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Mark in MD
March 26th, 2004, 10:09 AM
I put up this post in the "The Fastest Age" thread. I should have put it here in the first place so it would not get buried. Here's what I originally posted for those who might be interested.


To digress a bit if I may, the Baltimore Sun has been running a series of articles on Michael Phelps. On March 8, 2004, the paper ran an article The Measure of a Swimmer. You can access it by clicking here. (http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/olympics/bal-sp.phelps09mar09,0,7849826,print.story?coll=bal-sports-olympics)

It's a fascinating story, IMHO, and I thought that I would share it with my friends in the USMS Forum. Unfortunately, the underwater pictures, which were in color, are not included in the article. They were especially great. It was good to see Doc Counsilman mentioned in the article, too. I submit this article only for your reading interest and not for debate.

Kindest regards,

Mark

dorothyrd
March 26th, 2004, 10:48 AM
Mark I read the article and was going to post on the "guantlet" but by the time I got around to it, the post had wandered further away.

I found it interesting that Phelps is so long waisted. This is something I have observed in age group meets. Often the top swimmers look short legged. Myself and my children are long legged, short waisted, so I always thought it made my son look expecially long legged up next to some of these swimmers.

Also interesting that Phelps cannot run well anymore. And size 14 feet, WOW!

scolopax
March 26th, 2004, 11:11 AM
I thought it was a very interesting article-- thanks for sharing it. I don't understand what is meant here tho...

"The dolphin kick, ...
Phelps wasn't advanced enough to use it at the 2000 Olympics. "

Unless they meant he wasn't using it in non-butterfly strokes?

knelson
March 26th, 2004, 11:56 AM
Originally posted by scolopax
"The dolphin kick, ...
Phelps wasn't advanced enough to use it at the 2000 Olympics. "

Unless they meant he wasn't using it in non-butterfly strokes?

I think they mean he wasn't using his super-duper, body wave style dolphin kick. I was just thinking about this in the past few days. The swimmers who really excel in underwater swimming are the ones who use this kicking style. Rather than distinct kicks it's more like a continuous full body dolphin. It's something I need to work on.

Hey, I have the same general body shape as Phelps in terms of long torso and short legs. I even wear the same size pants. However, my hands and feet are nowhere near as large as his.

That was a very interesting article, Mark. Thanks for posting!

DocWhoRocks
March 26th, 2004, 12:23 PM
Originally posted by knelson
Hey, I have the same general body shape as Phelps in terms of long torso and short legs. I even wear the same size pants. However, my hands and feet are nowhere near as large as his.

Ya know what they say about guys with big feet..... big shoes :p

Mark in MD
March 26th, 2004, 01:45 PM
Originally posted by knelson

"... Hey, I have the same general body shape as Phelps in terms of long torso and short legs. I even wear the same size pants. However, my hands and feet are nowhere near as large as his.

That was a very interesting article, Mark. Thanks for posting!"

You're very welcome, Kirk! Michael's physical dimensions are quite apparent when one stands next to him after shaking his hand. However, his personality is such that you don't feel uncomfortable being around, him except when you happen to be on a starting block next to him. IMHO. And he does have big feet, even in sandals.

Edward The Head
March 26th, 2004, 02:01 PM
Many elite swimmers incorporate weight training and running into their regimen. Phelps has never done the first, and the second was cut from his program last summer because of knee pain.

He's never lifted weights? What's going to happen when he does?! I can see a huge difference in my stroke and times since I started working out in October. I'm not all that strong but I've dropped 20 seconds in a 500 free and 25 or so in my 400 IM, plus a lot of time in other races too. I wonder if he ever will start working out.

Gareth Eckley
March 26th, 2004, 02:58 PM
Mark,

I was going to post a thanks for your article about Michael Phelps but I did not want to get involved in THAT thread !

It was excellent and thanks for sharing that. I like that Phelps and Barrowman seem happy to share info. It makes a change from many swimmers and coaches who will not share anything !

Cheers.

