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Ion Beza
May 20th, 2002, 05:29 PM
When competing last week in Hawaii, I read in the Honolulu Star Bulletin newspaper from Saturday May 18, in page A5, an advertisement promoting a product stimulating the release of the Human Growth Hormone by the body.

I read in it: "Practically EVERYONE over the age of 40 has a Growth Hormone deficiency.". I am age 43, and even though I trained more than ever for the past year, I swam slower in Hawaii in 100 free and 200 free than I did last year, which was slower than in 1998, which was slower than in 1996, which was slower than in 1994 when I peaked in yards competitions. Because of this, I kept reading:
by taking the product advertised in the newspaper "In the FIRST MONTH: You should expect: Improved stamina;...".

My question for a Medical Doctor familiar with competitions, regards one specific side effect of such a product, not approved by FDA. I remember reading in the Swimming World magazine in mid-90s, when Chinese Olympic swimmers were being caught on illegal products, that a possible side effect of Human Growth Hormone stimulants given to adults, was an increase of extremities like nose, hands, ears and forehead. A picture of the swimmer Massimiliano Rosolino (Ita.) who in the 2000SydneyOlympics won gold, silver and bronze medals, picture published in 2000 in www.nbcolympics.com, semmed to me to show the increase of the nose. www.nbcolympics.com didn't mean to imply anything like this, this is my interpretation of Rosolino's face. It is publicly documented now, that Rosolino took Human Growth Hormone stimulants before the Olympics.

My question is:
The product advertised in Honolulu Star Bulletin as being a Human Growth Hormone stimulant, does increase the nose?

If so, what safer supplements achieve "...improved stamina..."?
San Francisco Chronicle did mention once before the 2000Olympics, two Olympians who were achieving with legal supplements the outcome of illegal products.

Philip Arcuni
May 20th, 2002, 07:36 PM
Ion, you always have the most interesting posts . . . I have a thousand responses, and don't really know where to start, but . . .

Some Italians have big noses. I should know (see my last name). I'm just curious about which brand of goggle Rosolino uses :)

Given the reward structure of Masters swimming, isn't even a *risk* of a side effect unacceptable? Why are you so concerned about the letter of the rules, rather than the spirit? As far as I can tell, there is no (Masters) letter of the rules with regard to performance-enhancers, and you can take (otherwise legal) steroids, EPO, HGH, etc. as much as you want. The spirit of the rule is different, and whether the enhancer comes from a bottle as a pill or a bush as an herb makes little difference.

Maybe you are getting old, like the rest of us. Or maybe it is not your physiology, but your psychology - If you are healthy and rested I see no reason why you should swim slower in a meet than you do in practice.

Or perhaps you should practice smarter before you increase your 'enhancer uptake.' A few suggestions from what I saw during your 100 free: Work on your turns, your streamline could be a lot better. Also, you breath both going into (and this breath is not a natural part of your stroke) and out of the turn - bad, bad, bad. I saw you breath several times every arm pull, making your body role and especially twist excessively. Finally, the best swimmers that I observe recover into the water just in front of their head. You stretch your arms out and kind of lay them on the surface of the water. I think this wastes a significant part of your stroke, and is possibly damaging to your shoulder.

Finally, I agree that starting to swim late in life puts you at a disadvantage, though others are in that situation also. But you can't change your history and you have to deal with the situation you are in, and there are ways to do better. More important, there are ways to enjoy yourself more. This post of yours implies that you are getting too obsessed with swimming faster. What will happen if you swim your 100 even 8 seconds faster? You still won't place, and you won't be in better shape than you are now. (and if anyone cared, they would accuse you of taking performance enhancers. )

You have asked for help several times on this forum, so I am giving you public advice.

Philip Arcuni
May 20th, 2002, 07:39 PM
From what you say about your workouts, your stamina is fine.

Jim T. has some knowledge about supplements and athletic performance, maybe he can point you in the right direction.

SupaFly
May 21st, 2002, 01:45 AM
Hypothetically speaking :rolleyes: - does HGH help you gain height if the growth plates are not fused? And, is it safe to take or not?

Tom Ellison
May 21st, 2002, 06:11 AM
Ion:
Keep to the high road and keep off that junk. Philip has the best advice. Work on your stroke, turns and related items. The natural HGH's God gave you are the best ones you"ll get.

emmett
May 21st, 2002, 07:13 AM
Ion,

Consider the possibility you are overtraining.

aquageek
May 21st, 2002, 09:55 AM
While I think I will avoid the HGH stuff for fear of unintended consequences vastly outweighing shaving a second or two off an event, I do have a question about over-the-counter meds I will post.

I have found I get a nice little boost from an Excedrin or a cup of coffee or two prior to a workout. Actually, the boost is somewhat addicting so I am trying to limit my intake. My wife says I am a doper, although I'm not certain Excedrin would technically make me a doper.

Alternatively, if anyone has found a secret (legal) sports enhancing cocktail they take prior to working out, I would like the ingredients.

Anyway, does anyone have an opinion about caffeine, aspirin, etc. in appropriate amounts before a workout?

Thanks.

jim thornton
May 21st, 2002, 12:43 PM
Ion,

I've had the opportunity to interview some of the country's leading experts on steroids and OTC supplements for various magazines. One article I wrote for Men's Health-18 is still up on the web--you can check it out at:

http://www.mh18.com/section/0,3099,1-314,00.shtml

The bottomline for the vast majority of this stuff, from andro to HGH "promoters"--is that they are snake oil that don't give you the benefits they claim (though it's conceivable that a belief that they might do so could account for some placebo effect.) The only supplement for which there is even slight evidence of efficacy is creatine, and the "benefit" here is tiny at best.

For another magazine, Modern Maturity, I went on actual testosterone in the relatively new gel-delivery form. This is a medicinal drug available with a prescription only, and it can only (ethically) be prescribed for men with low levels. I took the stuff religiously for months, and it had absolutely no positive effects on my swimming performance or anything else that I could discern.

Weight lifters who abuse anabolic steroids (synthetic testosterone) can significantly boost muscle mass, but only by taking so-called supraphysiological doses, i.e., way more than your body is capable of producing. As your body registers this excess testosterone, it kicks back on its own production. As one researcher told me, the Arnold Swarzeneggers of the world are often afflicted with "shrunken nuts" and teeny-bopper-esque breast buds the size of golf balls. The price of vanity!

You can read my Androgel piece at http://www.aarp.org/mmaturity/jan_feb01/manpower.html

Finally, for GQ magazine last year, I decided to test out a battery of over the counter products. For two months, I took hundreds of pills, HGH enhancing tic tacs, protein powders, andro, etc.--at the cost of hundreds of dollars (which, thank god, the magazine reimbursed me for because it was a total waste of money). GQ does not post its articles on the web, but if you e-mail me directly, I will e-mail you a copy of that piece.

The lure of "buff in a bottle" has been around forever--Aztec athletes, for instance, thought they could enhance strength by imbibing human blood. No doubt, there are researchers of the East German ilk secretly working on ergogenic drugs that will truly enhance performance for real (side effects and long term health consequences be damned.) But this is not what Masters swimming is about. This is not what sports is about.

This past swimming season has been, in many regards, the finest of my life. I did at age 49 a personal lifetime best time in the 200 free, and my second of lifetime best 100 fly. These swims occurred at least a year after all the various snake oil potions and Androgel were well flushed out of my system. The reason I believe I swam so well was 1) a great coach who really helped me with technique and conditioning 2) a major increase in weekly yardage, both in quantity and quality and 3) a lack of injuries. If I had actually found a drug that could simulate these effects without have to actually DO much (besides swallow the pill), the sense of personal accomplishment would have been nonexistent.

beireland
May 21st, 2002, 01:19 PM
I wish that I could agree with Jim Thornton about the steroids or other "additives", but I can't. I'm not sure that buying HGH or some other product mail order without knowledgeable assistance will improve performance, but with knowledgeable assitance regarding doses, and so on, the lesson of sports over the last 20 years is that there are substances that improve athletic performance. Look at Ben Johnson, the East Germans, the Chinese women, Michelle Smith(allegedly and denied by her), and so on.

Is the price too high for that form of success.? I think so, and there is a big difference between drinking coffee before a workout for a caffeine boost, and the East German swimming machine. But I think its wishful thinking to claim that there are no performance benefits. It is possible that what is being sold is not always what is being claimed, but track athletes and some swmmers on the international level are cheating because it works. If it didn't work, there wouldn't be the problems that exist. For information about the East German experience, with an emphasis on the resulting problems, see Fast's Gold. I've forgotten the author. But that was a scientifically run program that found that steroids improved performance. To be blunt, ask Shirly Babashoff if it helps make swimmers faster.

I don't think any masters swimmer should use products that are banned in other sports, and I hope none do. I'd like to swim faster but not that badly, and not that way. And I hope others agree with me. But I can't honestly say that what I view as cheating doesn't help people swim faster even if I wished it didn't.

jim thornton
May 21st, 2002, 02:16 PM
I didn't mean to imply that heavy-duty, illegal anabolic steroids don't enhance performance. These seem to be particularly effective for women athletes, as the Chinese women swimmers demonstrated so effectively a few Olympics back. The reason: women produce very little natural testosterone, so it doesn't take much extra to make them into functional "men." Interestingly, there have been anecdotal reports that the East German women became men-like in more ways than one. Supposedly, the Olympic village where they stayed was rife with rumors of these women's voracious sexual appetities. But that's another story.

