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The Fortress
January 22nd, 2007, 04:54 PM
Who's doing both back and breast at masters meets? Who's good at both? Or neither? Or good at one, but not the other?

Ande thinks it's rare to be good at both. Frank thinks it's somewhat unusual, but not rare or impossible. You vote. Multiple choices permissible. Comments appreciated.

Personally, I suck at breastroke. I'm decent at back. I think they are usually mutually exclusive. Most breaststrokers I know suck at back and vice versa. Not sure if this is explained by the disparate body types that typically are associated with the stokes, or by ankle flexibility or it's just a fluke. (I have a breaststroke body type and flexible ankles and still can't do it at all. I do not have a backstroker's body type, but have hyperflexible elbows and shoulders and seem passable at it.) I clearly need a breaststroke clinic. Would be happy to go to one. Or get private lessons.

FlyQueen
January 22nd, 2007, 05:00 PM
Obviously there are plenty of people good at both (same people that are good at all four strokes ... jerks!). I am a free/fly girl myself (in case no one caught on to that) my back is okay, but not great, my breaststroke is horrific (in case no one caught on to that either).

Like your team Fort, we don't really have many breaststrokers. Maybe 2? At least that would claim it as their primary stroke, we are full of flyers and backstrokers ... Of the 2 "breaststrokers" neither one is a backstroker at all and actually both hate it ... hmmm ....

swimr4life
January 22nd, 2007, 05:00 PM
I'm actually not too good at back OR breast! I'm a fly/free girl myself! I think that is true for a lot of flyers. Unfortunately, due to shoulder problems, I can't do too much fly anymore. So.....I'm working on my back and breast as a result. I actually like them now. Sometimes its good to try something new anyways. Who says you can't teach an old dawg new tricks! :woot:

Swimr4life
"The older I get, the faster I was."
www.advocare.com/04102379

CreamPuff
January 22nd, 2007, 05:06 PM
Yea! Fly/ Free combo rules! :groovy:

I stink at back. :shakeshead:
My breast has felt bad recently in practice. And as a masters I don't enjoy swimming anything over a 50 breast in a meet.

From what I've seen over the years, it's rare to find a back/ breaststroker (not impossible). It's certainly not one of the more standard combos like fly/ free. Sure one can find examples of the back/ breaststrokers. But my guess is you'll find exponentially more free/ flyers; breast/ IMers; free/ backers; name your combo.

The Fortress
January 22nd, 2007, 05:10 PM
I'm actually not too good at back OR breast! I'm a fly/free girl myself! I think that is true for a lot of flyers. Unfortunately, due to shoulder problems, I can't do too much fly anymore. So.....I'm working on my back and breast as a result. I actually like them now. Sometimes its good to try something new anyways. Who says you can't teach an old dawg new tricks! :woot:

I'm not any of the combos (S)he-Man listed. I'm a life-long fly/back-er. Although I've not completely averse to freestyle sprints. I hope Beth is right that you can sometime teach an old dawg new tricks. Maybe the next shoulder injury, I'll go to my breaststroke clinic. :D

P.S. Apparently, both my secret nemesis and my twin sister are free/flyers. Scarey!

SwimStud
January 22nd, 2007, 05:14 PM
Breast is best! :thhbbb:

Julie Roddin
January 22nd, 2007, 05:27 PM
Like a lot of you I am awful at breast/good at back. Growing up I was good at both back and breast until I was 13. I always swam both at meets and still have various summer league pool and team records in them both. It's funny to see my name next to anything breaststroke related. I am making a good effort to swim more breaststroke in practice to help out my 400 IM this year!

FlyQueen
January 22nd, 2007, 06:46 PM
I'm actually not too good at back OR breast! I'm a fly/free girl myself! I think that is true for a lot of flyers. Unfortunately, due to shoulder problems, I can't do too much fly anymore. So.....I'm working on my back and breast as a result. I actually like them now. Sometimes its good to try something new anyways. Who says you can't teach an old dawg new tricks! :woot:

Swimr4life
"The older I get, the faster I was."
www.advocare.com/04102379

Me too Beth! Since you are Fort's twin and she is my big sister, that makes us family, too, right? I'm only good at sdk, so the 50 back is alright, I'm working on making it better, partly because it is good for my shoulder. I used to not like back (have always liked it more than breast though) but now I'm starting to like it more ...

Caped Crusader
January 22nd, 2007, 06:48 PM
more standard combos like ...


Free/Free
Distance free/OW free
OW free/Body surfer free

:groovy:

I suck at breast too.

Donna
January 22nd, 2007, 07:03 PM
I am a distance freestyler at present but I enjoy doing everything and I am equally as bad or good at fly/back/breast. I guess that makes me an ok IMer!

Donna:joker:

Warren
January 22nd, 2007, 07:24 PM
Im a freestylers and Im also good at breast, decent at fly but only the 50, but I suck at back.

the back breast combo is the rarest one.

