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ShariL
July 9th, 2003, 12:31 AM
I am teaching a stroke clinic class at the YMCA. My background is USS competitive swimming (ages 8-18) and some age-group coaching. One of my students, a triathlon trainer, has been to Total Immersion. Because of his TI training, he is doubtful of any stroke correction I am giving him. Basically he has the typical problems of a short stroke...entering too close to the head and not pulling thru.

The TI triathlete is telling me that the TI "Fish" style swimming technique says the hand should enter the water just in front of the head, then reach forward. In my opinion, he needs to lengthen his stroke, rotating and reaching as far forward as possible, entering out front (not by the head). I am thinking he is mixing up some TI drill with proper freestyle SWIMMING technique. He at least agreed with me when we talked distance per stroke (and started believing I know something about swimming)...but I don't see how you can maximize DPS with hand entry by the head.

Can someone shed light on this for me? What is this "Fish" swimming in a couple sentences? And where does TI say the hand entry should be?

Thank you!!

P.S. I'm new here and enjoying reading...I swim masters and hope to compete in butterfly someday...I'm waiting it out until I get a bit older so can face the competition. My butterfly has held out better than my other strokes (used to be a long distance freestyler too).

P.P.S. I did a search on TI and read some of the posts but they didn't quite get to my specific question above.

ShariL
July 9th, 2003, 11:09 PM
of the 100+ people that read this. Does my question make sense? I'd like to get some info before I see this guy again. Thanks!

Ion Beza
July 10th, 2003, 12:11 AM
From my experience on this board, people are formulating right now the most appropriate answer to their knowledge.

They will post in a few hours, I guess.

In my opinion, a short stroke above the water that stretches the arm underwater (this thiathlete' style) is fighting resistance from the water when stretching, and a short stroke stroke above the water that doesn't stretch the arm underwater is faulty because it doesn't reach far so it makes a small distance per stroke.

Reaching the farthest in the non-resistent air before entering the resistent water, even by throwing the shoulder ahead and by rolling on one side of the body to elongate oneself (as recommended in the T.I. book, in page 52: "...making you 'taller' each time you turn sideways and 'shorter' as you turn back..."), is what I try to do.

If you ask me for a better answer than this, including the use of the word 'fishlike' in the T.I. book which I kind of remember but not clearly, then I will have to research a little better than this.

Bert Petersen
July 10th, 2003, 01:00 AM
Shari.....you are correct, of course, as is Ion. The reason no-one is responding seems to me to be a nervousness about being jumped if one says anything critical of TI.
Never fear, I am here and willing to speak what little mind I have left.
The problem, in my opinion, with learning swimming from a manual or a tape is that there is no feedback. Period.
This allows all sorts of gremlins to slither into the learning process.
I've had people interpreting what they thought they heard or read in TI and many other self-help learning aids.
For example, a swimmer tells me they are going to "swim downhill". Try it sometime. Ridiculous. However, to the stereotypical heads-up Triathlete type, it FEELS like they are swimming downhill. Big difference.
Second example: "look straight down at the bottom". When I do that (and my fellow Masters) forward motion is substantially and noticeably reduced.
You must remember that TI (it appears) was created for the great unwashed multitudes and has some definite holes in it for serious competitors.
As an aside, I noticed on the TI tape that the person doing the excellent job of demonstrating was not doing what the tape said to do !!
It has taken me three weeks to stamp out some of the foolishness that my new team had created for themselves by mis-interpreting the TI drills. We're swimming much faster and smarter now, thank you very much !
Bottom line : I enjoyed the TI tape and found very little to disagree with. The problem lies with the beholder, not the teaching tool.
Finally, DPS by self-definition requires a far-forward entry and maximum push past the hips.
Over to you...............
Bert

ike arola
July 10th, 2003, 01:08 AM
Your right!

If you watch the fastest swimmers in the world (Popov, Klim, etc.) you will see that they reach as far as they can above the water. The main reason for this is, I think, that they keep the shoulders up high. Why? First because the shoulders make a huge resistance and secondly you can change the power from the recovering hand to the one propulsing below the surface much, much easier if you keep your shoulders high (=that means the hands as well).
Visit the best web-sites in swimming: http://svl.ch

- ike

Gareth Eckley
July 10th, 2003, 04:47 AM
Sharil, I think understanding what TI tell the swimmers in their clinic would help. Your swimmer will have been told that reducing drag is of the greatest importance. TI wants the entry hand in the water early so as to lengthen the body line " longer vessels create less drag ". If your explanations mention drag reduction then he will be more receptive.

Does his hand enter at too steep an angle, causing drag as the water pushes against the forearm as it moves into the water? It seems from your post that this is the case. TI says to "extend hand as if putting hand into a coat sleeve" if you use this metaphor but get him to enter a bit further forward then it may work.

Another fault i see with a lot of TI swimmers is that they are told to reach as far forward as possible, " extend hand towards the end of the pool ". Many interperet this in this way: hand enters water near head and is then extended forward and moves up to near the surface as they are reaching as far forward as possible.

The hand then has a long way to move to get into the catch and has created drag as it rises up to the surface. Again TI language says " not to reach directly down into the water on entry" this is good advice for most swimmers but may not be in this case.

I feel that the biggest hole in TI instruction is in stroke timing. A half 'catch up' style is the goal. Popov is mentioned a lot but the kayak style of stroke timing that he swims is not mentioned at all. The correct timing to create continuos propulsion and transfer momentum from finishing hand to hand starting catch is not taught there.

The average TI swimmer does not have the great kick which is needed to keep moving forward during the 'dead spot' that a 'half catch-up' stroke creates. Just because Thorpe can swim like that does not mean that the rest of us should swim that way.

Your swimmer will have a lot of good info on drag reduction, but will judge you on how what you say checks with TI philosophy. You can't win unless you become a TI coach, all you need for this is to spend $2,000 on their courses and at least a $500 to $1,000 per year fee therafter, with more money ($300 to $500) for refresher courses every 2 years. I am not making this up, it is on their website. The TI discussion boards are always full of praise for TI, in the last 3 years I have not seen any critical posts there. So to sum up there is a lot of good stuff in TI but there are gaps and the unquestioning acceptance of their way or the highway needs to change. BTW there is not a single TI coach who has coached a swimmer into the world rankings.

valhallan
July 10th, 2003, 07:33 AM
my 2 cents.

As Bert states,..T.I. is great for some of the folks who need some serious stroke correction, in particular reducing drag. It's an excellent stepping stone for adults with no prior swimming experience. And the triathletes are the ones who always tend to swim with the head clean out of the water looking ahead for the giant day glow buoys. No wonder they get tired.

But the question is...Do real swimmers actually race this way? And I think that the answer is no. The timing of the stroke doesn't lend itself to a rapid turnover, unless there's a motor boat like kick coming from the back end. And indeed Popov is absolutely not a front quadrant swimmer. He's just very "tall" in the water.

And about your question. I would liken the hand entry near the head as 'putting on the brakes' so to speak. There's gotta be resistance when someone's actually pushing their hand under the water's surface before getting into a full extension for the catch.

