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slknight
October 26th, 2009, 01:25 PM
This may be opening a can of worms here, but I'm having an argument with someone in my group. If someone is drafting off of you in a pool set (like 4x200 SCY), does it hurt your effort? Does the lead swimmer have to work harder or experience some other negative benefit?

I've read a bit about aerodynamics and it would seem that in car racing, the lead car actually gets a positive benefit, but I'm not sure if that's true in swimming.

ehoch
October 26th, 2009, 01:46 PM
It does hurt the lead swimmer --- MENTALLY ....

Thats *&%(&*^)*^)... of a *&%$%^$* has to stop touching my ^$^$^%$*
feet.

I believe there is no possible other reason to slow down the lead swimmer.

slknight
October 26th, 2009, 01:51 PM
Oh, I definitely agree that it hurts mentally! It pisses me off. :bitching::bitching:

But does it do actual physical harm? Whenever someone is drafting off of me, I feel like I have to work harder to "pull them" along. But I'm not sure if this is really true or just psychological. :confused:

Midas
October 26th, 2009, 01:57 PM
I think you are just working "harder" by not having someone to draft off of. I agree that having someone draft is psychologically tough. I'm always afraid that if the person behind me is right on my feet, I'm not going fast enough. Then when I ask him/her if he/she wants to pass and they say "Nope! You're doing great!" I know that I'm suffering so they can have an easier swim and it both pisses me off and is a little demoralizing.

I hate it when I don't see the person behind me at the turns because they are so close behind me they are in my turning "blind spot"...

*Of course* when I'm not leading I try (unless I can't keep up otherwise) to stay a full 5 seconds behind the person in front of me but I don't always do that either...

Ahelee Sue Osborn
October 26th, 2009, 02:09 PM
Steve Munatones, Dr. Genadijus Sokolovas, and Gerry Rodriguez were working recently at our pool in Mission Viejo for a few days.

They were filming and testing groups of Olympians and open water swimmers.
This exact question was put to the test...

Keep an eye out for the results :)

Its not for me to say, but I will tell you that there is real evidence supporting just the right type of drafting if you want to win the race!

SolarEnergy
October 26th, 2009, 02:16 PM
This may be opening a can of worms here, but I'm having an argument with someone in my group. If someone is drafting off of you in a pool set (like 4x200 SCY), does it hurt your effort? psychology put aside, from pure physics perspective the answer is no. Absolutely not.

The lead swimmer is not *towing* the back swimmer. Drag is caused (in this case) by the difference in pressure between in-front and behind.

By moving (legs, body etc), the lead swimmer is moving the water, troubling the water thus causing a depression. Then the difference between pressure in front of the back swimmer and that behind the back swimmer is lessen.

Probably not clear at this point.... (I can feel it, when I am not clear). Do you know a bit about diving? Referring to the 10m platform here.

A diver dives from 10m, the water surface is perfectly flat. Diver does a *flat* (outch that hurts). Diver goes back up on its 10m platform. The coach now turns on the huge bubbling system. Water surface is all troubled now. Pressure is lessen. Diver tries a second attempt, fall flat again. This second flat will not hurt as bad since the difference of pressure between the *in-front* (water sufrace) and the *behind* (air) is lessen.

So it is the fact of moving the water, troubling it that makes the back swimmer's life easier. Front swimmer can not feel this.

tjrpatt
October 26th, 2009, 02:18 PM
If I am in a lane with people of similar abilities, I like to split up the lane leading abilities so we are equally being the drafter/draftee.

Mswimming
October 26th, 2009, 02:31 PM
I hate it when I don't see the person behind me at the turns because they are so close behind me they are in my turning "blind spot"...

*Of course* when I'm not leading I try (unless I can't keep up otherwise) to stay a full 5 seconds behind the person in front of me but I don't always do that either...

I move or just get out when I'm being drafted. It happened last week on a set of 50's. After I moved the other swimmer apologized and said he was just trying to draft to get a better time. If I can't move, I'll go last and give them 10 or sometimes even 15 seconds depending on the set.

ande
October 26th, 2009, 02:47 PM
The drafter (follower) is behind the draftee (leader). The closer the drafter is to the draftee the more benefit the drafter receives. The larger and faster the draftee is the more benefit the drafter receives.

I don't think the leader gets any benefit from the follower.
It's just annoying to have someone right on your tail.
It's even more annoying when they're tapping your toes but refusing to pass.

The draftee has to work harder than the drafter. Especially longcourse or in open water.


