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Rain Man
June 2nd, 2002, 06:45 PM
Now that I've gone through the hassle of signing up as a member of this dicussion group, this gets more and more fun. Maybe I'll get fired from my job :)

Anyway... I'm sure that ALL Masters level swimmers have heard of Total Immersion (from now on referred to as TI) swimming, correct? What are everyone's opinions about TI swimming? I am most curious because as a coach of age group swimmers, I was looking for training videos for our kids. I happened upon TI and liked what I saw... at first.

Here's some background for my experience with TI... very well put together, most of what they teach has been in existence for some time anyway, and they certainly are good for teaching novice/beginner swimmers the basic technique for swimming.

However, when looking to swim fast, and I mean fast, not lap swim quality, but truly competitively, I thing TI has missed to boat completely. Yes, smooth and efficient swimming is nice, but did anyone see the NCAA's? There are 20 year old men swimming 9 strokes per length in breaststroke! We have a number of age group coaches in my area teaching their kids how to swim breaststroke at 6 or 7 strokes a length!!! What gives? Extended glide is one thing, but when you slow down your stroke to such an extent just to achieve long and fluid strokes you sacrifice speed tremendously.

Hey, if you can swim 9 strokes a length at 1 second per stroke that is WAY better than 6 strokes a length at 2 seconds per stroke. Simple math.

Anthony Ervin of Cal swam the 100 free in the follwing SPL... 12 (start)/15/16/16. I could be off but that's what I was able to get from the (ahem- PALTRY) ESPN coverage. Now TI has goal SPL's of 12/13! Hello, if the BEST sprinter in history takes 8 cycles, shouldn't that tell us something? Turnover is very important. Same with streamlining, yes streamlines are nice and quite important but A.E. pops up after 5 yards MAX out of each turn. You only serve yourself well if your streamline is faster than you can swim, most age group swimmers would be well-served to explode out of the turn and swim within 3-4 yards.

Alas, it's been a slow day finishing my work for the week. Just looking to start a nice discussion. It's been my experience that a lot of Masters level swimmers are also engaged in coaching age group swimming at some level, and therefore I feel we can get some good dialogue going on this issue.

Now I've just used TI as an example because that's what I've had my experience with, but more general is what keys do you all stress when trying to mold competitive swimmers?

Au revoir,
-Rain Man

emmett
June 2nd, 2002, 09:17 PM
Baylor/Lone Star Masters used to put on a meet each year called the Baylor Sprint Classic. Part of the draw for this meet was that they would bring in 16 exceptional sprinters from around the world (people like Popov, Biondi, Jager, Crocker, Jordan etc) and have them do elimination swims in heats of four till a winner emerged. We got to watch them as they were warming up and then as they raced. This was back in the early days of my interest in stroke length. The first year they did this, I had my whole team counting and cataloging stroke counts for all the swimmers, both as they were warming up and down and as they were racing. A few observations stuck with me:

First, if you ranked the swimmers from fastest to slowest, then looked at the stroke count column, it was immediately obvious that the there was almost a 100% correlation between speed and stroke length all the way down the list. The fastest swimmer had the smallest stroke count(counted on the return leg of a 50 mtr SC race), the next fastest swimmer had a higher stroke count...the slowest swimmer had the highest stroke count. Only one swimmer was slightly (one place) out of this correspondence.

Second, ALL (as in, every single one) of the swimmers did ALL their practice/warm-up at stroke counts FAR lower than the stroke counts they raced at - even when swimming short fast segments of their warm-ups. Popov did 25 meters in 6 or 7 SPL with not the slightest hint of drilling, hesitating etc. Biondi was right there with 7 & 8 SPL. I don't have the data right in front of me but I don't recall ANY of the swimmers that exceeded 12 SPL during warm-ups.

Third, NONE of the swimmers was using loads of kick to accomplish low stroke counts during warm-ups.

Fourth, most of the loose, relaxed, long stretchy warm-up swimming done by these phenomenal swimmers was at fast enough paces to crush most Masters swimmers in a workout situation.

They did this meet format a couple years in a row and we repeated our observations with nearly identical results.

Learning to swim a length in very few strokes with little or no kick absolutely requires the ability to minimize drag and the ability maximize propulsion on each stroke. Popov's ability to swim 6 SPL at submaximal speeds is part of what allows him to sprint 13 to 14 SPL at world-class speed. To get to 6 SPL he had to learn things most swimmers have never, and will never, come close to. His skill base gives him options that the guy who has yet to swim under 18 SPL can't even conceive of, much less do.

See the following article by Terry Laughlin about swimming fast using TI techniques http://www.active.com/story.cfm?story_id=8723&sidebar=14&category=swimming

Excerpt:

"It’s also indisputable that with understanding, application and patience, swimmers are much faster with TI training than they had been before. And why not? What’s not to like about less drag and less wasted energy? Here are some specific examples: From 1996 to '99, I coached the sprint group at USMA West Point, specifically to address criticism in the competitive swimming community at that time, that TI worked well only for low-skilled swimmers and those who didn’t need to swim fast. In three years of Division I NCAA competition — teaching the cadets during the week exactly what I taught to triathletes on weekends — the sprinters rewrote the Army and Patriot League record book in short events and all swam far faster than they ever had before. "

Terry goes on to talk about TI influence on Auburn University (both their men’s and women’s teams have won NCAA titles recently), Olympic Coach David Marsh, U of Arizona's Roland Schoeman (who won the NCAA championship and broke the U.S. Open record for the 50-yard freestyle - 19.06), Adrienne Binder, a 16-year-old at Santa Barbara Swim Club (who swam 1,650 yards in 15:48, the second-fastest time ever for a swimmer her age and won the 400 IM at the U.S. Swimming National Championships and whose coach calls her “the best distance swimmer on the least yardage in history.”), and Susie Stark, a rookie on the World Cup triathlon circuit (and who reports that she’s swimming much faster on 15,000 yards per week of slow, purposeful TI practice, than she did on 60,000 yards of hard, fast training per week in college - at the Cancun World Cup race, Susie hit the beach ahead of Sheila Taormina and Barb Lindquist).

As a Senior TI coach, my personal experience is that the vast majority of people who attend TI workshops come in with mediocre to poor swimming skills and literally need to start from scratch to learn the very basics of how to balance in the water. But my other, more extensive, day-to-day experience involves people who come to our H2O program with a wider range of skills, some of them are very good swimmers when they first come to us. Without fail, even the really good swimmers seem to find a lot to like in, and derive improvement from applying, the basics of the TI approach.

While you could say that mine is a biased viewpoint - that because I'm a TI coach, my words are simply self serving shill work for TI. On the other hand, I used to be a pretty vocal critic of Terry Laughlin and the whole TI hype - until I actually attended one of the workshops and saw what Terry was accomplishing. In two days I became a convert - at least with respect to how to teach neophytes to swim. It took another couple years for me to buy in to the idea that I might coach ALL my swimmers in the TI ways. And these days, afer seeing the dramatic improvements from ALL levels of swimmers that result from relentlessly applying the TI paradigm, there is simply no other way that makes anywhere NEAR as much sense.

Is my promotion of TI self serving? Yup, you bet. I'm one of the very few people in the US making an entire living from coaching adult swimmers. I beleive the TI way is the BEST way to train swimmers. I have bet my livelihood (not to mention my kids' college educations, our mortgage, our retirement, etc) on it. If I didn't think the TI way was the best way (for ALL levels of swimmers) I'd be doing it a DIFFERENT way.

GZoltners
June 3rd, 2002, 02:16 PM
My understanding is that when Jeremy Linn set the American record for the 100 yard breast, he took 1 stroke the first length, after the pullout, and 4 for the other lengths.

You don't like to pay taxes, but if you're rich, you have to pay some. Same way with strokes, if you want to go fast, you have to take some strokes.

I think you must work on technique because swimming is so inefficient but you must also practice relatively hard because your energy systems need the work, and let's face it, part of the reason for swimming is to stay in good shape.

Swim fast,
Greg

emmett
June 3rd, 2002, 02:50 PM
~~ You don't like to pay taxes, but if you're rich, you have to pay some. Same way with strokes, if you want to go fast, you have to
take some strokes. ~~

Great analogy. And if swimmers would be as conscious of avoiding unnecessary strokes as a mizer is of paying unnecessary taxes, they would, long term, end up richer in the speed department.

Rain Man
June 3rd, 2002, 03:49 PM
Emmett-

Thanks very much for your response. I suppose I have been kind of going about coaching in the manner that you presented. I teach smoothness and length during practice because it is the best way to verify a swimmer's technique and fluidity. But when we have a fast set where I would expect the swimmers to be approaching 90% effort, I teach the importance of turnover as well. That kind of sounds like what you were getting at. Learning to swim efficiently is what allows a swimmer to pick up their turnover to maximally increase speed.

I didn't want to sound TOO critical of TI, just that I see a lot of age group coaches teaching with their tools, but haven't made use of (or perhaps don't know - as I don't) TI's approach to fast competetive swimming. I like the drill sets and technique-minded approach, it's just that there is a next step that must be taken to truly swim fast. I used the NCAAs as an example because some of those swimmers (all world-class) have just incredible turnover speeds, on the order of 1.0-1.2 sec/cycle in freestyle. Turning over an efficient stroke at a faster rate will make a swimmer faster. I wish some of the coaches I see didn't stop at the long stroke point, but made sure they progressed to teaching this aspect as well.

-RM

Robin Parisi
June 3rd, 2002, 08:12 PM
Use the following link to the USA Swimming web site to see all the race analysis data (dps, tempo, velocity, turn time, etc.) for all swims at the 2000 Olympic Trials and 2000 Spring Nationals. The data allows you to compare swimmers in the same event. Also interesting is the site's recurring "The Perfect Race" feature, which uses race analysis data to illustrate why the race in question (Janet Evans' 400 free WR for instance) was a "perfect" one.

http://www.usa-swimming.org/programs/template.pl?opt=news&pubid=1192

Windrath
June 4th, 2002, 03:13 PM
Dear Rainman,

When I read your posting, two things popped up that I would like to share and to keep in mind.

Point 1: Watching the best swimmers is fun and informative. It also comes with the risk that we will believe that they are the fastest because their technique is the best in all aspects of their race. We have to be careful with that line of thinking because everyfast swimmer in the world has something they can improve. Best example I can think of is Tom Dolan's backstroke kick.

I too noticed Anthony Ervin popping up at 4 yards right into the wall of water coming at him. If we all starting doing that, we are like lemmings to the sea creating fad after fad instead of solid technical improvement

Point two: Besides trying to swim like fish, we should also emulate the power boats of the past. Early powerboat design was based on long hull design because the longer the boat was, the faster it was. We humans are the same way. Longer strokes lead to faster swimming.

To prove that point, next time at practice, I encourage you to test what I call "The Thoery of Swim-a-Tivity." It is loosely patterns in reverse fashion from Einstein's Theory of Relativity.

The Theory of Swim-A-Tivity states that as the number of strokes per 25 increases, your speed goes down. So, next time in the water, try taking 20 strokes per 25, then 30 strokes, then 40 strokes, and so on until you try to take 200 strokes per length. Do not touch the end of the pool until you take 200 strokes.

Guaranteed, you will not be moving very fast by that time.

Yeah, it is a little toungue in cheek and the kids love trying it.

Good Luck with your swimming.

Paul Windrath

emmett
June 4th, 2002, 03:38 PM
There is a guy at the pool we used to train in that we call the Piano Man - cuz the first day we ever counted his strokes he took 88 SPL in a 25 yd pool. Over time we determined this was a long stretchy day for him. Some days he'd go in excess of 125 SPL. Needless to say he was VERY slow - but he made continuous forward progress.
Occasionally I'd have my whole team watch Piano Man do a length, then try to emulate him for one length. Generally, despite their best efforts to cram in loads of strokes, I'd rarely have a person who was capable of doing more than 40 SPL - they were simply moving to fast to take more strokes than that. But they would find this little exercise instructive nonetheless.

I refered to this as the Rush Limbaugh Drill - demonstrating absurdity with absurdity.

One note: Considering all the various extraneous and conflicting motions and gyrations the Piano Man was making as he "swam" he probably got a better "workout" doing 200 yards than some of my people got doing 2000. If the ONLY thing that mattered was churning out heartbeats, he would probably have us all trumped.

Rain Man
June 4th, 2002, 04:55 PM
Paul, Emmett,

While I can appreciate the stories about super high SPL definitely be slower, they are to the level of absurdity. I'm most concerned with turnover rate for fairly competent competitive swimmers having SPL's in the 12-18 range. More strokes don't necessarily make you slower if you take them faster. Yes, at some point, an extremely high SPL puts an actual physical limitation on the time you can achieve for a length of the pool.

As far as the wall streamline, I don't believe encouraging swimmers to get up and swim would be fad teaching. There's really more involved, such as tailoring streamline time to each individual swimmers kick strength, and determining the best approach for each of them to take in their own races. I'm just noticing that many age group swimmers are fast off the wall, kick until they've slowed down (they've always been taught streamline is the fastest and to take advantage of it), then they get up and swim and have to "re-speed-up" to their race pace.

A study was done by some students at the University of Buffalo in New York that tested breaststrokers and pullout technique. They found across the board that the swimmers more than made up the distance lost in a quicker pullout by having kept a faster velocity. In fact, the distance lost on the pullout was very minimal, because most breaststrokers when lengthening their pullouts had slowed down so much they hadn't really "lengthened" hardly anything.

The whole problem I have with technique ideologies (such as TI) is that they have adopted their opinion and stick to it to the point that nothing else is considered when it is presented. They have to make some concessions in order to truly develop successful swimmers. Technique is great, but yardage is necessary as well. Drills are nice, but drills don't teach you how to race a 200 freestyle. I love tuning into the TI discussion board to see Coach Laughlin's responses to posters' questions. He may as well have them on auto-reply because he writes back the same thing all the time, drill this, drill that, slow it down, stay long and fishlike, etc.

There's so much good stuff to learn from TI, but the broken record rhetoric gets old. TI isn't a new way to train swimmers, it's a cleverly packaged product consisting of stuff that 95% of educated coaches already knew and were teaching, incorporated as a small piece of the larger training regimen. And the masses of lap, triathlon, and masters swimmers are gobbling it right up at the rate of $100 a pop. To be an effective well-rounded coach you have to watch swimming, read articles, incorporate bits and pieces of what is out there and then come up with a solid program.

-RM

Ion Beza
June 4th, 2002, 05:08 PM
Originally posted by emmett

...
Learning to swim a length in very few strokes with little or no kick absolutely requires the ability to minimize drag and the ability maximize propulsion on each stroke. Popov's ability to swim 6 SPL at submaximal speeds is part of what allows him to sprint 13 to 14 SPL at world-class speed.
...

This eludes me after I watched videos of Popov's freestyle in this Forum.
I still don't get the mechanisms of "...no kick...", "...minimize drag..." and "maximize propulsion..." in :
"...to swim a length in very few strokes with little or no kick absolutely requires the ability to minimize drag and the ability maximize propulsion on each stroke.".

emmett
June 4th, 2002, 05:55 PM
ION:

None of it is instinctive or natural. But every bit of such a skill base can be learned by ANYBODY. And even if you don't choose to use every skill you learn when you race, what's the harm in expanding your skill base? You might just find that SOME of the skills you do not possess at this moment, but that you can learn, will be the critical success factors in your future faster swimming.

As a starting point consider reading Terry Laughlin's books "Total Immersion" or "Swimming Made Easy" or read the articles on my web site www.h2oustonswims.org or the TI web site www.totalimmersion.net or get the TI long axis video or go to a TI clinic.

Or consider reading my book, "Fitness Swimming". It's a technique oriented book that details a series of drills to help you build a very efficient freestyle stroke from scratch. The core of the book is 60 graduated workouts that incorporate drilling and swimming in a cohesive and comprehensive manner to improve your conditioning for swimming highly effective freestyle. The whole emphasis is on teaching you how to AVOID resistance rather than just helping you get better at OVERCOMING resistance - i.e. work SMARTER, not HARDER. And while the title is Fitness Swimming it has been well received by triathletes and competitive swimmers as well. Plus, I think you'll find the workouts quite challenging.

emmett
June 4th, 2002, 06:00 PM
Rainman writes:
" it's a cleverly packaged product consisting of stuff that 95% of educated coaches already knew and were teaching, incorporated as a small piece of the larger training regimen. "

Interesting. I'd say that 95% of the people who I have worked with that have extensive prior experience swimming under coaches espouse the fact that, for the most part, they've never been taught this stuff before.

Ion Beza
June 4th, 2002, 08:16 PM
Originally posted by Ion Beza

...
I still don't get the mechanisms of "...no kick...", "...minimize drag..." and "maximize propulsion..." ...
...

Tackling whole programs like Total Immersion would be overkill for me, since I find my query diluted in a turn-off mass of sales pitch intended for middle-aged master swimmers hoping for short cuts to physical conditioning, and diluted in a mass of generalities that are, like Rain Man writes, well known to age-group swim coaches and not tailored to individual swimmers in in-depth programs.

I know that Total Immersion claims to have adopted principles from Popov's workouts.
However I also know that it discards, unfairly I think, Popov's emphasis in strong kicking with a board, his intense training with a pull-buoy, and his reliance on physical conditioning when, in preparation for the 50 meter and 100 meter freestyle sprints at the 2000Olympics, he stepped up for two years the weekly mileage at in between 80 and 90 kilometers.

I am wondering about these mechanisms in a nutshell, in order to figure out what is the meat.

emmett
June 4th, 2002, 08:35 PM
If "these mechanisms" could be taught in a nutshell, say a few (or few dozen) paragraphs, such that you, or anyone else, could just read and do without a significant investment of practice, thought, analysis, repetition, exploration etc....well...then someone would have written it, everyone would have done it, you would have already had the success you crave and we wouldn't be having this conversation.

The closest thing to "in a nutshell" you will find is my book, Terry's books, the articles on the web sites etc.

It sounds like YOU are looking for a shortcut to better technique. You have also, in my estimation, been using hard training as a shortcut, of sorts, perhaps hoping that simply swimming longerharderandfaster will make you a better swimmer. Except in the extremely rare instance of the True Natural Elite Athlete, it won't. For the overwhelming majority of us only working on your technique will improve technique. All the conditioning in the world won't make up for poor technique if you are really striving to reach your potential as a swimmer.

Ion Beza
June 4th, 2002, 09:34 PM
Originally posted by emmett

...
It sounds like YOU are looking for a shortcut to better technique. You have also, in my estimation, been using hard training as a shortcut, of sorts, perhaps hoping that simply swimming longerharderandfaster will make you a better swimmer. Except in the extremely rare instance of the True Natural Elite Athlete, it won't. For the overwhelming majority of us only working on your technique will improve technique. All the conditioning in the world won't make up for poor technique if you are really striving to reach your potential as a swimmer.

Emmett,
in order for me to believe in a swimming program, there has to be obvious evidence of a coach's personal success.
I mean by a coach's evidence of personal success, coaching like Mike Bottom (US) allegedly does, like Nagyi (Hun) allegedly did coach Borrowman (US), or the coach having been a good competitor.

Speaking of such a coach's personal success, the best I was exposed to in detail, was when I started swimming in 1984 and saw almost every day until 1986, Guy Boissiere (Fra.) coaching Stephane Caron (Fra.).
The coach took Stephane Caron and other stars, from kids learning how to swim, to senior competitors.
Caron won a bronze medal in 100 meter free in 1988SeoulOlympics, and a bronze medal in 1992BarcelonaOlympics. In Barcelona he defeated Matt Biondi (US).
Boissiere's work outs didn't have Total Immersion claims. I have written some of them in a diary I keep, since 1984.
When Boissiere was saying something at that time, I was believing it then and I believe it now.

I wrote my previous post about Total Immersion, the way I judged its claims when I was in Tennessee in 1999 and 2000, and the LMSC newsletter was describing it in many long articles.

Philip Arcuni
June 4th, 2002, 09:35 PM
of whether to train for endurance or technique will go on forever, I think, but is really quite silly.

Until skills are adequate a swimmer should concentrate on technique - the 'Piano Man' was not learning how to be a faster or better swimmer by training hard. In fact, probably a worse swimmer, just as it is a waste of time for me to do breastroke at intense levels - my stroke is such that I would only make my bad habits even more habitual.

TI and Emmett are doing a great service to the swimming community by making this clear. While it should be obvious, there are still many, if not most, swimmers and coaches that emphasize the intervals over the stroke work when strokes need improvement. It is also the way I swam most of my swimming career.

As skills improve the swimmer should start to incorporate more training for endurance and strength - the best swimmers are in good shape. If you want to be at that level, you need to train. But to think that because Popov swam 80 to 90 km a week (!) he did not pay *constant* attention to his stroke would be a mistake. As Emmett pointed out, strokes degrade, and Popov with a poor stroke would not be a great swimmer.

[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. I am thinking in particular of the very divergent styles of some of the best women swimmers, such as Janet Evans or Brooke Bennett, and some of the best male swimmers that have 'hitches' or 'lopes' in their stroke. One should be careful of saying that 'they could be so much better if they only . . .' Who are we kidding? They are already the best in the world.

There are many ways to get to the same place. Kicking with a board has been a training aid for most world class swimmers, and their strokes are fine. I'm sure we have or will have champions that have only done vertical kicking, and their strokes are fine too.

You can just call me "Obvious Man."

Finally, you are a faster swimmer if you apply more power more efficiently. The problem with faster turnover is that the efficiency may get degraded if stroke work is not done at *all* levels of intensity. If you are not thinking about your stroke, every stroke, every set, you are not using your time the best way you can.

Philip Arcuni
June 4th, 2002, 09:43 PM
Ion -

I have had conversations with Misty Hyman and other swimmers in the Stanford swimming program. You can't get much more 'success' than the Stanford coach has had. They do TI-type drills *every* workout. The two different workshops I attended by Stanford swimmers were like TI redux. As I just said, you know where (just) hard work will get you.

Rain Man
June 4th, 2002, 10:22 PM
My turn to put another 2 cents in...

The first drill videos I was exposed to were the Stanford series made by Quick and Skip. TI (drillsets) are for the most part the same drills put together in a slightly different way. Why is TI though so more overwhelmingly popular? Coach Laughlin's a great salesman. Same stuff, Emmett I can't believe you have 95% of swimmers you say were not taught it. The first thing I thought when viewing the TI videos were "Hmmm, just like the Stanford videos." It's been around forever.

Let me clarify one thing as well. I do not advocate blind yardage at all. I think that is one of the most ridiculous ways to approach coaching age group swimmers. I do however like to mix up speeds a lot. Example 50 or 100 yard repeats build by 25, or 50 smooth/50 fast. Always emphasizing long and powerful strokes but increased turnover to go faster. And it works. We have an 11 yr. old with a decent backstroke who is *painfully* graceful in the water swim 1:30 (age 10), 1:31 (age 10), and 1:29 (aged up to 11) in 3 successive meets. The 1:29 was a prelim race and all we worked on during finals warm-up was increased turnover. I'd say (not having written anything down) she probably took a couple more strokes per length, but she went 1:24.

So what I was getting at (I think some of my words have been misinterpreted or misconstrued in some way) was that you can't stop at drills when it comes to racing. And coaches do. They drill and drill and swim long and smooth then longer and smoother and then the kids get into a race and gracefully swim nowhere near their potential. Take the next step and teach how to race. I would agree that for the most part, 9-12 year olds need more technique than training, but they also must do some yardage. And any good coach will pay attention and make sure that their strokes aren't breaking down.

My main gripe with TI is that they foster this kind of approach to swimming and then tell people that others are going about it in the totally wrong way. That's a farce, others are doing the same drills TI does, and then are taking the steps to improve actual competetive swimming. It's infiltrating age group swimming because the coaches are middle-aged swimmers buying into TI as swimming gospel. Another thing they do is mislead by using people like Popov as their main examples. That's great, Biondi was a long smooth swimmer too but what do they have to say for the likes of Ervin and Klim (highly successful I think) who take 3 strokes to each 2 by Popov. They ignore them because they don't fit into their ideology.

I think what I'm fed up with is what seems to be quite the egotistical manner in which the TI community has presented itself. Getting an individual response out of them is like pulling teeth. Every response is read our book, buy our video, stay long, do the drills, blah blah blah. Not every swimmer falls into one mold. And that's what is being fostered.

Ion Beza
June 4th, 2002, 10:27 PM
Originally posted by Philip Arcuni
Ion -

I have had conversations with Misty Hyman and other swimmers in the Stanford swimming program. You can't get much more 'success' than the Stanford coach has had. They do TI-type drills *every* workout. The two different workshops I attended by Stanford swimmers were like TI redux. As I just said, you know where (just) hard work will get you.
Okey Dokey.

Starting this Friday I have an appointment for a close to one hour stroke correction here with a coach strong on NCAA background.
So, I give a better try to technique improvement than until now, even though I am skeptical about shaving seconds with it.

Regarding Stanford, I was working in the Silicon Valley in 1995 and 1996, I was training there in Masters, I saw many of their varsity stars and practices. My impression was that Stanford doesn't do much on drills and technique improvements, but it does recruit well developed age-group talents from accross US, and grows them mature with (well executed you, Phil, would say) yardage.

Rain Man
June 4th, 2002, 11:05 PM
Ion-

I think you are over-analyzing yourself a bit too much. That could be part of your problem.

I think one thing everyone trying to help you out is more or less saying is find the correct combination of stroke work and yardage to get you back on track with your times from '94.

Never having seen you swim, I will be going out on a big limb here to offer advice, but here goes...

Check your wall-work. More races are won and lost on the turns at the highest competetive levels than anywhere else in the stroke. Proof? Watch NCAA women 4x100 free relay from this year and watch the 2nd swimmer from Auburn (Coparropa) pass Danielle Becks of Cal on turn 3. You'll fully appreciate the value of a good turn. Go hard into and out of. A good turn technique progression is

1- swim 3 strokes into a flip and repeat down the pool (don't do any turns at the wall yet). Focus on using your swimming speed to initiate the turn. No "glide-turns" i.e. stop swimming and glide into the flip. Time it so your last stroke pulls you into a flip.

2. Now practice at the wall. Many repeats from 5-6 yards out, swim into a flip. No touching the wall yet, be patient.

3. Now practice the foot plant on the wall. Swim in from 5-6 yards at high speed, flip and plant the feet. Do this until you are comfortable with your foot placement on the wall.

