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View Full Version : A New Strategic 400 IM: how to make swimming interesting!



jim thornton
December 24th, 2016, 04:46 PM
The 400 SCY IM requires swimmers to swim 100 yards fly, 100 yards back, 100 yards breast, and 100 yards freestyle is this exact order.

I propose that the total quantity of yards remains the same, but how each individual swimmer chooses to divvy them up within his or her race be left entirely to the strategic wisdom of the athlete.

Traditionalists could, for instance, keep doing 100 per stroke in consistent blocks but rearrange these more to your liking (get breaststroke over with early, for instance, or save backstroke till the end when you want more air.)

Or, more likely, you could mix and match in whatever way you want just so the overall total adds up to 100 yards of each stroke.

For myself, I tend to get very tired on the 4th length of fly, although saving any appreciable fly for much later in the race seems too daunting. I am also slow on breaststroke (except during the underwater pull-outs, for which a decent air supply seems mandatory.) I'd also like to avoid any backstroke turn that requires me to actually touch the wall with my hand.

With all this in mind, I am thinking I might like to approach the race thusly:

75 fly
25 breast
25 fly
25 breast
50 backstroke
25 breast
25 free
25 back
25 breast
25 free
25 back
50 free

There are a couple advantages, I suggest, to allowing swimmers to pick their own order and portion size.

First, each can tailor the race to their particular strengths and weaknesses.

Second, since different swimmers will likely be pursuing different strategies, it would be much more interesting for spectators (and commentators like Rowdy Gaines) to watch (and blather about) the evolving aquatic chess match.

Third, it would require the invention of a new piece of swimming equipage, which would bring new revenue to swimming manufacturers and keep our sport on a solid financial footing.

This new piece of swimming equipage (which, I should probably admit, I have taken the liberty of patenting and will license to manufacturers at very reasonable terms!) is a variation on those plastic lap counter gizmos used in the 500, 1000, and 1650. But instead of just listing laps, it would consist of exactly four parallel counters each with four leafs.

During my race as outlined above, my counter would flip 3 butterfly leafs, then one breast one, then the fourth orange butterfly leaf (signifying this stroke is mercifully finished!), and so forth.

All of which brings us to one further advantage to my proposed new 400 IM, Strategic Version Event: the possibility, perhaps even likelihood, that the swimmer, counter, or both might somehow get confused, lose count, and end up being disqualified as a result. This may be particularly intriguing in the "longer in the tooth" age groups to which I am becoming familiar. NASCAR's tremendous popularity has always depended, in some measure, on misadventure. Why not bring a similar potential for a "wreck" to our sport?

In summary, the use of intelligent strategery would reward the tactical swimmer but only if his or her short term and/or executive memory is strong enough to follow through on the plan even after exhaustion and the "stopping wish" has set in, in my case, somewhere during that early third length of butterfly.

Who is with me? (I am also looking for seed money investors in my four-flapped submersible lap-counting gizmo.)

orca1946
December 24th, 2016, 05:08 PM
I'm sure the turn judges would love to keep track of what is legal!!!

Nickel
December 24th, 2016, 10:25 PM
I like the idea. I have wished this was an option ever since I swam my first 100 fly!


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guppy
December 25th, 2016, 11:30 AM
Why not also the long course 400 IM (by 50s)?

jim thornton
December 25th, 2016, 12:41 PM
We could even make it 400 IM LCM by 25s to add a judging component a la figure skating!

orca1946
December 25th, 2016, 01:28 PM
With style points for the start?

pwb
December 26th, 2016, 12:18 PM
Sacrilege, my man, pure sacrilege to profane the King of Events with such blasphemous blathering.

I thought such awful thoughts that I cannot even say them out loud because they would make Jesus want to drink gin straight out of the cat dish.
― Anne Lamott (http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7113.Anne_Lamott)

jim thornton
December 26th, 2016, 09:52 PM
Sacrilege, my man, pure sacrilege to profane the King of Events with such blasphemous blathering.