Men, on the other hand, produce relatively large doses of testosterone naturally. To boost this over the natural amount requires relatively whopping supplemental quantities--not that some guys won't resort to this. Ben Johnson--not to mention virtually every male athlete whose neck is significantly thicker than his head--have added an otherwise impossible-to-obtain-by-exercise-alone level of (mainly) upper body musculature thanks to illegal steroids. Clearly, these drugs do "work" to bulk you up, and in some sports, perhaps even swimming, they enhance performance.

My point is that the over the counter supplements hawked in muscle mags and at health food stores are NOT the same as these heavy duty, illegal drugs--though they attempt to imply they are. What many claim to be, for instance, are "precursors" for the real thing--i.e., andro is not an anabolic steroid, but rather one of the chemical building blocks that your body uses to create its own supply of anabolic steroids. Moreover, these so-called HGH enhancers are NOT actually human growth hormone per se, but rather a building block your body will convert into human growth hormone. IF you look at the biochemistry of human hormones, there are almost always complex chemical pathways where compound A naturally breaks down to compound B, and so forth, ultimately producing, say, testosterone or HGH. The marketers of these "over the counter steroids" try to say that if you take compund Y it will cause your body to produce, through a complex chain of steps, what you're hoping to actually get--i.e., testosterone or HGH. But there's no evidence this is true! There is, however, some evidence that your urine will test positive for steroids. You get none of the "benefit", in other words, while putting yourself at all of the risk of side effects and positive drug tests.

All so that some baement chemist somewhere can line his pockets with your money!

That is the point I was trying to make...

Philip Arcuni
May 21st, 2002, 02:48 PM
There's no doubt that steroids, EPO, and many other drugs, when used 'well,' aid performance. Over the counter snake oil is another matter.

There are two type of abusers - those who do it as part of a larger program, such as happened in Germany and is happening in China, and those who do it on their own.

The latter group is more interesting psychologically, and is the group that abusing masters swimmers belong to. I think they typically start with a sense of unfairness - "I work harder than so and so, but he is still faster. Why should he be so lucky to be (taller, stronger, grow muscles better, better endurance, started swimming earlier). Why should I be penalized by my genetics and unavoidable history, when I deserve it more?" From that, enhancers serve to make up these unfairnesses.

I know when I get in the fast heat, and am the smallest person on the block (I'm not used to feeling small), I notice my own lack of genetic endowment.

Steroids are particularly tricky, because what they really do is allow the body to recover from stress more quickly, allowing the athelete to train more often with higher intensity. So they allow the athlete to train even harder, providing even more 'moral justification.' As masters swimmers age and need more recovery time, the temptation is even stronger.

Just remember folks, there is nothing moral or fair or deserving merit in swimming faster - it is just a race that should be fun, and all you get is a medal.

Ion Beza
May 21st, 2002, 04:40 PM
Originally posted by Philip Arcuni

...
- it is just a race that should be fun, and all you get is a medal.
Speaking for me Phil, what I get is an achievement in how I live.
It's called: a lifestyle.
To me, the greater the achievement within fair-play rules, the better.
I mean by 'fair-play' rules, the FDA medically accepted diets, hence my question of this thread.
To me, this achievement is similar to building a roof, then thinking or not "Job well done.".

I read your two links, Jim. They speak about hazy supplements on the wild market.

Tom Ellison
May 21st, 2002, 10:37 PM
All posts make good points. I weigh in very heavily on the side of NO DRUGS, EVER, NEVER...to go faster in sports.
I believe any athlete caught doping in sports where specific drugs are banned should be kicked out for LIFE! (Providing there is irrefutable proof of such).
Beireland gives an example of the terrible ramifications to athletes, (Shirly Babashoff) that have dedicated their entire lives to achieve a certain goal..only to have it stolen by a cheater...How sad ....Drugs in sports are a bad deal!

Paul Smith
May 21st, 2002, 11:50 PM
Ion,

Your getting quite a bit of good advise here, forget about the HGH (and all the other "snake oils" out there). Personally I have only found that my diet has more impact than anything, along with lots of rest/recovery. As for "supplements", Accelerade/Endurox are the only products that I've found to be of any benefit, and mostly for cycling not swimming.

Going back to Phils original reply, he nailed it. I say the same things at Nationals that Phil pointed out, basically a tremendous need for intensive stroke work. I would also suggest that Emmett nailed it as well, if your training as much as you say then with proper rest (I tapered almost four weeks on about 12,000 yds a week) you should see/feel some great swims!

One last point, I've mentioned in prior posts about the "mental" aspects to training. With as much importance as you place on swimming the amount of pressure you are dealing with is probably enourmous.

To put it in perspective, when I spoke with Laura Val at the meet she mentioned how much she was enjoying getting in an ocean swim the mornings before the meet! Talk about the right perspective and some incredible swimming to boot!!

Gail Roper
May 22nd, 2002, 12:57 AM
Ion, I watched your 100 Free. To me it looked like you swam the first length with only one breath, it was hard to tell. Then you seemed to switch to breathing every stroke, but only now and then. It was a very erratic pattern. What was your strategy?
Reason for going slower in a meet than in practice could be the drafting factor if you go last in a pack of six swimmers in your lane.

Ion Beza
May 22nd, 2002, 01:35 AM
Originally posted by Paul Smith

...
I say the same things at Nationals that Phil pointed out, basically a tremendous need for intensive stroke work. I would also suggest that Emmett nailed it as well, ...
...

The thing that is not nailed is with this same faulty technique I have, April 9, 1994 I competed for the first time in yards, in Federal Way, Washington with a lifetime best of 5:51.96 in 500 free, within minutes of a lifetime best of 2:09.54 in 200 free.
May 2002 in Hawaii, with this same faulty technique, I couldn't beat them even on separate days allowing for rest.
The 200 and the 500 felt like if I were to accelerate and match shadows in the lanes next to me, my heart rate would sky-rocket, thus I held back.
What's this: lack of aerobic stamina, or surprisingly being 167 pounds on race day while normally being 162, thus having more body weight to carry on, or mistakingly not having eaten food before racing other than power bars?

Looking back, I had had a lucky streak of swimming improvements from 1986 until 1996. It's a streak that has stopped, and I cannot reverse it unless I deal with aging I believe, having already eliminated other distractions like five surgeries and training in non-competitive places. I see in sports, streaks that stop, like at his level Pete Sampras' winningest streak in tennis history that has stopped and he cannot reverse. You having just re-started swimming Paul, three years ago, I believe your lucky streak of swimming improvements, like 1:43.05 for 200 free now and 1:43.37 last year, will seemingly inexplainable stop too.
How to reverse back into the streak, then?

On a lighter note Paul, given you sign yourself as being 'Tall Paul', have you considered that me being eleven months older than you, it means that for at least one year, I was taller than you?

Anyway, the ShortCourseNationals is only a breakfast snack in my season, because LongCourseNationals in Cleveland are coming up soon. I should think technique improvements then, a healthy diet and persistent training.

Ion Beza
May 22nd, 2002, 02:13 AM
Originally posted by Gail Roper
Ion, I watched your 100 Free. To me it looked like you swam the first length with only one breath, it was hard to tell. Then you seemed to switch to breathing every stroke, but only now and then. It was a very erratic pattern. What was your strategy?
...

US Olympic Swimmer, Gail Roper, talks to me. I am touched by being noticed by Gail.

I breathe for the first time at the 30 yards mark, then I breathe like somebody who trains with me at UCSD reported that Mark Spitz (US) coaching and swimming at UCLA said: "Breathe every time you need it.".

Regarding breathing for the first time at the 30 yards mark, trials and errors tell me that's for my best.
Regarding breathing afterwards in an "...erratic pattern...", I developed asthma and at slow speed I control it, but at full speed I am coughing in the water.

Originally posted by Gail Roper

...
Reason for going slower in a meet than in practice could be the drafting factor if you go last in a pack of six swimmers in your lane.
Right on.
Two weeks before the 2002ShortCourseNationals, in a workout I swam a 300 yards in 3:30, then within minutes I swam another 300 yards in 3:27.
A few months ago, I swam a 500 yards in practice in 6:00.
Both instances I was drafting, indeed, much easier than leading.

In Hawaii I was overconfident in the 500. One day before it, I was thinking there is even no real need for me to show up, since breaking my best of 5:51.96 is quasi-guaranteed.
Then in the 500 when the going got tough, I backed away.
What a winner I am...

Ion Beza
May 22nd, 2002, 02:44 AM
Originally posted by Gail Roper

...
Reason for going slower in a meet than in practice could be the drafting factor if you go last in a pack of six swimmers in your lane.
I forgot to tell this, Gail:
one week before competing in 2001ShortCourseNationals in Hawaii, in a workout having the 200 free for time, from push off the wall, no dive, I swam 2:14.xx alone in the lane, no drafting; diving would have brought the time at 2:13.xx;
tapering would make it faster, so people were prompting me to swim in Hawaii under 2:10.