4. Streamline to side from drill 3. This will take some work to find the fastest possible way for you to flip, plant, push off, and strealine to your side. After that you are golden, short quick kick, pull with the bottom arm, no breath, and go.

Always work your turns in practice, or else you will be doing those 1 second slower turns all practice then expect to miraculously pick up the speed at a meet... impossible.

Swim in a line. I was taught this back when I learned to swim, have taught it from the time I started coaching, and now of course it's been *re-invented* by TI (poke a little fun for Emmett). Basically it boils down to minimizing extraneous movement. Is your head always stable? If not, guaranteed you will throw your stroke off, and moreso as you race and become tired. Always swim in a line. You can do slow swim 25's sans breathing to verify this. Head stable, hands enter at or near shoulder-width (preferably). Add breathing to get comfortable with breathing while maintaining the line and returning to it.

Next, one of the main things I've been harping on... learn to take your controlled in-line stroke to the next level. Vary speeds during your workout. 15x100 on 1:20 does you no good if you go 1:15 each time. Try 8x100 on 2:00 or 2:30 but learn to take the practice stroke to race pace, say 1:05's. To do this, the turnover must increase with minimal "slippage" effect. The reason the interval is much slower is to allow proper recovery to ensure that you can swim race pace with good form each time.

Do 200's, 300's on ample intervals that you can alternate 50 smooth/25 fast throughout the 200 or 300. Build 75's or 150's. Vary the distance. Just because you specialize in the 100 and 200, you don't have to swim purely 100's and 200's at practice.

Some "burnout" sets are occasionally necessary, quick interval, little rest, lungs bursting, muscles aching... but don't overdo them. The majority of your practice should be sets that focus on control and form (and TURNWORK!) or the fast-paced sets with ample rest. Speedwork is extremely important to maintain a competetive level of swimming.

Hope that helps you out a little. Good luck, and no more complaining. Erase the slate, set a goal of improving the few aspects that I and others have mentioned, and go after it.

-RM

Ion Beza
June 4th, 2002, 11:47 PM
Originally posted by Rain Man
Ion-

I think you are over-analyzing yourself a bit too much. That could be part of your problem.
...
Good luck, and no more complaining.
...
-RM
Rain Man, some of your whole post applies to what I do, some doesn't.

kaelonj
June 5th, 2002, 01:31 PM
I'll have to admit I have not read the TI book cover to cover but have perused it. I don't believe the TI book was meant as the magic bullit to train a world class swimmer, but more as a training aid, teaching core fundamentals or a foundation in which to build your swimming success on. I was fortunate enough to swim with a coach in the mid/late eighties who coached with a balance - drills with deliberate swimming (ie sprint freestlyers did a workout more geared to sprint free not tons of distance yardage or massive IM workouts, we still did 'crosstrain' but trained specifically). Most of the drills we did are the same ones found in the TI book. I think it foolish for a swim coach to think that by just doing easy drill swimming will get a swimmer to a sub :20 50 free, a good analogy would be that easy walking is not going to make someone do a sub :10 100 meter run - the easy walking will help you in being able to finish the 100 meters but no guarentee of being a competitive sprint runner.
Ion: I think you have to rethink your evaluation process in how you go about finding a coach. You in the past have mentioned how you felt some of the coaching was off (not getting a proper taper, etc.). One of the things you mentioned was looking for a coach for your one on one because he was a good distance freestyler and trains two competitive distance swimmers - this doesn't necessarily make that coach a good coach (think about professional sports, how many hall of famers have gone on to be great coaches, not many). You may have to shop around a little to find a mesh, you hear about a lot of athletes leaving their coaches because of personality clashes - not to say it is one or the others fault, but finding that cohesiveness can be difficult. Also be aware that coaches are sometimes lucky (talented swimmer just happens to come their way) and all of the sudden they are the person looked upon to provide advice. Have patience, Good luck and happy swimmming.

Jeff

Ion Beza
June 5th, 2002, 03:18 PM
Originally posted by kaelonj

...
I don't believe the TI book was meant as the magic bullit to train a world class swimmer, but more as a training aid, teaching core fundamentals or a foundation in which to build your swimming success on.
...

I suspected this.
Not that I can train train like a world class swimmer, but that I can benefit from a coach with world class awareness.

Originally posted by kaelonj

...
Most of the drills we did are the same ones found in the TI book.
...

I don't know precisely the TI drills, but now with UCSD Masters I do drills under the coached program.
They are comparable with the ones I was doing in 1996 when swimming with Stanford Masters.

Originally posted by kaelonj

...
I think it foolish for a swim coach to think that by just doing easy drill swimming will get a swimmer to a sub :20 50 free, a good analogy would be that easy walking is not going to make someone do a sub :10 100 meter run - the easy walking will help you in being able to finish the 100 meters but no guarentee of being a competitive sprint runner.
...

I agree.

Originally posted by kaelonj

...
Ion: I think you have to rethink your evaluation process in how you go about finding a coach. You in the past have mentioned how you felt some of the coaching was off (not getting a proper taper, etc.). One of the things you mentioned was looking for a coach for your one on one because he was a good distance freestyler and trains two competitive distance swimmers - this doesn't necessarily make that coach a good coach (think about professional sports, how many hall of famers have gone on to be great coaches, not many).
...

I picture a coach that succeeded in coaching, like Boissiere (Fra) did with Caron (Fra), from scratch until Olympic medals, or a former good competitor with a burning passion for coaching improvements.

Originally posted by kaelonj

...
You may have to shop around a little to find a mesh, you hear about a lot of athletes leaving their coaches because of personality clashes - not to say it is one or the others fault, but finding that cohesiveness can be difficult. Also be aware that coaches are sometimes lucky (talented swimmer just happens to come their way) and all of the sudden they are the person looked upon to provide advice. Have patience, Good luck and happy swimmming.
Jeff

I hear you. Thank you for analyzing the setting.

Matt S
June 7th, 2002, 07:20 PM
This has been a fascinating and enlightening conversation, with lots of good nuggets tossed on the way. (I'll be trying Rain Man's flip turn method myself in practice.)

Rain Man: I think that if you and Emmett focused on precisely what kind of swimmer you are discussing, you would find yourselves in violent agreement. Both Terry and Emmett in their books talk about the need for interval training if a swimmer is engaged in serious preparation for competition. In fact, in his articles Emmett has discussed learning how to vary your stroke count while swimming a given distance in a given time. (Playing off SL vs SR.) His analogy is having different tools in your tool kit so that during a race you have options for trying to outrace your opponent. The point that TI advocates are trying to make is that simply measuring your training by how fast you go and what interval you use is incomplete. It can be just as challenging, and they argue more valuable, to learn how to swim fast, WHILE MAINTAINING STROKE LENGTH. Terry talks about playing swimming golf: swim a set of whatever on an interval, for each repetition add your time in seconds and your stroke count, and try to make that score go down. Is this conditioning? Of course it is! Do swimmers learn to use a higher SR to go faster? Sure. But, the idea is to learn how to trade off SL for speed EFFECTIVELY, so you swim at a faster but sustainable pace.

Where I think the point of apperant disagreement comes up is that you want to focus on elite competitive swimming, whereas TI aims mostly at fitness swimmers who may have little interest in racing and triathletes. They are trying to reach the latter group, who clearly need to focus on good mechanics first. The problem with many traditional coaching approaches is that they assume the methods that work best for elite swimmers must be best for everyone. (Hey, that's how they got to be elite.) For a new swimmer, that can mean lots of yards using an inefficient stroke. For triathletes in particular, that feeds right into their work-work-work mind-set, and then they wonder why they work so hard to go so slow in the water. TI says that for these folks, learn good mechanics first (which can itself by physically demanding), and let endurance happen. Discuss this with any good Little League coach, and he'll say "Duh!! Of course you teach them the skills first, then work on their arm strength and foot speed." We swimmers want to train like we are all Bonnie Blair, when if fact many/most of us have trouble just staying up-right on skates. So, when you hear that (especially when the more strident advocates riff for paragraphs on end about the alleged stupidity of traditional swim coaching methods), you think they are talking about all competitive swimmers, but they are not.

Next, let me say a bit about the cult/snake-oil salesman issue. After reading some of Terry's articles, I can understand how you would feel that way. He seems to love his cut and paste function, and he tells the same stories and uses the same analogies over and over. When I read a sample chapter from one of his new books on the web, I said to myself "Gee this is the same as one of the chapters in his first book [which I own], almost word for word." I've also noticed that most of his messages will encourage you to buy one of his products. However, consider the following. First, since I borrowed a copy of "Total Immersion" from the library about a year ago, I have purchased a copy of it and Emmett's "Fitness Swimming" (about $20 each), and my family got me the two TI videos for Xmas (maybe $50?). In other words, I have spend $90 on TI products, or about two months worth of dues for my Masters club. I'm sure it's great to have this system in which he believes strongly, but I don't think Terry or anyone else is growing fabulously wealthy off of books, videos, pool equipment or seminars. Second, the new drills in the video are better and more effective than the drills in the old book. It could be he is recommending something because he has an objective reason to believe it will actually work. Third, many of the mechanical fine points TI teaches have been around for years. In my mind, that gives the concept credibility. What makes TI different and more effective is how the specific drills fit together and build on each other. Fourth, after dropping $90, total between the two of them, Terry and Emmett have been kind enough to reply to me personally through email when I ask a question and/or post a response addressed specifically to my question on their web sites' discussion forum. Terry in particular is a little fanatical about it. I don't think I have ever waited longer than 36 hours to hear from him. So, maybe Terry is trying to sell me something. But, given that most of what he has provided me has worked, and that he has given many of his ideas and his time to me for free, he has built up just a little credibility.

Finally, lots of people have asked how many Olympians have Terry or Emmett coached. Is it necessary to have an explicit endorsement from an Olympian before one's coaching is considered valid? There are 100's of coaches out there who don't have that credential. Are they all unproven crack-pots until one of their swimmers hits the big time? And, should that be the measure of effectiveness, given that Olympian swimmers are a miniscule, and insanely talented, fraction of the swimming population? In other words, is what is good for them necessarily effective for most swimmers?

OK, I've blathered enough. But, whether you like TI or not, it's not a scam and it does work.

Matt

Lexa
June 8th, 2002, 11:38 AM
Re the last post :


Finally, lots of people have asked how many Olympians have Terry or Emmett coached. Is it necessary to have an explicit endorsement from an Olympian before one's coaching is considered valid? There are 100's of coaches out there who don't have that credential. Are they all unproven crack-pots until one of their swimmers hits the big time? And, should that be the measure of effectiveness, given that Olympian swimmers are a miniscule, and insanely talented, fraction of the swimming population? In other words, is what is good for them necessarily effective for most swimmers?

I agree. Not many of us master swimmers are ever going to go to the olympics. Our goals are different than Olympians' goals - mainly fitness, fun, and getting faster (but not the fastest in the world - that's unrealistic) so our coaching needs differ from Olympians' coachind needs. And I think we take ourselves a tad too seriously if we whine about our coaches' lack of expertise...most are volunteers...

Ion Beza
June 8th, 2002, 02:10 PM
I think many posts here and of-the-shelf programs such as Total Immersion, have in common the fact that they are expecting a swimmer to mold into a technique.

The preference that I have, is different: to me, good coaching does the opposite, it molds technique into a swimmer.
It does so, by first an in-depth learning on how the swimmer operates, from novice kid to adult swimmer.

Examples of a swimmer expected to mold into a technique are apparent to me when based on perceived defects in races I have done in Hawaii:
1) I train with the wrong technique too much mileage;
the particular answer in this issue, is that in fact I do more of the coached workouts than others; these coached workouts come packaged with their blend of technique drills and mileage; this blend is comparable to what I experienced in 1995 and 1996 with the Stanford Masters; the blend of technique drills and mileage I saw being done in the Stanford college practices, makes me think the school relies mainly on good recruiting, then it does mature a few and does break many through intensive yardage; these days, to coached workouts here I add on my own kicking, an aspect neglected in Masters, and I add some drills, so I add qualities when I add quantity to the coached workouts.
2) I breathe too much, as in twice in the same cycle;
the particular answer in this issue, after discussing it with an one-on-one coach yesterday, is to keep it like it is now; I developed asthma in the beginning of the 90s, and I need to inhale twice per cycle through a narrow windpipe.

These particular examples of answers are done to tailor individually, when a coach is as directly involved in them as the swimmer is.
There are many by-the-book swimmers, and there are many not by-the-existing-book swimmers who operate and develop their ways.
Facing with the challenge of longtime working closely with the latter, many posts here advocating the former would adjust in time to the latter.

Another claim made in of-the-shelf Total Immersion, is to discard , wrongly I think, kicking with a board, pulling with a pull buoy, and promote a blend of drills and yardage where drills are too emphasized since I am a proponent of better conditioning leads to more spectrum in techniques.

breastroker
June 8th, 2002, 05:36 PM
I normally try very hard NOT to comment or reply to Fast ION, but when ION starts analyzing coaching I CAN'T take it any more.

It is painfully obvious to all of us, that with your late start in swimming, you missed the coordination and muscle memory that swimmers at younger ages get through years of both training correctly, and many many drill sets.

It is also obvious to all that over training will not get you faster; in fact you are probably training in the high aerobic threshold or anaerobic heart rate zones too much per week. You will never taper properly if you are over training.

You somehow equate a FRECH coach’s ability to get an extremely talented swimmer to the Olympics. From what I have seen, both the English and French coaches have neglected technique badly, and that is the reason the Russians and Italians have done so well in the last four Olympics. There have not been a whole lot of French Olympic Swimming Champions in the last 90 years.

I feel that many of the Russian, Australian, and Italian swimmers now have better turns and technique than even the American swimmers. They race short course World Cup races with lots of money at stake.

I can’t believe the jealousy in the swimming community over the TI coaching methods. I always say beware of the coach who knows it all. The great coaches are always learning. Over the last 40 years, I though I knew how to coach breaststroke and fly, but after watching one videotape on short axis strokes, I immediately adopted the TI methods. Yes, many other coaches have taught the same drills, in fact the reason I adopted the TI methods was during a UCLA masters swim meet, my friend and great coach Gerry Rodrigues had some Olympians swim some exhibition swims for us. When you see these people doing the EXACT same drills as TI coaches before they race, it makes a lifetime impression.

And your comment on kick boards is so far off base; just because one elite swimmer uses kick boards do not make it right. Most coaches will tell you that for every inch hour head is up above the ideal position, your legs will sink two inches. Practicing with BAD form will mean you will compete with BAD form. Most Masters coaches allow kicking with boards for one reason; it is the social, non-productive part of the workout.

I have spent the last three years taking the ASCA courses, and one thing stands out. Dara Torres coach said it best, “We don’t swim take way more” during her come back. What any coach learned by swimming, class work, or coaching during the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s is not how swimming technique is taught now.

Fast Ion, just for our peace of mind, who do you normally swim for in San Diego?

I agree with much of what Philip says, except “One should be careful of saying that 'they could be so much better if they only . . .' Who are we kidding? They are already the best in the world. “
I reviewed every Olympic tape for the last twenty years, and it is painful to watch some of the stroke and technique errors in Olympians. Watch the “Ultimate Breaststroke” video, An Olympic Champion making serious errors, then watch technicians like Mike Barrowman, with almost zero errors. One reason his time has stood for ten years. Watch the American freestyle sprinter loose the 1996 50 and 100 races because he looks up at the wall touch, instead of looking down and driving the hand through the touch pad. He also did not do the 2—3 dolphin kicks off the start that the Russian did. Now fast forward to 2000, he wins the 50 free (tie) beating the Russian by finishing correctly this time.

Ion, isn’t the pitch from TI “sales pitch intended for middle-aged master swimmers” just fitting you perfectly? If you ever get a chance to take a TI course from Emmett, or Michael Collins (Irvine CA) you would probably spend the days telling the coaches how wrong they are, but I would bet you would swim MUCH faster, and your tune would change.

Coach Wayne McCauley
ASCA Level 4 Masters (soon to be 5)

Windrath
June 8th, 2002, 07:09 PM
I, like Wayne, hesitate to enter into this thread again. BUT,

The best coaches in the world are not necessarily the coaches of Olympic swimmers for exactly the reasons Wayne points out. It IS painful to watch Olympic swimmers make costly mistakes in their races. Gary Hall's examples are excellent ones. These swimmers, like any other athlete, will only fix their bad habits when they get beat by someone who does it better.

In my opinion, the best coaches are often the coaches of beginner swimmers. These coaches have to mold completely raw talent into swimmers, fix mistakes that are common to every beginner swimmers, and most of the time, do not allow swimmers to make excuses for why they can't do something. Anyone who has tried to teach a stubborn 9-10 year old how to improve knows what I am talking about.

Also, in my opinion, the best coaches do look at the athlete as an individual when they access where improvement should be made. Swimmers who are 6' 7" are going to swimm differently than swimmers who are 5' 10". Swimmers with asthma have different challenges than swimmers who do not.

Coaches should coach to optimize the individual's performance given the individual's limitations. That same coach should also explain to the swimmer that what they are doing may not be as fast as if they could swim in another manner. After that, it is up to the swimmer to decide what they want to do.

Ion, with your asthma, Tom Dolan has asthma - pretty bad too. He does not breathe twice per cycle. I am willing to bet he has learned how to exhale hard enough to get enough oxygen to keep going. So, the best question for you is, do you need to breathe more often, or do you need to change how you exhale? I believe every time you breathe, you add about .4 seconds to your time. What do you want?

Paul Windrath

Ion Beza
June 8th, 2002, 11:29 PM
Originally posted by breastroker
I normally try very hard NOT to comment or reply to Fast ION, but when ION starts analyzing coaching I CAN'T take it any more.
...

You should.

Originally posted by breastroker

...
Dara Torres coach said it best, “We don’t swim take way more” during her come back.
...

I already know that quote. Dara Torres was in a San Francisco Chronicle article about using unindendified legal supplements giving the benefits of illegal products. I guess they matter.

Ion Beza
June 9th, 2002, 12:03 AM
Originally posted by Paul Windrath

...
In my opinion, the best coaches are often the coaches of beginner swimmers. These coaches have to mold completely raw talent into swimmers, fix mistakes that are common to every beginner swimmers, ...
...

That's why I wrote that I picture a good coach as one "with a burning passion for coaching improvements.".
I don't give full credit to programs relying on high recruiting, or coaches who give a mission to a swimmer but don't get involved.

Originally posted by Paul Windrath

...
...and most of the time, do not allow swimmers to make excuses for why they can't do something.
...

Here, I disagree.
I met former high school swimmers, turned off by brutal coaching.

Originally posted by Paul Windrath

...
Coaches should coach to optimize the individual's performance given the individual's limitations. That same coach should also explain to the swimmer that what they are doing may not be as fast as if they could swim in another manner. After that, it is up to the swimmer to decide what they want to do.

Ion, with your asthma, Tom Dolan has asthma - pretty bad too. He does not breathe twice per cycle. I am willing to bet he has learned how to exhale hard enough to get enough oxygen to keep going. So, the best question for you is, do you need to breathe more often, or do you need to change how you exhale? I believe every time you breathe, you add about .4 seconds to your time. What do you want?

Paul Windrath
I agree with this, except about Tom Dolan, who has his individuality addressed, and with adding .4 seconds: in my case, comparing breath control and breathing freely when needed, makes breathing freely the best of the two evils, speedwise.
Up until the early 90s, I was doing perfect bilateral breathing every three strokes in 1,500 meter freestyle races, but that's gone now.

Ion Beza
June 9th, 2002, 12:36 AM
Originally posted by breastroker

...
And your comment on kick boards is so far off base; just because one elite swimmer uses kick boards do not make it right. Most coaches will tell you that for every inch hour head is up above the ideal position, your legs will sink two inches. Practicing with BAD form will mean you will compete with BAD form. Most Masters coaches allow kicking with boards for one reason; it is the social, non-productive part of the workout.
...

This is a US Masters blunder:
1) in 1994, after the Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada, Chris Fydler (Aus.), who last competed in the 2000SydneyOlympics, told me that Alex. Popov (Rus) does 1/3 of his weekly mileage in kicking with a board, and does a 50 meter kick in a 50 meter pool in 27 seconds;
2) Ian Thorpe (Aus), Grant Hackett (Aus), Klete Keller (US), Josh Davis (US), Brooke Bennett (US), Chris Thompson (US) and many more, do extensive kicking with a board in practice; they say and I say too, it is a key of swimming from 50 meter to 1,500 meters.

Tom Ellison
June 9th, 2002, 01:05 AM
Paul writes:
" In my opinion, the best coaches are often the coaches of beginner swimmers. These coaches have to mold completely raw talent into swimmers, fix mistakes that are common to every beginner swimmers, "

Paul hit the nail on the head with that statement. I've sat on the sideline here...regarding the different techniques used to teach swimming because I am not knowledgeable or qualified to address myself to this issue. Having said that, I do know from experience that MANY GREAT coaches live and work everyday all over this great nation of ours...quietly teaching our kids (and Masters) how to swim, compete, goal setting, discipline and most improtantly..how to be winners both in and out of the pool.

So, when we talk and write of coaching...I believe we need to understand how much we...as swimmers...are in debt to these silent coaches who work among us each day utilizing many diverse methods of instruction...teaching our children life’s lessons….along with stroke mechanics...of one method or another.

It has been my experience in life that very few absolutes exist. What works for one swimmer may NEVER work for another...Perhaps no one is right…or wrong…

Lastly, most of these swim coaches who silently work among us each day… doing a superb job..do so with very little monetary compensation. They have my profound respect!

Windrath
June 9th, 2002, 08:32 AM
Ion,

There are two kinds of coaches.

The first coach is one who expects the swimmer to work up to that swimmer's potential and encourages the swimmer through the moments when the swimmer does not want to do something or is behaving in an immature manner and needs a push. These coach's nuture all ages of swimmers.

The second coach is brutal and uses unethical methods to make the swimmer swim fast. These coach's coach for their own personal power and gratification.

Most age group coachs fall into the first category. Some elite coachs fall into the second.

There are also two kinds of swimmers (athletes):

The first is coachable, asks how they can be better swimmers, challenges themselves, finds ways to improve.

The second swimmer (athlete) always has an answer to why they are right and everyone else (including the coach) is wrong.

No body likes to coach the second kind of swimmer. Everyone likes to coach the first kind of swimmer.

Paul

Phil Arcuni
June 9th, 2002, 01:53 PM
In the quote by Wayne I wasn't really thinking about mistakes such as lifting the head up on the finish. Those can obviously be improved. I was thinking more about swimming styles that are not according to the currently accepted wisdom. In the past, one of the best examples is the criticism of Mark Spitz - "he would be faster if he kept is body steady and did not roll so much."

In the recent past is the style of Janet Evans, which has been criticized. Now there are many swimmers that have divergent styles, Brooke Bennett is one. Another is Hoogie (I can't remember how to spell his name) who has an extreme non-symmetry in his stroke from left to right. At least naively, these strokes are not "TI approved" but I think criticism of them is foolish and biased. Obviously, these strokes are quite fast, and something is being done that is right.

The issue of coming up to early after the turn is in between these two extremes. I can imagine body shapes and skill sets that make surfacing early the best (fastest) way to swim. Whether that is true or not for Ervin I don't know.

Rain Man
June 9th, 2002, 09:36 PM
My final post on this issue:

Wow, that generated a lot more discussion than expected. We've established many points and I like to hear what other people are thinking, and their reasoning behind such thought.

Not everyone fits the same mold, we have to be sure to cater to the individual swimmers as they progress.

TI is a nice package to use to teach beginning and novice swimmers, but we must be sure as coaches not to get tied into "TI is swimming gospel" mentality. As someone so well pointed out, truly quality coaches know they don't know everything and are constantly looking for information to absorb and pass on, no matter the source.

Some of the best coaches in the nation are coaches of 6-10 year olds who pass them on to the "more experienced" junior and senior level coaches. Surely they have yet to experience coaching an actual at-the-time Olympic-level swimmer. Does that reduce their credibility? Absolutely not. And they would probably be more than capable of coaching anyone at any other level as well.

Take care everyone.

-RM

cinc3100
September 12th, 2002, 02:36 AM
Ion, I don't see any harm using a kickboard in breastroke. Its never made my kick worst. My weakness in breast has been more of the armpull. Back in the 1970's most teams kick with kickboards for all the strokes. Ed Moses only swims a 100 meter about 3 seconds faster than John Hencken. Granted there has been a bigger drop in lady times since Cathy Carr did a 1:13 and M Quinn swam a 1:06 in the 2,000 olympics, but I doubt it has to done with using a kickboard in workouts,maybe I'm wrong.

Bert Petersen
September 12th, 2002, 03:08 AM
Hi, guys and gals.........
I'm retired and all done with coaching now, but I still have a brain (of sorts). T/I, and almost all other technique guides, are very valuable. The problem arises in trying to fit everyone into one shoe size.(so to speak). Variations in age, height and physical limitations require a lot of experimentation to find the right techniques for different individuals. Coaches have fallen into the trap of teaching only one way to do things for a long, long time.
There are, of course, certain basic skills that all swimmers must possess. After that, stroke technique should be tailored to the individual.
Just my opinion....................:)

emmett
September 12th, 2002, 12:29 PM
After a hiatus I've read back through a number of these threads. I find them so chock full of misinformation, conjecture and downright nonsense with respect to TI that its actually entertaining.

So I'll add my, admittedly biased (I run an occasional TI clinic and get paid to do so), but also better informed, 2 cents worth...

First, the notion that TI, or anyone officially connected with TI, believes or espouses the idea that the concepts taught by TI all originated from TI, or the idea that TI has the only successful method of teaching swimming, is total nonsense. Terry, and everyone else in the organization, credits a large percentage of the conceptual base of what we teach to a wide array of coaches. What and how TI teaches is constantly evolving - due largely from the input of many of the world's most successful coaches (and it is no accident that some of them also happen to be TI coaches).

Herein I will refer several times to "TI concepts". This is shorthand for "concepts taught by TI" and not meant to indicate that the concepts "belong" to TI.

It is my own personal belief that TI HAS hit upon a better, faster way of teaching these concepts (to groups of swimmers of ANY ability level) than anyone else in the swim clinic business.

I am very well acquainted with a large percentage of the coaches that are actually certified as TI coaches - those who direct TI clinics and those who are first tier assistants.

