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RayT
September 5th, 2006, 01:36 AM
Hi all.

Do we have to OPEN or CLOSE our fingers when are swimming freestyle, I mean in catch n pull stage?

May I ask why?

Thank you very much.

newmastersswimmer
September 5th, 2006, 01:43 PM
I personally keep my fingers closed (as in I don't leave much of a gap between my fingers).....and the reasoning behind this is based on trying to catch as much water as possible during the first part of each stroke (i.e. just after the entry). If your fingers are spread apart too much it would seem (at least to me that is?) that you would end up slipping too much during the catch phase of the stroke....i.e. too much water would end up slipping through your fingers....and hence you wouldn't grab as much water as when your fingers are closed....(i.e. next to one another).

Hopefully that makes sense?


Newmastersswimmer

scyfreestyler
September 5th, 2006, 02:02 PM
I tend to agree with Jim in theory but I have heard that it makes little to no difference in practice. I think there was some actual research done on this topic...perhaps a USMS'er will know about it and share.

knelson
September 5th, 2006, 02:11 PM
I don't know if it's obvious. For example, everyone always assumed ski jumpers should keep their skis together in the air, then someone realized the V technique with the skis spread wide actually allowed jumpers to travel farther.

How does this apply to swimming? I think conventional wisdom would suggest keeping the fingers together would be better because water wouldn't be able to slip through. However, spreading the fingers somewhat might actually increase the effective surface area--just like wearing paddles does.

globuggie
September 5th, 2006, 03:40 PM
I don't have any research to back this up, but I've been told to keep my fingers less than a finger-width apart. Whatever you do, don't tense up your hand too much - you don't want to waste energy trying to force your hands into the 'perfect' position.

KaizenSwimmer
September 6th, 2006, 07:21 AM
I've seen many different finger positions used with some success. Natalie Coughlin broke the American record for 100m Free in 2004 with her fingers spread WIDE. I've concluded that it's one of those things about our swimming that's negotiable, but we should try to do two things:
1) spread the hand - no cupping
2) keep the hand relatively relaxed.

Just for fun, hold out one of your hands and press your fingers lightly together. Don't squeeze hard at all. Then release even that light squeeze and let your fingers just "be" where they are. Which would you rather do for an hour?

geochuck
September 6th, 2006, 07:56 AM
This subject is nothing new, have as little tension in the hands as possible, don't press the thumb against the index finger, don't cup the hand, don't hold the fingers tight against each other. The university of Wisconcin (I'm a Canadian the spelling may be wrong) ran tests in 1950 with a flat mechanical hand with the fingers in different positons the result it makes no difference,

LindsayNB
September 6th, 2006, 10:44 AM
I can't cite a source but I have read that all that matters is the cross sectional area of the hand, the spread of the fingers does not affect the area so it does not effect the propulsion.

Along these lines it is interesting to consider the cross sectional area during sculling motions. If you rotate your wrist to 45 degrees you can see that spreading the fingers a bit does increase the cross sectional area as you can spread them a bit before beginning to see between them.

RayT
September 6th, 2006, 11:33 AM
Thank you all.

furthermore, will open-handed also reduce 'bubble' in entry and lead you to solid water??

craiglll@yahoo.com
September 6th, 2006, 01:20 PM
Originally posted by geochuck
This subject is nothing new, have as little tension in the hands as possible, don't press the thumb against the index finger, don't cup the hand, don't hold the fingers tight against each other. The university of Wisconcin (I'm a Canadian the spelling may be wrong) ran tests in 1950 with a flat mechanical hand with the fingers in different positons the result it makes no difference,

I agree. In Swimming Fastest, I think he recommends entering your fingers slightly open. By nature my fingers are slightly spread. I'm finding as i get older, arthritis makes it really hard to hold my fingers together. I woudl think that the most ocmfortable or nature way would be the best.

knelson
September 6th, 2006, 02:01 PM
Originally posted by LindsayNB
I can't cite a source but I have read that all that matters is the cross sectional area of the hand, the spread of the fingers does not affect the area so it does not effect the propulsion.

Do you mean the cross-sectional area of the hand as viewed from the side or as viewed looking at the palm? In the latter case I think it does change, at least effectively, when the fingers are spread. Sort of like a skydiver. To slow down they go into a spread eagle position. Their arms and legs are still exactly the same size as they were before, but by spreading them they are creating more air resistance.

stussy96
September 6th, 2006, 08:39 PM
All I can say:

Do NOT cup the hand.
Do NOT squeeze and force your fingers together.
Do NOT swim with your fingers apart like a frog. You do not have webbed fingers. If you do...that's interesting.

DO keep your hands relaxed.
DO keep your fingers together and straight, but in a comfortable position. Your "paddle" goes from your fingertips to your elbow, so the straighter you an keep all of that, the better.