Analogy: It would be like having a runner skip through a hundred yards versus actually running with a clean stride. But if that's how your guy wants to swim, so be it. Hopefully it's not contageous. :cool:

ShariL
July 10th, 2003, 10:25 AM
This is very helpful - thank you!! I want to know what I'm talking about when I face this guy Tuesday. I am also relieved to know that I am not totally out of it when it comes to newer technique. I read much of the information on the TI website, and all the posts on this site (and yes, I noticed the walking on eggshells!). My impression is that TI has a great record of teaching newer swimmers (and by that I mean swimmers without a competitive swimming background) how to swim. They are also great marketers!

The triathlete in my class told me he'd bring in his TI video. I am anxious to see it because it sounds like TI has good drills and I'd like to see how their swimmers look in the water (I assume they look good and would like to connect what they're teaching with what they're demonstrating). One thing I know for sure is that the great swimmers of the world are not putting their hand in right by their head...so if I watch the video maybe I can point that out to the guy. And also suggest he watch some Olympic footage. I don't want to disrespect his training...but it sounds like he is misinterpreting some of it. And it's a problem when he's telling other class members what he learned and not to listen to me -- giving them clearly wrong instruction -- because he "spent $500 on an intensive swimming course". (I was no Olympian, but a respectable 500 and 1650 freestyler and butterflyer that can blow this guy out of the water; former triathlete too but he doesn't know that.)

I would love more input or any helpful lingo! ;)
Thanks again!

Ion Beza
July 10th, 2003, 03:34 PM
Originally posted by ShariL

...
One thing I know for sure is that the great swimmers of the world are not putting their hand in right by their head...
...
Thanks again!
No way:

the great swimmers of the world are not putting their hand right by their head, stretch the hand underwater against resistent water, then when the arm is stretched start the catch and the pull.

Goofy public swimmers do this, though.

The great swimmers of the world want the arm stretched as quickly as possible, so they stretch the arm in the less resistent air, they hit the water with an almost stretched arm (I have seen some who do stretch the arm a little bit, not much, underwater) or with a fully stretched arm, then they start the catch and the pull.

A description of the kayak style -missing from the T.I. book and mentioned by Gareth in his post-, is in 'Swimming Technique' from April/July 2003, where Cecil Colwin states in page 16:

"At speed, however, when meeting a challenge, as in Thorpe's classic race with Grant Hackett in the 800 meter freestyle in Fukoaka 2001 (i.e.: Ian Thorpe (Aus.) at 7:39.16 and Grant Hackett (Aus.) at 7:40.34 swam then the two fastest 800 meter free in history), both swimmers switched to a rotary stroke..."

and

"...has been called a rotary stroke because the arms rotate continously at almost the same speed (i.e. the arms don't overlap, they are always at least 90 degrees apart, and often they are at 180 degrees opposition, as it is when one arm enters the water and the other arm exits). The rotary action is the main feature of the stroke, and it was brought to a high point of development by Alexander Popov,...";

Popov, the T.I. model, swims rotary, kayak style.

Very dramatic rotary, kayak style, swimmers who "...are not putting their hand in right by their head..." because they swim with straight -not bent- and fully stretched arms above the water, are Michael Klim (Aus.) -who is second fastest man in history in 100 meter free at 48.18- and Inge de Bruijn (Ned.) -who is the fastest woman in history in 100 meter free at 53.77-.

Long distance swimmer Grant Hackett (Aus.) -who has the world record in the 1500 meter free at 14:34.56-, bends his arms above the water, but he is not putting his hand right by his head, no way, because he is still stretching his arms above the water quite far from his head.
Underwater, he is stretching a little bit the arm to full extension, than he starts the catch and the pull.

To me, people who are "...putting their hand in right by their head..." are usually overzealous public swimmers, in an imaginary rush, just to swim the wrong ways.

Matt S
July 10th, 2003, 05:14 PM
OK, I'll bite.

Shari: the good news is that I believe you are doing exactly the right thing by looking at the video. As I'll discuss below, I think focusing on hand entry misses the main point, and it will be helpful to see the whole package of TI instruction. Also, using TI drills when you would otherwise do drills in a "traditional" program is an excellent idea, and you may find a few good nuggets that will benefit your whole team, even if you do not buy into the TI paradigm. Thanks for keeping an open mind about TI, and taking the time to get to the bottom of the issue with your swimmer.

Now I understand why Emmett's postings to this discussion group have tailed-off recently. It gets tiresome responding to the same misconceptions over and over again.

There are two key concepts to the TI approach to swimming. The first concept is that the most important skill for a swimmer to learn is to reduce drag. Being adapted to life on land, humans are very inefficient swimmers, and a dense medium like water (compared with, say, air) magnifies the resistance of non-streamlined positions. Therefore, a well considered swimming program would spend somewhat less time conditioning the body’s ability to do work, and more time finding and correcting sources of drag in the swimmers’ strokes. The second concept is that the muscles groups you use to move your arms and legs are relatively puny, compared to your core body muscles. If you can somehow harness your big abs, chest and back muscles into generating power for your stroke, you can go farther, faster, longer.

With respect to the first concept, a number of the folks posting to this discussion group have criticized the “semi-catch-up” style of freestyle that TI recommends. (The term we use is “front quadrant swimming.” See Emmett Hines’ article at http://www.usms.org/training/circles.htm This is merely a matter of understanding another term for the same concept; there is nothing wrong with using “semi-catch-up.”) These folks claim that a “kayak” style would be better because it avoids a “dead zone” in your stroke when there is no force being applied backwards. They are trapped by their assumption that the key to swimming faster is always applying more force continuously from their arms. In fact observations by a number of coaches and studies have shown that stroke length (i.e. going one lap of the pool using fewer strokes) is far more closely related to faster swimming than stroke rate (i.e. how many arm pulls you can cram into a given time period). What’s going on? These elite swimmers (with the really low number of strokes they take per lap), whether they explicitly follow TI or not, have found a way to super-streamline themselves so they go much farther for one arm pull than the competition. This is where the front-quadrant concept fits in. As Emmett explains in his article, scientific studies have shown that all other factors being equal, a longer vessel moves through the water faster. If you break lose from your preconceptions of how to swim faster, you see that the criticism of front quadrant swimming is assuming away as not significant the data upon which it is based. Similarly, the suggestion that elite swimmers are making up for the alleged “dead zone” in their arm stroke by kicking harder suffers from the same myopia. We aren’t doing front quadrant swimming to generate more force pushing backward; we are doing it to reduce drag. There are several other aspects of TI swimming calculated to reduce drag that the critics dismiss because they believe it reduces the amount of force applied. The critics miss the point.