I know, intimately, from first-hand observation, how they work in a clinic setting. They faithfully teach the course material according to the paradigm assembled by Terry Laughlin in consultation with all of the senior coaching staff. That's as it should be. That's the expectation of our clients.

I also know, from first-hand observation and anecdotally, that these coaches also employ the core philosophies of TI in their ongoing programs. This does not mean they expect every swimmer to adhere to one engraved-in-stone swimming style. None, not a single one, of the TI coaches I am familiar with, does that. Those who espouse the belief that TI, or TI coaches, advocate only one swimming style for all swimmers are, simply, misinformed.

There are some coaches out there who call themselves "TI coaches" or indicate that they "teach TI" or say they run "TI programs", but who are not, in fact TI coaches. And there MAY even be a couple of those who do a passable job of it. However, employing TI concepts and philosophies on a day-in, day-out basis takes a combination of committment, understanding, knowledge and experience that these TI Pretenders simply do not have (I've been doing this a long time and I can tell you that I just barely have a tenuous grasp on the whole thing.)

Since the dawn of swim coaching, coaches have gone to clinics, nearly always bringing something home to spring on their swimmers. That will never end. Of course, for a coach to go to a TI clinic, bring home one or two new drills, make their swimmers do those drills a few times and say "There, now we are running a TI program." is ludicrous. Yet some do that. Of course, a coach might go to a clinic, hear that Michael Klim trains 15,000 meters a day, then go home and start making his swimmers go similar distances and say "Now we're training like Michael Klim". This is equally absurd. Yet some (many) coaches do it. For an inexperienced coach (call him Coach NeoPhyte) to take some aspect of the training system employed by a successful coach (call him Coach OldVet) entirely out of context, and insert it into his own program and then wonder why it doesn't work the way he hoped it would is...alas... a very common scenario. But that certainly doesn't invalidate the system used by Coach OldVet.

Also, the notion that TI, and TI concepts, are only for beginners, novices or non-competitive swimmers is utterly absurd. Such a notion can only be the result of a lack of information. Yes, we get plenty of novices in TI clinics. But we also get a goodly portion of accomplished swimmers as well. These swimmers, with rare exceptions, indicate that the clinic has been extremely beneficial to them. They make lots of progress and continue to employ the methods and concepts espoused by TI to great advantage.

I've been in contact with and watched many hundreds of people that have really learned and practiced TI concepts and methods as taught by real TI coaches. The OVERWHELMING majority of those people have been very pleased with the results.

I've ALSO been in contact with and watched many people who've only taken a half-hearted stab at employing TI concepts, or have taken one or two TI concepts entirely out of context, or have not given TI concepts enough practice to really learn them on a visceral level. In general, these people have not had as positive a result - as one might expect. These people are, of course, likely to have less positive (perhaps even quite negative) things to say about TI - as one might expect. However, we also find mixed results in this crowd. In some cases, even using a just a pittance of the Whole Package allows some people to make tremendous breakthroughs. Something as simple as keeping one's head down a bit lower can result in huge benefits for nearly any level of swimmer (assuming their current habit is to look forward while swimming). In fact, a goodly percentage of the email I get in the first week or two after a clinic is from swimmers who were able to immediately employ just one of the things they learned to positive effect - and how much they look forward to making ALL of the things we taught them into strongly ingrained habits.

I just had to counter some of the misinformation and nonsense. I'm done now - for the moment.

Phil M.
September 12th, 2002, 12:30 PM
I think that there a couple of points that everyone would agree on.
1. You first have to learn/be taught how to swim with proper stroke mechanics.
2. To swim faster you have to build up your strength and endurance while maintaining an effective stroke.
This works fine when you are an age grouper. But how does it apply to the Masters swimmer?

I am 45 and swimming as fast as when I was 13. What is the best way to improve to my age 14 times. Given my current condition...strength and endurance. But what is the point? I am swimming to get in "shape", to have fun through competition, because it is easier on my body than running, and because the water feels good. I would guess that 95% of Masters swim for the same reason regardless of whether or not their strokes are efficient or whether or not they are going fast.

Since I began swimming (again) last January I have done my best to learn about all of the advances in swimming. And what has this gotten me? Basically, my stroke is like it was years ago. (with the exception of the backstroke turn) But no matter how much I improve my technique or my strength I'll never be better than a skinny little 14 year old.

So, I'll have fun. Play with some technique, push myself on a set or two, and enjoy the leisurely pace of Masters Swimming.

cinc3100
September 12th, 2002, 07:29 PM
Anyways, I read Terry's book. I think he has a biases against breastroke. He tells beginning swimmers that should not swim breastroke in a meet. The first meet I swam as a kid with the best time was breastroke and as a masters swimmer the first meet I just did two breastroke events. Not everyone is a freestyler. As for the methods its mainly aim at freestyle.

cinc3100
September 12th, 2002, 08:31 PM
One thing that I do agree with the it people is that sometimes swimming a series of shorter distances is better for beginners and master swimmers particularly those of us over 40 years since are stroke is not as likely to breakdown and its helps us to recover better. Yesterday, after swimming 5 x 200 and these where not all freestyle. I switch on the next set tp 25 at either 20 or 22 of them. Some modernate pace and some fast. I also agree for many of us masters that are middle age and older that we can not sprint a lot of the workout like we use to. The It people emphasis stroke ability over doing all short distances at high speed. This may help the stroke and prevents injuries which a lot of sprinting in workout can sometimes cause.

Phil Arcuni
September 12th, 2002, 10:13 PM
After reviewing my posts on this thread, I don't think I can be accused of spreading misinformation - I am generally supportive of the stroke mechanics that the TI system teaches, and never accused it of taking credit for things that are not unique to it. To ask questions is not to spread misinformation.

While I have nothing but the highest respect for Emmett, I am disappointed by his post. To refute misinformation by simply calling it wrong is of little utility. Of even less value is the implied claim that only those who are fully experienced and trained in the TI method are capable of criticizing it. If that were true it would require a near total commitment to decide if the whole program was worthwhile to commit to. A person must decide that a program is worthwhile to learn before learning it! It also implies that only the most experienced trainers have the knowledge to support the method - I don't think Terry or Emmett would agree with that!

One refuted claim is that TI teaches only one method. I don't believe that it does, but I would be interested in a discussion about some of the better swimmers with 'odd' strokes and how their strokes are not contrary to TI principles. For example, where does 'lope' (strong left-right asymmetry, many olympic or world record holders have it) fit into the TI principles? Would a learning swimmer be discouraged from this technique, or for some swimmers would it be recommended, and how would the instructor know to recommend it?

Other swimmers, particularly female distance swimmers, do not have the extended glide that seems to be recommended in TI. An example would be Brooke Bennett. Since this kind of stroke seems to be typical of certain physiologies, why is that? When should it be taught?

I still have problems with the 'rotation initiated from the hip' TI paradigm. Contrary to this theory, others have made the observation that certain good swimmers - Thorp and DeBruin are examples, have minimum hip rotation, but quite a lot of shoulder rotation. In addition, careful examination of tapes shows me, at least, that often the shoulders rotate before the hips. It looks like the shoulder rotation drags the hips around because of limited rotational flexibility between the hips and the shoulders. Am I wrong? Why? Why is it that when fins are put on good swimmers have even less hip rotation than they do with no fins? Isn't the kick stronger with fins, causing more rotation?

Is cause being confused with effect? That is, hips rotate in good swimmers, so it must be the cause of good swimming? Perhaps they rotate because of the limited flexibility - if the swimmers were to keep the hips flat, the shoulders could not rotate as far? That would mean that the hips should just 'get out of the way' rather than starting the rotation.

I would like a clear distinction between things taught as learning aids, and what is really happening physiologically. If hips should be free to rotate to allow sufficient shoulder rotation, it may be useful to teach learners to rotate from the hip, because it helps them let the hips rotate. But it does not make it true that rotation is really initiated from the hips. When I took ballet, we were told a lot of things that may have been useful for visualization, but had little physical validity. They were good for training, but what really happens?

Given the history of 'swimming style' instruction, we should all be skeptical of the latest theories (before my generation, they taught that the most force was transferred to the water with straight arms (more distance for the hands to travel through (and thus push) the water), in my generation we were taught the 'S' pull, and now they teach . . ). Even more important, the people that sell the theories (literally and figuratively) should be willing to back up their claims and theories with extensive scientific and case studies.

And especially not get defensive about criticism and questions from both the knowledgeable and less knowledgeable.

I'm done now - for the moment.

cinc3100
September 12th, 2002, 10:41 PM
Another person with low hip rotation-Shirley Babashoff. Not a pretty swimmer to watch but effective. A tall woman that workout all the time.

Ion Beza
September 12th, 2002, 10:52 PM
Cynthia, I notice that since you are training by yourself, posting in the USMS forum, means connecting with like-minded swimmers.

Originally posted by cinc310
Ion, I don't see any harm using a kickboard in breastroke. Its never made my kick worst.
...

For Mark Schubert, coach of Erik Vendt (US) who swam the 1,500 free in 14:59.11 in the year 2000, and 15:02.24 in the year 2002, the question "What approach do you use in teaching them to convert from a two-beat to a six-beat kick? Just plenty of work on the kickboard?" brings his answer:
"Yes. We do a lot of kicking.".
This emphasis to kicking is prevalent in US Swimming, as it is in world class swimming programs.

Originally posted by Bert Petersen

...
There are, of course, certain basic skills that all swimmers must possess. After that, stroke technique should be tailored to the individual.
...

In line with training individually, a coach declared about his methods:
"I may develop some good swimmers who become world champions, and you might develop some world champions out of swimmers I couldn't make work.",
"As they get older (i.e.: late teens) I am not going to worry too much about stroke technique because they are set in their styles. The main thing is to get in great shape. This also helps offset stroke faults which have become too ingrained to change.", and "We do make some slight changes, but we don't work a heck of a lot on stroke.".

For Richard Jochums, head coach of the US team at the 2002 Pan Pacific Games -the American coach I am being told that the Australian coaches fear the most as of 2002-, training technique means "In workout, we fix technique at race speed, not in drills. I don't believe in drills.", as he is quoted in the book 'Gold in the Water' by P.H. Mullen, in page 61.

Originally posted by cinc310

...
My weakness in breast has been more of the armpull.
...

This applies to me also, in freestyle though: I have a fast-twitch kick and a slow-twitch armpull.

In line with "This also helps offset stroke faults which have become too ingrained to change." and "...we fix technique at race speed..." which I quoted above, I am taking the path now of mainly managing to increase my arm turnover, while many other defects become lower prioritized:
two months ago, I was proceeding to make fumdamental stroke corrections, Phil's way (I mean Phil Arcuni), Paul's way (I mean Paul Smith), and a majority of swimmers' way which I have seen;
the arm was to enter the water bent, the arm was to stretch underwater, water-polo style except that the head was to be down;
it was to replace my ingrained style of swimming with arms already stretched in the air;
the result is a dismantled stroke, and a lack of fun in workouts that I enjoy doing at a certain power.

The coach from another program who said to me not to worry about where I put my arms but to worry about how fast I turn them, is the coach who made me switch programs after the 2002 USMS Long Course Nationals.

I will see...

cinc3100
September 13th, 2002, 12:14 PM
Phil M is right most of us in the 45 to 49 are similar to 11 to 12 year olds for the women and 13 to 14 years old for the men. Us women are more similar to the 11 to 12 years old because young girls develop earlier. In many states the 11 to 12 year old BB or A category is similar to the national masters qualifying standard for 45 to 49 year women. And the 13 to 14 BB or A standard is similar to the national qualifying standard for men 45 to 49. But each age group as we get older is similar to a younger age group until the 75 plus groups that are similar to 5 and 6 and 7 and 8 age groups.

kaelonj
September 13th, 2002, 12:39 PM
Ion,

I think your use of Jochums quote from 'Gold in the Water' is a little out of context with the subject matter in this discussion. 'We fix technique at race speed, not in drills...' I believe is his comment in regards to which swimmers, Grote, Torres et al, those swimmers who have years of experience not ones learning how to swim. When teaching someone to swim we don't just throw them in the water and say swim to the other side (chances are they won't make it) and then try to correct what they did - but we start off with a series of drills, practicing arm pulls (standing, holding onto the wall, a kickboard) we work on breath control (bobs, kicking with the face in the water) all of those are drills to slowly build up to swimming until they can actually swim with some resemblance of a stroke then build onto that technique and fine tune. I have seen and heard of other world class swimmers workouts and they do drills, Popov would do drills based on stroke count (doing things like trying to swim a 50 as fast as possible with a low stroke count, then come back and do it again with a lower stroke count - still a drill) others do 100's of one arm swimming.
For those that question the validity of a technique or theory - should, change is not always bad and something comes along by thinking differently. A fairly recent article about cycling and Lance ARmstrongs climbing technique and pedaling. For a long timehills were climbed in as a tough a gear as possible, getting as much ground gained as possible with each pedal stroke, if you've watched the tour de france Lance Armstrong actually spins more, he doesn't try to power up the hills, they've also taken note that he tends to keep his heel higher than what was considered optimal (whatever he's doing it sure works for him- and seems to go against the convential thinking).
Ion, keep at your stroke technique, have faith in your coach in developing technique over power. When I play golf I love to hit my driver 250+ yrds, the only problem only about 220 yards of it is straight the other 30 yrds or so puts me into the water or two fairways over, so I'm better off hitting using an iron and keeping the ball on my fairway (remember the shortest distance between two points is a staright line), but I still go to the range and play with the driver so one day I will be Tiger Woods (maybe not as far but at least my ball will stay on the Fairway).

emmett
September 13th, 2002, 02:27 PM
Originally posted by Phil Arcuni
After reviewing my posts on this thread, I don't think I can be accused of spreading misinformation



And, as even a cursory inspection of my words will bear out, I didn't accuse you of anything.
To refute misinformation by simply calling it wrong is of little utility.

Which is why I added a fair quantity of my own observations made over a long of time.



Of even less value is the implied claim that only those who are fully experienced and trained in the TI method are capable of criticizing it.

If that were true it would require a near total commitment to decide if the whole program was worthwhile to commit to. A person must decide that a program is worthwhile to learn before learning it! It also implies that only the most experienced trainers have the knowledge to support the method - I don't think Terry or Emmett would agree with that!

One refuted claim is that TI teaches only one method. I don't believe that it does, but I would be interested in a discussion about some of the better swimmers with 'odd' strokes and how their strokes are not contrary to TI principles. For example, where does 'lope' (strong left-right asymmetry, many olympic or world record holders have it) fit into the TI principles? Would a learning swimmer be discouraged from this technique, or for some swimmers would it be recommended, and how would the instructor know to recommend it?

Other swimmers, particularly female distance swimmers, do not have the extended glide that seems to be recommended in TI. An example would be Brooke Bennett. Since this kind of stroke seems to be typical of certain physiologies, why is that? When should it be taught?

I still have problems with the 'rotation initiated from the hip' TI paradigm. Contrary to this theory, others have made the observation that certain good swimmers - Thorp and DeBruin are examples, have minimum hip rotation, but quite a lot of shoulder rotation. In addition, careful examination of tapes shows me, at least, that often the shoulders rotate before the hips. It looks like the shoulder rotation drags the hips around because of limited rotational flexibility between the hips and the shoulders. Am I wrong? Why? Why is it that when fins are put on good swimmers have even less hip rotation than they do with no fins? Isn't the kick stronger with fins, causing more rotation?

Is cause being confused with effect? That is, hips rotate in good swimmers, so it must be the cause of good swimming? Perhaps they rotate because of the limited flexibility - if the swimmers were to keep the hips flat, the shoulders could not rotate as far? That would mean that the hips should just 'get out of the way' rather than starting the rotation.

I would like a clear distinction between things taught as learning aids, and what is really happening physiologically. If hips should be free to rotate to allow sufficient shoulder rotation, it may be useful to teach learners to rotate from the hip, because it helps them let the hips rotate. But it does not make it true that rotation is really initiated from the hips. When I took ballet, we were told a lot of things that may have been useful for visualization, but had little physical validity. They were good for training, but what really happens?

Given the history of 'swimming style' instruction, we should all be skeptical of the latest theories (before my generation, they taught that the most force was transferred to the water with straight arms (more distance for the hands to travel through (and thus push) the water), in my generation we were taught the 'S' pull, and now they teach . . ). Even more important, the people that sell the theories (literally and figuratively) should be willing to back up their claims and theories with extensive scientific and case studies.

And especially not get defensive about criticism and questions from both the knowledgeable and less knowledgeable.

I'm done now - for the moment. [/B][/QUOTE]

emmett
September 13th, 2002, 03:07 PM
Please accept my apologies for clicking "Post" prematurely a few minutes ago.


Originally posted by Phil Arcuni
After reviewing my posts on this thread, I don't think I can be accused of spreading misinformation
No need to get defensive. A reinspection of my words will show I accused you of nothing.



To refute misinformation by simply calling it wrong is of little utility.
Which is why I added a fair quantity of my own observations made over a long of time - which, of course, the read may take with however many grains of salt they feel appropriate.



Of even less value is the implied claim that only those who are fully experienced and trained in the TI method are capable of criticizing it.
While you may have inferred such a claim (though I'm not quite sure how), I did not imply such a claim.



It also implies that only the most experienced trainers have the knowledge to support the method - I don't think Terry or Emmett would agree with that!
I can see where such an inferrence could be drawn from my words. And you are not way off the mark. I do know that it takes a goodly amount of knowledge and experience to learn to effectively teach ANY swimming technique to a wide variety of ability levels. TI concepts are no different. That's the primary reason that there is a long internship and certification period for TI coaches.

Could a coach simply study the TI books and tapes, perhaps even attend a TI clinic and then go out and immediately begin to teach TI concepts with a high degree of effectiveness? It could happen. But I would suggest that such coach would have to already be quite experienced with teaching a variety of swimming techniques to a variety of swimmers, and be very knowledgable about swimming technique in general.

Could the neophyte coach do it? Highly unlikely in my opinion. Now, I HAVE witnessed untrained/inexperienced coaches that hold themselves out to be "teaching TI", make a total hash of attempts to teach TI concepts. That is, unfortunately, all to common.



And especially not get defensive about criticism and questions from both the knowledgeable and less knowledgeable.!

When I get defensive, I'll let you know. :)

effi
September 13th, 2002, 05:03 PM
Phil A has some relly interesting questions. I would love to see answers or at least a discussion on some of them. The more we understand the benefits of each swimming style, the better we can each decide to ignore or overcome "faults" or even to refine them into assets. Fascinating.

pbsaurus
September 13th, 2002, 06:20 PM
Phil A,

Thanks for the scientific perspective. I'm definitely more in your camp. With anything, I have never believed that one shoe fits all.

With swimming there are many variables to consider, strength, flexibility, drag, metabolism, physiology, body type, etc. Where TI may help some, it may not have the same effect on others.

I have almost no ankle flexibility, my range is about 40 degrees, whereas the highly flexible have a range closer to 180 degrees. For this reason, I only waste energy and create more drag by using the flutter kick. Through the years I have learned that I'm not a 50 Freestyle sprinter and probably never will be. I minimize my kick and focus on my pulling. I have found that trying to use TI and the hip rotation was detrimental to my stroke, because it magnified my ankle flexibility issues.

I tend use teaching methods and paradigms as tools rather than as belief systems. I incorporate a wide variety and tweak them until they fit the given situation.

Ion Beza
September 13th, 2002, 08:25 PM
Originally posted by kaelonj
Ion,
...
'We fix technique at race speed, not in drills...' I believe is his comment in regards to which swimmers, Grote, Torres et al, those swimmers who have years of experience not ones learning how to swim.
...
I have seen and heard of other world class swimmers workouts and they do drills, Popov would do drills based on stroke count ...
...

At many USMS swimmers' level and mine too, in workouts incorporating technique sets, there are years of ingrained swimming; these years did develop efficiencies empirically, no matter the perceived good swimming technique, the academic swimming.

An approach to correct a perceived faulty technique, would be to dismantle the stroke and want to rebuild it.
In practice, there is little guarantee that dismantling the stroke is going to bring speed increase after rebuilding it, because along the way one swims slower than before, for longtime, until new muscles and brain conditioning develop, if they develop again.

Instead of dismantling a style, I choose to believe in this approach to teaching changes in technique -for which Gennadi Touretski, coach of sprinter Alex Popov (Rus) is quoted in SWIMNEWS magazine of May 1998-:
"...without making excessive changes such that swimmers lose their technique and feel for the water.".
It is less drastic than the Jochums' quote -"In workout, we fix technique at race speed, not in drills. I don't believe in drills."- since Popov and Touretski are doing drills, however it is in the same vein of respect of the individual's style.

By this token, priorities for a faster freestyle in my case, are:

1. increase arm turnover, such that speed increses;
(in the past, this increse in arm turnover with no other modification in my training, did bring me personal bests);
such increse requires better conditioning than what I have now;

2. have fun in workouts by swimming fast with the existing defects; do what I do best, so that an optimistic swimming environment, a feel for being in a 'zone' is created;
emphasize positives of the existing style; for example, my straight-arm recovery, discredited in Total Immersion, makes Touretski see pros which are quoted in the same SWIMNEWS article: "...Michael Klim's technique..." incorporates "...the old-fashioned straight-arm recovery. The longer recovery seems to lenghten the stroke.".

3. correct small defects only, with supporting the existing style in mind.

cinc3100
September 13th, 2002, 11:31 PM
I understand about sometimes others telling you to change your stroke Ion and its hard to do. As a kid a couple of coaches at my high school complain about my having a one beat kick in the butterfly rather than two. I try to change that but I had difficulty doing it. Granted, for me the breast and the butterfly were the only strokes I made AA in age group times and I think I once made AAA in breastroke. My free was usually b and I think at 18 years old I made a couple of A times. And my back went from B down to C again after the age of 14 years old. So, even a one-beat kick I was doing butterfly as fast as freestyle mainly in 50 yards and almost as fast in the 100 yards. Now most of my strokes need endurance and probably the styles are a little worst.

breastroker
September 16th, 2002, 12:22 AM
There are so many posts that are so far off base it amazes me. Being your own coach is as bad as being your own lawyer at a trial for your life. Ion is great at gleaming tid bits from all over the world, often quoted out of context or with no real idea of what the author was speaking about. How about taking some modern courses in swimming technique such as offered through ASCA or Ion could take classes at San Diego State University. After a couple of years of coaching I could begin to listen to your comments.

Lets start with "I don't see any harm using a kickboard in breaststroke. It’s never made my kick worst".
YES is does harm!
In breaststroke for every inch your head is above the water your hips will sink two inches. That greatly increases the drag and cuts into the strong point of all breaststrokers, the kick power. It does not matter what style of breaststroke you swim, you will be faster if you practice your kicks with you head in line with your spine and looking down. You MUST practice and drill as close to race technique as possible. You are right; today’s breaststrokers are not much faster than 20 years ago. In 1984 Steve Lundquist went the first 50 in 28.12 on way to a 1:01.6 in winning Olympic Gold. Today’s World Record splits are slower. Lundquist was the last record holder who had to swim with his head never going under water. The extra resistance caused by the rules of that era made for much more energy use than today’s smooth wave styles. There is no doubt the Lundquist would have done 59.5 with today’s rules. Yet one of these days Ed Moses will go out in 27.5 and come back in 30.5. You heard it first here.

cinc3100
September 16th, 2002, 12:47 AM
Its true that your feet can sink on a board. But I don't mine using a kickboard once and and while. And Ion is right that different coaches have different opinions on kickboards. When I swam age group years ago, I had coaches that had different opinions on techique or workout philosophy. Flip Darr mainly like to work people out with high distance freestyle volume while another coaches like to train people in their strongest strokes more. In my opinion I think us adults are old enough to make up our minds on what to do with our swimming. Most of us are not going to swim like we did at 18 years old or 20 years old, so we should be in control of the things we do more than minor children or collegate swimmers are.

Ion Beza
September 16th, 2002, 01:55 AM
Originally posted by breastroker

...
Ion is great at gleaming tid bits from all over the world, often quoted out of context or with no real idea of what the author was speaking about.
...

You forgot to back up this claim with anything.

Originally posted by breastroker

...
Lets start with "I don't see any harm using a kickboard in breaststroke. It’s never made my kick worst".
YES is does harm!
In breaststroke for every inch your head is above the water your hips will sink two inches. That greatly increases the drag and cuts into the strong point of all breaststrokers, the kick power. It does not matter what style of breaststroke you swim, you will be faster if you practice your kicks with you head in line with your spine and looking down. You MUST practice and drill as close to race technique as possible.
...

This claim is from the Total Immersion book and can go back to the book, to stay in there:
there is training of calf muscles by kicking with a board, an imperfect simulation since swimming uses kicking in a slightily different position, but a cross training nonetheless;
of course kicking without a board and with your "...head in line with your spine and looking down...", simulates kicking for swimming better, but it can be practiced less;
my own kick is calf muscles developed with a board;
coaches who see me swimming long distance, praise my strong kicking all the way;
for the reason of strenghtening calf muscles, US Swimming programs are doing lots of kicking with a board;
in the 'Coaching' section of this Forum, there is a thread about positives from kicking with a board.

valhallan
September 16th, 2002, 11:13 AM
Some very interesting stuff about the latest school of thought regarding getting more efficient and ultimately faster.

Personally the bottom line out of the Total Immersion book for me was about reshaping the hull design of your "vessel",.... and then building the "engine".

As many here have posted, good form and long strokes are one thing, but getting fast is another story. That's where good old fashioned training comes in. Perhaps there could be a part two of the T.I. book about balls to the walls swimming while maintaining the "fish like" profile.

I think Ion has the right idea about throwing in a level of intensity to the work out routine. I am sure that "No pain , no gain" would be a motto that he and many other competitors could relate to.
The hundred yard free isn't a water ballet afterall.

cinc3100
September 16th, 2002, 12:33 PM
Ion is doing pretty good considering he didn't start working out in swimming until he was 25 years old. Many people on this board that do better than he does swam as children on a team and some of them have done masters swimming as long or longer than Ion.

Matt S
September 16th, 2002, 03:58 PM
Val,

There is TI part II. In Emmett's book, "Fitness Swimming," it's the higher intensity workouts (yellow, orange and red zones) and the chapters that describe how to put together a workout plan for a whole season. The focus is how to build speed in your workouts while maintaining SL. I do not pretend to fully understand it, but I know it's there, and I keep going back to it.

