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ande
April 25th, 2010, 11:07 AM
Backstrokers unite.
We know every detail of the ceilings where we train unless it's the sky which is ever changing.
We SDK every day. It's breath taking.
We go forwards in reverse.

We get to flip over on turns. We gotta stay on our back.
We swim back. We kick back.

Aaron's the man

YouTube- Aaron Peirsol gets title and new record, from Universal Sports

YouTube- Aaron Peirsol Late Night Appearance/Interview (8.28.08)

What did you do in practice today?



the breastroke lane


The Middle Distance Lane


The Backstroke Lane


The Butterfly Lane


The SDK Lane


The Taper Lane


The Distance Lane


The IM Lane


The Sprint Free Lane


The Pool Deck

Novaova
April 25th, 2010, 01:02 PM
We have bumps on our heads from the time the flags were not put up. :p

Couroboros
April 25th, 2010, 01:18 PM
Aaron Peirsol is quite possibly the coolest person in the history of cool persons.

Karl_S
April 26th, 2010, 04:59 PM
Backstrokers seem to be rare or too busy, tired, timid or whatever to post! I'll try to liven up this thread.

My coach is advocating that I hold my hands on the gutter instead of the starting block to start. She claims that she always does this and that many of the local collegiate swimmers do as well. She has been working with me on it and, sure enough, it does seem smoother for me. I've been to a lot of swim meets in my life and I have never seen this done in competition. I am concerned that this might cause a problem if I try to do it at a meet. Is it common practice? Will the starter give me trouble? There is also the problem that some pools don't have "hold-able" gutters.

Hey, if it is faster for me I am all for it, but I don't want a dq, nor do I want to have a high-anxiety conversation with the start judge just before my race. What's the collective wisdom on this issue?

Chris Stevenson
April 26th, 2010, 05:16 PM
Yes I've seen it done in masters competition. The starter shouldn't give you any hassle; it is perfectly legal.

Ahelee Sue Osborn
April 26th, 2010, 05:44 PM
My coach is advocating that I hold my hands on the gutter instead of the starting block to start. She claims that she always does this and that many of the local collegiate swimmers do as well. She has been working with me on it and, sure enough, it does seem smoother for me. I've been to a lot of swim meets in my life and I have never seen this done in competition. I am concerned that this might cause a problem if I try to do it at a meet. Is it common practice? Will the starter give me trouble? There is also the problem that some pools don't have "hold-able" gutters.


My take on backstroke starting off the gutter is this:

It can be VERY fast!

Since most masters swimmers don't have blocks set up with a touch pad on the wall, slipping when practicing starts in workouts is very common.
Somehow, I don't slip as badly starting off the gutter as I do off a block without a touch pad.

Another thing to try is stagger your feet on the wall a little bit. Somehow that gives better stability and even traction.

When I was trying to get my whole body to arc out of the water on my block start, I worked to get it to arc out off a gutter start first.
I didn't even realize I was up and over the water when I first starting to do it off the blocks after that because it was so much easier.

(have I mentioned lately that I LOVE BACKSTROKE?)

I'm told we are oxygen addicts :)

We have a BACKSTROKE Blogger on the Forum - QUICKSILVER!
http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?u=4609

I do not know WHY however, he has freestylers pictured on his home page right now...

Ande has GREAT BACKSTROKE TIPS that help me improve my stroke every week.
Seriously.

Chris Stevenson
April 26th, 2010, 08:25 PM
Backstrokers seem to be rare or too busy, tired, timid or whatever to post!

Backstroke is the most philosophical of the strokes. We are the daydreamers of the swimming world. We like looking up at the clouds, waving to the crowd.

During a backstroke race, I've seen my son spit water up like a fountain (a little gross I guess, but I had to laugh b/c he was clearly having fun). He looks up and sees us cheering for him, and he gets a big grin on his face.

And there is nothing like dolphining on your back, it is the closest we get to swimming like a fish.

What's not to love? All the other strokes, they like staring at the black line for hours on end. How boring.

Swimosaur
April 26th, 2010, 08:29 PM
Ok, here's a question.

After swimming backstroke for one year, diligently working on core for the last four months, and increasing dolphin practice for the last 3 months, I am finally starting to get a little bit comfortable with dolphins off the wall.

How do you decide how many dolphins to use off each wall in each event? When to use flutter instead? Right now I can put maybe six or eight dolphins off the start and turn in the 50, five off the start and first two turns in the 100 (only two on the last turn, alas), and like zero off all walls in the 200. It seems to me a quite a complicated tradeoff between oxygen, legs, and speed of dolphins at various levels of tiredness, not to mention other factors. Right now it doesn't seem to matter whether or not I use dolphins in a meet, the times come out pretty much the same. However, I think my kick will improve.

Unfortunately I don't have a coach to time 12.5 yard sprints under various conditions. What's the best way, or even a good way, to systematically think about dolphins?

bridge5
April 26th, 2010, 08:40 PM
Thanks, Ande!! LOVE IT!! And *loved* the video of AP's late night appearance. That was great.

Happy swims to ya.

Bridge

Chris Stevenson
April 26th, 2010, 09:31 PM
After swimming backstroke for one year, diligently working on core for the last four months, and increasing dolphin practice for the last 3 months, I am finally starting to get a little bit comfortable with dolphins off the wall.

How do you decide how many dolphins to use off each wall in each event? When to use flutter instead? Right now I can put maybe six or eight dolphins off the start and turn in the 50, five off the start and first two turns in the 100 (only two on the last turn, alas), and like zero off all walls in the 200. It seems to me a quite a complicated tradeoff between oxygen, legs, and speed of dolphins at various levels of tiredness, not to mention other factors. Right now it doesn't seem to matter whether or not I use dolphins in a meet, the times come out pretty much the same. However, I think my kick will improve.

Unfortunately I don't have a coach to time 12.5 yard sprints under various conditions. What's the best way, or even a good way, to systematically think about dolphins?

Yes, the trade-off is complicated. First of all: is your all-out dolphin kick faster than your swim? If so then, in a 50 at least, you want to be under the water as much as possible (15m off both walls if you can). How many you take for the 100 and 200 will depend on your conditioning and practice.

You talk about working on core and dolphin kicks for months...I've worked on them for many years and am still finding ways to improve. It is a long process, though initial improvement should come rapidly.

You need to work on:

-- technique. The proper amplitude for you, and maintaining a very tight and narrow streamline in your upper body. Your head should be *between* your arms, which are very very tight. Stretch to be a long shape underwater; and from your chest up you should be rigid. Lead with your hips in your kicking; ankles need to be very flexible (work on this separately if necessary).

You can use fins to work on the proper streamline position: the increased speed with the fins will hopefully make small improvements in streamline more noticeable.

-- kicking conditioning/strength. Do 25 all-out sprints (ideally no-breath "shooters" if you can), as well as 50s, 75s and 100s very fast, with plenty of recovery between. Don't just do 25s and 50s, you need to work on the longer distances too. Push it as far as you can underwater on each lap -- even past the 15m mark, if you are able.

-- on backstroke sets, gradually increase the number of kicks you do off the walls. You need to have a minimum number of kicks off EVERY wall, no matter how tired you are. (I never take fewer than 6, for example, not even in warmup.)

-- you need to have a realistic "kicking goal plan" for your races. For example: 5 kicks off every wall in the 100, 3 kicks off every wall in the 200. Do race-intensity 100s and 200s in practice using this plan. Get plenty of rest between repeats and make it your goal to stick to your kicking plan, even at the expense of swimming speed if necessary. Eventually, your legs will be "toughened up" enough that you won't be sacrificing swimming speed...and then add a kick to each wall and start over.

Just my $0.02, anyway; good luck.

rtodd
April 26th, 2010, 09:38 PM
How do you practice starts to gradually work up to proficiency without hurting lower back? Are there any start drills? I'd like to race backstroke, but am afraid of the start hurting my lower back.

Swimosaur
April 26th, 2010, 10:32 PM
Yes, the trade-off is complicated ...

Yes, this is the answer I was looking for, thanks so much.


You talk about working on core and dolphin kicks for months...I've worked on them for many years ...

After several months I am just starting to get a glimmer of hope. It is not an easy trick.


You need to have a minimum number of kicks off EVERY wall, no matter how tired you are. (I never take fewer than 6, for example, not even in warmup.)

Now I get to use one of those clever emoticons. How do they say? Oh yeah, ... :bow:

I will burn your bullet points into my retinas, this is what to work on. Thanks again!

david.margrave
April 27th, 2010, 12:48 AM
Aaron Peirsol has dropped significant amounts of time in just the last year, right? How did he do it, some new technique? At his level, big time drops like that aren't very common.

Ahelee Sue Osborn
April 27th, 2010, 01:02 PM
Aaron Peirsol has dropped significant amounts of time in just the last year, right? How did he do it, some new technique? At his level, big time drops like that aren't very common.

He has always said that the SDK wasn't his strong point.
But he had to really address it and get better - because now, even in long course - TURNS COUNT FOR A LOT OF TIME.

Karl_S
April 27th, 2010, 01:34 PM
Aaron Peirsol has dropped significant amounts of time in just the last year, right? How did he do it, some new technique? At his level, big time drops like that aren't very common.

I suspect that Ryosuke Irie and his very beautiful stroke provided a lot of motivation.

quicksilver
April 27th, 2010, 09:56 PM
I do not know WHY however, he has freestylers pictured on his home page right now...


... because I'm a closet freestyler in our off season. :) Honestly I'd much rather be looking up at blue sky and seagulls in the mornings. The coral reef of hair and band-aids in the deep end is scary!

And yes hands on the gutters are legal (and done quite often at the kids meets too). There's less risk in slipping at the start. And it can be a much smoother entry.


Thanks for the tips during practice Chris! Still haven't grown any gills yet, but there's hope.

nhc
April 27th, 2010, 11:00 PM
All the other strokes, they like staring at the black line for hours on end. How boring.

And they all have the breathing problem.

david.margrave
April 27th, 2010, 11:15 PM
I'm not a very fast backstroker, so I guess if there's any place I stand to gain, this is it. I'm changing my technique a bit. I didn't used to start exerting any significant force until my hand was even with my shoulder, then finished with the big sweep that mostly uses triceps. Instead I'm trying to 'dig in' with my hand as soon as possible and get some more effort into the pull.

quicksilver
April 28th, 2010, 09:59 AM
Instead I'm trying to 'dig in' with my hand as soon as possible and get some more effort into the pull.Pulling too soon as you described might not allow the ideal traction. Save the *umph* for the middle and latter portions of the stroke cycle where it can really count.

After your hand slices the surface and drops in...you should feel as if you are reaching for the ceiling (stay long), and then begin a shoulder rotation. This will help you achieve a deeper hand position before you start applying more force.


Reach and roll. Throw the water towards your feet.

Swimosaur
April 28th, 2010, 10:05 AM
Yesterday's workout, SCY all backstroke, inspired by this comment,


You need to work on:
-- technique ... You can use fins to work on the proper streamline position ...
-- kicking conditioning/strength. Do 25 all-out sprints (ideally no-breath "shooters" if you can) ...
-- on backstroke sets ... You need to have a minimum number of kicks off EVERY wall
-- realistic "kicking goal plan"


600 warmup

4 x (25 shooter w/ fins + 25 EZ kick). Focus on streamline.

4 x (25 shooter no fins + 25 EZ kick). I can barely make it, but I can make it. It currently takes 24-28 dolphins per 25. That's something I can work on.

2 x (50 fast, within 2-3 sec of PB, 5 dolphins each wall + 50 EZ kick).

3 x (100 fast, within 5 sec of PB, some number of dolphins + 100 EZ kick).

200 swimdown

Not many yards, but I was wrung out. After the last set, it looks like a near-term "realistic kicking plan" in the 100 for this noob is going to be something like 4-3-2-1 for the start & three walls, and that I'll be lucky to have a minimum number of 1. Hey, it's a start.

Novaova
April 28th, 2010, 04:59 PM
I'm told we are oxygen addicts
I grew up running, not swimming, so the idea of having limited access to sweet, sweet air was really alienating to me at first. Once I learned backstroke, all was well.

Besides, any biologist will tell you that aerobic glycolysis is a vastly more efficient way to release the energy bound in stored ATP than anaerobic. ;)

SwimStud
April 28th, 2010, 05:38 PM
Y'know, this lane should just be closed...or if it has to be open...let it be in the aqua-aerobics area!

thewookiee
April 28th, 2010, 05:55 PM
Y'know, this lane should just be closed...or if it has to be open...let it be in the aqua-aerobics area!

Hater!

Novaova
April 29th, 2010, 03:34 AM
Y'know, this lane should just be closed...or if it has to be open...let it be in the aqua-aerobics area!
Glad you shared that. Do you have anything useful to add to the thread?

SwimStud
April 29th, 2010, 07:56 AM
Glad you shared that. Do you have anything useful to add to the thread?

Yup, nose clips are for wimps...that help?
:D

thewookiee
April 29th, 2010, 08:08 AM
Yup, nose clips are for wimps...that help?
:D

Stud, a nose clip is a wonderful tool for backstrokers. There are people that don't have the ability to plug their nose while kicking underwater, like myself. Nose clips allow us to "plug" our noses, to take advantage of the underwater kicking.

PS. When was the last time you raced backstroke race over 50m?

:)

SwimStud
April 29th, 2010, 09:33 AM
PS. When was the last time you raced backstroke race over 50m?

:)

OK the words "race" and "backstroke" cannot truly be used together when referring to me...although I just set a PB!

I just thought you'd all be happier in the aqua-noodle section with the other folks that don't like to get their faces wet...:wave:

FlyQueen
April 29th, 2010, 09:44 AM
Yup, nose clips are for wimps...that help?
:D


Just started using one ... LOVE it. I'm fine with being a wimp, especially in the backstroke lane. Stud, you can laugh at me during my 50 back at nats, I promise decent underwater kicking and then entertainment value, then decent underwater kicking and finally more entertainment value.

thewookiee
April 29th, 2010, 11:10 AM
OK the words "race" and "backstroke" cannot truly be used together when referring to me...although I just set a PB!

I just thought you'd all be happier in the aqua-noodle section with the other folks that don't like to get their faces wet...:wave:

Mmmm....no, I just like to look at everyone around me. Being a backstroker, as Chris pointed out, is a lot more enjoyable than any other stroke. We do get to see different things as we swim, compared to having our face buried in the water while only looking at the black line.

It takes skill to navigate on one's back.

The Fortress
April 29th, 2010, 11:14 AM
Just started using one ... LOVE it. I'm fine with being a wimp, especially in the backstroke lane. Stud, you can laugh at me during my 50 back at nats, I promise decent underwater kicking and then entertainment value, then decent underwater kicking and finally more entertainment value.

Nose clips are a magical thing. Right up there with the monofin. I wore one for the first time last year at my Zones meet and dropped .6 in a 50 back from a previous fully tapered time. And it makes staying underwater so much more comfortable and enjoyable.

aquageek
April 29th, 2010, 11:29 AM
I'm a convert to the nose clip in the past year and find it great. I've never had anyone make a negative comment about wearing one.

