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rtodd
February 16th, 2007, 08:12 PM
I'm trying to determine what level of strength is required to be a good sprinter (i.e. 100 free).

Could you list your max repetitions of push ups, pull ups and dips? This would give me some assesment on power to weight ratio and strength endurance.

Also, what is your max bench press if you know it? or reps of 225 lbs. I'm curious about what level of pure strength sprinters have.

I think I am deficient mostly in technique and then strength endurance but maybe this post would show me I need weight room work.

ande
February 16th, 2007, 08:30 PM
what matters is strength vs body weight vs body shape
plus how efficiently the swimmer applys his strength in the water

ande


I'm trying to determine what level of strength is required to be a good sprinter (i.e. 100 free).

Could you list your max repetitions of push ups, pull ups and dips? This would give me some assesment on power to weight ratio and strength endurance.

Also, what is your max bench press if you know it? or reps of 225 lbs. I'm curious about what level of pure strength sprinters have.

I think I am deficient mostly in technique and then strength endurance but maybe this post would show me I need weight room work.

swimr4life
February 16th, 2007, 11:30 PM
what matters is strength vs body weight vs body shape
plus how efficiently the swimmer applys his strength in the water

ande


Ande is exactly right. He sums it all up in his statement!

Paul Smith
February 17th, 2007, 10:25 AM
Rtodd....Ande nailed it. So often on these forums (and anywehre else) folks looks for a specific "formula" that will help them improve when in fact the first and foremost factor is your own existing strengths/weaknesses.

Strength is very important for a sprinter but there are differant types of "strength"....more and more coaches are noting the importance of any incredible kick as key to the 50/100 (heck, even Thorpe 6 beat kicks the
400m free).

I can't bench press a squirrel or do more than 1 or 2 pull ups...my nemesis (John) is in the 250 range for bench but can't kcik his way out of a paper bag....we're both consistently in the 21+ range for the 50 free.

Case in point; compare Jason Lezak and Ian Crocker
- Jason very muscular, not much flexibility, fair kick
- Ian is almost "soft" but highly flexible and one of the best kickers in the world

Both guys swim the 100yd free in the 42+ range. Ian "swims" the race almost entirely (15yds SDK per lap) underwater.....Jason is a bull who powers his way thru.

Evaluate yourself first....then build your training program around that and don't worry so much about what others can/can't do.

The Fortress
February 17th, 2007, 11:27 AM
Rtodd....Ande nailed it. So often on these forums (and anywehre else) folks looks for a specific "formula" that will help them improve when in fact the first and foremost factor is your own existing strengths/weaknesses.

Strength is very important for a sprinter but there are differant types of "strength"....more and more coaches are noting the importance of any incredible kick as key to the 50/100 (heck, even Thorpe 6 beat kicks the
400m free).

I can't bench press a squirrel or do more than 1 or 2 pull ups...my nemesis (John) is in the 250 range for bench but can't kcik his way out of a paper bag....we're both consistently in the 21+ range for the 50 free.

Case in point; compare Jason Lezak and Ian Crocker
- Jason very muscular, not much flexibility, fair kick
- Ian is almost "soft" but highly flexible and one of the best kickers in the world

Both guys swim the 100yd free in the 42+ range. Ian "swims" the race almost entirely (15yds SDK per lap) underwater.....Jason is a bull who powers his way thru.

Evaluate yourself first....then build your training program around that and don't worry so much about what others can/can't do.

So is either model better? It seems from my reading on the forum that the Crocker model is the more advised/ideal model? But can a Lezak type transform into a Crocker? Or are both superior models, and you should choose the one best that suits your own body type best? Success comes in many sizes and shapes ... ? And while Ande's statement seems clearly correct, it might be a little vague to apply.

Maybe we need to know more about how to weight/other train for a Lezak/JSmith type and how to train for a Crock/PSmith body type? Or more about RTodd?

rtodd
February 17th, 2007, 12:07 PM
Ande,

So what you are saying is that there is a strength vs weight factor in sprinting. So what would be good numbers for what I am asking? What would Lesak's numbers be? Can he do 20 pull ups or 200?
If I have decent strength, which I don't know yet, I will spend all my time learning how to apply it efficiently.


Paul Smith,

With your great sprinting ability, you are telling me you can only do 2 pull ups? come on......If that is the case then you must have a mental kick. How do I quantify how efficient or strong my kick is? How can I tell if I am kick biased or pull biased? These are the things I am trying to figure out. I am trying to evaluate myself and determine if all I have to do is swim, or add aditional strength work in the gym. The last year I have only been lifting once a week.

Paul Smith
February 17th, 2007, 12:32 PM
Rtodd......I'm 6'6" and weigh 240 (heavy at the moment), my wingspan is 6'6" and I'm more of the build that Crocker has. Even at 20 years old with 3% bodyfat I didn't have ripped abs.....but I tested out at nationals at one of the highest "power" rankings on a swim bench test....then again I'm not a pure sprinter (consider myself of 200 freestyer) as I even split most of my races....

Bottom line is I suck in the wieght room and have no interest in getting "big" (I never do bench press or pull-ups anymore as they directly contribute to shoulder problems)...however I continue to work on my flexibility/strength thru yoga, minimal weights 2x a week and swimming specific work (bands, power sprints w/paddles, etc.).

As for quantifying your kick....hard fo me to explain this...better if I could watch. You can't gauge the value of a kick on kicking times...its how well you can integrate that kick into your stroke, Case in point was a swimmer from this forum (Ion) who could kick extremally fast times....but when he attempted to integrate that into swimming in my opinion it worked against him.

Paul Smith
February 17th, 2007, 12:46 PM
So is either model better? It seems from my reading on the forum that the Crocker model is the more advised/ideal model? But can a Lezak type transform into a Crocker? Or are both superior models, and you should choose the one best that suits your own body type best? Success comes in many sizes and shapes ... ? And while Ande's statement seems clearly correct, it might be a little vague to apply.

Maybe we need to know more about how to weight/other train for a Lezak/JSmith type and how to train for a Crock/PSmith body type? Or more about RTodd?

Fort.....IMHO your body type as well as your genetic predisposition (fast twitch/slow twitch) should dicatate not only how you train but what you compete in.

Rich Abrahams, Jason Lezak and guys of like them have and can build muscle/power quickly and probably need to worry more about putting on to much bulk and loss of flexibility.....they also are pretty much 50/100 specialists and their training involves a lot of short quality based swimming and heavy weights.