Matt

valhallan
September 16th, 2002, 06:24 PM
Matt,

Thanks for the reply. I actually have a copy of Emmett's book and have been working on lower my "swimming golf" score. And more importantly building the engine to my long streamlined vessel.

I can now cruise through hundred yard repeats with 11 strokes per lap at around a minute pace per hundred. It's a pretty stroke but it ain't gonna get me under 48 seconds for race pace.

I'm still working on anywhere under sixteen strokes per length for an all out sprint which is nearly a 25% reduction in efficiency according to T.I. (very bad!)

I guess the bottom line is about beating the clock, and not so much 'the guy with the lowest stroke count wins'.

P.S. If they're 'Happy Laps' then you're not working hard enough. No offence Terry. :D

Matt S
September 16th, 2002, 07:14 PM
Val,

Swimming golf is a start, but I think some of the training techniques in Emmett's book go deeper than that. He has that whole interval, SL, time, HR continuum thing going, and I don't believe I am groking it in its fullness. I know I am still a bit confused about the jargon in his red zone workouts.

I don't understand it all, but I get a sense from the book and his other articles that he has a very different approach to conditioning than the classic "What's the distance? What's the interval? What time are you holding?" triumvirate. If you understand it, I'd appreciate your thoughts.

Matt

Rain Man
September 19th, 2002, 04:33 PM
I'm no physiologist and am therefore incapable of proving the following statement, however I think it may have some credibility and ask any of you who are qualified to respond please do so:

I think the face-down front-quandrant style of swimming freestyle is leading to more shoulder injuries than there ever have been.

Now here's my observances:

1. With face-down, the arm winds up being directly overhead, a more stressful position on the shoulder than if it were lowered slightly. Try this at home. Stand up, and raise you arm over your head. Feel the strain on the shoulder. Gradually lower you arm so that you will finish with it pointing straight in front of you. Notice the strain decrease the entire way.

2. Front-quadrant keeps your one arm directly overhead for a long period of time as the other arm approaches, whereas "windmill" swimming the arm is only directly overhead for a split second.

To jump back into the TI fray, I will say this:

Good drillsets, nice instructional video, smooth and efficient strokes. But how do you race? Turnovers increase and you lose the front quadrant effect. The womens 50M and 100M free world record holder has minimal hip rotation, no front quadrant style, and positions her head slightly higher than is being advocated. She is the best in the world.

I have no problem teaching TI, as long as coaches read the disclaimer that says "TI will not be held responsible for an increase in your 50, 100, and 200 freestyle times. You should only apply these techniques to racing the 1500."

Well, obviously there is no disclaimer, but what I am getting at is learn the drills, swim that way in practice, but take the next step to learn how to race. The fundamentals that are being tought that are worth holding onto will stick with you.

That's why you drill TI. So that when you race, maybe some of the fundamentals like body position will stick with you. But I don't believe you can get in the water and "race" TI. Save that for technique sets in practice. When you race, your hard work during the technique sets will carry over. I just want someone, ANYONE, in the TI community to acknowledge that fact. You practice TI, you don't "race" TI.

Thanks for your time and patience.

-RM

breastroker
September 19th, 2002, 05:48 PM
Just responding to rain man, when a trained coach looks at finals from this years NCAA champs, or the 2000 Olympics, about half of the men and women are using what you call front quadrant swimming. I disagree with you completely on the analogy of stress to the shoulders, you will see the swimmers like Klim and the Torpedo with their hands and arms UNDER the water in a streamlined "long boat " shape, they are not pulling with their hands at the surface which would cause stress at the shoulders. They really keep HIGH elbows but are using their hips-abdomen-pecs and lats to generate power.

Part of the problem masters swimmers have is they do not have access to underwater movies of the great swimmers. What you see from above is no bearing to what style they are actually doing.

When you describe the "S" pattern, you describe the most misunderstood theory ever produced. Poor coaches took this pattern literally as an S, it was always a multiply change in planes using the bodies rotation, it just looked like an S to untrained observers.

“Why? Why is it that when fins are put on good swimmers have even less hip rotation than they do with no fins? Isn't the kick stronger with fins, causing more rotation? “
This is because great swimmers derive so much power from their kicks they do not have to pre-rotate their hips as much as ordinary swimmers who do not gain as much.

The real problem with 99% of all swimmers and most masters swimmers is lack of core body strength. This leads to poor alignment and poor mechanics of the stroke. That is not a problem with world class swimmers.

Coach Wayne McCauley
ASCA Level 5

Phil Arcuni
September 19th, 2002, 05:58 PM
Interesting post with some good questions, Rain Man.

But you'll never get a TI advocate to agree that you 'train TI, not race TI' because they don't believe it. Good swimming style is good swimming style slow or fast.

Shoulder problems should be a serious issue in swimming, and USA Swimming (and USMS) should be spending more money and time on the issue than they are already. I don't think you can blame TI, however, for what anecdotally seems an increase in incidence. For one thing, I think you mis-describe the stroke. The arm is rarely if ever directly stretched in front over the ears. The hand enters the water when the arm is bent, and the arm stretches and the hand is positioned till the arm is roughly 45 degrees down. (Even if you recover with a straight arm the arm spends little time directly in front.) At no time is the hand still or gliding. The front quadrant swimming is mostly a consequence that the positioning for the pull takes almost as long as the pull and the recovery. To avoid that time difference you either have to rush the setup of the pull, or pause after the pull - both reduce the effectiveness of the stroke.

Rather, I think increased yardage, and especially increased intensity, are the cause of increased shoulder problems in young swimmers. For Masters swimmers, I think it is decades of swimming on aging joints.

What this community needs is an authoritative report on what aspects of the strokes (if there *are* any particular aspects) lead to shoulder problems. How to detect these stroke problems (if they are not intrinsic to a good stroke,) and how to fix these problems. Also, how to identify individuals susceptable to shoulder problems before these problems occur. Finally, there should be institutionalized mechanisms to train coaches on this subject.

Since it appears that Masters swimmers are more susceptable to shoulder problems (is that true?), perhaps USMS should have a more strict accreditation policy for coaches.

One of the arguments against performance-enhancing drugs is the negative long-term consequences. Well, what about the long-term consequences of intense training? In one necessarily worse than another? If we care so much about one, shouldn't we care about the other? (and what if a drug enhanced performance by reducing shoulder damage?)

As an aside, there seems to almost always be an active discussion on this subject (that is, swimmers shoulder) in rec.sport. swimming If you can get through the c*** there is some good information. Don't trust everything (or most things) you read there, however.

Kevin in MD
September 19th, 2002, 06:19 PM
The first question is: What makes you think there are more shoulder injuries now than in the past? Just personal observation?

I'm new to swimming and am disappointed by the number of shoulder injuries I see. As I've stated in another forum I don't think front quadrant swimming leads to more shoulder injuries. I've got as much proof of that as you do of the rash of shoulder injuries.

As it's been described to me by a couple of people (one coach and one physical therapist) is that the overhead extension with internal rotation. For example the thumb first entry in freestyle is bad news. In my own experience the pinky first entry in backstroke is also troublesome but EVERYONE says that's the way to do it.

In my uneducated opinion if confronted with a high incidence of shoulder injuries on say a swim team i am responsible for, I would look first at the exercises the swimmers are doing to stretch. As was pointed out in a wonderful article in SWIM magazine from last year, many of the shoulder exercises we do to stretch are exactly the wrong thing.

So for example when we clasp hands behind our backs and lift, we are in fact stretching the shoulder capsule and thereby actually predisposing ourselves to injury. We can say the same for putting one arm on the wall and twisting away from it. these are actually motions that are very detrimental to shoulder health, they make the shoulder hypermobile. On the other hand, there are coaches that say that mobility in these directions is beneficial to speed. This may be so but we are making a trade off.

Next I would look at the stroke making sure that we are not interiorly rotating the shoulder.

For PHIL, the article you mention which shows what areas to pay attention to in each stroke for shoulder ealth has been written.

http://www.education.ed.ac.uk/swim/papers4/ad.html

There is also an article from swimming technique that hits these same issues pretty well.

http://www.svl.ch/superior_technique.html

cinc3100
September 19th, 2002, 07:49 PM
I'm not certain if injuries are worst today than 25 years ago. I just know that swimmers, particuarly some of the elite have had to have shoulder surgey. Lenny K and Dara Torres and Amy Van Dyken and Misty Hyman, to name a few out there.Swimming like running a lot is going to take some toil on the body. Master swimmers like me that are overweight and whose body is aging, are at risk for other reasons. I remember after just the first 3 months of back to swimming in my 40's, that when I tried 10 to 12 one and two lap sprints at a pool less than 25 yards long, that I felt severe pain to the stomach and groin area as well as the shoulders. So master swimmers have to do things gardually more than even pre-teen children or young adults do.

Phil Arcuni
September 19th, 2002, 09:18 PM
Kevin - thanks for the links. I looked through the first article, and will read it in more detail later. I think most if not all of the recommendations are good. But I noticed a sentence in the summary - "seldomly, do swimmers with good technique exhibit shoulder pain." The problem is that that does not seem true, as indicated by Cynthia's list of swimmers who have had problems. I am not convinced that technique improvements alone will solve the problem, or that in all cases we really know the stroke improvements to make.

As for your backstroke concern, do the following experiment. Stand and face forward with your arm overhead and palm facing forward. Then rotate your shoulder toward that arm as you (should) do in backstroke. Note that your pinky is now facing behind you, as it should during the catch portion of your stroke. Then repeat the experiment with your pinky behind you before you rotate the shoulders. You will find that your palm is facing back, which is not a good position. My conclusion is that the advice to lead the entry with the pinky down is misleading - there is no medial rotation if the shoulder is properly positioned. Also, good backstroke entry is not over the head, but about 45 degrees off - again, because of the shoulder rotation, the hand will be pretty much forward.

Wayne - I don't buy the kick argument. If a poor swimmer gets more power from hip rotation, so will a good swimmer. If a good swimmer can get more power by hip rotation (or the same power for less effort) he/she will do it. Here is my hypothesis - the hips rotate because the shoulders rotate. A strong kick stabilizes the hips and limits how much they will rotate for the same shoulder rotation. A swimmer with a poor kick needs to (let) the hips rotate because otherwise the shoulders will not rotate enough.

Paul Smith
September 19th, 2002, 10:46 PM
Regarding shoulder injuries, since getting into masters swimming a few years ago I have had the oppurtunity to train without over 30 different clubs aroung the US.

The unfortunate reality is that the vast majority of teams have very little "coaching", but rather an emphasis is placed on high yardage (usually dictated by a high number of triathletes), with virtually no drill work, speed work or kicking.

In addition, a very high percentage of the swimmers pull far to much of the workout, usually with the large TYR style paddles and a horrible thumb down entry that DOES cause shoulder problems!

strong440
September 19th, 2002, 11:08 PM
Hey, y'all. There is only so much talk about sore shoulders that I can be exposed to without my suggesting that most of it would not exist if'n y'all'd warmdown with a coupla hundred yards or meters with closed fists. The cost is nothing and ya gotta warmdown anyway.

As a matter of fact, I find it to be a great way to warm up as well as warmdown. I do all four strokes at least a fifty with closed fists first thing each workout.

It is something you can do completely on your own, no permission to obtain. Of course it will feel awkward the first time you try it, but it won't look awkward to your pool mates. Expect a ten percent increase in both time and stroke count, but the resultant easing of the shoulder exertion while getting the benefit of "range of motion" and no sore shoulders is worth the silly feeling that you are afraid of experiencing.

cinc3100
September 19th, 2002, 11:51 PM
I work out on my own, so I don't have coaches trying to work me out with yardage over 3,500 yards in an hour which is very difficult for me now, unless I swam nothing but freestyle with no or little rest. Some of the workouts I have seen are very difficult for master swimmers with no previous background or 45 plus master swimmers who even when they were younger swam a 100 yard freestyle over a mintue and now probably in a race between 1:15 to 1:20 seconds like myself. Master workouts should be aimed at different groups and those that are aimed at young triatheltes miss the boat. And big paddles for most swimmers isn't always good. I recently use the small red ones and they worked out fine. But I remember the paddles of my youth which were big that they rub past you risk and this cause some pain.

Rain Man
September 20th, 2002, 11:03 AM
Thanks to Phil and Wayne for a more exacting discussion on the actual angles of front quadrant swimming. I can see that the positioning may not be as overhead as I thought, but I still think the issues of freestyle technique leading to shoulder injuries should be looked into by people more qualified than us, like physiologists or orthopaedics.

And Wayne, this is certainly not to cause trouble but a word of caution. In your post you take a very authoritarian stance, a "my way or no way" connotation, and then sign your post "ACSA Level 5". Well that's great. Back in the 60's, the highest rated coaches were teaching methods that *at the time* were thought to be the best. ASCA level means nothing to me, it doesn't mean one can't explore new ideas and perhaps learn from others. It doesn't mean one knows everything there is to know about swimming. Taking that attitude may turn people off to listening to anything you have to say.

I've reviewed the NCAA tape over and over and still fail to see the 50 and 100 freestylers employing the front quadrant technique. To me, there appears to be no hesitation, no "wait" time before the pull as the trailing arm recovers.

Phil: Agree with you on rotation. How come TI repeatedly says the kick is not terribly important but we've seen some TI posters now indicate that the "world-class swimmers" generate their rotation from the kick. I'm sensing conflicting information. I thought the rotation was supposed to be generated by the core muscles. To me, it also appears to come from the nature of freestyle in itself, the way the arms and shoulders are used.

Backstroke: agree with the poster (it may have been Phil also) that the pinky down happens because you've rotated onto your side, not because you actually turned your pinky down. An aside... same with the catch. Your arms should enter no closer to your center line than your shoulders because once you are rotated onto the side, the catch happens directly above you on the center line. More shoulder-friendly too.

Regards,
RM

breastroker
September 20th, 2002, 02:17 PM
Rain Man,
I try NOT to be authoritative, and never say my way is the only way. I will be the first to say there are many ways of doing the strokes. I specialize in teaching breaststroke, there are over 50 ways or styles that all work. It is the only stroke that five feet tall swimmers can compete and beat six foot six inch swimmers.

The problem remains that hearsay descriptions of front quadrant swimming are not what are actually happening.

Going back to your initial post, Anthony Ervin is a very bad example of many things coaches are trying to improve in the swimming world. He has a poor start, poor streamline and poor breakout. But he is shown once he starts actual freestyle that he is the fastest swimmer in the world. At the fifteen-meter mark he is often 0.3 to 0.5 seconds slower than others are. Just think how fast the 50 and 100-meter records would be if he could be the fastest to the 15-meter mark.

In breaststroke Ed Moses is often 0.5 to 0.7 seconds faster to the 15 meter mark, and he gains 0.5 to 1.0 seconds from 5 meters into and 5 meters out of each turn. That is why when his stroke is working for him he blows everyone else out of the pool. This year he had a 2:03 200 meters short course breaststroke, over 4 seconds faster than anyone else does.

ASCA Level 5 means I have taken the time to take all the American Swim Coaches Association courses, have served the swimming community for years, coached for years producing top level swimmers, and have produced articles for publication both in local newsletters, and all major swim publications. It also means I will always be learning, they do not allow you to sit on your laurels, you continuously have to produce. Again I am always going to clinics, both local and to the ASCA World Clinic. All coaches learn from both swimmers and other coaches. I also try to learn from other sports such as cycling and running.

As to the swimmers shoulder issues, many studies have shown that master’s swimmers actually have lower incidence of problems compared to age group swimmers. This is despite our age, our coaches like to think it is because we are more aware of it and teach better technique, rather than just yardage. Let me tell you that masters has some of the best coaches in all of swimming. Yes there are lots of swimmer coached programs, but we certainly have access to many Masters articles and clinics to improve technique and reduce swimmers shoulder problems.

Addressing the front quadrant dilemma that you can’t see in the tapes, just look for swimmers from Stanford and UCLA, they both have their swimmers doing front quadrant swimming in free and butterfly.

Coach Wayne McCauley
ASCA Certified Level 5:D

cinc3100
September 20th, 2002, 05:05 PM
I agree with breastroker that breastroke allows for different sizes. But so does middle distance and distance freestyle. Diana Munz is only 5'4" even shorter than the shortest woman breastroker on the national team. She of course is a middle distance freestyler and distance freestyler. Also, the young Janet Evans who was between 5'4" and 5'5" when she set some of her world records. Misty Hyman in butterfly only 5'6" which is also short for a woman swimmer. Finally, the sprint freestyler and sprint butterflyer now retired, Angel Martino. Angel who is only 5'5" usually swam against those lady giants who are near 6'0".

NCSwimmer
September 20th, 2002, 05:20 PM
I thought I had at some some understanding of front quadrant swimming but what is front quandrant swimming in butterfly?

mattson
September 24th, 2002, 06:15 PM
It may be a mistake to dive into the pro/con TI discussion, but I think some of the anti-TI reasoning is off base. (I didn't say all... :) )

1) They look at the 100 Free, then the 50 Free, and say "stroke length gets shorter, TI is wrong". That is the wrong comparison. If you look back at one of Emmett's early posts, he points out that within a given race distance (in his example, the 50 Free), there is a strong correlation between stoke length and speed.
2) People are pointing out irregularities in Olympic swimmers, and saying that it does not fit into TI. But they do not address the question, "Are they faster because of the stroke quirk, or in spite of it?" (Or is it cosmetic, in which case you shouldn't have brought it up. :) )
3) Make sure you are comparing apples to apples, instead of oranges. You have a group of All-American Division I swimmers versus some small community college, it won't matter WHAT technique the JCs use, the playing field is not even. Given two swimmers with the same phyical ability, the question is whether TI gives an advantage over an alternative method. Don't use a freak-of-nature talent who doesn't use TI as an example, unless they tried TI and went slower.

Just to show that I have not been brainwashed, TI is completely wrong when they say to swim like fish. Fish have tails that go side to side. I've never seen *anyone* kick like that. We need to swim like dolphins; our hips can move the same way as their tails. ;)

Phil Arcuni
September 24th, 2002, 07:15 PM
Mattson makes several good points. Since I was the one that discussed stroke 'quirks' of the best swimmers, and he said


2) People are pointing out irregularities in Olympic swimmers, and saying that it does not fit into TI. But they do not address the question, "Are they faster because of the stroke quirk, or in spite of it?" (Or is it cosmetic, in which case you shouldn't have brought it up. )

I just want to make it clear that that is *exactly* the question I was asking - is their good swimming because of their style, or despite of it, and what does TI have to contribute to the discussion? I *never* said it does not fit into TI (but I did say it 'appears' to violate the naive picture I have of TI principles - that is a request for elucidation from the more experienced TI proponents.) If it is cosmetic, I would like to know that, since I don't know it now.

Once that question is answered, the more interesting questions of how to recognize those swimmers that should be encouraged to swim with these different styles, how to coach it, etc. can be addressed.

If I thought I could answer these questions, rather than just ask them, I would be a professional coach.

I am disappointed that my questions have not been addressed in some way by those more knowledgeable than me. I would have assumed that the 'quirky' styles of Hoogenbrand and Bennett would have been analyzed to death. I can only assume that the answers are not known, or even claimed to be known. And if they are not, the field of swimming science has a long way to go.

Oh, and I think it should be 'swim like a sea otter.' They at least have legs. Or a seal, which has split fins. And have you seen the butterfly kicks the elite swimmers (at least Misty Hymen) do off the wall? definitely sideways.

Ion Beza
September 24th, 2002, 07:28 PM
I disagree with:

Originally posted by mattson

...
Don't use a freak-of-nature talent who doesn't use TI as an example, unless they tried TI and went slower.
...

Total Immersion (TI) writes in page 47:
"FQS (i.e.: Front Quadrant Swimming) swimming means always keeping one or the other of your hands in that quadrant." and
"Leaving each in place just a split-second extra can make a big difference in your Froude number.".
(i.e.: Froude numbers are vessel numbers analogous to swimmers who swim 'taller' by keeping one hand in front that "...split-second extra...").
Keeping one hand that "...slpit-second extra...", means a pause after the arm entry into the water, during the catch of the water.
This pause makes for a lower arm turnover rate.
Velocity is length multiplied by rate.

The question is: if rate lowers due to the pause, is length more than compensating it, so that velocity increases?
My input in this thread, the example of Anthony Ervin in this thread, hundreds of swimmers reported in this thread, Bill White and others' input in the thread 'TI advice: stroke length vs rate', say:
no.
These inputs are already posted by now.
They can be read and re-read.

I reinforce my existing input with:
August 15 in Cleveland, I swam 800 meter free, a lifetime second slowest, faster than only one single instance when I swam it in the year 2000 on painkillers for my back. Two fast-twitch observers, Ian Smith and Jim Thornton said to me afterwards that I have too much TI in me, and that a faster turnover rate is recommended.

In general, I found the book Total Immersion to be written with a marketing behavior in it, as in superficial sales pitches.
This is opposed to more profound data from another book which also attempts to explain swimming, but better.
The sections discrediting cross training benefits of kicking with a board, pulling with paddles, dry land training -for example on an inclined bench-, are naive.

In conclusion:
this thread has plenty of "...tried TI and went slower.", and another thread -'TI advice: stroke length vs rate' by Bill White-, is 100% of "...tried TI and went slower."

Ion Beza
September 24th, 2002, 08:54 PM
Originally posted by Phil Arcuni

...
I would have assumed that the 'quirky' styles of Hoogenbrand and Bennett would have been analyzed to death. I can only assume that the answers are not known, or even claimed to be known. And if they are not, the field of swimming science has a long way to go.
...

I believe that their swimming styles are found in many swimmers, but the difference is not understood:
47.84 swam in the year 2000, and 47.86 swam in the year 2002 by Pieter van den Hoogenband (Ned) in 100 meter free, is simply not explained so far by better known technique (for example by Total Immersion -"The Revolutionary Way to Swim Better, Faster, and Easier" like Terry Laughlin writes proudly in order to 'justify' swimmers who are fast but slower than van den Hoogenband-, the success goes far beyond this booklet), and is not explained by better theory of conditioning so far.
In interviews, when van den Hoogenband swims slower than his potential, like he did in the 2001 World Championships, he emphasizes his need for getting back in shape through conditioning, he doesn't mention technique. It's like if he feels that his technique stays ingrained by practicing his usual drills in workouts.

Likewise applying fish dynamics to humans, is not clear.

The future will uncover more...

mattson
September 25th, 2002, 12:20 AM
Hi Phil Arcuni - I was talking about kicking in terms of the motion, not the body position in the water. I am assuming that Misty Hymen is on her side, but still kicking towards the front and back (like a dolphin), and not towards the shoulders (like a fish would, if they had shoulders). :)

If RainMan is still out there, I have three opinions:
1) You mentioned that many of the ideas are well established with age-group coaches. Might you be putting the cart ahead of the horse? At the time the ideas that led to TI came out, they were radical and not established.
2) There is a huge difference between SPL in practice, and in meet situations.
pg 103: "By (Popov) training his body to get by on those 28 (SPL), the 34 he allows himself on race day... are a piece of cake."
3) There are a lot of books out there, besides TI. If you are interested in swimming history and the evolution of the techniques, I would look for the books by Cecil Colwin.

cinc3100
September 25th, 2002, 12:46 AM
That's true that community college swimmers against a division 1 team would not have a chance, no matter what techique they use. I was wondering is Misty Hyman turns allowed in masters swimming.

mattson
September 25th, 2002, 01:20 AM
I disagree with almost everything Ion has said.
:rolleyes:

First off, you mentioned pg 47, where the book talks about keeping the hand in front longer. YOU used the word "pause", which I think it wrong. The hand is in front doing two things: active streamlining (while the other arm is pulling), and "catching" the water (to get a powerful stroke). If all you are doing is letting your hand hang in front, no wonder you did not see any improvement.

You accused Laughlin of excessive marketing. He is being a cheerleader at times, which is needed for people new to swimming. I think it deliberately sabotages its own marketing. The book describes what they are teaching in the classes. The purpose of the book is to give the swimmer the skills to be their own coach. After reading the book, I have yet to attend a class, and don't plan to.

You mentioned how TI didn't work for you. Besides the fact that a single swim is hardly going to tell you anything, if your friends noticed that much of a SR change, then I would say you weren't doing it right. The goal is not to minimize SR, it is to keep a long SL as you pick up your SR.

pg 30: "As you begin to approach the upper limits of how quickly you can move your arms, you can usually speed them up even more only by decreasing your stroke length... Increase one and decrease the other by the same amount and your product - velocity - doesn't budge."
pg 33: "First, you have to learn how to position your body so it moves as far as it possibly can with each stroke (SL); then you have to get fit enough to take those strokes at a high rate (SR)... They always make their most dramatic improvements when they give up a bit of their SR in order to gain a lot of SL."

Reducing your SR is *NOT* the same as TI. Laughlin states this quite clearly on pg. 107: "It's possible to get too carried away with this business of eliminating strokes when you're down to such a triumphantly tiny number of strokes that you're taking forever to get to the other end."

You mention Anthony Ervin, I'll mention Popov. You talked about the hundreds of people in this thread; I doubt that there are even twenty people posting in this thread, and the views have been varied. You have failed to address pg 31. Studies from the 1984 US Olympic Swimming Trials and the 1988 Olympics: "Over and over, what they found was that long event or short, the fastest swimmers took the fewest strokes."

You accused the program as trying to be a short cut for physical training. If you are concerned about speed, then reread pg 26: "We now know that while conditioning matters, it doesn't matter nearly as much as we've been told. In fact, the world's top researchers estimate that champion swimmers owe about 70 percent of their great performance to perfect stroke mechanics and only around 30 percent to their fitness..."

You also state that TI discredits kicking with a board, pulling with paddles, and dryland training.

For kicking with a board, yeah he doesn't like them. But are boards *necessary* to get a good (or better) kicking workout? On pg 197, he suggests using fins instead of boards for the kicking sets. (Myself, I like boards, because they stretch out my lats.)

On pg 199, Laughlin seems fine with paddles: "... you can get a fine (aerobic workout) wearing buoys and paddles." "...Add paddles to your hands and a tube around your ankles to the buoy between your legs. That will both increase the resistance and add some muscle to your pull." (versus using a pull buoy alone)

He also seems to support dryland training. The only caveat was on pg 220. "(In the early stages of a swimming-strength-training program that you may be starting, use) your own body for resistance - bodyweight exercises."
pg 222
"Eventually, of course, your muscles will need more than bodyweight to continue growing stronger... begin mixing in... free weights or machines in equal amounts."