Karen Duggan
April 29th, 2010, 12:28 PM
I love my noseclip.
If the walls are slippery I use the gutter.
I know why Aaron Piersonl dropped time. He did change his stroke.
At our Training Camp in March we watched a backstroke video with guess who as the model?
As they were showing his pull underwater I said to my coach, "Wow he pulls really deep" (you'd have to see the video to know what I'm referring to, sorry I can't be more specific). He said, "You're right. I'm glad you pointed that out b/c Aaron has since changed that part of his stroke."
He used to have more of a straightarm, deep pull. Now his elbow is far more bent and he is not as deep. That's how I've been told to swim backstroke. Since using my lats more to pull (with that bent elbow and not as deep) I have dropped a lot of time in workout sets.
Remains to be seen, in a race, when I taper :D

androvski
April 30th, 2010, 05:45 PM
Ah, the infamous backstroke... :P

I was never able to swim backstroke properly (my BR is actually considerably faster than my backstroke...). I believe this is partly due to the fact that I never got much instruction regarding the adequate technique. When I try to go faster I feel like I'm wasting a lot of energy, (I'm putting a lot of effort into the stroke, but not actually getting a decent speed).

Could someone give me a few begginer tips? Some good drills would be helpful.

Thanks in advance.

jaegermeister
April 30th, 2010, 11:47 PM
I tried a noseclip once, but only lasted a 50. I don't really know what went wrong, but it wasn't a good experience. Do others have a suggestion about adapting to this? It would be nice to experience the breakthrough others have experienced.

I've not really felt the need for a nose clip. I think I'm a big mouth breather. Does mouth vs. nose breathing separate us into those likely to benefit from noseclips?

Anyone have a Piersol video link that shows his catch/pull?

BTW, here's a good 200 back blast from the past: YouTube- Lochte Snaps Peirsol's Streak

Ahelee Sue Osborn
May 4th, 2010, 12:04 PM
Bumping up my favorite lane to the TOP of The Forum this morning!

Check out this clip of The Man in the front of our lane!

YouTube- Aaron Peirsol

Jaeger... you can see brilliant flashes of Aaron's underwater in this clip - but of course, it is never enough!

I'm off to train with and coach one of our favorite Forumites on his backstroke today.
No names, lets' just see if anyone notices.
This would be my best birthday gift.
Backstroke love...

Swimosaur
May 5th, 2010, 09:46 PM
Toes or Noes?

Settle a bet: My lunchmate said toes must be under the water line at the start. Oh no, sayeth I, on a flat wall, with no gutter, toes may indeed be above the water line.

I bring this up because the nats pool at Georgia Tech has flat walls, with no gutters. At least, that's way it was set up when I swam there last December. I prefer my feet a little higher on the wall, so toes out appeals to me.

The various rulebooks mention gutters, but nothing about the feet in relation to the water line. Was this ever a rule? My interpretation is in a pool with no gutters, toes out is fine.

2010 USMS Swimming Code (http://www.usms.org/rules/part1.pdf) Part I (p.1-2)


101.1.2 Backstroke Start
B All courses—The swimmers shall line up in the water facing the starting end with both hands placed on the gutter or on the starting grips. Standing in or on the gutter, placing the toes above the lip of the gutter or bending the toes over the lip of the gutter before or after the start is prohibited.

USAS 2010 Rules and Regulations (http://web.usaswimming.org/USASWeb/_Rainbow/Documents/9226f2e9-51d6-45c8-bf35-84577d938763/2010%20Rules%20and%20Regulations.pdf) (p. 20)

101.4 BACKSTROKE
.1 Start — The swimmers shall line up in the water facing the starting end, with both hands placed on the gutter or on the starting grips. Standing in or on the gutter, placing the toes above the lip of the gutter, or bending the toes over the lip of the gutter, before or after the start, is prohibited.

Current FINA Rule (http://www.fina.org/H2O/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=283:sw-6-backstroke&catid=82:swimming-rules&Itemid=184)

SW 6.1 Prior to the starting signal, the swimmers shall line up in the water facing the starting end, with both hands holding the starting grips. Standing in or on the gutter or bending the toes over the lip of the gutter is prohibited.

In the attached screenshot from about 2:24 in the vid Ahelee posted, the swimmer in the foreground clearly has about half his foot out of the water. So I presume toes out is legal.

So, toes out ok?

quicksilver
May 5th, 2010, 10:18 PM
So I presume toes out is legal.

They are allowed out (above the water line).

Just not allowed inside the gutters...in case there are any.

Chris Stevenson
May 5th, 2010, 10:20 PM
Toes or Noes?

Settle a bet: My lunchmate said toes must be under the water line at the start. Oh no, sayeth I, on a flat wall, with no gutter, toes may indeed be above the water line.

I bring this up because the nats pool at Georgia Tech has flat walls, with no gutters. At least, that's way it was set up when I swam there last December. I prefer my feet a little higher on the wall, so toes out appeals to me.

You are correct: on a flat wall, toes can be above the waterline. I believe some part of the foot has to be below the water, but I'd have to check the rules (too lazy to do it right now).

But are you sure that the flat walls will be installed at GA Tech? Many pools have the option to do this, or not. (Personally, I'm with you: I'd love flat walls for backstroke starts.)

Karl_S
May 5th, 2010, 10:33 PM
It seems to me that during my "former swimming life" nearly 30 years ago toes curled around the lip of the gutter *was* allowed and I seem to remember the coach even instructing us to do this so our feet would not slip on the start. Then, when I was in high school or so, the rule changed, toes curled over the gutter lip was no longer allowed. Do I remember correctly? If so, does anyone know why the rule was changed? It seems to make the start a lot harder, and curling the toes over the gutter lip certainly does not make the pool shorter.

Chris Stevenson
May 5th, 2010, 10:48 PM
It seems to me that during my "former swimming life" nearly 30 years ago toes curled around the lip of the gutter *was* allowed and I seem to remember the coach even instructing us to do this so our feet would not slip on the start. Then, when I was in high school or so, the rule changed, toes curled over the gutter lip was no longer allowed. Do I remember correctly? If so, does anyone know why the rule was changed? It seem to make the start a lot harder, and curline the toes over the gutter lip certainly does not make the pool shorter.

A long time ago, "toes curled around the gutter" was allowed for SCY but in meters (and in international meets) the foot had to be completely submerged.

Heck, in HS and college I used to do stand-up starts...which I surely do miss...

I don't know why exactly they were changed, I was out of "serious" swimming by that point. But I suspect it was to keep the rules uniform between the courses.

Almost every European pool I ever swam in (there were pretty many but I certainly can't claim it was exhaustive) did NOT have gutters at the end, they had flat walls (there were usually gutters on the sides of the pool). So maybe the rule that the feet had to be under -- with no toe curling -- was originally done so that backstrokers at pools with gutters at the end wouldn't have a huge advantage over the ones at pools without those gutters. But that is pure conjecture.

Swimosaur
May 6th, 2010, 09:14 AM
But are you sure that the flat walls will be installed at GA Tech? Many pools have the option to do this, or not.

No, I'm not sure, hence the disclaimer, "At least, that's way it was set up when I swam there last December." Last December was an SCM meet, so maybe the setup was deliberate? I don't know enough about the pool to know what the options are, or what the intentions of the organizers are. My short-axis friends (and yes I do have some), fuss about turning on flat walls, so if there's a choice I imagine there's some discussion.

By the way, whose brilliant idea was it to build pools with stainless steel gutters? There is no good place to put your feet for backstroke starts. In some pools the stainless goes down so far there's no good place to put your feet on a flip. How best to handle stainless steel gutters, particularly on the start?

That Guy
May 6th, 2010, 12:41 PM
By the way, whose brilliant idea was it to build pools with stainless steel gutters? There is no good place to put your feet for backstroke starts. In some pools the stainless goes down so far there's no good place to put your feet on a flip. How best to handle stainless steel gutters, particularly on the start?

You just have to get used to it. I once swam a meet at an outdoor SCM pool where the walls were very smooth and slippery, like glass. If I didn't hit each flip turn 100% straight on, my feet would slide sideways instead of pushing off. Circle swimming during warmups was challenging to say the least. Every pool is a little bit different; this is why you need to get some warmup time in the competition pool, get some practice starts in, and so on. This year at Federal Way, the new track-start devices were installed on the blocks. I don't know what to call them but they're the little ramps that you can put your back foot on, and get some extra launch on your start. It only took me two practice starts to conclude that they are completely awesome.

Karl_S
May 17th, 2010, 09:18 AM
Perhaps this belongs in the "Charlotte Ultraswim" thread as well but...

Did anyone else notice the following?
It appeared as though Missy Franklin didn't do any SDKs off the final turn in her 200 LCM backstroke victory at the Charlotte Ultraswim. This might be interpreted in at least two ways: 1) It is possible to swim the 200 back very fast without an excellent SDK, (which we already knew since there were some very fast times posted before anyone did SDK) and 2) Miss Franklin is going to be dangerously fast if she develops a good SDK.

Ahelee Sue Osborn
May 17th, 2010, 12:27 PM
Did anyone else notice the following?
It appeared as though Missy Franklin didn't do any SDKs off the final turn in her 200 LCM backstroke victory at the Charlotte Ultraswim. This might be interpreted in at least two ways: 1) It is possible to swim the 200 back very fast without an excellent SDK, (which we already knew since there were some very fast times posted before anyone did SDK) and 2) Miss Franklin is going to be dangerously fast if she develops a good SDK.

It has always been said that some swimmers are not faster SDKing than swimming. But it is a skill that is developed.
Missy has been around awhile, but who knows what her coach will have her do as she continues to grow and get even stronger.

15? Sheez - far from finished!

thewookiee
July 26th, 2010, 11:26 AM
Anyone have some good tips for swimming backstroker in outdoor pools to keep from running into the lane lines.

This weekend, I swam my first 200 back in an outdoor pool in forever. I had a wonderful time playing grab a$$ with the lane lines for the majority of the race. Needless to say, it wasn't a good swim, unless you were one of my friends getting a kick out of my troubles.

I tried using the lanes lines by sighting with peripharel vision. That didn't work too well.

Any tips would help for next time.

DPC
July 26th, 2010, 11:59 AM
I play a lot of bumper pool with the lines outside too, so I usually look more down toward my feet as I'm swimming, tuck your chin toward your chest - little more uncomfortable over a 200, but my turns allow a litlle time to work the kinks out. It seems to keep me from crashing into the lines. Indoors I look more straight up and follow the ceiling.

thewookiee
July 26th, 2010, 12:18 PM
I play a lot of bumper pool with the lines outside too, so I usually look more down toward my feet as I'm swimming, tuck your chin toward your chest - little more uncomfortable over a 200, but my turns allow a litlle time to work the kinks out. It seems to keep me from crashing into the lines. Indoors I look more straight up and follow the ceiling.

That's what I do as well. I debated about tucking my chin but decided against it because I wasn't sure if my kick was strong enough to get my hips up for the distance

shahboz
July 26th, 2010, 12:28 PM
I like using the Tyr Socket Rocket Eclipse goggles for backstroke. They are super dark, great for the outdoor sun and they have great a peripheral range.

I would not bring your head forward... this is going to drop your hips and slow you down. In a 200, low hips are going to make you tired really quickly. Keep that water rolling over your face ;-) You can always hug the rope if you want to it keep in view...

You can also practice steadying your stroke by swimming with and small dixie cup of water balanced on your forehead. This also helps keep your head straight and back.

thewookiee
July 26th, 2010, 12:33 PM
You can always hug the rope if you want to it keep in view...

I did more than hug the ropes yesterday. I think I tried to swim over into Blue Muppets lane a few times. I was really frustrated during the swim. In the 50 back, I went right down the pool. I don't know what I did different in the 2 swims either.

Seems like when I try to use peripheral vision, I either slow my stroke rate down or I end up heading in the direction that I am trying to glance. That gets very annoying.

swimmieAvsFan
July 26th, 2010, 12:36 PM
I did more than hug the ropes yesterday. I think I tried to swim over into Blue Muppets lane a few times. I was really frustrated during the swim. In the 50 back, I went right down the pool. I don't know what I did different in the 2 swims either.


a big difference between the 50 and the 100/200 was the time of day. by the time the 200 and 100 rolled around, the sun was almost directly overhead, so it was wicked tough to see anything the one direction. not so much in the 50, since it was earlier in the meet. after doing the DCPR meet 8 times, i've noticed the same thing every year that it's been sunny.

Ahelee Sue Osborn
July 26th, 2010, 01:00 PM
The sun while swimming backstroke outdoors is a wicked "distraction".
But that isn't what is making you swim crooked.

Ultimately the line you keep is determined by where you push the water at the end of your pull.

Finish your pull near your body, throwing (or pushing) the water straight down to your toes.
Even throwing water an inch or two to the side or away from your body line will cause you to swim crooked to the other direction.

Keep your head rock steady while looking straight up or a shade forward.
The chin is slightly tucked in to lengthen your spine, not to look down toward your feet.
Press your shoulders back into the water. That will help keep your hips and legs up higher in the water.

And yes, get the darkest goggles and work on your great body position. Those will both help you keep your focus.

poolraat
July 26th, 2010, 01:24 PM
Great advice Ahelee!

Something else that helps me is to check where I am as I come off the walls on my turns. If you're coming off the wall at a slight angle you will end up on the lane line too. I do a quick check and make sure I'm straight before I break out. Of course in long course you don't have as many chances to check yourself.

I swim outside all summer and that helps more than anything.

art_z
July 26th, 2010, 01:41 PM
I miss the good ole "standup" backstroke start from the old days, where all you had to have was one part of your foot in the water, like a heel, and you could hold onto the top of the block with your hands. Worked great on getting great distance off the start. Was also a nice "psych out" routine to the guy next to you when you wouldn't hop in the water prior to the start but just saunter around the block, put your feet on the gutter and assume the position.

swimmieAvsFan
July 26th, 2010, 03:43 PM
The sun while swimming backstroke outdoors is a wicked "distraction".
But that isn't what is making you swim crooked.

Ultimately the line you keep is determined by where you push the water at the end of your pull.

Finish your pull near your body, throwing (or pushing) the water straight down to your toes.
Even throwing water an inch or two to the side or away from your body line will cause you to swim crooked to the other direction...


well, how can you explain why, at this meet, almost all backstrokers complain about the same thing every year that it's sunny, but it almost never comes up when it's cloudy??? after 8 years of doing this same meet with the same order of events, i have the same problem wookiee had this year, if it's sunny. but never when it's cloudy. :confused:

shahboz
July 26th, 2010, 04:38 PM
My guess would be you are repositioning your head to compensate for the sun. The head works like a rudder...

ourswimmer
July 26th, 2010, 05:52 PM
a big difference between the 50 and the 100/200 was the time of day. by the time the 200 and 100 rolled around, the sun was almost directly overhead, so it was wicked tough to see anything the one direction.

I swim outside nearly all the time but almost always in the early AM, and in dim light I don't have any problem staying on line. I usually pick one lane line and hug it on purpose at outdoor meets when the sun is bright and directly overhead. I may swim 201 meters total, but I figure it's still faster than zig-zagging on every 50 and swimming 205.

KEWebb18
July 26th, 2010, 07:31 PM
The sun while swimming backstroke outdoors is a wicked "distraction".
But that isn't what is making you swim crooked.

Ultimately the line you keep is determined by where you push the water at the end of your pull.

Finish your pull near your body, throwing (or pushing) the water straight down to your toes.
Even throwing water an inch or two to the side or away from your body line will cause you to swim crooked to the other direction.

Keep your head rock steady while looking straight up or a shade forward.
The chin is slightly tucked in to lengthen your spine, not to look down toward your feet.
Press your shoulders back into the water. That will help keep your hips and legs up higher in the water.

And yes, get the darkest goggles and work on your great body position. Those will both help you keep your focus.

