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Ion Beza
January 24th, 2003, 10:04 PM
This thread is reminiscent of the recent thread 'Stroke Length versus Rate' by Bill White, if I recall well.

In another recent thread -'Distance per stroke'-, it appeared that slowing down the stroke -which easily increases the distance per stroke-, is a benefit.

It is a benefit to some degree, but it is not an absolute benefit.

To slow down the rate just to increase the length, that's detrimental overall in speed.

An absolute benefit is when an optimum rate to length ratio is found for each swimmer.

For my improvement now, with my current length, I need a higher rate, or cadence.

At the beginning of today's workout, the approximate following discussion took place between me and a teammate, who used to swim in age-group swimming at Mission Viejo, California.

Me: "Look at that swimmer. He is my height, takes one or two strokes per 25 yards more than I take (i.e.: takes 16 or 17 strokes per 25 yards) , yet he is faster than me."

She: "It's not in the Stroke Length that he gets you. Your Stroke Length is fine. It is with a faster cadence that he gets you."

Me: "There are people posting in the Masters Swimming Forum and there is the Total Immersion book, that emphasize to slow down the cadence only, and therefore to increase the stroke length."

(My note: the Total Immersion book does this emphasis only, by dismissing the benefits of cadence, starting in page 31; it wrongly believes that in time it is more worthy to work on stroke length than on the quickly declining stroke cadence).

She: "I never bought into Total Immersion."

Me: "Neither did I. In 1990, when I was in Canada at my peak, and being coached in a club by a coach who is now coach of the Canadian Olympic Team, when swimming the 100 meters freestyle, he was urging me to increase my arm cadence. Since that peak, I lost in cadence, because I lost alertness."

Me: "How do I increase the cadence?
Isn't this higher cadence obtained with VO2Max (i.e.: oxygen fueling the swimming muscles), with fast-twitch swimming muscles and striated tissue that are developed best when a swimmer has a teenager growing body, and obtained also by physical conditioning?"

She: "It's the mental that commands the physical conditioning.
Think of the rhythm: tak_tak_tak... (type 1, like Matt Biondi is),
as opposed to: tak___tak___tak... (type 2),
as opposed to: tak_____tak_____tak... (type 3),
and as opposed to: tak_______tak_______tak... (type 4).

In distance swimming, you are a type 4 in the arms.

(My note: in the 2002 Long Course Nationals, I think that I was prepared by another coach -a neglectful coach-, as a type 4 in the arms).

When swimming distance, force yourself mentally to turn your arms in the rhythm tak_____tak_____tak... (type 3), and when swimming sprints, force yourself mentally to turn your arms in the rhythm tak____tak____tak... (type 2)."

After today's workout, the approximate following comments took place between me and the coach.

Me: "Kelly says that I have a type 4 cadence in the arms.
How do I quicken my cadence?"

Coach: "What we can do is to slow down your aerobic base send-offs, so that with more rest you can increase the quality in each swim, and develop more gears for speeds."

Me: "What I don't understand is how come I have a quick cadence in kicking, and a slow cadence (type 4) in the arms."

(My note: there were days around Christmas 2002, training Long Course, when I was kicking with a kickboard, 50 meters repeats leaving every 55 seconds while coming in 50 seconds. This is a very fast kicking for the Masters Swimming level. Overall, swimming in Masters Swimming in my age group, I am not very fast, but in long endurance swims I rank higher than in sprints).

Coach: "Are you coming tomorrow at UCSD, and watch the dual meet between UCSD and UC Santa Cruz? I have a late starter in swimming like you, who can kick fast and cannot move her arms quickly. Late starters in swimming are like that."

(My note: the coach is also coaching the middle-distance and the distance group of swimmers for the UCSD college team).

Me: "Isn't this because of VO2Max (i.e.: oxygen fueling the swimming muscles), and because of fast-twitch swimming muscles and striated tissue that are developed best when a swimmer has a teenager growing body?"

