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letsrace
August 26th, 2006, 08:56 PM
In cycling, it is a widely held view that losing weight yields faster times (yes, I read the steroid thread). How about in swimming?

I could imagine a theory where carrying a few extra ice cream sundaes in swimming might make you faster due to the increase in bouyancy. In fact, I had this very theory after my freshman year in college. Hey! Who doesn't like ice cream.

Sam Perry
August 26th, 2006, 09:18 PM
Don't know if it's true, but I'd be a willing participant in a study!

:D

dorothyrde
August 27th, 2006, 09:01 AM
I got faster after losing 40 pounds. But the other part of the equation was I was just learning. So did I get faster because I lost weight, or because I learned better technique. My opinion, a combination of both.

globuggie
August 27th, 2006, 04:27 PM
Here's an article about that:

Is fatter faster? (http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/0346.htm)

proberts
August 27th, 2006, 06:29 PM
This is probably a bad idea...Amanda Beard didn't look to heavy in her photo shoot and I would love to be as fast as her.

valhallan
August 27th, 2006, 08:11 PM
Women tend to have slightly more buoyancy. But this is probably not the reason why she is faster.

...I will be quiet now.

letsrace
August 28th, 2006, 11:28 AM
I read that article some time ago, but I did not feel like it was a definitive study. First, the study was done with a 50 and I would like to have some data on longer swims. Perhaps I am misguided in my thinking, but I wonder if form drag is less of a problem at slower velocities.

Second, I am not convinced that the "fat" that they added to these swimmer's is comparable to the real fat that we take on. I, for one, concentrate a lot of my fat between my ears, where there is more room.

Zirconium
August 28th, 2006, 01:24 PM
By simple observation, we can see that, most of times, the fastest swimmers are not fat.

In the article you mentioned above. I think there is a flaw in the study. The swimmers are actually lean swimmer, fit with muscle density higher than a real fatter swimmer. They simulate fat swimmers by adding artificial fat ("Fatness was enhanced by fitting latex pads under a spandex triathlon suit in the swimmers' adominal, hip, thigh, chest, back, and buttock areas. Microscopic balloons were added to the latex so that the pads had the same density as actual body fat").

When these atheletes swam, they still could use all their muscles. On a real person, the real fat would probably leave less room for muscles and therefore would have less muscle power to do the swim. I don't know if that could be true, just an idea.

letsrace
August 28th, 2006, 02:33 PM
Interesting theory Zirconium.

One other point about that study which made me raise my eyebrows: "Thus, each additional pound of fat slowed 50-yard swim times by approximately .2 seconds."

If I drop 10 pounds, my 50 free might drop 2 seconds?! Not likely. The fact that each "pound" impeded the test swimmers really made me question the validity of the test.

craiglll@yahoo.com
August 29th, 2006, 11:18 AM
The relationship to fat and swimming has been going on at least since the 1940s. My mother who was very athelic but also tended to be a little chubby as a young woman was always told she had the perfect body for a female swimmer. She wa about 5'7" tall and was a basketball star at her high school in Iowa. She never practiced swimming but was very good. After she had 4 children, I'm # 6 she got very heavy but could still do a mean free. After the entire 7 of us were born she switched to breast and was very good. My fahter wa over 6ft 3in and very skinny, like me. He swam before there was a butterfly. He swam a great free but couln't ever do back or breast.

craiglll@yahoo.com
August 29th, 2006, 11:18 AM
The relationship to fat and swimming has been going on at least since the 1940s. My mother who was very athelic but also tended to be a little chubby as a young woman was always told she had the perfect body for a female swimmer. She wa about 5'7" tall and was a basketball star at her high school in Iowa. She never practiced swimming but was very good. After she had 4 children, I'm # 6 she got very heavy but could still do a mean free. After the entire 7 of us were born she switched to breast and was very good. My fahter wa over 6ft 3in and very skinny, like me. He swam before there was a butterfly. He swam a great free but couln't ever do back or breast.

Muppet
August 29th, 2006, 01:16 PM
Having suffered two separate broken wrists in the last two years, my case could be used as a decent example. I was in fairly decent shape before each of the accidents (LCM Nat's '04 weight was 185), but the subsequent inactivity coupled with my 6-9 meal/day grazing-style eating habits and fattened me up pretty good (~215 and ~205 respectively) by the time the plaster was sawed off.

After each accident, which occurred in fall 04 and summer 05, I was out of commission for about 6 weeks, then started doing legs in the weight room and kicking in the pool (waterproof cast). Then would work my butt off to get in good shape in time for SCY Nats.

13 Months after the last break, I am the fastest I have ever been, but my weight has yet to get lower than the 191-194 range. Its pretty heavy for a swimmer, but I am also the leanest I have been since a kid.

While I agree with previous posts about having bettered technique over time, the last two years have produced nearly all my lifetime bests, and these have all been MASSIVE time drops, even for the 100s. This all leads me to believe that when it comes to weight/fat and speed, its not the fat or the weight - its the muscle. I weigh more, but have less fat (and muscle weighs more than fat). That extra muscle I put on got me through the pool faster.

Make sure you wear a helmet!!

DanSad
August 29th, 2006, 01:56 PM
Jeff, how tall are you?

Muppet
September 1st, 2006, 11:42 AM
Originally posted by DanSad
Jeff, how tall are you?

I guess it would have been helpful to mention that too.. 6'0

geochuck
September 1st, 2006, 12:30 PM
I started a swim season at 255lbs and raced in 15 marathon races. I won the first race by 2 hours I finished the season at 182 lbs I was skinny but was no faster no slower.

valhallan
September 1st, 2006, 03:31 PM
Obvioulsy there's a direct correlation between weight and overall conditioning. One would think that being thin offers an advantage. ...however water is the great equalizer when it comes to fighting gravity. Athletes can be in great shape ...and "husky" at the same time.

I've seen some outstanding performances by people who look more akin to rugby players rather than lean mean swimming machines.

art_z
September 4th, 2006, 03:30 PM
when I was 32 I weighed around 275. I could do 100 yard back in 58.0 but I was pretty fat.

by age 37 I had slimmed down to 235 after peaking around 290. I had around 14% body fat but I could barely break a minute even though my weekly yardage doubled from approx 15k a week to 30k a week. i'm 6'3".

My 200 did come down significantly though to around 2:08 from 2:15 or so and doing 200 back repeats in practice (say 10x200 on 3:00) I could barely do 2:40 to 2:45 for each one, now I can hold 2:25s for each one. Same for the 100. If I do 10x100 back on 1:30, I used to be able to do no faster than like a 1:15 in practice, now they are all 1:08 to 1:10. go figure. I still do these now at 39. I think my age is hurting my speed more than my weight loss helped it.

when I swam in college I was around 200 lbs, and was 53.3 100 yd backstroker (1986 was my fastest year). not sure what my body fat was then, but probably closer to 10%,.

rtodd
September 6th, 2006, 09:06 AM
swimming is like climbing a horizontal ladder with your arms. It simply becomes more difficult on the arms and shoulders to overcome inertia and pull your body forward when you are heavier. This problem is way more serious the the fractional increase in boyancy. You want to carry as little extra weight as possible.

Drag also goes up as your "cross section" or should I say mid section, increaes.

Loose the weight..... you will be faster.