Look, if TI doesn't work for everyone, fine. If you are concerned that TI has passed from "groundbreaking new idea" to "established dogma stiffling further innovation" (my quotes), then there are better ways of saying that. But from the tone of some of your messages, it sounds like you have a vendetta against Laughlin. If you reread Emmett's messages, his concern is that people take a single idea from TI (such as reducing SR during inital practices), misapply it, and think that the entire TI program is garbage. From the misinterpretations and misinformation that you have posted, it would seem that you fall into this category.

Ion Beza
September 25th, 2002, 02:20 AM
Originally posted by mattson
I disagree with almost everything Ion has said.
:rolleyes:

First off, you mentioned pg 47, where the book talks about keeping the hand in front longer. YOU used the word "pause", which I think it wrong.

The hand is in front doing two things: active streamlining (while the other arm is pulling), and "catching" the water (to get a powerful stroke). If all you are doing is letting your hand hang in front, no wonder you did not see any improvement.
...

Mark, keep doing "...:rolleyes...", toward the book:
in page 48, it says "Enter, e-x-t-e-n-d, pause and pull.", doesn't it?

'pause' means: pause.

Thus a slower rate.

"...active stramlining..." and "..."catching" the water (to get a powerful stroke)..." during the pause, are undefined by you but talked about.

Popov doing 28 strokes in workout, so 34 in race is misinformed:
Popov races what he is training at, which is 31 strokes; he also trains with lots of 'Explosive Speed Training' bursts at more than 31 strokes prorated to 15 meters sprints, with more than 100% of the energy of a 50 meters sprint.
His coach, Touretski, makes him doing these repeats of dive and 15 meters sprints, with a work to rest ratio of 1 to 4.

'Explosive Speed Training' is not practiced in USMS workouts.

Originally posted by mattson

...
The goal is not to minimize SR, it is to keep a long SL as you pick up your SR.
...

That's why the thread 'TI advice: length vs rate' has posts (by Paul for example) recommending to swim at race speed in workouts at least once per week, unlike the TI book advising to train mainly slow and cute.

Originally posted by mattson

...
pg 30: "As you begin to approach the upper limits of how quickly you can move your arms, you can usually speed them up even more only by decreasing your stroke length... Increase one and decrease the other by the same amount and your product - velocity - doesn't budge."
pg 33: "First, you have to learn how to position your body so it moves as far as it possibly can with each stroke (SL); then you have to get fit enough to take those strokes at a high rate (SR)... They always make their most dramatic improvements when they give up a bit of their SR in order to gain a lot of SL."

Reducing your SR is *NOT* the same as TI. Laughlin states this quite clearly on pg. 107: "It's possible to get too carried away with this business of eliminating strokes when you're down to such a triumphantly tiny number of strokes that you're taking forever to get to the other end."
...

The problem I have with TI is that it emphasizes an elusive increase in stroke length:
"Tell me which part of the swimming-speed equation you'd rather work on...", is asked in page 33.
In page 33, it also states:
"SR is training-oriented. You have to work hard to build up your muscles and energy system..", which I agree with, but is missing from the book.

Another book I have, deals with technique, five types of training, cross training, nutrition, taper and race tips.
That's better, more complete.

Originally posted by mattson

...
You talked about the hundreds of people in this thread; I doubt that there are even twenty people posting in this thread,
...

No, I talked about how training is reported in this thread to apply to hundreds of swimmers.
I have in mind age-group kids, coached by age-group coaches as reported in this thread.

I communicated well this.

Originally posted by mattson

...
and the views have been varied. You have failed to address pg 31. Studies from the 1984 US Olympic Swimming Trials and the 1988 Olympics: "Over and over, what they found was that long event or short, the fastest swimmers took the fewest strokes."
...

That's not the case of Anthony Ervin.
That's not the case of the people in the thread 'TI advice: length vs rate', like Bill White.
That's not my case when I swam faster than in 2002.

Originally posted by mattson

...
In fact, the world's top researchers estimate that champion swimmers owe about 70 percent of their great performance to perfect stroke mechanics and only around 30 percent to their fitness..."
...

It's an unfounded claim.
"You have to work hard to build up your muscles..." as mentioned in page 33 of the TI book, requires more than 30% for maintenance and development, since it is volatile if one doesn't train it.
van den Hoogenband in my post above emphasizes this in 2001 World Championships, and many others emphasize it too.
It is also my experience.

Originally posted by mattson

...
You also state that TI discredits kicking with a board, pulling with paddles, and dryland training.

For kicking with a board, yeah he doesn't like them. But are boards *necessary* to get a good (or better) kicking workout? On pg 197, he suggests using fins instead of boards for the kicking sets. (Myself, I like boards, because they stretch out my lats.)

On pg 199, Laughlin seems fine with paddles: "... you can get a fine (aerobic workout) wearing buoys and paddles." "...Add paddles to your hands and a tube around your ankles to the buoy between your legs. That will both increase the resistance and add some muscle to your pull." (versus using a pull buoy alone)

He also seems to support dryland training. The only caveat was on pg 220. "(In the early stages of a swimming-strength-training program that you may be starting, use) your own body for resistance - bodyweight exercises."
pg 222
"Eventually, of course, your muscles will need more than bodyweight to continue growing stronger... begin mixing in... free weights or machines in equal amounts."
...

Kicking with a board is wide spread, over fins.
Popov is doing it, I saw Jenny Thompson doing it every day I saw her workouts when I was with Stanford Masters, Bennett is reportedly doing it, Thorpe, Hackett are doing it, and so on.

I put a tube around my ankles when pulling, that's no breaking ground information regarding pulling with ankles tied.

On the dryland training, TI says in page 201:
"Swim Benches", "My advice is, save your money.".

Another book on swimming, by a faster swimmer than TI's author Laughlin, claims:
"A. Swim 200 yards freestyle at 85 percent to 95 percent effort.
B. Count the strokes on the last lap (e.g., 15).
C. Divide total workout time by the number of laps you swam (2:20 x 8 = about 17 seconds).
D. You should set the machine (i.e. the Swim Bench) for a comparable load. In this example, you would set the load so that you could do approximately 15 strokes in 17 seconds.".

I choose to value the contradictory opinion on Swim Bench, and on many other dry land exercises like Bench Press and Rowing, by the more accomplished swimmer than Terry Laughlin is, over the TI's opinion.

Originally posted by mattson

...
But from the tone of some of your messages, it sounds like you have a vendetta against Laughlin. If you reread Emmett's messages, his concern is that people take a single idea from TI (such as reducing SR during inital practices), misapply it, and think that the entire TI program is garbage. From the misinterpretations and misinformation that you have posted, it would seem that you fall into this category.
I don't think "...the entire TI program is garbage...", but I wrote that I think it is a marketing ploy, with pompous claims like "The Revolutionary Way...".

I wrote this clearly.

MPohlmann
September 25th, 2002, 12:13 PM
n?#?]Originally posted by cinc310 [/i]
I was wondering is Misty Hyman turns allowed in masters swimming. [/QUOTE]

I assume you mean is Misty's kicking dolphin on her side off the turn permitted in Masters swimming?

Yes, her turns and dolphin kick on the side are permitted in butterfly, as long as the shoulders are at or past the vertical toward the breast. From the beginning of the first arm pull the body must be on the breast. Same rule applies in USA Swimming and Masters.

Mary

Rain Man
September 25th, 2002, 04:22 PM
Wayne: I like the humorous signature. We'll have to agree to disagree on some things.

I don't think that Anthony Ervin is a bad example at all. After reviewing turn 3 (the close-up turn on ESPN) in the 100 at NCAAs, he had a tight streamline and was up and swimming at the 5 yard mark. And a VERY fast turn. I think more age group swimmers would benefit from being told to get up and swim instead of kicking in a tight streamline for 8 yards. Most high school and younger swimmers do not have the leg strength necessary to kick faster than they can swim. I will not disagree with your view of the start.

Mattson... I can appreciate your viewpoints. Discussion and disagreements are the only thing that keeps us looking to improve our coaching methods and learn more and more. If we all agreed we'd be stuck with what we have forever. I'm not so sure TI was as radical when it came out as you say, but it was clearly a change. More in philosphy and teaching method and glitzy marketing than anything but I digress :D

I agree with Phil here in that I would like to see highly qualified individuals addressing some of the questions and concerns we have with TI. Maybe by a non-biased person?

I'm going to add something to the SL/SR discussion as well. A while back I think it was Emmett who gave this analogy, try to swim down the pool taking as many strokes as possible, like 100 strokes. You will get a slower and slower 25y time as you do that. I remember I responded that the particular example was to the level of absurdity. For all the SL proponents, try to swim down the pool with 2 strokes. It will take you all day. Absurd as well, but no more than the other example.

What it boils down to, is a good coach will find the point at which the individual swimmer has best maximized the potential of the combination of their SR and SL. Clearly Ervin is fastest for himself taking 16 strokes in a length at quite a rapid turnover. Klete Keller on the other hand will take 12-13 SPL. That works best for him. Everyone can't be lumped into the same mold. Watching Brooke Bennett and Diana Munz swim next to each other at the 2000 games, they were so radically different in their strokes but for all intents are swimmers of equal caliber. (In fact the winner, Bennett, had higher SR, lower SL, and greater SPL!)

I feel like a broken record now, but my main issues are don't treat one teaching ideology as gospel, using it only, and grouping all the swimmers into it. Every swimmer is different. What works for one won't necessarily work for the other. Good coaches will draw on all the resources available to them to offer each swimmer the best training techniques and methods for them personally.

-RM
Certified Level... uhhh... just plain certifiable!
:D

Phil Arcuni
September 25th, 2002, 04:34 PM
Hey guys, remember that there is a big difference between the statements "swimmers with larger DPS swim faster" and "swimmers swim faster when they swim with larger DPS" The first is verifiably true, with exceptions, and the latter is less verified, and more important to prove in a learn to swim program.

If you are not sure what I mean, here is an example: a 6'6" swimmer will probably have a larger DPS than a 5'6" swimmer, and will probably be a faster swimmer, TI or no TI. But will the second swimmer become faster than before if he/she increases the DPS? Not so clear, *but*, I can say that for most of the swimmers on my team it is definitely true - they have clear stroke flaws that if improved will make them faster swimmers and incidently increase their DPS.

That makes it pretty clear that DPS is a *consequence* of better swimming style, not a goal in itself. Instead, DPS is an indicator of how well someone is swimming, and for most people the better the DPS the better the swimming.

But don't be proud of your 8 strokes a length, if that only happens when you are swimming easy - the trick is to train your muscles to maintain that stroke per length while you are sprinting, and that requires fast swims in practice, not long slow distance. No way is a better swimming style an excuse for not having to work as hard, and I have heard no one claim so, except to attribute similar statement to others.

The choice in not between stroke form and hard work. Attention to swimming form is *additional* work. People who think the trick is cranking out the yards on tough intervals are being lazy.

Mr. Obvious

mattson
September 25th, 2002, 07:04 PM
Hey Phil, your sound a little like Cecil Colwin: "Should a swimmer use long, slow strokes or short, fast strokes? Actually, skilled swimmers tend to use long, fast strokes." - Swimming in the 21st Century

I'm not sure who started the discussion about Olympic lopsided swims, but in the same Colwin book, he points out that (at the time) there were no swimming studies involving arm dominance. He also points out the difference between rolling slightly more towards the stronger arm to get constant propulsion (which he supports), versus a lopsided gait (which is less efficient than a balanced stroke).

Howdy Rain Man! I'm sorry that I have allowed myself to argue so strongly for something that, while very interesting, is not the end all and be all of swimming. Like I said, I just don't like to see something slammed for the *wrong* reasons. First off, keep in mind the two questions that led to TI:
1) What are elite swimmers doing that regular swimmers aren't?
2) Which of those differences could be taught to the less skilled swimmer?

So it is a little dangerous to compare Olympic medal swimmers as an example, because they have already approached the limit of their SL. (Fractional differences could be from starting time, height, etc., rather than stroke technique.) You can contrast them to less skilled swimmers. I also think that some people are taking the "a little bit is good, so a lot must be better" approach to SL, underwater glide time, etc. When I looked through the book again, any extremes were only so (new) swimmers can notice the difference in the feeling (compared to previous habits). This is also true for SR. The method is to reduce SR so you can concentrate on good SL, then to crank the SR back up. Seems like some people are stopping at step 1. :D

When I think to what prevailing theory was back in the late '80s, there is a whopping huge difference now. :) I don't know how much TI caused this, but it did seem to be one of the standard bearers.

You mentioned Ervin (and later, his underwater glide). I was looking at the study of the 100 free 2000 Olympic Trials from USA swimming web site, and his SL and stroke frequency were no different from anyone else's in the finals. Why does his name keep popping up in this thread? At the Olympics, his stroke frequency for the 50 was 1.0/second (about the same as Hall). A study by Ron Johnson (1982) found "For a good college male sprinter a typical tempo is around .95 seconds (per cycle)..." So by 1982 standards, Ervin is not turning over enough! :)

If you are interested in the time for underwater glide, try to find to find the University of Buffalo study for breastrokers. Good reading! (For contrast, at the next swim practice, look around to see how many people are popping to the surface, after a turn, while they are still above swimming speed.)

Elsewhere, you asked about FQS. The idea is not to pause the front arm during the recovery of the other arm! (Catch-up and almost-catch-up are drills, not race strokes.) The idea is that during the most propulsive phase of the pull, the other arm should be in front to reduce the extra drag. There is still a slight overlap in the two arms pulling, and since the arm recovers faster that the other arm pulling, your arms spend more time in the "front quadrant" than the "rear quadrant". Also, despite what was misquoted elsewhere, the front arm is not (just) pausing, but "catching" the water before the pull. On pg 62 of TI:
"Jerk your hand back immediately after plunging it in and you've started an exercise in futility as it slips water from one end of the stroke to the other. Bald tires on an icy road. Instead, slip your hand in, anchor it to get ready for the pull, and keep your grip as you move your arm down and back using robust body-roll muscles, not weak shoulder muscles." In the "perfect swims" analysis of the Olympic 50 Free, this was brought up about both Hall's and Ervin's stroke.

Looking on the web, I found a summary of Toussaint's thesis on "Mechanics and Energetics of Swimming". He compared 6 competitive swimmers compared to 5 triathletes, both groups "at equal rates (900 W) of energy expenditure. The groups did not differ in mechanical efficiency, stroke frequency, and work per stroke. There was a difference in distance per stroke (1.28 m vs 0.99 m), and mean swimming velocity (1.11 m/s vs 0.90 m/s)." The swimmers were spending less energy moving water backwards, which meant more energy was available to overcome drag.

Also found the race analysis system for The 9th FINA World Swimming Championships FUKUOKA 2001. I took the men's 100 Free, and made two groups: the eight finalists versus the 16 semi-finalists. As a group, the eight finalists had longer stroke length AND shorter stroke frequency than the semifinalists. Next, I divided them into three groups: six in A (under 49 sec), seven in B (between 49.0 - 49.5), and ten in C (between 49.5 - 50.0). Group B had the lowest stroke frequency, C the highest, so SR is muddled. However, for stroke length A had the longest, while C had the shortest, so SL has a strong correlation with speed.

I'll end with quotes from Colwin's book, which I have recommended before:
"Researchers report no consistent pattern with regard to stroke frequency during a swimming race... Researchers agree, however, that stroke length rather than stroke frequency is the determining factor in a swimmer's average speed... Male swimmers attain greater speed than female swimmers because they swim with a greater stroke length. However, the two sexes have very similar stroke frequencies."

"Based on a season of observation of the four racing strokes in the 200 yard events, the study showed, except for backstroke, a marked correlation between average speed and stroke length. The study found no significant correlations between average speed and stroke frequency. ...the study needs to be replicated. The early indication, however, was that swimmers should concentrate on increasing their stroke length while maintaining a constant stroke frequency."

Ion Beza
September 25th, 2002, 07:40 PM
This portion of the quote, focuses on the discussion about 'pause' in TI, between Mark and myself:

Originally posted by mattson

...
Elsewhere, you asked about FQS. The idea is not to pause the front arm during the recovery of the other arm! (Catch-up and almost-catch-up are drills, not race strokes.) The idea is that during the most propulsive phase of the pull, the other arm should be in front to reduce the extra drag. There is still a slight overlap in the two arms pulling, and since the arm recovers faster that the other arm pulling, your arms spend more time in the "front quadrant" than the "rear quadrant". Also, despite what was misquoted elsewhere, the front arm is not (just) pausing, but "catching" the water before the pull. On pg 62 of TI:
"Jerk your hand back immediately after plunging it in and you've started an exercise in futility as it slips water from one end of the stroke to the other. Bald tires on an icy road. Instead, slip your hand in, anchor it to get ready for the pull, and keep your grip as you move your arm down and back using robust body-roll muscles, not weak shoulder muscles." In the "perfect swims" analysis of the Olympic 50 Free, this was brought up about both Hall's and Ervin's stroke.
...

I am familiar with all this terminology, and the 'Perfect Swims' serie of articles in www.usswim.org,, describing in one istance Hall and Ervin in the 50 meter finals at the 2000 Olympics.

However, the portion of the post I quote from you Mark, is just that: terminology.
It speaks about something, without addressing it, then it claims in conclusion that it did solve it.

There is no mistake in the TI book, in page 48, about what 'pause' is:
"Leave your hand extended before starting to pull back."

This "Leave your hand...", that's the 'pause', an idle state of one arm decreasing the overall rate of swimming.

Is the length increasing so that it compensates for the rate decrease?
Not in my experience: I got slower.
As for this being practice, as opposed to racing, it is how one practices that one races, including practicing the 'pause'.

I could address other points by Mark in his post, but I clarify this for now.

Phil Arcuni
September 25th, 2002, 07:50 PM
Mattson, your post makes me very happy! I love the detail.

That Colwin quote is perfect!

Anyway, it seems to me that the relevant number should be SL divided by something like arm span or height. That way you can normalize for size, and determine if there is any correlation between swimming style and speed at the upper levels. I suspect that if you compared the height of the finals heat with the semifinals heat, you would find that on average the guys in the finals were taller.

mattson
September 25th, 2002, 08:04 PM
Originally posted by Phil Arcuni
Anyway, it seems to me that the relevant number should be SL divided by something like arm span or height. That way you can normalize for size, and determine if there is any correlation between swimming style and speed at the upper levels.

The USA Swimming page mentioned the same thing, measuring the difference between arm up and arm down, to give a reference number.

Again, I think it is better to look at the big picture. I have the height and stroke rate to match the Olympic swimmers. Triathletes have the fitness and stroke rate to match Olympic swimmers. Why are we getting crushed by elite swimmers? Technique, which translates to stroke length. The elite guys can take their hand out of the water AHEAD of where they put it in. I'm happy if my hand isn't too far behind where I put it in (because my hand slips as I press back).

Paul Smith
September 25th, 2002, 08:50 PM
One point about SL, DPS, etc. I find that having a basic working understanding of the principles involved allows me to moniter my storke in training and catch myslef "cheating".

Basically if I know what my SR is for a given distance (10-11 for 200s, 11-12 for 100s, 14-15 for 50s) when training hard/fast, if it increases than I'm "slipping" and need to refocus on technique.

Rather than swim "mindlessly" and not pay attention to these types of things the ideals of TI would help any level swimmer improve. For myself I've found that attempting to achieve perfect technique in hard training allows me to turn it (my mind) off in races and just go. Usually (hopefully!) I find that I maintian the same SR as in workout.

My biggest concern about TI was that far two may people were reading the book and going out swimming slowly thinking they'd get faster in meets. The truth is that HARD technique work is very challenging!

mattson
September 25th, 2002, 09:11 PM
Ion, I used the rolling eyes, because I thought it would be overkill to use my next choice. I'll use it now. :mad:

(If you want the last word, I promise not to respond further. I think we would agree that this side-thread is dying out.)


Originally posted by Ion Beza
There is no mistake in the TI book, in page 48, about what 'pause' is:
"Leave your hand extended before starting to pull back."

Yeah, but there is a problem when you take it out of context. Reread that section. He is talking to Rear-Quadrant swimmers, who do not know how it feels to be a FQS. He is describing a drill. He mentions "pause" as part of a mantra to think of, only if the person starts pulling back before having a grip on the water.

That is why I included the quote, later in the lessons, about anchoring your hands. Presumably, the swimmer is now comfortable with FQS, and is informed what to do while the arm is extended.

"Catching" the water is sculling with the hand to build a vortex of water around the hand. The sensation is pressure on the palm of the hand. It is a common enough expression on these boards, it did not occur to me that you did not understand the reference.

You keep bringing up Ervin. His stroke length in the 100 Free is consistent with the field. In the 50, his stroke frequency is slower than the average college swimmer back in 1982. I don't see how he supports your argument. (His stoke length is much longer that the "average" swimmer, but he has a comparable SR.)

You mention a single swim that you had. Way to give something different a fair chance. And as I mentioned, if you are pausing as long as I suspect, then you are not doing it right.

I have found other studies, besides Laughlin and Colwin, that support SL being more important than SR for getting faster, in general. If that doesn't work for you, or some people, fine. It is nice to know that your technique doesn't need any more improvement. But that doesn't discount the fact that it is true for most people. (Most people, as it shows up in the studies.)


Originally posted by Ion Beza
The sections discrediting cross training benefits of kicking with a board, pulling with paddles, dry land training -for example on an inclined bench-, are naive.

Let's take these in order:
So lot's of people use boards. So what! (Didn't your mother ever ask you if everyone was going to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you?) The question was not whether kicking with boards is better than not kicking at all. Laughlin mentioned a disadvantage to using boards, and suggested kicking without. You have yet to mention a reason why the use of a board is better than the alternative. (Laughlin likes fist gloves, I don't. So what! He is not forcing me to use them. I'm not forcing him not to.)

You said that L. discredits using paddles. I gave you a quote showing that he supports using paddles. Why did you go off on a tangent about tubes, when we were talking about paddles?

You said that L. discredits dryland training, including the incline bench. I gave you a quote showing that he supports dryland training, free weights, and presumably the incline (bench) press. You then fail to admit your error, and go off about swim benches.

Why do you keep using someone's swimming speed as a measure of the quality of their ideas? Does that mean that anyone less than the world record holder should be discounted as a quack? The best swimmers don't necessarily make the best coaches, and vice versa. The only question is how well the method maximizes your potential. I'm sure you have read enough quotes about people in their middle years swimming faster than they did in high school, after trying TI. (That didn't work for you or people you know, fine. Just don't discount that it does work for a lot of people.)

You talked about someone's race-speed workout being necessary 1+ times a week. (Sorry, I don't have the quote handy.) That's somewhere around 15-20% of the weekly swimming, right? I look back to the TI section on workouts, and lo and behold, he suggests between 0-30% of the workout should be sprint/race speed. There is nothing in TI that contradicts swimming with fast speed (as long as you are not letting your stroke go to hell).

In closing, the problem I have had with your arguments is that when I go back to the source material, the "problems" are not there. If you want to argue that some/many people are misinterpreting TI, or not following all of the steps (like increasing the SR after working on SL, like Laughlin *explicitly* states), I'm all in agreement. If you want to point out which key steps they are missing, great. But make sure you have the right reasons!

cinc3100
September 26th, 2002, 12:58 AM
The books are aim at trying to make the general public faster. Most swimmers are not 6"3" and above for men and 5'10" and above for women. I image that most age groupers and master swimmers are near average height. Many people that write on this forum are tall. I'm one of those near average height and have a better understanding of what normal size swimmers go up against tall ones.

Ion Beza
September 26th, 2002, 03:22 AM
Let's see Mark, your last post.

1. "He is describing a drill.".

No, he is not describing a drill.
The page 48 reads at the top "Done right, FQS is...", and goes on with the "Enter, e-x-t-e-n-d, pause, and pull.", as this being the quintessence of the FQS to do it right.

It is how one practices that one races.

2. "Catching the water is sculling with the hand to build a vortex
of water around the hand.".

and

"...it did not occur to me that you did not understand the reference.".

Catching the water well extended and with the least pause, does increase the rate.

and

Pseudo science, style "...the arm should be in front to reduce extra drag." by you -alike to the statement that I am making up now of 'This function reduces friction by minimizing the extra wake' which I can coin in order to 'explain' a practice-, is a pedant 'explanation', and needs to be de-bunked by common sense and physics.

3. "You keep bringing up Ervin. His stroke length in the 100 free is consistent with the field. In the 50 his stroke frequency is slower than...".

Lets look at this link:
http://www.usswim.org/media_services/template.pl?opt=news&pubid=2288

It compares Hall (US) and Ervin (US), winners of the 50 free in the 2000 Olympics.

Under "Break it Down: By the Numbers" there are two charts with their race statistics, correct?

Hall has a breakout of 2.03 seconds, while Ervin has a breakout of 2.39 seconds.
This means that Ervin stayed underwater after the dive an extra 0.36 seconds compared to Hall, and more than that compared to "...several others in the race." as claimed in the article.
This means that Ervin had to swim freestyle less distance out of the 50 meter (i.e. 50 - 7.75), than Hall (50 - 7.5) and "...several others...".
How is he swimming the smaller distance?
In 39 strokes like Hall, so with a higher arm turnover rate than Hall, in order to squeeze the same 39 strokes into a smaller space.
In 2.17 Distance per Cycle, a smaller length than 2.18 by Hall.

Conclusion: Ervin's stroke was more rushed than Hall's, to tie him.

However, the stats are close for both of them, since Mike Bottom is coaching the two with similar workouts.

4. "It is nice to know that your technique doesn't need any more improvement.".

This is your claim, not mine.
Good luck with your claim.

My claim is that TI doesn't know what I need.

5. "You have yet to mention a reason why kicking with a board is better than the alternative."

and

"I gave ou a quote showing that he supports..." "...presumably the inclined (bench) press...".

I did, remember?

Originally posted by Ion Beza

This claim is from the Total Immersion book and can go back to the book, to stay in there:
there is training of calf, hamstring and quadriceps muscles by kicking with a board, an imperfect simulation since swimming uses kicking in a slightily different position, but a cross training nonetheless;
of course kicking without a board and with your "...head in line with your spine and looking down...", simulates kicking for swimming better, but it can be practiced less;
my own kick is leg muscles developed with a board;
coaches who see me swimming long distance, praise my strong kicking all the way;
for the reason of strenghtening leg muscles, US Swimming programs are doing lots of kicking with a board;
in the 'Coaching' section of this Forum, there is a thread about positives from kicking with a board.

and

again, I re-post TI page 201, "Swim Benches" "My advice is, save your money.".