I think so.
I started to swim in public swim at age 25, and joined my first swimming club at age 28.
Under these conditions, what I did is very good, and now what I hope for, is to restore my own level from mid-90s and go from there...

cinc3100
January 24th, 2003, 10:38 PM
Girls that start 12 plus even more than boys have more of a disadvantage since they develop in the sport at an earlier age. If I could do it over again I woud have started at 9 or 10 years old rather than at 12 years old in competitve swimming. I find it hard to believe that a woman swimmer is swimming in a college meet by starting at age 18 plus since as I stated before many top girl swimmers go to nationals or Pre-national level at 13 to 15 years old. As for stroke count people have been debating this for a while on this forum.

valhallan
January 25th, 2003, 08:52 AM
Ion,

Very interesting thread. This happens to be something I've been experimenting with since getting back in the water over a year ago now.

Being curious about the T.I. school of thought, I bought the book watched the video, and became sold on the thought that maximum distance per stroke would ultimately lead to faster swimming. After become a model 'front quadrant' freestyle swimmer, I noticed somewhat of a difficulty in getting a fast turnover, or "cadence" for sprinting. The arm turn over started to look more like slow motion swimming compared to others. I decided to get the overlap in the front quadrant out of my stroke.
Not that this was altogether a bad thing to have learned, but I feel that FQ swimming is geared more towards distance racers who will really benefit from the lower energy expenditure that this swimming style promotes.

The important ingredient to sprint swimming is directly related to a quick turnover in the stroke cylce. I've noticed that even though Alexander Popov is referenced numerous times in the Total Immersion book, he is not a front quadrant swimmer. In other words, as one hand enters and begins the catch phase, the other hand is exiting the water at the end of the push phase.
Hands are in total opposition of each other. In any event he swims long, and definitely maintains a low stroke count. But the important consideration is that there is no glide in his movement through the water. A strong kick keeps forward momentum during the stroke cylce, and helps eliminate the need to glide and roll.

I am curious to see what some of the others would have to say about stroke rate, especially Tall Pall who's ranked number one in the 50, 100, and 200 for his age group.


Thanks, Val.

Ion Beza
January 25th, 2003, 11:23 AM
Originally posted by valhallan
Ion,
...
The important ingredient to sprint swimming is directly related to a quick turnover in the stroke cylce. I've noticed that even though Alexander Popov is referenced numerous times in the Total Immersion book, he is not a front quadrant swimmer. In other words, as one hand enters and begins the catch phase, the other hand is exiting the water at the end of the push phase.
Hands are in total opposition of each other.
...

"Hands are in total opposition of each other." is what I posted in the thread 'Distance per stroke', regarding former world record holder Kieren Perkins' (Aus) sprinting the 100 meters freestyle.

Originally posted by valhallan

...
I am curious to see what some of the others would have to say about stroke rate, especially Tall Pall who's ranked number one in the 50, 100, and 200 for his age group.


Thanks, Val.
Tall Paul wrote to me around Christmas that he is experimenting now with how to quicken the arm turnover.

What I know in general of Tall Paul, is that he has a middle-distance swimming background, and that in Masters Swimming he is focusing in the lowest middle-distance and in sprints.

Ion Beza
January 27th, 2003, 01:32 AM
I got bored, so I had time to turn this post in my head:

Originally posted by valhallan
Ion,
...
I am curious to see what some of the others would have to say about stroke rate,...
...
Thanks, Val.
I think this answer:

Originally posted by Ion Beza

...
An absolute benefit is when an optimum Stroke Rate to Stroke Length ratio is found for each swimmer.
...

fits the statistics from the articles in these links:

http://www.usswim.org/search/power_search.pl?frmPageSearch=2288
(Gary Hall (US) versus Anthony Ervin (US))

http://www.usswim.org/search/power_search.pl?frmPageSearch=2954
(Jim Montgomery (US) versus Pieter van den Hoogenband (Ned))

(Note: in this article disregard the comment "His cycle rate and distance per cycle were almost identical to van den Hoogenband's,..." as non-sense:
55.1 and 49.8 for Montgomery's 'Tempo', and 2.32 and 2.27 for Montgomery's 'Distance per Cycle', are not at all "...almost identical..." to 55.1 and 51.1 for van den Hoogenband's 'Tempo', and 2.54 and 2.39 for van den Hoogenband's 'Distance per Cycle'; they are different).

http://www.usswim.org/search/power_search.pl?frmPageSearch=2796
(Michael Phelps (US) versus Erik Vendt (US))

In each article, I am focusing on the table with statistics only, and within the table, on the parameters 'Tempo/Rate', 'Time', and 'DPC (M/C)' (i.e.: 'Distance per Cycle (Meters/Cycle)').