Genetics is a big factor in which strokes you are good at. And I belive that back/breast people have a rare combination of gentics that make them good at both...why are only 10% of people left handed-genetices. why do some people have two different color eyes-genetics.

all it is is a rare genetic combination.

jim clemmons
January 22nd, 2007, 07:32 PM
Need work on back, okay at breast. Been working on back for a couple of years now and have my moments with it. At least "some" moments. Occasionally.

meldyck
January 22nd, 2007, 08:24 PM
My backstroke is illegal in 46 out of 50 states and in most of the rest of the civilized world. It has been featured a number of times on the world's funniest animals videos and once on comedy central.

-- mel

Seagurl51
January 22nd, 2007, 09:54 PM
Well....according to most of the posts on this thread, I'm a genetic mutant. When I swam when I was younger I was definatley a backstroker hands down. Now I do distance free and breaststroke, but my back still isn't bad.

I wouldn't say that I'm better at it than free or breast, but it's definatley not far behind and I certainly don't avoid it. Butterfly is just right out for me.......

I guess I'll just have to have lots of mutant babies with Michael Phelps and slowly corner the swimming talent market.....bummer......:groovy: ;)

SwimStud
January 22nd, 2007, 10:07 PM
I wouldn't say that I'm better at it than free or breast, but it's definatley not far behind and I certainly don't avoid it. Butterfly is just right out for me.......


Kyra don't let them intimidate you. You're wonderful with your breaststroke...if you need to fly you can get on a plane...:drink:

KaizenSwimmer
January 23rd, 2007, 08:45 AM
Who's doing both back and breast at masters meets? Who's good at both? Or neither? Or good at one, but not the other?

Ande thinks it's rare to be good at both. Frank thinks it's somewhat unusual, but not rare or impossible.

It is rare to be very good at both. But a good breaststroker can always learn a serviceable backstroke and vice versa -- and when he or she does, they can often translate that into a superior IM.

When I began coaching in the 70s one of the first things I noticed was that it's possible to swim very strong fly and free legs and still end up with a mediocre IM, but if you swim a decent back-breast-combo, you virtually always end up with a strong IM.

Highly successful IM'ers -- not Phelps and Hoff, but people who make an NCAA or USAS final -- often are not nearly as successful in individual strokes. But they are often better at swimming breaststroke -- after swimming fly and back -- than some who are much better at swimming breast by itself. And that's the key to swimming the IM well.

There are essentially two kinds of swimming events: Cyclical - a single activity repeated many times - or Serial - a series of different activities.
A Freestyle race is cyclical. An IM race is serial. (To take this concept a bit farther, a backstroke race in which you do SDK for 10 to 15m then swim on the surface for 15 to 10m is also serial, because you alternate Short Axis movement underwater and Long Axis movement on the surface.)

The advantage of serial events is that you get to use one muscle group, then "rest" it for a bit while using a different muscle group. The challenge of serial events is that you must become adept at changing your neural pattern seamlessly - able to use a new pattern efficiently as soon as you change.

Those who are "just okay" at the individual strokes, but "superior" at IMs are people who have a knack for -- or have trained to become adept at -- serial swimming. As soon as I noticed that the key to success in the IMs was to be good at serial swimming -- and particularly good at the Back-Breast combo -- I realized that my teams could score a LOT of championship meet points in the 400 IM by looking for every opportunity to practice more stroke-changing in training sets, and by focusing in particular on combining back and breast in sets.

So despite the fact that I'm pretty mediocre in both back and breast (and even more mediocre in fly) I swim all three at Masters meets to give me a better foundation for the 400 IM, in which I can score much higher at Masters Nationals than in shorter freestyle events -- and because "solving the puzzle" of the 400 IM is one of the most stimulating things you can tackle in swimming.

geochuck
January 23rd, 2007, 09:18 AM
In Hamilton we had a clown demostrating swim strokes at our Christmas Carnival swim meet. He was called the count of no account. He did a combo stroke it was called the over arm, under arm side stroke. It combined all the strokes into one.

shark
January 23rd, 2007, 09:41 AM
Terry,

Would you agree that due to the working of all muscle groups, training with the serial event in mind helps in all forms of cyclical events? I find that working and resting each muscle group in practice with the use of serial training and drills, athletes perform better on the cyclical sets. Even for individuals that may not be "good" at one of the four strokes, they get the opportunity each day to work on their technique. Plus, I feel that the serial sets are a better total workout. Cross training, if you will.

Brian

globuggie
January 23rd, 2007, 11:01 AM
Right now, I consider myself an IMer. Back has always been my favorite stroke, followed by breast (I don't have good breath control, so I like strokes where I don't have to worry about getting air). I started off as a backstroker/breaststroker. I recently improved my fly quite a bit, so I think fly is now my best stroke, followed by back, then breast & free. So basically, I'm not a great swimmer, but I like both back & breast.

pbsaurus
January 23rd, 2007, 04:59 PM
I'm one of those back/breast mutants. But backstroke is the dominant of the two. I hate freestyle and can do backstroke all day. I compete in all the events but I do the best in the three backstroke and three breaststroke events.