Thanks for the tips Ahelee! I too hugged the lane line in my recent outdoor meet. I attribute it to the fact that my backstroke is mediocre, and when I swim indoors I always line myself up with the ceiling landmarks.

AnnG
July 26th, 2010, 07:54 PM
The best thing for swimming straight outdoors long course is to practice practice practice. There is no substitute and if you don't have access to a long course pool it will be more difficult. Also once you start making corrections in your direction its hard to straighten back out! You will get a wicked shimmy going on. . . I think its better to glance at the lane line, just roll your head slightly with your stroke and spot the lane line.

swim53
July 27th, 2010, 01:14 PM
Thank you for the good tips. I have blown some pretty good outdoor backstroke races and I know some very good backstrokers who have too! So frustrating. The tips should help.:)

ElaineK
August 15th, 2010, 10:22 AM
Hey backstrokers, I'm reviving this thread as a desperate plea for HELP! :whiteflag:

I'm a breaststroker who begs to differ with Fort on what the "evilstroke" really is. For me, backstroke is the EVILSTROKE, because it's my slowest! :afraid:

So, I'm ready to confront the evilstroke and set a goal of actually getting it faster than my breaststroke...

Watching videos my husband has shot of my backstroke and listening to the critique of my part-time coach, my worst problem is my kick. When I roll to the right, my left lower leg scissor kicks out and when I roll to the left, my right lower leg scissor kicks out. Even when I think I'm keeping my legs straighter, the camera doesn't lie...

So, what drills can I do to correct this problem?

Thanks! :)

pwolf66
August 15th, 2010, 10:27 AM
Elaine,

What I have my age group breaststokers try to concentrate on with thier kick during backstroke is turn the toes towards each other and try to lightly have them touch during the kick. This does several things:

1 - keeps the focus on a smaller tighter kick
2 - helps to keep the knees straighter
3 - gives them real feedback on if they are doing it correctly

ElaineK
August 15th, 2010, 10:46 AM
Elaine,

What I have my age group breaststokers try to concentrate on with thier kick during backstroke is turn the toes towards each other and try to lightly have them touch during the kick. This does several things:

1 - keeps the focus on a smaller tighter kick
2 - helps to keep the knees straighter
3 - gives them real feedback on if they are doing it correctly

Thanks, Paul! I'm on my way to the pool (along with my husband and camera...), so I'll give it a try. :)

pwolf66
August 15th, 2010, 02:47 PM
Thanks, Paul! I'm on my way to the pool (along with my husband and camera...), so I'll give it a try. :)

I see that I forgot that the idea is to have the big toe of each foot lightly touch, not all of them, sorry.

ElaineK
August 15th, 2010, 06:02 PM
I see that I forgot that the idea is to have the big toe of each foot lightly touch, not all of them, sorry.

:lmao: Uh, Paul, I figured that one out on my own! :D I still need to check my video from this morning and see how I did with that... Thanks!

ande
August 24th, 2010, 10:34 AM
Since we're at the beginning of a new season
I thought I'd bump all the lanes to see which one is winning

thewookiee
August 24th, 2010, 10:51 AM
How many of you wear a nose clip for backstroke? Do you wear it for a specific race, 50/100/200?

Do you wear it all the time on backstroke sets in practice or only on certain sets?

gigi
August 24th, 2010, 01:15 PM
I've tried using a nose clip because I think it will help me on my SDK, but I just can't swim with it on. I get too confused since I always exhale through my nose on backstroke and the nose-clip gets me so out of my groove that I can't even swim. I guess I should devote a little more time to it before I abandon it altogether.
I'm interested to see what others have to say about them...

bzaks1424
August 24th, 2010, 01:38 PM
I've tried using a nose clip because I think it will help me on my SDK, but I just can't swim with it on. I get too confused since I always exhale through my nose on backstroke and the nose-clip gets me so out of my groove that I can't even swim.

I can't imagine using a nose clip as long as you are used to breathing out of your nose. Even in my (albeit horrible) back stroke, I breath in through the mouth and out through the nose.

Redbird Alum
August 24th, 2010, 03:22 PM
In backstroke, if you are positioned correctly head to toe, water is going to invariably run across your face. No-one should ever assume that backstrokers keep their face dry.

That said, I need every orifice above water to be pulling air on my behalf in anything over a 25 yd swim, so no nose clip for me!! :drowning:

Swimosaur
August 24th, 2010, 03:49 PM
Breathing: Once per cycle, or twice per cycle (on every stroke)?

Why or why not?

Does it matter?

moodyrichardson
August 24th, 2010, 11:28 PM
I'm loving this thread! I'm training to swim a 50 and 100 backstroke in an October meet. For the past 2 weeks, I've been putting it all together: starts, swim, flips, SDKs. I'm sure that I'm still sloppy on some things, but I'm having a great time practicing! Will keep you all posted on how the meet goes.

BTW, I DO use noseclips, when I swim backstroke. No matter how hard I try,i end up with a snout full of water. Any other stroke, I don't use them. I've found that I actually swim faster with them on! Not sure what the difference is, but it seems to work out that way.

thewookiee
August 26th, 2010, 11:59 AM
I was reading the other day that a coach teaches his swimmers to enter the water thumb first.

He said is less stressful on the shoulder. It helps promotes better rotation and a better catch. Plus, it helps prevent swimmers from crossing over.

Has anyone tried this idea or heard about it before?

bzaks1424
August 26th, 2010, 12:03 PM
I was reading the other day that a coach teaches his swimmers to enter the water thumb first.

He said is less stressful on the shoulder. It helps promotes better rotation and a better catch. Plus, it helps prevent swimmers from crossing over.

Has anyone tried this idea or heard about it before?

Just trying that in my cube here (yes) that seems awkward. You'd have to rotate your hand underwater to get it in the right catch and pull position (at least from what I can tell).

It also is making my shoulder pop. I'll stop now.

pwolf66
August 26th, 2010, 12:27 PM
I was reading the other day that a coach teaches his swimmers to enter the water thumb first.

He said is less stressful on the shoulder. It helps promotes better rotation and a better catch. Plus, it helps prevent swimmers from crossing over.

Has anyone tried this idea or heard about it before?

I have no idea how that is even possible. I've tried mimicking the move on dryland and just can not see to get a catch at all, much less a good catch. Entering thumb first requires a rotation of combination of lower arm and shoulder to bring the hand to a position to be able to press against the water.

Got any video?

thewookiee
August 26th, 2010, 12:29 PM
I have no idea how that is even possible. I've tried mimicking the move on dryland and just can not see to get a catch at all, much less a good catch. Entering thumb first requires a rotation of combination of lower arm and shoulder to bring the hand to a position to be able to press against the water.

Got any video?

Nope. I was reading about it on GoSwim. A coach(somewhere in the US) posted a comment about teaching the thumb entry. I can mimick it on dryland. Really, this isn't much different than how I enter now.


I enter with the back of the hand, because rotating to get the pinky first causes my shoulders to flare-up.

I was curious to see if anyone else had heard or tried this idea.

pwolf66
August 26th, 2010, 01:08 PM
Nope. I was reading about it on GoSwim. A coach(somewhere in the US) posted a comment about teaching the thumb entry. I can mimick it on dryland. Really, this isn't much different than how I enter now.


I enter with the back of the hand, because rotating to get the pinky first causes my shoulders to flare-up.

I was curious to see if anyone else had heard or tried this idea.

Thumb first? Really? I just don't see how you can setup a good catch quickly as you have to body roll and your have to rotate the hand to a pinky downward position, which seems to be a waste of time over entering pinky first.

I've heard of a neutral entry (i.e slapping the back of the hand) but I've never heard of a thumb first entry.

thewookiee
August 26th, 2010, 01:12 PM
Thumb first? Really? I just don't see how you can setup a good catch quickly as you have to body roll and your have to rotate the hand to a pinky downward position, which seems to be a waste of time over entering pinky first.

I've heard of a neutral entry (i.e slapping the back of the hand) but I've never heard of a thumb first entry.

I am inclined to agree with you about the wasted motion but it could be like lot of things in swimming, one size doesn't fit all.

shahboz
August 26th, 2010, 01:59 PM
I am thumb back until right before the surface. I rotate the hand in one very fast smooth motion. My body roll sets up the shoulder rotation which is continued down through the hand. If you are rotating the hand underwater (thumb first entry) it's going to slow or kill your initial catch. You are going to have to dive the hand about a foot below the surface and rotate it before you can start your pull. FYI Peirsol starts his catch (at the wrist) when his hand is about an inch below the surface.

Also , if you are slapping the surface, you may not have enough body rotation. I can be painful to pinky enter if the body is not rolled over. You can also widen your entry to help get that hand over. Stretching your pecs also helps too.

Redbird Alum
August 30th, 2010, 02:52 PM
Breathing: Once per cycle, or twice per cycle (on every stroke)?

Why or why not?

Does it matter?

For me, based on the choices you gave, once. Usually as the right arm moves up. I tried twice, but felt like I was hyper-ventilating.

moodyrichardson
August 31st, 2010, 01:30 PM
Breathing: Once per cycle, or twice per cycle (on every stroke)?

Why or why not?

Does it matter?

Hmmm. I'm not sure. I usually just breathe, when I need to? Is that bad?

Swimosaur
August 31st, 2010, 02:28 PM
Breathing: Once per cycle, or twice per cycle (on every stroke)?

Why or why not?

Does it matter?

From thread "Swim Myth #7.....busted" ...


... during maximal exertion, even breathing at about our maximal rate (50 to 60 respirations per minute) we do not get enough oxygen. That is called oxygen debt and is why we keep breathing like we are exercising long after the exercise is over.
Cardiac output is also one of the limiting factors in getting oxygen to the muscle, as are several others, but breathing less certainly does not help.
BTW, you should try inhaling on every arm stroke in backstroke. You might go faster.



... I also have a breathing pattern in backstroke ... I breathe every other stroke, inhaling when my right arm is recovering.

The jury is out.

Another breathing metric I like, in addition to breathing pattern, is number of breaths per length. I have difficulty swimming SCY freestyle for very long if I don't get at least six breaths per length, and I much prefer seven or eight. The number of breaths per length is a limiting factor for me in freestyle events 200 & longer. (It is also a limiting factor for me in butterfly and breaststroke, on the rare days I can swim either of them.)

Backstroke is a little different in that there are longer breakouts and fewer strokes per length. Breathing once per cycle would put me below 7 breaths per length, and I don't think I could sustain that. Breathing twice per cycle puts me way over 8. I'm more comfortable there.

Chris, breathing once per cycle, how many breaths per length do you take in a 100 or 200 SCY back?

Chris Stevenson
September 1st, 2010, 01:17 PM
Chris, breathing once per cycle, how many breaths per length do you take in a 100 or 200 SCY back?

I don't count breaths per se, of course. But in a 100 race I take 10-11 kicks underwater and about 4 stroke cycles per length. I often taken an extra quick breath just before the flip, so that would be 5 breaths per lap.

I am less sure in the 200. I take 6-7 kicks underwater but don't remember how many stroke cycles that equates to...maybe 6? I'll have to do a test run tomorrow in practice, if I remember.

Redbird Alum
September 2nd, 2010, 01:49 PM
Okay, just for fun... on your start, do you whip the arms out and around prior to entry, or up and over?

I've always gone around, as up and over tends to drive me too deep too early in the entry profile.

What about the rest of you? Does anyone use a Breastroke recovery in the air?:D

Chris Stevenson
September 2nd, 2010, 03:30 PM
I don't count breaths per se, of course. But in a 100 race I take 10-11 kicks underwater and about 4 stroke cycles per length. I often taken an extra quick breath just before the flip, so that would be 5 breaths per lap.

I am less sure in the 200. I take 6-7 kicks underwater but don't remember how many stroke cycles that equates to...maybe 6? I'll have to do a test run tomorrow in practice, if I remember.

Okay, I remembered that I have two swims on Floswimming (from Clovis nationals). The 100 back stroke count as I remembered it was pretty accurate. My stroke count (not cycles but individual pulls) for the 200 was: 6/9/9/10/10/11/11/11. So divide those numbers by 2, round up if necessary, and that is how many breaths I took for each lap.


Okay, just for fun... on your start, do you whip the arms out and around prior to entry, or up and over?

I've always gone around, as up and over tends to drive me too deep too early in the entry profile.

What about the rest of you? Does anyone use a Breastroke recovery in the air?:D

I think going over the top is more common. I fling my arms to the side, but my start isn't great.

Redbird Alum
September 9th, 2010, 02:49 PM
...
I think going over the top is more common. I fling my arms to the side, but my start isn't great.

Do you look up at the ceiling/sky, or do you tip your head until you see the other end of the pool and then align it just before entry?

Chris Stevenson
September 9th, 2010, 06:05 PM
Do you look up at the ceiling/sky, or do you tip your head until you see the other end of the pool and then align it just before entry?

Mostly up, tilted a little back.

thewookiee
September 10th, 2010, 08:45 AM
Do any of the guys ever get beard burn on one shoulder but not the other? Today was the first time that I had gotten beard burn in a long time. What I found interesting was that I only got it on my left shoulder but not my right.

Does this ever happen to any of you?

Chris Stevenson
September 10th, 2010, 10:16 AM
Do any of the guys ever get beard burn on one shoulder but not the other? Today was the first time that I had gotten beard burn in a long time. What I found interesting was that I only got it on my left shoulder but not my right.

Does this ever happen to any of you?

YES! I noticed this exact thing this summer when I would do a backstroke-heavy LCM practice. It was quite noticeable too; my coach commented on it.

(I haven't noticed it in short-course, though; I guess fewer strokes between walls...)

thewookiee
September 10th, 2010, 10:18 AM
YES! I noticed this exact thing this summer when I would do a backstroke-heavy LCM practice. It was quite noticeable too; my coach commented on it.

(I haven't noticed it in short-course, though; I guess fewer strokes between walls...)

I found it odd that I was getting it on one shoulder but not the other. It has me wondering if I am doing something differently with the mechanics.

Redbird Alum
September 15th, 2010, 03:54 PM
I found it odd that I was getting it on one shoulder but not the other. It has me wondering if I am doing something differently with the mechanics.

Okay... which shoulder? And the obvious follow-up, are you left handed or right handed? (And this isn't just 5 o'clock shadow beard we are talking about, is it?) :oldman:

thewookiee
September 15th, 2010, 04:13 PM
Okay... which shoulder? And the obvious follow-up, are you left handed or right handed? (And this isn't just 5 o'clock shadow beard we are talking about, is it?) :oldman:

Left Shoulder. Right handed. Yea, it would be closer to 5 o'clock shadow at 6 am than a full beard. I would say about 5 day growth(insert smart alec comments here)

thewookiee
September 15th, 2010, 04:24 PM
Gotta another question for the backstrokers. How many of you actually feel like you are rotating your hips from one side to another vs. feeling like you are sliding your hips from one side to another?


Also, how many of you do to the wrist flip at the end of the pull? Where it looks like elites are flipping their wrist down quickly before the arm exits to start the recovery?

orca1946
September 17th, 2010, 12:48 AM
Still trying the back to breast turn with poor timing so far:badday:

Redbird Alum
September 17th, 2010, 11:18 AM
Left Shoulder. Right handed. Yea, it would be closer to 5 o'clock shadow at 6 am than a full beard. I would say about 5 day growth(insert smart alec comments here)

Okay... left shoulder is up and your right arm (strongest) is probably going deeper for the pull. I'm just guessing, but you're rotating more to the favored arm as it pulls, which (if you keep your head locked as we all are wont to do) would bring that left shoulder tighter to your chin.