:)

Mark in MD
March 26th, 2004, 03:45 PM
Originally posted by Edward The Head
He's never lifted weights? What's going to happen when he does?! I can see a huge difference in my stroke and times since I started working out in October. I'm not all that strong but I've dropped 20 seconds in a 500 free and 25 or so in my 400 IM, plus a lot of time in other races too. I wonder if he ever will start working out. I 'spose Michael's coach, Bob Bowman, doesn't want to tamper with success and/or believes in "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Goes to prove that each person is unique in what works best for him or her. Nice to hear from someone in Maryland, too. Hope to see a few folks from Maryland at the Colonies Zone Champs next week, too, at George Mason University.

knelson
March 27th, 2004, 12:22 AM
Originally posted by Edward The Head


He's never lifted weights? What's going to happen when he does?! I can see a huge difference in my stroke and times since I started working out in October. I'm not all that strong but I've dropped 20 seconds in a 500 free and 25 or so in my 400 IM, plus a lot of time in other races too. I wonder if he ever will start working out.

I doubt lifting weights would help Phelps, especially in the events he primarily swims. For one thing, Phelps is already in the pool an incredible number of hours per week. Would he want to spend even more time lifting weights? I know when I swam in college I hated lifting weights because I was already dead tired from swimming, or didn't want to lift too hard because I had swim practice afterward. I mean, something's got to give eventually. For a masters swimmer swimming a few hours a week, yes you can probably get in the weight room and work fairly hard. I think it's much more difficult for someone who's already working out like Phelps is.

Even if he did start lifting I think it would only help much in 100 meter events. I doubt weights would make him much faster in 200s and the 400 IM or free.

Just my opinion, of course.

bckstrker
March 28th, 2004, 10:32 AM
Mark - great article- thanks for posting it!

Edward The Head
March 28th, 2004, 10:52 AM
Originally posted by knelson


Even if he did start lifting I think it would only help much in 100 meter events. I doubt weights would make him much faster in 200s and the 400 IM or free.

Just my opinion, of course.

well that was my opinion as well, but the 200, 400 free and 400IM are my events as well. I have only dropped a bit of time in the shorter events, but have dropped a ton on the middle distance events.

valhallan
March 28th, 2004, 08:40 PM
Thanks for posting the article Mark.

Your thread is a shining example of what this forum is all about.

Mark in MD
March 28th, 2004, 09:02 PM
Glad everyone like the article thus far. It IS pretty fascinating and should give us some real insight that perhaps could help us all. I hope more folks out there will enjoy it!

Conniekat8
March 29th, 2004, 01:12 AM
Aswesome article!
Thank you for bringing it into focus.

I agree wholeheartedly about the 'feel for the water'...
Since I started swimming, I noticed that a lot of accomplished swimmers, and a lot of masters swimmers who are really dedicated to it tend to have some intuitive artistic and creative ability.
From Bil Volckening article about how swimming reelates to art, to knowing that that Cahd Carvin likes to make pottery, and few other instances, (I can't recall the details clearly enough to quote them).
I find this 'artistic edge' an interesting angle (in addiotion to training, technique and conditioning). I really thing there is something to it. Even in my insignificant little case... I already know I have aristic ability (even sculpture). Once I was asked if I feel 'talented' in swimming, and I answered, yes, I think so. This was not because of my athletic ability, biut because I'm very aware of the feel of the water.
Most often I still can't get my body to do what I'd like it to do, but I can always tell what's going on. Sometimes I wonder wehen people say that laps can get boring... I wonder, how can they??? Your whole body is on sensory overload going through the water, I'm usually to busy feeling my way through it to think of much anything else.
Much like when I draw or paint or make sculptures, I get so engrossed in it, that I don't notice a whole lot of anything else around me.
Now, if I could only get my body to do what I would like it to do....

Karen Duggan
March 29th, 2004, 01:31 AM
Another thanks for a great article.

I couldn't help but think of my husband. He too is 6'4" (used to be 195!) with a huge lung volume capacity (I believe it's 1 liter bigger than the average), and he too swims 400 IM and makes it look easy. He has long legs though. He usually wins Nationals in his age group for the 400 IM... no Olympics though! ;)

Anyway, it seemed to me that Phelps is a blessed combination of: hard work/ethic, talent, great physiology, and a positive mental attitude. If that's supernatural, OK then. I think it's neat to see the evolution of swimmers and swimming and I wonder how much faster "we" can get?

