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TRYM_Swimmer
June 6th, 2014, 10:32 PM
http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/lane9/news/world/39000.asp

I just found out that Chet Jastremski, the originator of the whip kick, and first man under a minute for the 100 yd Breast, passed away last month. He was my idol during my early Breaststroke days. I had just started swimming again in '72 when a DC friend invited me to go to Long Course Nationals in Indianapolis. I passed because I felt I wasn't ready. Later I found out that he had swum. It would have been the only chance for me to see him in person.

RIP, Chet! You led the way for all of us.

Allen Stark
June 7th, 2014, 02:43 AM
I think he was the hero of every breaststroker in the 60s.He was certainly mine.

Frank Thompson
June 8th, 2014, 01:25 PM
Chet Jastremki, also known as "Chet the Jet" is considered by many including myself to be one of the greatest swimmers in the last 60 years. In a four period from 1961 until 1964, he swam like no one before or since. He broke the World Record 6 times in a 2 month period in the summer of 1961 dropping the mark by almost 4 seconds in the 100 meter breast from a 1:11.4 to a 1:07.5 and in the 200 meter breast he dropped another 7 seconds off the World Record taking the record from 2:36.5 to a 2:29.6. In one month in July 1961, he swam a time of 2:33.6 and then less then a month later lowered the record another 4 seconds to 2:29.6 and this was unheard of back then like it would be now because no swimmer has ever dropped time like that in a two month period. He was beating his competitors by 2 seconds in the 100 and 5 seconds in the 200 setting these World Records. He was so impressive, he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated when swimmers in non Olympic years don't get on the covers of Sports Illustrated because of the 8 World Records he set.

What's most impressive about these swims is he basically broke a barrier that experts didn't think would be broken for many years in the future. I would parallel this with a swimmer breaking a tech suit World Record from 2009, like Paul Biedermann's 1:42.00 in the 200 meter free. Chet broke the underwater breast records that didn't last beyond 5 years. Masaru Furukawa of Japan was the gold medalist in the 1956 Olympics basically swimming the whole race underwater. His World Record time of 1:08.2 in the 100 and 2:31.0 in the 200 were records like the tech suit records of 2009 and they would stay for at least 10 years. Because of the invention of butterfly as a separate stroke and the underwater swimming of breast in the 1956 Olympics, breast records were started by FINA from scratch because times were faster with the dolphin kick and then with the underwater swimming. Breast went back to the way they swam it in the 1940's and that was not using a dolphin kick or swimming butterfrog. With all of this he still slaughtered all of the records.

With these two changes and swimmers having to swim orthodox breast as it was called in those days, made Chet's swims even more impressive because he basically set the standard with these record swims and he was going to be emulated by every breaststroke swimmer in the next 30 years. From the summer of 1961 until the fall of 1964, he was undefeated in both the 100 and 200 in big Championship meets. He held the World Record in the 100 until March 1964 and the 200 until the 1964 Olympics in October 1964. He held the American Record in the 100 meter breast from 1961 to 1968 and the 200 meter breast from 1961 to 1969.

He was probably one of the unluckiest swimmers in history. You never saw him swim in the NCAA Championships because Indiana was put on probation for football violations. The years he swam his best were between Olympics and the only international meet that was held for the US was the Pan Am Games and they only had a 200 event which he won. The 100 breast was not an Olympic event so he only trained for the 200 and didn't improve much in the 100 and was beaten in the 1964 Olympic Trials for a spot on the Medley Relay. He graduated in 1963 and there was no professional swimming and he basically had to train by himself while going to medical school. He swam in 5 Olympic Trials which was unheard of back then and he was 15 just like Phelps was in 2000, when he qualified 1st in the 1956 Olympic Trials but was disqualified on a disputed decision. In 1960, he made the team but was mistakenly taken off because the USA took 2 breastrokers instead of 3 to Rome. In 1964, he made the team in the 200 but not the 100 and thus could not swim the medley relay. He took third in the 200 and if he would have been close to his best time he would have won gold in the 1964 Olympics.

He retired from swimming and tried to come back and did make the 1968 Olympic team but did not medal. He tried one last time in 1972 and came up short of making the team. The knock on Chet was that he did not perform up to expectations in the big meets under pressure which is really unfair because his best swims were in non Olympic years. If he would have won the gold in the 200 in 1964, swimming history would treat him much better and he would be on the greatest lists. In the two events, the 100 and 200 breast he held the American Record longer than anyone in those 2 events during the 8 year period. Brendan Hansen came pretty close to that recently. When he swam in 5 Olympic Trials, he set the standard for swimmers in the future to keep swimming even before professional swimming.