This may be opening a can of worms here, but I'm having an argument with someone in my group. If someone is drafting off of you in a pool set (like 4x200 SCY), does it hurt your effort? Does the lead swimmer have to work harder or experience some other negative benefit?

I've read a bit about aerodynamics and it would seem that in car racing, the lead car actually gets a positive benefit, but I'm not sure if that's true in swimming.

RuffWater
October 26th, 2009, 03:45 PM
I don't believe the draftee is forced to work harder. But the drafter does not have to work as hard. This gives the drafter a little extra gas in their tank at the end of a set (or open water race) and allows them to finish stronger.

I try not to get angry with drafters during my open water swims. That is a proven waste of mental energy which is better spent on focusing on the race ahead and planning a strategy for how not to let the drafter pass you at the end.

orca1946
October 26th, 2009, 03:56 PM
We rotate the lead for diff stroke & just to keep toe touching to a mimium

geochuck
October 27th, 2009, 09:15 AM
In an open water swim I loved to swim between swimmers. I once drafted between Horatio Iglesias and Herman Willimese (Both of these swimmers are in the Hall of fame) for twenty miles down the Saguenay River. With the current and drafting that twenty miles took two hours. I was fresh as a daisy for the next eight miles that took 5 hours against an outgoing 20 foot tide in the Bai de Ha HA.

qbrain
October 27th, 2009, 10:18 AM
Does the lead swimmer have to work harder or experience some other negative benefit?


The lead swimmer works relatively harder. The person who is most hurt would be the drafter, since they are doing less work, and this has both mental and physical repercussions. Someone who drafts off 100% of the time has a very poor concept of how fast they are and never experiences how much energy it really takes to go that fast in a lead situation.

geochuck
October 27th, 2009, 10:36 AM
I personally think it takes more effort on behalf of the lead swimmer. Many others believe it does not effect the lead swimmer. I know that after getting dragged it was very easy for me to pull ahead of them when I made my move. At times I could stay with them by not even taking a stroke.

art_z
October 27th, 2009, 02:38 PM
My group typically goes 10 seconds apart on non-fly sets and even with that sort of spacing I can definitely say going 2nd is an easier swim than going first. I've done 20x100 where we swap leaders every 5 and when I'm going second I turn in faster repeats than going first.

shane
October 27th, 2009, 02:59 PM
http://www.jssm.org/vol7/n1/9/v7n1-9pdf.pdf

funkyfish
October 27th, 2009, 03:07 PM
The lead swimmer works relatively harder. The person who is most hurt would be the drafter, since they are doing less work, and this has both mental and physical repercussions. Someone who drafts off 100% of the time has a very poor concept of how fast they are and never experiences how much energy it really takes to go that fast in a lead situation.
This has been my experience. I was a big-time drafter in high school until my senior year when I got fast enough to lead a lane. The first 2 weeks were miserable for me in practice, I was sucking wind while my lane mates were chatting. After I became conditioned I noticed when others led, if I didn't wait 5-7 seconds, every swim felt like a warm-up. Incidentally, I had my fastest swims as a senior (much of it due to becoming a year older I'm sure, but I think leading helped prepare me more for what it would be like during a race). Now I have no one to draft off of but that's fine with me. More like racing!!!
:banana:

Allen Stark
October 27th, 2009, 05:05 PM
To answer the question,not hydrodynamically(psychologically maybe.)Unfortunately,unlike NASCAR,it doesn't really help either as the bow wave from the drafting swimmer is too close to that swimmers head to provide any measurable effect on the lead swimmer.

E=H2O
October 27th, 2009, 05:19 PM
http://www.jssm.org/vol7/n1/9/v7n1-9pdf.pdf

+1

The only way a trailing swimmer could affect the drag coefficient of a swimmer in front would be to change the hydrodynamic properties of the leading swimmer. The easiest way to do that would be to climb on their back, but of course that brings to mind other issues. There is obviously a large benefit from drafting closely behind someone. In an OW swim it drives tactics and makes races so unlike pool racing. If you can get a gap by surging you can swim the person off your feet and leave them to fend for themselves. You can also try the slow down veer off and sprint method. But no matter what you choose never let it affect you mentally. Think of it: if you could draft off someone faster than you, you would do it.

SolarEnergy
October 27th, 2009, 05:29 PM
But no matter what you choose never let it affect you mentally. Think of it: if you could draft off someone faster than you, you would do it.

I like your post, since you seem to have understand the original poster question. He was not asking to know if the lead swimmer was working harder than the draftee, but rather if the lead swimmer has to work harder when he has someone drafting him (compared to not having anyone on his tail). The answer to this question is no. It is not more difficult for the lead swimmer to move forward if he gets drafted.

