View Full Version : Controversial Swim technique?

April 1st, 2002, 12:07 AM
:confused: Has anyone heard about this guy before?

> In the latest article, Dr. Arthur Piltdown relates his
experiences at "Stone-like Swimming". Working extensively
with collegiate swimmers, Piltdown's training techniques have
yielded a strong foundation of results. "Speed is the key.
With enough maintained velocity," Piltdown espouses, "These
swimmers have been able to effectively skip across the surface
of the water like a stone."

Piltdown, currently head coach for Leavenworth University's
fledgling men's swim team, developed his short axis training
regimen while coaching abroad at the Moratuwa Educational and
Research Institute Aquatics Center in Sri Lanka.

Piltdown, initially brought on as assistant technique coach,
quietly championed the benefits of a unique style of off-stroke
(i.e., breaststroke, butterfly) drilling as cross-training for
members of the Sri Lankan National Cricket team. His methods
catapulted the team from last place to capture the title at
the 1997 Sharjah Cup Tri-Nation Tournament.

While controversial, Piltdown's methods were the highlight of
this past weekend's Men's NCAA Championships held at Athens,
Georgia. Two of his swimmers, Hanson Stewart and Brad Small,
Jr., showcased the new technique, setting new world marks of,
respectively, :24.25 for the 50 yard breaststroke and 3:28:05
in the dreaded 400 yard butterfly.

The above was reprinted from this week's 'Total Swin' articles at the Total Submersion website (www.TotalSubmersion.net).

Rob Copeland
April 1st, 2002, 08:21 AM
I have been a great fan of Dr. Piltdown, for some time. I have found his techniques extremely effective. Mostly so on starts where the skipping action is most pronounced. However, as you mention speed is the key to Dr. Piltdown’s technique, and I find it difficult to maintain the hydroplaning benefits for more than a 50 (75 at most), before I submerge into the traditional American Crawl.

You forgot to mention that in addition to his work with swimmers, Dr. Piltdown has also led the Leavenworth University diving team, taking them to their highest finish ever in NCAA Diving. His mastery and teaching of the controversial horizontal entry technique has led to startling results in the platform events.

Rich, thanks again for putting Masters Swimming in perspective.

Fritz Lehman
April 1st, 2002, 08:59 AM
As a coach of many divers that compete on the international level, I feel it's my duty to warn everyone that not all judges have completely embraced the horizontal entry. To say it's controversial is a gross understatement. While it's easily the most revolutionary enhancement to diving ever, certain blocks of judges prefer a more traditional approach. Expect higher scores in North America where it's catching on very fast. What happened at this years NCAA meet is just the beginning.

April 1st, 2002, 10:07 AM
I haven't been able to get the velocity I need off the start for this new technique. I'm hoping that one of the new suits will help, at least at the time of water contact. Any suggestions?

Rob Copeland
April 1st, 2002, 11:17 AM
Dr. Piltdown has developed a suit that is an adaptation of the full body suit which has been designed specifically for his teams. The suit is constructed of space age material that is a hyper-elastic/hydro-repellent fifth generation derivation of lycra.

The suit completely covers the feet and has small hooks that extend over the lip of the starting block. As opposed to the traditional start where the swimmer dives into the water, with the Piltdown suit at the start, the swimmer launches herself backwards, away from the water. This motion causes the hyper-elastic material in the foot section of the suit to stretch (remember that the base of the foot section is still attached to the block). After the suit has reached its maximum recoil, the swimmer is then launched towards the pool. As the swimmer passes the block on the way to the water they push off the block, this time towards the pool, in a motion that has been described as looking like George Reeves in the old Superman show (as he flew out windows). This start has proven to double the velocity of the swimmer and therefore provided the necessary speed to skip off the water on the start. The Doctor recommends that the Backstroke flags be removed when you learn this new start. A number of his swimmers have launched themselves into and over the flags, until they were able to control the take-off.

I have heard that the Piltdown suits are on sale at http://www.metrotri.com.

April 1st, 2002, 11:43 AM
I went to the Warner Brothers web site and got a contact over at ACME supplies, and they are sending me the same sling shot Wiley Coyote used a number of times to reach the velocity of that road runner. I figured I could set this up on the starting block to attempt to reach the velocity required to 'skip' on the water.

I once had enough velocity to skip on the water, but I don't think the officials would allow a power boat in protected waters.

April 1st, 2002, 11:46 AM
The video clips at www.TotalSubmersion.net are very impressive. :cool: However, I noted that they were taken during a dual meet between Leavenworth University and the University of Anchorage last January. The meet was held in the outdoor pool since the indoor facility was closed due to maintenance. I don't expect that we will see similar results at Short Course Nationals in Hawaii in May. :(

April 1st, 2002, 11:57 AM
Rumor has it that Perry Laughing of Total Submersion is preparing his response to Dr. Piltdown's new techniques. Perry announced that the new TS technique emphasizes drills that enhance DPS (distance per skip). He claims that if the swimmer "presses their boulder" during the start, they can increase DPS dramatically. Meanwhile, FINA will be voting shortly on a new regulation that limits the distance one can skip on the start to 15 meters, claiming that some gifted skippers are injuring themselves on the far wall after a particularly good start.

Bert Bergen
April 1st, 2002, 12:38 PM
Fascinating! Coming from the Machischo/Yeager school of training, I still subscribe to the more traditional methods of swimming ("normal" suits; shaving, etc), but this Piltdown guy might have something. What will really seal the deal for all of us is if our wonder-boy Ion buys into this as a way to crack the top 1000...sorry to bring him in, all.