I'm a righty, and last evening I had to try not to overthink the why as I worked this out. Let me know what you think.

Redbird Alum
September 17th, 2010, 11:21 AM
Gotta another question for the backstrokers. How many of you actually feel like you are rotating your hips from one side to another vs. feeling like you are sliding your hips from one side to another?

Also, how many of you do to the wrist flip at the end of the pull? Where it looks like elites are flipping their wrist down quickly before the arm exits to start the recovery?

1. Definately rotate more than slide.

2. I tend to flip the wrist in a meet, but not so much in practice. I've always been a believer in that last bit of scull helping to elongate the pull (and add a teeny push) and also to help lift the arm for recovery. No scientific data to back up the beleif, though.

thewookiee
September 17th, 2010, 11:54 AM
Okay... left shoulder is up and your right arm (strongest) is probably going deeper for the pull. I'm just guessing, but you're rotating more to the favored arm as it pulls, which (if you keep your head locked as we all are wont to do) would bring that left shoulder tighter to your chin.

I'm a righty, and last evening I had to try not to overthink the why as I worked this out. Let me know what you think.

I think you maybe right on the "deeper pull' observation. I have been going more toward the right side of the lane lately. This morning, I focused on rolling more on the left side, which seemed to allow the pull to get a bit deeper. I stayed more centered in the lane as well.

From time to time, I know that I have the tendency to let me head ride too high out of the water. I think that forces me to favor my strong side(right side), so I roll more to that side. Today, when I made sure my ears were submergered, letting just a small part of my face be above water, I had much better roll to both sides as well...easier too.


Thanks for your comments! I appreciate them.

moodyrichardson
September 18th, 2010, 03:32 PM
Questions for you guys. What are the official USMS rules for backstroking. Do you have to touch both feet on the turns, or if you just one?

Also, I've been changing from a SCMl to SCY. I'm trying to get my stroke count down for the turn. What do you guys do, when it brings you too close to the wall take that last stroke, but if you don't take it, you are too far out?

Thanks!

Karl_S
September 18th, 2010, 04:04 PM
Also, I've been changing from a SCMl to SCY. I'm trying to get my stroke count down for the turn. What do you guys do, when it brings you too close to the wall take that last stroke, but if you don't take it, you are too far out?

Thanks!
For me, the SCM flags are pretty much exactly 4 strokes from the wall at race pace. In SCY the flags are like 3-and-a-bit strokes from the wall at race pace. I tend to pick up stroke rate a bit at the flags, decrease how hard I am pulling and take 4 shorter quicker strokes. I know there is still room for improvement though...

Redbird Alum
September 20th, 2010, 05:00 PM
Questions for you guys. What are the official USMS rules for backstroking. Do you have to touch both feet on the turns, or if you just one?
...!

Actually, just "something" has to touch... here is the USMS backstroke turn rule...


101.4.3 Turns—Upon completion of each length, some part of the swimmer must
touch the wall. During the turn the shoulders may be turned past the vertical
toward the breast, after which a continuous single arm pull or a continuous
simultaneous double arm pull may be used to initiate the turn. Once the body

has left the position on the back, any kick or arm pull must be part of the
continuous turning action. The swimmer must have returned to a position
on the back upon leaving the wall.

Note: The swimmer who turns past vertical and, in a continuous motion,

grabs the wall before pushing off with the feet while on the back is considered
to have executed a “continuous turning action.”

Of course, bashing the end with some parts might be uncomfortable! :blush:

moodyrichardson
September 20th, 2010, 08:02 PM
Actually, just "something" has to touch... here is the USMS backstroke turn rule...


101.4.3 Turns—

Upon completion of each length, some part of the swimmer must

touch the wall. During the


turn the shoulders may be turned past the vertical

toward the breast, after which a continuous single arm pull or a continuous
simultaneous double arm pull may be used to initiate the turn. Once the


body

has left the position on the back, any


kick or arm pull must be part of the

continuous turning action. The swimmer must have returned to a position
on the back upon leaving the wall.
Note:


The swimmer who turns past vertical and, in a continuous motion,

grabs the wall before pushing off with the feet while on the back is consid


ered
to have executed a “continuous turning action.”

Of course, bashing the end with some parts might be uncomfortable! :blush:


Thanks so much for posting the actual rule!! I think I'm going to try to skip the "bashing" part:)

Allen Stark
September 28th, 2010, 08:32 PM
As those who have read my other posts know,backstroke is my worst stroke,but as I was swimming today I was pondering whether some true backstrokers would be faster doing something off the wall other than SDK.My fastest way is swimming as close to 15M as possible breaststroke underwater on my back.I know that wouldn't be the fastest for normal people,but since not everyone has a great SDK and since swimming underwater gives less resistance than on the surface might something like BR pull/dolphin kick be faster for some of you.Something to ponder(or should I just stay in the BR lane.)

ElaineK
September 28th, 2010, 10:40 PM
As those who have read my other posts know,backstroke is my worst stroke,but as I was swimming today I was pondering whether some true backstrokers would be faster doing something off the wall other than SDK.My fastest way is swimming as close to 15M as possible breaststroke underwater on my back.I know that wouldn't be the fastest for normal people,but since not everyone has a great SDK and since swimming underwater gives less resistance than on the surface might something like BR pull/dolphin kick be faster for some of you.Something to ponder(or should I just stay in the BR lane.)

I feel your pain, Allen. Backstroke is my worst stroke, as well! Just for fun, I'm going to try your idea and have Bruce time me off the wall both ways. Interesting idea!

As for staying in the Breaststroke Lane, you know you are always appreciated there. You are THE frog! Uh, make that "Frog-In-Chief"! :cheerleader:

bzaks1424
September 29th, 2010, 08:57 AM
As those who have read my other posts know,backstroke is my worst stroke,but as I was swimming today I was pondering whether some true backstrokers would be faster doing something off the wall other than SDK.My fastest way is swimming as close to 15M as possible breaststroke underwater on my back.I know that wouldn't be the fastest for normal people,but since not everyone has a great SDK and since swimming underwater gives less resistance than on the surface might something like BR pull/dolphin kick be faster for some of you.Something to ponder(or should I just stay in the BR lane.)

1) Is that legal? (Seriously) I always thought for back stroke after a start or wall you *have* to either dolphin kick or flutter kick your way back to the top.... Granted - I don't pay enough attention to the rules.

2) Please, swim more backstroke. The more you do it in competitions, the more chances I have to say "Hey! I almost came close to tying with Allen Stark in a race!"

pwolf66
September 29th, 2010, 09:19 AM
1) Is that legal? (Seriously) I always thought for back stroke after a start or wall you *have* to either dolphin kick or flutter kick your way back to the top.... Granted - I don't pay enough attention to the rules.

2) Please, swim more backstroke. The more you do it in competitions, the more chances I have to say "Hey! I almost came close to tying with Allen Stark in a race!"


1) No, both Free and Back have no restictions on the motion of the arms or the legs only on the position of the body in backstroke.

2) I agree.

Allen Stark
September 29th, 2010, 02:24 PM
1)

2) Please, swim more backstroke. The more you do it in competitions, the more chances I have to say "Hey! I almost came close to tying with Allen Stark in a race!"

It isn't hard to beat me in BK.My 60-64 PB for 50 BR is 30.3,my PB for 50 BK is 34.3.Yes ,that is a 4 sec difference,and it only gets worse with longer distances.I entered a 200 BK once and had to make sure the timers had calendar watches.

bzaks1424
September 29th, 2010, 02:29 PM
It isn't hard to beat me in BK.My 60-64 PB for 50 BR is 30.3,my PB for 50 BK is 34.3.Yes ,that is a 4 sec difference,and it only gets worse with longer distances.I entered a 200 BK once and had to make sure the timers had calendar watches.

Hysterically enough - the man who says his back is slow needs to look at my back stroke times....
I make you look like Lightning McQueen (http://www.usms.org/comp/meets/indresults.php?SwimmerID=06TZ1&StrokeID=2&CourseID=0)!

Karl_S
September 29th, 2010, 02:47 PM
As those who have read my other posts know,backstroke is my worst stroke,but as I was swimming today I was pondering whether some true backstrokers would be faster doing something off the wall other than SDK.My fastest way is swimming as close to 15M as possible breaststroke underwater on my back.I know that wouldn't be the fastest for normal people,but since not everyone has a great SDK and since swimming underwater gives less resistance than on the surface might something like BR pull/dolphin kick be faster for some of you.Something to ponder(or should I just stay in the BR lane.)

After reading this post, today in practice I tried a few backstroke turns with a breaststroke-on-the-back pullout. It produces good distance and seems remarkably quick. Maybe Allen is onto something.

ElaineK
September 29th, 2010, 05:47 PM
It isn't hard to beat me in BK.My 60-64 PB for 50 BR is 30.3,my PB for 50 BK is 34.3.Yes ,that is a 4 sec difference,and it only gets worse with longer distances.I entered a 200 BK once and had to make sure the timers had calendar watches.

Allen, my 50 BK was 5 seconds slower than my 50 BR in Saturday's pentathlon! :cane: But, here's the funny thing about it: After my "race" :lmao:, one of the other swimmers said I had good rotation and a strong kick. I thought he was joking! But, he sent me a message suggesting I should consider making backstroke my second stroke! (By the way, this swimmer happens to be very fast. I looked him up and he ranked around 20th in every event he competed in, since joining USMS at the beginning of the year.) OK, so my backstroke may look good, but the video shot of me looks like I was swimming in slooooow motion! I think my fly (or IM) has more potential... So, it looks like I'll be sticking with you in the Breaststroke Lane! :D

Allen Stark
September 29th, 2010, 06:08 PM
Hysterically enough - the man who says his back is slow needs to look at my back stroke times....
I make you look like Lightning McQueen (http://www.usms.org/comp/meets/indresults.php?SwimmerID=06TZ1&StrokeID=2&CourseID=0)!

Remember for that backstroke time I swam nearly 30M of it underwater breaststroke.Since that should be faster than my regular BR think how slow the remaining less than 20 yd is.

orca1946
September 29th, 2010, 06:09 PM
The new swimmer mag. sept/oct has an entire article on this with pics.

ElaineK
September 30th, 2010, 08:54 PM
After reading this post, today in practice I tried a few backstroke turns with a breaststroke-on-the-back pullout. It produces good distance and seems remarkably quick. Maybe Allen is onto something.

I asked somebody to time me, today, both ways- twice. My SDK was a full second slower than my breast-on-the-back pullout. Allen's idea works for me! :D

Redbird Alum
October 4th, 2010, 12:44 PM
I asked somebody to time me, today, both ways- twice. My SDK was a full second slower than my breast-on-the-back pullout. Allen's idea works for me! :D

One of you let us know when you first use this in a meet, and let us know how the referee reacts!

ElaineK
October 4th, 2010, 03:03 PM
One of you let us know when you first use this in a meet, and let us know how the referee reacts!

The referee might have a funny reaction, but as longs as I stay on my back, I can't get DQ'd! I will make sure my husband gets it on video, panning to the referee as I transition from fly to backstroke in the IM! :D

Allen Stark
October 4th, 2010, 04:24 PM
One of you let us know when you first use this in a meet, and let us know how the referee reacts!

I have done the BR underwater in BK races in several meets.No DQs(because it isn't illegal) and it is not a secret as most of my friends know about it and point it out to others("watch what that weird breaststroker in lane 2 does off the turns.")

jadie
October 6th, 2010, 09:10 PM
Interesting posts. I think what I learned is how difficult it is for a lot of masters swimmers to just find a place to swim much less have a coach. At first I was critical of giving advice without seeing the swimmer. But then when I realized how many swimmers were on their own, what the heck. Nice to see swimmers helping each other out.

Zulu
October 6th, 2010, 10:02 PM
I have my first meet in 23 years this Saturday.
50 and 100 BR and 50 and 100 BK.

I'm looking at it as a time trial, but I'm still anxious.

Karl_S
October 7th, 2010, 12:17 PM
I have my first meet in 23 years this Saturday.
50 and 100 BR and 50 and 100 BK.

I'm looking at it as a time trial, but I'm still anxious.
What meet are you going to?

Based on my experience, once you hear, "take your mark" your focus will narrow, the anxiousness will abate and you will be fine.

Good luck! Let us know how it goes.

ElaineK
October 7th, 2010, 05:38 PM
I have my first meet in 23 years this Saturday.
50 and 100 BR and 50 and 100 BK.

I'm looking at it as a time trial, but I'm still anxious.

Good luck, Zulu! :cheerleader: My first meet in 30 years was this past March and I felt exactly the same way. There were almost 300 swimmers there, because they were all trying to qualify for Nationals, so I felt a bit intimidated. By the end of the second day, though, I was so excited and had a blast swimming in the medley relay.

Once you have this first meet completed, the bug will bite and you will be looking forward to more! :banana:

Redbird Alum
October 11th, 2010, 12:57 PM
I have my first meet in 23 years this Saturday.
50 and 100 BR and 50 and 100 BK.

I'm looking at it as a time trial, but I'm still anxious.

So how did it go? Did you take out the 100 too hard and wish it was a 50?

ElaineK
October 17th, 2010, 09:52 PM
I have done the BR underwater in BK races in several meets.No DQs(because it isn't illegal) and it is not a secret as most of my friends know about it and point it out to others("watch what that weird breaststroker in lane 2 does off the turns.")

Allen, do you have any videos you can post on this? SwimShark (Alison) and I are both working on ours, so a video would be helpful. I'm still trying to work out the most efficient way to do it. Do the arms follow the same pattern as doing a regular breaststroke pulldown, but flipped over on the back?

orca1946
October 18th, 2010, 12:52 AM
Latley my legs weaken at 75 yards. After a hip replacement, no more running.

Allen Stark
October 18th, 2010, 03:40 PM
Allen, do you have any videos you can post on this? SwimShark (Alison) and I are both working on ours, so a video would be helpful. I'm still trying to work out the most efficient way to do it. Do the arms follow the same pattern as doing a regular breaststroke pulldown, but flipped over on the back?

I don't have a video(yet.)What I do is try to have it as close to regular BR as possible except upside down and underwater ,so I start with a pull down and then do 4 strokes and come up flutterkicking.I think some SDK before the pull down may be a good idea and I am not sure it wouldn't be faster to forget the pulldown.For some I am sure it would be faster to do only pulldown type pulls.It is still a work in progress and YMMV.

Thrashing Slug
October 18th, 2010, 04:11 PM
The breaststrokers have hijacked the backstroke lane!! :D

I'm still trying to wrap my brain around what I am certain is to become my new backstroke turn technique. Let me get this straight - it's legal to swim full stroke breaststroke off a backstroke turn, up to 15M, on your back?

Inconceivable!

Allen Stark
October 18th, 2010, 04:13 PM
The breaststrokers have hijacked the backstroke lane!! :D

I'm still trying to wrap my brain around what I am certain is to become my new backstroke turn technique. Let me get this straight - it's legal to swim full stroke breaststroke off a backstroke turn, up to 15M, on your back?

Inconceivable!

As long as you are on your back and come up after 15M you are legal.

Thrashing Slug
October 18th, 2010, 04:16 PM
Wow, that could have shaved about 30 seconds off my 400 IM at practice this morning.

The prospect of figuring out how to swim breaststroke underwater and upside down seems like a lot more fun than working on backstroke.

thewookiee
October 18th, 2010, 05:04 PM
As long as you are on your back and come up after 15M you are legal.