Now what I particularly like with your answer is the mental thing. Come on folks. You're giving a ride to some swimmer (on your tail). Do not let this affect you mentally. If you give a ride to someone in your car, would you accept this person to dictate you how fast you should be driving?

Do not rush. Do not change anything on both the physical (e.g. increasing stroke rate) or the mental aspect. This way, being drafted is absolutely never an issue, except maybe when comes to flip in situations where the wall is busy.

geochuck
October 27th, 2009, 07:04 PM
Open water drafting is not anything like what happens in a pool. It is strange that some of you think that drafting off a swimmer is done from behind. When I drafted off swimmers I was in very close to the draftee my head was at their shoulders. Their suction on me would pull me in close and I would some times find my self being sucked under them. We had lots of bumping into each other. No one ever took a swing at me I guess I was to big to tangle with. Abou Heif did a lot of drafting when he tried to draft off me we would almost come to a stop. I would not let him draft off me. He once offered to split prize money with me If I let him draft.

E=H2O
October 27th, 2009, 08:52 PM
Personally I don't compete in the pool anymore and when I did I never drafted. I am strictly an OW swimmer & triathlete. I have found that while drafting at someone's hip can be effective, swimming shoulder to shoulder interferes with my stroke too much. If I found myself swimming shoulder to shoulder with "a big guy" I too would have ended up stopping and letting him go ahead. The only reason swimming side by side could be faster is if it resulted from more intense competition between the swimmers. I've never seen anything that would lead me to believe swimming side by side is more efficient (& thus faster) than drafting at ones feet or hip.

rdeclercq
October 27th, 2009, 09:50 PM
Sounds like there are some variations or scenarios to drafting:
1. OWS. In OWS, this is a race so it will hinder the final performance of the draftee, due to greater energy conserved by the drafter during the earlier part of the race. Does it hurt the draftee's performance? No. Just their finishing place. You can draft on me if you want during an OWS, just don't get too close (I kick).
2. Practice (with a club/team). This should be understood and it should honestly provide greater (long term) strength to the draftee. It only makes you stronger. Now, there've been times during practice when I might have a stronger day than a like-swimmer so I lead that day. Then the next workout, maybe I'm not as strong, so the other swimmer takes the lead. Or one leads the first half of the workout or set and then you switch leadership (just like in cycling).
3. Sharing a lane with strangers. Now this is just rude. If you find yourself being the draftee of a stranger, I think you have all reason to stop and ask them to split the lane or give you some space. Maybe my being an only kid has left me with that mentality, but I like my space, especially from strangers. Now, its not a competition, so no kicking if they get too close!

Leonard Jansen
October 28th, 2009, 08:44 AM
When I drafted off swimmers I was in very close to the draftee my head was at their shoulders.

I seem to recall that Wennerberg had a funny anecdote about you WRT drafting in his book, "Wind Waves and Sunburn."

-LBJ

geochuck
October 28th, 2009, 09:09 AM
Yes he did write about some of the stuff I said. We were in La Tuue Quebec. sitting in a group at The Pinion Rouge Resturant. What I was talking about was if a swimmer came up close to me I could draft off the swimmer who was behind me. Which of course was not true.

I have told a few tall stories pn my day. One of my favorites about the sharks in the Saguenay River, Billy Barton can attest to this. I had seen a Baluga Whale in the Bai De HA HA but I changed it into a Great White Shark for Billy's benefit just before the Race from Chicotimi to Port Alfred.

bamueller
October 28th, 2009, 10:18 AM
Does the lead swimmer do more work?

I would say no. The lead swimmer does the necessary work it takes to swim, for example, effort X. The drafter does X - Y, where Y in this case is a positive number, used to show that his/her effort is less than that of the lead swimmer. So it is the drafter who is doing less.

Question for you all. In practice, say there are several swimmers in a lane. What interval distance apart is best to reduce, if not eliminate, the drag effect?

I would say 5 seconds is incorrect. What about 10? 15? Can it be eliminated in a pool where there are several swimmers in a lane?

art_z
October 28th, 2009, 03:14 PM
Question for you all. In practice, say there are several swimmers in a lane. What interval distance apart is best to reduce, if not eliminate, the drag effect?

I would say 5 seconds is incorrect. What about 10? 15? Can it be eliminated in a pool where there are several swimmers in a lane?