In 1972, he swam in both USMS National Championship meets and was one of the first swimmers of this caliber to do it and we see this today as recently as the last nationals but he was one of the first to do it and he set masters records that lasted over 15 years. I have provided links to stories of "Chet the Jet" so that people can see the impact he had on the sport.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1073477/index.htm

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/cover/featured/7753/index.htm

http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/lane9/news/World/39000.asp?q=Breaststroke-Legend-Chet-Jastremski-Passes-Away

http://swimswam.com/breaststroke-legend-dr-chet-jastremski-passes-away-73/

http://www.ishof.org/news/jastremski-obit.htm

http://www.ishof.org/video_archive/swimming/jastremski.htm

TRYM_Swimmer
June 8th, 2014, 01:52 PM
Thanks for the great links, Skip! They bring back some great memories. I especially noted the use of the term "mermen" in the first SI article, a term I haven't heard for years. It was used quite commonly in those days.

Celestial
June 9th, 2014, 09:12 PM
Wow, thanks for the great history lesson, Skip! He was amazing.

knelson
June 10th, 2014, 12:23 PM
I just found out that Chet Jastremski, the originator of the whip kick

What defines the "whip kick" exactly? How was it different than what was used previously?

fatboy
June 10th, 2014, 01:21 PM
Here's an explanation of difference between frog kick and whip kick:


http://books.google.com/books?id=cSSW4RhZOiwC&pg=PA239&lpg=PA239&dq=jastremski+whip+kick&source=bl&ots=qljw9tNW23&sig=jOc3xGUGw8MRK0lUakaBvshAq-g&hl=en&sa=X&ei=vTyXU7S2C4aNyATNsYKYDg&ved=0CDsQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

TRYM_Swimmer
June 16th, 2014, 03:52 PM
Here's an explanation of difference between frog kick and whip kick:


http://books.google.com/books?id=cSSW4RhZOiwC&pg=PA239&lpg=PA239&dq=jastremski+whip+kick&source=bl&ots=qljw9tNW23&sig=jOc3xGUGw8MRK0lUakaBvshAq-g&hl=en&sa=X&ei=vTyXU7S2C4aNyATNsYKYDg&ved=0CDsQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

There were three distinct movements and we used to teach the kick by having the swimmer repeat the mantra; Up, Out, Together

Allen Stark
June 16th, 2014, 05:46 PM
There were three distinct movements and we used to teach the kick by having the swimmer repeat the mantra; Up, Out, Together

I have heard coaches still say that,even though it hasn't been right since the 50s.

isilver78
June 17th, 2014, 12:29 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=At44pt2ZE4A

Allen Stark
June 17th, 2014, 03:55 PM
That is a great kick.He was amazingly ahead of his time.Almost any modern swimmer would be glad to have that kick.

fatboy
June 18th, 2014, 11:30 AM
Chet's stroke her seems to be what was the model of what breaststroke should be when I first started HS swimming in 1969.

Allen - I am not a breaststroker, can you comment on his arms in the video? Look's very different from modern breaststrokers to my eye. Maybe it's just how flat the stroke was then compared to the undulation popular now.

knelson
June 18th, 2014, 12:14 PM
That is a great kick.He was amazingly ahead of his time.Almost any modern swimmer would be glad to have that kick.

What strikes me is how compact it is.

Allen Stark
June 18th, 2014, 01:52 PM
Chet's stroke her seems to be what was the model of what breaststroke should be when I first started HS swimming in 1969.

Allen - I am not a breaststroker, can you comment on his arms in the video? Look's very different from modern breaststrokers to my eye. Maybe it's just how flat the stroke was then compared to the undulation popular now.
His pull is a little wider than I like,but there are some modern breaststrokers with similar pulls.The big thing is that since you had to keep part of you head above the water at all times the stroke was much flatter with less glide. His pull was actually compact for the time.

isilver78
June 18th, 2014, 06:07 PM
Here's another link. Somewhat low res video from ISHOF of the 1963 AAU Championship 100yd Breast. Jet in lane 4. If anyone finds anymore video from that meet I'd love to see it. My dad was in the '63 AAU Championship meet, 100 back. :)

http://www.ishof.org/video_archive/swimming/jastremski.htm

Allen Stark
June 18th, 2014, 07:55 PM
Ken Merton,the 17 year old in lane 2,went on to win multiple NCAA Championships swimming for SMU and was another hero of mine.