PS. Don't tell, ;) but a friend of ours worked at the US OTC in Colorado, and he and my husband snuck our black Labrador Retriever, MacGuire, into the flume! Mac did great. And his best time for 100m Dog Paddle was 1:37. Sadly he passed last November at 14 :( I don't know what his lung capacity was but I could tell you stories about his stomach capacity!!!

Tom Ellison
March 29th, 2004, 02:04 AM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Conniekat8
Now, if I could only get my body to do what I would like it to do....


Gosh, I wish I could get my mind to do what I would like it to do...
What mind?...Good question!...never mind...ok....See ya...yea, you to....

All demented kidding aside....Connie, you make some great points regarding the feel of the water....My take on the feel of the water is this...Being able to feel what is taking place and going on while your body moves though the water is essential to hooking up a good stroke. If you can't feel it...you can't tell your body to do it...

Just my two cents worth....mine to...hush up, who's writing this anyway....

laineybug
March 29th, 2004, 08:21 AM
'knowing where your body is in space and what it is doing" is call propreoceptive functioning. I've always thought of this as "in the air" but I bet it applys to "in the water too" And maybe swimmers have to have a better sense of it than pilots, gymnists, etc, because swimmers have to deal with the resistance and bouyance effects of the water.

Conniekat8
March 29th, 2004, 02:17 PM
Originally posted by Tom Ellison
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Conniekat8
Now, if I could only get my body to do what I would like it to do....


Gosh, I wish I could get my mind to do what I would like it to do...
What mind?...Good question!...never mind...ok....See ya...yea, you to....

All demented kidding aside....Connie, you make some great points regarding the feel of the water....My take on the feel of the water is this...Being able to feel what is taking place and going on while your body moves though the water is essential to hooking up a good stroke. If you can't feel it...you can't tell your body to do it...

Just my two cents worth....mine to...hush up, who's writing this anyway....

You're too funny :)

I', I was watching Mens NCAA swimming just a little bit ago... 100 Fly SCM, Ian Crocker sets a world record, and then a Croatian and Yugoslavian close second and third.
Someone wondered not too long ago where my countrymen were in swimming accomplishments.... We just have that body style that slinks through water. ;)

That's one of the big reasons I like swimming, and being in water in general... feels good.

Okay, enough of this touchy feeliy stuff before I start thinking skinnydipping... :cool:

Conniekat8
March 29th, 2004, 02:19 PM
Originally posted by laineybug
'knowing where your body is in space and what it is doing" is call propreoceptive functioning. I've always thought of this as "in the air" but I bet it applys to "in the water too" And maybe swimmers have to have a better sense of it than pilots, gymnists, etc, because swimmers have to deal with the resistance and bouyance effects of the water.

I was wondering if it's not a certain personality type and abilities too that tends to get interested and do well in swimming.
Actually, i'm pretty sure there is something to it.

Scansy
March 29th, 2004, 02:46 PM
Originally posted by Conniekat8


...
Okay, enough of this touchy feeliy stuff before I start thinking skinnydipping... :cool:

Whoooooaaaaa. These forums just got a lot more interesting!

Did no, did to, did not.....

seltzer
March 29th, 2004, 03:38 PM
Originally posted by Mark in MD
I 'spose Michael's coach, Bob Bowman, doesn't want to tamper with success and/or believes in "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Goes to prove that each person is unique in what works best for him or her. Nice to hear from someone in Maryland, too. Hope to see a few folks from Maryland at the Colonies Zone Champs next week, too, at George Mason University.

I believe that NBAC does not recommend weight training for swimmers that are teenagers and as you all know by now Phelps is still a teenager.

Re the earlier reference to incorporating the dolphin kick it was Phelps dolphin kick off the wall from breast to free that captivated the spectators in the 400 IM race against Vendt.

Vendt by the way is at least 8 inches shorter than Phelps but is a living demonstration of the "other" body type that works so well, namely the "not big" guy with tremendous flexiblity (read great kick) and a "big" heart. Vendt nearly caught Phelps on that last free leg using a kick that looked like an outboard motor wake. Of course, Phelps is now much harder to catch.

Interesting that they mention Barrowman, another local boy. He was not tall (listed at 6 foot but much closer to 5'10") and same goes for Berkoff (5'9") and finally one of my swimming heros Murry Rose..not tall and reportedly couldn't do more than 2-3 pull-ups and one dip when "measured" by the experts but what a great feel for the water.