Allen, not one to question a person of your caliber, but don't you mean "before" instead of "after" 15m?

ElaineK
October 18th, 2010, 05:05 PM
I don't have a video(yet.)What I do is try to have it as close to regular BR as possible except upside down and underwater ,so I start with a pull down and then do 4 strokes and come up flutterkicking.I think some SDK before the pull down may be a good idea and I am not sure it wouldn't be faster to forget the pulldown.For some I am sure it would be faster to do only pulldown type pulls.It is still a work in progress and YMMV.

Ok, Allen, you lost me on the "4 strokes" part. 4? I thought it was just a push off the wall, pull down, one breaststroke kick, streamline, surface, swim backstroke. :confused: Hey, whatever it is, I'm with Thrashing Slug. This is fun! :D

Allen Stark
October 18th, 2010, 05:54 PM
Ok, Allen, you lost me on the "4 strokes" part. 4? I thought it was just a push off the wall, pull down, one breaststroke kick, streamline, surface, swim backstroke. :confused: Hey, whatever it is, I'm with Thrashing Slug. This is fun! :D

You can go 15M underwater.I don't go that far off a turn on just the pullout so after the pullout I keep swimming BR,on my back underwater.

ElaineK
October 18th, 2010, 08:54 PM
You can go 15M underwater.I don't go that far off a turn on just the pullout so after the pullout I keep swimming BR,on my back underwater.
Tomorrow morning's swim should be quite interesting, trying this out... Just when I thought I understood how to do it... I didn't! I should wait until the noodler's get into the pool before I try this out, just to see their reaction. I already get confused stares when I do all the different drills you detailed on The Breaststroke Lane! :bump:

BLRry
October 19th, 2010, 01:46 AM
My coach is advocating that I hold my hands on the gutter instead of the starting block to start.


Yes I've seen it done in masters competition. The starter shouldn't give you any hassle; it is perfectly legal.

I swim in Costa Rica, so I checked the FINA swimming rules and they state "with both hands holding the starting grip". The US Rules specifically state "both hands placed on the gutter or on the starting grips."

Anybody know if the FINA "on the starting grip" rule really gets enforced? The gutter idea sounds like a great option to me because I have serious foot slippage problems on my backstroke starts.

bzaks1424
October 19th, 2010, 08:17 AM
I swim in Costa Rica, so I checked the FINA swimming rules and they state "with both hands holding the starting grip". The US Rules specifically state "both hands placed on the gutter or on the starting grips."

Anybody know if the FINA "on the starting grip" rule really gets enforced? The gutter idea sounds like a great option to me because I have serious foot slippage problems on my backstroke starts.

Do you have that problem with the touch pads though? I've found its a lot easier to do my (terrible) back starts when I have a touch pad to grip my toes on.

ElaineK
October 19th, 2010, 01:33 PM
You can go 15M underwater.I don't go that far off a turn on just the pullout so after the pullout I keep swimming BR,on my back underwater.

I tried a hybrid of SDK/ breaststroke off the turn, today, and that seemed to work for me. A couple of dolphin kicks off the wall (on my back, of course), a breaststroke (on back) pulldown, kick, then a few more dolphin kicks.

Next experiment: Sequential u/w breast on back like you are doing, Allen, to see what works better for me.

Redbird Alum
October 25th, 2010, 04:40 PM
I tried a hybrid of SDK/ breaststroke off the turn, today.... A couple of dolphin kicks off the wall (on my back, of course), a breaststroke (on back) pulldown, kick, then a few more dolphin kicks.

Next experiment: Sequential u/w breast on back ...

Well, Elaine, what did you discover? Was the mixed version better than the pure upside down breaststroke? Did you have someone timing you?

ElaineK
October 25th, 2010, 05:40 PM
Well, Elaine, what did you discover? Was the mixed version better than the pure upside down breaststroke? Did you have someone timing you?

Well, I haven't reported back, because I have not been able to get anything timed yet. Since I'm going out of town for a couple of weeks, it looks like it will be awhile before I can get my husband to time me on both versions. But, I can say that I think my mixed version will be faster. Unfortunately, though, my lung capacity is such that I definitely don't think I would be able to do the full amount of allowed yardage on each lap of any race beyond a 50 backstroke or 100IM. :blush: It sure is a great for my lungs trying to do it! If nothing else, my lung capacity will improve. :applaud: It's fun, too. :)

ande
October 28th, 2010, 11:56 AM
Tip of the Week: Backstroke with Eddie Reese (http://tv.swimmingworldmagazine.com/shows/the-morning-swim-show/morning-swim-show-tip-of-the-week/6656)

ande
October 28th, 2010, 11:59 AM
Chris Stevenson and Set of the Week (http://tv.swimmingworldmagazine.com/shows/the-morning-swim-show/morning-swim-show-workout-videos/187)

Redbird Alum
October 29th, 2010, 01:51 PM
Tip of the Week: Backstroke with Eddie Reese (http://tv.swimmingworldmagazine.com/shows/the-morning-swim-show/morning-swim-show-tip-of-the-week/6656)

Ande -

Thanks a bunch for this. I agree that Eddie does a great job with the drill explanations, and I was able to use some of his comments with my youth swimmers last night at practice! I find the more perspectives I have, the more swimmers I can reach.

Keep em coming! :)

Redbird Alum
November 15th, 2010, 03:33 PM
I'm always trying to get my kids to understand the connection between abs and their backstroke kick... found this kick drill that absolutely works, and has the added benefit of getting them to dolphin both up and down in their fly kick.

http://www.goswim.tv/entries/5933/backstroke---backwards-board-kick.html

nhc
November 15th, 2010, 04:17 PM
Question for everyone: Can you see, while backstroking--

the lane line?
the lifeguard standing at the end of the pool your feet point to?
Your own feet or legs?

shahboz
November 15th, 2010, 09:26 PM
Question for everyone: Can you see, while backstroking--

the lane line?
the lifeguard standing at the end of the pool your feet point to?
Your own feet or legs?

The sky and water rolling over my goggles. I do see a bit of the ropes in my periphery if I'm close.

Redbird Alum
November 16th, 2010, 02:33 PM
Question for everyone: Can you see, while backstroking--

the lane line?
the lifeguard standing at the end of the pool your feet point to?
Your own feet or legs?

Ropes, yes, peripherally.
Guard, only immediately after the turn, again peripherally.
Feet, Nope.

ande
December 1st, 2010, 05:27 AM
thought I'd bump all the lanes to the front page to encourage folks to comment in their lanes

Redbird Alum
December 1st, 2010, 02:33 PM
Ande -

Thanks for the "bump".

Lately, I've started doing more sets of 200 backstrokes, trying to sustain my performance across the set (total time), while trying different splits in each. Example, 1st 200 I go 50 fast, 50 stretch, 50 stretch, 50 fast; 2nd 200 go 50 stretch, 50 fast, 50 fast, 50 stretch.

It's interesting how different the fast and stretch feel based on where in the 200 they come, and in which 200 of the set.

Anyone have other "fun" sets they've been experimenting with?

ande
December 1st, 2010, 04:16 PM
when I spoke to Mike Ross about his 200 bk at the 2008 nats in austin
think he went 1:50ish
he said "he SDKed hard & fast off each wall then swam with easy speed"

moodyrichardson
December 1st, 2010, 10:53 PM
when I spoke to Mike Ross about his 200 bk at the 2008 nats in austin
think he went 1:50ish
he said "he SDKed hard & fast off each wall then swam with easy speed"

Now, this is definitely a goal!!!

Redbird Alum
December 7th, 2010, 04:48 PM
In an "About.com" article on backstroking, Matt Leubbers suggests that faster feet make for faster arm stroke...

http://swimming.about.com/cs/freestyleandback/a/basic_backstrok.htm

In my swimming of backstroke, I don't make this connection. Faster arm cycles are more a function of the cadence (or tempo) I set in my head, not at all a function of my kick.

What do you backstrokers make of this theory?

quicksilver
December 7th, 2010, 05:07 PM
What do you backstrokers make of this theory?

Backstroke requires a solid six beat kick on each arm cycle. 2 to the left side... 2 up and down... and 2 to the right side. You can't fake it with a 2 beat or 4 beat pattern or you just might be swimming a tad flat. And that's not really good form.

....maybe that's what the article was pointing to?

All this being said, most backstrokers are usually very good in the kick department.

Redbird Alum
January 3rd, 2011, 04:56 PM
From the 2011 Edition of the USAS Rulebook, note how few "rules" actually govern the backstroke below.

Interestingly, the first sentence in each sub-point below represented the whole sub-point when I first started swimming. The second and third sentences in sub-points 1,2,3 represent changes during my swimming career. (All devised to make backstroke "faster"!)


101.4 BACKSTROKE

.1 Start — The swimmers shall line up in the water facing the starting end, with both hands placed on the gutter or on the starting grips. Standing in or on the gutter, placing the toes above the lip of the gutter, or bending the toes over the lip of the gutter, before or after the start, is prohibited.


.2 Stroke — The swimmer shall push off on his back and continue swimming on the back throughout the race. Some part of the swimmer must break the surface of the water throughout the race, except it is permissible for the swimmer to be completely submerged during the turn, at the finish and for a distance of not more than 15 meters (16.4 yards) after the start and after each turn. By that point, the head must have broken the surface of the water.


.3 Turns — Upon completion of each length, some part of the swimmer must touch the wall. During the turn the shoulders may be turned past the vertical toward the breast after which a continuous single arm pull or a continuous simultaneous double arm pull may be used to initiate the turn. The swimmer must have returned to a position on the back upon leaving the wall.

.4 Finish — Upon the finish of the race, the swimmer must touch the wall while on the back.

thewookiee
January 3rd, 2011, 05:15 PM
All this being said, most backstrokers are usually very good in the kick department.

I agree that most backstrokers are good in the kick dept.

In someways, it seems that good 200 backstrokers almost pull the first 100 when they are on top of the water(ie after the underwater part of each wall) They do use a steady kick but don't put too much emphasis on the legs. Then they use a strong kick on all aspects on the 2nd 100.

Redbird Alum
January 11th, 2011, 03:20 PM
Read this article recently off the USAS site with regard to practicing turns....

http://www.usaswimming.org/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabId=1683&Alias=Rainbow&Lang=en

In the backstroke turn section, they repeatedly said the position of the feet at the push-off following the turn was "45 degrees angled up", rather than toes straight up.

I was intrigued and after my own practice experience, wondered why this would be the case. I understand you are on your back, but wouldn't the feet/toes be pointed directly up? That's how mine end up.

Anyone out there agree/disagree with the article's suggestion?

Jimbosback
February 5th, 2011, 12:42 AM
What is a good stroke rate/stroke count for a 50y back?

Today, I swam some 50s pretty hard, and I was going 13 strokes/flip/15 strokes. This is the fewest I've ever done and close to my freestyle, and it felt pretty good. The pace clock was off today, so I don't know how fast they were.

I am working a lot on back, because it is the weak point of my 100 IM.

Thanks for any advice.

arthur
February 7th, 2011, 12:59 AM
What is a good stroke rate/stroke count for a 50y back?

Today, I swam some 50s pretty hard, and I was going 13 strokes/flip/15 strokes. This is the fewest I've ever done and close to my freestyle, and it felt pretty good. The pace clock was off today, so I don't know how fast they were.

I am working a lot on back, because it is the weak point of my 100 IM.

Thanks for any advice. It really depends on how far you streamline off each wall and a bit on your height. I just watched a 100 scy back race of Ryan Lochte and I counted 8 strokes per lap. I don't swim scy so I can't tell you how many strokes I take, but my stroke count in backstroke is 1-2 less than my freestyle which is why I belong in the backstroke lane ;p

Swimosaur
February 7th, 2011, 10:00 AM
What is a good stroke rate/stroke count for a 50y back?

Ryan Lochte or Chris Stevenson may not be right reference points; these guys are swimming on a different astral plane ... so ...

One way to get a handle on this question is to go to this link (http://www.floswimming.org/videos/swimming_race) at Floswimming, and search for "Masters", "Men", "Backstroke", and "50 yards". It will show you all heats from the USMS 2009 SCY Championships at Clovis. Pick a few heats featuring swimmers who are a little faster than you, count their strokes, measure their turnover rates, and that will give you an idea of the appropriate ranges. Let us know what you find out.

I've been working on my 50 back on and off for the last 8 months or so, with some success. What worked for me was to follow Ande's kicking program to improve my SDK, and then to find the right balance (currently: off the start, 12 kicks & off the turn, get up and swim asap!) I dropped almost a second, and am now looking for new ways forward.

Jimbosback
February 7th, 2011, 10:27 AM
Ryan Lochte or Chris Stevenson may not be right reference points; these guys are swimming on a different astral plane ... so ...

One way to get a handle on this question is to go to this link (http://www.floswimming.org/videos/swimming_race) at Floswimming, and search for "Masters", "Men", "Backstroke", and "50 yards". It will show you all heats from the USMS 2009 SCY Championships at Clovis. Pick a few heats featuring swimmers who are a little faster than you, count their strokes, measure their turnover rates, and that will give you an idea of the appropriate ranges. Let us know what you find out.

I've been working on my 50 back on and off for the last 8 months or so, with some success. What worked for me was to follow Ande's kicking program to improve my SDK, and then to find the right balance (currently: off the start, 12 kicks & off the turn, get up and swim asap!) I dropped almost a second, and am now looking for new ways forward.

Thanks a lot for that link. It looks like those around :30 are going out in anywhere from 10-15 (excluding those mostly underwater who are taking as few as 4-6) and coming back in 16-20. Also true for one heat where everyone was under :27.

This tells me that my rate is good and I need to work on turning it over faster (I think). At minimum, I should experiment using the clock and figure out what's faster.

As far as SDK, I go 6 off the wall -- I am still too uncomfortable on my back to go more -- I end up too deep and struggle on breakout if I try to stay down more than 6. (I'm working on SDK a lot too.)

Redbird Alum
February 7th, 2011, 11:54 AM
...
This tells me that my rate is good and I need to work on turning it over faster (I think). At minimum, I should experiment using the clock and figure out what's faster. ...


Be careful not to think stroke turnover without efficiency. If your pull is already efficient, spend more time on your kick. Have a coach watch you from above and below the water line to check your stroke efficiency.

Swimosaur
February 8th, 2011, 09:17 AM
At minimum, I should experiment using the clock and figure out what's faster.

In my experience -- admittedly limited to the last eight months -- my SportCount Chrono 100 has been invaluable for this purpose. The Chrono 100 is a little watch you wear on your index finger. It times intervals to 1/100th of a second, and remembers up to 100 intervals at a time. I posted two pictures of it here.

For 25 yard underwater SDK shooters, it's the best. Without a deck coach, how else can you tell the difference between 15.4 seconds and 14.8? For backstroke intervals I've found it most practical to finish all intervals with a turn, and record times to the feet. That way you don't have to worry which hand you're using to finish -- the watch-bearing hand is always free to stop the clock.

I train on my own a lot, and in addition to timing sprints, I also use the watch for timing interval sets. It's very handy when swimming in pools that don't have a pace clock. I use it for something almost every day. For me it was $40 well spent.

thewookiee
February 8th, 2011, 09:51 AM
Anyone have a good tip for learning how to drive the hands into the catch? It was pointed out that I not driving it into the water but more like setting it on top of the water.

arthur
February 8th, 2011, 10:59 AM
Anyone have a good tip for learning how to drive the hands into the catch? It was pointed out that I not driving it into the water but more like setting it on top of the water.GoSwim covered this a couple weeks ago:
http://www.goswim.tv/entries/6170/backstroke---not-too-soft-hand-entry.html

thewookiee
February 8th, 2011, 11:05 AM
GoSwim covered this a couple weeks ago:
http://www.goswim.tv/entries/6170/backstroke---not-too-soft-hand-entry.html

Thanks Arthur!