Right?
No, in Hawaii I swam in 2:13.66.

Tom Ellison
May 22nd, 2002, 09:07 AM
Ion:
Gail, Paul and others are giving you great advice. Don't beat yourself up over your 100 free time. Many things could have caused that. Emmett hit on one very important possibility..over training. Plus, little things like the time difference, strange pool, not sleeping in your own bed and all kinds of factors can lead to poor meet times. Nerves, eating, body adjustment to new surroundings...lets face it...when we travel (especially us older guys) we are no longer immersed in our daily routines and this throws us off.
Lastly, the 100 free has very little room for error....make one or two mistakes and the stop watch can be very unkind.

Tom Ellison
May 22nd, 2002, 09:13 AM
Ion:
You’re a posting "Personality"
I'm sure many Masters Swimmers walked over to watch you swim....Had I been able to attend the Nationals in Hawaii, I know I would have watched you swim.

dcarson
May 22nd, 2002, 10:56 AM
I returned to swimming a couple years ago after 6 years away, I tried some of those over the counter supplements trying to get back how I used to perform quickly. In the end for me the true solution came down to finding the right diet, swim workout plan, lots of time spent on working on stroke and technique, weight lifting plan, sleep, etc... Thanks to a lot of advice on this forum, I've improved many aspects in all those areas which have helped progress my swimming. All the different types of pills I tried (most of which were natural supplements) really didn't do anything other than act like a placebo. A good focus on diet can do a lot more than I think any over the counter pill can. And, the pills cost way too much money. I could kick myself for wasting all that money. I recommend focusing on the items I listed above and finding the best combination that works.

emmett
May 22nd, 2002, 10:59 AM
Ion:

Assuming you are working your season as hard as you say you are, then you likely need a taper that's longer than a week. At one week into taper I'd expect you to be at a low point, not a high point in terms of performance potential. Consider 2-3 weeks of taper.

GZoltners
May 22nd, 2002, 11:00 AM
The medical things I've seen suggest that HgH is the world's greatest stuff, decreases fat and recovery time, increases lean body mass, etc. If you have an excess you will get growth in the face. Look at really tall people and some of them exhibit this because of a potential hormonal imbalance. However, like anything else your body produces, you will damage the feedback loop for the substance in your body if you add extra to your system. Your system will stop producing as much HgH if it is getting it externally.

The real trick here is to increase your HgH naturally, by encouraging your body to do it. No real magic, here. Get enough sleep. Don't eat within a few hours of bedtime; especially avoid carbohydrates. Make sure you are getting enough protein in your diet. Make sure you are getting enough good fats in your diet. Make sure you are not overtrained. There are some amino acids you can take which encourage your body to produce HgH, but I don't think the price is worth the effect.

If you want to increase testosterone, the best thing is to race and win!

On that 100 free breathing, I'd recommend not breathing for a bit off the start, and then breathing every 2-4 armpulls the rest of the race. Do not breathe inside the flags at the finish. You do need the oxygen to make it through the last part of the race. I'm pretty sure the 41-42 second 100 swimmers don't do that, but if you're that fast you don't need technique advice from me.

I am not a doctor!

Swim fast,
Greg

Ion Beza
May 22nd, 2002, 11:31 AM
Originally posted by emmett

...
At one week into taper I'd expect you to be at a low point, not a high point in terms of performance potential. Consider 2-3 weeks of taper.
Point taken.
The challenge was and will still be, to do a taper under good supervision.

Mark in MD
May 22nd, 2002, 03:34 PM
Hello Everyone!

There's a lot a fine advice to be taken here. I have the opportunity to professionally meet with, at times, with a registered dietician/nutritionist and have received some good advice. From what I've been able to find out, it seems that most of today's supplements are not a good substitute for a balanced diet, unless there is a medical reason to indicate otherwise. There's an old axiom, we are what we eat, and I would think that most of us here believe this to be very true. Coincidentally, there's a major article in the June 2002 issue of Consumer's Reports which discusses weight loss, nutrition, "fad" diets and more. The article is quite informative.

Many of todays supplements, along with the "10-minute abs" videos, electronic ab stimulators, the "Ab-Doer," ad nauseam, remind me of the old Sears catalogues of the early 20th century. There were pages upon pages of "patent medicines" and "remedies" that were sure to cure most any malady. I daresay that things 100 years later are not much different in this respect. I must confess that I do take a multiple vitamin, only because we have so much processed food which is available to us. Other than that, I've learned to stay away from the rest . . . including learning to do without caffeine ('cept chocolate!).

To sum up what everyone else has said here, a balanced diet, no dubious supplements (including illegal), plenty of rest and exercise is a lifestyle. All of us here already pretty much follow this lifestyle, but the point here is that risking one's health using some supplement is just not worth it.

Just sign me . . .

Mark in MD

Kevin in MD
May 22nd, 2002, 03:42 PM
So what was prohibition like?

:D

Tom Ellison
May 22nd, 2002, 06:22 PM
Hey Mark.... Kevin stuck the fork in you pretty good one that one...
Your not going to take that are you?:D

Tom Ellison
May 22nd, 2002, 06:23 PM
Hey Mark.... Kevin stuck the fork in you pretty good on that one...
Your not going to take that are you?:D

Ion Beza
May 22nd, 2002, 09:27 PM
Originally posted by GZoltners
The medical things I've seen suggest that HgH is the world's greatest stuff, decreases fat and recovery time, increases lean body mass, etc. If you have an excess you will get growth in the face. Look at really tall people and some of them exhibit this because of a potential hormonal imbalance.
...

Yes.
From my non-expert knowledge, Human Growth Hormone is given to people while in their growing process, people who exhibit early signs of growing defficiency. It helps them grow, as long as they are still in the growing process and under expert medical monitoring.
When given to adults beyond the age of the growing process, which is beyond the age of 25, the effects are increased vitality and increasing of extremities, like nose, hands, forehead, feet.
One link posted by Jim, states that in 1996AtlantaOlympics it was the performance enhancer of many state supervised athletes from around the world.

Originally posted by GZoltners

...
The real trick here is to increase your HgH naturally, by encouraging your body to do it. No real magic, here. Get enough sleep. Don't eat within a few hours of bedtime; especially avoid carbohydrates. Make sure you are getting enough protein in your diet. Make sure you are getting enough good fats in your diet. Make sure you are not overtrained.
...

This seems to me the healthiest way of living I should keep pursuing, and I am already implementing it.

Originally posted by GZoltners

...
On that 100 free breathing, I'd recommend not breathing for a bit off the start, and then breathing every 2-4 armpulls the rest of the race. Do not breathe inside the flags at the finish. You do need the oxygen to make it through the last part of the race.
...
Swim fast,
Greg
Yes.
What Phil decried as abyssimal in my breathing, and endoresed by Paul too, which is me breathing coming in the flip turn and breathing again after the flip turn, is a defect I have, along with an imperfect streamline in the flip turn.
Right now, coming in the flip turn I need a breath otherwise my turn would be done on lame legs. Breathing right after the turn is because like a survivor I feel I need it.

Mark in MD
May 22nd, 2002, 10:23 PM
Hey Kevin,

So which prohibition to which you refer? :confused: Can we have a little history lesson here? :o

Mark in MD

Ion Beza
May 23rd, 2002, 12:59 AM
Originally posted by Kevin in MD
So what was prohibition like?

:D


Originally posted by Mark in MD
Hey Kevin,

So which prohibition to which you refer? :confused: Can we have a little history lesson here? :o

Mark in MD

He is is not referring to the 1920s, but the USMS prohibition of "untreated water":
below is an excerpt of the Kevin's post from the thread 'Long Term Health Effects'.

Originally posted by Kevin in MD
If you think the long term health effects of swimming in chlorinated water is bad ...

Long term effects of swimming in untreated water is even worse!
...


:rolleyes:

Bert Bergen
May 23rd, 2002, 01:13 AM
I've got to say, had I been in Hawaii, I would have made a point to watch Ion swim as well--he truly is a swimming "personality." I have no sage advice. But to "listen" to the postings and pull from Ion his mental and physical training patterns, I have one truly sincere thing to suggest: relax!!!!! You are thinking too much, planning too much, and are too aware of everything around you. Find a coach and workouts you like, strap on the goggles, feel the water and enjoy. You build entirely too much pressure and expectation in your head, and invariably cannot reach the goals you set. E-N-J-O-Y being able to participate in the BEST activity that exists on earth.

SupaFly
May 23rd, 2002, 04:30 PM
I agree with the previous poster Ion. Don't take this too personally, but I think you're too intense and "hardcore", and it only holds you back from success. If you talk to the most amazing athletes, they come across as pretty nonchalant or at least very relaxed. I'm starting to understand this problem now because I've been struggling with it for a long time myself. Just take the pressure off of yourself and you'll probably be amazed by the results. Don't sweat it too much, the greatest never really do.

Philip Arcuni
May 23rd, 2002, 08:24 PM
Have a look at this article by Ron Johnson:

http://swiminfo.com/articles/swimtechnique/articles/200204-01st_art.asp

Which discusses how 'underloading' and 'overloading' should be mixed in a workout program. Ion, your favorite workouts are definitely in the 'overloading' category.