Rowdy Gaines, Ian Crocker, John Smith, Gary Hall Jr. etc. are all very lean, very powerful, have speed but can extend into 200/500/+ (Rowdy at one time held every masters WR from the 50 to the 1500. Although John has speed....he was a 200 specialist in college and just won the 200IM at worlds.
All of the above at one time or another (myslef included) would/will train middle distance/distance, still weight train although less emphasis on pure power.

Look at th differance in builds between the 100 specialists in track vs. those that run the 100 but excel at the 200/400.....

scyfreestyler
February 17th, 2007, 12:48 PM
I don't think swimming fast is as simple as lifting weights. I can tell you that the fastest sprinters on our USS team are the leanest/skinniest kids of the group. One of them, a fairly thin 6-0 15 year old was swimming 21 high 50 SCY's last year and a 47 high 100 SCY..Free. IMHO, maximizing your efficiency in the water is going to improve your swimming FAR more than lifting weights.

I recall reading somewhere before the 04 Olympics that Phelps tested out to be one of the weaker members of the US Team. I don't know too many people that would call him slow with a straight face.

Some weights are good for us in general as they help maintain bone density but I would not count on them as a ticket to faster swims.

swimr4life
February 17th, 2007, 01:19 PM
I don't think swimming fast is as simple as lifting weights. I can tell you that the fastest sprinters on our USS team are the leanest/skinniest kids of the group. Some weights are good for us in general as they help maintain bone density but I would not count on them as a ticket to faster swims.

So true! The tiniest, skinniest girl on our USS team is one of the fastest! She shivers during workout she is so lean - no body fat! But, she is extremely strong for her size.

When I was in college I started doing a lot of heavy weights. I added too much bulk and never swam as fast as I did pre-college. I swam the best when I was doing low weights with high repetitions.

scyfreestyler
February 17th, 2007, 01:26 PM
Something I forgot to add, Ande would be an incredible swimmer without the weightlifting. I am sure that his times have improved to a certain degree with the addition of weights to his training, but keep in mind that he has been swimming fast for many years. Ande, if you are reading this, do you have any idea how much benefit weight training has provided you? Can you quantify it in your swim times?

SwimStud
February 17th, 2007, 01:32 PM
How much of this is genetic bone and muscle density. I think I am a stocky heavy guy. Yet I'm doing good times on 50 BR @35 and my 50 free is OK...at 33 secs with an open turn (I haven't worked on it..just did it once). So I may be a bit faster now.

I think for me it's bull power (ok save your "bull" wisecracks). I'm not lean or lan, or really flexible. I think I get a good dive, which helps me out.

When I stretch out my free though I feel significantly slower...obviously could be lack of conditioning for my kick too.

Where do you feel you are? Are you a bull or a bull-shark ? :) DOe you flow through or power through. When I sprint free I kind of feel my front end lifiting up.

The Fortress
February 17th, 2007, 01:42 PM
Fort.....IMHO your body type as well as your genetic predisposition (fast twitch/slow twitch) should dicatate not only how you train but what you compete in.

Rich Abrahams, Jason Lezak and guys of like them have and can build muscle/power quickly and probably need to worry more about putting on to much bulk and loss of flexibility.....they also are pretty much 50/100 specialists and their training involves a lot of short quality based swimming and heavy weights.

Thanks Paul. I guess I fit in this mode. I stretched out to longer events during youth all the time, but can't seem to as a master. I am all fast twitch and strength. I am not inflexible though, as a former gymnast. But I sure wish I was taller.

Also, I don't remember starting to lift weights until I was 16 or 17 and not super intensely. But my times improved quite a bit at 17. When I went to college I lifted more, and finally found out I could swim the 50 and 100 free with big time drops. But I don't think I ever did super heavy weights. When I stopped lifting and swimming, though, I sure lost a lot of body weight. So it must have been putting on some muscle.

I have seen many tiny age groupers do astoundingly well. They are very efficient and amazing at SDKs. It seems to be me though, and I have heard from coaches, that many kids don't "buy into" SDKs and they still believe they will be faster just coming out of a turn and hacking away. The elite ones I see SDK well, skinny or not, tall or not.

FlyQueen
February 17th, 2007, 02:13 PM
I have to be careful if/when I lift because I put on bulk. I'm Lezak body with a Crocker mentality - as in let's SDK the crap out of this race. Like Fort I also have good flexibility, probably mostly because of gymnastics.

It was a great combo for gymnastics - strength & flexibility but I also have some injuries that are affected my lifting so basically I'm limited to core. Which as a sprinter and a sprint flyer at that is rough, but oh well.

Phelps didn't lift before Athens but he did do medicine ball work which I LOVE. You can be creative, and move and work core!

By the way, I'm all of 5'2", but have a wing span of about 5'6".

The Fortress
February 17th, 2007, 03:32 PM
I have to be careful if/when I lift because I put on bulk. I'm Lezak body with a Crocker mentality - as in let's SDK the crap out of this race. Like Fort I also have good flexibility, probably mostly because of gymnastics.

It was a great combo for gymnastics - strength & flexibility but I also have some injuries that are affected my lifting so basically I'm limited to core. Which as a sprinter and a sprint flyer at that is rough, but oh well.

Phelps didn't lift before Athens but he did do medicine ball work which I LOVE. You can be creative, and move and work core!

By the way, I'm all of 5'2", but have a wing span of about 5'6".

I like that: "Lezak body with Crocker SDK mentality." Hoping it works. Stength and flexibility are great, unless you have loosey goosey tendons. Not so great.

(I'm 5'4" with a 5'7" wingspan and long torso, FlyQueen.)

On the weights issue, I don't think I would be as fast if I didn't lift weights. Not going to test that theory by abandoning them because I need to lift weights anyway. But I have done slightly heavier ones and done weights more consistently since I've started swimming masters, and my times have dropped. Tall and skinny is fabulous, but not everyone is tall and skinny. Swimmers come in all shapes and sizes. I recently saw someone at least 8-9 inches shorter than Kate Zeigler almost beat her in the 50 free at the Dolan meet. Granted Zeigler's not a sprinter, but I was happy for the blazingly fast little tike.

FlyQueen
February 17th, 2007, 03:54 PM
haha ... I like that, "blazingly fast little tyke." Very nice. I'd lift more (or at least think about it) if I didn't have so many problems. I can't do any type of leg press or squat because of my knee, and many of the upper body weights hurt my shoulder. I can do biceps & triceps, and rows, and that's about it.