Redbird Alum
February 14th, 2011, 04:20 PM
GoSwim covered this a couple weeks ago:
http://www.goswim.tv/entries/6170/backstroke---not-too-soft-hand-entry.html

I like the quote... "people should hear you swimming the backstroke..."

We used a drill to teach kids to hit the water, basically a backstroke windmill as fast as they could. Adding the pinkie first to this thought process really seems to work pretty well.

Thanks, Arthur!

jaadams1
February 14th, 2011, 11:06 PM
Anyone have any good advice on breathing patterns for backstroke? Is it best to try for breathe in on one armstroke (left arm), and out on the next armstroke (right arm) ??? (Hey That Guy - even sarcastic advice could be good advice) :afraid:

Amy T
February 15th, 2011, 06:35 AM
Anyone have any good advice on breathing patterns for backstroke? Is it best to try for breathe in on one armstroke (left arm), and out on the next armstroke (right arm) ??? (Hey That Guy - even sarcastic advice could be good advice) :afraid:

I'm not the best, but I tend to breathe in as the arm comes out of the water and out when it enters. So, I guess I breathe twice in each stroke cycle. This may not work too well for a 50, but it works pretty well for a 200.

I've got a question on starts. I can't for the life of me get out of the water on my dive. I try to jump up at an angle, but I end up just pushing into the water and sort of do a back smack. Anyone have any tips on how to actually do a dive?

That Guy
February 15th, 2011, 01:02 PM
Anyone have any good advice on breathing patterns for backstroke? Is it best to try for breathe in on one armstroke (left arm), and out on the next armstroke (right arm) ??? (Hey That Guy - even sarcastic advice could be good advice) :afraid:

I breathe every single stroke in backstroke. What does "sarcastic" mean?

bzaks1424
February 15th, 2011, 01:05 PM
I breathe every single stroke in backstroke. What does "sarcastic" mean?

I don't really have a breathing "pattern" per se... it's more like "come out from under water, gasp for air, stoke once or twice, spit water out of mouth, gasp for air (repeat as necessary).

That Guy
February 15th, 2011, 01:06 PM
I've got a question on starts. I can't for the life of me get out of the water on my dive. I try to jump up at an angle, but I end up just pushing into the water and sort of do a back smack. Anyone have any tips on how to actually do a dive?

A few years back I read a tip from Ande that said to position yourself for the start such that your knees are bent 90 degrees. When the starter says take your mark, don't change the angle of your knees, just pull yourself up with your arms a bit. I don't know why this works but it works great, I rip almost every entry. Thanks Ande!

jaadams1
February 15th, 2011, 01:20 PM
I breathe every single stroke in backstroke. What does "sarcastic" mean?

I think I breathe every stroke too, but I thought it may be slowing down my turnover...maybe if I were to kick faster... :afraid:

Swimosaur
February 15th, 2011, 02:39 PM
Breathing: Once per cycle, or twice per cycle (on every stroke)?

Why or why not?

Does it matter?


We have a discussion of this upthread, from last August. Bottom line at the time was: Gary Hall Sr. suggests breathing once per stroke (twice per cycle), but Chris "Hung in the Lung" Stevenson breathes but once per cycle. I guess it's swimmer's choice.

As a mammal, I have a peculiar fondness for air. I breathe twice per cycle.

Lump
February 15th, 2011, 03:48 PM
I use as Gary Hall suggests, every stroke. I also wear a nose clip for the 50 and 100, but not the 200. I find that the nose clip not only helps for UW (not having to exhale), but keeps the minute amount of water that can get in my nose and the back of my throat, which causes me to have to swallow and throws my breathing off.

This past weekend I forgot my noseclip in the 100 and suffered for it (59.99), but did wear it in the 50 and had a great swim (26.88)

woolie mammoth
February 15th, 2011, 04:00 PM
I use as Gary Hall suggests, every stroke. I also wear a nose clip for the 50 and 100, but not the 200. I find that the nose clip not only helps for UW (not having to exhale), but keeps the minute amount of water that can get in my nose and the back of my throat, which causes me to have to swallow and throws my breathing off.

This past weekend I forgot my noseclip in the 100 and suffered for it (59.99), but did wear it in the 50 and had a great swim (26.88)


Why not try it for a 200?

Lump
February 15th, 2011, 04:50 PM
Why not try it for a 200?

I could, but I'm not quite as good in the 200 (go figure, I'm a mid-dist freestlyer, not a sprinter). I've had more success in the 50 and 100. If I do 200 back in the next meet I might.

woolie mammoth
February 15th, 2011, 04:55 PM
I could, but I'm not quite as good in the 200 (go figure, I'm a mid-dist freestlyer, not a sprinter). I've had more success in the 50 and 100. If I do 200 back in the next meet I might.


Try it. Which nose clip do you use? I like the speedo metal one. I have found that it keeps water out but doesn't pinch my nose to the point that I can't exhale above water.

I have also found that if I put my head into the right position, coming off the walls, then I don't need a nose clip at all.

mctrusty
February 15th, 2011, 05:57 PM
A few years back I read a tip from Ande that said to position yourself for the start such that your knees are bent 90 degrees. When the starter says take your mark, don't change the angle of your knees, just pull yourself up with your arms a bit. I don't know why this works but it works great, I rip almost every entry. Thanks Ande!

The idea is that you lose power and increase your get-off time by bending your knees past 90 degrees. All you are doing if you ball yourself up is taking more time to get off of the start without generating any more explosion.

ande
February 15th, 2011, 06:44 PM
hey there

you're welcome

the 90 degree knee bend on backstroke starts works because you set your knees at the ideal place to jump powerfully and get off the blocks fast.

Extra knee bend is unnecessary. Swimmers who bend too much just spend more time on the blocks and don't jump any better.

It's worthwhile to improve your backstroke start technique and get more air and less drag through the water.

I wish swimming would return to stand up starts on backstroke or at least curling toes over the lip.

Ande


A few years back I read a tip from Ande that said to position yourself for the start such that your knees are bent 90 degrees. When the starter says take your mark, don't change the angle of your knees, just pull yourself up with your arms a bit. I don't know why this works but it works great, I rip almost every entry. Thanks Ande!

Lump
February 15th, 2011, 08:44 PM
Try it. Which nose clip do you use? I like the speedo metal one. I have found that it keeps water out but doesn't pinch my nose to the point that I can't exhale above water.

I have also found that if I put my head into the right position, coming off the walls, then I don't need a nose clip at all.

I have a silcone plastic one that's a Speedo, but I prefer the old fashioned piece of metal with the flesh colored silicone.

want2beafish
February 16th, 2011, 07:22 AM
I've got a question on starts. I can't for the life of me get out of the water on my dive. I try to jump up at an angle, but I end up just pushing into the water and sort of do a back smack. Anyone have any tips on how to actually do a dive?


A few years back I read a tip from Ande that said to position yourself for the start such that your knees are bent 90 degrees. When the starter says take your mark, don't change the angle of your knees, just pull yourself up with your arms a bit. I don't know why this works but it works great, I rip almost every entry. Thanks Ande!


hey there

you're welcome

the 90 degree knee bend on backstroke starts works because you set your knees at the ideal place to jump powerfully and get off the blocks fast.

Extra knee bend is unnecessary. Swimmers who bend too much just spend more time on the blocks and don't jump any better.

It's worthwhile to improve your backstroke start technique and get more air and less drag through the water.

I wish swimming would return to stand up starts on backstroke or at least curling toes over the lip.

Ande
As mainly a freestyler who has recently discovered the 200 back, my backstroke starts were severely lacking. Thanks for the tips -- I'm excited to try the 90 degree leg angle one.

One thing that helped me... I was sitting back in the water on my start, and my coach told me that was an easy fix. He said that instead of tucking my chin in preparation for the start, I should tilt my head back slightly/look up. At the start, he said to throw everything back at once. I tried it, and voila! Not the best start I'm sure, but much better than what I had been doing. To quote, "For your purposes, that was perfect." It might not work for everyone, but it definitely helped me.

Now to get my IM turns passable...

woolie mammoth
February 16th, 2011, 11:36 AM
Do backstrokers swim with more of a bent arm pull or is the trend goiing to a straighter arm pull? When I say "straight" I don't mean locked out but with a slight bend in the arm.

Speedo
February 16th, 2011, 12:00 PM
Do backstrokers swim with more of a bent arm pull or is the trend goiing to a straighter arm pull? When I say "straight" I don't mean locked out but with a slight bend in the arm.Check out this video of Ryan Lochte- max bend seems to be 90 degrees about mid way through the pull, but arms are relatively straight otherwise. This is how it was taught to me 30 years ago- it doesn't seem like it has changed.
YouTube - Ryan Lochte - Backstroke Technique

orca1946
February 16th, 2011, 12:53 PM
Given that I turn 65 in April, my kick is only slowing down:badday:

pmccoy
February 16th, 2011, 01:35 PM
Since the backstroke lane is currently active, I thought I'd solicit comments about my 200 backstroke from the Auburn Meet. Backstroke is my weakest event by far. I'm in lane 1: YouTube - E18H04 200BK

Note that I didn't take this event very seriously but I still swam it hard... especially near the end when I noticed I was still close to the swimmer next to me.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Redbird Alum
February 16th, 2011, 03:06 PM
Since the backstroke lane is currently active, I thought I'd solicit comments about my 200 backstroke from the Auburn Meet. Backstroke is my weakest event by far. I'm in lane 1: YouTube - E18H04 200BK (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjgaXT5sUsI)

Note that I didn't take this event very seriously but I still swam it hard... especially near the end when I noticed I was still close to the swimmer next to me.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Three quick items I would suggest you take on first, and probably in the order presented to improve the overall 200:

Smaller, tighter, faster kick. The rotation is fine, but the amplitude seems too large and the frequency needs to pick up. This will take some kick sets in practice to sustain over a 200.
Streamline Dolphin Kick off start/turns. Try to get more out of the start and turn by lengthening your time in SDK. Again, practice is key to maintaining your SDK over a 200.
Arm entry. You seem to overreach at the top of your stroke. Your hands are entering past the centerline of your head/spine. This tends to move your hips left to right. Get someone to watch as you try to move that entry along or outside of the centerline. Then focus on the downward catch and pull-through.

pmccoy
February 16th, 2011, 03:41 PM
Thanks! I definitely see the overreach. SDK needs improvment for other strokes as well. Seems to be the first thing that goes when I get tired.

On the backstroke kick, I have a much smaller aplitude/higher frequency kick when I just kick. That has improved significantly over the last few months. However, I can't seem to coordinate it with hip rotation. Maybe it's something that works out with practice? Or perhaps if I concentrate on the smaller amplitude kick, I'll find the right timing easier?

Amy T
February 16th, 2011, 05:54 PM
Thanks for all the talk on starts, guys. I always slip when I try to do good starts in practice, because both pools where I swim have really deep metal gutters.

arthur
February 17th, 2011, 03:50 PM
Thanks! I definitely see the overreach. SDK needs improvment for other strokes as well. Seems to be the first thing that goes when I get tired.

On the backstroke kick, I have a much smaller aplitude/higher frequency kick when I just kick. That has improved significantly over the last few months. However, I can't seem to coordinate it with hip rotation. Maybe it's something that works out with practice? Or perhaps if I concentrate on the smaller amplitude kick, I'll find the right timing easier?
Since no one else has replied, something that I think helped me was to practice a leg driven rotation when you do kicking drills. Rotate left on your 3rd kick and right on your 6th kick for example. This is something that Aaron Peirsol mentions and shows in his go swim backstroke DVD which I recently borrowed from my Masters Association DVD library.

pmccoy
February 17th, 2011, 04:41 PM
Thanks Arthur, I like that idea. I could probably handle that much better than incorporating a different kick in to a stroke where I'm worrying about other things.

Chris Stevenson
February 17th, 2011, 07:45 PM
Anyone have any good advice on breathing patterns for backstroke? Is it best to try for breathe in on one armstroke (left arm), and out on the next armstroke (right arm) ???


Gary Hall Sr. suggests breathing once per stroke (twice per cycle), but Chris "Hung in the Lung" Stevenson breathes but once per cycle. I guess it's swimmer's choice.

As a mammal, I have a peculiar fondness for air. I breathe twice per cycle.

Based on recent responses it seems that many -- most? -- breathe twice per cycle and I find that a little interesting because it is contrary to the common practice in the other strokes.

Back vs free is the best comparison; nobody labels someone "hung in the lung" for breathing once per stroke cycle in free. :) In fact, as someone who was an age-grouper in the 70s and early-80s, and had the "breathe every 3rd stroke" rule pounded into me, breathing every other arm pull (ie, once per cycle) in freestyle feels almost like cheating. I keep expecting a coach to yell at me about it after my races...

So why the difference with backstroke? Following Gary Hall's advice in freestyle, I tried to breathe more often (eg, 3 times every 2 cycles) in free and I honestly can't feel like I'm really using the extra air. I get the same feeling in backstroke but I guess I'm in the minority.

The only thing I can think of is that stroke rates in backstroke are distinctly lower than in freestyle so maybe it is more natural or efficient to breathe twice/cycle?

Since I think breathing every other arm pull is almost certainly the cause of my own "loping" backstroke style (and probably that of many freestylers), I may play around with different breathing patters on sprint backstrokes to see if I can get my stroke rate up (b/c I think my SR is too low when I sprint backstroke).

Swimosaur
February 17th, 2011, 08:30 PM
... I may play around with different breathing patters on sprint backstrokes to see if I can get my stroke rate up ...

I experimented briefly with not breathing at all in sprint backstroke, the rationale being that I could lay my head back a bit farther, hopefully to cut additional resistance. If you can do it in freestyle, why not?

The experiments were inconclusive. I tried a few all-out 25s both ways, timed to the 1/100th, and could see no consistent difference. On the other hand, I'm not a sprinter, so it may not mean much.

That Guy
February 18th, 2011, 12:24 AM
So why the difference with backstroke?
The only thing I can think of is that stroke rates in backstroke are distinctly lower than in freestyle so maybe it is more natural or efficient to breathe twice/cycle?

By breathing every stroke, I can take more SDK's off each wall in backstroke than I can in any other stroke. My current practice protocol is 11 SDK's off each wall and no more than 9 strokes per 25 yards. I seem to have hit some kind of personal limit because after many months of this same protocol, I've never gotten used to it - around the 125 mark of any backstroke swim, I feel like I've been punched hard in the chest. Doesn't stop me though :D

Chris Stevenson
February 18th, 2011, 09:37 AM
By breathing every stroke, I can take more SDK's off each wall in backstroke than I can in any other stroke. My current practice protocol is 11 SDK's off each wall and no more than 9 strokes per 25 yards. I seem to have hit some kind of personal limit because after many months of this same protocol, I've never gotten used to it - around the 125 mark of any backstroke swim, I feel like I've been punched hard in the chest. Doesn't stop me though :D

It's funny you mention that. I can definitely do more SDKs in backstroke than in freestyle and butterfly. I don't know if that is because the turnover is slower (and thus my HR is generally lower) or if it is because I take deeper breaths on backstroke. Or maybe its psychological...

