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sepandee
September 9th, 2011, 04:03 PM
Hi fellas,

I used to swim quite a lot when I was a kid, but that stopped 10 years ago. Now, I've hit the pool once again and I feel that after 100m, I'm already exhausted. I'm good at everything else: I play lots of basketball, some tennis, I hit the gym regularly, etc, so stamina should not be an issue. Perhaps it takes a while for my body to get used to swimming, I don't know. In the meantime, I thought maybe it's a technique issue, so I've uploaded two videos:

Front crawl: P9090025 - YouTube
Butterfly: P9090026 - YouTube

The one I really care about right now is the front crawl. I'm trying to get my bronze medallion and bronze cross, and the requirement is 600m in 18 minutes. I can do that at an abysmal 16 minutes. I need to get it down to at least 10 minutes.

I'll appreciate every constructive criticism.

Thanks

marksman
September 11th, 2011, 12:58 AM
Your front crawl pull seems a bit weak. Your turnover is fast, but you can probably catch a lot more water. The forearm contributes to the pull and it is a good idea to develop feel for the water so your catch is very strong. One armed freestyle drills, and trying to reduce the number of strokes you take per lap by doing strong pulls, should help.

Also, your legs seem to be sinking. Keeping your head a bit lower, and kicking a bit more, should help. And swimming in cargo shorts is gonna slow you down too

-mark

haffathot
September 11th, 2011, 10:41 AM
Also, I notice that you start with a push-off at about the surface of the water and flutter kick for the start. You should get just below the surface and fly kick to the surface. I also saw no flip turns, and that cuts time considerably. As for stroke, generally, your underwater stroke does seam weak, so I'm wondering from where you are draing your power. It should be hand and forearm in unison. Your hand entry seems flat. The hands should enter at an angle with thumb and forefinger leading. Shoulders should rotate a bit at hand entry, as you extend your stroke. This narrows your body and maximizes your streamlining, which is critical in longer sets. Eyes should face the floor as you swim, as lifting your head wil increase resistance, weigh you down, and drop your feet. With butterfly, you looked tired at the outset, and your stroke showed it. You powered into the pull, and the relaxed on the rest of the stroke.

rtodd
September 11th, 2011, 11:58 AM
I would drop your head a bit more. You are pulling with a straight arm. You want to catch the water with a higher elbow. You are not finishing the stroke as good as you could (your had is coming out a bit early) and your hand is coming out a bit far from your body. If you rotate a bit more your hand will actually pull through and finish under your body and not the side of the body. You need a higher elbow on your recovery. When you push off see if you can squeeze your head with your upper arms to streamine better.

You have the makings of a good swimmer. You are breathing to both sides and your body stays in pretty good alignment. Loose the board shorts and execute flip turns (maybe you just were not showing for the demo).

The butterly you are not dropping your chest down below your arms during entry. Your hands are entering first and below your chest. That's a no no. YOu actually want to lay your arms on the surface of the water in fron of you and go right into a high elbow catch. You want to breathe early and then return the head to a neutral position ASAP. Your head should actually lead your hands on entry. Try one arm fly first with one arm at your side then graduate to one arm outstretched. Swim doing two left two right and two full.

You did a real important step by filming. Watch your stroke and watch Phelp's stroke (there's tons on youtube) and see how they differ.

taruky
September 11th, 2011, 12:55 PM
The hand orientation on the recovery issue has a lot of differing opinions, and I'm not really sure there is a best way for every person. Thumb down/first entry has the potential of shoulder injury due to internal rotation. Some swimmers actually have the palm facing them on the recovery and enter the water pretty flat. See this Popov video;
Alexander Popov

The same video actually has some really good footage of points relevant to your stroke. Things I would take note of and try to emulate:

1. Notice the recovery in a relative straight line. At the 3:48 mark you can see it's almost like he does a fingertip drag drill while swimming normally. Your recovery looks a bit flat and semicircular, so you cross the center a bit, especially your right arm. That makes it tougher to catch water and stay straight. Watch where you start and where you finish on your freestyle video, particularly the 1st and 3rd swims. You will see a drift to the right? Think of your arms from start of recovery to entry on railroad tracks shoulder width apart. Fingertip drag drill is good for that. Let your forearm loose and let your shoulder do the work on the recovery, that may save you some energy.