The second concept relates to what we mean by “fish like swimming.” This refers to the fact that fish do not swim faster by beating their fins back and forth into a frenzy. They swim faster by generating a total body undulation from their core body trunk—the big muscle groups. This is contrasted with “human swimming” which focuses on kicking a pulling harder and faster with arms and legs—much smaller muscle groups compared to the core body muscles. The other set of adjustments TI seeks to make is to harness these large core body muscle groups to generate power in the stroke, rather like a pitcher or a batter in baseball rotating their hips and pushing off with their legs, and channeling that power through their arms. How do we do that in freestyle or backstroke? Rotate your body from side to side and use your arms like propeller blades. We do things in the TI paradigm that do not make sense to those who follow the “human swimming” paradigm, yet they continue to criticize our approach while ignoring or not understanding what it is trying to do, rather like a classical pianist complaining that a jazz pianist does play the music the right way.

Bearing that in mind, you can see how I had a hard time answering your question about where your swimmer’s hand should enter the water. Bluntly, it is not terribly important whether it enters next to his ear (which sounds a little bizarre to me) or farther out in front. Is his head down and is he leaning on his chest so his hips float without using a big kick? Is he rolling his hips from side to side? Is he waiting for his hand to pass his ear before he initiates the arm pull and the roll to the other side? (Maybe this last point is where he got things a little garbled in his understanding.) I have studied the TI video and applied it to both my swimming and the kids I coach on our youth league team. If they say anything specific about where your hand enters the water, I can’t recall it, and I can assure you it’s not all that important.

Lastly, there is one big whopper I have to deal with. “There is not a single TI coach who has coached a swimmer into the world rankings.” Equine eschatology! I would call to your attention Adrienne Binder of the Santa Barbara Swim Club, currently ranked 6th in the world in the 1500m (http://www.fina.org/wranklcm_wF1500.html), who has used TI training methods for the past 8 years (http://www.totalimmersion.net/mag-apr03-2-fast.html). What makes this assertion even more absurd, at least in this forum, is that I personally posted to these discussion groups not even a month ago a link to the article about Adrienne’s training methods, and her exploits in the 1650. But, this brings to light the “heads I win, tails you lose” standards some of the critics apply to TI. On the one hand, they claim that it is nothing new, it’s just solid stroke mechanics repackaged into a marketing rip-off. (This usually precedes a one-sentence statement about how important mechanics are, followed by a 15-page thesis on the workouts of champions that focuses on yardage, speed and intervals. How exactly are people who are not naturally gifted with great stroke mechanics supposed to acquire them, I wonder? But, I digress…) On the other hand, when we try to point out the importance of stroke length, or body roll, and use currently ranked international swimmers who do this well as examples (like Popov), the response is but they don’t do TI, followed by a dissertation on how their extreme condition regime is the REAL reason they are so good. Blah, blah, blah. You’re seeing what you want to see. Of course, you are perfectly entitled to swim any way you chose, and you clearly can get faster by beating your brains out each and every workout. But, don’t try to jive me about how much better your method is, and how I should drop this TI nonsense and get to work like everyone else. Bottom line: TI does work. You may not care for it, but it does work.

Matt

Ion Beza
July 10th, 2003, 05:31 PM
Matt,

man, that's how a big T.I. course is well summarized.

Are you coming to New Jersey in August?

ShariL
July 11th, 2003, 12:36 AM
1) Ion - you said:
Very dramatic rotary, kayak style, swimmers who "...are not putting their hand in right by their head..." because they swim with straight -not bent- and fully stretched arms above the water, are Michael Klim (Aus.) -who is second fastest man in history in 100 meter free at 48.18- and Inge de Bruijn (Ned.) -who is the fastest woman in history in 100 meter free at 53.77-.
My question is: Are you saying Klim has a straight arm recovery like Janet Evans? I can't picture his stroke at the moment.

2) Is there a corelation between TI Advocates and TI Adversaries and competitive swimming background? It seems TI works very well for the Triathletes and newer swimmers. How about current and/or former competitive swimmers? Do the TI coaches usually have a competitive swimming background?

3) Matt S. - thanks for the long response. I have to admit though, that it was a bit confusing. To clarify, the Triathlete in my class has a hand entry just in front of the head (I never said by his ear)- he is not reaching far out front to maximize the length of his stroke. Why are people coming out of TI with this confusion on one of the most basic parts of the stroke ("reach forward, catch, pull thru")?

Sorry I have to ask the tough questions. This is a great discussion! :cool:

Matt S
July 11th, 2003, 10:01 AM
Shari,

Please, read Emmett's article on Front Quadrant Swimming. (http://www.usms.org/training/circles.htm) To answer your specific question on reach, your swimmer is DEAD WRONG about not making full extension. As I understand the TI paradigm, we talk about not just reaching fully forward towards the other end of the pool (hence the phrase "swimming taller," but it also means more than simply full reach forward), but also a momentary, fraction of a second glide in that position (on your side, BTW) as the recovering arm moves forward. I want to emphasize, exactly where his recovering hand enters the water is not terribly important. What is important is full extension on his side and waiting until the hand on his recovering arm passes his ear before initiating the pull and roll to the other side. When you see the video, look at the switch drills very carefully ("stop-stop-switch," and "triple switch"). Please also note how many of the earlier drills work on getting comfortable fully reaching forward, and just kicking, while on your side. Not sure where he got the idea of cutting his pull short at the very beginning.

As far as TI being good ONLY for triathletes, that is a bum rap. Yes, TI is particularly useful for triathletes and beginners because it is a structured program that addresses their most common stroke flaws without piling on miles of yards to help them "get into shape" before they work on mechanics. However, as I have previously indicated, Adrienne Binder, world ranked in the 1500m, follows TI. If I can drag Paul Smith into this discussion (kicking and screaming, perhaps), there are many elements of his training program that sound like they have TI concepts in them (Paul may or may not agree with that characterization). The Orchard Park High School girls swim team follows TI, and they are routinely in the hunt for the NY State HS Championship (see "Long Strokes in a Short Season," by their head coach). And if I can add my own humble self, I swam varsity high school, D-III college, and many years of Masters, discovered TI in 2001, and am now swimming faster in all races at 42 than I was swimming at 32.

TI is one of several ways to approach swimming. It may or may not be for you, but it does work for those who like it.

Matt

mattson
July 11th, 2003, 10:24 AM
I was going to post a first reply, but thought I would wait for people to respond, who knew what they were talking about. :D

Three thoughts:
1) Reaching as far as you can above the water before entering the water will put an awful lot of stress on your shoulder. (For the same reason that you don't try to power your stroke too soon: no leverage for your muscles.)

2) It is correct that your hand will encounter resistance in the water if it enters just above the head. But remember, while your hand is above the water, your head and shoulders are generating *more* resistance in the water. Part of the reason to put the hand in (at less than full arm extension) is to make you more streamlined.

3) A rotary stroke sounds inefficient to me. Unless you are at all-out sprint (which seems to be the example people are giving here), your arm recovery above water will be quicker than your underwater pull. This will automatically make you "front-quadrant".

Bob McAdams
July 11th, 2003, 10:45 AM
Shari,

It's hard to answer your question with any definiteness because we can't see the swimmer in question. In general, if a coach says "one of my swimmers is doing X, but I think he should do Y," it's going to be hard for us to meaningfully comment unless we can see what X and Y look like.