11 SDKs off every wall in practice is a lot, I can only manage 7-8 on a consistent basis on, say, 200 repeats (more for shorter distances with more rest). In fact, 11 SDKs would take me pretty much to the 15m mark on every wall, sheesh.

jaadams1
February 18th, 2011, 10:24 AM
around the 125 mark of any backstroke swim, I feel like I've been punched hard in the chest. Doesn't stop me though :D

I can help you with that same feeling...and you won't even half to swim the 125 backstroke first!!! :bolt:

Redbird Alum
February 18th, 2011, 10:36 AM
... So why the difference with backstroke? ...

Could the breathing every arm in backstroke have to do with the extension of the chest cavity by the arms' positions?

In backstroke, the recovering arm is entering upper lower quadrant as the pulling arm is exiting the lower lower quadrant, exerting extension on the chest cavity. In the free the recovering arm is often in the upper forward quadrant as the pulling arm is just about to exit the lower upper quadrant (chest cavity not as extended top to bottom).

Chris Stevenson
February 18th, 2011, 11:44 AM
...the recovering arm is entering upper lower quadrant as the pulling arm is exiting the lower lower quadrant...the recovering arm is often in the upper forward quadrant as the pulling arm is just about to exit the lower upper quadrant...

Hold on, I'm going to need a LOT more caffeine before I fully decipher that... :anim_coffee:

TRYM_Swimmer
February 18th, 2011, 12:06 PM
We used a drill to teach kids to hit the water, basically a backstroke windmill as fast as they could. Adding the pinkie first to this thought process really seems to work pretty well.



Sounds like a drill for me to try, with the pinkie added. Thanks!

That Guy
February 18th, 2011, 01:52 PM
I can help you with that same feeling...and you won't even half to swim the 125 backstroke first!!! :bolt:

Great idea! You need to get a running start to maximize the effect. Take a few steps back... just a couple more... you're almost at the right spot... <SPLASH> :drown: Yeah, right there.

Redbird Alum
February 21st, 2011, 02:12 PM
Hold on, I'm going to need a LOT more caffeine before I fully decipher that... :anim_coffee:
Chris -

Upper Upper quadrant (Above waist, above water) "finish recovery"
Upper Lower quadrant (Above waist, below water) "catch"
Lower Lower quadrant (below waist, below water) "bottom of pull"
Lower Upper Quadrant (Below waist, above water) "start recovery"

Essentially, in backstroke, the arms are opposite, and when fully extended at top and bottom of axis, they pull the chest cavity, expanding it in a natural inhale tendency.

In freestyle, the arms are never at such extremes. The recovering arm is above the waist before the pulling arm has crossed below.

thewookiee
March 10th, 2011, 10:25 AM
Have any of you tried "pinching" your shoulder blades together when swimming backstroke?

Mike Bottom talks about doing it in the sprint freestyle stroke. I have found that if I "pinch" my shoulder blades together, my catch feels stronger.

Do any of you swim with this feeling?

Redbird Alum
March 11th, 2011, 12:00 PM
Wookie -

Yep, I heard this quote too... but it doesn't seem to help my "catch" as much as putting the middle of my underwater pull in a deeper, stronger position along my center-line. It tends to wear me out a bit in anything beyond a 100 at the moment. (Or maybe I'm not "pinching" correctly!)

thewookiee
March 11th, 2011, 12:43 PM
Wookie -

Yep, I heard this quote too... but it doesn't seem to help my "catch" as much as putting the middle of my underwater pull in a deeper, stronger position along my center-line. It tends to wear me out a bit in anything beyond a 100 at the moment. (Or maybe I'm not "pinching" correctly!)

Redbird,

Thanks for the reply. I was always taught to "round" my back to have a smooth surface underwater. I have never understood the purpose or been able to achieve that rounding but I can feel the "pinching"

Wook

Redbird Alum
May 4th, 2011, 12:09 PM
Bear with me... all the recent posting on freestyle EVF and "S-pulls" got me to pondering...

I spent some time watching videos of Lochte, Phelps and Piersol doing backstroke (here's one of Phelps I hope works)...

YouTube - Michael Phelps backstroke

... and made the following two observations:

All three seem to establish an "early horizontal forearm" EHF which I see equivalent to EVF in freestyle, with a bent elbow relevant to the shoulder and hand, engaging a larger set of muscles.
All three seem to use an "S" shape in the pull. The hand starts lower near the shoulder, moves higher through the thorax, and finishes deeper near/below the waist before recovery. (Most noticable with Phelps.)
So my question is, would backstrokers see an increase in power/speed if we established the EHF, but then tried to maintain the depth of the pull and dropped the "S"?

I hope to experiment with this myself, but wondered if any of you fellow backstrokers have already done this work and figured out it was not going to work. Anyone care to respond?

kmoehumphreys
May 4th, 2011, 01:06 PM
Natalie Coughlin swims with a straighter, flatter pull than the male backstrokers referenced above. It seems to work for her.

thewookiee
May 4th, 2011, 01:15 PM
Natalie Coughlin swims with a straighter, flatter pull than the male backstrokers referenced above. It seems to work for her.

I was listening to an interview with David Marsh. He seemed to think that the trend among backstrokers was to move toward a straighter pull. He said younger/weaker swimmers should probably stay with a pull with more elbow bend though

quicksilver
May 4th, 2011, 02:04 PM
So my question is, would backstrokers see an increase in power/speed if we established the EHF, but then tried to maintain the depth of the pull and dropped the "S"?

I hope to experiment with this myself, but wondered if any of you fellow backstrokers have already done this work and figured out it was not going to work. Anyone care to respond?

I had seen the same interview with David Marsh. And the more shallow horizontal pull works very well provided you've got the arm strength to throw water towards your feet from that position.

Aaron Piersol is good example as well. And if you've ever watched him on the last 20 meters of a 100 back, he finishes quite strong with a very rapid turnover.

YouTube - Swimming - Go Swim Backstroke with Aaron Peirsol

Redbird Alum
May 6th, 2011, 01:38 PM
... the more shallow horizontal pull works very well provided you've got the arm strength to throw water towards your feet from that position. ...

YOWzaa... that comment is VERY true. I tried the EHF and straight pull last evening with kick and with pull buoy to eliminate kick. There are a few sore muscle spots across my shoulder/pec front and shoulder blade today that I haven't experienced in years.

I'm going to have to keep working on this for awhile.

quicksilver
May 6th, 2011, 02:33 PM
There are a few sore muscle spots across my shoulder/pec front and shoulder blade today that I haven't experienced in years.

I'm going to have to keep working on this for awhile.

Sounds as if you're getting the correct traction on each pull.

Not sure if this suggestion helps, but being good at pull-ups and chins-ups can develop strength which translates quite well for swimming specific muscles.

2trax4me
May 16th, 2011, 12:09 PM
If I read the rules correctly your feet must be totally submerged for starts now. No more standing upright as your toes must not be curled over the gutter before or after the start.

Dumb question but a change since I swam and wanted to confirm.

Chris Stevenson
May 16th, 2011, 12:37 PM
If I read the rules correctly your feet must be totally submerged for starts now. No more standing upright as your toes must not be curled over the gutter before or after the start.

That's not quite right. You feet do not need to be completely submerged, but it is true that you cannot curl your toes over the gutter. For most US pools they amount to much the same thing -- feet must be submerged -- but for "FINA walls" (which do not have a gutter) you can have your feet out of the water quite a bit.

No more stand-up starts, unfortunately.

Karl_S
May 31st, 2011, 09:11 AM
'saw this in another thread:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/2175526.stm

The last sentence might be taken as a challenge by some (not me) in this lane.

Betsy
May 31st, 2011, 03:38 PM
This is my first visit to this thread. I had a lot of reading to do to catch up.
I have a few suggestions that I have learned over the years (I'm 70 for FINA meets and a backstroker).
1. In some pools, I find it better to start holding the gutter. However, at some meets, the touch pad extend up 18 in and you have to use the starting block.
2. I always had a hard time going straight and usually hugged the lane line as a guide. One year my coach had us do lots and lots of drills: six kicks on side/switch to other side and "L" drill where you hold your arm straight up forming an L with your body for a count of 3. When I went to nationals that year in an outdoor pool, I remember being amazed that I went straight. I believe the drills made a huge difference.
3. As a kid, I did not backstroke except on IM. I was always dead by the breaststroke. I didn't learn until I was coaching that I had been holding my breath and gulping air. Now I consciously breath in on one arm, out on the other. I have asthma so exhaling is always a problem.
4. Kicking. When I coach I had trouble getting swimmers not to bend their knees. This past weekend at SwimFest I learned to tell them to imaginge kicking a ball. You bring your leg back, you don't bend your knee. It works like a charm to correct the kick.
5. In a Richard Quick video, he advocated turning your hips before your hand enters the water. This requires a quick snap of the hips. It solves two problems. One, your hand will enter with more force. Two, you can't over-reach if you are on your side.

I don't know why I haven't read this thread before. I found it very interesting and helpful. I am still trying to decide how much, if at all, I should dolphin off the walls.

bzaks1424
May 31st, 2011, 03:42 PM
I am still trying to decide how much, if at all, I should dolphin off the walls.

First off: Welcome! :D

Second off: You should try to do this up to the 15 meter mark every time.
YouTube - &#x202a;Fast Underwater Swimming by LiL&#39;B&#x202c;&rlm;

ElaineK
May 31st, 2011, 05:03 PM
First off: Welcome! :D

Second off: You should try to do this up to the 15 meter mark every time.
YouTube - &#x202a;Fast Underwater Swimming by LiL'B&#x202c;&rlm; (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3myuvcZ0M0)

That was amazing!

So, Michael, how 'bout you try that at your next meet and take the DQ, too?! :D

P.S. Betsy, it was great meeting you at SwimFest! As a coach, you might be interested in my recent post on "The Breaststroke Lane". I included a link to the video and notes from Dr. G's power testing.

Swimosaur
June 1st, 2011, 12:11 PM
'saw this in another thread:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/2175526.stm

The last sentence might be taken as a challenge by some (not me) in this lane.

Here's the last sentence, from 2002:


No one has ever swum the Channel using the backstroke.

Apparently, that was wrong. According to the records page of the Channel Swimming Association (http://www.channelswimmingassociation.com/swim_records_5.html), Haydn Welsh swam the Channel backstroke in 13 hours, 42 minutes, sometime in 1992. Apparently by 2002, his swim was somehow forgotten.

In the meantime, Tina Neill swam an all-backstroke crossing in 2005. At the time, Swimming World believed it to be the first backstroke crossing ever.


Neill Crosses English Channel Swimming Backstroke --September 14, 2005

ENGLAND, August 9. (http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/lane9/news/10001.asp) TINA Neill, 39, of St. Paul, Minnesota, became the first person to successfully complete a solo crossing of the English Channel using only the backstroke.

She walked into the surf, backward, at 2:50 am at Samphire Hoe Beach just outside Dover and landed on Wissant Beach, France, again walking out backward, at 4:12 pm for a total time of 13 hours and 22 minutes ...

The June 2006 newsletter (http://channelswimmingassociation.com/doc/CSA_Newsletter_5_2006.pdf) of the Channel Swimming Association clarified,


Just for the record: Haydn Welch has asked us to confirm that whilst Tina Neill was the first lady to swim the Channel backstroke in 2005, he was in fact the first swimmer. Haydn made the first recorded successful backstroke swim on the 6th Sept 1993.
I cannot explain why the records page of the Channel Swimming Association says Welch swam in 1992, but the newsletter says 1993.

In any case, the Channel has been crossed backstroke at least twice.

nhc
June 1st, 2011, 04:18 PM
In any case, the Channel has been crossed backstroke at least twice.

Would be interesting to know how they navigated. :rolleyes:

Betsy
June 2nd, 2011, 03:11 PM
Wow, that is a fantastic video. It really shows the speed of the underwater.
Chris Stevenson, are you faster underwater (for just 25) or swimming?

Chris Stevenson
June 2nd, 2011, 03:29 PM
Wow, that is a fantastic video. It really shows the speed of the underwater.
Chris Stevenson, are you faster underwater (for just 25) or swimming?

Underwater is definitely faster than my backstroke swimming, and just about the same speed as my freestyle sprint.

swim53
June 2nd, 2011, 05:59 PM
I always had a hard time going straight and usually hugged the lane line as a guide. One year my coach had us do lots and lots of drills: six kicks on side/switch to other side and "L" drill where you hold your arm straight up forming an L with your body for a count of 3. When I went to nationals that year in an outdoor pool, I remember being amazed that I went straight. I believe the drills made a huge difference.


Thanks Betsy. Is this drill Richard Quick's L drill? Where can I see a video?

Betsy
June 3rd, 2011, 02:36 PM
I first learned the drill at a clinic. I can't remember if it was in Quick's video or not. I borrowed the DVD from a coach.

Chris Stevenson
June 3rd, 2011, 04:36 PM
I first learned the drill at a clinic. I can't remember if it was in Quick's video or not. I borrowed the DVD from a coach.

It is a pretty old drill. I believe Diane Cayce has been using it for decades. Though she calls it the "rifle" drill, emphasizing that she wants you sighting along the arm to the ceiling. I like this description of the drill because it emphasizes both rotation and proper head position.

Redbird Alum
July 25th, 2011, 12:04 PM
A good article about Canadians at Worlds...

http://www.montrealgazette.com/sports/Russell+sets+Canadian+record+world+aquatics+meet/5155074/story.html

Very impressive, mature comment from Sinead regarding her approach to her backstroke competitions... especially after setting a record...


“I'm really happy about the record,'' said the 18-year-old Russell. “I just wanted to go race my heat, I didn't expect to beat the time again. The key is to work on me and not everyone else around me."

Probably a good starting point for coaching any backstroker!

__steve__
August 22nd, 2011, 10:32 PM
Backstroke - still starting out, totally. Although my lifetime backstroke net distance is likely < 300M, I tried it recently and I have to say it just felt damn good. Not "good" as in form, but more as a relief.

Maybe it's my body telling me to swim upside-down for a change.

Is backstroke typically less demanding on shoulders than free?

jaadams1
August 23rd, 2011, 12:24 AM
Backstroke - still starting out, totally. Although my lifetime backstroke net distance is likely < 300M, I tried it recently and I have to say it just felt damn good. Not "good" as in form, but more as a relief.

Maybe it's my body telling me to swim upside-down for a change.

Is backstroke typically less demanding on shoulders than free?

I don't know if it any less demanding on the shoulders, but I like to kind of "unwind" in my warmups with some backstroke. Example: 200 Free, 100 Back, 200 Free, 100 Back. After the warmup, backstroke is evil (so is breaststroke) :)

Redbird Alum
August 23rd, 2011, 01:31 PM
... Is backstroke typically less demanding on shoulders than free? ...

Um... NO. Actually, even with a tremendous rotation, if you are pulling correctly, you are pulling with the elbow located somewhat behind the shoulder and chest.

To experience the difference in stressors, stand at the edge of the pool where your shoulder is level to the deck.

Facing the deck (freestyle) lay the arm in front of you, palm down and push down on the deck. Now turn 90 degrees to the deck (backstroke), lay the arm out to the side with the elbow slightly behind the shoulder on the deck, again palm down, and push down. You will likely note the shoulder stress more across the front of your shoulder.

rxleakem
October 28th, 2011, 06:48 PM
This spring was my first full, dedicated season swimming since graduating high school 15 years ago. I am trying to correct my stoke so that I can be more efficient. I notice that my body is flatter in the water, most likely attributed to having to pull 20 more pounds through it as compared to a few years ago.