2. Look at his head position around the 00:50 mark. Think of your body like a teeter totter. Your head and trunk are one side, your hips and legs the other. Don't think about it so much as dropping your head, i.e. don't let your head lose its alignment with the trunk (the seat of the teeter totter does not change its position relative to the bar, right?). Keeping your head aligned with the body, teeter your top half slightly downward and feel the hips and legs rising. It will take some practice, but you will eventually get the feeling.

3. Look at the 1:30 mark where he is catching water. If you were to draw a line from his shoulder to his wrist and hand, that line would pass underneath his elbow. That is a high elbow. Watch how he maintains that throughout the catch and pull. Think about that imaginary line. The other thing to think about is not leading with the elbow on the pull which you are clearly doing. If you lead with the elbow, your forearm is not vertical. You are feeling pressure on your arm and confusing that with good pressure when in fact it is downward pressure. You want backward pressure. As a dryland drill, put one of your arms up to the ceiling and then rotate your body away from that arm. You are now ready to catch. Now keeping the elbow in the same place, have your forearm come down until it is parallel to the floor and at the same height as the elbow. Now bend it even more so it is actually a little below your elbow just to get a good feel. Practice that a lot to get a feel for what your shoulder and arm should feel like when actually pulling in the water.

Good luck.

sepandee
September 11th, 2011, 09:41 PM
Thanks guys. I will now practice those points. A few things which I forgot to mention:

* the length of the pool is 23 meters.
* The water is murky and there are no lines at the bottom, hence why I'm looking up a bit so I don't hit the walls.



As a dryland drill, put one of your arms up to the ceiling and then rotate your body away from that arm. You are now ready to catch. Now keeping the elbow in the same place, have your forearm come down until it is parallel to the floor and at the same height as the elbow. Now bend it even more so it is actually a little below your elbow just to get a good feel. Practice that a lot to get a feel for what your shoulder and arm should feel like when actually pulling in the water.

Good luck.

I totally did not understand the drill!! What do you mean by "rotate away"? How do I rotate AWAY from my own arm? Is there a video of this drill anywhere? That would be very helpful.

Thanks.

haffathot
September 11th, 2011, 10:11 PM
Ooh, Taruky, I suppose I can see that impingement as a distinct possibility over repetitive use, but I think the risk is definitely lessened by good shoulder rotation on the extension. The flat entry doesn't really feed into the streamlining you are creating in the same way that the thumb-down entry does. Still, your point gives me food for thought.

haffathot
September 11th, 2011, 11:01 PM
OK, this would have kept me up all night, so I took a shower, as I do some of my best thinking in the water, I think. So, in reviewing my own stroke stylings, my thought on flat entry vs thumb down is (now) this: Thumb entry does not presume the hand will enter perpendicular to the water, a position which would present pretty much the greatest chance (aside from 90+ degrees) of shoulder impingement over extreme repetition. You can enter thumbs down at 45 degrees, reducing impingement risk to nearly nothing, while still maintaining the benefit of splitting the water. Plus, it has the added benefit of reducing the necessary hand rotation required to position oneself for the catch.

__steve__
September 12th, 2011, 11:25 AM
OK, this would have kept me up all night, so I took a shower, as I do some of my best thinking in the water, I think. So, in reviewing my own stroke stylings, my thought on flat entry vs thumb down is (now) this: Thumb entry does not presume the hand will enter perpendicular to the water, a position which would present pretty much the greatest chance (aside from 90+ degrees) of shoulder impingement over extreme repetition. You can enter thumbs down at 45 degrees, reducing impingement risk to nearly nothing, while still maintaining the benefit of splitting the water. Plus, it has the added benefit of reducing the necessary hand rotation required to position oneself for the catch.
Don't loose sleep over it, just use the method most fast swimmers use - non-thumb first entry, as well as "I" stroke, and avoiding scissor kicking.