Imagine, e.g., that a coach said "I think my swimmer is keeping his head down too much, but he won't listen to me because he says TI told him to keep his head down." Well, who is right - the swimmer or the coach? It's certainly possible to keep your head down too much, but having coached at a swim camp just last week and having viewed underwater videotapes of several dozen kids, I can tell you that this error is rare. Still, it is possible to keep your head too low, and it's more likely to occur if the swimmer has had the reverse problem and is trying to correct it. So I really wouldn't be able to say who was right without actually seeing what the swimmer's stroke looked like.

But I can offer the following general comment: Both you and your swimmer need to be aware that the central focus of a fishlike hand entry should not be on WHERE the hand enters the water, but HOW it enters. The hand should pierce the water, and the rest of the forearm should follow it into the water through the same hole, with as little stirring of the water as possible. The goal of fishlike swimming is for your stroking arm to grip the water almost as though it were a solid while your body and recovering arm slip through the water with as little resistance and turbulence as possible.


Bob

Ion Beza
July 11th, 2003, 12:20 PM
Originally posted by ShariL

...
My question is: Are you saying Klim has a straight arm recovery like Janet Evans? I can't picture his stroke at the moment.
...

Klim has the most straight arm recovery I have seen in 2000.
I don't think that Klim has changed his style, since.

So, Klim a sprinter, and Janet Evans a distance freestyler, they both swam with straight arms.

When Klim's arm finishes the pull, it exits the water, travels in the air extended to the maximum (zero bending of the arm in the air), the arm travels very closely above the water surface, then Klim elongates himself by throwing the shoulder forward and rolling sideways the hip that is on the side of his arm, and finally the stretched arm at the end of his elongated 6'3" body enters the water to start the catch and pull.

Klim swims completely rotary style with straight arms, similar to the motion of a windmill propelled from behind by an explosion of firm kicking.

Klim and Popov used to train with the same rotary style, at A.I.S. in Australia, under the Russian coach Touretski.

Now Popov alone trains under that coach, in Switzerland.

Straight arms in rotary style, that's also what I have seen in a 2002 video of Inge de Bruijn (Ned.), when coached by Paul Bergen (U.S.).
de Bruijn, is now back to Netherlands, and I don't know how she is swimming these days.

I have seen very often, arms entering the water in a bent shape, V-like, as this was the most prevalent style (ahead of the rotary straight arm style) in the 90s, including how Matt Biondi was swimming.

However, whether is rotary straight arm or the more common V-shape arm position, in no case there is "...putting their hand in right by their head...".

ShariL
July 11th, 2003, 03:23 PM
Thanks -- I have a pretty straight arm recovery (or maybe the V-shape) so am relieved to know that I still have Olympic potential (;) Hee hee. I had asked that question for my own purposes since I had various coaches on my case about it...but some world class swimmers do have straight arm recovery.

Also appreciate the additional TI and stroke information. I can clarify that this guy had basic freestyle flaws. I am sure that coaches A-Z would see the same flaws. I will let you all know how it goes Tuesday now that I am armed with lots of information, and even printed out a couple articles for him.

Happy swimming!:p

Ion Beza
July 11th, 2003, 08:12 PM
Originally posted by ShariL

...
...but some world class swimmers do have straight arm recovery.
...
Happy swimming!:p
The straight arm recovery, is called the 'Australian crawl'.

Michael Klim (Aus.) has a straight arm recovery and rotary style.
He did the 48.18 in 100 free, as lead-off of 4x100 free Australian relay, in the 2000 Olympics, with a rotary straight arm.
48.18 was a world record then, but a few days later van den Hoogenband (Ned.) broke Klim's world record, with a 47.84 and a different style.

Another rotary straight arm competitor, is Chris Fydler (Aus.), who I have seen in 1994 after the Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada.
For the most part of the 90s he was the #1 Australian sprinter, and at the 2000 Olympics he was variously the #1 and #2 Australian sprinter.

Janet Evans (U.S.), a distance swimmer, had straight arm recovery.

Inge de Bruijn (Ned.), #1 sprinter in the world, swims rotary straight arm.

Alex. Popov (Rus.) has a V-shape arm and rotary style.

The V-shape is more common than the straight arm, but the V-shape is still not "...putting their hand in right by their head...".

Regarding information on T.I., Matt on this board (he posted twice earlier in this thread) and a few others (who posted a little in this thread), they know plenty about it.

ShariL
July 11th, 2003, 10:11 PM
Are the "Australian crawlers" also likely to be butterflyers? I was a LD freestyler (not a sprinter at all) and a butterflyer.

I always did like Australia. :cool:

Ion Beza
July 12th, 2003, 01:25 AM
'Australian crawler' Michael Klim (Aus.), has the world record in 100 meter butterfly at 51.81.

In spot #4 all-time for the 100 meter butterfly -after Klim, Thomas Ruprath (Ger.) and Michael Phelps (U.S.)-, there is Geoff Huegill (Aus.) with a personal best of 51.96.

Huegill is another beast of the 'Australian crawl', when swimming freestyle.

KaizenSwimmer
July 12th, 2003, 02:48 PM
Shari
I appreciate your interest in TI clarification. I'm not sure where your triathlete received his instruction -- workshop or one of our heuristic tools -- but he is indeed correct on what we are teaching now.
Our methods change from time to time -- in every instance because of something we have observed with our students. We teach about 1500 swimmers per year at workshops and our instruction has evolved steadily for 15 years because we continue learning more about "human swimming problems" and how to solve them.
In this instance, while we used to put heavy emphasis on "pressing the buoy" to balance, it has gradually become apparent that head position and where the hand enters and extends to are more influential.

We observed that, in 90% or more of the cases,swimmers with poor balance typically would do one of the following in freestyle:
1) Reach forward to full extension above the surface, then enter the hand, or
2) Enter the hand closer to the head, but "scoop" the hand upward as they extended so that, at full extension, the hand was near the surface.

Through quite a bit of experimentation, we found that if we taught swimmers to:
1) keep the hand as close to the surface as possible on recovery
2) have the hand out of the water as briefly as possible on recovery (i.e. re-enter close to the head) and
3) angle the hand downward from entry to it was below the head at full extension (also fingertips-below-wrist and hand-below-elbow)
then their balance improved significantly (i.e. a lot less frontal resistance and far less inefficient compensating activity with arms and legs) and their arm was also in position for a much more effective catch.

Someone suggested that entering the hand sooner and extending it through the water - rather than through the air -- increases drag. Indeed there might be a tiny bit more drag if the hand goes through the water. But this amount of drag is incredibly trivial compared to that encountered by the whole body. And I suspect that having the hand-forearm "part the water" before the body comes through might indeed lessen that drag.

But all of these online discussions - while interesting at times - are mainly academic exercises. The only thing that really matters is this: When you coach a swimmer to make a modification in their technique - do they FEEL better and do they SWIM better? With the new technique, in virtually 100% of the cases with hundreds of swimmers we've taught it to, they do.

So encourage your triathlete to experiment with entering the hand sooner or later, then ask and observe what the results are.