(Note: the first link has an 'Explanation of Race Analysis Terms', but me I noticed it after I did figure out the meanings of the terms without the explanation help).

1) Looking at the statistics of the first link, show a 59.7 cycles per minute 'Tempo' of Ervin, higher than 59.0 'Tempo' of Hall.
Also, the statistics show a lower 'Distance per Stroke' 2.17 for Ervin, than 2.18 for Hall.
Ervin was left behind Hall at the start of the race, meaning that in the swim part of the race, Ervin swam faster than Hall in order to tie him in 21.98 seconds for 50 meters freestyle.
In the swim part of the race, Ervin defeated Hall with a higher 'Tempo' or Cadence, and shorter Stroke Length.

2) Looking at the statistics of the second link, show 51.1 in the first 50 and 49.8 in the second 50 cycles per minute 'Tempo' of Montgomery, lower than 55.1 in the first 50 and 51.1 in the second 50 'Tempo' of van den Hoogenband.
Also, the statistics show a lower 'Distance per Stroke' 2.32 in the first 50 and 2.27 in the second 50 for Montgomery, than 2.54 and 2.39 for van den Hoogenband.
In 100 meters free, 47.84 by van den Hoogenband in the year 2000, defeat 49.99 by Montgomery in the year 1976, with a higher 'Tempo' or Cadence, and with a higher Stroke Length.

3) Looking at the statistics of the third link, for the first 50 meter butterfly splits, show 48.6 cycles per minute 'Tempo' for Phelps, lower than 54.6 'Tempo' for Vendt.
Also, the statistics show a higher 'Distance per Stroke' 2.19 for Phelps, than 1.86 for Vendt.
Phelps swimming in 26.16 defeats Vendt swimming in 27.45 for the first 50 meter butterfly split, with a lower 'Tempo' or Cadence, and with a higher Stroke Length.

4) Looking at the statistics of the third link, for the first 50 meter butterfly split, show a 54.6 'Tempo' for Vendt, and for the second 50 meter butterfly, show a 51,1 'Tempo' for Vendt.
Also, the statistics show for Vendt, a lower 'Distance per Stroke' 1.86 for in the first 50, than 1.88 in the second 50.
Vendt swimming in 27.45 in the first 50, is faster than Vendt swimming in 31.12 for the second 50 meter butterfly, with a higher 'Tempo' or Cadence, and with a lower Stroke Length.

5) When Erik Vendt trains by cruising in 1:12 per 100 meters in 24 cycles (and Masters swimmers cruising in 1:12 per 100 yards in 12 strokes per 25 yards -which is 24 cycles per 100 yards-, relate to this) , he has a 'Tempo' of 18 cycles in 60 seconds, and a Stroke Length of 4 meters per cycle.
When Erik Vendt races, he quickens his 'Tempo', and shortens the Stroke Length to what numbers the third link show:
51.1 'Tempo' and 1.88 meters per cycle.

So, in the five examples, what wins is:
.................................................. ...........

1) higher cadence, shorter length; (Ervin over Hall);

2) higher cadence, higher length; (van den Hoogenband over Montgomery);

3) lower cadence, higher length; (Phelps over Vendt);

4) higher cadence, shorter length; (Vendt against himself in race);

5) higher cadence, shorter length; (Vendt in race, against Vendt in training).

A particular consideration for 4) and 5) (i.e. "higher cadence, shorter length") is deserved due the fact that in 4) and 5) I compare a competitor, with his own height and reach, against himself.

I think the statements "SL (i.e.: Stroke Length) is skill-oriented.", and "SR (i.e.: Stroke Rate) is training-oriented.", are wrong.
Stroke Length and Rate are both very training-oriented from building the swimmer VO2Max, best when one is a growing teenager.
What is important in the statistics I comment on, is the peak Stroke Rate or Cadence, which can quickly decline due to lack of physical conditioning and aging.

valhallan
January 28th, 2003, 08:54 AM
Ion,

I guess this topic has been kicked around the board maybe a few times too many. Or maybe not. In any case the bottom line in your last post sums it up very nicely. Stroke length and stroke rate are both the result of good training and hard work.