I thought such awful thoughts that I cannot even say them out loud because they would make Jesus want to drink gin straight out of the cat dish.
― Anne Lamott (http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7113.Anne_Lamott) I am pretty sure that gin drunk straight out of a "cat dish"--as you put it--is even more intoxicating. But that's beside the point. Blasphemous blathering that my idea may well be, I wonder if you, Patrick, think you could swim 400 yards of IM faster by rearranging the strokes as you see fit. To me, an interesting thought experiment. I have a veterinarian friend whose father was a vet at Churchill Downs who told me once that when race horses tie up, smart jockeys are able to get them to slightly adjust their gaits, recruiting less fatigued muscles. It seems to me that the 400 IM is designed to thoroughly exhaust the entirety of the human body, as well as our alleged spirits, but perhaps the switching of strokes as needed in a judicious manner can permit the exhausted musculature a brief rest and respite, enhancing the overall speed.

What is so bad about introducing a clearly strategic element to the sport of swimming? Other sports (golf, short track speed skating, chess) have it. Why not swimming? The polls indicate that swimmers tend to have among the highest grade points of any collegiate athletes. Why not force them to use their brain power a bit more?

pwb
December 27th, 2016, 02:08 PM
...I wonder if you, Patrick, think you could swim 400 yards of IM faster by rearranging the strokes as you see fit. To me, an interesting thought experiment. Well, the Swim Devil Masters put on their most awesome Sprinter Spectacular every late Feb/early March and they have an exhibition 100 IM where you can choose to swim it in any order. I have played around with different order there and had believed that starting with breaststroke would be the best as I could maximize my underwater pullout, which is the only decent part of my breaststroke. However much faster that made my breaststroke leg, I ended up horribly behind all the other guys and then faced a wave-pool on the remainder of the strokes. I'd be willing to try another order on the 400 IM, but I doubt I'd change the fly start or the free end. I could possibly see some logic in going fly - breast - back - free to lump the short-axis strokes with the long-axis strokes, but I doubt I'd see much time improvement as I like the ability to breathe like a madman on the backstroke after the fly.

guppy
December 28th, 2016, 08:15 AM
Though I have to add, I agree with pwb's "king of events" description.

It would be interesting to know how the order of strokes came to be. Anyone have any info on this?

guppy
December 28th, 2016, 08:47 AM
Here's my thought on the logic of the 400 IM:

Fly - first to just get it over with
Back - need lots of oxygen after all doing all that butterfly
Breast - third in order by default (see freestyle)
Free - what a relief after all that other stuff

smontanaro
December 28th, 2016, 09:35 AM
Here's my thought on the logic of the 400 IM:

Fly - first to just get it over with
Back - need lots of oxygen after all doing all that butterfly
Breast - third in order by default (see freestyle)
Free - what a relief after all that other stuff

A masters coach I had several years ago said the worst part of a 400IM for him was the final pullout on the breast leg. It was a real lung buster.

pwb
December 28th, 2016, 04:26 PM
A masters coach I had several years ago said the worst part of a 400IM for him was the final pullout on the breast leg. It was a real lung buster.I usually find the first breast pullout the hardest and have, more often that I'd like to admit, opted to skip it!

Allen Stark
December 28th, 2016, 07:10 PM
I usually find the first breast pullout the hardest and have, more often that I'd like to admit, opted to skip it!

Do the pullout IF it is faster. Coming up nearly vertical because you are gasping for breath is definitely not faster.Better no pullout, a clean breakout and enough oxygen in those circumstances. On the other hand, if you have good breath control and a slow surface BR, spend as much time underwater as possible with the idea that, the shorter distance you have to swim BR, the better you will do.

Chris Stevenson
December 29th, 2016, 01:47 PM
A good idea for an exhibition event! Personally I might keep the usual order but make it back to back 200 IMs. It seems less daunting than the usual way.

flystorms
December 29th, 2016, 01:52 PM
A good idea for an exhibition event! Personally I might keep the usual order but make it back to back 200 IMs. It seems less daunting than the usual way.

Chris you may be onto something here. I die after 25 fly and might as well have a noodle and flowered cap for my breast stroke. Doing it this way might make it more palatable.

Then again, maybe not.

But I love this whole thread and idea. It sure would make things interesting to see different strategies in action based on skills.