I'm going to do low weight high rep on Monday and see how it goes ... I need to work the core more though ...

Oh, and I'm short torsoed and long legged, not that they are long by any stretch.

Paul Smith
February 17th, 2007, 05:10 PM
Also, I don't remember starting to lift weights until I was 16 or 17 and not super intensely. But my times improved quite a bit at 17. When I went to college I lifted more, and finally found out I could swim the 50 and 100 free with big time drops. But I don't think I ever did super heavy weights. When I stopped lifting and swimming, though, I sure lost a lot of body weight. So it must have been putting on some muscle.

I should also be clear that I think there is a HUGE (no pun intended) differance in lifting strategy depending on your age.....coming out of high school I was all of 6'5" 179lbs and had never lifted...best 100 free 50.5......two years later with lots of weight training up to 195 and going 45+.

For masters however.....especially those soon to be getting their AARP card (God forbid but I've come to terms!) and older.....weight training has more to do with stemming the loss of muscle and maintaining bone density than in getting stronger...excpet in the case of those just starting back after a long lay off or brand new to strength training.

PS: For those whiners out there talking about snow give me a break.....(see avatar)

Paul Smith
February 17th, 2007, 05:15 PM
haha ... I'm going to do low weight high rep on Monday and see how it goes ... I need to work the core more though ....


Flyqueen.....check out www.crossfit.com something that has been discussed in the past on this forum. Although there is a risk of injury if your not maintaining proper technique and progessing at the proper pace....this type of "aerobic"/high intensity weight training is something that people like Rich Abrahams, myself, Sheri Hart, etc. have been doing for the past 12-18 months....its similar in ways to what the Race Club uses as well as quite a few college programs......again a warning...BE CAREFUL trying this stuff!

Allen Stark
February 17th, 2007, 05:16 PM
To say Phelps was one of the weakest swimmers in dryland strength is one of those statements that means less than it appears to. He was also one of the youngest male swimmers. Most guys are going to be more muscular at 22 than they were at 18. Also he is not a sprinter. He can do a great 100 Free,but it is not his premier event. I think he would agree that if he wanted to concentrate only on it,or it and the 100 Fly he would do well to bulk up(which he clearly has somewhat anyway.) Cullen Jones is one long muscle now and he thinks he'll be faster with more bulk.Gary Hall Jr. is not a scrawny guy either.

FlyQueen
February 17th, 2007, 05:27 PM
I think Coughlin was the weakest female in Athens or one of any way ... she's no slouch either. She's been hitting the weights more as of late I think, too ...

scyfreestyler
February 17th, 2007, 05:30 PM
I guess my point would be, that weights is probably the last piece of the fast swimming puzzle. Loads of strength will never overcome technique imperfections. In other words, don't lift expecting it to take you from a :55 100 to a :45 100.

Allen Stark
February 17th, 2007, 05:37 PM
Coughlin is an interesting case. She is small for a sprinter,but she has the best SDK anyone has ever had,she is just unbelievably fast underwater. The really unbelievable one was Eggezegy(spelling?) She was just"a wee slip of a lass" but nearly as fast as Coughlin in the 100 BK and still holds the 200 BK WR.

m2tall2
February 17th, 2007, 06:18 PM
I guess my point would be, that weights is probably the last piece of the fast swimming puzzle. Loads of strength will never overcome technique imperfections. In other words, don't lift expecting it to take you from a :55 100 to a :45 100.

Yeah, but that's at a much higher level. An average swimmer with minor stroke flaws could probably go from a 1:20 100 to a 1:05 100 faster doing some kind of weight program in addition to stepping of their swimming and technique.

Warren
February 17th, 2007, 07:44 PM
In football there is something called field strength. For example, two guys equal weight, one can lift heavier weights than the other. The one that can lift more gets thrown around up and down the field by the guy that is weaker in the weight room because he has more field strength.

I think this same concept can be applied to swimming. Pool strength

rtodd
February 17th, 2007, 08:57 PM
Just returned from watching the Big East Championships finals. Unfortunately I had to leave just before the 100!!! Maybe strength doesn't have alot to do with it because these guys and girls did not look bulky and needless to say, they are fast.

My problem is that I am so far away from my goal of swimming in the low 50's in the 100 free, becaue right now I am at 64 seconds. I don't know if I have two problems (technique and strength) or just one. I feel that I have the strength, but want to get feedback to be sure so I can not worry about largely ignoring the weight room.

I'm 6'2", 185 lbs. with a 76" reach.
My current bench is about 275 lbs. and can bench 135 lbs for 40 reps.
I can do ~60 push ups, ~25 full dips and ~25 pull ups.
I don't squat or dead lift, but do leg sled and I think my lower body strength is descent.

After reading your replies, perhaps the biggest issue for me is how the power is applied in the most efficient and effective manner, so if this is the case, then worry more about swimming technique.

scyfreestyler
February 17th, 2007, 09:07 PM
Strength is not an issue for you I am quite certain.

If you are working hard in the pool, I think you will find your goal but it will take time. Aren't you only about 2 years into swimming anyhow?

aquaFeisty
February 18th, 2007, 09:21 AM
Hi rtodd,

I think I remember you posting your time for the 50 as :26-something. Based on that time, and on your 1:04 time for the 100, I'm with Matt - your problem isn't strength.

You said you are a runner by background. What was your track event? Were you a drop-dead sprinter?

Here's a comparison for you:
I am a drop-dead sprinter (alas, not a particularly fast one, but still). My time for the 50 free is a 27.7 and my time for the 100 is a 1:01.7. I'm betting you are A LOT stronger than I am, especially based on that 50 time. Having never ever seen your stroke, I'd guess based on your times that you get through your 50 with raw power, but that your ability to power through starts to fall apart on the 100 as technique flaws take you down. Watch those really fast swimmers at Championships. See how they never seem to fall apart? Their 50 is power... their 100 is power too.

You've only been swimming for 2 years... your times are FANTASTIC! Hang in there... as your technique improves, you will see some huge drops in your 100 and 200.

geochuck
February 18th, 2007, 12:13 PM
I swam my best races without doing physical exercises. A little swimming lots of technique and mind over matter. I was very strong and could lift very heavy weights, my legs were very strong but not for any reason other than isometric contractions, a few situps, a little cycling and a lot of slow paced walking.

quicksilver
February 18th, 2007, 12:58 PM
I don't know if there's a direct correlation with one's strength on land and the ability to do well in a sprint. I've seen many a muscle bound swimmer step up on the blocks...and do very little with their inflated limbs other than give the water a good thrashing.