I think a good way to describe cadence could be made in an analogy about swimmers and bike riding. Anyone who has ever ridden a ten speed bike knows that the bigger chain ring makes it much harder to push the pedals. But after a certain amount of speed is attained the pedals can be spun just as easily on the big ring versus the smaller one.

Think of stroke length as the bigger chain ring. It's difficult to turn it over fast unless there's an adequate amount of strength to quicken the revolution. But once force is applied to the bigger ring, it's without question the fastest gear. If you think about it, the fastest swimmers use the least amount of strokes and are usually very strong in the upper body. They can grab big amounts of water, hang onto it, and push it away with ease. Stroke length combined with power results in faster stroke rate which equals speed.

Your coach is right about getting you to swim faster speeds with a little more rest during the interval. You'll eventually get conditioned for a quicker turn over while maintaining a long stroke. Have you ever noticed how the stroke will fall apart when you get tired? It gets much shorter. Those big gears are hard to push when you are out of steam.

As far as the Total Immersion school of thought goes, there's no question that a long stretchy stroke will ultimately lead to faster swimming. I think what they initially promote about proper body positioning to achieve the longer stroke is right on. It's the glide factor which I don't buy into. Ian Thorpe is a classic example of a TI swimmer. His stroke is front quadrant all the way. But....he doesn't glide! He's got constant velocity throughout the stroke cycle and that may very well be the result of several factors, one of them being that he's got a tremendous kick.

I guess that the bottom line is that it's all just "different strokes for different folks". How's that for my 2 cents. Maybe someone will start a thread on how to best keep the chlorine smell out of the hair after a workout. Alot less controversial. :cool:

Thanks again Fast Ion for the interesting posts. You are a veritable font of swimming information. May you succeed in your quest for speed.

Val.

Kevin in MD
January 29th, 2003, 10:12 AM
Ion really points out somethign important.

Looking at race speed vs training and even a distance swimmer when he sprints as in Perkins' case.

I've got the 9 meg video o fpopov training, the one that's runngin around the interent. It's in slow motion but appears that he's swimming at training speed. In it he has some catch up, maybe technically front quadrant but not to a large degree. I also have a video of him racig klim. Much less catch up, not really front quadrant.

I think you'll find the experience the same among other folks who work on front quadrant swimming. Training, nice catch up type strokes. But come race time much less of it.

This article points out that traiing with paddles tedn to make us swim with arms more in opposition.

(http://www.education.ed.ac.uk/swim/papers4/ms.html)

My hypothesis is that in terms of performance the degree to which one exhibits front quadrant swimming is determined by whether you are trying to minimize resistance or maximize propulsion. Or rather where on the sliding scale of resistance vs propulsion you are. Shorter races tend more towards the efficient application of power; I'd expect to see less catch up. Longer races more so.

I also hypothesize that it depends on how much you have available. If you have much power available, then applying it efficiently gives a good speed boost. If however we don't have a large power reserve we will tend more toward cutting resistance.

But where does that leave us? We want to get faster and all this is really nice but does it get us anywhere. Perhaps not, we still have to train and how we should train doesn;t really need all this explanation.

If we've given a particular method the college try and have stopped improving well then it's probably time to try something else, perhaps that aspect is no longer what's holding you back. If you have worked on lowering resistance for two years and have hit a plateau maybe the resistance isn't what's holding you back any longer. Maybe it's a lack of power keeping you from your PR. Or vice versa. IN addition the same principle applies to the type of training we are doing during the workout. Maybe we don't need to work on endurance quite so much but need to work on speed more. Or the other way around, or maybe we need lactate threshold work.

When somethign quite working it's probably time to try something else. Not to say that some type of workout isn't right. It's probably not right, right now.

Ion Beza
January 29th, 2003, 11:10 PM
Originally posted by valhallan
Ion,

I guess this topic has been kicked around the board maybe a few times too many.
...
Val.
It has.

