missinglink wrote:
So you're telling me that you spent more time in the pool and your swim times got slower?


Nope, never said anything remotely similar to that.

I just said that, lots more swimming piled on top of bad technique will make for a very fit swimmer who won't be able to stay up with or beat swimmers with excellent technique who have worse fitness.

Even lance armstrong can't win a bike race (no matter how fit he is) with a big parachute hanging off the back of his bike. And that's what bad technique does to you in the water.

I Agree .... You get measurably faster in the water by swimming 2-4 times per week where 50-75% of the yardage is spent on technique. You do that for 2 months or 2 years until you get 90% of "as good as you are ever going to get" on technique. Some people can improve a lot and just need the patience to persevere. Some will only improve technique a small bit .... for many reasons: like the wrong coach or swim program, impatience, heredity or the delusion that all their bad technique needs is a bit of fitness to knock a minute off that IM swim.


Such a Bad Runner
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [Rappstar] [ In reply to ]
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Curious on your thoughts on the below as a corroboration to the volume idea?

Something that isn't being mentioned here is the impact of upping swim volume on the other two disciplines.

Last year I upped my volume from 8-9k yards a week to 15-20k, and while I didn't see as much time improvement in teh swim as I would have liked, I felt better way further into the race on the bike and the run. I attribute this not only to natural progression and the work I did on the bike and run, but also to a better swim base relative to past years.

This fall I was injured and not able to run and bike as much, and had planned to do a big swim block anyway, which I feel has gone very well, and my pool times are finally coming down. Now that I am starting back biking and running I find that my base fitness in these areas is still surprisingly high for having had a layoff, I have to attribute some of that to the aerobic base I built swimming hard and often.

Agree with what you and others have said that someone who is swimming 2 min per 100 might want to spend a little more time drilling, but if this drill time is being spent effectively then it shouldn't (only guessing here) take too long before a person is able to start phasing in intensity/ volume. I love the Sutto article and its emphasis on toys and wetsuit specific swimming because it finally talks about a clear path to improvement that is similar to how to get better in the other two sports, I'm very tired of thinking of swimming as an enigma that can only be solved with a guru swim coach and a feel for the water that gets built doing a bunch of things that I will never actually do in a race.
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [JoeO] [ In reply to ]
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JoeO wrote:
dfru wrote:
JoeO wrote:
DarkSpeedWorks wrote:

Nope.

You know what happens when you swim 30,000 m per week with poor technique? Most of time, you get worse technique.


Or in other words: Practice Makes Permanent.


To an extent, but with my running, moving from 30-35 miles/wk to 60+ the past two months, has made me more efficient as well as faster. My fitness has allowed me to stride as I'd like without breaking down.

Brent


Admittedly, pithy little sayings like the one I repeated above never capture the whole truth. But I have also seen far too many slow runners with really bad form become faster runners with really bad form after training a lot. Your body can become much more efficient at any form. (Not saying this is you, just that form isn't the only limiter)

Now Sutton basically says that. He has many swimmers who have "bad" technique, but they pull the water and are fast in spite of looks/technique. And really, I run with a guy who is a plodder, doesn't look like a runner, but has sub 30 and sub 1:06 10k/half mary PR's. You look at him and think you could beat him. And you just can't...too many miles, too experienced. A fast swimmer with bad form is, I would bet, more efficient than a slow swimmer with "perfect" technique, because of fitness.

The more I read some of the things the experts are saying, the more it makes sense to me. I am not trying to become a good 100m swimmer, but get out of the water fresher and faster. And really, if the swimmers in my pool think it looks ugly but I'm improving, both efficiency (due to fitness) and speed, I think most triathletes would take that.

Brent

DFRU - Detta Family Racing Unit...the kids like it and we all get out and after it...gotta keep the fam involved!
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [jackmott] [ In reply to ]
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jackmott wrote:
Perhaps because you haven't seen people really work that hard? I mean like 30k meters a week swimming in a fast lane where you are forced to really really push yourself all the time. Maybe that is where you start to self discover technique?


DarkSpeedWorks wrote:

You bet. If you carefully you read my post above, yes, I am very confident in my statements because I've seen it personally more times than I can count. Why a so-called experienced tri coach would say the opposite baffles me. But, in any case, I am good with sticking my neck out and saying the emperor has no clothes.

As a kid during the summer we regularly swam 10K/day (doubles) (50-60K/week) and our coaches were CONSTANTLY drilling us on technique, dropped elbows, counting flags, tight turns, breathing patterns, etc. I was one of the frequent barfers during hard sets so I'd say we were going hard enough. We did dry land 1x day also. We did specific drill work sets also.

http://harvestmoon6.blogspot.com


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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [dfru] [ In reply to ]
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Plenty of people can be fast despite bad technique. But that's just it. They're doing it despite the technique. It's silly to worry about just volume or just form to the detriment of the other. Both are limiters. As you travel farther and farther up the speed hierarchy in swimming or running, you find fewer and fewer of those bad-form outliers. At some point no matter what sort of engine you've developed bad form becomes a limiter. Go to a Division 1 college track meet and you can find running forms all over the map. But go to a world class track meet some time and the form consistency is pretty startling. There's a reason for that.

I've let my own swim fitness stay about the same for the past 6 years because I'm ismply not willing to put the time in to do much more than 4,000 - 6,000 yards a week. I'd rather ride or run. But though my swim fitness hasn't improved, my swim times in this year have , because it's only in that time I've really started to pay attention to form.

Granted, I'm at the low-hanging-fruit end of the spectrum in swimming. I don't have a swimming background. I'm sure I could have made some improvements by doing 8 or 10 or 12k yards a week. But I am in the same predicament on the bike and figured (correctly) that the extra training time was better spent there. I might take a season and really make a commitment to swimming volume. But I can't deny how important it has been for me to improve my form. I think I'll get a much better bang-for-the-buck now, with better form, when I actually DO increase my swim volume.
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