One's time is better served shaping the vessel before building the engine.

To answer your question rtodd...my fastest sprint times for the 50 were achieved with dedication to perfecting the start, turn, and finish. Developing lung capacity and flexibility should also be high on the list.

Weights will serve you well...but they're not the only ingredient to success.

rtodd
February 18th, 2007, 01:12 PM
Yea,

I guess it is all technique. I realized that watching the 1650 at the big east finals when their 100 splits were all under 60 seconds. Apparently technique should get you under 60 and maybe even under 50. Then maybe raw strength becomes more important to get from there to 45.

I think I need to worry about technique and efficiency. I've been told I over reach and my hand is entering past the centerline of my head, where as it should enter not past my ear. This is something I am always working to correct and I may forget in my races. I also have a habit of dropping my elbows. I guess these two things spell disaster.

I have not been swimming "long" but two years is starting to be a long time and I want better times.

I ran the 100,200 and 400m. All equally bad!!

rtodd
February 18th, 2007, 01:29 PM
I think a guy I work with has an under water video system from scuba diving. If he does, I will try to get some video posted. This may help expose what I am doing wrong.

rtodd
February 18th, 2007, 07:48 PM
Ande,

I was just looking at some of your weight lifting routines, and they look very conservative yet you are so fast.

From this I would guess that I have enough strength, but lack efficiency and certainly strength endurance. I know alot about anaerobic strength endurance and speed reserve from running 1/4 miles. I think I am lacking somewhat in this department since it can take more than two years to build it up. I can handle that as long as I am imprinting good form, which I don't know if I am.

Can I do some sort of stroke count analysis? I can glide (warm up speed) across my 100ft pool in 14 strokes, so that would be 42 strokes per 100yd. is this good or lousy? What should a stroke count be for sprinting? does it go down? I would guess it shouldn't because the kick picks up.

The Fortress
February 18th, 2007, 08:10 PM
If you're interested and because it is somewhat related, on another thread there is a graph showing time variances in different freestyle distances as you age. It purports to show that times drop off on a percentage basis as you age up the longer the distance gets. Obviously, this isn't true for everyone here, but it is for me. So there will be no 500 or 1650 free for me. I still think you need to do some engine building for those events.

Post #61 (page 4)
http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=6642&page=4&highlight=challenge+give+kicking

funkyfish
February 19th, 2007, 01:07 PM
Here's my two cent's worth. I was a sprinter in high school, my best times were :53 in 100yd fly and :50-:49 in 100yd free (not great but respectable). I didn't lift any weights. Had a 20 year layoff where I did lift weights for bodybuilding and eventually powerlifting. Bodyweight went from 145 to 195 at a height of 5' 10" during that 20 yrs, with an average of 6-9% bodyfat. Did my first masters meet last summer (1st time in the pool since 1986) and swam a 1:02 in the 100m free. So, I was about 5-6 seconds slower than my best 20 yrs previously. So, I think weights can help, but maybe it comes down to technique and the right "muscle memory"?
Incidentally, my incline bench is around 295, I do chins with 45-90lbs extra, and squat about 405.
Now here's the banana:banana:

LindsayNB
February 19th, 2007, 01:53 PM
Can I do some sort of stroke count analysis? I can glide (warm up speed) across my 100ft pool in 14 strokes, so that would be 42 strokes per 100yd. is this good or lousy? What should a stroke count be for sprinting? does it go down? I would guess it shouldn't because the kick picks up.

I would think it would be more useful to count your strokes at race pace than while swimming at warm up pace. It is too easy to fudge an untimed stroke count by streamlining further, adding glide, and kicking harder; things that won't necessarily make you faster if done to excess.

rtodd
February 19th, 2007, 09:01 PM
Funkyfish,

Lifting weights was certainly not a replacement for swimming since you are stronger than HS, but slower. I would assume you could get it back, but is shows there is no substitute for swimming. I wonder how long it would take you to get back down to a 50?

I did power lift for a few years (a few years ago) and did have a 1000lb total (bench/squat/dead), which was decent for a tall runner, but I am not that strong right now and not a runner anymore and that is why I was worried about my strength. But after reading these posts It does not sound like it is a limiting factor in swimming, at least not at my level. I'll revisit strength if I can get down to a 55.

I have a meet in a few weeks and the 100 is the first event. Hopefully this will give me a chance at the sub minute.

Lindsay,

I will have to video, maybe the next meet and hopefully post it for some feedback.

Paul Smith
February 20th, 2007, 09:39 AM
I would think it would be more useful to count your strokes at race pace than while swimming at warm up pace. It is too easy to fudge an untimed stroke count by streamlining further, adding glide, and kicking harder; things that won't necessarily make you faster if done to excess.

Lindsay....God forbid I bring up another TI strategy I support, but what the heck. In warm up, warm down and at race pace I try and maintain the exact stroke count (based on 200 race pace which is 10 per lap yds)....

LindsayNB
February 20th, 2007, 10:02 AM
Lindsay....God forbid I bring up another TI strategy I support, but what the heck. In warm up, warm down and at race pace I try and maintain the exact stroke count (based on 200 race pace which is 10 per lap yds)....

You'll certainly get no argument from me on that. Perhaps rtodd holds his 14 spl in his races, it was just the way that he qualified the circumstances of his 14 spl that made we wonder if maybe he goes higher at race pace, and maybe there is a useful clue there that will help him go faster. When I looked at a race video of myself my spl was higher than at cruising pace and there were several glaring problems with my stroke. It gave me things to work on.

Paul Smith
February 20th, 2007, 10:59 AM
Lindsay....good point. I've brought up in prior threads that spl varies (at least for me) between 50-100-200+

Typically for a 50 I'll move up to about 15-16, 100 is in the 12-13 range and 200+ 10-11. I try and maintain the 200+ spl in warm up, warm down and on most aerobic based sets.

geochuck
February 20th, 2007, 02:52 PM
SPL probably the most useless thing you can waste your time with when sprinting, the secret is to get there first and not worry about the stroke count. I never would give a thought to how fast I was turning over. Make the stroke efficient and complete and be in front of the second place swimmer.