Ion Beza
May 24th, 2002, 05:20 AM
Phil posted:

Originally posted by Philip Arcuni

...
Maybe you are getting old, like the rest of us.
...

I say: maybe.

Phil also posted:

Originally posted by Philip Arcuni

...
Finally, the best swimmers that I observe recover into the water just in front of their head. You stretch your arms out and kind of lay them on the surface of the water. I think this wastes a significant part of your stroke, ...
...

I say: I don't picture this; part of it, is the terminology "...recover into the water just in front of their head."; in a freestyle arm motion, there are the phases of the arm entering the water, the arm pulling underwater, then the arm recovering for the next entrance in the water starting from the hip; "...recover into the water just in front of their head." implies that the arm after having entered the water in front of the head, recovers "...into the water just in front of their head." without pulling; another part of the statement that I don't picture, is "You stretch your arms out and kind of lay them on the surface of the water."; am I swimming catch-up drill style, with the front arm pausing while the other catches up, thus both arms laying, for a fraction of a second, in front?

Jim, I read your article for the magazine GQ, which seems like a thorough study of what supplements are on the legal but wild US market. Ironically, like in the second link you posted, I got the impression that time trials improvements described, the 100 meter freestyle after testosterone increase and the 1000 yards freestyle, suggest that something works. I know your best season is now, well outside of any studies, but something worked. "HgH tic tacs"?...

Tom Ellison
May 24th, 2002, 11:16 AM
SupaFly wrote:

"Don't sweat it too much, the greatest never really do."

I think it depends on who the swimmer is. MANY word class swimmers get seriously worked up before a race. Some do not and sit by the block in utter peace...others are like cages TIGERS...
Ever swimmer is different....at least that is what I see...

tzsegal
May 24th, 2002, 12:51 PM
Based on reading Gold In The Water ... well, they were far from easy does it. And the book almost made fun of the European swimmer (from a smal country ... but I can remember the details) who really did take it easier.

I do agree with the overall sentiment here that at the Masters level ... swimmers are generally older and generally committed to many aspects of active lives (family, work, other hobbies ... ok, that's pushing it) ... the approach to swimming is best one of both dedication and enjoyment. And that makes for a fairly easy-going approach.

Philip Arcuni
May 24th, 2002, 02:00 PM
Ion,

As I see it, the arm should enter the water before it is fully extended, in fact, still bent. So while the arm is in the water, it extends forward and down and the body rolls, with the effect that the hand extends even farther forward (and down), with respect to the head. It may seem that the extension should occur in the air, but that results in the hand being at the surface of the water for the start of the pull portion of the stroke, when in fact it should be a foot or two below the surface, ready to start the catch and pull. So by extending the arm in the air, you still have to move the hand relatively deep into the water for an effective pull, wasting time (and I think stressing the shoulder), or start to pull too early with a shallower and less effective pull (and also stressing the shoulder).

So what I saw was you stretching your arm in the air, so that when it entered the water it was already straight, and as described above not in a good place to start the power part of your pull.

I think most good swimmers, particularly male, swim as I described. One clear exception at the international level is Brook Bennett. But her action still puts the arm in the water before it is fully extended, but she does not stretch out forward as much, and gets right away into the power pull.

I did not notice a significant catch up in your stroke, though I was not looking for it explicitly. No way was it as extreme as you describe, and my (rapidly getting vague) memory tells me that you could use some more catchup.

Now Paul Smith's stroke is something to watch and I think emulate, at least for swimmers taller than 6'0". He has lots of forward extension and more catchup character than almost anyone. His turnover is relatively slow, but his DPS is huge. His body position, head position, and streamline are excellent. He keeps his strong kick behind his body, so his feet do not wander side to side, as yours tend to do. Yes, I think some characteristics of his stroke work particularly well because of his height and armspan and strength, but I suspect everyone would be a better swimmer if they copied him.

MegSmath
May 24th, 2002, 04:37 PM
Ion:

Have you ever been videotaped? Since you were having trouble visualizing the way Phil described your stroke, this might help you a lot. My team had a clinic a month or so ago, put on for us by the University of Kentucky varsity and coaches (as a fundraiser for them), and one of the most helpful things they did was videotape us, and then one of the coaches did a voice-over and described what they saw about our stroke and made suggestions on how to improve it. (The commentary on my strokes was "Looks good, just needs to be faster"! What they were much too tactful to say was, "You know, Meg, you'd go a lot faster if you'd lose about 30 pounds"!)

Meg

Ion Beza
May 24th, 2002, 04:43 PM
[/B][/QUOTE]Based on reading Gold In The Water ... well, they were far from easy does it.
...
[/B][/QUOTE]
Definitely.
[/B][/QUOTE]
...
And the book almost made fun of the European swimmer (from a smal country ... but I can remember the details) who really did take it easier.
...
[/B][/QUOTE]
It is Sergey Mariniuk from Moldavia.
He was fed up with training hard for 400 IM in 1992Olympics and 1996Olympics and making the finals but not medalling. Remarkably, in the 2000Olympics he swam only five seconds slower than his lifetime best, with what amounts to just six months of easy training from 1996 until 2000.
Moldavia borders my native country, Romania. Historically Moldavia is a part of Romania, with such a great prince as Stefan the Great was, for example. In the 20th. century, Roosevelt (US) and Stalin (Rus) decided at Yalta to give Moldavia to USSR. Ethnically, Moldavia and Romania had had the same type of population, Macedonians since Alexander the Great's empire, latinized since Roman emperor Trajan conquered in 100 AD Dacia led by Decebal at Sarmisegetuza. Since being under USSR, latin Moldavia got an influx of slavic Russians, like Sergey Mariniuk. I met him in May 1996, in a 50 meter competition at Santa Clara, the last time I swam well before declining: 20.xx in 1500 meter, and 1.04 in 100 meter freestyle the next day. A few days later I had had a car accident.

Ion Beza
May 25th, 2002, 02:20 AM
Thanks Phil.

Thanks Meg.

I will look into your inputs, as soon as I find somebody here who I trust can monitor my technique, which is not easy to find: it's a big program here, with not much profound individual attention, and lots of chatter.

emmett
May 25th, 2002, 01:17 PM
Ion:

Consider hiring the coach for one-on-one consultation outside of the scheduled practice time. In addition to this dedicated attention, you might find that you get a bit more of his/her attention during group practices.

Ion Beza
May 25th, 2002, 10:48 PM
Originally posted by emmett
Ion:

Consider hiring the coach for one-on-one consultation outside of the scheduled practice time. In addition to this dedicated attention, you might find that you get a bit more of his/her attention during group practices.
Yes, Emmett.

Regarding the need for technique improvement, people keep in mind that this thread considers the same technique over the years, physical decline, and how supplements could possibly stop the physical decline.

However, not considering the same technique, brings us to the need for technical improvement, indeed. From this point of view, it's a fact that perceived qualities and defects to somebody, are different than perceived qualities and defects to somebody else. For example, when pondering Phil's post about swimmers who enter the water with bent arms, stretch the arms and shoulders under water, then pull, I started thinking that Australian swimmers, and Janet Evans (US) do swim with straight arms like I do. It is faster to stretch the arm in the air, than under water. When I started swimming by myself in France in 1984, I was told that I swim like Xavier Savin (Fra) who went to the Olympics in 1980 and 1984, and who would stretch the arms in the air, then slap the water. Also, last week in Hawaii, when I got out of the water after 100 free, Phil told me that I overkick. However, two on-deck coaches in Hawaii praised me for a strong kick. I think it is a wimpiness in US Masters Swimming, the way people neglect kicking in practice.
In a warm up in Hawaii, I saw Paul (I mean Paul Smith) do a 25 yards sprint, foot-touch in 10.4 seconds and taking 9 strokes. The best I got there, was 12.00 seconds, hand-touch and taking 15 strokes. Somebody not as tall as Paul, but of my height, did 10.5 seconds, hand-touch and with 13 strokes. Looks like I can use some Distance per Stroke improvement. An on-deck coach from Atlanta, told me I have a very good kick, but I need to work on hip rotation, as opposed to just a upper chest rotation now, thus get more Distance per Stroke.
I think I have in mind three possible coaches here, I can inquire with.

Philip Arcuni
May 28th, 2002, 04:32 PM
Ion, listen to your coaches and use your best judgement on what needs improvement in your stroke. I have nothing against strong kicks, and have one myself. What *I* saw was that when you were tired your legs spread too far apart. That is, you were doing what Emmett discussed in another thread:
and kicking outside the tube the rest of your body is swimming through.

But I only watched you swim one event, and my memory is that your stroke got worse when you were tired.

Us old-time Red Cross Swimming instructors know of a stroke called 'trudgeon crawl' which uses a scissors kick (I don't know if it is still taught); it is a pleasant stroke to swim easy, but not so good if you want to swim fast. Your stroke isn't that bad, but I did think about it when I watched you swim your last lap.

A strong kick is good, but as Emmett says, a strong kick that serves mainly to keep your body in a reasonably level position uses up a lot of excess energy, as does a kick that strays into what should be still water. The last time I swam a 200 back, my legs started to get tired on the fourth length. There was no way I could continue to swim the way I was for another four, so I reduced the intensity of my kick and worked on my body position to lift my hips. My legs felt less tired at the end, and I still did my best masters time.