Just a selective memory for you Mark?

6. Achievements as a former swimmer or as a current coach are a yardstick to determine the quality of 'what works'.

7. Race-pace recommended in the thread 'TI advice: length vs rate' to be at least one workout per week, gives you only the flavor.

For a stronger flavor of this, I already wrote that Jochums, coach of the 2002 US Team at the Pan Pacific Games, states more drastically than I do the meaning of drills.
"In workout, we fix technique at race speed, not in drills. I don't believe in drills.".
This is mostly all race pace.

8) You superficially jump on stating that I make unsupported claims, without enough studying and recalling the posts.


I reiterate my opinion:
technique goes beyond TI's belief of stroke length, and stroke length itself goes beyond TI's belief of how stroke length is obtained;
it seems to me that stroke length is not a goal for fast swimming, rather is a consequence of fast swimming, with the cause of fast swimming yet to be determined.

breastroker
September 26th, 2002, 12:16 PM
Every single time Ion (fast ION) posts a reply, I, along with 99% of others have to roll our eyes and bite our lips. Why? Because of the numerous quotes that are taken out of place and are meaningless.

For instance the quote on Ervins' breakout, Here is the actual quote "and he carried less starting velocity into the swim portion of the race. Anthony broke the surface in 2.39 seconds, behind Gary and several others in the race."
What part of BEHIND do you not understand ION? I say again, Anthony Ervin and Gary Hall are BAD examples to follow for most of their races.

Let’s first discuss the start:
“Both Ervin and Hall used a track start, with their heads down and forward on the blocks and the right leg forward (only one other finalist used a track start).” The track start WILL be displaced eventually; it produces lower velocity and is as much as .5 seconds slower when measured to the 15 meters mark. What the USA Swimming site left out conveniently was the start and the 15-meter splits of the entire field. Because of their track starts and poor technique they were behind the field.

“At 25 meters, Popov had taken a slight lead over Hall and van den Hoogenband, while Ervin hit the mark in sixth place, still trying to make up ground from the start.”

If Hall and Ervin had used a two-footed grab start, done three small dolphins after the entry; they just might have been first to the 15-meter mark, rather than so far behind.
“There is no other race in swimming where the start and the finish are as important as the swimming portion itself. A race can be won or lost in these crucial phases of the 50.” They got this right, but all swim races can be won or lost with the start and finish.

“This is race is a remarkable example of how finishing technique can reverse the results of 45 meters of swimming.” “As their hands came forward, Gary seems to have a slight advantage, but his head comes up slightly, just inches before his hand touches the wall. This action pulls his hand back slightly, while Anthony keeps his ear glued to his shoulder, taking the most direct line to the wall. Both touch with their fingertips even with their bodyline.”

Gary Hall threw away Gold medals in 1996 with his poor finishes. He did not learn much in the 4 years; he could have won the Gold outright if he had finished properly.

This is to illustrate how ION takes information and miss uses it. Knowledge is power, and unfortunately this forum gives Ion a forum for his lack of knowledge. Some people out there may just believe Ion has some good points. That is too bad because Masters swimming has some great coaches who would love to help “Fast Ion” get better. I know the coaches in San Diego, and they could help greatly. But there has to be a distinction, one has to be the coach, one has to be the swimmer being coached. When the swimmer KNOWS more than the coach DOES they will never get better.

There I said what many are thinking. Sorry Ion, you are probably a nice guy. But you don't listen you only come back with more quotes, time after time. Here is a wild suggestion, take a TI class and listen, see if you get better. There are world class coaches nearby who are certified TI instructors. All they will ask of you is to listen and try. What do you have to loose?

Coach Wayne McCauley
Always learning and listening
:rolleyes:

valhallan
September 26th, 2002, 01:04 PM
As far as T.I. methodology goes, I think it's truly a great tool for giving new swimmers proper balance and positioning.

I've enjoyed giving pointers to folks who are in need of a little direction. The feedback is always positive. The obvious "rear quadrant" swimmers are no longer fighting the water, they're gliiiiiding. And that's pretty much the bottom line of the T.I. movement. Getting people to swim with less drag and more efficiency.

Racing T.I. is still another story. As many people have mentioned in this forum,... if you want to swim fast, you have to practice fast. Anyone who pushes themselves outside of their physical boundaries will see results.

I think it's always going to be the great debate however, whether or not T.I. technique is the key to some of the quickest times. It's hard to deny that people without a competitive background can make leaps and bounds in their swimming ability by working with this method.

mattson
September 26th, 2002, 01:53 PM
Originally posted by Rain Man
I'm not so sure TI was as radical when it came out as you say, but it was clearly a change. More in philosphy and teaching method and glitzy marketing than anything but I digress :D

I agree with Phil here in that I would like to see highly qualified individuals addressing some of the questions and concerns we have with TI. Maybe by a non-biased person?


Hi Rain Man! It occurs to me that, after arguing about the cosmetics of TI, we might not be thinking about the same thing. (The old example of blind people examining different parts of an elephant.) In your first post, you mentioned that the *core* (my emphasis) ideas of TI are already being used in age group. Could you list them? Maybe a Top 3? After you are done, I'll give my long-winded Top 3. :) We both talk about the "ideas", but I have a feeling that our lists are different. That will also shift our conversation from TI, to the basic ideas that TI should be emphasizing (regardless of our perception of how it is actually being implemented).

Ion Beza
September 26th, 2002, 02:53 PM
Originally posted by breastroker

...
For instance the quote on Ervins' breakout, Here is the actual quote "and he carried less starting velocity into the swim portion of the race. Anthony broke the surface in 2.39 seconds, behind Gary and several others in the race."
What part of BEHIND do you not understand ION? I say again, Anthony Ervin and Gary Hall are BAD examples to follow for most of their races.
...
Coach Wayne McCauley
Always learning and listening
:rolleyes:
Wayne,
let me re-explain this, very simply for you.

Ervin stayed 2.39 seconds underwater after the start, longer than others like Hall who stayed 2.03 seconds underwater.

The underwater choice by Ervin put him behind "...Gary and several others in the race.", who were already swimming free when Ervin broke the water surface.

The final time for both Hall and Ervin, 21.98 seconds minus the time spent underwater, 2.39 for Ervin and 2.03 for Hall, is the time they spent on swimming.

So, Ervin swam for 19.59 seconds and Hall swam for 19.96 seconds.

During these 19.59 seconds, Ervin had a Cycle Count of 19.5, or 39 strokes, with a length of 2.17 meters Distance per Cycle.

During his 19.96 seconds of swim, longer time than Ervin's, Hall had a Cycle Count of 19.5, or 39 strokes like Ervin, and a length of 2.18 meters per Cycle.

These numbers come from the statistics of the article.

So, Ervin did outrush Hall during the swim part, after Ervin's initial handicap of start with more underwater:
rate for Ervin is 39 strokes / 19.59 seconds = 1.990 strokes per second;
rate for Hall is 39 strokes / 19.96 = 1.953.
The rate by Ervin, (1.990) is greater than the rate by Hall, (1.953), "...in spite of an extremely fast cycle for someone 6 feet, 6 inches tall." as Hall fast turnover and height are descibed.

During this swim part of 19.96 seconds for Hall and 19.59 seconds by Ervin, the distance per stroke for Hall is 2.18 meters per Cycle, and for Ervin is 2.17 meters per Cycle.

So, when Ervin had a higher arm turnover than Hall, he also had a smaller length per stroke than Hall.
It did allow Ervin to catch up with Hall at the end of the 50, since after breakout Ervin was "...behind Gary and several others in the race.".

Those are the swimmers of a 21.98 seconds for 50 meter free, a rare up to now instance of sub 22 seconds.
So they are very fast, considering what humans know so far.

Got it?

kaelonj
September 26th, 2002, 03:35 PM
Excuse my confusion and ignorance, but looking at what Ion posted wouldn't Ervin's distance per stroke (DPS) be greater than Hall's not less. Ervin was behind Hall both in time and in distance if I have read this right, yet both took the same number of strokes so Ervin covered more pool in the same number of strokes so his DPS should be greater not equal or less than Halls. Also the DPS arguement is fine if they were only pulling, but since they are also kicking could it possibly be that maybe one is more efficient upper body and the other is more efficient lower body ? (get your abacus out and count kicks....). Going back to a post a while back I mentioned Lance Armstrongs pedal cadence when hill climbing which is much greater than other riders - this method works for hims, Miguel Indurain was also another feared climber in the tour and he used a lower pedal cadence - that worked for him, everyone is different so you need to find out what is going to work for you BUT as this whole topic started I think TI teaches some very important core fundamentals that will help develop someone into a stronger/faster/smarter swimmer.

breastroker
September 26th, 2002, 05:15 PM
Again I have to roll my eyes and bite my lip. You just don't know what you are talking about, Ion.

All the quotes in the world do not make a swimmer faster. Technique does.

Coach Wayne mcCauley

Rain Man
September 26th, 2002, 05:27 PM
Quote:

"Also found the race analysis system for The 9th FINA World Swimming Championships FUKUOKA 2001. I took the men's 100 Free, and made two groups: the eight finalists versus the 16 semi-finalists. As a group, the eight finalists had longer stroke length AND shorter stroke frequency than the semifinalists. Next, I divided them into three groups: six in A (under 49 sec), seven in B (between 49.0 - 49.5), and ten in C (between 49.5 - 50.0). Group B had the lowest stroke frequency, C the highest, so SR is muddled. However, for stroke length A had the longest, while C had the shortest, so SL has a strong correlation with speed."

Mattson- Impressive research, however I believe this logic to be flawed. Are they faster because of their greater SL, or is their SL greater because they are faster. Now that may not make enough sense but what I mean is OF COURSE THE FASTEST SWIMMERS HAVE A BETTER SL!!! They are the faster swimmers! Now what I would argue is take two swimmers of equal talent (i.e. Bennett/Munz) and compare them. It shows that differing styles can be equally fast.

Breaststroke pullout research at UB was a great piece. Too many people sacrifice speed for distance in their pullouts. Again, the main issue there is to find the point at which you are the fastest. It takes coaches with stopwatches and a lot of practice. I guarantee that unless you do the research for an individual swimmer to find what is best, their pullouts will be hurting them in a breaststroke race.

Wayne- We might actually agree on something :D If I read your post correctly, you seem to prefer the grab start over the track start. As do I. We may like the grab start for differing reasons, but I don't see how a start that puts you in the water sooner and at a flatter angle with a 1-foot pushoff from the block is a faster start. JMHO.

Finally... Mattson... my core technique ideas that are taught by TI that are merely a glitzy re-packaging of what has been taught all along... 1) Streamlined body position is faster. 2) Good technique is the most important aspect of swimming fast.

The Stanford series put out back in the late 80's/early 90's had many of the same drills that are on the TI videos. TI has renamed them and chosen to re-word the focus of many of the drills. Example: "balance". If I hear the word "balance" one more time from the TI camp.... geez, the only way to do the drills in the Stanford series was to BE BALANCED ALREADY! TI went the step further to mention the importance of balance because it caters towards novice (or non) swimmers looking to learn some fundamentals to enable them to become effective lap swimmers.

I'm not interested in effective lap swimming. You want a workout in the water? Don't learn TI, you'll probably burn 1/2 the calories in a 45 minute workout after learning TI than you did when you were a "thrasher".

I've never said TI is wrong, I've simply disagreed with the TI camp's approach and attitude. I've even said I think it is a great learn-to-swim video package, an excellent drillset for age-group swimmers. I want to hear about coaching swimmers to swim FAST. Some elements of TI are necessary, in fact many are. But a coach can't stop there. TI should be incorporated as part of the larger program. Each swimmer is different. There will be swimmers who swim faster outside the paradigm of TI than they will being strictly coached "TI".

I'm finished on this thread unless a response compels me to respond. Anyway, it's becoming too difficult to navigate through half the posts that should really be their own discussion. Or just not in a discussion at all. :rolleyes:

-RM

Matt S
September 26th, 2002, 07:01 PM
Rainman,

I've stayed out of this discussion because I am a well-know TI shill, er... advocate, and most people could probably predict what I would say. However, you just said that you would like to hear about someone using TI to "coach swimmers to swim FAST." Please go to the totalimmersion.net web site (if you can do so without suffering an allergic reaction :D ). Click on Articles, and click on the newsletters, Issue 6. This is the "College Issue." In it you will find Terry's description of how he worked with the SPRINTERS at West Point; his article starts at page 10, and includes sample workouts for early, mid and late season. On page 16 there is a letter from Joe Novak, one of his West Point swimmers, that discusses how 2 years of training with Terry helped him take his 100 yard free time from 49 to 44.1 (and 43.1 from a relay start). Issue 8 is the high school issue, and you will see articles from a high school girls' coach (who also provides early, mid and late season workouts) who has some of his swimmers doing the 100 in times ranging from 53-low to 54-low.

Now, I will grant you this is not the U.S. Olympic team, nor is it even a top flight Div-I program gearing up for a run at an NCAA Championship. But, how fast does FAST have to be before you admit it is more than marketing? Those times would certainly be FAST by USMS standards. You also might want to check out the web site for Emmett Hines' H2Ouston Swims masters club, which does right well with TI methods, or read his book that talks about his approach to planning work-outs for a season. TI may not work for everyone, but those of us who has made real improvements in our swimming with TI are mildly surprised by people who tell us we are all the victims of a glitzy marketing campaign. ;)

Matt

mattson
September 26th, 2002, 07:03 PM
Hey Rain Man, before you go, I *think* that I have an explanation, now that I know that we were looking in (slightly) different directions. If you can stomach going through to the end of my post :), I think you'll be happy.

You mentioned Stanford tapes, which I haven't seen. But it is not surprising that TI is like that. Laughlin freely credits Boomer, Quick, and others with the ideas that led to TI. His contribution was to find a way to teach it to the "common" person. (I won't argue about how successful he was.) So while it was "repackaging", most people had not heard it, and would not have heard of the ideas unless he came up with TI. (Oops, sorry about the argument. :D )



OF COURSE THE FASTEST SWIMMERS HAVE A BETTER SL!!!

Eh... maybe not so obvious. In the 1920s, crawlstrokers were taught to spin their arms as fast as possible. They would have argued that the fastest swimmers had the fastest turnover. (I would argue that there are people who still feel this way.)



... re-packaging of what has been taught all along... 1) Streamlined body position is faster.


Again, yes and no. I remember being taught to streamline off of turns. But the importance of streamlining *during* the stroke, while mentioned, was never emphasized.



2) Good technique is the most important aspect of swimming fast.

*THAT* is the 20000 dollar question! :D What makes good technique? I will give you my perception of what has changed. Others may have had different experiences, but I *think* mine was fairly common.

During my age group years (80s), we were taught that pushing water back was how you moved through the water. (Obvious, right? Like a jet rocket.) The consequences of this theory are: you can go faster by pushing more water back per stroke, and by increasing your stroke rate. Another prediction is that Olympians are so much faster than mere mortals, because they are stroking faster and pushing more water back.

Well, research showed that stroke rate was uncorrelated with speed. (It is highly correlated with stroke length.) Research also showed that elite swimmers were pushing back *less* water than ordinary swimmers. (For an example, on the web is a summary of Toussaint's thesis on "Mechanics and Energetics of Swimming".)

So you see the problem, right? You had a group of swimmers who could be *much* faster than others, with less fitness, slower stroke rate, and less water pushed back. So that was revolutionary idea number one: if you have an average swimmers, they will make much, much better speed gains if you give them Olympic technique, compared to Olympic-level fitness.

The next great idea is, we understand what Olympic swimmers are doing different. I would suggest looking at Colwin's "Swimming in the 21st Century" for a great explanation. (It is even in TI, if you keep your eyes open.) The short version is to scull with your hands to "anchor" them in the water. You then pull your body past your hands, instead of pushing water back. (It may not feel like this from your perspective, but it can be seen from the deck by a coach.) More of your energy goes into moving you forward, less goes into water going back. The emphasis on streamlining also creeps in at this point.

The last great idea is that ordinary people could learn to swim like this. I think this last point is why Laughlin sounds like a marketeer. People will complain, "I can't swim like Ervin/Biondi/whoever!". Laughlin is trying to convince these people that, while they may never swim as fast as an Olympian, you can find great speed gains by swimming more like them.

I think that is about it. Rain Man, I hope this helps clear up the situation. :) It also explains why you can't compare Olympians when arguing about TI. They are already swimming in this different style (not "pushing water"), so the huge speed gain is no longer there. They are at the point where style is on the same footing as fitness, strength, genetics (height), etc.

Ion Beza
September 26th, 2002, 07:11 PM
Originally posted by kaelonj
Excuse my confusion and ignorance, but looking at what Ion posted wouldn't Ervin's distance per stroke (DPS) be greater than Hall's not less. Ervin was behind Hall both in time and in distance if I have read this right, yet both took the same number of strokes so Ervin covered more pool in the same number of strokes so his DPS should be greater not equal or less than Halls.
...

Jeff, it's simple:

The statistics in the article show a breakout of 2.03 seconds and 7.5 meters for Hall, and a breakout of 2.39 seconds and 7.75 meters for Ervin.
Ervin did travel underwater longer and slower, making him at his breakout to have to swim less distance out of the 50.

So the distance swam by Hall is 50 meters minus 7.5 meters, which is 42.5 meters.
The distance swam by Ervin is 50 minus 7.75, which is 42.25 meters.

Thus Ervin swam a shorter distance than Hall.

The statistics in the article show the column 'DPC', Distance per Cycle.
For Hall, it lists 2.18 meters per cycle. That's 42.5 meters / 19.5 cycles.
For Ervin, it lists 2.17 meters per cycle. That's 42.25 / 19.5 cycles, which is in reality 2.16 meters per cycle.

So Ervin, with a faster rate (1.990 strokes per second) and smaller distance per stroke (2.16 / 2), did catch Hall (1.953 and (2.18 / 2)).
(2 in (2.16 / 2) and (2.18 / 2) stands from converting cycle of 2 strokes into strokes).

Wayne, when you luck on being right once, give me a ring.
So far you are locked into the cliche that I post quotes and data out of context, but never did back it up with tangibles.
Get over sentiments -if you can-, into these facts above.

cinc3100
September 26th, 2002, 07:20 PM
I agree with Rainman that in breastroke sometimes the underwater pullout and not coming up sooner to stroke is overdone sometimes. I ran out of breath if I stay under too long, but maybe age is a factor. As for swimming speed both groups are probably right that it has to do with techique and conditioning. Look at Diana Munz on the short size for a woman swimmer on the elite level but one of the best middle and distance freestylers in the country. So probably conditioning and techique help her in spite of her height. And as far as times are concern, conditoning is probably a big factor. For example, William Yorzk a 2:19 in the 200 meter butterfly in 1956 and Mark Spitz a 2:00, 200 meter butterfly and current world record around 1:54. There was a much bigger drop from the earlier period than from Spitz to the present. Conditioning probably played a big role in the big time drop from the earlier period while techinque of people like Michael Phelps plays a role in the current drop from the times 30 years ago.

Ion Beza
September 26th, 2002, 09:44 PM
The following statement puzzles me again, after I called it earlier when in a similar version, pseudo-science terminology.

Originally posted by mattson

...
The short version is to scull with your hands to "anchor" them in the water. You then pull your body past your hands, instead of pushing water back.
...

The reason is that one pulls the body in the water by pushing the hand backward, while the hand is in the water.
Thus, pulling is by pushing water back.
I see any competitor's hand pushing water when the hand travels from being in front, past the hips, then out of the water.

"...to "anchor' them in the water..." doesn't exist without a solid grip.

A ship anchors when catching the ground underneath the water.
It doesn't anchor much by having the anchor floating underwater:
the water doesn't give the anchor a hard grip.

Similarly, a swimmer cannot anchor much -and later on pull the body over that anchor- without catching something solid.
The water doesn't give the swimmer a hard enough, stable grip.

I bet this can bring me replies that are poetic 'explanations', pseudo-science, therefore 'technique'.

strong440
September 26th, 2002, 11:28 PM
hey ya'll, try this for size, noting that there is no contradiction to Doc Counsilman's alliteration of ALWAYS ACCENT ACCELERATION. From the moment the hand is made to change direction from its full extension (beginning the recovery) it is in a balistic mode and remains so until until it is time to begin its "pull". Most of us would consider that this brief recovery time is a moment when the swimmer is able to relax the entire arm. The hand, as part of the arm, continues in its relaxed state, to sink to the chosen depth when the swimmer decides to go into the power phase for that limb. Most of us could think of the hand's sinking time as gliding. What other gliding time could there be?

If that doesn't happen, the swimmer is missing the only opportunity for any kind of recovery while swimming. That is to say, if it is not balistic it is being held back under unnecessary control, as if the two arms were in opposition like bicycle pedals.

Enuf.

breastroker
September 27th, 2002, 01:01 AM
Thank you Rain Man and Mattson and others for bringing sanity into this discussion. I would really like to get into a discussion on both starts and breaststroke underwater strokes. Much more interesting. Swimming is not about statistics and never will be. It is about applying our human needs for betterment into swimming faster. That takes time, effort, will power and intelligence from both the swimmers and the coaches.

There is so much talk about SR and SL, but what most people don't realize is the pendulum is swinging back to coaches of elite swimmers asking for more stroke rate at the same stroke length!!! You might ask why?

Lets go back to basics without statistics.

How does one go faster in the water?
1) Get stronger
2) Become more flexible so strength can be applied longer
3) Better technique so power can be applied more efficiently
4) Become more streamlined so resistance is less.
5) Become more fit so power can be applied longer

These are the basics that have improved over the last 30 years since Mark Spitz swam.

How does this apply to Masters swimmers?
1) Most Masters need more strength, especially core body strength. When strength is tested on Olympic male swimmers, the winners are usually NOT the strongest in the field. Women have learned from the men and are now MUCH stronger, especially core body.

2) Flexibility is lost as we age, starting at about age 10! So we can make up some flexibility but to really gain Masters must spend hours per day. Yoga and Pilates are now very popular; swimmers see a direct correlation into faster swimming. Among Olympic swimmers, the winners are almost ALWAYS the most flexible. Mark Spitz and Matt Biondi were off the chart. Janet Evans broke the chart when it comes to chest flexibility, the ability to expand the chest and lungs greater than any other measured athlete in any sport.

3) Technique is the only area that real gains have been made, mostly with ideas like core body use, head alignment, balance, better under standing of using streamlining.

4) Streamlining is much better both off the starts and turns, but also during the actual strokes. That is why even the fastest freestylers have a PAUSE in front where they are shaping and using their body in a LONGBOAT fashion to gain speed during that small pause. There has been much bantering about the PAUSE, but there it is in Popov, Hall, and Ervin etc. So could TI be right?
Strong 440 just posted an old Doc quote which is EXACTLY the same, just said differently "From the moment the hand is made to change direction from its full extension (beginning the recovery) it is in a balistic mode and remains so until until it is time to begin its "pull"

5) Become more fit? Yes, what we now learn in physiology schools is light years different than ten years ago. Yet the great swimmers of 20 years ago were probably just as fit, just as strong and just as flexible as the greats of today. Masters swimmers can only go so far, we breakdown from twice a day workouts. We can’t do 18,000 yards a day, along with weight workouts. But our knowledge of Masters aging and fitness is far greater than even 10 years ago.

So the bottom line for both Masters and Olympic caliber swimmers still comes down to just one category, technique. Cecil Corwin, Doc, Quick, Kinney and others have gradually revised techniques but there really is nothing new, other than how technique is taught. Most Masters will find that using the progressive methods of TI, with a good coach, will get them the better technique they desire. But the swimmer and the coach must both understand why the drills are taught and what the end results should be in races. I have seen Olympic swimmers doing TI type drills in warm—up before important races. So I could not argue totally against them.

Now I use fuzzy logic at my work, but I am not capable of debating how it works. So I can’t see why a slow swimmer who is not a great coach can spend so much time debating and spouting about technique theories, especially when attacking coaches with many years experience like Terry Laughlin. I am surprised some fancy attorney hasn't discussed with you about the real world.

Remember everyone has an OPINION, but you do not have a right to take quotes out of context from people who are great coaches and who do know how to make other improve. Until you have taken a TI class from an approved instructor, you have absolutely no right to make CLAIMS against TI. Reading a book any one can do. Becoming a certified instructor in a particular technique method requires much more effort and understanding.

You always have the last word. I guess where you work they allow you to be on the Internet all day long, judging by the number and length of your posts. You have killed dozens of discussion threads, and lead many people to not post here. More people have said, “Ion, I used the rolling eyes, because I thought it would be overkill to use my next choice” than you can imagine. Many times I read your posts and just get out of the discussion forum, because I really would like to attack your posts, but it really is just not worth the effort. It is frustrating to many to have a discussion similar to talking to the wall. Most of us who do attempt to set the record straight do so that new swimmers will not get bad and misinformed ideas from this forum. There is usually a good amount of information exchanged from others.

Do you put things out just to be posting or to upset everyone?
"I bet this can bring me replies that are poetic 'explanations', pseudo-science, therefore 'technique'."Fast Ion

Should there not be truth in posting, drop the "Fast", it implies you are actually fast. Or perhaps it is "Fast on quotes and not swimming ION"? Actually most people are taught that "Argumentum Ad Hominem" is wrong. But is it a justified in this case? Perhaps

cinc3100
September 27th, 2002, 01:18 AM
Now, Breastroker, I know that Ion goes on and on with a subject but just because he is an average master swimmer doesn't mean that you need to insult him for being slow. I'm slow now these days too,probably because I took a good 25 years off from working out with swimming. And I will admit that when I was younger I wasn't that good of swimmer. Just an A and B age group swimmer. Ion started swimming at 25 years old which means that he did not have the youthful training to fall back on. You probably started by at least 12 years old. You know that is that age where the aerobic training mainly develops. Some boys can start in high school but few who start past 18 years old are going to be in the top ten in masters unless its an age group with few swimmers. I admit that maybe, Ion doesn't want to listen to some criticsim that may be helpful. But please don't tell him to drop fast Ion because he isn't in the top 25 times in his age group. By the way, his age group like yours has more people that swim in it compared to others.