Paul Smith
February 20th, 2007, 03:06 PM
SPL probably the most useless thing you can waste your time with when sprinting, the secret is to get there first and not worry about the stroke count. I never would give a thought to how fast I was turning over. Make the stroke efficient and complete and be in front of the second place swimmer.

George I'm sure that may be the case for an elite, established swimmer such as yourself......however I think there is absolute merit in evaluating SPL especially for someone new to the sport and who in all likleyhood may be wasting a lot of effort spinning.

As for me personally.....although I swam thru high school and college when I got back into masters I basically forgot how to sprint. My best 50 in the 40-44 age group I think was around 21.6 before John & Rowdy corraled me into focusing on tha race for Indy a few years back...With a lot of focus on just what you pooh poohed I dropped to 20.9......

jsmwbnc
February 20th, 2007, 03:16 PM
paul what was your fastest 50 free in your "prime"?

Paul Smith
February 20th, 2007, 03:47 PM
George....an example of what I'm talking about is the workout below (which I think I have posted before) from Nick Brunelli. I've done this set with him before in a masters workout at ASU (sadly Nic goes 23+ on the 200 pace 50's and I'm 25+!)....and we did use stroke count along with time as a measurement of progress. We've also heard many times of Popov's training using a descening set of 50's long course where he starts over as soon as he adds a stroke...damn...another mention from one of the TI books....bring it on Fort & Geek!
____________________________________________
Joined: 19 Mar 2006
Posts: 102
Location: tempe Arizona
Posted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 7:01 pm Post subject:

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Wednesday morning's set:

10 times through the following:
1 x 50 easy on 1 min
1 x 50 at 200 pace on 1 min
1 x 50 all out on 1 min

The idea of this simple set is to not lose sight of the stroke you race! in the 50 easy don’t be sloppy. In the 50 at 200 pace work your stroke not tempo to get your goal time. And in the all out 50, try to put it all together and go faster with a perfect stroke. I feel like this set helps me set my stroke up while working hard. Sometimes when we do sets that are say 10 x 50's all out, my stroke becomes a mess after number 4 and then I try to just go as fast as I can. Most people can relate to this in the sense that you just want to race and beat the person next to you and if that involves not thinking about your stroke then so be it. BUT that won't make you the best swimmer you can be. Its all about swimming smart AND working hard at the same time!

-Nick Brunelli
_________________
"Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records"

The Fortress
February 20th, 2007, 03:57 PM
So, I think weights can help, but maybe it comes down to technique and the right "muscle memory"?

Incidentally, my incline bench is around 295, I do chins with 45-90lbs extra, and squat about 405.

I never bench press or do pull ups. :( Can't.

Wholly apart from sprint gains, which I do think weight lifting helps some, I wonder if weight lifting helps prevent/recover from injuries? I notice my shoulders generally feel better when I am lifting (apart from RC stuff). And I know breaststrokers who say their knees feel better when they lift weights.

I still think some people are just slower now than they were in high school or college whether they're lifting or not and whether they've been counting SPL or not. I think I could swim my brains out with perfect technique and still not do my 100 or 200 fly times from high school or college. But everyone's different. Besides, I don't want or have time to swim my brains out.


Dear Mr. TI Smyth: :thhbbb:

Gotcha. I am a TI advocate to a fairly large degree. :eek: When I returned to swimming at almost 44, I had a TI-type coach and we worked on nothing but technique, technique, technique. That's why I was called the drill queen for awhile. I just don't like Initial Caps, or close Mindedness about some swim toys or being repeatedly told that shoulder injuries are due almost exclusively to poor technique. (He also ragged on my fly technique sight unseen and hurt my feelings. LOL.) I also think sprinting is somewhat different from what Terry specializes in, although efficient speed a la Popov is no doubt most desirable. But Terry's due to put out his Sprints and TI book after the Endurance and TI book comes out. So we'll see. BTW, I bought the first book for my son when he was learning to swim properly for triathlons and I taught him a lot of TI freestyle drills. Here I go zipper switching away ...:thhbbb:

scyfreestyler
February 20th, 2007, 04:00 PM
George I'm sure that may be the case for an elite, established swimmer such as yourself......however I think there is absolute merit in evaluating SPL especially for someone new to the sport and who in all likleyhood may be wasting a lot of effort spinning.

As for me personally.....although I swam thru high school and college when I got back into masters I basically forgot how to sprint. My best 50 in the 40-44 age group I think was around 21.6 before John & Rowdy corraled me into focusing on tha race for Indy a few years back...With a lot of focus on just what you pooh poohed I dropped to 20.9......

That must have been incredibly depressing for you. ;)

rtodd
February 20th, 2007, 04:55 PM
Lindsay and Paul,

I don't know my SPL for race pace 50 or 100. I only count on cooldown laps.

It sounds like your SPL goes up a bit when the distance comes down.

I watched Ian thorpe on YouTube and it looks like he is 14 to 15 strokes per 50m in the 100, 200, and 400 distances. I looked like he was doing 6 beat on everything. Of course these are all FAST events, and for Ian, there is not much to differentiate in his race pace at these three distances.

But if he is the gold standard, then I would assume stroke count should basically be the same for any race distance. Unfortunately I am about 45 strokes/100m, or 50% more than Thorpe. Maybe it is lower at my race pace when I am kicking hard (don't know...yet) If it is around 20/50yds at race pace, is this a sign of serious technique flaws?

Paul, it sounds like you are comperable to Thorpe in SPL.

A) Should I be concious and keeping track of my stroke count during my workouts? Should I measure SPL for sprint work (significant kicking) and longer sets (less kick effort)?

B) Should I be working to lower it?

C) Is SPL a measure of efficiency, which ultimately leeds to speed?

I assume yes to A,B, and C, but want to hear from the fast guys and girls.

Paul Smith
February 20th, 2007, 05:13 PM
rtodd.....Thorpe is actually taking 28-30 per 50m if you count each individual arm entry.....and he does keep this pretty even for those 3 distances.....

One note, long course meters is a 180 from swimming short course yards....almost a differant sport....part of the reason you see a lot of really fast college guys who don't necessarilly excel at international meets swum LCM (Piersol commented on this awhile back in a discussion on how SCY/college swimmers we're excelling in the underwater aspect of racing but he felt few could translate that to LCM).