A humbling test, which I don't pass, is to swim with your feet tied together and no floatation device. I do it with by toes interlocked. Pretty soon my feet are two feet under. If that happens you know at least part of your kick is serving to maintain body position.

Also, something I try to remember kicking off the wall: small and fast, not big and strong. We want to be in 'fifth gear,' not 'first.'

Ion Beza
May 28th, 2002, 09:34 PM
After reading many times opinions here about supplements that could prevent aging, like Human Growth Hormone precursors, I decided for the status quo, meaning that like up until now if I cannot stop slowing down, so be it.

Supplements should work under medical supervision like the one described in the San Francisco Chronicle in the year 2000, which two US Olympic swimmers were benefitting from, and which would satisfy me like driving a Ferrari would.
For lack of it however, I would wait for whatever the FDA would approve of them in the future.

Originally posted by Philip Arcuni

...
my memory is that your stroke got worse when you were tired.
...
Your stroke isn't that bad, but I did think about it when I watched you swim your last lap.
...

My splits in the 100 free were 28.47 in the first 50 and 31.27 in the second 50, for a total of 59.74. The second 50 was much slower than my second 50 of last year, and it felt painfully hurting.

Originally posted by Philip Arcuni

...
A strong kick is good, but as Emmett says, a strong kick that serves mainly to keep your body in a reasonably level position uses up a lot of excess energy, as does a kick that strays into what should be still water.
...

Yes.
I can improve a little on this with better taper resting as it is now, but my entire style and strategy needs an overhaul.
If I just could find an attentive good coach, in par with how much individual effort I put...

Matt S
May 30th, 2002, 12:30 PM
Ion,

Three thoughts: (1) thanks for having the courage to ask a serious question on a subject that can draw a lot of fire. I'm sure in the back of our minds many of us have wondered to ourselves the kind of things you asked openly in this public forum. You did a good job of setting up this issue for the kind of serious and thoughtful responses we have seen for the other participants. Thanks to all; this is an example of the kind of discussion thread we should all aspire to acheive.

(2) I have been pondering a response to the email you sent me a few days ago. I will get back to you privately on some of the issues others have raised here, but I do think Emmett and Tall Paul may be on to something.

(3) My attitude on others' use of chemistry to enhance their swimming (based on my individual goals and my approach to my own swimming) is that I think they are fools, but I really don't care if they "beat" me by these methods. I'm in this game for general fitness and to see how fast I can swim. Altough I LOVE to race and there are times and circumstances when I can be a shameless medal hound, I don't make a goal of acheiving a particular place at a particular meet. (In part it's because any meet where I make the top 3 does not usuall have a particularly good field of swimmers. I'm reminded of the Groucho Marx line of not wanting to join any club that would have me as a member, but I digress...) Other swimmers have different goals, and I don't want to dismiss how cheating may affect them. But for me, so what? Someone takes a steroid and he dusted me. <yawn> Does he feel like he has acheived anything? 30 years from now when my swimming has kept me hale and hearty and still competing, will he even still be ALIVE in light of the damage steroid use can cause to his health? In his dialogues Plato argued that honesty is its own reward. That is how I feel about using drugs to swim faster.

Matt

Rain Man
May 30th, 2002, 01:58 PM
The whole reason I just signed on as a USMS Discussion Forum user was to add my 2 cents on this issue...

The usage of performance enhancing drugs (both illegal and legal) in swimming has been, is currently, and will always be an unfortunate issue with which to contend. It is sad that people who are unsatisfied with their performances will resort to such measures to improve and win.

Personally, I feel that the usage of any chemical supplements should be banned, barring a medical necessity. Even our own world-class swimmers in this country use concoctions of OTC supplements, workout/recovery-enhancers, and the like. We know for a fact that countries such as East Germany (70s/80s)and China (90s/currently?) have had mass doping problems. Thankfully they continue to be caught and revealed.

I think the most dangerous "drug" out there is HgH. This may perhaps change the fundamental nature of the sport if its use cannot be detected easily. We could eventually see women breaking the current men's records, and the men- who knows how fast they can become. It's out there though, and it is in use today, especially at the higher levels. When the Chinese breaststroker Yuan Yuan was caught with 13 vials of HgH at Australian customs prior to the WC in Perth, I think it put each and every swimmer at that level under a cloud of suspicion. Who knows who has it? Who's using it? Everyone should be under suspicion. Chinese, Americans, Australians, Dutch, etc. She didn't just have it for kicks, and she was just the unfortunate on that was caught.

Now directing my reply to people of our ability levels, consider the following... Are the uncertainties surrounding chemical performance enhancers worth the minimal improvement (if any) that you would see? At our level of swimming, dropping two seconds means you get to swim in heat 6 instead of heat 5 - and the top 4 heats are still going to crush you! Swim for the benefits of drug-free swimming. Enjoy competing and strive to improve and win through natural measures. If you don't make a goal time, never beat that guy from team X, or never get one more PB, you can still know that you put everything into trying without resorting to this other garbage.

At the top level, there is so much more to gain by improving 2 seconds. National/World championship titles, sponsors, press recognition, fame, money... Let them have it. Enjoy our level of swimming and keep it clean. Their level is dirty, money-driven, under suspicion, political... that's not (at least I hope) what we are involved in swimming for.

Respectfully,
Rain Man

Ion Beza
May 30th, 2002, 03:32 PM
Originally posted by Rain Man

...
At our level of swimming, dropping two seconds means you get to swim in heat 6 instead of heat 5 - and the top 4 heats are still going to crush you!
...
At the top level, there is so much more to gain by improving 2 seconds. National/World championship titles, sponsors, press recognition, fame, money... Let them have it. Enjoy our level of swimming and keep it clean. Their level is dirty, money-driven, under suspicion, political... that's not (at least I hope) what we are involved in swimming for.

Respectfully,
Rain Man
Something that I don't seem to have conveyed accross yet, Rain Man and Matt, is that I swim for the inner power of personal performance, not the outer power of social rewards.

From this point of view, I am jealous of the lucky young man I used to be, when from 1984 when I was learning to swim, until mid-1996 when I last competed well, I was conquering, through progress, new heights of achievement. A song I am listening to, 'Conquistador', that's my cockiness.
Swimming slower is boring, and swimming faster is fun.

Achieving progress against decline from aging, that should be feasible, I haven't tried it, but from newspapers it is reportedly working.
I speculate that many of today's supplements will be adopted in people's diets in say the year 2060, like vitamin C is now.
Not knowing which ones will be that good, and after considering posts in this thread recommending caution and a safer healthy lifestyle, I decide that I am not willing to make my own body a stranger to myself by experimenting alterations.
I decide in favor of living like I am now, decline be damned, while seeing what products FDA will approve as positive products without side effects.

jim thornton
May 30th, 2002, 04:26 PM
Ion,

YOu may remember a discussion on the old USMS forum about changes in times with advancing age. THis was a very lively topic, and it culminated in the posting on the web of a time converter--you put in time X for your current age, and it will give you equivalent times for when you are older and younger.

I agree with you that it's always nice to feel you're improving, and to some extent I think you can keep doing so--up to a point. Eventually, however, age will take its toll. You might find this site fun to check out. It's maybe not the most accurate in the world, but it does show that you may sometimes be "improving" even as your times get worse.

http://n3times.com/swimtimes/

Check it out!

Jim

Ion Beza
May 30th, 2002, 06:06 PM
Thanks, Jim.

I remember when what to expect in performance while aging takes place, was discussed in the old forum a year ago.
I reviewed it quickly now.
One year ago, I was scanning through it, thinking it's not for me.
I will study it better now.

Regarding the chart of times over the years, it shows my fastest theoretical times at age 19.
I say theoretical because I learned at 25, I wasn't swimming at 19.
At 19, my theoretical times from extrapolation of how I swim now, would still not be impressive even when thrown in my current men 40 to 44 years old age group.
I think, starting earlier than 25 would have made me faster at 19 and subsequently now at 43.
Also, when comparing my times at age 37 projected from what I do now at 43, with what I effectively did at age 37, the projected times at age 37 are worse.
This tells me that what I do now now at 43 can be better.

Rain Man
May 30th, 2002, 06:16 PM
Ion,

I checked out the conversion table that Jim supplied. Remember he said it may not be the most accurate. Exactly. I noticed after a few sample extrapolations that the converter automatically assumes your fastest times are at the age of 19. We know that at least on the men's side, your fastest swimming can be performed anywhere from 16 to 30+.

Take it with a grain of salt. It was fun to check out once or twice, but certainly don't bind youself to what you saw. The guys on my masters team that compete wipe their slate clean each season and try to better their times as they progress from meet #1 to zones or nationals. If they happen to beat their ACTUAL best time, that's great, but they are more than satisfied with a season best. As you get older that is what will happen. In order to enjoy the sport, you can't get too hung up on trying to perform like you could 10 years ago.

