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rtodd
February 6th, 2011, 04:40 PM
I see some age groupers getting real good results grabbing the gutter and placing feet a bit lower. They come right out and get clean entries just like the bar grabbers. Is this just a developmental thing, or can Masters benefit? I think the added buoyancy by staying low in the water at the start creates a stronger pushoff and slingshot?

jaadams1
February 6th, 2011, 04:58 PM
I see some age groupers getting real good results grabbing the gutter and placing feet a bit lower. They come right out and get clean entries just like the bar grabbers. Is this just a developmental thing, or can Masters benefit? I think the added buoyancy by staying low in the water at the start creates a stronger pushoff and slingshot?

This is EXACTLY as I do it. I can always play around in practice with any pool doing a backstroke start like this. I do find that having a lower center of gravity helps me on my takeoff. I also have a staggered foot placement on the wall, one foot lower than the other as a track start. At the announcement of "take your mark" I pull up slightly, just enough to spring quickly, but not enough to change my center of gravity. At the starting signal I'm right up and out of the water going in fairly cleanly into the water. At the end of the race however, the timers always look like they just got out of a shower. :bliss:

Karl_S
February 6th, 2011, 05:43 PM
I see some age groupers getting real good results grabbing the gutter and placing feet a bit lower. They come right out and get clean entries just like the bar grabbers. Is this just a developmental thing, or can Masters benefit? I think the added buoyancy by staying low in the water at the start creates a stronger pushoff and slingshot?

There was some discussion of this in the backstroke lane thread some time back.
U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums - View Single Post - The Backstroke Lane

shahboz
February 6th, 2011, 07:17 PM
Starting from the gutter is slower in most cases. Use the block if you can.

Most of the time kids starting from the gutter are either too small to reach or have not yet mastered using the block. I look at it like starting on the side of the pool instead of the block in non-back events.

Also, if you are starting on flat walls (FINA) there are no gutters to grab...

ande
February 6th, 2011, 08:40 PM
It's a bad idea

The higher you start the more water you clear
The less water you drag through
The further and faster you go

Gutter starts are for swimmers who can't do starts holding the grips on the blocks
Also you want to get get your butt away from your heels.
Bend knees at 90 degrees


I see some age groupers getting real good results grabbing the gutter and placing feet a bit lower. They come right out and get clean entries just like the bar grabbers. Is this just a developmental thing, or can Masters benefit? I think the added buoyancy by staying low in the water at the start creates a stronger pushoff and slingshot?

arthur
February 7th, 2011, 12:38 AM
Another bad thing about practicing starting using the gutter is you can't rely on having a gutter at your meets. At almost all of my meets either the pools don't have raised gutters or the touch pads cover the gutters.

knelson
February 7th, 2011, 01:36 AM
I disagree with those saying gutter starts are bad. I'll agree that ideally a start using the block is faster, but I have a feeling many people would be better off using a gutter start--but definitely keep working on the regular block start. No question it can be faster.

Arthur makes a good point, though.

analazy
February 7th, 2011, 03:10 AM
Start hands on the gutter, or in the wall when there are electronic pads.
And do not bend my arms, on the 50m meters back 32seconds; it works for me.
To perform a hand block start in order to get a good entry demands a power I do not have and hate to practice . This way I do not splash and keep strength do a almost 12m underwater efficient dolphin kick .

swimshark
February 7th, 2011, 11:36 AM
I always use the gutter when doing a back start. I was a horrible back starter as a kid so I had to re-learn as an adult and this is how I learned. If I go with the block, I do a back flop. Plus, I like that I can practice if, like today, the pool has taken the blocks out for cleaning. For me the gutter starts are faster because I'm not thinking about the pain of a block start.

nkfrench
February 7th, 2011, 12:37 PM
One of my knees won't bend enough to do a backstroke block start well. I get better results from a gutter start with legs staggered like a track start.

pwb
February 7th, 2011, 01:14 PM
I disagree with those saying gutter starts are bad. I'm with you


I'll agree that ideally a start using the block is faster, but I have a feeling many people would be better off using a gutter start--but definitely keep working on the regular block start. No question it can be faster.As with anything, YMMV.

Ever since they outlawed the perfectly reasonable stand-up backstroke start, I prefer doing my backstroke only in events that don't require a backstroke start.

Muppet
February 7th, 2011, 01:43 PM
my starts depend on the facilities available. some grab bars are too high or their style just doesn't feel right, at which point I turn to the gutter for help, and the same thing applies for the gutter. Personally, I don't really feel like I get a better start with one or the other in general - obviously, in specific situations one is better than the other.