KaizenSwimmer
January 23rd, 2007, 05:21 PM
Terry,

Would you agree that due to the working of all muscle groups, training with the serial event in mind helps in all forms of cyclical events? I find that working and resting each muscle group in practice with the use of serial training and drills, athletes perform better on the cyclical sets.

Hey Brian
I like your motto. Fan of Jon Kabat Zin and/or practitioner of Mindfulness?

Both cyclical and serial have their uses. Serial training allows you to drill more deeply into the fine points of one stroke,refine it and imprint, imprint, imprint. Trains your skill to be more automatic.

Cyclical training helps your nervous system be more adaptable.

A slight variation on that is the choice of Block or Random practice. In Block practice you repeat the same skill for an extended period. This is best when the skill is new and somewhat unfamiliar. Random practice - alternating two or more skills or tasks with some frequency - works best when the skills in the set are fairly well developed.

Brain researchers feel that random practice helps accelerate the transfer of skills from short-term (conscious competence) to long-term (unconscious competence) memory. That frees up short-term memory for concentrating on a new or more advanced skill.

indyswimbag
January 23rd, 2007, 09:34 PM
I am a breaststroker that 'pretends' to do fly and is attempting to get a better backstroke....I actually think I might go backwards during the back part of an IM.

my freestyle is distance oriented BUT for the purposes of the poll I might be one of the few breaststrokers that is attempting to stretch the boundary between the back/breast combo...as for fly well I can at least keep pretending that I do it well:cool:

shark
January 23rd, 2007, 09:45 PM
Hey Brian
I like your motto. Fan of Jon Kabat Zin and/or practitioner of Mindfulness?

Terry,

Neither, just living by what my college coach used to say. And trying to live in the moment.

I definately am a fan of the Random Practice for my High School kids. They can handle and enjoy the variation, especially during IM sets that use a variation of drills. But also in stroke sets that incorporate different drills. It keeps them thinking ahead and allows me to surprise them which leads to a fun and interesting workout. My younger kids can't absorb that much and work more efficiently in Block set workouts. Working on a different skill per day and honing the skill in.

Thanks for the response!

Brian

KaizenSwimmer
January 24th, 2007, 06:39 AM
My younger kids can't absorb that much and work more efficiently in Block set workouts. Working on a different skill per day and honing the skill in.

Good point. We coach an age group team in New Paltz. I'm mentoring several developing coaches (mostly parent volunteers who've not coached swimming before, though a couple swam as kids). I've advised them to restrict the number of drills employed with 11 and unders to a max of three for each stroke, to allow the kids to gain real familiarity and clarity. And to generally use just one of them at any practice.

We don't do as much drill practice as I would prefer, partly because the water temp is too low to allow them to remain comfortable while drilling and partly because the acoustics are so bad that communication of fine points is a huge challenge. So we substitute a lot of single-focal-point whole stroke practice and frequent "peer modeling." Find the kid who does what you're looking for best and have the others watch then "imitate." They're good at imitation.

shark
January 24th, 2007, 08:26 AM
So we substitute a lot of single-focal-point whole stroke practice and frequent "peer modeling." Find the kid who does what you're looking for best and have the others watch then "imitate." They're good at imitation.

Teaching is wonderful. I love when the kids, (doesn't matter what age) reach that point of understanding and the "light goes on." What a magnificent point in time.

Jeff Commings
January 24th, 2007, 10:18 AM
I don't know how or why I became good at backstroke and breaststroke. I remember winning races in both strokes as far back as age 12. None of the four coaches I had pre-masters allowed me to seriously train backstroke, which explains why I am now swimming PRs in that stroke.

It's just a personal preference and depends on what you learn and like as you progress through swimming. There were a few breaststrokers who were ranked high in the country in the 50 free (unheard of), and 400 IM specialists who could take down a lot of people in the 100 free. Again, it depends on preference and how you train.

Frank Thompson
January 24th, 2007, 12:50 PM
I don't know how or why I became good at backstroke and breaststroke. I remember winning races in both strokes as far back as age 12. None of the four coaches I had pre-masters allowed me to seriously train backstroke, which explains why I am now swimming PRs in that stroke.

It's just a personal preference and depends on what you learn and like as you progress through swimming. There were a few breaststrokers who were ranked high in the country in the 50 free (unheard of), and 400 IM specialists who could take down a lot of people in the 100 free. Again, it depends on preference and how you train.

Hi Jeff:

There are two breastrokers that I mentioned in the other thread about not being bad backstrokers that were ranked in the top ten in the 50 and 100 Free in the early 1980's NCAA rankings in the 50 and 100 Free. They were also at that time American Record holders in the 200 Yard Breast. They are Bill Barrett and Steve Lundquist.

Also from the early days of swimming, I believe Walter Spence is another who would be like Barrett and Lundquist. He was one of the 25 people in the other post that had a USMS National Record in both back and breast. Because he had two brothers that were great swimmers, it easy for people to get the guys mixed up and confused with there events. I provided a link to a story of the Spence brothers because they are all inducted in the ISHOF.

http://www.ishof.org/honorees/67/67spencebrothers.html