LindsayNB
September 6th, 2006, 10:44 PM
Originally posted by knelson
Do you mean the cross-sectional area of the hand as viewed from the side or as viewed looking at the palm? In the latter case I think it does change, at least effectively, when the fingers are spread. Sort of like a skydiver. To slow down they go into a spread eagle position. Their arms and legs are still exactly the same size as they were before, but by spreading them they are creating more air resistance.
I mean viewed looking at the palm. I know nothing about sky diving but my guess is that the spread eagle position has more to do with balance and control than how fast you fall, unless the sky diving suit acts as webbing. I would expect that a sky diver in a vertical position would fall faster due to the smaller profile but that your velocity would be the same if you were falling horizontally whether your limbs were out just enough to maximize your profile or spread eagled.

I think form drag is strictly a function of profile and that this was verified by the aforementioned study.

I suspect that the intuition that keeping your fingers together has the same basis as the intuition that cupping your hand will be effective and is based on the conception of the amount of water you are moving rather than the amount of drag is what is important. It might be instructive to think about holding your hand out, palm up, under a stream of falling sand. The sand will form a sort of cone/pyramid on your hand after which the following water will flow down the sides of the cone, water will do pretty much the same thing as you move your hand through it. Cupping your hand will result in a little more sand in your hand but that doesn't do you much good because you don't get your force by accelerating mass backward you get it from drag forces - which are reduced by the smaller profile of the cupped hand.

I think :)

geochuck
September 6th, 2006, 10:56 PM
Are we moving the hand through the water or are we using newtons third law? Are we actuaully pressing against that imaginary wall that is actually a wall of water?

TheGoodSmith
September 7th, 2006, 10:07 AM
Evil one..... read this string on hand and finger positions. You have been yelling at me for about a year about my thumb being spread out and extended too far from my index finger.

It doesn't matter.

I am right.......... you are wrong....... pay up.


John Smith

Paul Smith
September 7th, 2006, 10:29 AM
Oh Contrar Mr. Smith.....

I told you to stop dropping your thumbs to almost 90 degrees at hand entry.....a poor/lazy habit you picked up training on your own the last couple of years with opversize paddles and without my being around to yell to you......any chance that may play a part with your should problem thats emerged???!!

Also.......I told you to keep your hand "relaxed" but to pull your thumb in rather than having it positioned like part of a big "L" as in LOSER!!

And by the way......seems to have helped a bit considering your relay splits at worlds wouldn't you say.....so YOU pay up old man!

PS: next year we're going to get you out of that late 70's, googles out breakout on starts/turns that you seem to take pleasure in!

TheGoodSmith
September 7th, 2006, 10:45 AM
Evil One,

I will never abandon my classic late 1970s Ray Bussardesque Tennessee style head up pop up breakout on my start. That and my Compy goggles are the only remnants I have left in my life that represent stability.

As for oversized paddles..... not me dude.... I wear the small red speedo paddles. You forget, Rich Saeger and I have size 10.5 feet and hands. YOU are the one that wears plane wings with your bouy.


John Smith

LindsayNB
September 7th, 2006, 11:36 AM
Originally posted by geochuck
Are we moving the hand through the water or are we using newtons third law? Are we actuaully pressing against that imaginary wall that is actually a wall of water?

It isn't an either/or situation, Newton's third law applies in all ordinary situations but if you don't move your hand through the water you don't generate any forces beyond normal water pressure which acts from all directions and cancels out.

One the one hand you can try to feel like you are grabbing water and pulling yourself past it without your arm slipping/moving backward, and that can be useful for learning the motion, but in reality it is impossible, if you arm is not moving through the water it isn't generating any propulsion. Looking at it the other way, it is a basic property of fluids that if you apply force movement occurs.

geochuck
September 7th, 2006, 11:47 AM
Debaitable Linsay

How far does the hand move back. I have a hard time when examining videos of great swimmers seeing the hand moving through the water. What I do see is the hand enters and almost stays where it enters and the body moves past the hand. They are pushing on the wall of water???

Paul Smith
September 7th, 2006, 12:07 PM
Chuck......you nailed it.

Swimmers who try to "pull" their hands/arms thru the water can be spotted quickly......working way to hard and losing.

Place the hand and move thru it is the "feel" that many struggle to find along with integrating the kick and core rotation. Done correctly there's virtually no sense of it being work.

Mswimming
September 7th, 2006, 01:25 PM
Originally posted by Paul Smith
Oh Contrar Mr. Smith.....

I told you to stop dropping your thumbs to almost 90 degrees at hand entry.....a poor/lazy habit you picked up training on your own the last couple of years with opversize paddles and without my being around to yell to you......any chance that may play a part with your should problem thats emerged???!!

Also.......I told you to keep your hand "relaxed" but to pull your thumb in rather than having it positioned like part of a big "L" as in LOSER!!

And by the way......seems to have helped a bit considering your relay splits at worlds wouldn't you say.....so YOU pay up old man!