-Rain Man

beireland
May 30th, 2002, 10:36 PM
Ion: Remember where this started--the best way to improve for any swimmer, and I think it is even more true for later beginners is to work on your technique. Second point--if you are getting frustrated with your lack of progress in one or two events, try something different. Do the La Jolla Rough Water, the Maui Channel Relay, a postal event, attend the LCM nationals instead of the SCY nationals, try the 200 back or the 1000 free at whatever meet you do attend. One of the great advantages of Masters swimming over age group is the variety of opportunities for competition.

I base the advice to try something different rather than obsessing over a single event or two on my own experience. I swam the flys in college, and then did not do them in a meet that mattered to me, for over 20 years. I've been swimming, but doing different events and different competitions. I enjoyed those and had a sense of accomplishment and improvement. I finally have enough distance between my old college self and my new less improved self that I am trying the fly events again and can be comfortable with not meeting my old goals. But trying to advance in the IMs or whatever you try will give you a chance to set goals, see improvement and enjoy competition. You may find that if you try other events and strokes that you will see improvement in your freestyle events also--many swimmers overspecialize and don't do other strokes enough. But most importantly, you may find that you cheat entropy, and remind yourself of your earlier days of significant improvements.

Ion Beza
May 31st, 2002, 01:04 AM
Thank you for the attention and input Matt.

Thank you Rain Man, Jim, and beireland for encouraging perspectives from different angles.

What I do now is live again at the fullest.
I am back to the 'drawing board' preparing for this August's LongCourseNationals in Cleveland, and whatever the nature will give me at that time, I will take it as a bonus.

Paul Smith
May 31st, 2002, 01:01 PM
Ion,
Have fun training this summer and remember to take plenty rest days! One last bit of advise, try to swim in as many "local" meets as you can, there's nothing like preparing for a race except racing!

Good Luck!

Ion Beza
May 31st, 2002, 02:21 PM
I got it, Paul.

I will.

Tom Ellison
May 31st, 2002, 06:51 PM
Ion:
I am glad to read you are going to keep off the junk...You are much more a winner by doing that...then your times can ever reflect.
I believe Rain Man is a zillion % on target!

Ion Beza
May 31st, 2002, 07:53 PM
Yes, Tom.

My bet is that Rain Man is from Seattle, because it rains a lot there.

Mark in MD
May 31st, 2002, 08:24 PM
Well said, Tom!

Sally Dillon
June 2nd, 2002, 05:47 PM
Ion,

I just happened to be up in the stands by the diving pool when you swam your 200 free. As I recall, you were in lane 1 so I had a good view of your swim. I would like to agree with the other comments on your stroke technique. I noticed that you breathed "right, left" without any indication of a "cycle" throughout the whole race. If you have asthma, the rhythm of your breathing is more important than the frequency in my opinion. For any distance 100 or longer I recommend you breathe as often as you need but NOT more often than once/cycle. As noted by others, your body was twisting all over the place - very inefficient and directly related to breathing back and forth from side to side. As head coach of an age group team for 20 years I had many swimmers who were asthmatics. Maintaining a good breathing rhythm while training and competing allowed all of them to be successful in the sport.

I also noticed the lack of streamlining on your turns. You hands are not together and you pull quickly with one hand, surfacing far too quickly and grabbing a breath. As you've been advised by others, it's best not to breathe going in and out of your turn but I know that can be quite difficult for some people. I suggest you allow yourself the breath into the wall but work on making it quick - don't allow the tempo of the turn to slow down because of it. But don't ever breathe on your first stroke after the turn!

Most people breathe to one side (usually the same side each time) when they come out of a turn. For the purpose of my following suggestion, let's hypothetically say it's to the left for you. Therefore, when you streamline, you should always put your left hand on top of your right hand so that after your streamline (new and improved!) the first pull you make will be with your right arm (the hand on the bottom). Your next pull with your left arm will allow you a breath and you will have succeded in "not breathing off the wall". It's really a simple thing to learn - practice makes perfect!

Finally, you've often noted how many yards you train. In my opinon, it doesn't matter how many yards you do in the pool - if you are practicing poor technique you are defeating your purpose. Garbage yardage is a waste of your time. I suggest you seek out a technique coach and improve your form.

Ion Beza
June 2nd, 2002, 10:56 PM
Sally,
thank you for noticing me.

My despair is not really technique, my despair is that with the same technique I swam 2:13.66 in May 2002, and 2:09.54 in May 1994.
This reflects to me a worrisome physical decline.
(By the way, April 1995 I competed in a meet in Whidbey Island, Washington, run in a 25 meter pool, in 50 free, 100 free, 200 free; it was in a quick succession of minutes, not much rest in between events, with times I couldn't reproduce today).

After this despair, can an improvement in technique from now on, compensate for the noted physical decline?

I already contacted a coach here about technique improvement in one-on-one lessons, with no reply to my e-mail yet in spite of a verbal promise.
It tells me how indifferent coaches, the middle-of-the-road big program I am in, has.

Because I am reading that you have age-group swimming coaching in your background, I would like to have lessons with you, if you were nearby.

This not being so, I am studying your analysis and keep looking for a good, passionate individual coach.

Ion Beza
June 2nd, 2002, 11:15 PM
Originally posted by Sally Dillon

...
Therefore, when you streamline, you should always put your left hand on top of your right hand so that after your streamline (new and improved!) the first pull you make will be with your right arm (the hand on the bottom). Your next pull with your left arm will allow you a breath and you will have succeded in "not breathing off the wall".
...

Indeed.

(I am discovering this tip).

Peter Cruise
June 3rd, 2002, 12:54 AM
Hey, this could become a convention resultion... "be it resolved that Ion should not breathe upon emerging from his turn, but if he feels it really necessary, he may sneak a breath prior to commencing the reversal of directions normally associated with that turn. He should streamline in an approved manner in departing that wall, kick in an economical fashion and strive for balance in his stroke. Furthermore, he should pack his workouts with purposeful drillwork & scientific progressions rather than empty yardage; having done so, he may approach, nay, even surpass his younger self (all without artificial aids)- all so in favor- vote aye..."

emmett
June 3rd, 2002, 12:56 AM
~~ My despair is not really technique, my despair is that with the same technique I swam 2:13.66 in May 2002, and 2:09.54 in May 1994. This reflects to me a worrisome physical decline. ~~

My experience has been that the majority of people who train hard over a period of time without a similar strong emphasis on maintaining and improving technique in fact experience a degradation of technique. It is quite possible that what seems to you to be "the same technique" you used 8 years ago, is actually less effective technique than what you used back then.

If your current technique in fact includes all the flaws mentioned by the several observers that have commented, you have a wealth of opportunity for speed improvement ahead of you - likely well in excess of the 4 seconds you gave up over the last 8 years.

Peter Cruise
June 3rd, 2002, 01:09 AM
Hey- I sense a Convention resolution..."Be it resolved that all present are concerned about Ion's stroke improvement, therefore the following steps are required: he shall not breathe upon emergence from his turn, but he shall be permitted to sneak a breath prior to the commencement of that turn should he deem it absolutely necessary. Balance between arm strokes is mandatory, while a noticeable trunk rotation is recommended. A kick that is propulsive, but not excessive and extension of each arm stroke must be present. Those conditions being met (with the further stipulation of no unnatural stimulants or enhancements being employed), then we agree that said Ion may approach the time standards of his younger self & perhaps even surpass them. All those in favor say Aye..."

Peter Cruise
June 3rd, 2002, 01:11 AM
Whoops!

Ion Beza
June 3rd, 2002, 04:42 PM
Originally posted by emmett
~~ My despair is not really technique, my despair is that with the same technique I swam 2:13.66 in May 2002, and 2:09.54 in May 1994. This reflects to me a worrisome physical decline. ~~

My experience has been that the majority of people who train hard over a period of time without a similar strong emphasis on maintaining and improving technique in fact experience a degradation of technique. It is quite possible that what seems to you to be "the same technique" you used 8 years ago, is actually less effective technique than what you used back then.

If your current technique in fact includes all the flaws mentioned by the several observers that have commented, you have a wealth of opportunity for speed improvement ahead of you - likely well in excess of the 4 seconds you gave up over the last 8 years.
I was considering this possibility before posting a comparison in the 200s swam in May 1994 and May 2002.

I don't know what percentage of the four seconds difference is due to decline and what percentage is due to technique degardation, if there is a technique degradation.

I know that March 1st., 1992 I swam in a 25 meter pool, a 100 meter freestyle in 1:02.84, which is my lifetime best.
Not bad for a late starter in the sport.
Around that time I was getting criticism for poor diving, for breathing more than once per cycle, and for faulty flip turns, like I am getting now.
After addressing this, over many attempts, in November 1993 I managed my best technical ever 100 meter free, with still a poor dive, but with breathing every three strokes all the way, and still faulty flip turns, in 1:03.66.
I understand from it, that technical improvement doesn't give an instant, or even a short term benefit: one has to still gain power over a long period of time, while practicing the new technique.

With about one hour per week of intense and closely monitored stroke work, I might be able to slice a little over half a second in the 200 on technique merits alone, between now and August's Cleveland.
It's not going to happen, however: I still wait here for an interested coach to get back to me with passion and interest, even though I did offer to pay for these technique lessons.

emmett
June 3rd, 2002, 05:55 PM
If you have stroke counts from those races, it might tell you a lot. Your initial description of your races leads me to believe that your perceived turnover rate was either the same, or possibly a bit faster on average during the most recent race, owing to your improved conditioning level.

