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View Full Version : Is shaving really worth it?



Karl_S
September 22nd, 2014, 10:47 AM
This is an old topic. Most swimmers I know appear to believe that shaving definitely produces a speed gain. I've always been skeptical. I figure that the "psych" factor of a big meet combined with a taper more than swamps any possible gain from tapering.

Well I just bumped into this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8yjdxwDKUI
It seems that for cycling at least, the speed gain from shaving is very considerable. Given that water is much more viscous than air, it would seem reasonable to conclude that the effect is even greater for swimmers.

Allen Stark
September 22nd, 2014, 11:21 AM
I know there are people who don't notice a big difference shaving,but I suspect that is some sort of negative placebo effect,they don't want it to work and it doesn't.Shaving makes a substantial difference for me(about 1 sec/100.)I have gone to meets shaved and not tapered when I wanted to get a good mid-season time and the results were the 1 sec/100.My first warm up after a shaved meet and I will finish my warm up almost 2 sec faster than I regularlydo with the same effort.

Rich Abrahams
September 22nd, 2014, 11:42 AM
The following is an interesting email from Jon Henricks, 1956 Olympic champion, on the history of shaving down.

Subject: Shave down
The Aussie 56 team was not forced to shave down. We all did it because it worked.
My dad Clyde Henricks came up with the idea after watching our neighbor Don Melrose polishing the hull of his boat before each race. It reduced the coefficient of friction between hull and water
Dad thought that might apply to a swimmer too so he helped me shave down my hull for the Australian championships in February of 1953. It worked beautifully and helped me break the Olympic 100m time set in the 52 Olympics.
Our little squad coached by Harry Gallagher all started shaving down before major meets and since Dawn Fraser was part of our squad and Prof Cotton and Forbes Carlyle were close associates the secret got out.
By 56 all of the Aussies were shaving down.
George Breen told me he had heard of it but thought it was just a placebo effect and dismissed it as malarkey
The almost total domination of the 56 Aussie team got the swimming worlds attention.
Because of it I became the first Australia male swimmer to win the Olympic 100 m Free.
Thanks Dad.

Sent from my iPhone

.


__,_._,___

orca1946
September 22nd, 2014, 12:26 PM
When "full tech" suits were used I did not shave, now I do. It works for my mind as well as reducing a"small time " for me.

Allen Stark
September 22nd, 2014, 12:31 PM
The following is an interesting email from Jon Henricks, 1956 Olympic champion, on the history of shaving down.

Subject: Shave down
The Aussie 56 team was not forced to shave down. We all did it because it worked.
My dad Clyde Henricks came up with the idea after watching our neighbor Don Melrose polishing the hull of his boat before each race. It reduced the coefficient of friction between hull and water
Dad thought that might apply to a swimmer too so he helped me shave down my hull for the Australian championships in February of 1953. It worked beautifully and helped me break the Olympic 100m time set in the 52 Olympics.
Our little squad coached by Harry Gallagher all started shaving down before major meets and since Dawn Fraser was part of our squad and Prof Cotton and Forbes Carlyle were close associates the secret got out.
By 56 all of the Aussies were shaving down.
George Breen told me he had heard of it but thought it was just a placebo effect and dismissed it as malarkey
The almost total domination of the 56 Aussie team got the swimming worlds attention.
Because of it I became the first Australia male swimmer to win the Olympic 100 m Free.
Thanks Dad.

Sent from my iPhone

.


__,_._,___

One of my favorite swimming quotes is from Henricks father when asked about why he thought of shaving for his son: "are you kidding,he's hairy as a goat."

sunruh
September 22nd, 2014, 01:31 PM
the Ewok in me says i need to answer yes

SLOmmafan
September 26th, 2014, 05:34 PM
Help, yes. Enough for a 30 year old masters swimmer with no "delusions" of swimming grandeur - no.

Allen Stark
September 26th, 2014, 07:33 PM
Help, yes. Enough for a 30 year old masters swimmer with no "delusions" of swimming grandeur - no.
I am going to ask you to reconsider. I'd like everyone who swims in meets to consider at least one shaved and tapered meet.
If you have shaved and tapered for a meet before and don't want to go through the hassle,OK but for those who never have,seriously consider it.Maybe roughly 1 sec/100 doesn't seem like enough difference to make it worth the trouble but swimming shaved feels different,faster,more intense.It is part of a ritual to prepare yourself to do your best at that time and place.Your best,not someone else's, not your 20 year old self's, not yours next year when you are in shape,but yours now.