If the 50/100 are your primary distances I would suggest looking not at Thorpe but guys like Hoogie, Gary Hall, Nick Brunelli, etc. Its amazing to watch the combination of speed, power, grace and technique on guys going 21+/22+ in 50 LCM free and sub :20 in 50 yard free.

rtodd
February 20th, 2007, 05:33 PM
Paul,

Correct, I am measuring every time his left enters. So while Thorpe is at 30 strokes for 50 meters, I am about 45. Should I be concerned about this?

You say for yourself:


Typically for a 50 I'll move up to about 15-16, 100 is in the 12-13 range and 200+ 10-11. I try and maintain the 200+ spl in warm up, warm down and on most aerobic based sets.

So you are much closer to Thorpe's count.

Since I am largely uncoached except for some feedback from a fast guy at my pool, this feedback is what I rely on for advice.

Paul Smith
February 20th, 2007, 05:42 PM
I think its worth looking at.....there are a lot of factors to take into account as we've all been discussing such as body type and strengths/weaknesses.

Also.....although I disagree with George on SPL being important for sprints, his beleifs have merit...there are world class swimmers with absolutely incredible turnover....

As for me....keep in mind I'm no where close to Thorpe's speed/excellance....however we're close in height/weight/arm span and more 200/400 based than 50/100 so it makes some sense we'd have similar SPL.

islandsox
February 20th, 2007, 06:15 PM
This thread is all over the swim map but it's sure good for reading and commenting. First, while it may not be necessary to lift weights for swim strength, it sure can't hurt. But all great swimmers know that you lift higher weight and less repetitions for shorter events, and lower weight with more reptitions for distance events. And I loved someone's mention that a swimmer didn't look bulked up. Well, when a truly competitve swimmer is spending endless hours in a pool, it does physically offset the bulking up. Longer muscles, toned, but more lengthened, so looks can be deceiving. However, those swimmers I have seen with huge muscles look great on the blocks, but that is where it usually ends.

SPL? I'm for it, I do it, I take about 10 strokes every 25 during warmup; 12 when racing, but now that I do distance, it is less of an issue plus it is already imbedded in my swim style.

TI is good, lots of people have benefitted from it, but I have yet to see world records set by a person who said they were TI ing. I don't know that it is all that different than what I learned 30 years ago except TI swimmers are much lower in the water which I truly believe is not a good thing; I have seen no proof of it being of benefit; I'd rather swim over the water than plow through it myself. I've read about it, I've watched it, and contrary to what has been said or written, water coming OVER the body cannot increase speed; it may feel better, but where's the speed. One thing I have been reading here in the past about the TI way is that you have to think to swim. Sorry, I can't do both when racing.

No one has talked about how they truly achieve a low SPL; what exactly they do stroke wise to accomplish this so I'll go first.

I have a huge reach, no dropped elbows, no sculling, and a more straight arm underwater even during hip rotation which is called a large rotational stroke until the finish, and I finish my stroke lower on my body than at the waist or high-hip and that finish is also controversial here. I did this years ago and I do it now but I can't time myself because I only swim ocean, no pools here, but for the 1 mile triathlon swim, I usually swim a 22 minute whatever that comes out to. Oh, and I have gray hair.

Donna

FlyQueen
February 20th, 2007, 06:31 PM
Calling Terry ... Attention Terry ... how long will this take to respond to? :lolup:

Allen Stark
February 20th, 2007, 06:34 PM
I really shouldn't speak about free but I think some things are generalizable. Breast in a 25 yd pool my SPL is 9 at 50 pace,7at 100 pace and 5-6 at 200 pace.For Lindsay re;racing stroke,I read that the average swimmer thinks he/she they has better form at meets than in workouts,but in fact their form is worse. Fort,re: technique and shoulder problems,I saw a new PT and he said"you have shoulder problems because you have poor neck flexibility which is decreasing the ROM of your scapula and hurting your shoulder." We are working on helping my neck and my shoulder is getting better. Neck stiffness is not a technique problem in any way i can figure out.:dedhorse:

Paul Smith
February 20th, 2007, 06:51 PM
Donna...with regard to TI....(man a 3rd referance in one day!)...I think many have said the same thing...that Terry has done a great job in repackaging a lot of things that are considered common sense to elite coaches/athletes.....I see the stuff he advocates used all the time in programs I have a chance to spend time around....

So to that end I would say that yes many of these practices/drills/concepts in TI are in use by WR setting swimmers (masters & USS)...the concepts he talks about and has created in a sense are a new "language" that some people seem to "hear" better....and others get high blood pressure from...Yo Fort! :woot:

The Fortress
February 20th, 2007, 06:57 PM
Fort,re: technique and shoulder problems,I saw a new PT and he said"you have shoulder problems because you have poor neck flexibility which is decreasing the ROM of your scapula and hurting your shoulder." We are working on helping my neck and my shoulder is getting better. Neck stiffness is not a technique problem in any way i can figure out.:dedhorse:

I'm glad you're working it out! Doesn't seem like a technique problem to me either. :dedhorse: My doctor tells me mine isn't either, except I'm always willing to fess up to freestyle flaws.


Yo Smith!

Did you see how TI :smooch: my last post was? It probably made Geek ill. You ole forum baiter, you. I get high blood pressure over shoulders. Just like you get high blood presssure over the inability to drink pinot noir and people leaving doggy poo.

RTodd:

Yes, to all three, except I am very slow compared to Mr. 20.9. And I don't like to count strokes much. I'll stick to TI drills. I'd rather count SDKs. I'm kinda with George on the SPL thing. I speed up when sprinting and slow down when I'm not.

islandsox
February 20th, 2007, 07:06 PM
Paul,

You are so much kinder than his Highness; I appreciate your comments so much. You know, regardless of what a swim technique is called, if people are benefiting, that is the bottom line. Believe it or not, even at my advanced age, well especially at my advanced age, I want to swim farther the easiest way possible and I an open to anything that makes sense, as long as a coach or promoter isn't slamming me for questioning a particular way. Being inquisitive and challenging anything in life is paramount to understanding and choosing the way to go....

So, if world class swimmers are doing TI's drills, then there you have it because they wouldn't be doing them if they weren't benefitting from them.

Touche!!! But, and there is a but, no way can I think about technique when racing; I'd better already have it in place!!!

Donna

rtodd
February 20th, 2007, 07:16 PM
I think the thread morphed, because what came out of the discussion was not alot of concern over strength, at least not the primary concern. I think I have the strength (notice I stay away from saying strength endurance, which I believe is born out of lactic acid training). I think I buffer lactic acid reasonably well from running so I probably don't have the technique.