Swim for health and happiness,
Terry Laughlin

PS: I'll be visiting Popov and Touretski in Switzerland the 2nd week of August and we'll certainly discuss all these ideas on technique.

ShariL
July 12th, 2003, 04:37 PM
Terry, thanks for the lengthy response. I am having trouble picturing this swimming form and my image is one of an inefficient swimmer. Perhaps what you're saying makes sense for a new swimmer with balance problems. But is it really t he most efficient way to swim freestyle?

YOu said:
1) keep the hand as close to the surface as possible on recovery
DO YOU MEAN WITH HIGH ELBOWS?

2) have the hand out of the water as briefly as possible on recovery (i.e. re-enter close to the head)
SO YOU RECOMMEND SHORTENING THE STROKE?

3) angle the hand downward from entry to it was below the head at full extension (also fingertips-below-wrist and hand-below-elbow)
I CAN"T PICTURE THIS...IS THE SWIMMER REACHING FORWARD, OR JUST DOWNWARD?


I guess my trouble with this is that although this approach may help teach non-swimmers to swim, it is not really proper competitive swimming technique (my opinion based on information in this post...argue away folks!). I do think that some world class swimmers may incorporate some TI techniques, whether they learned it thru TI or not (and in most cases I suspect they were trained this way w/out TI). But when we are talking about things that sound so basically wrong (like entering by the head)...that's when people question the approach.

I think it's hard for an already inefficient swimmer to do a lot of experimentation, since a new swimmer will often get confused by different feedback. This guy, for instance, is confused by all the drills he did at TI and can't put them into their proper place and figure out how to SWIM. Honestly, I think a new swimmer needs very consistent feedback about how to improve his/her stroke, focusing on one thing at a time (ie, the post yesterday about the new swimmer who needs to get his hips up).

Please don't take this as anti-TI. As a matter of fact, my own freestyle fell apart after my competitive swimming career (almost 20yrs ago now) and I bet I could benefit from it. I still plan to view the video. It's the confusion that bothers me...and I can't quite put my finger on the other issue...but why are the TIers (mostly triathletes and newers swimmers) learning different technique than established competitive swimming principles...unless we are admitting here that TI is not for the world class swimmer (and it doesn't sound like the TI advocates agree with this), but more for those learning as an adult with serious stroke flaws (TI advocates, is this the more appropriate audience for TI?).

Ion Beza
July 12th, 2003, 08:47 PM
Pssst, Shari:

let's beat here, the people over there from 'Paddles, gloves, etc..', in number of replies.

They are at 22 replies right now.

valhallan
July 12th, 2003, 09:01 PM
Terry,

Very interesting feedback. As Ion suggested, sooner or later someone would post a reply who knows plenty about TI, but who would've thought that the master himself would join in! Thank you for the input.

I like the way you suggested that the feel of the stroke is very personal and more important than having someone mirror a particular technique. My own experimentation with TI has lead me to feel more comfortable with less of a front quadrant stroke and more of a rotary style. (I still like to argue that sprinters swim with hands in opposition rather than in overlap.) My own preference anyway. But I am a huge believer in distance per stroke, and manage anywhere between eleven or twelve on a 25 yd. length.

I hesitated to reply any further being that this topic is the proverbial Pandora's box in the discussion forums. But thank you for the info. And perhaps Shari will have quite an interesting talk with her swimmer in training. :cool:

gull
July 12th, 2003, 09:08 PM
At the risk of being branded a heretic, I agree with Shari. I've never seen a world class swimmer with the stroke described in Mr. Laughlin's post. Perhaps I'm missing something. Or perhaps TI is better suited for instructing novice/noncompetitive swimmers as Shari suggests. I do know that this is not the freestyle described in other sources (Colwin, Maglischo, Hannula). Anyway, I suspect that one "size" (or stroke) doesn't fit all.

mattson
July 13th, 2003, 10:35 AM
Originally posted by ShariL
2) have the hand out of the water as briefly as possible on recovery (i.e. re-enter close to the head)
SO YOU RECOMMEND SHORTENING THE STROKE?

You keep comming back to this. By stroke length, I'm guessing you mean from the "catch" all the way through to where the hand exits the water. If so, it doesn't matter (for stroke length) where the hand enters the water, especially if you are continuing to glide the hand forward after entry.

As far as rotary vs front-quadrant, I was just looking at some of the drawings in Colwin's book (pg 43, Swimming Dynamics). If you are watching the conventional TV coverage of swim races, how can you tell what these high caliber swimmers are doing? The drawings are *clearly* front-quadrant. However, at the only moment where you can see both arms (as the hand leaves the water), the arms are opposite ("rotary"). The only way to tell what the swimmer is doing, during the entire stroke, is to get a simultaneous above and below water view of their arm action.

Ion Beza
July 13th, 2003, 12:39 PM
Originally posted by mattson

...
If so, it doesn't matter (for stroke length) where the hand enters the water, especially if you are continuing to glide the hand forward after entry.
...

What is debatable here, is whether stretching the arm underwater does introduce an unnecessary resistence from the water opposing the arm.

Terry says it is a negligible resistence compared to the whole body.

I was told by a coach last year before the 2002 Long Course Nationals, to shorten my stroke above the water, to enter the hand angled downwards (not forward) into the water, then to extend my arm fully underwater before starting the catch and pull.

I got back to my ways since.
I feel better and swim faster meets in 2003 than in 2002.

In Swimming Technique of April/June 2003, in page 16, Cecil Colwin states:

"The swimmer's timing and balance in the water are very personal aspects,...,and any attempted correction may upset a swimmer's natural rhythm.".

Originally posted by mattson

...
As far as rotary vs front-quadrant, I was just looking at some of the drawings in Colwin's book (pg 43, Swimming Dynamics).
...
The drawings are *clearly* front-quadrant. However, at the only moment where you can see both arms (as the hand leaves the water), the arms are opposite ("rotary").
...

The book Swimming Dynamics by Cecil Colwin dates from 1999.

In page 43, the drawing on the top of the page (fig. 1), shows a spacing between the two arms of less than 90 degreees.

The arms overlap there, T.I. style.

The 'Australian crawl' of rotary, straight arms, is not mainstream.

In 2003, four years after 1999, In Swimming Technique of April/June 2003, in page 16, Cecil Colwin -who is a student of the sport-, has 'Overlapping and Rotary Strokes', with drawings in fig. 5A. of the overlapping stroke, and in fig. 5B. of the rotary stroke that show contrasts.

In rotary stroke, the arms are spaced by at least 90 degrees, and by as much as 180 degrees apart.

Originally posted by mattson

...
If you are watching the conventional TV coverage of swim races, how can you tell what these high caliber swimmers are doing?
...

My knowledge of who swims what, comes from watching videos (like Inge de Bruijn's), TV races, seeing some competitors in real life (like Chris Fydler (Aus.), who I mentioned above), and mainly reading articles.

