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fmracing
May 5th, 2010, 01:09 PM
Yay, first post.

I'm about a decade out of college swimming give or take and i've competed on and off the past 10 years or so to different results. Recently I started working out on my own and have started to plot my comeback to competition. Without a coach or really anyone to ask advice of at the moment, I turn here.

I'm starting my comeback up with 50 and 100 freestyle events. I'm reasonably sure my 100 is good to go (it was always my strong point) but I've had problems with my 50 even through college. Advice from coaches back in college seemed to indicate that I need a high stroke tempo above all else in the 50. ( It also seemed that no matter what the result the only response was "good swim" so this advice is questionable to me) Whenever I try to up the tempo, it feels like i'm just spinning the wheels so to speak. High tempo never feels like i'm going as fast as I could and also seems to throw off the balance, technique, and turns. When I try to back down the tempo to something that feels more productive like my 100 pace the 50 time seems to slow down drastically. I guess the answer I was hoping for would be a good description or indication of how to select the correct stroke tempo for a 50? Is it just trial and error or is there a decent way to measure what type of tempo a person should be at with a given armspan/height? I've tried to watch a lot of youtube footage of top notch sprinters and nearly all of them are high tempo, though sometimes it's hard to see anything but splashes ;)

Just figured I'd ask here and see what people abroad have to say about it.

Karen Duggan
May 5th, 2010, 01:24 PM
First of all, congratulations on getting back into it.
Let me qualify this: I am NOT a sprinter, although my lactic acid clearance says I am! My kids all swim rec (they just started again a couple of weeks ago) and all of their events are 25s. I just tell them to "pull the water as fast as they can." So far it has served them well.

It's obviously a very basic approach, but I know for me, I sometimes need to get back to basics!

Good luck, and I hope someone noteworthy (like Gary Hall, Sr.) or some other real sprinter chimes in.
:)

FlyQueen
May 5th, 2010, 01:42 PM
As with just about everything there is a balance. Yes, most successful 50 sprinters have a really good and fast turnover. HOWEVER, they are not spinning or slipping. You need to find the balance that works for you between turnover and a productive catch. You still need to move water but you want to do that as quickly as possible.

One thing you might want to experiment with for the 50 is an earlier exit (think more of coming out at your hip or just past). The other would be a straight arm recovery - do that VERY cautiously though as you can really anger your shoulders if you do this improperly or too much. You need to "anchor" your shoulder blades down so that you are not impinging your shoulder. Even Phelps cannot sustain this for an entire 100 though I imagine some true sprinters can.

Hope that helps a bit.

stillwater
May 5th, 2010, 02:11 PM
Youtube fast 50 and 1500 swimmers. Count the strokes. You might be surprised.

fmracing
May 5th, 2010, 02:22 PM
Good luck, and I hope someone noteworthy (like Gary Hall, Sr.) or some other real sprinter chimes in.
:)

I wish I could say i was fast enough to require such noteworthiness. :)

I'm openminded to just about everything this time around so anyone's input will be noteworthy. My coaches over the years have always had either a really lax attitude with few suggestions or a "this is the only way it's done" approach. I think I've figured out many things I was doing wrong in the past and trying to improve on it every day that i'm in the water.

KEWebb18
May 5th, 2010, 02:22 PM
The tempo trainer (www.finis.com) should help you find the difference between just cranking your arms as fast as you can and actually moving through the water efficiently at a fast speed.

Karl_S
May 5th, 2010, 03:36 PM
Yay, first post.

[stuff cut] I'm starting my comeback up with 50 and 100 freestyle events. I'm reasonably sure my 100 is good to go (it was always my strong point) but I've had problems with my 50 even through college.

[more stuff cut] Whenever I try to up the tempo, it feels like i'm just spinning the wheels so to speak. High tempo never feels like i'm going as fast as I could and also seems to throw off the balance, technique, and turns. When I try to back down the tempo to something that feels more productive like my 100 pace [more stuff cut]

Just figured I'd ask here and see what people abroad have to say about it.

You seem comfortable and confident with your 100. It sounds like you have a good "controlled" sprinting ability. Perhaps you would find more success doing the 100+200 combo instead of the 50+100 combo.

Karen Duggan
May 5th, 2010, 04:11 PM
Tempo trainer is a great idea!

fmracing
May 6th, 2010, 11:18 AM
You seem comfortable and confident with your 100. It sounds like you have a good "controlled" sprinting ability. Perhaps you would find more success doing the 100+200 combo instead of the 50+100 combo.

Certainly a reasonable suggestion. I was kindof shying away from the 200 for now though until i have more time per week to get the yardage and endurance up. Right now I'm just about spent at the 125-150m mark going at 200 pace so the splits look atrocious :cane:

I don't want to abandon the 50 though, it's still reasonably fast even without knowing the best tempo. I just think there's a lot of room for improvement of times in the tempo area and I figured maybe someone would have some suggestions. I'll look into the tempo trainer and take the other suggestions here to the pool and see what i can put into my sprint.

Thank you to all so far for the advice. :)

lefty
May 6th, 2010, 11:40 AM
Youtube fast 50 and 1500 swimmers. Count the strokes. You might be surprised.


I was thinking the same thing. Basically what you discover is the thing that stands out with fast sprinters is their insane kick, not insane turnover.

knelson
May 6th, 2010, 01:43 PM
You need to find the balance that works for you between turnover and a productive catch.

And I'll add that your primary goal should be keep this productive catch while increasing your turnover.

A variation of the classic "swimming golf" set might be helpful. The goal of swimming golf is usually stated as trying to get the lowest combination of time + number of strokes. So, if you swim a 50 in 30 seconds and take 30 strokes that's a "golf" score of 60. To improve your score you can either decrease the number of strokes or your time. That's the part I don't like. Taking five fewer strokes, but going one second slower gives you a better score, but if you're swimming slower how is this an improvement? Instead, I think what you want to do is find out how many strokes you are taking now to get your fastest possible time and then work to reduce your time with the same or fewer strokes.