Go Leavenworth Cons!

Philip Arcuni
April 1st, 2002, 12:59 PM
I also found the information on www.TotalSubmersion.net very interesting. Especially intriguing were the 'fingloves' that incase the feet in a tight rubber case. It apparently aids in the feel for the water while kicking.

More controversial, I think, is the 'StraightSwimJacket' which encases the entire body, including the arms and hands, and legs and feet, in a single tight rubber tube (the idea apparently originated because some of the members of the University of Leavenworth were required to wear something similar.) This tube aids in the development of 'body pulsing', a great advantage for short-axis skipping strokes. It also teaches the users to role their bodies side to side during freestyle - without that fine-tuning the swimmers had trouble making it across the pool without severe respiratory difficulties.

Philip Arcuni
April 1st, 2002, 01:06 PM
I'm surprised no one has mentioned the major difficulty with 'stone like swimming.' It is very difficult to travel straight while skipping, especially off of the blocks. Right-footed swimmers tend to curve to the right, while left-footed swimmers tend to curve to the left. I have seen several swimmers skip over the lane line into adjacent lanes (or even two lanes over!) for automatic disqualification :(

April 1st, 2002, 01:20 PM
The Piltdown suit and start will not be allowed at this weekend's 2002 NE SCY Championships. We tested at last night's late practice and discovered that due to the unusual pitch of the pool at Harvard--as many of you know the pool is very close to the banks of the Charles River-it is unsafe in a 25 yard course.As we proved last night, swimmers very proficient in the Piltdown technique cannot always safely stop at the turn due to the slight downward pitch of the pool.

We'll just have to wait for the 2002 NE LCM Championships to see if it really works that well in competition.

Rob Copeland
April 1st, 2002, 01:33 PM
We have found, if you raise the water level at the turn end of the pool and lower the water level at the starting end, so that there is a 2.5 to 2.75 inch difference, that most swimmers are able to negotiate a turn without skipping out of the pool.

However, the water from the Charles River is much more viscous and gelatinous then normal water. And may possibly impede or exacerbate the Piltdown suit and technique. Therefore, you may need to filter it, instead of pumping it directly into the Harvard pool. In addition to improving the water clarity, it may keep the Duck Boats out of the Warm-up and Warm-down lanes.

April 1st, 2002, 02:00 PM
On the contrary; the higher viscosity of the water from the Charles will only enhance the skipping effect.

However I question the wisdom of mixing the "skip-enhancing" chemical coating of the Piltdown skinsuit with the volatile composition of the Charles' water (if left untreated). We don't want to have yet another spontaneous combustion incident at the Harvard Pool!

Has anyone noticed that the totalsubmersion.net website seems to be down? I'm afraid we might have overwhelmed their servers.


April 1st, 2002, 02:38 PM
Just got word - the total submersion website was overwhelmed with hits on the Piltdown articles and videos, however I did pull a copy of it and posted it on the metrotri.com website here (http://www.metrotri.com/TS.htm) earlier today.

Unfortunately, the video clips are not available.


Bert Petersen
April 1st, 2002, 03:20 PM
What's the big deal ? I have skipped two meets in a row now,without a best (or any) time to show for it. Skipping never seems to produce results-even skipping practice.............:D

Tim Hedrick
April 1st, 2002, 07:31 PM
Syd Finch isn't involved with this, is he?

He's the guy George Plimpton wrote about some 20 years ago for Sports Illustrated...

April 1st, 2002, 11:52 PM
I've got a better idea; how about using a kayak... or riding some sort of torpedo...

But seriously... cover-all suits with hooks on the feet?? What's this sport coming to?

Bert Petersen
April 2nd, 2002, 12:58 AM
I seem to be having some problems with my latest invention for increasing my foot size to allow my dolphin kick to be more productive. I'm sure you have all noticed the tiny wedge-shaped clear plastic toe-enhancers (patent applied for) that I have been utilizing in recent races. They really work great ! It is like having mini-fins on. The problem: I have been using super-glue to hold them in place and it is a real hassle to apply and then take off. I tried leaving them in place between meets, but my shoes are pinching me terribly. Do you think clear plastic-wrap wedges would work better? Or is there a glue that melts away after about one minute in water? Any advice would be welcomed. No un-serious responses, pleeze.........................;)

April 2nd, 2002, 01:43 AM
Not to worry, Bert. 3M makes a super-strong air-soluable epoxy that only works when wet. After a few minutes of exposure to the air, the bond is broken and the adhesive dissolves.

It's called "Barnacle Glue". It was developed in the early 70's by the research firm of Unger & Madison, who were aquired by 3M a few years back.

You should be able to get it at any Marine supply shop.


Another (more budget-conscious) solution is to just not cut your toe-nails. Same effect.

Bert Petersen
April 2nd, 2002, 02:00 AM
Thanks Rich : I'll hop right down to the hardware and get some. By the way, as an aside, regarding the "why excel in one......" idea; I have found (so far) 23 sports at which I am mediocre or worse. I only swim because I am driven to do so by genetic propulsion...................... Bert

Phil Arcuni
April 2nd, 2002, 08:19 AM
Seriously, Bert, you should know that it is *illegal* to use those little wedges in a race. Not only that, but we *have*noticed, and they make you walk funny.

April 2nd, 2002, 12:04 PM
I just got word: there's a big meet tonight between Piltdown's Leavenworth U team and Ossining State here in NY.

It's going to be broadcast on ESPN3 some time next April.