Ion Beza
September 27th, 2002, 02:17 AM
Originally posted by cinc310
Now, Breastroker, I know that Ion goes on and on with a subject but just because he is an average master swimmer doesn't mean that you need to insult him for being slow.
...
You probably started by at least 12 years old. You know that is that age where the aerobic training mainly develops. Some boys can start in high school but few who start past 18 years old are going to be in the top ten in masters unless its an age group with few swimmers.
...

I agree.

'Fast' to me means as a late starter in the sport.
Since I started, I got some personal bests and insight about them.

What would be a time by a late starter -age 25- that is fast?

I think -even when swimming off my best- it would be:
59.74 in 100 yards free, in 2002 at age 43;
rank 27, out of 44 swimmers ages 40-44 listed this year, in the 800 meter free Long Course.

I see this keeps escaping Wayne, who nonetheless is posting.

It doesn't escape some other Master Swimmers.

Phil Arcuni
September 27th, 2002, 02:56 AM
Some interesting posts here. Its too bad this software doesn't allow subthreads, because there are several: What is wrong/right about TI, What is that pause stuff, anyway?, Why I hate Ion, Why you should practice fast sets, etc.

About that pause thing, breastroker may see it in the swimmers he mentions, others don't. The reason is that 'pause' is a little vague. Some interpret it as laying the hand in front and letting it sit for a while. That does *not* happen in the best swimmers. Others interpret it as a period when the arm is in in the water and no great force is applied. That does happen. These swimmers are *actively* reaching forward, lifting the elbow, positioning the hand, in preparation for the pull. No great force is applied, but neither is there a literal pause, and neither is it ballistic - it is controlled at all times (ballistic - set in motion in the beginning, with no control over subsequent motion).

I think if you are teaching swimming to beginners, these phrases, glide, pause, anchor, rotate from the hip, etc. are useful visualizations, but they are not happening physically. Basically, you move forward by pushing water backward, you can do it better by pushing it faster, pushing more water, or pushing it in a better direction. You can also reduce drag by a better body position. That's it. All swimming instruction, including TI, try to improve these four aspects of swimming. Some emphasize some points more than others, but they are all important.

But I can see why Ion gets irritated with all the metaphors and language. No way do you go faster by pausing. Instead, you position your body to reduce drag (while getting ready for the next pull), this reduces your deceleration caused by drag and allows other things (the orther arm, kicking) to move you forward more effectively.

That Ervin/Hall article was pretty interesting. Yes, Ervin had a bad start, and yes, he swam the rest of it faster than anyone else, with a faster turn over and a shorter distance per stroke. But what really impressed me was how *terrible* Popov's finish was.

MetroSwim
September 27th, 2002, 03:23 AM
First things first - I am a certified TI instructor. I also have been sitting on the sidelines while others who have found success in adopting and teaching the TI methods are banging their heads against the wall.

Ion, your arguments against TI are undermined by your not having a thorough understanding of many of the core concepts which guide it. By dissecting each page without understanding the reasons behind each drill and the importance of the core concepts, you're missing the forest for the trees.

Here's a shocker for ya - the TI books do not delve too deeply into the highly technical analysis of stroke technique that you want to comment on. They are instruction manuals meant to help the majority of swimmers find greater efficiency with much less effort. The "marketing behavior in it, as in superficial sales pitches" (as you put it) is for reinforcement of the core concepts you should be focusing on.

As others have stated, Olympic-calibre athletes are already employing many of these concepts, whether they realize it or not. TI is just making it more understandable and teachable.

Stop nitpicking over the fine points of the TI concepts - based on your own description of your meet performance and stroke count, you are not there yet. Don't expect overnight fix - it took years to develop your current technique (I know, I know, as a "late starter in the sport"); to expect a month of TI-training (especially without having a TI knowledgable coach to guide you) to provide immediate improvements on your fastest times is not realistic.

Way back in June, you said "Tackling whole programs like Total Immersion would be overkill for me". Yet you attempted to do just that and expected to have mastered the technique by LC Nats in August.

You have to first understand how the best swimmers swim efficiently, then you have to work to achieve the most efficient form that works FOR YOU. Your body type and range of motion will ultimately decide what that will be.

I began with TI this past January.

In the first three months of training with TI drills, my own stroke count dropped significantly (14 SPL to 9, most days) along with my kick (a strong six beat kick became a gentle two-beat kick) with no overall loss of speed.

Nine months later, I am still fine-tuning my stroke. TI drills and coaching feedback have helped me pinpoint which aspects of my stroke need improvement. Gone are kickboards, pull-buoys and, to the relief of my poor shoulders, paddles.

I had to initially work through two solid months of drilling just to overcome my old muscle memory, doing TI drills and VERY LITTLE swimming with my masters team. I drilled and swam with the most efficient technique I could maintain as I worked out my stroke. When my stroke count got higher or I just couldn't get things right, I went back to some easy, basic TI drills and left the pool on a high note (and headed straight fo the Jacuzzi!).

One of the biggest issues I ran into was fighting my old habits. Muscle memory was my biggest opponent.

TI relates that new muscle memory is "burned in" after approximately 20,000 CORRECT repetitions of a movement. The TI drills have aided me in determining whether or not things were working right. Every once ina while, I'll have someone videotape me in the water and I'll analyze my own stroke. THis is very revealing. Have you done this?

Here's another thing which I have a feeling you'll find shocking - I don't care about my times in the pool this year. I'm working on RADICAL changes to my technique. Expecting overnight improvements from such a drastic change is unrealistic. I have been honing my technique and now I'll work on the fitness which best takes advantage of that.

When, after two months, I rejoined my masters team for a set of way too many 25 yd sprints, I found that my old kick was now a detriment. My hips were now riding so high that a vigorous six-beat kick had my feet actually leaving the water and splashing a lot of water around. By toning it down (quiet swimming) and keeping my kick withing the core cylander of my body, I was able to better control my timing and really focus on my streamlining. I still have my speed and now I can do more sprints with less effort.

Some other thoughts:

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa PAUSE. Sort of.

We use the perceived 'pause' in the stroke to get free speed. The point of the pause, for me, is my best streamlines body position, from the tips of my fingers to the ends of my toes (I am blessed with one anatomical advantage in swimming: Great ankle flexibility). At this point, I do nothing but stretch (making my self longer in the water maintains my speed) and glide. I maintain the momentum by minimizing the drag.

TI is not so much about how much power you are generating by each stroke as it is about how much you are NOT SLOWING DOWN by holding onto your most streamlined position for as long as possible, [until the moment JUST BEFORE you begin to slow down. By that point you are initiating the switch into the next stroke.

Ion, try out FistGloves to find out just how streamlined you can be. You'll realize that a pause at your most streamlined position can keep you moving forward with little effort. Try it for some sprints, varying your stroke rate.

It's a Zen thing: To swim faster, you must slow down your strokes. TI is about balance: finding your body's balance in the water and finding the SL and SR that work best for you. FOR YOU, not for anyone else.

Am I faster for having embraced TI? Maybe, But I'm certainly not slower. I'm a pretty decent open water swimmer - last year I was in top shape and put in a vigorous swim at Ironman USA. I now realize that I worked a lot harder than I had to.

This year, due to a hectic work and travel schedule and klutzy injuries, my training time in the pool (and on land) was probably at the lowest level since 1995. Yet this year I have consistently been a top finisher in my swims with results as good as last year, but with much less effort.

That pretty much put the last nail in the coffin of the technique vs. fitness argument for me.

And I enjoy it so much more now.

Finally, the TI kickboard argument is simple. Using a kickboard brings your head and chest up and your hips down. That is swimming "uphill". kicking with no board in a TI drill builds lower-leg fitness without reinforcing bad body position. Technique is more important than fitness, but fitness is still very important.

Wow, that was way longer than i expected. Sorry folks.

I suppose some bits of my little post here will be pulled out and commented on by the king of posters, but it doesn't matter. I know what works for ME, and I feel lucky that TI has allowed me to share that with others and help them as well.

- No Brain, No Gain.

Ion Beza
September 27th, 2002, 04:22 AM
I agree with your last post Phil.

Rich, I read your last post, but I need to study it more.

First impressions are:

a) I remember your posts as being antagonist with my posts in the thread about how to improve the USMS image;
I remember two of your posts particularly;
I am surprised to see now a spirit of co-operation.

b) regarding TI you just write that you don't know if you are faster, you write "Maybe";
in the thread 'TI advice: stroke length vs rate', people write about getting slower, so that's a discredit of TI right there;
myself I have no confidence in it;
in this thread, I am surprised that silently you paid attention to my reactions -like "...TI would be overkill for me..." in June- and taking a position only now after observing a lot;
that's patient intelligence.

c) things that TI condones are no fun, in order to achieve at best a "Maybe" like you wrote;
dismantling one's stroke, means initially losing the power to perform, for perhaps a final "Maybe" only;
I am a proponent of "The key is constant attention to the quality of technique but without making excessive changes such that swimmers lose their feel for the water." said by Touretski, coach of Popov, and quoted in Swimnews magazine of May 1998.

kaelonj
September 27th, 2002, 12:31 PM
Ion,

When I had posted that I was confused from your earlier post about Ervin and Hall distance per cycle it was because you had both Ervin and Hall at 2.18 meters per cycle at the beginning of your posting and 2.18 for Hall and 2.17 for Ervin towards the end - I have noticed that after my comment you went back and edited that post to read that Ervin was at 2.17 (instead of 2.18)at the beginning, so you're welcome.

Once again in regards to Joachums quote of drills, is taken out of context - Wouldn't doing race simulation and modifying your race be a drill ? I think that when working with these top swimmers the standard drills to find balance, body position etc. are not needed because they have all ready acquired these skills/traits by them (natural talent or hard work). I remember reading about when Torres started thinking about swimming again there was a total restructuring of her stroke - including the use of drills (I believe the quote was 'we don't swim like that anymore').

Final thought I think I have come to the root of your displeasure of TI "things that TI condones are no fun" (like swimming faster with less effort, swimming injury free or at least with less chance of injury). I think you are looking for a sure thing, the only two I can give you are death and taxes - everything else in life is a gamble, looking at your past what have you got to lose by trying to incorporate some of the TI philosophy.

NCSwimmer
September 27th, 2002, 01:28 PM
I have no desire to enter into this whole "TI or not to TI" mess but I do have a few other comments and opinions.



Originally posted by breastroker

So I can’t see why a slow swimmer who is not a great coach can spend so much time debating and spouting about technique theories, especially when attacking coaches with many years experience like Terry Laughlin. I am surprised some fancy attorney hasn't discussed with you about the real world.


Would a fast swimmer who is a not a great coach but OK?
How about a slow swimmer who is a great coach? Now that I think about it, what's the posters speed got to do with any of this? I'm probably faster than you at every stroke and every distance but in no way does that mean I know more about swimming or am a better coach. I just don't see the relevance. While I'm sure some "fancy attorney" might take this on, I'll bet there are more than a few who would argue his case to freely speak his mind.




Remember everyone has an OPINION, but you do not have a right to take quotes out of context from people who are great coaches and who do know how to make other improve. Until you have taken a TI class from an approved instructor, you have absolutely no right to make CLAIMS against TI. Reading a book any one can do. Becoming a certified instructor in a particular technique method requires much more effort and understanding.


Yep, everyone does have an opinion and that's all Ion and others are putting forth. People have exactly the rights you say they don't have. I'll bet if you think about it without getting emotional you'll agree. People get quoted all the time in and out of context. Watch any political attack add and then listen to the responses. You'll almost always here about how something was taken out of context.

Saying that someonce can't make CLAIMS against TI until they've taken an approved class is, in my opinion, ludicrous. When TI books, tapes, web-sites were created and made open to the public they opened TI up for debate and criticism. That's sort of the price you pay when you put your ideas out in the spotlight. If TI is a good thing, and I think it probably is, then it will survive the criticism. Better for TI to stand up and prove someone wrong than to just tell them to be quiet because they don't have the right to complain.

These are just my opinions. Bring on the "fancy attorneys".

I'm still curious about your reference to front quadrant butterfly in an earlier post. Where can I read more about it?

mattson
September 27th, 2002, 01:28 PM
In Colwin's "Swimming Dynamics", he brings up the point that the same drill can have different purpose for different people:

"At the beginning level, stroke drills should teach the fundamentals of technique... A little later, the beginner will be shown shaping drills that teach the more refined aspects of stroke technique such as hand, elbow, and wrist postures, head-turning mechanics, and so on.
"The entire process outlined above can be categorized as 'teaching technique'... However, at the level of the mature competitor, drills should focus on improving the swimmer's stoke output... In other words, the emphasis is on stroke production."

(much later) "Remember, it is possible to become an expert at doing drills without improving your normal stroke." (He is not against drills! The preceeding paragraph had a quote from John Carew, coach of Kieren Perkins, who stressed the importance of drills, especially during taper.) "...Therefore, it is important that every drill should be done with a purpose in mind."

breastroker
September 27th, 2002, 06:33 PM
What is really frustrating as a coach is when a swimmer thinks they know more than you do, and disrupts the whole workout. Some swimmers read too much, and a little knowledge can be dangerous. Ion is obviously very smart, and despite starting swimming late has much potential.

All coaches want the best for their swimmers. I would love to see Ion get better, get faster. The constant arguing takes it's tolls, if Ion was swimming for me I would probably kick him out of practice a couple of times a week. But that would not stop me from wanting to help him, but coaches do have responsibility to the team. That is why I came down on Ion. I see from this discussion so many people who want to learn about things like front quadrant butterfly, the PAUSE in fast freestyle, and even the TI methods of swimming. Ion justs gets us off track sometimes, with dozens of quotes and statistics.

That said I do welcome Ion to contribute to all these forums, he does add to the flavor of discussion. The executives always say to me, don't come to me with a problem, come with a solution. I am always positive in nature. I really believe that if Ion went to a TI camp with someone great like Michael Collins, he would come away a convert. He could improve more than swimmers who swam if their youth.

I see technique improvements in non swimmers all the time, but they are open and listen. All a coach wants is the swimmers to get better, to enjoy the swimming experience.

Lets get going on front quadrant swimming and breaststroke kick discussions.

Coach Wayne McCauley
Come visit me at http://www.breaststroke.info the number one web site for breaststrokers. I am feeling the writing bug again, let me know what interests you, perhaps I can help someone out there with their breaststroke. And if I can't, I have lots of coaches who have contributed and can enlighten you frustrated breaststrokers.

Ion Beza
September 27th, 2002, 07:43 PM
Wayne, how many times do you manage to be wrong since yesterday?
Now, add this one to the list:

Originally posted by breastroker
What is really frustrating as a coach is when a swimmer thinks they know more than you do, and disrupts the whole workout.
...

The reason I ask this, is that in five Masters programs that I joined since I came to US late 1995, I didn't disrupt one.
Regarding coached Masters workouts here in San Diego -where I came two years ago-, when did I disrupt the coach's workout?
I never did, and I train in five Masters coached workouts per week.

People who meet me face to face, see me working out under coaching or by myself, and communicate with me, are not blaming me for anything, but you blame me for disrupting Masters workouts according to your assumption.

It appears to me that in your perceptions, you miss the point that unlike a coached workout that I join when I like it and abide by, this is a discussion forum not a dictator forum, so inputs by everyone into swimming are being communicated, analyzed and discussed on their merits.

Phil Arcuni
September 27th, 2002, 11:27 PM
He Wayne, use that writers bug and post at this site and discuss some of the issues that concern you and other swimmers, instead of flaming on Ion.

[Incidently, the subject you decided to flame on was not the best - Ion's point, summarized by me in my last post, was entirely correct, as you would have known if *you* had listened. I think he was using the subject of Ervin's DPS to imply that DPS was not the be all and end all of swimming fast - a point so trivial you could have ignored it.]

I have posted several comments (on 'pause', roll from the hip, etc.) that I both believe in and also thought were issues to both you and Emmett. I remain disappointed that neither of you have deigned to respond for a legitimate discussion on "Approach to teaching competitive swimming?"

That thread on underwater pullout *you* should really pay attention to, in fact, I will go there now and tell you why.

breastroker
September 27th, 2002, 11:45 PM
Ion, In my humble opinion,
You sure as heck disrupt these forums with misinformation. Sometimes I am amazed at the numbers of quote you come up with, the sheer variety and spread of quotes.

Debating you is futile, unfortunately so is ignoring you. Please make one logical reason why your opinion of the TI teaching method is justified. No quotes, just scientific facts from The Journal of Swimming Research or similiar literature. Your opinion of coaching methods means nothing to me, because you are not a coach, certified or not. You are not exposed to actual coaching classes, nor the latest information such as World Clinics.
Your arguments are of two types, Post Hoc Fallacy and Argumentum Ad Ignorantiam. Neither are valid. The problem I have is that people lend creedance to people who use quotes and statistics, like you may be an authority. You left a whole bunch af statistics to Jeff, and then alluded to "into these facts above". But please tell me what you were trying to prove? And how does your "facts" relate to anyone swimming faster?

The statistics of the 50 free you are quoting don't mean anything. There would be meaning in the distances were equal, say both times to 8.0 meters. That is why the rest of the world lists times to 15 meters, time into and out of a turn at 5 meters, and the time for the last 5 meters. A better comparison would be the Torpedo breakout time and time to 15 meters versus Gary Hall, which I again say is a bad example of how coaches want to improve USA swimming.

I often bring up a swimming series that was on TV perhaps 1991? It was Mark Spitz vs. Matt Biondi and Tom Jager. Spitz actually had a faster time off the block and into the water, but in both races Jager and Biondi did a great single whole dive, and with more velocity and better streamlining came up one body length ahead of Spitz. The race was over. Yet both got waxed by Popov, the Russians came up with a great start and then 2-3 small dolphins underwater before coming up. Our swimmers still used flutter kick for the next 6-8 years. But in 2000 our swimmers caught on and did the dolphins like the rest of the world. That is information directly relating to swimming faster races.


I still challenge you to take a TI course, see if you get faster. You have the speed to do much faster in that 800 meter free. Better technique is where improvement resides. People have commented about seeing your stroke, there is much room for improvement. What do you have to loose? There is nothing better than getting faster at 43-44. If you drop your time by 20 seconds in the 800 I will be happy to call you Fast Ion. That's dropping one second off the start and dive, 0.5 seconds off each turn by streamlining, and only 1.39 seconds per length.

Now the Opinions above are mine alone, like Emmett says just my 2 cents worth. Please do not call your verbage (facts and statistics) anything other than your OPINION. I then would not have such a problem with your discussions.

Coach Wayne McCauley
ASCA Level 5 Masters Coach
USMS All American 4 times
USMS National Champion
17 years in a row USMS Top 10 (It took lots of luck on that one)
I started late in my swimming, and was faster at 49 than 43!

PS
Phil, you know I never understood what Ion was getting at, but I will agree that DPS and SR are not the things we should be loking at as swimmers or coaches. Boy that is simple words with no statistics. Again my opinion.

Ion Beza
September 28th, 2002, 01:32 AM
Originally posted by breastroker

...
But please tell me what you were trying to prove? And how does your "facts" relate to anyone swimming faster?
...

What these statistics prove is that in the instance of 2000 Olympics, 50 free finals, Ervin, after a poor start, did swim faster than Hall by using a higher rate and shorter length.

Contrary to this instance and other instances, TI teaches the lenghtening of the stroke, and slowing of the rate.

Practicing drills like TI, makes racing like TI.

I say, length and rate are depending on individuals, there is not an absolute like TI does claim.

TI makes other absolute claims that are disproven by examples.

Originally posted by breastroker

...
If you drop your time by 20 seconds in the 800 I will be happy to call you Fast Ion.
...

This year I swam in 11:45.
Last year I swam in 11:20.

That's 25 seconds less.
And no TI.
I swear.

25 seconds is more than 20 seconds.
Does this upgrade me to 'Very Fast Ion'?

What about 10:33 in 1991, with no TI, training by myself, albeit in short course meters?

Or in 1995, again no TI, in a 50 meter pool workout in Canada with somebody who last year remembered this:
4 x 400 meters leaving every 5:30?

Is that 'Ultra Fast Ion?'

I am chasing these, now.
They are gone.

I will be away and not able to follow up on this for a few days.

Stay out of trouble...

Ion Beza
September 28th, 2002, 02:50 AM
Originally posted by Phil Arcuni

...
[Incidently, the subject you decided to flame on was not the best - Ion's point, summarized by me in my last post, was entirely correct, as you would have known if *you* had listened. I think he was using the subject of Ervin's DPS to imply that DPS was not the be all and end all of swimming fast - a point so trivial you could have ignored it.]

I have posted several comments (on 'pause', roll from the hip, etc.) that I both believe in and also thought were issues to both you and Emmett.
...

Gee,
Phil, I see that since you had had Lasik surgery, you 'see' things alright now.

Phil Arcuni
September 28th, 2002, 04:26 AM
So much better . . .

I see that you said
What these statistics prove is that in the instance of 2000 Olympics, 50 free finals, Ervin, after a poor start, did swim faster than Hall by using a higher rate and shorter length.

You see, Ion, the real point (in contrast to your point) isn't that Anthony Ervin has a smaller distance per stroke than Popov, and swam faster, it is that Anthony Ervin gets *much* more distance per stroke than *you* do. And it is not because he started swimming earlier than you did, or even because he is taller than you are, but because he has a better stroke. (I know Wayne, not the best.)

These swimmers already have many of the stroke characteristics that TI is trying to teach mediocre swimmers like you and me. We should listen.

Paul Smith
September 28th, 2002, 10:53 AM
Phil, well summarized! You just nailed the bottom line in this whole "debate": make valid comparisons. Ion often uses Popov as his measuring stick and the quote of his about making minor adjustments to his stroke vs a complete dismantling.

The point here is that Popov, Ervin, Hall, etc are the top 1% and all have a natural gift that can't be taught. The basic feel and stroke mechanics they have are what TI is attempting to bring to the masses and which all of us can learn from.

Ion, the real compariosn here should be you and Matt. Your both in the same age group and a year ago about the same speed. Matt has focused on TI and worked extremally hard on correcting his stroke mechanics and look at his results at LC nationals.

On the other hand, you continue to train like an animal and are not seeing the improvement. For those of us in the 40+ age group we have to train smarter, otherwise you will see continuous setbacks from injuries (especially with bad technique).

You want some examples from USMS? Ask Rich Abrahams how he trains sometime, probably less yardage and more focus on technique and speed work than anyone I've ever met. His results are also some of the most impressive, the guy could pass for a 20 year Navy Seal! How about John Smith (who kicked my butt in the 50/100 this spring)? No more than 2500 yds per workout 3-4 days a week, again with a focus on training with rtechnique and speed.

With all the passion you have I to would encourage you to make the investment in a TI seminar. Or better yet go train with Michael Collins (in Irvine) sometime, contrary to my posts about the lack of coaching out there Michael is outstanding and someone I try to train with anytime I'm in SoCal.

cinc3100
September 28th, 2002, 12:13 PM
For one thing Michael Collins coaches in Irvine which is a good 1 hour and half from the San Diego area. So to tell Ion that he sould go to a masters program an hour and a half isn't the best advice. Besides stroke technique maybe there are other factors why Matt doing better than Ion. In swimming, you have good years and bad. I remember when I was a kid a girl that did beat me in the butterfly. We were usually even. The next year I beat her. So, times are not predictable from year to year. And as for yardage I feel better doing a little over the 10,000 to 13,000 range than I did when I was only swimming around 5,000 and less yards about 3 months ago. Granted Ion is putting in a lot more than that. But some master swimmers are able to put in over 20,000 and have really good times Laura Val for example. Everyone is different when it comes to the yardage factor. Also, as someone stated before maybe Ion should try some other events like butterfly, and there he has a chance to better times.

Ion Beza
September 29th, 2002, 10:43 PM
I see Paul how this approach is tempting:

Originally posted by Paul Smith

...
Ion, the real compariosn here should be you and Matt. Your both in the same age group and a year ago about the same speed. Matt has focused on TI and worked extremally hard on correcting his stroke mechanics and look at his results at LC nationals.

On the other hand, you continue to train like an animal and are not seeing the improvement.
...

Adding to this analysis, is that I hold the program I am training with, responsible about bringing me up for a meet.
I trust my preparation in it -conditioning and technique (I paid for extra classes in 2002 on technique while in the program)-, then I try my best in the meet, and afterwards I judge the program.

Last year, it was an alarm to me to do 200 free Long Course in 2:34 with taper and from a dive, after having workouts -without taper and diving- of 3 x 200 leaving every 4:00, swimming one in 2:33, and two 200s in 2:34:
the program didn't bring me up on race day.

What I want, is the program to bring me up around my second best:
2:27.67 swam in the 50 meter pool of Federal Way, Wa., July 30, 1994 whith self coaching.
After this is restored, then I welcome small, careful changes to my best, and no dismantling.

This year it was far worse: 2:39.
The program didn't bring me up again.

Four weeks ago I switched to another program.
I don't know how good this move will be, either.

Originally posted by Paul Smith

...
You want some examples from USMS? Ask Rich Abrahams how he trains sometime, probably less yardage and more focus on technique and speed work than anyone I've ever met. His results are also some of the most impressive, the guy could pass for a 20 year Navy Seal! How about John Smith (who kicked my butt in the 50/100 this spring)? No more than 2500 yds per workout 3-4 days a week, again with a focus on training with rtechnique and speed.
...

I am drawn to training with enlightened competitors and programs, who prepare for the agenda of racing.
This is opposed to training, like eating self servings from a cafeteria:
forever fit, with no agenda for tapering, peaking and recovery.

Regarding the examples of fast USMS competitors, consider also that fast twitch fibers developed in age group programs, can be partially recovered again later in life with light mileage and smart training.
A sub 2:00 in 200 meter free Long Course, developed by a mid-20 starter in swimming, historically doesn't exist.
My 2:27 is good, and I look for the program that can restore it in me like it was, then improve it with small changes.

cinc3100
September 29th, 2002, 11:34 PM
Don't worry Ion, not all of us are doing best times or near best times at 49 years old like Jim Thorton does. Like you endurance is an issue for me too. Just do what you can, you can probably swim freestyle better than most of the lap swimmers for exercise in your age group. As we discuss before, your age group has a lot of men that swam in high school or college or on some little team as a kid in the master's meets. Granted, they may be some late bloomers out there that do real well. But Paul Smith And Philp A and even Matt S that is closer to your times all swam in high school and college. I really don't know if your doing too much yardage with little results for you or not. I know that as a kid the only stroke I was a little natural was breastroke. The butterfly and freestyle and even the terrible backstroke I had was made better than the general non-swimmming population by doing yardage more than 3,000 yards a day usually 5 days a week.

breastroker
September 30th, 2002, 11:48 AM
Cynthia,
I don't think that Ion wants to compare himself to the lap swimmers. He wants to get better and faster. An hour drive is nothing in California. It used to take me an hour to drive 12 miles to workouts with my former team.