Lets assume, for a moment, that you swam with precisely the same turnover rate in the two meets in question. Lets assume that all the non-swimming aspects - starts, turns finish are, at worst, unchanged technically from your earlier race to the most recent race. What's left as the big variable is the effectiveness of your stroke technique. Your 200m (I'm assuming long course) took you 133+ seconds compared to your earlier 129+ sec. We'll drop 6 seconds out for your start and another 8 seconds each out for three turns. That leaves roughly 100 seconds of pure swimming. If your strokes were 4% less effective (ie you traveled 4% less distance with each one) in your most recent swim over your earlier swim, that would account for your 4 seconds increase in time. I'll assume you have average stroke length for a person unschooled in TI type stroke efficiency - somewhere in the 50-70% of wingspan range - lets call it 60% in your case. Assuming you are a 6' tall person your palm to palm wingspan is likely around 5.5 feet or 1.66 meters and your stroke length is likely more like 1.0 meters. If we figure you are actually swimming 165 of those 200 meters (as opposed to turning and starting) then you are likely taking in the neighborhood of 165 strokes to cover those 165 meters (roughly equivalent to swimming 18 SPL in a 25yd pool).

So if you took just 7 strokes more in the most recent 200 (remember we're assuming the same turnover rate you had during the earlier swim) then that's where your four extra seconds came from.

Here's the good news: if you can figure out how to trim just 7 strokes OFF your most recent swim without losing any turnover rate then you can get your 4 seconds back. And you are actually likely to be able to trim a lot more than 7 strokes off without losing turnover rate.

Will it take time? Yup. But it'll take less time than simply working harder to get there. And, perhaps, working hard will NEVER get you there. Assuming you expect to be doing this sport a few years from now, don't let short-term goals get in the way of your long-term improvement goals and strategy.

Of course any or all of the assumptions I made above might be wrong, but you should be able to fill in some of the numbers more accurately and do the math.

If you do not get a response from your coach, don't discount the self-teaching opportunities available - videos, clinics, books etc. More than a few Masters swimmers have improved their technique without much help from coaches. Yes, it is a tougher row to hoe, but you don't impess me as one to shy away from a challenge.

Ion Beza
June 3rd, 2002, 11:04 PM
Hey, Emmett.
Life is impressive if one deals with professionals of passion, like it happens when you after Sally are voluntarily offering professional advice.
[/B][/QUOTE]If you have stroke counts from those races, it might tell you a lot. Your initial description of your races leads me to believe that your perceived turnover rate was either the same, or possibly a bit faster on average during the most recent race, owing to your improved conditioning level.
...
[/B][/QUOTE]
I believe, this refers to my post where I wrote that I swam a 25 yards free in 15 strokes and 12.00 seconds.
When I did this it was in a warm up in Hawaii, not in a race.
I don't know my stroke counts for my races.
I remember though that in May 1994 when I swam 2:09.54 for the 200, in a warm up I swam 25 yards free in 11.8x.
If however this refers to my post where I wrote that in 200 and 500 in Hawaii, when I was trying to match shadows beside me, I felt my heart rate sky-rocketing, my Hawaii splits show however a slower start of races than in 1994.
It might be that I race best at a lighter weight than 167 pounds, which surprisingly I was at, in Hawaii, and still am now.
In 1994 I was 154 pounds, and two weeks before Hawaii I was 162, and thought I was stable at 162 since five years ago until forever.
[/B][/QUOTE]
...
Lets assume, for a moment, that you swam with precisely the same turnover rate in the two meets in question. Lets assume that all the non-swimming aspects - starts, turns finish are, at worst, unchanged technically from your earlier race to the most recent race. What's left as the big variable is the effectiveness of your stroke technique. Your 200m (I'm assuming long course)
...
[/B][/QUOTE]
It's 200 yards.
(In 200 meters long course, I have 2:27.37 from 1987, and 2:27.67 from 1994, against 2:34.xx last year).
[/B][/QUOTE]
...
took you 133+ seconds compared to your earlier 129+ sec. We'll drop 6 seconds out for your start and another 8 seconds each out for three turns. That leaves roughly 100 seconds of pure swimming. If your strokes were 4% less effective (ie you traveled 4% less distance with each one) in your most recent swim over your earlier swim, that would account for your 4 seconds increase in time. I'll assume you have average stroke length for a person unschooled in TI type stroke efficiency - somewhere in the 50-70% of wingspan range - lets call it 60% in your case. Assuming you are a 6' tall person your palm to palm wingspan is likely around 5.5 feet or 1.66 meters and your stroke length is likely more like 1.0 meters.
If we figure you are actually swimming 165 of those 200 meters (as opposed to turning and starting) then you are likely taking in the neighborhood of 165 strokes to cover those 165 meters (roughly equivalent to swimming 18 SPL in a 25yd pool).

So if you took just 7 strokes more in the most recent 200 (remember we're assuming the same turnover rate you had during the earlier swim) then that's where your four extra seconds came from.
...
[/B][/QUOTE]
I don't know my stroke count during races.
Indeed, it might be more than in 1994, partially due maybe to my extra body weight now, or due to possible stroke degradation.
[/B][/QUOTE]
...
Here's the good news: if you can figure out how to trim just 7 strokes OFF your most recent swim without losing any turnover rate then you can get your 4 seconds back. And you are actually likely to be able to trim a lot more than 7 strokes off without losing turnover rate.

Will it take time? Yup. But it'll take less time than simply working harder to get there. And, perhaps, working hard will NEVER get you there. Assuming you expect to be doing this sport a few years from now, don't let short-term goals get in the way of your long-term improvement goals and strategy.
...
[/B][/QUOTE]
An on-deck coach in Hawaii, who is based in Atlanta, told me I might improve in distance per stroke by better rotating the hips thus getting more arm power, as opposed to now rotating just the upper body.
[/B][/QUOTE]
...
If you do not get a response from your coach, ...
...
[/B][/QUOTE]
I got a reply today, to go forward.
I don't see with a good eye me writting an e-mail May 28 asking for information, then work out almost every day under the coach, and get a reply June 3.
I pursue this coach, because he was himself a good NCAA division 1 distance freestyler in Massachusetts from 1994 until 1998, and that at UCSD he trains two sub 16 minutes per 1,650 yards free freestylers who race in NCAA division 2.
[/B][/QUOTE]
...
... but you don't impess me as one to shy away from a challenge. [/B][/QUOTE]
That's a compliment that I want.

Ion Beza
June 4th, 2002, 01:12 AM
I am sorry that my previous post has a sloppy use of quotes.
Below is a better version.

Hey, Emmett.
Life is impressive if one deals with professionals of passion, like it happens when you after Sally are voluntarily offering professional advice.

Originally posted by emmett
If you have stroke counts from those races, it might tell you a lot. Your initial description of your races leads me to believe that your perceived turnover rate was either the same, or possibly a bit faster on average during the most recent race, owing to your improved conditioning level.
...

I believe, this refers to my post where I wrote that I swam a 25 yards free in 15 strokes and 12.00 seconds.
When I did this it was in a warm up in Hawaii, not in a race.
I don't know my stroke counts for my races.
I remember though that in May 1994 when I swam 2:09.54 for the 200, in a warm up I swam 25 yards free in 11.8x.
If however this refers to my post where I wrote that in 200 and 500 in Hawaii, when I was trying to match shadows beside me, I felt my heart rate sky-rocketing, my Hawaii splits show however a slower start of races than in 1994.
It might be that I race best at a lighter weight than 167 pounds, which surprisingly I was at, in Hawaii, and still am now.
In 1994 I was 154 pounds, and two weeks before Hawaii I was 162, and thought I was stable at 162 since five years ago until forever.

Originally posted by emmett

...
Lets assume, for a moment, that you swam with precisely the same turnover rate in the two meets in question. Lets assume that all the non-swimming aspects - starts, turns finish are, at worst, unchanged technically from your earlier race to the most recent race. What's left as the big variable is the effectiveness of your stroke technique. Your 200m (I'm assuming long course)
...

It's 200 yards.
(In 200 meters long course, I have 2:27.37 from 1987, and 2:27.67 from 1994, against 2:34.xx last year).

Originally posted by emmett

...
took you 133+ seconds compared to your earlier 129+ sec. We'll drop 6 seconds out for your start and another 8 seconds each out for three turns. That leaves roughly 100 seconds of pure swimming. If your strokes were 4% less effective (ie you traveled 4% less distance with each one) in your most recent swim over your earlier swim, that would account for your 4 seconds increase in time. I'll assume you have average stroke length for a person unschooled in TI type stroke efficiency - somewhere in the 50-70% of wingspan range - lets call it 60% in your case. Assuming you are a 6' tall person your palm to palm wingspan is likely around 5.5 feet or 1.66 meters and your stroke length is likely more like 1.0 meters.
If we figure you are actually swimming 165 of those 200 meters (as opposed to turning and starting) then you are likely taking in the neighborhood of 165 strokes to cover those 165 meters (roughly equivalent to swimming 18 SPL in a 25yd pool).