haffathot
September 12th, 2011, 12:12 PM
on what do you base that, steve? non-thumb entry certainly mitigates the chance of shoulder impingement, as discussed above and in numerous recent articles, but there are benefits to thumb-entry which still makes it beneficial for a fast stroke, which is why it was put into practice in the first place. What I was bothered by was that I had lost track of the swimmer's shoulder concerns when conceptualizing stroke technique, an am concerned that the only available alternative many see is a flat entry, which I don't think is ideal for streamlining. As I teach quite a bit of swimming and have for years, I don't want to counsel my swimmers to do something that will over-rotate their shoulders over the long-term, but I don't feel comfortable with a flat entry. In the past, I've generally told my swimmers to go thumb-entry, but very relaxed posture and at an angle, to avoid cross-over, overly-mechanical stroke, and possible injury for pushing your body to repeat an unnatural position. However, I don't traditionally address the shoulder impingement specifically, and it seems like I should going forward. So, I needed to reconcile what I teach with what I should teach. In reflecting upon it, I think the relaxed posture with which I have my swimmers perform the thumb-entry amounts to a 45 degree or less entry, and I don't think that really creates any shoulder trauma, though I'm no doctor, as the internal rotation, to the degree there is any, is minimal and I've never heard shoulder complaints from my swimmers over the years. It preserves the splitting of the water effect of the out-of-favor 90 degree thumb-entry while gearing up the hand for the catch. Although, I'd be inclined to cease such instruction should I see a study that established that any angular entry of the hand into the water, to any degree, is harmful. I've not seen such, though. I think the majority of the work in opposition to thumb-entry focuses on a 90 degree entry.

As for pull types, hand path should never be taken into account outside of discussion of body rotation (the rotation of the shoulders around the body), as the rotation of the body while performing an I-Pull can, essentially, create an S-Pull path. So, Counsilman's S-Pull can now largely considered more of an observation of I-Pull in the context of the modern, not flat, swimming style. So, neither pull is really wrong, when taken in the context of the modern stroke, provided that the swimmer isn't exaggerating the effects of the natural outsweep due to the body rotation.

Ohhhh, scissor-kicking, the bane of every young swim-teamer... that and no-kicking, that is.

--Sean

Redbird Alum
September 12th, 2011, 05:04 PM
This may been said, maybe in different context, but you need to keep your head more neutral. Do not have your face forward, rather you should be looking at the bottom when not breathing. This will help reduce tension in the back, and raise your hips and kick alignment.

This may also have been said, but the amplitude of your kick seems large. Have you tried to increase the kick frequency, and reduce the amplitude?

sepandee
September 12th, 2011, 05:12 PM
This may been said, maybe in different context, but you need to keep your head more neutral. Do not have your face forward, rather you should be looking at the bottom when not breathing. This will help reduce tension in the back, and raise your hips and kick alignment.

This may also have been said, but the amplitude of your kick seems large. Have you tried to increase the kick frequency, and reduce the amplitude?

Like I said in the previous post, the water is very murky and there's no line at the bottom, so I fear if I don't look forward, I'll run into the side or front walls.

As for the kicks, I can make it splash less, it's no problem. It's just that I've been swimming (or rather *not* swimming) so long without a coach that I've forgotten a lot of the details. So thanks :)

taruky
September 12th, 2011, 10:44 PM
Thanks guys. I will now practice those points. A few things which I forgot to mention:

* the length of the pool is 23 meters.
* The water is murky and there are no lines at the bottom, hence why I'm looking up a bit so I don't hit the walls.




I totally did not understand the drill!! What do you mean by "rotate away"? How do I rotate AWAY from my own arm? Is there a video of this drill anywhere? That would be very helpful.

Thanks.

What I mean is this. If your right arm is raised, rotate your body counterclockwise. Left arm raised, rotate body clockwise. Keep the hand and arm fixed while rotating. You can also do a variation of the drill by doing it against a wall. Start with the hand flat against the wall, rotate your body as described, then keeping the elbow in place bring the forearm down until the hand and forearm are perpendicular to the wall (fingertips touching the wall). Then lower the elbow, forearm, and hand down the wall as one unit, staying perpendicular to the wall, while rotating your body the other direction until you get to about hip with that "forearm paddle". This is essentially like swimming toward the ceiling. Keep practicing it and let your shoulder amd elbow joints get used to the positions of the catch and pull.

I would also advise you to do a lot of sculling drills and fist drills to improve your feel for the water. You can find these online easily.