Can you generalize SPL based on body type? I am 6'2", 185 lbs (should be 175) and I just measured my span at 76.5".

In running there is a turn over and stride length differrence based on height. Is there any such correlation in swimming?

I will start paying closer attention to SPL.

FlyQueen
February 20th, 2007, 11:47 PM
Yes the same correlation holds with swimming too. The longer your arms the more water you will be able to displace and the less strokes you will need to get across the pool.

You'll notice sprinters are generally tall, where as distance swimmers can get away with being a bit shorter. Fort and I break the mold, short sprinters. We'll be signing autographs before our world record 100 m free this summer location: tbd ... we are expecting to go a 51.00 - not just break the record but absolutely smash it ... hitting the wall at the exact same time ...

The Fortress
February 21st, 2007, 12:09 AM
You'll notice sprinters are generally tall, where as distance swimmers can get away with being a bit shorter. Fort and I break the mold, short sprinters. We'll be signing autographs before our world record 100 m free this summer location: tbd ... we are expecting to go a 51.00 - not just break the record but absolutely smash it ... hitting the wall at the exact same time ...

You are way shorter than me, baby sister. Almost two whole inches. I think that long torso gives me the SDK edge though. :rofl: Thankfully, SDKs, unlike SPLs, are not quite as height and arm length dependent.

51.00 sounds about right. I think we can take Smith. He'll have to resort to those itsy bitsy zoomer fins to catch us. Har, har.

geochuck
February 21st, 2007, 10:10 AM
Paul I only count strokes to see if I can swim my 25 meters in 10 or less now, 7 strokes for 20 yards, that is count left hand enters and right hand enters as 2 strokes, easy push off the wall with 2 dolphin kicks. I still have trouble pushing off the wall with the alloy knees.

Woke up this morning took my blood pressure 124 over 64, resting heart rate 58, I must be getting in shape doing my 1000m a day. I am still having the battle of the bulge 6'3" weight down a little to 250ish, and I am really good looking (my own assesment). I walk 4 miles a day now occasionaly in beach sand.

My blood with reduced meds (half) is 5.2 to 6.2.

I have not done any time trials but feel my 50m is somewhere near 30 seconds. I cannot wait to get back into a regular sized pool right now swimming in a 20 yard pool. When I get back to Canada I will make an earnest speed trial in a 50m lc pool and a 25m sc pool.

LindsayNB
February 21st, 2007, 12:06 PM
rtodd,
A few summary points that I hope won't be controversial but that I hope will be corrected if they are incorrect:

A large majority of the swimmers that make your goal times do so with significantly lower SPL than you are currently swimming with.

There are a large number of people that are faster than you that are not as strong as you.

If, as you say, you have a tendency to drop your elbows there is probably very little else you could work on that would help as much as fixing that. And not dropping your elbows will almost certainly improve your SPL.

SPL is a diagnostic test not a primary goal. If you find ways to swim more efficiently your SPL will drop and you will know you are heading in the right direction.

If you have any opportunity to get a good coach to look at your stroke and give you feedback, take it, it will be worth going out of your way and paying some bucks for, in terms of speeding up your improvement. A second place option is to get good video and get commentary on that. If you take that approach underwater video from the front and side will be the most useful as it is what is happening under the water that is most important. Video is good in that you can really see where what you think you are doing or what you are trying to do is not what you are actually doing.

quicksilver
February 21st, 2007, 12:30 PM
At a recent masters meet...we had the pleasure of sitting next to Mr.T...who by the way has an effortless looking freestyle.

Being more experienced than my newbie counterparts on the team...I was sharing some sage advise about how to swim faster in the 50. "Take longer strokes" I said..."and keep the turnover moving". Needless to say...it dawned on me that this is precisely the intention of swimming fishlike. Any short choppy strokes will invariably result in some form of resistance.

TI drills show people how to rotate properly during the stroke...show people how to lengthen the stroke...and focus on good clean swimming. Swimming catch up style is not the intention...althgough it's initially promoted to get folks un-stuck from bad form.... and introduced to their ideal.



Just for stats...

I'm a little over six foot two...and manage to take ten/eleven strokes at normal speed in 25 yd pool (and around 14/15 when going all out). My 100 time is a little over 50 seconds at the moment ...which is Ok for an aging hipster. And I strongly believe in taking long strokes.

A low SPL count is a sign of good form...and it can translate to fast times.

blainesapprentice
February 21st, 2007, 03:42 PM
[quote=FlyQueen;79616]
You'll notice sprinters are generally tall, where as distance swimmers can get away with being a bit shorter. Fort and I break the mold, short sprinters. [quote]

I'm 5'3" and a sprinter. In fact the taller girls on my teams have always been distance swimmers while as the average or even short girls have been the sprinters. Go figure.

scyfreestyler
February 21st, 2007, 04:00 PM
[quote=FlyQueen;79616]
You'll notice sprinters are generally tall, where as distance swimmers can get away with being a bit shorter. Fort and I break the mold, short sprinters. [quote]

I'm 5'3" and a sprinter. In fact the taller girls on my teams have always been distance swimmers while as the average or even short girls have been the sprinters. Go figure.

As I get older (32), I learn more and more everyday that stereotypes of all sorts are completely useless in daily life.

FlyQueen
February 21st, 2007, 04:30 PM
At a recent masters meet...we had the pleasure of sitting next to Mr.T...who by the way has an effortless looking freestyle.



Did the earrings and jewlery slow him down? Did you ask about an A-Team reunion? Thoughts on the newest Rocky movie? Inquiring minds want to know!

islandsox
February 21st, 2007, 04:56 PM
At a recent masters meet...we had the pleasure of sitting next to Mr.T...who by the way has an effortless looking freestyle.

Being more experienced than my newbie counterparts on the team...I was sharing some sage advise about how to swim faster in the 50. "Take longer strokes" I said..."and keep the turnover moving". Needless to say...it dawned on me that this is precisely the intention of swimming fishlike. Any short choppy strokes will invariably result in some form of resistance.

TI drills show people how to rotate properly during the stroke...show people how to lengthen the stroke...and focus on good clean swimming. Swimming catch up style is not the intention...althgough it's initially promoted to get folks un-stuck from bad form.... and introduced to their ideal.