PS: next year we're going to get you out of that late 70's, googles out breakout on starts/turns that you seem to take pleasure in!


I've noticed in underwater video's of Popov swimming freestyle that he positions his thumb out at a 90 degrees upon hand entry. I Tend to do this as well and I never thought this was a bad thing. For me it seems easier to maintain a relaxed feeling in my hands that way.

I do use the TYR catalyst paddles, so that might be why its more comfortable to swim with my thumb out.

Kevin

knelson
September 7th, 2006, 03:18 PM
Originally posted by LindsayNB
It isn't an either/or situation

Right. The correct answer is it's both. Our arms apply a force against the water and that forces accelerates us forward. The water always resists the force we apply against it.

LindsayNB
September 7th, 2006, 03:21 PM
George and Paul, as I said in my post there is feel and there is physics. The stroke should feel like you are grabbing something solid and pulling yourself past it, and the better your technique the closer you will come to that, it may even be that how you should swim is exactly how you would swim if it were possible to push on a fluid as if it were a solid. BUT, it is basic physics that you can't push against a fluid without the fluid moving in the direction you are pushing. Again, it is very possible that it is better to concentrate on the feel and forget about the physics.

Rather than debate with me debate directly with the water: go to the pool and try to push against it without having it move.

craiglll@yahoo.com
September 7th, 2006, 03:51 PM
Originally posted by LindsayNB
George and Paul, as I said in my post there is feel and there is physics. The stroke should feel like you are grabbing something solid and pulling yourself past it, and the better your technique the closer you will come to that, it may even be that how you should swim is exactly how you would swim if it were possible to push on a fluid as if it were a solid. BUT, it is basic physics that you can't push against a fluid without the fluid moving in the direction you are pushing. Again, it is very possible that it is better to concentrate on the feel and forget about the physics.

Rather than debate with me debate directly with the water: go to the pool and try to push against it without having it move.

Lindsay, Lindsay, Lindsay,

Don't you know that swimming has nothing to do with physics? If you look at very good freestylers or flyers, you will notice that their hand comes out almost exactly where it goes in. This is harder to tell with backstrokers & breast. They are the same though. You do not argue. You only accept. Swimming is the great majic trick and the great deceiver.

Also, don't we know from studying plastics, water and air streams that sometimes a substance can be both a solid and a liquid? The water does move but you are constantly moving your hand into still, or stiller water. That is the great deception of swimming. Read the chapter about free stroke in Swimming Faster. (I am once again about to really screw his name) Maglischo tells us this very simply. We don't perceive this while we are moving because we are moving. I think it is to do with relativity and perception. This is why most swimmers swim the "S" in their stroke.

Once in high school, I was told by my coach A. Fish, that the free is like pollvaulting: You plant your hand & then vault your body over your hand. I have always had a very difficult time of this until one day doing IMs I realized that while going from back to breast I was planting my hand then vaulting my body over the hand.

geochuck
September 7th, 2006, 03:59 PM
And I did the "S" stroke before Concillman wrote the book. However the "S" stroke has had many changes over the years it is very effective.

craiglll@yahoo.com
September 7th, 2006, 04:16 PM
Originally posted by geochuck
And I did the "S" stroke before Concillman wrote the book. However the "S" stroke has had many changes over the years it is very effective.

I used Swimming Fastest because i just finished rereading the free section.

LindsayNB
September 7th, 2006, 06:37 PM
I wouldn't dream of arguing with A Fish.

knelson
September 7th, 2006, 06:42 PM
Originally posted by LindsayNB
I wouldn't dream of arguing with A Fish.

His team's diving coach--Hugo Splash--wasn't quite as effective :)

jim clemmons
September 7th, 2006, 08:35 PM
Wasn't the team manager's name Ima Drowning?

knelson
September 7th, 2006, 11:54 PM
Originally posted by jim clemmons
Wasn't the team manager's name Ima Drowning?

Yes, along with Bella Flopp.

LindsayNB
September 8th, 2006, 10:42 AM
Relevant Swimming World Technique Tip (http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/technique/tips.asp)

(http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/technique/images/2006-09-01.jpg)

craiglll@yahoo.com
September 8th, 2006, 04:42 PM
My high school coach really was A. Fish. His name was Arthur Fish. He is still alive. I think he is 95 yrs old. He taught at Galesburg Sr. Hgh School, Galesburg , IL. for about 40 yrs. He coached in his time, football, wrestling,. swimming and taught P. E. and Drivers Ed. I had him for drivers ed i 1974. He said I was the worse driver he had ever seen. Once we went up on the curb and he said he saw his life flash before his eyes. He played football for the Univerisyt of Illinois. He once played against my uncle when hte Univ. used to play the small colleges inthe early fall.

Most peole treated him as if he were a god. I thought that he was a good coach but I've had better. He made me swim backstroke because he said I had a natural roll. I hated swimming back. All I wanted to do was swim free for hours on end.