So if you took just 7 strokes more in the most recent 200 (remember we're assuming the same turnover rate you had during the earlier swim) then that's where your four extra seconds came from.
...

I don't know my stroke count during races.
Indeed, it might be more than in 1994, partially due maybe to my extra body weight now, or due to possible stroke degradation.

Originally posted by emmett

...
Here's the good news: if you can figure out how to trim just 7 strokes OFF your most recent swim without losing any turnover rate then you can get your 4 seconds back. And you are actually likely to be able to trim a lot more than 7 strokes off without losing turnover rate.

Will it take time? Yup. But it'll take less time than simply working harder to get there. And, perhaps, working hard will NEVER get you there. Assuming you expect to be doing this sport a few years from now, don't let short-term goals get in the way of your long-term improvement goals and strategy.
...

An on-deck coach in Hawaii, who is based in Atlanta, told me I might improve in distance per stroke by better rotating the hips and getting more arm power, as opposed to now rotating just the upper body.

Originally posted by emmett

...
If you do not get a response from your coach, ...
...

I got a reply today, to go forward.
I don't see with a good eye me writting an e-mail May 28 asking for information, then work out almost every day under the coach, and get a reply June 3.
I pursue this coach, because he was himself a good NCAA division 1 distance freestyler in Massachusetts from 1994 until 1998, and that at UCSD he trains two sub 16 minutes per 1,650 yards free freestylers who race in NCAA division 2.

Originally posted by emmett

...
... but you don't impess me as one to shy away from a challenge.
That's a compliment that I want.

emmett
June 4th, 2002, 01:19 AM
~~ I don't see with a good eye me writting an e-mail May 28 asking for information, then work out almost every day under the coach, and get a reply June 3. ~~

Not everybody checks their email every day. If I'm gone (or just not near my email) for a couple days then I have a couple hundred messages piled up when I check my IN box - and it'll be another few days before I get to them all. Unless you know all the inside details of your coach's life and business, you are likely not in a position to judge whether or not he answered your email in due course. If you are not pleased with the business relationship (or the coach/athlete relationship) you have with him then you should first talk it over with him, instead of airing it here - and though you don't name him you gave enough details so that many (most?) of the readers here know precisely who you are talking about. If he's reading this, your words won't be helping to win his undying support.

Rain Man
June 4th, 2002, 11:22 AM
This discussion should have ended about 20 posts ago. There is nothing more than can be stated that is not de facto repetition ad nauseum. Swim hard, focus in practice, enjoy competition, go for seasonal bests.

Arretes, compris?

Ion Beza
June 29th, 2002, 11:09 PM
I don't think the discussion is complete, and that its ramifications into technique were exhausted without me trying technique improvements.

About ramifications into technique, Phil wrote:

Originally posted by Philip Arcuni

...
[The only way for Ion to get better is to work on his stroke (he already knows where working out hard will get him - where he is now). That means drills, more drills, coaching, videos, and more drills, and should probably take up at least a third of his time in the water, and reduce his yardage by a similar amount. I know that will be hard for Ion, as he equates yardage and tough sets with moral virtue, but he has some serious bad habits that need to be corrected.]

I agree with Rain Man that TI does seem to teach a style that may not be perfect for everyone.
...

Not to leave any stone unturned, I am taking one-on-one lessons on freestyle technique.
There are changes in technique that, when practiced enough time to gain efficiency, might or might not bring improvements in the range of fractions of a second per 100.

So it's 'fractions of a second per 100', no jump from my 2:09 to 1:45 in 200 yards free expected here, and these 'fractions of a second per 100' might not happen.
Same thing applies to anyone else, who is a late starter in swimming and couldn't jump from say 2:35 to my 2:09 in 200 free by doing one-on-one lessons on freestyle technique.

The bulk of improvement, however, is playing on the cardiovascular aerobic base, a feature that swimmers develop to their lifetime potential when training under the growing stage of their body.
See also the book 'Four Champions, One Gold Medal' by Chuck Warner describing this process.
This means that for a starter in the sport whose body is growing, there are more blood vessels developed that connect heart and swimming muscles, than for a later starter in the sport whose body is not growing when starting to train in swimming.
It leads to the earlier starter needing say 120 heart rate to swim a 25 in 12 seconds, and for the later starter needing say 170 heart rate to swim the 25 in 12 seconds, thus tiring quicker and getting less distance per stroke.

Developing this cardiovascular aerobic base is through training distance and healthy living.

Around the world, the age group swimmers absorb in one day about 2/3 of my weekly distance.

Nutrition in healthy living is the main subject of this thread when referring to supplements, but as an unknown I did rule to wait for FDA products approved as risk-free.

Technique like I wrote, might be for me in the range of 'fractions of a second per 100', if that.
Regarding Total Immerssion (TI), I asked somebody who is of the caliber of 46 seconds per 100 yards in free, and knows both me and a Masters program coached by a certifed TI instructor, whether it would improve my times, and he confirmed that compared to how I train, it's a 'marketing ploy'.

In conclusion so far, I will expect 'fractions of a second per 100' improvement, if that, by training distance and doing drills in the coached program I am in now, and by doing one-on-one lessons for stroke correction.

cinc3100
June 30th, 2002, 11:38 PM
Drugs have bad side effects. 20/20 did a special program on the East German swim team in 1976. As adults these women have health problems to their liver and the ones that had children had kids with clubbed feet. As for over the counter drugs that have not been banned its up to you.

cinc3100
June 30th, 2002, 11:54 PM
Ion are you talking about 2:13 yards or meters. You still beat me even when I was younger. The last time I swam 200 yard free on a relay I think the spilit was 2:17. But I did 200 yard butterfly at 2:29 when I was 18 years olds at the same meet. I'm sure that my 200 free yard currently would be around the time I clock it a 13 years old in the 2:50's. Ion there are three other strokes and not all of us are freestylers. As a kid I swam a 50 yard or meter butterfly close to my freestyle time. Think of this I made too senior qualfying times in the 100 yard breastroke and 200 meter butterfly for women back in the 1970's. My freestyle bordered B and A age group times. So not all of us are freestylers.

cinc3100
July 1st, 2002, 12:52 PM
I do agree with you Ion that mileage has something to do with it. Maybe, you should try 7,000 yard workouts if you have time. But our bodies come to a point where we slow down. And maybe you should try other strokes and try to improve on them.

Ion Beza
July 1st, 2002, 04:45 PM
Originally posted by cinc310
Ion are you talking about 2:13 yards or meters.
...

Cynthia,
in Hawaii it was 2:13 for 200 yards free.

Compared to my lifetime best of 2:09 (no scary to any Olympian, but I am a late starter in the sport) in 1994, I think that now at age 43, my maximum heart rate might have gotten a bit lower.
"Your maximal heart rate tends to decrease as you age.", states Swim Magazine from July/Aug 2002, in page 14.

Thank you for taking an interest in these adventures.

Ion Beza
July 1st, 2002, 05:02 PM
Originally posted by cinc310

...
Maybe, you should try 7,000 yard workouts if you have time. But our bodies come to a point where we slow down.
...

My body doesn't absorb more than a weekly mileage of 26 kilometers, or 28,600 yards, for 46 weeks into this season so far, and it already produces deteriorated swims.

My focus right now is to do this distance with more quality, by having better recovery day after day.

The age group swimmers do more than 2/3 of my weekly distance in one day, and with better quality.

cinc3100
July 2nd, 2002, 12:35 AM
I understand that it would be difficult to do 7,000 yards for 5 days a week. I could probably do it again but I would have to quite work so my body could adjust and have the time for that much yardage. They are right that you should try to find a method to improve your sytle. Also, maybe trying even your worst stroke in a race would be fun to improve. Its up to you. Like I said these days you could kick my butt in freestyle. But maybe I could give you a race in breastroke.

Ion Beza
July 2nd, 2002, 04:23 PM
Originally posted by cinc310

...
They are right that you should try to find a method to improve your sytle.
...

Like I wrote, style change is underway now, but not with phenomenal time drops expected:
swimming freestyle is almost all in cardiovascular, from sprints to distance.

Originally posted by cinc310

...
But maybe I could give you a race in breastroke.

You would beat me in breastroke.
Mostly, I stay away from breastroke, because it's slow and too technical for me to learn.
Every week I do a small quota of fly and back, but don't compete in them.

ALM
March 27th, 2008, 01:47 PM
:bump: :bump: :bump:

See the first post in this thread. Looks like the HGH topic was discussed here six years ago.....

Anna Lea

Stillhere
March 27th, 2008, 02:27 PM
What an interesting thread this was!

Mookie
August 25th, 2009, 11:12 AM
Jim T,

This was a great thread! Have your perceptions of OTC supplements changed at all in the seven years since you wrote the articles? What's the consensus nowadays?

jim thornton
August 26th, 2009, 11:04 AM
Hi, Mookie,

I haven't kept up with the supplement world much, but I can't believe there's anything out there that is significantly better than the snake oil that was available seven years ago. I wouldn't be surprised to find, however, that today's snake oil costs a little more.

The pricier the placebo, the more likely it is to evoke a response.