View Full Version : Yards vs. Meters

July 28th, 2003, 10:49 PM

There is one thing about competitive swimming that I've been having trouble with and I need some advice.

I absolutely love competing in yards - did it in middle school, high school, and college. I didn't start swimming LCM until high school and I've been almost "scared" of it ever since then. When I swim in a yard pool (or even a SCM pool) - I'm fine and I feel fast. When I get in a LCM pool... I feel so SLOW and like someone is holding me back. I don't know if I'm playing head games with myself or what. Water is water. I feel like a different swimmer in a LCM pool and I don't like it. I almost dread practicing in one - why would a swimmer do that? I love swimming!?!?!?! If anyone has experienced this - I'd really appreciate some words of wisdom!

Sarah :p

July 29th, 2003, 01:33 AM
Your mind and body are conditioned to swimming short course pools. To overcome the feelings you have about LCM pools, you need to train in one regularly and reprogram your mind and body.

I have had the same problem and am working on it. I grew up swimming in a 25 yard pool and swam in 50 meter pools only 2-3 times a year at competitions (and always felt disadvantaged in them and dreaded them). Upon returning to swimming, after about 25 years away, I had the choice of both a 25 yard and a 50 meter pool (both easy access for me). I knew the 50 meter pool would be better (theoretically, for training purposes) but I didn't really want to swim in it, although I decided to start there (since, logically, it seemed the better choice). In LCM, I felt very disoriented at about 2/3 of the way through each lap, and when looking at the bottom when swimming, the deep end seemed so deep, and the distance I was swimming, so long... not what I was used to. So, I went to the SCY after a few visits to the LCM pool... finally decided to go back to LCM a couple months ago (summer crowd/kids in the yards pool contributed to this decision, I must admit), and I felt SO slow... but now, after swimming in LCM 3-4 days a week, it's getting better. I am getting used to the distance. But I notice that in SCY, I can swim several laps with ease breathing infrequently (alternate sides every 6 or so strokes); in LCM, once I cross the point where the pool depth drops, I need to breathe every 3 strokes... its only when I see the pool depth drop that I have to breathe more frequently. And when I swim backstroke in LCM, I am still expecting to see those flags too early, and then it feels like my legs want to stop kicking after a final burst of energy, and my arms expect to have only a few more pulls to the end... but where are those flags, I ask myself (trying not too look around or back or too alarmed)?...

I think if you time yourself, you are probably not swimming slower in light of the extra distance. But your body and mind are aware of the extra energy it takes to sustain your speed for a longer distance, and they are feeling cheated.... they are working hard and are given extra work, and they want to stop, or turn and push off, where they are used to doing it.... just need to be reconditioned over time. And that means swimming as much as possible in LCM pools. But do not fear... after a while, it really does get better. Once you are adjusted to the extra energy expenditure (without the rest at the end or during pushoff after your turn) and to the longer time it takes to get to the end of the pool, you will feel fast again.

Gareth Eckley
July 29th, 2003, 02:09 PM
There is a big difference swimming in a 50m pool. Most of it is 'confidence'. The big pool does intimidate in a number of ways.

1- As the pool bottom is further away from you, the feeling of speed that you get from watching the lane line zip under you is lessened. So you feel that you are moving more slowly.

2- The "mid pool sag" as you realise that you still have a long way to go before the turn also demoralises you.

3- The turns are harder. I found that judging when to initiate the flip was more difficult. The end wall goes up a vertical foot from the water, unlike a 25m pool. This makes you feel that you are closer to the wall than you really are.

I used to regularly swim in a 50m pool when I was in Canada. However after living in the UK for 1 year and only swimming in a 25m pool, I entered the National Masters LC.

I have always been proud of my turns, glide & Breakout ( they are probably better than the rest of my swimming ! ). However, in my 1st event the 1500m free; on my first turn I barely made contact with the wall and I NAILED only 4 turns after that.

That was due to the higher end wall, I had allowed for the other factors but was caught out by that. By the end of the meet, in other events the turns did improve. Experience in a 50m pool does give a big advantage.

Ion Beza
July 30th, 2003, 01:03 AM
I think it is a physical and a psychological difference:

.) in a 25 yards pool, one takes say 15 strokes per length, then flipturns;

.) in a 50 meter pool, one takes a corresponding 40 strokes per length, then flipturns.

Used to a 25 yards pool, but switching to a 50 meter pool, one would slack off (physically and psychologically) after about 20 strokes, begging for the flipturn to come, and getting slower in the process for the remaining strokes before the wall.

Also, a race in a 25 yards pool is different than a race in a 50 meter pool, because one has to bring the best effort and start to hurt at different marks whether is a 25 yards or a 50 meter pool.

I used to be comfortable in 50 meter pools, until I came to U.S. and swimming mostly in 25 yards throws me off now when I switch from yards to meters.

July 30th, 2003, 11:17 AM
I feel like the most staggering difference between a 50m and 25y pool is in 200s. All that time underwater in the 200y free, I can almost sprint the whole way. But in a 200 M - No WAY! I know two guys who are both 1:57 in 200 M free. One is a 1:40 in 200 yards, the other is a 1:43. What a difference!