Swimnews magazine from May 1998, under 'Preparation For Sprint Events: You Cannot Dive Twice Into The Same Water', has Gennadi Touretski, coach of Klim and Popov at that time (and now coach of Popov), stating:

"Immediately after the 1996 Olympic Games, Michael' Klim's technique was modified to incorporate the old-fashioned straight-arm recovery. The longer recovery seems to lenghten the stroke."

In the 2000 Olympics, when Klim got the world record in 100 meter free as a lead off of the 4x100 free relay, and later on #4 in the 100 meter free finals (close behind #1 Hoogenband (Ned.), #2 Popov (Rus.) -a rotary free, himself-, and #3 Hall (U.S.)), he used a loud and clear rotary straight-arm crawl.

valhallan
July 13th, 2003, 02:14 PM
In case anyone is interested, here's a quick link showing a fairly good view of Popov going all out on a 50 meter swim.

http://www.per4m.ca/Swim%20Videos/Swim%20Videos.htm

Click on (Klim & Popov 1). It's pretty evident that the arms are in the rotary stroke cycle during this race. And the speed is further enhanced by one heck of a kick.

gull
July 13th, 2003, 04:07 PM
Breakthrough Swimming by Cecil Colwin was published in 2002. Diagrams of freestyle are shown on page 51. The hands enter the water beyond the head; the style is front quadrant in that both arms occupy the front quadrant at the same time, keeping in mind however that the front quadrant includes the space above and below the surface of the water. This is not the same as a catch up style. The straight arm recovery can cause shoulder problems from impingement. Different strokes for different folks?

Gareth Eckley
July 13th, 2003, 04:57 PM
I have been away for the weekend and come back to 27 emails for this topic. For the record I do not want to be known as a critic of TI. I have been a TI swimmer for the last 5 years, the purposeful swimming and their drill progressions are the foundation of both my swimming and my coaching. As i have said in other posts all of my swimmers do the TI drills and they work wonders for novice swimmers. I do think that mastering balance in the water is essential. TI swimming instruction is certainly much better than the long kickbord sets and pull sets so common elsewhere.

Terry Laughlin answered 1 of my points. I have noticed that some swimmers who have experience of TI have a hand entry which goes into the water and then scoops up to the surface before the catch. I am pleased that TI coaches have picked up on this. My other point was on stroke timing, Terry does say in his latest book that that Front Quadrant Swimming was the most negotiable of the features of TI. I guess it comes down to how long is the glide and does the supposed reduction in drag from holding that position outweigh the slow-down from the gap in the propulsive phases that results. I would like more info, maybe some one should do a comparitive study of the 2 techniques side by side.

I know from my own swimming that if you hold the glide too long then you definitely do lose velocity. I do augment the TI drills with many others. Ti at present is missing drills that work on developing aspects of the Breaststroke kick, backstroke pull and some parts of fly and free strokes. I do like their drill progressions for fly and breast tho. I also feel that while long stroke length is important, so is maintaining a high Stroke rate.

I would like to see Total Immersion give more emphasis on how to swim fast and win those races. If TI practitioners started to be the race winners then attitudes would soon change. With my swimming, I have developed a very quiet, smooth, long stroke, 11 to 15 for 25 yards ( no bubbles on my stroke! ). However my stroke rate is very low, 21 cycles/min on distance swims and 25 cycles/min on 50 metre sprints. I am working to raise that now as I want to win my races. Being the most elegant swimmer, with the slowest turnover, as my wife describes me is not good enough.

BTW, according to Magaschilo in "Swimming Fastest" the straight arm recovery in free should only be used by Fly swimmers as they have the skill to control the lateral deviation that can result. Also 'Australian Crawl' is not a straight arm recovery, it is more a forward shift of the shoulder and a high degree of medial rotation in the initial catch phase.

Ion Beza
July 13th, 2003, 08:07 PM
Originally posted by Gareth Eckley

...
Also 'Australian Crawl' is not a straight arm recovery, it is more a forward shift of the shoulder and a high degree of medial rotation in the initial catch phase.
Again, Touretski in Swimnews from May 1998, under 'Preparation For Sprint Events', writes about Klim:

"The particularities of Michael's technique (Australian crawl straight arm recovery and late body pitch) move his centre of mass forward..."

Dawn Fraser (Aus.), won the 100 free in 59.5 in the 1964 Olympics with the 'Australian' straight arm.

Gareth Eckley
July 14th, 2003, 04:47 AM
I think that if you put a comma in the Touretski quote between Australian crawl and straight arm recovery then you will correctly get what he was saying. As I understand it the main feature of " Australian crawl" is the pronounced shoulder shift forward during entry. The shoulder is held high and the catch is acheived by taking the time to get the hand and forearm at 90 degrees to the water surface, before initiating the pull. The pull is actually quite shallow. The upper arm remains high and almost parallell to the water surface during this.

This differs to " normal " freestyle where the shoulder is dropped during the entry phase and the shoulders roll more, leading to the pull being deeper in the water.

This is covered in Swimming technique magazine , july-sept article. " Thoughts on the crawl stroke" http://www.swiminfo.com/articles/swimtechnique/articles/200007-01st_art.asp There is also an article in Swimming World magazine, January 2000, titled "the New Australian Crawl" that covers this in depth. the last article has a good photo sequence but is not available online.

The straight arm recovery is not an intrinsic or neccessary part of this swimming style, Thorpe and Hackett do not use it and they are certainly swimming "Australian Crawl". I think straight arm recovery can work well for some swimmers mainly very good flyers, like Klim and Inky, and then only in short sprints. However I don't think that i will be teaching it to my non elite swimmers as the classic relaxed bent arm recovery uses less muscle force and is proven to be very effecient.

However it will be interesting to see how they are swimming freestyle at the World Championship this week. I love how swimming is always changing.

mark_varney47
July 14th, 2003, 10:59 AM
Just to muddy the waters a bit more,Cecil Colwin doesn't say anything about bi-lateral breathing in his book,"Breakthrough Swimming",which surprised me.

KaizenSwimmer
July 14th, 2003, 01:44 PM
As Gareth correctly notes, too long a glide will reduce momentum to the point where it takes more energy to regain it than to maintain it. Finding just the right moment to start the new stroke -- both maximizing what you might get out of the previous stroke and preserving your sense of rhythm - is a great exercise and one of the benefits of mindful swimming.

TI does not aim to have swimmers gliding in an overenthusiastic effort to maximize their stroke length and minimize stroke count. What we aim to do is to help swimmers OPTIMIZE their stroke length and learn to "marry" SL to SR as advantageously as possible.

Through experimentation, we've found that one workable way of doing so is:
1. Improve your efficiency and eliminate waste until you arrive at a "baseline" stroke count. For me that's about 10-11 spl in a 25 yd pool and 30-32 spl in a 50m pool. I can maintain that for extended stretches (not just one perfect lap) when I swim superslow and superprecise. That baseline number has improved slowly but steadily over the years - it's much lower at 52 than it was at 47 or 42.
2. Learn to "play" SL with as much facility as a piano student playing scales on a piano. That is, work in a stroke count range of about 5 freestyle strokes for short course (10-14 for me in a 25 yd pool) or 10 for long course (30-40 for me in a 50m pool). You must learn to be coordinated and smooth at every count in your range.
3. Practice until you can develop speed simply by changing your timing and coordination rather than by *going harder* which is how most swimmers do it.
4. If you swim in open water, learn to do it by feel. I use my "12 spl feel" at certain times in an open water race, and my "14 spl feel" at other times.

