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jswim
October 17th, 2011, 06:01 PM
Hello all,

So I've got a plateau problem that I've had for years now. I'm intent on overcoming it and getting faster, though I'm not sure what I"m doing wrong. I practice by myself because our masters swim times are WAY to early for me, (5:30 am).

I have a feeling that my catch is pretty decent and my position in the water feels good, (I've been told I have a very efficient stroke) and I can reach dps of 12-13 strokes per 25 yards (I'm 5'4"). I swim a relatively stratight track and I have a good streamline because I used to be a diver.

That being said, I'm VERY slow.. I average about 40 seconds (pushing off wall) for 50 yard freestyle. When I try to increase my stroke rate for sprints, I tend to keep the same times as when I do sets of stretch freestyle.

Any ideas on what I might be able to do to increase my speed? I wish I had a video to show but alas no luck.

Thank you for any tips you can give!!!

-Jeanette

geochuck
October 17th, 2011, 07:33 PM
Swim 25s try to do them with a dive in as close to 10 seconds as you can.

jswim
October 17th, 2011, 07:47 PM
Thanks for the tip!

Would this work with a push off as well, and if so what time would you suggest I shoot for in that case, 15 seconds?

Unfortunately we're not allowed to dive-in at our pool. The swimming blocks are forbidden, and we can't dive into the shallow end. Rules GRRRRRRR..

__steve__
October 17th, 2011, 09:23 PM
Video a clip of both efforts. Post them here and good advice usually follows.

Glenn
October 17th, 2011, 10:33 PM
Get a tempo trainer (Finis has one) and experiment with different stroke rates while keeping your 12 - 13 strokes per length. As long as you keep a high elbow catch and not "spin your wheels" you should go faster.

Jamesmap2
October 18th, 2011, 02:14 AM
Do some golf. its where you swim a distance (50 for example) and ad your time, say 40 seconds, to your strokes, say 30, for a total score of 70. just try and lower that score

KatieK
October 18th, 2011, 09:30 AM
Get a tempo trainer (Finis has one) and experiment with different stroke rates while keeping your 12 - 13 strokes per length. As long as you keep a high elbow catch and not "spin your wheels" you should go faster.
I agree. Your current stroke rate is probably around 1.2 seconds per stroke. 40 seconds / (13x2 strokes + 3 for push-off + 4 for turn).

I would practice with the tempo trainer at 1.2 until you're comfortable taking 12-13 strokes and coming in at :40. Then, turn it down to 1.18 and see if you can maintain your stroke count. Keep dialing it down by .02 as long as you're speeding up or staying constant.

For example:
1x50 at 1.2 13 strokes :40.0
1x50 at 1.18 13 strokes :38.9
1x50 at 1.16 14 strokes :40.6

In this example, 1.18 is a sweet spot. You would then work on trying to improve at 1.16 or to get more consistent at 1.18.

knelson
October 18th, 2011, 11:06 AM
I have a feeling that my catch is pretty decent and my position in the water feels good, (I've been told I have a very efficient stroke) and I can reach dps of 12-13 strokes per 25 yards (I'm 5'4").

12-13 strokes per length is enviable, but it suggests to me maybe you aren't turning over fast enough. I'm over 6' and I take 12-13 strokes if I'm really working on a long stroke. During normal swimming I take more like 14.

I think the "swim golf" game is good, but always keep in mind the idea is to swim faster. A better golf score is worthless unless it means you're swimming faster, in my opinion.

geochuck
October 18th, 2011, 11:28 AM
Yes the push off speed is faster then swiming. I see all kinds of suggestions, re 13 strokes per 50. I am sure you are not able to do this. The secret of swimming fast is to get the most out of streamline. Streamline is not only while underwater but includes the hand entry the catch, the pull thru until your finish and how your hand exits the water. Getting the elbows high however a completely relaxed forearm while it is above water.

Thanks for the tip!

Would this work with a push off as well, and if so what time would you suggest I shoot for in that case, 15 seconds?

Unfortunately we're not allowed to dive-in at our pool. The swimming blocks are forbidden, and we can't dive into the shallow end. Rules GRRRRRRR..

Michael Heather
October 18th, 2011, 11:47 AM
It is entirely possible that you are not meant to sprint. If your DPS is 12-13, that is very good. If you can't go fast for a short burst, maybe you can go 40 second 50s for a long time? Try a set of short rest (5 seconds) 50s, maybe 20 or more. See what you average for each 50. If it is about the same for all 20, you are a distance swimmer. If it falls down as the set goes on, you are a sprinter.

ande
October 18th, 2011, 12:57 PM
Hi Jeanette,

you feel you've plateaued
You're intent on overcoming it and getting faster, but you're not sure what I"m doing wrong.
You practice by yourself because the master team practices at 5:30 am.

you think your technique's OK
you wrote "I'm VERY slow average about 40 seconds (pushing off wall) for 50 yard freestyle."
When you try to increase your stroke rate for sprints, you tend to keep the same times as when you do sets of stretch freestyle.