July 30th, 2003, 12:11 PM
Perhaps if you start thinking about the sharks as you pass into the deep end, you'll get a little adrenaline burst to get you through each lap?

July 30th, 2003, 06:41 PM
Thanks for all the advice - I will definitely start to go to more workouts in the LCM pool. I agree that it is most likely psychological... you just gotta get used to the length. I know it will take time to reprogram my head, but it's worth a try!

I do agree with the 200's - they are AWFUL! I love the 400 IM (have only swum it in yards) - that's going to take some time to do that in LCM!!!! Yikes!

I don't think that the shark thing will work - but thanks anyways.

July 30th, 2003, 09:54 PM
I chose to workout in the 25 yard pool and sometimes even in a 15 yard pool. I did one meet in 50 meters, the built-up was tough. I'm going to swim a 50 meter race locally and the thought of the breaststroke at 200 meter after the 50 meter is going to be tough.

July 30th, 2003, 10:33 PM
Talk about a hard transition--try going from an indoor 25 yard pool
to a 50 meter outdoor pool---doing backstroke! Yikes!

Don't want to try that again without some serious 50m pool time!

July 31st, 2003, 04:30 PM
Originally posted by USMSarah
I don't think that the shark thing will work - but thanks anyways.

Yeah, you're probably right. But what about vicious, biting ducks?

Even if you don't find them threatening, imagining the little buggers chasing behind you trying to bite your toes will probably make you giggle, giving you a nice burst of positive happiness energy to help you to the other end of the pool.


July 31st, 2003, 08:17 PM
I think that breastroke is, by far, the worst thing to swim in LCM. Just thinking about it makes me cringe, even doing the breast leg in the 200 IM. Breast is my worst stroke (I go so slow, I'm almost going backwards).

Waiting for the flags in backstroke is bad, but when I see that "center" rope in the pool, I pretend that I just did a flip turn. Ha! I prefer back over any other stroke.

Fly isn't too bad - I'll probably only swim the 50 fly... not the 100 or 200.

Free is ok up until you get to the 200. I feel like I'm losing my mind once I get to the 150 mark.

Still contemplating that 400im. Anyone here ever swam the 400im in LCM? I may have to picture psycho ducks nipping at my feet!

jean sterling
July 31st, 2003, 09:31 PM
Originally posted by USMSarah
IStill contemplating that 400im. Anyone here ever swam the 400im in LCM?

I have! In fact I am going to swim it tomorrow (some people never learn). :-)

July 31st, 2003, 10:58 PM
Since I can not swim the 200 free in under two minutes I will postulate an answer for this thread. That is the nice thing about America everyone can have an idea.

I agree the transition to a 50 meter pool from a 25 yard pool is tough. Mental is a big component but I also think there is a physical reason. In addition to the turns and push offs one has to also include the resting of the stroking muscles, during the turn and glide.

When one turns a different set of muscles is used and your body gets a very short rest from using the stroking muscles. This short rest gives your body a chance to rest and recover from swimming the length of the pool. In addition to the turning phase the gliding phase uses a different set of muscles and your body gets more rest for the stroking muscles. That short rest then allows you to drive for the other end as you surface. Emmett can explain the ATP and Krebs cycle stuff, I hope.

Your nervous system also would distribute the blood and oxygen in a different pattern while turning, possibly removing some of the chemical wastes your body in generating. The human mind is very quick to react to precieved needs and problems to always keep your body at it's optimum performance.

Have a great day


August 1st, 2003, 01:41 AM
You guys are scaring me. Last year I did it and I swam only the 50 meter breast and 100 meter and I had a big built up of Lacid acid. Now, this time I'm trying the 200 meter frestyle and the 200 meter breast. As a kid I swam three summers long course in my 8 year career in workout. The first year I was on noive teams that only swam one meet and I was only 11-12 and swam 50 meter races. The next two years, I swam on a team that had a 25 meter pool and the coach was from Scotland and built his pool 25 meters. The next team was more elite and I workout long course two summers and the next team was a little worst than that one and I workout long course. The next team used a 25 yard high school pool and my last two years of swimming I mainly swam community college working out 25 yards. Returning I workout in 25 yards and 15 yards.

August 13th, 2003, 08:35 PM
I love training in a 50M LC pool, which we are doing most of the time.

After that, everything else seems easy.

When we practice in a 25Y pool, I call it a "flip turn practice" ;)

Dominick Aielloeaver
August 15th, 2003, 12:23 AM
I agree 100% . I swim in a 25 meter pool. but I would really love to swim in50 meter pool. at 25 yards I really dont know how much actual swimming is involved?:cool: :)

August 16th, 2003, 11:11 PM
Well, believe or not I do better in a 50 meter pool. I practice in both 15 yards and 25 yards pools. Maybe, because some others are able to do longer turns or dives in short course. I pace better in the 50 meter but the last 25 meters feels like hell.

Allen Stark
August 21st, 2003, 10:34 AM
I love to compete in a 50 meter pool. I am shorter than most of my competition and their longer reach shows up on every turn. I don't get to work out in a 50 meter pool so to compensate I don't push off every other turn and work some over distance(i.e. swim 125 yd. to simulate 100 M.) Swimming without the pushoff is a great drill as it forces you to learn to accelerate.