It assumes that all swimmers move at the same pace. I know if I am going second, I am trying to catch up to the person ahead of me. Not to be a PITA, or to get right on their feet but I think its a natural thing, in effect, racing the leader, trying to do the repeat in a quicker time than them. I would say by 15 seconds any effect of them having swum down the lane, especially with modern lane lines, should be gone. Assuming a decent swimmer in a SCY pool, they should be getting ready to flip around the time you are pushing off. Obviously not practical for more than 2 people in a lane unless you are doing 25s or 50s with alot of rest.

SolarEnergy
October 29th, 2009, 09:52 PM
Question for you all. In practice, say there are several swimmers in a lane. What interval distance apart is best to reduce, if not eliminate, the drag effect?
5 sec should be sufficient in my opinion. Not to eliminate it completely but most of it. 10sec, no drafting effect remaining.

The drafting effect is explained by a lowered delta of pressure between behind and in front of the swimmer (pressure in the front minus pressure behind = delta). The closer from the draftee, the more troubled the water is thus lowering the pressure. Less pressure in the front = lowered delta between front and behind.

Now, picture a swimmer with a 10sec lead in front of you. Water will probably be still moving but not enough to significantly lower the level of pressure in front of you.

When I really want to draft, I try to stay within a 2-3 sec gap.

geochuck
October 29th, 2009, 10:02 PM
Get 10 people going in circles, it will create a wild whirl pool. The water moves in the direction you are going. The faster you move the faster the water moves all of a sudden you are pushed by the water. It no longer drags you along it pushes you along.

osterber
October 30th, 2009, 04:52 PM
5 sec should be sufficient in my opinion. Not to eliminate it completely but most of it. 10sec, no drafting effect remaining.


Not a chance. If you're swimming 5 seconds behind someone, depending on the fluid dynamics of the person in front, you're likely getting a pretty huge drag. 10 seconds apart, especially in long course, you can still definitely feel the effect of the drag. It's really 15 seconds before the effect is gone. Swimming long course workouts, there has always been a big difference for me between swimming 1st or 2nd in the lane.

In short course, 10 seconds is much more reasonable. But (at least in lanes that are in the 1:15 pace vicinity), you can only get 3 people into a SCY lane going 10 seconds apart.

-Rick

SolarEnergy
October 30th, 2009, 05:06 PM
Not a chance. If you're swimming 5 seconds behind someone, depending on the fluid dynamics of the person in front, you're likely getting a pretty huge drag.
My experience is confirming otherwise. This study here too http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19276849?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed _ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=1

The best position for a draft swimmer was found to be directly behind an active lead swimmer at a distance of 0.50 m between the toes of lead swimmer and the hands of drafter, with significant reductions in both passive drag and oxygen uptake when drafting

But I'm not going to debate over this. Bottom line, in 5 sec, a 5-7m gap occurs. I would not recommend any triathlete to draft 5m behind the draftee if the goal is to benefit from a *pretty huge* drag.

But that's me.

----
ps
If you want to study this subject even more, this abstract here http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12840639?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed _ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=13
seems to go much deeper in term of testing various durations etc. But the abstract doesn't reveal all the details of the study.
BTW, they too have found out that the optimal draft is reached while keeping the gap within a 0 to 50cm range.

Trying to convince me that the effect doesn't get lost if extending this range up to 500cm to 700cm gap? Tough sale. This gap is so big that I am not even sure that they tested it...

ourswimmer
October 30th, 2009, 06:41 PM
http://www.jssm.org/vol7/n1/9/v7n1-9pdf.pdf

This article says that swimmers need to go between 6.5m and 9m apart if they want the trailing swimmer not to catch a measurable draft from the lead swimmer. For any pair of swimmers, the distance at which the trailing swimmer will no longer catch a draft from the lead swimmer depends on velocity and body shape, among other key variables. The article suggests that if the trailing swimmer wants to be sure s/he doesn't draft, s/he should go about 10m back. Most masters swimmers don't go 10m in 5 seconds, although lots can go 10m in 10 seconds at practice.


Bottom line, in 5 sec, a 5-7m gap occurs.

Right, which is why when I go last in a lane with our team's fastest swimmers, I can hold a 35s/50y pace comfortably if we go 5 seconds apart. At that pace, 5 seconds is about 7 yards, and I am catching a draft. It doesn't hurt in that situation, either, that everyone ahead of me is bigger than I am (and I am not a small woman). When I lead, or when I am the only one in my lane, that pace is much more challenging for me.

My answer to the original question is: Drafting by a following swimmer does not physically hold the lead swimmer back.

geochuck
October 30th, 2009, 07:35 PM
There is only one way to tell. That is to get a fast swimmer and get a person who knows how to draft and do the checking with a clock. See if the fast swimmer can equal his best times with someone drafting for a mile or two.