I was able to get under one minute in the 100yd back in March, which I am very satisfied with at this point (I was sub :54 ages ago). Folks at the swim pool confirm that my body rotation is off and my stroke is not as 1) smooth or 2) powerful as before (small town, same faces).

What are some things that I can be trying to get better body roll and consequently a better pull? :groovy: My hips and shoulders don't seem to be in correct alignment, but if I do an easy (almost) two-beat kick, my stroke "feels" better.

I have played in practice with increasing my turnover when my hand is OUT of the water, and that also helps a little as it keeps my hands from entering into the water too close to my head.

Any drills/ideas I can try? I have a meet in two weeks and can try to get a video of my swim. Much obliged.

ElaineK
October 30th, 2011, 06:26 PM
OK, Forumites, I have finally gotten up the nerve to post new videos of my pathetically slow backstroke. As a breaststroker, backstroke is my weakness in the 100IM and I would really like to improve on it. Any constructive criticism would be most appreciated!

http://youtu.be/_lETm_DKLLo - Believe it or not ( :lmao: ), this is my race pace backstroke!
http://youtu.be/GW0kTmVdRqQ -This is my EZ backstroke; I look like an old lady... :blush:

The Fortress
October 30th, 2011, 06:42 PM
OK, Forumites, I have finally gotten up the nerve to post new videos of my pathetically slow backstroke. As a breaststroker, backstroke is my weakness in the 100IM and I would really like to improve on it. Any constructive criticism would be most appreciated!

http://youtu.be/_lETm_DKLLo - Believe it or not ( :lmao: ), this is my race pace backstroke!
http://youtu.be/GW0kTmVdRqQ -This is my EZ backstroke; I look like an old lady... :blush:


You have to dolphin kick on your back like you mean it, lady! The key problem is that your hips and legs are sinking. This can be cured principally by using your legs and developing a stronger kick to drive the stroke (faster turnover might help you too). I can see you're trying to rotate, but you would be rotating your body instead of just your shoulders if you kicked more.

ElaineK
October 30th, 2011, 07:19 PM
You have to dolphin kick on your back like you mean it, lady! The key problem is that your hips and legs are sinking. This can be cured principally by using your legs and developing a stronger kick to drive the stroke (faster turnover might help you too). I can see you're trying to rotate, but you would be rotating your body instead of just your shoulders if you kicked more.

Thanks Fort; I appreciate the feedback. Yeah, I can see my kick is needing, uhhhh, a lot of improvement. I have been working on it with fins, but I have a looong way to go!

As for my turnover, it feels like I am turning over fast, but I watch the video and just laugh at the slow-mo look of it.

I will keep working on it! Thanks!

thewookiee
October 30th, 2011, 08:23 PM
Thanks Fort; I appreciate the feedback. Yeah, I can see my kick is needing, uhhhh, a lot of improvement. I have been working on it with fins, but I have a looong way to go!

As for my turnover, it feels like I am turning over fast, but I watch the video and just laugh at the slow-mo look of it.

I will keep working on it! Thanks!

Time your break-outs so that you aren't having to rest the non-pulling arm on the surface. If you watch, you will see you right arm sitting on the top of the water. You need to time it so that as the left arm is finising the first pull, the right one is still underwater. This will allow you to grab water with the right arm and go into the next stroke.

Second, it looks as though you aren't rolling enough with your hips. You are recovering a bit too wide. If you had more hip rotation, the recovering arms will be able to come up in a straigther path from the exit, without having to swing wide.

You do a good job of staying outside the shoulders on the entry. Don't change that at all. Just add some hip rotation so that you don't have to swing your arms much.

Third, even on each swims, don't have "soft hands" on the swim. You want to drive each arm into the water, so that you can go to the catch positon about 12 or so inches deep. If you softly put the hands on the water, you have disconnected the arm from the body. You will probably find that you push the arm sideways to get it into the water, which will cause you to zig zag down the pool.

Drive the arms into the water, directly to the catch. This will keep you connected, powerful and swimming straighter.

quicksilver
October 30th, 2011, 08:36 PM
It's look great above the surface Elaine.

One thing is slightly off underwater though. Your arms are staying straight or so it seems. They should be bending a bit more after the catch.

Here's a suggestion.

After the initial catch and pull...when the pulling hand is almost in line with your shoulder region ....the elbow should be pointed downwards towards the bottom of the pool with the hand somewhat held high. It's at that point when you begin to throw the water towards your feet.


As far as the mechanics of this. If you were to lift yourself out of the pool onto the deck...the arms are going to be bending by the time they get to your mid section... so that you can hoist your torso upwards. You'd have a very hard time if you were to use straight arm. The same thing applies underwater.



https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-09-Jd7GmAd8/SKgP5Q-VGbI/AAAAAAAAATM/cAPYCd0m-fc/s800/Bstrk%25257Estrokemechanics.jpg

ElaineK
October 30th, 2011, 10:07 PM
Wookiee and 'Silver: THANKS! You both provided great feedback, in addition to Fort's kicking feedback. I sure have my work cut out for me! But, I knew that would be the case with my backstroke... (Hopefully, my freestyle won't take as much work to correct!)

The work starts tomorrow morning! :agree:

jaadams1
October 30th, 2011, 10:29 PM
I'm not going to critique on this one. :) I can swim backstroke, but my coach is constantly picking me apart every time. Bad habits just don't die!!

__steve__
November 2nd, 2011, 11:35 PM
back - YouTube

Any negative criticism for me? learned this stroke this summer. I train alone

quicksilver
November 3rd, 2011, 11:46 AM
back - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlZwybJ-R6k)

Any negative criticism for me? learned this stroke this summer. I train alone

Not bad at all for a recently learned stroke. I like your private lane By the way.

Two very obvious things..

1.) Keep your arms straight on the recovery. The elbow should be locked so that the arm is never bent. (see attached)

When the arm enters the water it wants to come downward with a clean slice.

2.) Did you notice in the video how your hands are thrashing water upwards on each exit? (see attached) You want them to come out clean...thumb first.

Think pinky in on the entry...and thumb out on the exit.

__steve__
November 3rd, 2011, 12:31 PM
2.) Did you notice in the video how your hands are thrashing water upwards on each exit? (see attached) You want them to come out clean...thumb first.

Think pinky in on the entry...and thumb out on the exit
Pinky - entry
Thumb - exit
THANKS



1.) Keep your arms straight on the recovery. The elbow should be locked so that the arm is never bent. (see attached)

My left arm is bent for the same reason I waited until now to learn backstroke. It's an old shoulder injury I never had surgically fixed, I naturally protect it from fear of dislocation lol. It doesn't hurt while swimming or anything, just feels vulnerable with certain positions. I should have mentioned that in the post since it was obvious. Nevertheless, I have planned on slowly straightening the arm as time goes by but I think it will always be asymmetric to the right.

Thanks again quicksilver, I will correct the entry/exit's. You know, out of all of the strokes back felt the weirdest but easiest to learn. It might be a stroke I'm good at.

moodyrichardson
November 3rd, 2011, 04:34 PM
Elaine~
I'm not superfast, but as you know that backstroke is my favorite. That's what I had video done of at SwimFest. I agree with Silver that you are missing most of the power of your catch. You need to treat the backstroke catch just like a freestyle catch. Bend that elbow. I personally get a better catch, if I mentally think of my hands entering at 10 and 2. Also, learn the flipturn. It really cuts your time. Here's a great drill that we use to really get the feel of it.

http://youtu.be/GiqKmjnxoU8

ElaineK
November 3rd, 2011, 05:04 PM
Elaine~
I'm not superfast, but as you know that backstroke is my favorite. That's what I had video done of at SwimFest. I agree with Silver that you are missing most of the power of your catch. You need to treat the backstroke catch just like a freestyle catch. Bend that elbow. I personally get a better catch, if I mentally think of my hands entering at 10 and 2. Also, learn the flipturn. It really cuts your time. Here's a great drill that we use to really get the feel of it.

http://youtu.be/GiqKmjnxoU8

Thanks for the feedback, Moody! I'll work on bending my elbow more (and faster!) for a better catch.

As for flipturns, I know how to do them and always did them in high school swimming. But, since then, I developed Meniere's, an inner ear disorder that makes me feel disoriented and seasick when I do flipturns! After doing a couple, I have no clue which way is up or down and I get quite dizzy! And, after doing several, I have to get out of the pool and :bolt:. I found that out one day when I first got back into swimming and decided to practice my turns. I couldn't figure out what was wrong until I made the Meniere's- flipturn connection. :censor:

Redbird Alum
January 23rd, 2012, 09:25 AM
Interesting article by Mark Russell (with pics!) on backstroke rotation from USA Swimming site... For those of us who constantly wonder about how far and how deep:

http://www.usaswimming.org/ViewNewsArticle.aspx?TabId=0&itemid=4102&mid=8712

A few quotes from the article:

"The rotation isn’t large – far from being all the way onto your side. Most of the best backstrokers rotate less than 30 degrees to each side. ... the amount of your body that is submerged in water will not be any different if your body is rotated 30 degrees or if it’s rotated 90 degrees. "

rxleakem
January 23rd, 2012, 10:15 PM
Thanks for the article, Matt. I am always wondering about that.

For your viewing pleasure and possible suggestions for improvement, here is a very poor quality video of my 50 back this past weekend (it skips and my son shut it down before I finished). My start has never been great, and I need to get a tad deeper with my underwaters, me thinks. Any other ideas that I can work on? I even added some music for y'all.

Thanks!

http://youtu.be/w62yfBAdSVc

__steve__
January 23rd, 2012, 10:33 PM
Thanks for the article, Matt. I am always wondering about that.

For your viewing pleasure and possible suggestions for improvement, here is a very poor quality video of my 50 back this past weekend (it skips and my son shut it down before I finished). My start has never been great, and I need to get a tad deeper with my underwaters, me thinks. Any other ideas that I can work on? I even added some music for y'all.

Thanks!

http://youtu.be/w62yfBAdSVc What was that 25.9? Wow!
Your feet seem to be like flippers, but I'm sorry I have no suggestions. Except for the music.

rxleakem
January 23rd, 2012, 11:14 PM
Thanks Steve.
The timers got me at 28.2, didn't see the final time.
(My wife said the same thing about the music) :)

Redbird Alum
January 24th, 2012, 11:12 AM
... Any other ideas that I can work on? ...

http://youtu.be/w62yfBAdSVc

Seemed pretty stout to me! Nice swim.

One thing I noted on your turn, at about the 12 second mark, look at your head position. Your head/face is up and looking at the wall. You really want to prevent this by ensuring that the head tucks and follows the last pulling hand down and thru.

Silly as it sounds, that slight lift of the head steals momentum from your turn, and will actually make your foot placement shallower on the wall prior to the push off.

rxleakem
January 24th, 2012, 10:00 PM
One thing I noted on your turn, at about the 12 second mark, look at your head position. Your head/face is up and looking at the wall. You really want to prevent this by ensuring that the head tucks and follows the last pulling hand down and thru.


Thanks Matt - I didn't really notice doing that but saw it in the video. It looked like I was high off the wall, so I will work on fixing that in practice.

ddl
January 25th, 2012, 06:09 PM
Most of the best backstrokers rotate less than 30 degrees to each side."

Thanks for the link. Re degree of rotation, these two (http://www.virtual-swim.com/3d_mv/top_btn/back/3d_q_back.html) both seem to rotate more than 45°, almost 60°?


http://youtu.be/w62yfBAdSVc

Nice one. Was it a mixed race? The one next to you on the right side looks like a female :confused:

rxleakem
January 25th, 2012, 08:16 PM
Was it a mixed race? The one next to you on the right side looks like a female :confused:
Thanks. Yes, it was mixed heat. For all the mini meets I've been too, we have swum them mixed and regardless of age. Big meets are not mixed.

jaadams1
January 25th, 2012, 10:41 PM
Thanks. Yes, it was mixed heat. For all the mini meets I've been too, we have swum them mixed and regardless of age. Big meets are not mixed.

I've done a ton of masters meets over the past 2-3 years, and the only one I've ever done that was separated was the USMS National Meet. I guess it's not worth separating the sexes unless the meet has many many hundreds of participants. The PNA Champs has 250-300 or so I believe, spread over 2 days, but it's combined men and women.

smontanaro
July 1st, 2012, 11:36 PM
I plan to swim some meet (s) next season. I've been working on my backstroke, but ignoring starts so far. As I've aged (I'm 58) my back has gotten more "touchy". Dolphin kick can set it off if I'm not careful. What sort of accommodation might I make for starts?

Also, the pool I practice at has a fairly large stainless steel edge - extending several inches below the surface. How in the world am I supposed to get any "grip" there?

TIA,

Skip

jaadams1
July 2nd, 2012, 12:16 AM
I plan to swim some meet (s) next season. I've been working on my backstroke, but ignoring starts so far. As I've aged (I'm 58) my back has gotten more "touchy". Dolphin kick can set it off if I'm not careful. What sort of accommodation might I make for starts?

Also, the pool I practice at has a fairly large stainless steel edge - extending several inches below the surface. How in the world am I supposed to get any "grip" there?

TIA,

Skip

You could always do a start like you're doing backstroke repeats in practice. One hand on the wall, drop under, and streamline kick. I do it quite frequently, and it can be viewed on video at a meet earlier this year.
2-19-12 - Kirkland, WA - 200 Back - YouTube

I'm in the green cap in Lane 5.

I do this type of backstroke start if the pads or wall are extremely slick. I don't usually grab the starting block handles either on a normal start...usually just the gutter.

fatboy
July 2nd, 2012, 12:05 PM
From the video it does not look like this start is a disadvantage to you thanks to your strong SDK.

jaadams1
July 2nd, 2012, 10:56 PM
From the video it does not look like this start is a disadvantage to you thanks to your strong SDK.

For the first 25 at least. After that backstroke takes over and SDK starts drowning. Need to work on that a little. :)

jaegermeister
July 7th, 2012, 12:01 AM
For the first 25 at least. After that backstroke takes over and SDK starts drowning. Need to work on that a little. :)

I'd be very happy with that time. Looks like the suffering was limited. You must've worked hard on your legs.

smontanaro
October 23rd, 2012, 02:27 PM
This thread really needs a bump!

Way back in 2010 rtodd asked:


How do you practice starts to gradually work up to proficiency without hurting lower back? Are there any start drills? I'd like to race backstroke, but am afraid of the start hurting my lower back.

Nobody responded. :-(

I am going to swim my first ever SCM meet Sunday, and my first meet of any kind except postal swims since Jan 2010. I'm swimming 50/100/200bk and 50/100fr. I will probably not humiliate myself with my freestyle starts (though they will likely not be all that good), but it's been 40-ish years since I practiced backstroke starts at all. My main concern is whether or not my back can take the stress of flinging myself back in an attempt to not do a butt flop.

I will probably try a few practice starts after practice Saturday morning. I read completely through this thread, so might try both block and gutter grab. Would appreciate some feedback on potential back issues.

Skip

moodyrichardson
October 24th, 2012, 04:22 PM
I use the block at meets, but I really do get a better start from the gutter. My teammate gave me this tip. I've found I get a better start without straining my back if I throw my hands a bit out and to the side, instead of straight over my head. My hands still come back together to streamline underwater, but I get more power and a faster start this way.

rxleakem
October 24th, 2012, 08:56 PM
I would agree that there are fewer forces to tweak the back when starting from the gutter. Not as explosive, but adequate. I'd use the gutter first and see how it goes.