And I strongly believe in taking long strokes.

A low SPL count is a sign of good form...and it can translate to fast times.

Uh, oh, I guess I am swimming TI and don't even know it (except for the being low in the water thing which I won't do). But long strokes just feel better to me!!

And short, choppy strokes destroy my rhythm completely; I run in to this problem when I am swimming and come upon an ocean depth change from deep to really shallow and have to shorten my stroke to keep from scraping the coral on the bottom. I now don't swim in that area.

I have never considered myself a sprinter, except for the 50 and 100 back which were NOT my favorites; I loved the 200 back---perfect! And I am 5'8, but now weigh in the 190s, but even when I was really thin, didn't much enjoy those 50s. So I guess we all just come in different sizes for all of the events!!

Donna

ande
February 21st, 2007, 04:59 PM
I don't think it's a clear cut formula
there's guys who are very muscular (not me)
and guys who are very skinny (not me)

i'm kind of in the middle
at my peak I could
do 10 dips with 100 extra pounds
bench 5 x 255
lat pull 6 x 250
standing broad jump about 9.5 feet
I could kick 50 scy free from a push with a board in 28.0
do 50 SDK in 23.8

now I struggle to bench over 200, lat pull 210, i don't do dips,

but there's guys who aren't nearly that strong who are much faster than me
it's all about how well conditioned you are
how well shaped your body is, remember my swim faster faster tip on
Build a better Boat"



Ande,

So what you are saying is that there is a strength vs weight factor in sprinting. So what would be good numbers for what I am asking? What would Lesak's numbers be? Can he do 20 pull ups or 200?
If I have decent strength, which I don't know yet, I will spend all my time learning how to apply it efficiently.


Paul Smith,

With your great sprinting ability, you are telling me you can only do 2 pull ups? come on......If that is the case then you must have a mental kick. How do I quantify how efficient or strong my kick is? How can I tell if I am kick biased or pull biased? These are the things I am trying to figure out. I am trying to evaluate myself and determine if all I have to do is swim, or add aditional strength work in the gym. The last year I have only been lifting once a week.

Warren
February 21st, 2007, 05:09 PM
power is a factor.

benching 200 in 1.7 seconds is better than benching 215 in 2.5 seconds

quicksilver
February 21st, 2007, 06:09 PM
Did the earrings and jewlery slow him down? Did you ask about an A-Team reunion? Thoughts on the newest Rocky movie? Inquiring minds want to know!


No silly...Not that Mr. T ...Mr Tee Eye.

And no bling either...just a short john fast skin.

quicksilver
February 21st, 2007, 06:36 PM
And short, choppy strokes destroy my rhythm completely; I run in to this problem when I am swimming and come upon an ocean depth change from deep to really shallow and have to shorten my stroke to keep from scraping the coral on the bottom. I now don't swim in that area.





When I see one of my taller age group swimmers taking short strokes compared to the little guy in the next lane taking longer ones...I note that the shorter one is "swimming taller" in the water. One can be a short swimmer and swim *taller* in the water than someone with considerably more height. (Getting reach has everything to do with staying long.)

As soon as one discovers their ideal body line (horizontal)...there's no reason why a swimmer under six feet can't challenge another who's around six and a half. There are many sprinters under six feet feet who can do a 50yard free in 20 seconds. And that's quick.

rtodd
February 22nd, 2007, 08:01 PM
OK,

I have decided from this thread thatmy strength is acceptable and for the time being, my SPL is acceptable at 9-10 per 25yds.

So what is left?.......technique, which includes the strength of my kick and how I incorporate it into my stroke. Also strength endurance which is borne out of the seriousness of the training. I know I am lacking in this department just due to the changes I see in my lats the past year. I just don't have the needed muscles fully developed yet.

I will work on getting some video analysis.

Thanks for all your feedback.

LindsayNB
February 22nd, 2007, 11:50 PM
Just for clarity, are your 9-10 SPL counting each hand entry or every time the same hand enters? I got the impression before that you were counting each full cycle rather than each hand which is not the standard way to count SPL. Naturally the two methods create results which differ by a factor of two, making a big difference. If you are counting full cycles (a left and a right hand entry) then your SPL is roughly double Paul's, and would probably improve if you were more efficient (more streamlined, less slipping).

Can you hold your 50 target pace for 25? Your 100 target pace for 50? If so, improved endurance will help, if not, you need to improve your stroke first.

Paul Smith
February 23rd, 2007, 09:02 AM
Lindsay....nice catch...I was thinking the same thing.

rtodd
February 23rd, 2007, 11:25 AM
SPL;

I am measuring each time my left hand enters. Yesterday I was consistently 12 left hand entries across a 100ft pool, so that converts to about 9 left hand entries per 25 yards or in correct terms 18 total strokes per 25yds. That was at a 1:10 100yd pace and I was surfacing without any SDK. I will measure today at a 50yd pace to see what it is.

From what P. Smith posted,


Typically for a 50 I'll move up to about 15-16, 100 is in the 12-13 range and 200+ 10-11. I try and maintain the 200+ spl in warm up, warm down and on most aerobic based sets.

So I am taking significantly more strokes than Paul and we have similar reaches. Wow, that does not sound good.


In my last 100 I split (don't laugh),

29.69 - 34.31

This must show either problems with strength endurance, technique or both.

3strokes
March 3rd, 2007, 08:09 PM
I'm reading this thread (and other similar ones where not only SPL but also speeds for specific courses -LCY-LCM-SCY-SCM are mentioned) with a lot of interest, however I have noticed that all the numbers mentioned do not really mean anything (even after mentally converting LC to SC or v.v. or Y to M or v.v.) if the writer's age (or age group) is not clear.
When someone speaks about 27.50 in a 50 this could be "fantastic" for an old geezer like me (60-64) or extremely slow for a 24 y/o ex-OLympian (OK, ex-Olympian not from the US but from Burundi, maybe).

Or is it politically un-C... to mention (or ask about) ages? Please remember, not only am I a very recent "joiner" but also that I only started lurking one day before I decided that there were enough crazy and funny people in these fora to make joining "fun". Therefore please excuse if I'm :dedhorse:

Cheers

rtodd
March 4th, 2007, 03:59 PM
welcome to the forum!!

Just chime in and ask if you have specific questions. It is best to do this as the forum is progressing. Not everybody includes every detail. This thread morphed, so Paul Smith opened a more specific thread on the topic of SPL.