When you practice this way, you escape the "stroke rate rut" that plagues so many swimmers who know only one way to swim fast.

As for the contention take that TI only works for developmental or slow swimmers and doesn't apply for accomplished swimmers or those needing to swim fast -- people have been saying that for 10 years. I took an assistant coaching position at West Point from 96-99 to address that and had results that were way ahead of the curve. In three years, I coached an average of 10 athletes per year (men and women). The Army team had about 50 swimmers on average. The TI-coached group broke 10 Academy records (out of 14 broken by the whole team) during that time. We competed in the Patriot League championships and the TI-coached swimmers dominated the sprints and won 4 of 6 Outstanding Swimmer Awards during those years - again, that's a group of 10 swimmers following a particular paradigm in a league with about 300 swimmers.
I'm not at Army anymore but TI Coach Jud Aungst coaches the sprinters at Bucknell now and once again the TI-coached swimmers are dominating the sprint events in that league.
Finally Art Aungst, Jud's dad, has just written a book describing his remarkable record using TI methods to coach Orchard Park (NY) HS since 1997, during which time his team has been the most consistently dominant in the state.
Read the Swimming World review of his book. Long Strokes in a Short Season at http://www.totalimmersion.net/long-strokes-details.html

Matt S
July 14th, 2003, 04:32 PM
Shari, et. al.,

I just want to point out one aspect of what Terry said about having the hand enter the water early and/or next to the head. Recall he prefaced this tip by saying it was for swimmers who are having trouble with balance. THIS TIP IS NOT GENERAL ADVICE APPROPRIATE FOR ALL SWIMMERS! It is a specific stroke correction for people who have a specific problem, i.e. sinking hips. To get the big picture, go back to core principals: reduce drag, swim with core body muscles, learn to swim by feel.

Matt

bearcat
July 14th, 2003, 08:42 PM
For what it's worth: I recall a couple of swimming books I have recommending a freestyle hand entry point 12-14" in front of the head and in line with the shoulder.

Ion Beza
July 14th, 2003, 08:56 PM
Originally posted by Gareth Eckley

...
I think straight arm recovery can work well for some swimmers mainly very good flyers, like Klim and Inky, and then only in short sprints.
...

Janet Evans, a distance swimmer, was doing straight arm recovery.

In Masters swimming, Barbara Dunbar, a distance swimmer in my club, doing at age 53 sub 20 minutes for 1500 meters, is swimming rotary straight arm.

Regarding the 'Australian crawl', I need to study the topic better, including your points.

Ion Beza
July 15th, 2003, 12:43 AM
You are right about this:

Originally posted by Gareth Eckley

...
As I understand it the main feature of " Australian crawl" is the pronounced shoulder shift forward during entry. The shoulder is held high and the catch is acheived by taking the time to get the hand and forearm at 90 degrees to the water surface, before initiating the pull. The pull is actually quite shallow. The upper arm remains high and almost parallell to the water surface during this.

This differs to " normal " freestyle where the shoulder is dropped during the entry phase and the shoulders roll more, leading to the pull being deeper in the water.

This is covered in Swimming technique magazine , july-sept article. " Thoughts on the crawl stroke" http://www.swiminfo.com/articles/swimtechnique/articles/200007-01st_art.asp There is also an article in Swimming World magazine, January 2000, titled "the New Australian Crawl" that covers this in depth. the last article has a good photo sequence but is not available online.

The straight arm recovery is not an intrinsic or neccessary part of this swimming style, Thorpe and Hackett do not use it and they are certainly swimming "Australian Crawl".
...

Maybe the article in the Swimming World magazine from January 2000, is the same article that I am reading right now from the Swim magazine of March/April 2000.

The article from the Swim magazine has eight pictures under the title 'Fairly Good Sequence Illustrating the "New Australian Crawl"'.

It says:

"The following photos, using former short course world champion Francisco Sanchez of Venezuela, are a fairly good approximation of the Australian stroke."

Captions under the eight pictures do emphasize what you are describing.

Picture number four (picture on the right, in the second row), does show a straight right arm, fully extended closely above the water, before entering the water to catch and pull.

However, the caption under this picture doesn't mention the straight arm, so what Swim magazine and you describe in 'Australian Crawl', that is the definition of the 'Australian Crawl'.

Ion Beza
July 15th, 2003, 01:43 PM
Gareth, I think that I ammend my post below:

Originally posted by Ion Beza

...
Maybe the article in the Swimming World magazine from January 2000, is the same article that I am reading right now from the Swim magazine of March/April 2000.

The article from the Swim magazine has eight pictures under the title 'Fairly Good Sequence Illustrating the "New Australian Crawl"'.

It says:

"The following photos, using former short course world champion Francisco Sanchez of Venezuela, are a fairly good approximation of the Australian stroke."

Captions under the eight pictures do emphasize what you are describing.

Picture number four (picture on the right, in the second row), does show a straight right arm, fully extended closely above the water, before entering the water to catch and pull.

However, the caption under this picture doesn't mention the straight arm, so what Swim magazine and you describe in 'Australian Crawl', that is the definition of the 'Australian Crawl'.
by getting back to my initial knowledge:

'Australian Crawl' is swimming with straight arms.

Swim magazine from March/April 2000, has 'Fairly Good Sequence Illustrating the "New Australian Crawl"', like I mentioned, and eight pictures of Francisco Sanchez (Ven.) demonstrating the 'Australian Crawl' with captions that I studied more.

Figure one (left, top row) and figure four (right, second row), show pictures of Sanchez swimming with straight arms.

The caption under figure four, says:

"Vision is downward, and the head is carried low in the water with full reach forward with the recovering arm."

"...full reach forward with the recovering arm..." under picture 4, that's the straight arms I am talking about.

So, the 'New Australian Crawl' is shoulder shift forward with the lead arm, "...the catch in the stroke is begun with shoulder and upper arm remaining high, and the forearm and hands almost perpendicular to the surface of the water...", and is straight arm reaching forward.

Like I saw Klim in videos.

gull
July 15th, 2003, 02:18 PM
Klim is Australian and swims the crawl with a straight arm recovery; I don't think that means a straight arm recovery is characteristic of the Australian crawl. You could say it is characteristic of an Australian's crawl (by the name of Michael Klim). Reaching forward at entry (as a properly balanced swimmer would do) does not imply a straight arm recovery.