Consider this: using the blocks/grab bar, I find myself deeper in the water off the start (usually ~3 feet), and thus the amplitude of my forward projectile motion has a pretty low valley to start. A gutter start finds me much closer to the surface (1-2 feet) and gives me a much flatter amplitude to start. I would think that since the fastest distance between point a and b is a straight line, that for me, the gutter start will almost always be the best bet.

knelson
February 7th, 2011, 03:07 PM
I would think that since the fastest distance between point a and b is a straight line, that for me, the gutter start will almost always be the best bet.

By this logic the shallowest start would always be the fastest start and I think it's pretty clear this isn't the case primarily because you need to get underwater far enough to avoid wave drag at the surface. Just consider people who push off the wall right on the surface. They go nowhere.

thewookiee
February 7th, 2011, 03:39 PM
By this logic the shallowest start would always be the fastest start and I think it's pretty clear this isn't the case primarily because you need to get underwater far enough to avoid wave drag at the surface. Just consider people who push off the wall right on the surface. They go nowhere.

I think Muppet means that his gutter start allows him to go deep enough to avoid the waves created at the surface but not so deep that he at a disadvantage, esp. when racing swimmie.

My start with the backstroke bars stinks. No matter how much I practice, I always seem slow on my underwater kicks off the start. I feel very stiff on them. They get better on the turns but the starts are horrible. I may practice some gutter starts to see if there is any difference for me.

knelson
February 7th, 2011, 03:46 PM
I think Muppet means that his gutter start allows him to go deep enough to avoid the waves created at the surface but not so deep that he at a disadvantage, esp. when racing swimmie.

My opinion is one to two feet is not deep enough, and probably not even three feet. If you look at underwater videos of the greats like Lochte and Peirsol they're going a lot deeper than that on the start.

thewookiee
February 7th, 2011, 03:53 PM
My opinion is one to two feet is not deep enough, and probably not even three feet. If you look at underwater videos of the greats like Lochte and Peirsol they're going a lot deeper than that on the start.

I would take a hunch that when he says 1-2 feet, he is probably deeper than that on the start. I would also believe that most masters, with a few exceptions, aren't going to benefit from going as deep as lochte or piersol since we don't have the kicking power that they do.
I would say the masters that can do that, like Chris or Mike Ross, are the exception rather than the rule. Most are probably better served going a little more shallow on the start and get to the surface sooner.

The Fortress
February 7th, 2011, 03:57 PM
My backstroke start is my baby -- probably the thing I do best in swimming. Personally, I would never use a gutter start. I'd feel like I was flopping on my back. Much easier to get a cleaner deeper entry from the blocks. YMMV

But Wookiee may be correct in his analysis of what most masters can do. You need a vicious kick if you're 3-4 feet under.

thewookiee
February 7th, 2011, 04:06 PM
My backstroke start is my baby -- probably the thing I do best in swimming. Personally, I would never use a gutter start. I'd feel like I was flopping on my back. Much easier to get a cleaner deeper entry from the blocks. YMMV

But Wookiee may be correct in his analysis of what most masters can do. You need a vicious kick if you're 3-4 feet under.

As Kirk pointed out, there benefits to going deeper. You are one of the people that I was thinking of that would be an exception. Your start and underwaters are very strong.
And I should add, just because we don't have the abilities of the elites, doesn't mean we shouldnt work towards improvement. I believe that we should also be honest with ourselves about our abilities.

orca1946
February 7th, 2011, 04:13 PM
I try both, with my bad hip. It feels better with a low start, but the times from either are the same for my sorry excuse for back stroke!

knelson
February 7th, 2011, 04:44 PM
I would also believe that most masters, with a few exceptions, aren't going to benefit from going as deep as lochte or piersol since we don't have the kicking power that they do.

Yeah, I was actually going to mention something like this in my last post. I do think the optimum depth varies from swimmer to swimmer. You certainly don't want to be so deep that you feel like you're expending a lot of effort just to surface rather than to propel you down the pool. Ideally you'll pop to the surface when your underwater kicking speed matches your surface swimming speed, or at 15 meters, whichever comes first!

thewookiee
February 7th, 2011, 04:45 PM
Yeah, I was actually going to mention something like this in my last post. I do think the optimum depth varies from swimmer to swimmer. You certainly don't want to be so deep that you feel like you're expending a lot of effort just to surface rather than to propel you down the pool. Ideally you'll pop to the surface when your underwater kicking speed matches your surface swimming speed, or at 15 meters, whichever comes first!

Agreed.

ElaineK
February 7th, 2011, 05:33 PM
I prefer doing my backstroke only in events that don't require a backstroke start.

Agreed! Like Alison (Swimshark), my backstroke starts are more like a backflop. :afraid:A previous back and shoulder surgery makes backstroke starts painful. I'll stick with IM's, in addition to breaststroke! :D