Ion, You really should take Pauls advice. Michael Collins is one of the best coaches in the world, period. His team at Nova will be going to USMS Nationals next year in Phoenix. He also helps Nova coach the world class USS swimmers at Nova with Head Coach David Salo. He also explains the PAUSE used in sprint freestyle better than anyone I know.

He is also a Senior TI instructor. With your speed in the 100, there is absolutely no reason you can't get down to 2:22 in the 200 meters. With your repeats you should have easily broke 2:25. I feel you are probably overtraining. When I was your age I changed teams, went to slower lanes but worked more on technique. I confirmed using a heart rate monitor that I had been overtraining. My speed was much greater, and my results in meets was far better.

How long did you taper? Did other swimmers from your program do well or did they not improve at Nationals? I really suggest you do more swim meets, especially the short course meters season. A swim meet is a reward for working out hard and working on technique, as well as a measuring bar for your progress. SPMA has two swim meets coming up, both have the 200 meter free as events, and you might want to try the 1500 meter as well.
Good luck

Coach Wayne McCauley

Matt S
September 30th, 2002, 03:37 PM
Paul, et. al.,

Thank you for your compliments. I feel priviledged to used as an example and mentioned in the same sentence as the truly phenomenal swimmers you have cited. A bit of truth in advertising, though, is necessary. If you check my times from 2001 and 2002 Nationals, you will not find a dramatic difference. Granted, the 200 did go from a disappointing 2:32 to a much better 2:28; however, the 400 (what I feel is my best event) went from 5:18 in 2001 to 5:21 in 2002. I am not disappointed in 5:21 per se, but after all the yoga and refined stroke work, I was hoping for better. But, I think that brings up an important aspect of swimming this thread has overlooked thus far--mental. (As Yogi Berra would put it, swimming is 50% conditioning, 50% stroke mechanics, and 50% mental.) I still have a subjective feeling I am sitting on another big drop, and that this year's Nationals was not my best performance of the season, and a really fast swim at the Chicago Big Shoulders 5K tends to support that theory. We will see; I feel a lot better in this fall's workouts than last year's.

Ion, just a note for your consideration: is oxygen debt holding you back? One aspect of lowering SL is that you get fewer breaths per length. That just about killed me when I tried to hold a low SL in 200 and 500 yard free races this past spring. It is possible to think too much about TI mechanics DURING A RACE. I feel that the key is to focus on mechanics in practice, then let 'er rip in your races. Also, getting back to the mental aspect, is it possible you want to swim fast in meets TOO MUCH? I know that when I want to swim fast, I do well, but when I REALLY WANT TO SWIM FAST, I do so-so. I think a bit of that was at work with me in Cleveland.

Finally, do not get too down on yourself. There are aspects of your stroke that are very good. For those of you who have not seen Ion swim, he has an interesting breathing pattern. Because of ahsma issues, he breaths every 1. (Yup, not every 3 or even every 2; every 1--both sides. I know; I counted for him in his 2001 800 free when he went 11:20.) The only way he can do that without having his hips sink way below the water and swimming like a cement truck, is by having excellent balance, spot on perfect head position, and good body roll. I am experimenting with that skill to see if I can use it when my oxygen debt has me turning blue in these stinkin' 25 yard bathtubs.

Lastly, hey Wayne et. al., how does one get certified as a TI instructor? I used my imperfect understanding of TI this past summer with our Youth League Team, and did OK. I probably ought to get serious about learning how to coach this stuff (or just plain learning how to coach).

Matt

Janis
September 30th, 2002, 04:40 PM
Matt,

Go to the TI website and there is information there, you can also email Terry. I went last year to the Coral Springs clinic. The process takes a while to beome fully certified as a senior member especially if you are going for all three areas. There are points for every time you either take a clinic or teach at a clinic. Now have been involved with TI for a number of years and am very active on their discussion board. I met Rich (who appears here now and then) there last year. We had a good time and learned lots. There were all kinds and from all over the world there including Shane Gould. You can also attend a kids camp for a week to get the training necessary to become and instructor. Talk to Terry.

breastroker
September 30th, 2002, 04:41 PM
Matt,

Many coaches get involved such as you and discovered that it helped them as much as the people they were coaching. TI has a training and certification course, I have not taken it. I would recomend going to MACACOACH.ORG and download what it takes to become an ASCA certified coach. I know the courses are very good and eye opening. You really would want to complete the ASCA courses first because the basics understanding balance and physiology should be mastered before going to TI instructor school.

I have taught breaststroke for a long time, but immediately adopted 75% of TI short axis drills because the teaching methods work better than any others. I have been to clinics that used kick boards under the chest and other methods. They just confused every one. I can teach a good breast and fly in one hour now.

I share Ions pain with asthma, my asthma was real bad up until 1999 when Singulair came out. I don't even carry an inhailer anymore, I used to carry three. Just the thought of breathing like that makes my neck hurt. One thing an asthmatic needs to do at major competitions is swim lengths underwater to open up the smallest air sacs. Without that you are swimming on 90% of the lungs. This works for everyone, not just asthmatics. The year I won my national championship, the first day my asthma was bad, I could not swim even one half length underwater. Had a bad 100 breast. The next morning I was able to swim four seperate lengths underwater. Able to win the 50 easily.
Also asthmatics need to take advantage on a good massage that expands the chest and back.

Wayne

cinc3100
October 1st, 2002, 03:04 AM
I got oxgen debt from those cold water pools. As a kid you had maybe 2 hours to wait for an event and there were no warm-down pool to adjust to the water temperature. Yaks, you hit almost frozen water. As for the hot ones, they effective my breathing a little but nearly as bad as the cold water pools where you could not take a warm down. I guess I'm one of the few that hates pools under 79 degrees out there.

Ion Beza
October 1st, 2002, 01:50 PM
Originally posted by cinc310

...
The butterfly and freestyle and even the terrible backstroke I had was made better than the general non-swimmming population by doing yardage more than 3,000 yards a day usually 5 days a week.
Yes, Cynthia.
When I get a shameful result (like 2:39 for 200 free this past August in Long Course in Cleveland) I think of it this way:
and where would I be if I give up, and become a lap swimmer who swims 'for fun to stay in shape'?
certainly slower, so worse.

Originally posted by breastroker

...
With your speed in the 100, there is absolutely no reason you can't get down to 2:22 in the 200 meters. With your repeats you should have easily broke 2:25. I feel you are probably overtraining.
...

My speed in the 100 free Long Course in 1994 -when I did 2:27 for 200 free Long Course- was 1:06, in 1996 was 1:04 (competition in June 1996 in Santa Clara), and in 2002 was 1:09.

I think 'overtraining' is a key word, opposed to training at race pace:
if one grinds mileage through fatigue, through lifting weights that don't contribute to fast swimming, but contribute to an athletic look on dry land, then one races like the grinding is: slow.

Originally posted by breastroker

...
When I was your age I changed teams, ...
...

I had good coaches prior to 1995, when I came to US:
a coach from France for two years who picked me up at age 28 from public swim into his club of senior (over 18 years old) racers, a coach from Canada who put me for one year into his club of seniors and who later on coached the 2000 Canadian Olympic Team, and a Masters coach for three years in Canada who was an university varsity swimmer.

I need to find the level of coaching that puts me in race shape, here.

Originally posted by breastroker

...
How long did you taper? Did other swimmers from your program do well or did they not improve at Nationals?
...

Three weeks, and my body wouldn't bounce into higher energy, but would get out of shape.

Over the last two years I was the only one training for the combo, Short Course Nationals and Long Course Nationals.
Nobody else prepared for the 2002 Long Course Nationals.
In general, a few would occasionally do a meet then rest for years.

In 2001, another swimmer -training all year long in yards- came to Long Course Nationals, physically broken down from training, skipped 100 and 200 free, and did 50 free and 50 fly.
I trained in yards in fall, winter and spring, and meters in the summer.
The meters training is what I describe as 'cafeteria' training: no agenda for racing, training at race pace, peaking, recovery or tapering, but self servings of swimming in the lane of your chosen pace, with forever aerobic; many swimmers in the program recognize this 'cafeteria' training style.

Originally posted by breastroker

...
I really suggest you do more swim meets, especially the short course meters season.

I see this.

Originally posted by Matt S

...
I still have a subjective feeling I am sitting on another big drop, and that this year's Nationals was not my best performance...
...
Ion, just a note for your consideration: is oxygen debt holding you back?
...
Because of ahsma issues, he breaths every 1. (Yup, not every 3 or even every 2; every 1--...
...

I also think that I have a drop in me, based on workouts.

About oxygen debt, it is possible that it holds me back, and that in the past when I was faster, breathing every three strokes was good.

Right now, with coaches, we have the consensus that breathing when I need it, every one stroke, that's a faster swim than holding the breath to have a pattern of 2 or 3, which make me lame.

Originally posted by Matt S

...
...every 1--both sides. I know; I counted for him in his 2001 800 free when he went 11:20.) The only way he can do that without having his hips sink way below the water and swimming like a cement truck, is by having excellent balance, spot on perfect head position, and good body roll.
...

I wonder if Paul -who claims in another thread that I need major technical improvements-, and Phil -who claims in another thread that I need better balance based on my 100 yards free in Hawaii, and in this thread mentions that Ervin has better balance than me-, considered this
"...by having excellent balance, spot on perfect head position, and good body roll.",

which was observed from close range by Matt.

It's refreshing to me that Matt sees positives.

Rain Man
October 1st, 2002, 03:24 PM
If your French coach was so great, then fly him over here for private lessons.

There is absolutely no reason living in the state of California that you can't find a coach that will suit your needs. The rest of us wish we were so lucky to have the kind of swimming facilities and coaches that are available in California.

And for a quick idea of where your 200 time should be, take your 100 time, double it and add from 8-10 s. 1:09 gives you a 2:26-2:28 range. The 1:04 you once had should have equated into a 2:16-2:18.

Ion Beza
October 1st, 2002, 08:42 PM
Originally posted by Rain Man

...
There is absolutely no reason living in the state of California that you can't find a coach that will suit your needs.
...

That's what I thought too in the year 2000, when I got attractive job offers from elsewhere, but I chose San Diego anyway.

I am training now with another program, and I don't know how well it will prepare me for racing.

In today's aerobic workout with the new program, in a 50 meter pool, there was a 8 x 250 meters free set, leaving every 3:45.
3:45 per 250 meter, that's a pace of 1:30 per 100, kept for 2,000 meters straight.
I made the set, in the first two reps with as much as 15 seconds rest to spare, so with a sometimes pace of sub 1:25.
In Cleveland, August 15, I swam the 800 free in 11:45. That's a pace of 1:28.
Conclusion from this -and other similar examples-:
in Cleveland I was swimming in aerobic shape, not in race shape.

To me it is the coached workout duty to put me in race shape when the meet of the season is coming up and it was communicated with the coach four months ahead, otherwise I don't entrust myself anylonger in the program, and I wasted one year of efforts.

cinc3100
October 2nd, 2002, 12:46 AM
I use to live in California and the facilities are not that great. For one thing most of the swimming pools are aginig high school pools. Orange County has not that many more 50 meter pools than Tucson Arizona. Population comparsion, 3 million people in Orange County versus less 900,000 in Pima county. The pools are more are less available to the general public in California because so many of them are high school and college pools. Here in Arizona where they built more rec pools you can even workout in the middle of the day. As for coaches, I doubt that they are any better than those in California than Arizona.

kaelonj
October 2nd, 2002, 01:34 PM
Cynthia,

How about this - I believe that there are more 50 meter pools in just Orange County than in the entire state of Oregon (which my lead to another topic - how many actually train specifically in a pool of the season, swim in a 50 meter pool during LCM season, do you train consistently or occasionally - my current situation limits access to LCM pools so we primarily and almost exclusively train in only a 25 yard pool regardless of season). My take on Rainman's is that the area has so many swim programs Ion should be able to find one that suits him. Also the comment on Ion driving to Irvine to workout is not that far fetched - what about just doing Saturday workouts with Nova - an hour and a half drive ain't bad (I know lots of people who do that in the LA area everyday just to commute to and from work - yes an hour to an hour and a half each way).

I also think the Yogi Berra comment might shed some light or at least get you thinking, the pressure/anxiety/expectation before a competitive swim may be problem - most of the swimmers I know when they had a great swim was things felt effortless, where they were relaxed - you trying to get up for that big swim or force things may be making you your own worst enemy, just a thought.

Jeff

cinc3100
October 2nd, 2002, 05:07 PM
Jeff, the state of Oregon is a small state. And it doesn't have that many 50 meter pools. Orange County has built few 50 meter pools and even 25 yard pools the past 25 years mainly because of Prop 13 that limited money collected from property texes. Mission Viejo was built in the late 1960's and the Nova center was built in the mid-1970's. The Nova club got the go head for updating their facility because their one of the top teams in the United States. The Orange County Register reported that other cities mainly Santa Ana which has high immirgrant population had to curtail water aerobic classes and learn to swim programs. I doubt there is any longer a 50 meter pool in Santa Ana. Huntington Beach has one community pool at the high school. Golden West college is mainly open to students and the age group team there, I think the master team worksout in another pool. Also, I went to the Garden Grove school district has has 7 pools built during the 1950's to the late 1960's. These pools are not open for master teams or lap swimming. I was just stating that not all people in southern california swim in state of the art 50 meter pools like those back east believe. I find this information by looking up places to swim in California and Arizona. Finally, I'm near two rec pools that offer lap and offer swimming in the middle of the day in Tucson.

kaelonj
October 2nd, 2002, 07:02 PM
Cynthia,

I'm not sure what state of the art pools has to do with this topic, in finding a fit in a coach. The issue was in finding a qualified coach (Rainman to Ion), and not all quality programs train in state of the art pools (the UCLA pool I believe on campus where most of the dual meets were held was pretty archaic) but since it was thrown out there - I found two pools in Orange county that were questionable in public access - but the belief was a registered master swimmer would be able to drop in and swim with the masters swim team. The reason why I used Oregon compared to Orange County is both are roughly the same population (3 million give or take). Lastly in regards to pool construction, the UCI pool was built in 1999, Irvine's Heritage park pool is in for a rebuilding (so I've heard) - most of the new pools being built in Oregon (which is not very many)are not what I would call fast (25 yard pools with most of them having a deep end of 5 feet).

Ion Beza
October 2nd, 2002, 11:46 PM
Regarding my use of big names for quotes and practices, I think that what's coming from a recognizable name, easy to check since it's in the public domain, applies down toward the anonymous Masters in a comparable portion of a context.

After reviewing Rich's post on doing TI, I am focusing on this:

Originally posted by MetroSwim

...
I had to initially work through two solid months of drilling just to overcome my old muscle memory, doing TI drills and VERY LITTLE swimming with my masters team.
...
One of the biggest issues I ran into was fighting my old habits. Muscle memory was my biggest opponent.
...
Here's another thing which I have a feeling you'll find shocking - I don't care about my times in the pool this year. I'm working on RADICAL changes to my technique.
...
Am I faster for having embraced TI? Maybe, But I'm certainly not slower.
...
And I enjoy it so much more now.
...

My decided approach to improving on my current times, is to find a program that restores what times I had, from end of 1986 until June 1996.

Afterwards, improve on the restored times with small, careful changes that don't dismantle the style, and shift problems forever.

If I don't have my times restored under a new program, I am fine with this search.

Originally posted by MetroSwim

...
We use the perceived 'pause' in the stroke to get free speed. The point of the pause, for me, is my best streamlines body position, from the tips of my fingers to the ends of my toes (I am blessed with one anatomical advantage in swimming: Great ankle flexibility). At this point, I do nothing but stretch (making my self longer in the water maintains my speed) and glide. I maintain the momentum by minimizing the drag.

TI is not so much about how much power you are generating by each stroke as it is about how much you are NOT SLOWING DOWN by holding onto your most streamlined position for as long as possible, [until the moment JUST BEFORE you begin to slow down. By that point you are initiating the switch into the next stroke.
...
It's a Zen thing: To swim faster, you must slow down your strokes. TI is about balance: finding your body's balance in the water and finding the SL and SR that work best for you. FOR YOU, not for anyone else.
...

In swimming, (Speed) is (Stroke Length) multiplied by (Stroke Rate).

I think I lost on Stroke Rate by aging, and too much of the 'pause' you describe, slows me down:
in Cleveland, last month, two observers noticed a too big 'pause' in my 800 free;
in Canada, the coach of the 2000 Canadian Olympic Team, when coaching me in 1989 -during my lifetime peak in the 100 free Long Course-, told me to move my arms faster.

It is possible that I lost on Stroke Length too:
I didn't change technique -other than losing breathing every three strokes, in favor to breathing every one stroke since the early 90s, due to asthma-, but I am heavier and need more power to move this weight.
(At 6 feet, I was peaking at 154 pounds, and now I am 166 pounds, with the same body fat as before, but more muscles and not necessarily swimming muscles).

cinc3100
October 4th, 2002, 12:05 PM
Jeff, I agree that other states have it harder. But a lot of oregon is rural. Urban areas are more likely to have more pools. And the UCI built was the first 50 meter plus built there in almost 25 years there. As for Portland I don't know why they don't have a 50 meter pool since in poorer cities like Frenso California have one. As I stated proposition 13 in California limited the mass construcation of swimming pools that took place mainly on high school and college campus during the 1950's and 1960's. The last aau team I was workout on was a 25 yard high school pool and 4 deep in Fountain Valley California. Granted, California has a lot of pools, but the population is over 33 million people-the size of a western european country. And in poorer areas like Santa Ana as in other states with poor populatons, pools and other recreation facilties are less acessable. Arizona has alot of more recent built swimming pools because the big population increase has occurred the past 10 years here. And that is why we are having our national atn Tempe because the place has a 4 pool complex and even has a rec pool that is 75 meters. As for Ion wanting to drive to Irvine that's up to him. But I think there is a differance between someone living in Riverside county going to work in LA driving for work and someone doing it for swimming which is a hobby.

cinc3100
October 4th, 2002, 12:20 PM
Well, I guess that the UCI pool is the state of the art since its new. The Tempe pool is early 1980's but it has all those pools and is deeper. And probably the master teams don't have their meets at those older pools in California ,the ones built in the 1940's to the early 1960's that need some repair work.

Ion Beza
October 4th, 2002, 01:24 PM
Originally posted by cinc310

...
As for Ion wanting to drive to Irvine that's up to him. But I think there is a differance between someone living in Riverside county going to work in LA driving for work and someone doing it for swimming which is a hobby.
Yes.

breastroker
October 4th, 2002, 04:17 PM
Cynthia,
I don't consider swimming a hobby. Coins and stamps are hobbies. Swimming is a passion, a lifestyle.
It appears to me Ion has swimming passion. Ion has paid for extra lessons, and has changed teams to get closer to his goals. To be frank, Michael Collins is the best freestyle coach I know. If I were Ion I would at least make the drive to one of Michaels clinics.
Just my opinion as a swimmer and a coach.

As for old pools, the El Segundo pool was built by the WPA in 1940. The starting blocks are now over the deep end, which is 12 feet becasue we used to have a three meter diving board there. The shallow turn end is four foot deep, enough for good turns. The overflow gutters are still pretty good. The only things that are not state of the art are 7 foot wide lanes instead of 8 foot, and the lane lines themselves. Ours are OK, Olympic spec lines are VERY expensive. From this 62 year old pool our team, the SLUGS, have won several small team titles in National Championships. Most impressive is the depth of talent, look in the rule book, many relay records are still held by El Segundo. We have a great head coach and 6-7 others who are equally good in specialty areas. Good coaches make great swimmers, great facilities are not needed.

They are building new 50 meter pools in California all the time. Santa Monica (SCAQ Masters) has a new state of art 50 meter pool.

Wayne

Ion Beza
October 4th, 2002, 05:18 PM
This is true:

Originally posted by breastroker

...
Ion has paid for extra lessons, and has changed teams to get closer to his goals.
...

Regarding this:

Originally posted by breastroker

...
To be frank, Michael Collins is the best freestyle coach I know. If I were Ion I would at least make the drive to one of Michaels clinics.
...

I refer to my post October 2, for example to this portion:

Originally posted by Ion Beza

...
My decided approach to improving on my current times, is to find a program that restores what times I had, from end of 1986 until June 1996.

Afterwards, improve on the restored times with small, careful changes that don't dismantle the style, and shift problems forever.

If I don't have my times restored under a new program, I am fine with this search.
...

It shows that to go forward, I want to restore what once worked for me, then try baby steps from there.

If Michael Collins were reaspecting this foremost, which is molding technique into an existing swimmer and not molding a swimmer into existing technique, then -work permitting- I would consider the commute.

However, my October 2 post also shows that TI is described below as a dismantling of habits, even the ones that worked and do work today, and replacing this with a fuzzy future, shifting problems:
see "...Maybe..." in it,
see Matt's post 'Truth in advertising' about his 5:18 in 2001 and 5:21 in 2002,
see Bill White's thread 'TI advice: stroke length vs rate',
and see my evaluation of my own rate and length, that I posted October 2.

Originally posted by MetroSwim

...
I had to initially work through two solid months of drilling just to overcome my old muscle memory, doing TI drills and VERY LITTLE swimming with my masters team.
...
One of the biggest issues I ran into was fighting my old habits. Muscle memory was my biggest opponent.
...
Here's another thing which I have a feeling you'll find shocking - I don't care about my times in the pool this year. I'm working on RADICAL changes to my technique.
...
Am I faster for having embraced TI? Maybe, But I'm certainly not slower.
...
And I enjoy it so much more now.
...

This TI description, to me, is like if I were a musician and being asked to play music that I don't want.

Ion Beza
October 4th, 2002, 05:45 PM
Being more succint and blunt:

in my first priority I don't want to buy TI -with its debatable points- or a foreign to me technique, I want to restore as much as possible of whatever worked for me in three programs I successively followed.

kaelonj
October 4th, 2002, 06:02 PM
So as a musician - instead of trying new music which you may learn something or improve your skill upon you would rather go back and just play chopsticks on the piano. I think that sums up your take on this discussion, next !

MetroSwim
October 4th, 2002, 06:48 PM
Ion, you pull stuff out to suit your own purposes and miss the point -

The musician analogy you used - "is like if I were a musician and being asked to play music that I don't want" doesn't apply in the way you expressed it .

It doesn't have to do with the type of music being played, it has to do with correct technique on the instrument. The best musicians have nearly flawless technique and they can choose the type of music they want to play. Whatever their choice in music, they take years to master an instrument, and still practice the basics every day to ensure the integrity of their technique.

Similarly, TI advocates practicing the drills that reinforce proper technique.

I enjoy it so much more these days because it is much easier. Right now, I find that I can go just as fast in workouts as I used to, however my endurance has increased because I am working harder on being streamlined and staying "long" in the water. Part of this is that my lower SR results in a lower heart rate to show for it throughout each set.

In effect, I can go faster for longer than before because of technique and not fitness. In the next couple of months I will build up my fitness and find the best balance of SL & SR for each stroke at verious distances.

But still I don't care if I'm faster or not right now, because I am still in the process of changing some bad habits.

What would be the point of obsessing over times when I'm still a work in progress? Next year I'll see where I stand.

Here's the deal: You can either improve fitness or technique. You go back to your old technique and see how your times improve.

I'm sure you'll tell us all about it no matter what happens.

Ion Beza
October 5th, 2002, 12:39 AM
Originally posted by kaelonj
So as a musician - instead of trying new music which you may learn something or improve your skill upon you would rather go back and just play chopsticks on the piano.
...

"...just play chopsticks on the piano." -like you wrote- gave me lifetime bests for a late starter in swimming that were not considered 'chopsticks' by good coaches and swimmers.
You underestimate these best times and how I swam them, as being 'chopsticks'.
In fact the focus on my times in this thread, started with whether the nickname 'Fast Ion' is deserved, and I say that in the context, it is.

The agenda for improvement that I trust -like in Engineering when something is not working anymore- is to restore whatever worked, these 'chopsticks' to you or personal bests to me, then go from there.
(This includes competing in race shape, which is way beyond the aerobic shape that a coach wrongly sent me in, to Cleveland last month).

TI's agenda, like "...trying new music which you may learn something or improve your skill upon...", I don't trust it to get entangled with:
to me, there are too many contentious points to spend time on.

Originally posted by MetroSwim
Ion, you pull stuff out to suit your own purposes...
...
You go back to your old technique and see how your times improve.
...

Exactly:
I am looking now for the USMS program that with a combination of conditioning and technique in coached workouts, restores my times I swam and trusted in France for two years, afterwards in Canada for four years, and in USMS for three years -1994, 1995 and 1996-.

In the meantime, I don't trust traveling to a TI clinic, but I trust going to coached workouts having a blend of technique and conditioning in them, up to the point of seeing the results in competitions and further judging at that moment.

HeatherLouy
October 9th, 2002, 01:42 PM
I have a copy of Total Immersion that I've been reading here and there for a few months. I implemented the stroke length in to my coaching of free with the age group swimmers and found dramatic improvements in times. The kids all want to argue that more pulls is faster, but I have the numbers to back me up. Now that I'm a master's coach I am starting to have them consider stroke length. THis past Mondya was the first time I had them count their strokes and they just thought it was a drill. I plan to keep working on this in practice and hopefully I'll get the smae numbers to back me up. Myself, I have gone from 35 pulls in a 25 yard pool (so unefficent) to 20. I would love to get down to 15. Not only am I faster, but there is less stresss on my body, particularly my shoulders. I like the book, but as with anything thinkg, not everything works for everybody.

Janis
October 9th, 2002, 04:36 PM
Heather,

Congrads on getting your stroke count down to 20 from 35. To learn what to do as far as your stroke and lessening your stroke count the better place to go for those types of questions would be to the TI discussion board http://www.totalimmersion.net/
You can ask away and many times Terry himself answers the questions posed (otherwise you'll probably get me).

While this is a very informative discussion board and TI is bantied about alot. For those 'how to' type quesitons you get more answers by going to the source.