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larsoda
May 11th, 2010, 04:41 PM
a fine motor activity, or a power sport?

Just curious what swimmers think.

debaru
May 12th, 2010, 01:00 AM
I would say that it is both.

Couroboros
May 12th, 2010, 01:57 AM
Both, depending. If long-distance, "fine motor activity" kind of sounds like that. If sprinting, well, "power sport."

nhc
May 12th, 2010, 12:38 PM
For very lousy swimmers, it's definitely power sport :D. For elite swimmers, it's mostly motor activity. On average, I think it's more on the motor side.

larsoda
May 12th, 2010, 01:25 PM
Well, I guess I need to rethink things.

I peruse triathlon forums from time-to-time & often read posts with things like "swimming is 100% technique", "it's all about form", or "strength isn't needed to swim fast."

So yesterday I read this quote by one of the technique folks: "Swimming is a fine motor activity, not a power sport!" This was in support of a statement that speed will come with improved technique, not working harder at swim sets.

I thought that was BS. I still do, actually. But I'm willing to investigate the possibility that I'm the one who's incorrect.

Thanks for your responses,

Dan

pwolf66
May 12th, 2010, 01:36 PM
I would say it's both. here's my thinking on this:

1) Fine motor control is needed to place the hands and feet in the proper position to....
2) Generate maximum power during the arm pull or leg kick


Not to mention the adjustments needed in the core to maintain proper body position.

Asking _most_ triathletes about swimming is like getting financial advice from Bernie Madoff. You can do it but the results are going to be iffy.

Chris Stevenson
May 12th, 2010, 01:41 PM
So yesterday I read this quote by one of the technique folks: "Swimming is a fine motor activity, not a power sport!" This was in support of a statement that speed will come with improved technique, not working harder at swim sets.

I thought that was BS. I still do, actually. But I'm willing to investigate the possibility that I'm the one who's incorrect.

All other things being equal, improving technique will definitely improve speed. It can certainly be argued that it is the most "cost-effective" way of doing so.

All other things being equal, working harder (with sufficient recovery) at swim sets will definitely improve race performance. Anyone who says differently is being silly, or justifying his lazy work habits.

Physiologically, pool swimming is a power sport, as opposed to an endurance sport like triathlons...or most OW swimming. But technique is huge, so it is a fine motor sport in that sense; I would agree with Debaru that it is both.

Rykno
May 12th, 2010, 02:02 PM
a fine motor activity, or a power sport?

Just curious what swimmers think.


I have to say a power sport, only because we have a 17yr old on our team that is struggling to get a "C" in gym, but can swim 200 LCM in 2:19, I know that's not the greatest of times, but still.

this is the same kid that took 1 hr longer than the rest of his teammates to climb down a mt that was mostly just walking.

Swimosaur
May 12th, 2010, 02:27 PM
I have to say a power sport, only because we have a 17yr old on our team that is struggling to get a "C" in gym, but can swim 200 LCM in 2:19, I know that's not the greatest of times, but still.

this is the same kid that took 1 hr longer than the rest of his teammates to climb down a mt that was mostly just walking.

Suggest checking his vision. Swimming does not require too many visual skills or balance based on visual cues but many other activities do. From personal experience I can say that a few diopters of strabismus (when your eyes do not point in quite the same direction) has little effect on swimming but can wreak havoc on e.g. the basketball court (field percentage in the neighborhood of "pure luck & a prayer"). Mild cases are surprisingly hard to detect.

It's a guess.

stillwater
May 12th, 2010, 02:33 PM
Neither.

orca1946
May 12th, 2010, 03:14 PM
Motor till you get to a very high level that requires fine skills to get a little bit better .

larsoda
May 12th, 2010, 03:19 PM
Asking _most_ triathletes about swimming is like getting financial advice from Bernie Madoff. You can do it but the results are going to be iffy.

I know - normally I'd just ignore it, but it was a "coach" making this claim.

I suppose for folks swimming 2:30's per 100yds technique improvement is the best way to go to reduce time. But, to me, if someone's swimming that slowly, there's gotta be strength/power problems that are keeping the body from being able to rise up and reduce drag.

At some hypothetical speed, improvement can't be made in a weak swimmer by altering the stroke. I suppose I may underestimate that speed by placing it around 1:45 per 100yds. Perhaps it's really in the 1:20 to 1:30 range.

Thanks again for your thoughts,

Dan

craig68
May 12th, 2010, 04:06 PM
I can see how on a triathlon forum that would make that claim. I often swim next to triathletes who could go at least 10% faster if they would just raise their elbows and point their toes. They look like they could easily bench press their weight, but I'm doing one arm stroke drills and passing them as they try to power through the water.

BUT, once we're talking a group of swimmers that have good technique, the most powerful swimmer will likely be the fastest.....

pwolf66
May 12th, 2010, 04:16 PM
BUT, once we're talking a group of swimmers that have good technique, the most powerful swimmer will likely be the fastest.....

:applaud: :applaud: :applaud:

3strokes
May 13th, 2010, 04:46 PM
Yes. It is ...................

nkfrench
May 13th, 2010, 06:10 PM
I'd quibble over verbage. "Fine Motor" implies to me that the smaller muscles are used in the way that a surgeon or pianist or artist can coordinate smaller muscles to efficiently perform delicate functions. "Power" implies large muscles used to accellerate mass.

Swimming is technique-limited but requires strength and conditioning to apply. If you are not strong and fit, you won't be able to use good technique. If you don't have good technique, all the strength and conditioning you possess won't make you very fast. An example - core muscles must be strong to maintain your position in the water. There is so much else in the mix - flexibility, mental aspects, body geometry. Fascinating sport that can keep you learning how to improve your swimming for your entire life.

I am pretty sure that both Mark Spitz and Michael Phelps were relatively weak in the weight room compared to other elite athletes. Both had excellent swimming technique.