Any ideas on what I might be able to do to increase my speed?
Thank you for any tips you can give!!!
I wish I had a video to show but alas no luck.

Jeneatte, there's many ways to transform your ability.
Like SFF Tip 335 Build a Fortress of Speed & Strength &
here's the whole Swim Faster Faster Index

Your goal is to get faster. Now I want you to be more specific.
Is there a meet or an event or time you're trying to beat?
Like "I want to improve my 50 scy freestyle time from x to y by (pick a date)"

How bad do you want to be good?

how are you training now?
How many times a week?
How much per practice?
what sort of sets?
By yourself or with a training partner?
Are you lifting weights or doing exercises?

What are your times for 25 flutter kick & 25 free sprint?

Your height is 5'4" and your weight is ???

How many minutes did you rest before you did the 50 for time?

What kind of suit did you wear?

Don't make an "I-don't-have-a-video" excuse
get someone with an iPhone to video you swimming
1) towards and away &
2) from the side
put them on youtube and provide us with the links
If a friend has an underwater camera, do underwater shots

also do a close up video of you pushing off and sprinting
some swimmers waste a lot of time with poor pushoffs & transitions
have the person stand under the flags & video you pushing off and sprinting 10 yards

Create a training program and do it for 4, 6, or 10 weeks
Post your progress

Consider the "Help my ___ is horrible!"

Do you have a stopwatch and a timer?

Get one on one freestyle sprint lessons from someone who knows their stuff

I bet you have lots of low hanging fruit.
Find out what it is and pick it.

Get off that plateau and get faster.
Stop making excuses and start making progress.

Ande

jswim
October 18th, 2011, 05:25 PM
Thanks everyone for your suggestions. ;)

I think I'll look into the tempo trainer, I've never heard of that before and it sounds interesting. I do believe that my turnover is slow, though when I increase my turnover rate, my form falls apart. I suppose it's about making small increases at a time.

As for setting specific goals, I have no idea what a realistic goal for gaining within a certain time speed would actually be. ?

It's easy to get lost in all of the information on this site so it's great to have people to discuss specifics with. Your help is much appreciated!!

Now if you'll excuse me I have to get to the pool!

-J

jswim
October 18th, 2011, 05:30 PM
ps I'll work on getting a video as well :)

geochuck
October 18th, 2011, 05:44 PM
Keep it simple 1 step at a time. Don't over load and try to do everything at once.

ande
October 18th, 2011, 05:52 PM
Keep it simple 1 step at a time. Don't over load and try to do everything at once.

Agreed, Keep it simple.

Step 1: identify where you are

Step 2: figure out where want to go

Step 3: GO

norascats
October 19th, 2011, 09:08 AM
Try varying the intensity of your stroke. Swim a length where you just ride over your stroke and keep increasing the pressure.
Stroking faster does not necessarily make you go faster.

Water Rat
October 19th, 2011, 12:47 PM
Don't forget you have a lower half. KICK. Introduce sprint kick sets to your workout. 25s are fine. Give yourself plenty of rest. Focus on the "up-kick" as much as the "down-kick". Get a pair of fins but only use them for sprinting. Get used to the feel of going faster. It works.

arthur
October 19th, 2011, 01:58 PM
I think your strokes per lap is not optimal for your height. If you were 6' tall it would be good but as you are 5'4" you are probably over gliding, swimming almost catch-up freestyle. If you try to raise your tempo but try to keep 12 strokes per lap I don't you will have much luck.

You should read this blog post from Swim Smooth about stroke analysis from the 1500m gold medalists at the last world championships. It is largely focused on avoiding overgliding.

http://www.feelforthewater.com/2011/08/our-stroke-analysis-two-best-1500m.html

jswim
October 19th, 2011, 04:43 PM
After reading some more and thinking about my stroke last night as I swam, I realize a few things (some of which has already been suggested).

- I have a horrible and lazy kick and my kick timing when trying to sprint throws my whole stroke off.

- I need to get stronger

- I have developed a bad habit of gliding too much for each stroke (my dps last night while doing 50's on a minute and having about 18-20 seconds rest was still about 13 strokes) I'm not trying to aim for a specific stroke rate I seem to have just gotten comfortable with this lazy glide stroke of mine and need to kick myself into gear without allowing my stroke to fall apart.

I am going to:

1) introduce some strength training into my regime

2) work on kick sets more often

3) "Try varying the intensity of your stroke. Swim a length where you just ride over your stroke and keep increasing the pressure.
Stroking faster does not necessarily make you go faster. "

Good description, thanks for the tip! I feel like I can visualize what that should feel like to accomplish. :)