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View Full Version : What is the ideal body shape/type for a great swimmer?



swiminton
October 12th, 2005, 02:32 PM
Is having broad shoulders and back a good or bad thing?

Should you have extra fat or be extra lean?

I wonder how much effect one's body shape/type have one's speed.

gull
October 12th, 2005, 02:35 PM
You should be shaped like a boat. Or a fish.

ande
October 12th, 2005, 02:38 PM
depends on the type of stroke
in general

racing kayaks which are long and skinny
tend to be faster than
row boats which are short and wide

Freestlyers, backstrokers tend to be lean and powerful

Breastrokers tend to be more muscular

Ande

old dog
October 12th, 2005, 03:00 PM
Originally posted by gull80
You should be shaped like a boat. Or a fish.

A clipper ship rather than a barge.
A barracuda rather than a whale shark.

swiminton
October 12th, 2005, 03:14 PM
Aren't most Olympic swimmers shaped like an inverted triangle, instead of a rectangle?

aquageek
October 12th, 2005, 03:14 PM
Originally posted by gull80
You should be shaped like a boat. Or a fish.

Pigeons - now they can swim.

gull
October 12th, 2005, 03:23 PM
Originally posted by aquageek
Pigeons - now they can swim.

Geek, I would share with you the set of 200s we did this morning, but I'm afraid you would be demoralized and begin having second thoughts about our matchup in the 500.

I must admit, though, I was not swimming on my side.

swimpastor
October 12th, 2005, 03:42 PM
I have a sister named Dori

newmastersswimmer
October 12th, 2005, 03:47 PM
It's best to be a hybrid mutant that is half fish and half human such as myself....the only drawback is that my green scaley fish head isn't exactly a chick magnet!

Newmastersswimmer

gull
October 12th, 2005, 03:55 PM
Seriously, I would have to say...Kaitlin Sandeno.

Jeff Commings
October 12th, 2005, 04:07 PM
People tend to think great swimmers have one shape.

Tom Dolan looks nothing like Michael Phelps, who looks nothing like Matt Biondi, who looks nothing like Mike Barrowman, who looks nothing like Brendan Hansen.

Janet Evans looks nothing like Jenny Thompson, who looks nothing like Kaitlin Sandeno, who looks nothing like ...

You get the idea.

The main thing is to have a feel for the water given your body type.

Of course, lean muscle mass helps.

swiminton
October 12th, 2005, 04:58 PM
How about boyancy? Wouldn't lean muscle mass make it harder for you to float?

The person who taught me how to swim did two float tests on me. One where I was vertical in the pool with both arms my my side head above the water. No other momentum. I sink to the bottom of the pool right away. She said most people would only go under till the water is just over the top of their head.

In the second test, she asked me to curl up into a ball and do nothing else. I float about 8-10 inches below the water, while she said most people would float with part of their body above water.

She said that I am just not real boyant and it's going to be somethng I always have to work harder to compensate for.

She is probably correct, as when I swim free or back, the ONLY way for me to keep my legs from sinking is to keep kicking. The moment I stop kicking, they drop drastically, even though my head is completely flat on the water.

I have been wondering if I should put on more fat to make myself more boyant? Good idea? :)

Can less boyant people become successful in swimming?

Peter Cruise
October 12th, 2005, 05:09 PM
Swiminton- if you desire some more fat for buoyancy, then we can start a 'fat drive' for you- I'll start the ball rolling & donate 10 pounds...before you know it you'll be bobbing like a cork! C'mon everybody, start giving lard 'til it hurts!

James
October 12th, 2005, 05:44 PM
Ok Peter, I'll give him 15. No offence but I'm sure that there is more tonnage out there.

swiminton
October 12th, 2005, 06:06 PM
I was thinking about 5 would be enough but thanks for the generosity! :D

How else can you gain boyancy? Do you drink a gallon of water right before swimming?

TheGoodSmith
October 12th, 2005, 06:37 PM
Optimal body ......

I wouldn't mind having feet the size of Ian Thorpes'....... around a size 17.


John Smith

PeirsolFan
October 12th, 2005, 08:55 PM
Interesting question. Successful swimmers come in all shapes and sizes.

I recall the picture of a very skinny and lean (he had been quite ill) Aaron Peirsol standing next to a giant and very muscular Markus Rogan. Amanda Beard is very lean compared to Haley Cope who tends to be quite muscular.

What makes one more successful than the others is a lot of factors and it's the million dollar question.

cinc3100
October 13th, 2005, 12:17 AM
On ad of one of the top US females remain be of Shirley Babashoff when she was a swimmer back in the 1970's. Shirley was tall but not as tall as some of the women swimmers today, and slim then. How some swimmers have a lot more natural talent than others I don't know.

Allen Stark
October 13th, 2005, 12:47 AM
Most good male collegate swimmers will sink. If you are going relatively fast your body will automatically rise somewhat in the water. Thats partially why a wetsuit will not appreciably speed up a good swimmer.

craiglll@yahoo.com
October 13th, 2005, 11:32 AM
I have always been tall and very skinny. rigfht now, I'm no longer a very good swimmer. I can float in almost any depth of water in any position. This I'm always told is very rare for a man. then I see others float just as well. My long arms used to help also.

Guvnah
October 13th, 2005, 01:22 PM
Originally posted by swiminton


How else can you gain boyancy? Do you drink a gallon of water right before swimming?

About an hour or two before you swim, eat a big plateful of baked beans and sauerkraut. Maybe throw in a bit of chocolate for dessert.

Then "hold it in" when you start getting gassy. Should help increase buoyancy!

scyfreestyler
October 13th, 2005, 01:39 PM
I am not too sure what the ideal body shape is (if that even exists), but the ideal body type is a healthy one. Not overweight, not anorexic, not overly muscular, not frail, etc.

swiminton
October 13th, 2005, 01:46 PM
Originally posted by Guvnah
About an hour or two before you swim, eat a big plateful of baked beans and sauerkraut. Maybe throw in a bit of chocolate for dessert.

Then "hold it in" when you start getting gassy. Should help increase buoyancy!

what if you fail to hold it in?? I am sure others at the pool would appreciate it.

Water from the pool (if I happened to swallow some) always makes me gassy afterwards. Perhaps for the same reason. ;)

Guvnah
October 14th, 2005, 01:51 PM
Originally posted by swiminton
what if you fail to hold it in??

Well then you get that turbo-jet effect...

Of course, if you're in a wetsuit, maybe you still retain the buoyancy.

Jeff Commings
October 14th, 2005, 02:23 PM
I sink like a rock. But I managed to get pretty far in the swimming world.

But yes, I think I have to work harder than most to stay on top of the water. So buoyancy helps, but it's not a requirement.

geochuck
October 15th, 2005, 10:42 PM
I just added this picture to my website, If you want to know what a swimmer looks like check this out it is from the book Swim Waves and Sunburn
http://swimdownhill.com/_wsn/page11.html

gull
October 16th, 2005, 02:22 PM
Perhaps this photo of Geek will be helpful:

scyfreestyler
October 16th, 2005, 03:10 PM
Wow, Geek has quite a physique!