Bert Petersen
July 15th, 2003, 02:28 PM
Maybe I'm a victim of mis-interpretation.......
This morning, just for giggles, I experimented with a freestyle hand entry very close in to the top of my head. This is what I learned:
1. I could not get the reach I'm used to.
2. I could feel my biceps encountering resistance as they came forward at entry.
3. There was a significant slowing of forward progress - I could easily feel that.
4. Instead of 12 strokes in a 25m pool, it jumped to 14.
Where am I going wrong ????? Or am I ?????
Now, don't get all defensive....I'm trying to keep an open mind.
Bert

KaizenSwimmer
July 15th, 2003, 02:57 PM
Bert (or anyone who cares to experiment)
Naturally I can't comment knowledgably on your experience because I can't see you swim. Don't know your head position, how your balance is, how fully you extended your arm, at what angle you extended it, etc.
However, please try it this way - just for giggles. But make sure you're looking directly down as you do:
1. Make a hole with your fingertips and try to slip the entire arm cleanly through that hole.
2. Do whatever it takes to insert your arm as soundlessly and splash-free as possible.
3. Extend your hand on a slightly downward path until it's fully extended -- I often visualize a bullseye beyond the fingertips of my extended hand and aim to pierce that bullseye with the other hand as it enters -- though the first hand will have already left the scene.
4. Finally pause for the briefest possible moment and let yourself feel just a bit of press-back from the water before you stroke. When you get it right you should feel as if your hand-forearm are gathering "pudding" rather than pressing against water.

And finally, for just a bit more opportunity at clarity, concentrate on only your right arm on one length, and on your left on the next. Do that for at least 400-500 yds before attempting to tune into all these sensations on both arms.
Have fun.

PS: As far as all the comments about "well elite swimmers don't race this way,' you're absolutely right. For the most part, neither do I. However, I've found it very useful to practice this way at low speeds. This imprints a correction to the very common tendency to over-reach. When I do race, I just allow myself to move more freely, but -- without feeling any sense of inhibition -- my entry is cleaner and more efficient for having done this mindful purposeful imprinting at slow speeds. I trained the sprinters at West Point the same way. They ended up looking a lot like Popov and Thorpe while racing -- and swimming far faster than they ever had.

Bert Petersen
July 15th, 2003, 04:57 PM
Well now, the devil really IS in the details, isn't it ?
The way you described is the way I normally swim....see? I got it wrong !
I misinterpreted and was trying to insert my hand very close to and directly at the top of my head. Ergo......no workee !
My way of describing the entry (don't you love how the language causes misunderstandings ?) that I use, would be to say that I extend fully over water. But that isn't accurate, because after my hand makes contact with the water, I'm still extending forward and downward.
I don't know if I would qualify as an "elite" swimmer, since I mainly compete as a flyer. I have been coaching for 40 years, off and on.(mostly off, when I wanted to earn money !)
My front quadrant style of skating/swimming/gliding lends itself more to distance rather than sprinting, but my love of sprint fly precludes distance training. (Translation: won't put in the yardage.)
Bert

Matt S
July 15th, 2003, 05:54 PM
The "where should your hand enter the water" discussion just keeps going on, and on, and on...

Just to ensure I grok the fullness of Terry's response, let me rephrase in my own words what I think I am hearing:
1) Reducing drag is important. Enter your hand wherever you can create as little splash and bubbles as possible. Extend your arm through the same area your hand entered. Pause with your bottom arm in the extended position before initiating the pull and roll so you get the hydrodynamic benefit of front quadrant swimming.
2) The purpose of practicing and the purpose of racing are not necessarily the same thing. You may over-emphasize certain aspects of your stroke when you practice. You may not chose to race this way because it is suboptimal, but practicing this way will help you maintain a similar but less-pronounced, optimal characteristic in your stroke when you are tiring in the middle of a race.

[OK, so I am more verbose than Terry. So sue me.]

What I find amusing is that some folks constantly want to focus on what the hands are doing, when they are at the extreme periphery of the body. My understanding of TI is that the core body and what you do with it is far more important than hands and feet. Yes, they contribute, but they are a secondary concern, and what they are doing should not detract from using the core body correctly. The eureka moment for me with the butterfly was when I tried a 25 fly with fistgloves ("for laughs" as I foolishly thought). When I noticed that in many respects it was EASIER than swimming fly with normal hands, the light finally went on about how important body udulation is to that stroke. A little voice in my head said, "IDIOT! The key to distance fly to PULL LESS, not more, and let your body do the work."

Matt

Ion Beza
July 15th, 2003, 06:12 PM
Originally posted by gull80
Klim is Australian and swims the crawl with a straight arm recovery; I don't think that means a straight arm recovery is characteristic of the Australian crawl.
...

Swim magazine from March/April 2000 doesn't mention Klim.

I mention Klim, based on videos I have seen of his swimming.

Again, Swim magazine from March/April 2000, under 'Fairly Good Sequence Illustrating the "New Australian Crawl"', teaches the characteristics of the 'New Australian Crawl' in general.

Like I wrote, pictures 1 and 4 show straigt arms characteristics in the 'New Australian Crawl'.

Picture 1 shows the left arm, straight when traveling in the air.
Picture 4 shows the right arm, straight when hitting the water, with fingers pointing forward (not downward).

Like I wrote, the caption under the picture 4 says:

"Vision is downward, and the head is carried low in the water with full reach forward with the recovering arm."

So you have it here:

a straight arm characteristic in the 'Australian Crawl', as in "...full reach forward with the recovering arm.".

ShariL
July 15th, 2003, 06:14 PM
Wow!!!

I have to admit some of this is over my head (LOL) but I tend to agree with Matt S on his point:

"THIS TIP IS NOT GENERAL ADVICE APPROPRIATE FOR ALL SWIMMERS! It is a specific stroke correction for people who have a specific problem, i.e. sinking hips. "

Anyway, I tried the hand entering just in front of the head last night at practice. It screwed up, and shortened, my stroke. But, I was trained as a competitve LD freestyler (500-1650Y/1500M) and tend to have an Australian-type freestyle (now I know I was ahead of my time - hee hee) since I was also a butterflyer.

I look forward to checking out the videos.

Keep the discussion coming - we're on the verge of a breakthrough here!! :)

gull
July 15th, 2003, 08:40 PM
Thorpe and Hackett are Australian and swim the crawl but have a bent arm recovery. Klim on the other hand keeps his arm straight throughout recovery as in butterfly. This is unorthodox but works for him, probably because of his butterfly background.

Ion Beza
July 16th, 2003, 12:13 AM
I did recognize earlier in this thread that Hackett swims with V-shape arms, as shown in videos.

Maybe the straight arm in the 'Australian Crawl' is a soft feature, because the quote that I bring up as being the caption for the figure 4 in the article, alludes to a straight arm by stating "...full reach forward with the recovering arm.", but doesn't spell 'straight arm'.
The caption under figure 1, figure showing a straight arm traveling in the air, doesn't spell 'straight arm' either.

So the 'Australian Crawl' must be allowing for variations on this soft characteristic.

The other characteristics of the 'Australian Crawl', namely shoulder shifting forward and shoulder high, upper arm parallel to the water, forearm and hands perpendicular to the water when starting to pull, these are clearly spelled in describing the 'Australian Crawl'.

It is like if these characteristics are the hard features defining the 'Australian Crawl'.