In a maze of data, with interests and beliefs at stake, I am sorting out what to think and pursue.

Originally posted by Kevin in MD

...
This article points out that traiing with paddles tedn to make us swim with arms more in opposition.
...

"...training with paddles tends to make us swim with arms more in opposition.", clicks as a 'yes' in my recollection.

Originally posted by Kevin in MD

...
(http://www.education.ed.ac.uk/swim/papers4/ms.html)
...

This recent article defines the freestyle swimming phases, as:
"...phase A: entry and catch of the hand into the water; phase B: pull; phase C: push; phase D: recovery).".

There is a material 'push' of the water.

The 'push' is considered to be in the article, a 'propulsive' phase of swimming, unlike this description in a past thread which I characterized then as being 'poetry', not real and inspired by the myth 'They're Not Hands Anymore: They're Anchors' (in page 60 of the book Total Immersion):



...
The short version is to scull with your hands to "anchor" them in the water. You then pull your body past your hands, instead of pushing water back. (It may not feel like this from your perspective, but it can be seen from the deck by a coach.)
...

Also this quote from a past thread:



...
Well, research showed that stroke rate was uncorrelated with speed. (It is highly correlated with stroke length.) Research also showed that elite swimmers were pushing back *less* water than ordinary swimmers.
...

is in contradiction with the article stating:

"These swimmers reduced the non-propulsive phases (A+D) and relatively increased the propulsive phases of pull and push (B+C)."

because reducing the non-propulsive phases, including reducing the pause advocated in Total Immersion, that's increasing the Stroke Rate (or Cadence), while increasing the pushing back of the water does push back more (not less) "...water than ordinary swimmers.".

In my last post, when Erik Vendt (US), age 21 in 2002, starts his 400 meters IM with the formidable 'Tempo' of 51.1 cycles per minute (think of the heart rate maintained for the entire duration of the race at over 210 beats per minute, think swimming VO2Max fueling oxygen into triceps, lats and legs), 'Tempo' way above some of his cruising 'Tempo' in training, and ends the 400 meters IM in 4:11.27 -breaking the world record of 4:11.79 by Tom Dolan (US)-, then Vendt has a starting 'Tempo' that he could not match with less physical conditioning from gruelling training, and he could not match after aging to say late 20s.

This tells me: train for the peak Cadence, because it is fragile and it does decline quickly.

jim thornton
January 30th, 2003, 09:50 PM
Ion,

Permit me to clarify and simplify, from my point of view, what you are saying.

There are two basic components in swimming freestyle: stroke length (SL) and stroke rate, otherwise known as turnover or cadence (C).

TI says that SL is the thing we chiefly need to worry about, and that any way you can maximize SL (that is, increase distance per stroke) is pretty much an unadulterated good thing.

The objective experience of world class sprinters, on the other hand, according to your statistics, Ion, shows that C is equally if not more important. To sprint fast, in other words, you need to be able to really turn over your stroke. Sure, it helps if each of these strokes allows you to travel a long distance. But you need to be able to stroke, stroke, stroke, etc. quickly.

Furthermore, you are suggesting that C declines with age, much as maximal heart rate itself declines with age.

Are these assumptions correct?

If so, factor in a few other semi-random thoughts I have had while debating the merits of SL vs. C.

One of the things that has bothered me a bit about the TI emphasis on SL is that this is supposed to make swimming more effortless. Intuitively that makes sense--you take fewer strokes, so it's got to be less tiring, right?

But why then are catch up drills (and TI's beloved front quadrant swimming, it seems to me, is nothing but a modified catch up drill) so utterly exhausting? I find it infinitely easier to swim at a windmill rate of 15-17 strokes per 25 yards than at a front quadrant limping 12-14 that TI suggests I am better off doing. The effort level between the two styles is not even close--the TI philosophy is absolutely exhausting! Not to mention hard on my shoulders.

Maybe partly this is because the fewer strokes per length throws your breathing off. Who knows? But besides being more tiring for me personally, it is significantly slower, as well.

My theory is that TI is best for triathletes who never learned to swim all that well, and who thrash about impotently in the water. In such a case, an emphasis on gliding makes a certain sense. Factor in that many of these folks do their "swimming" in neoprene body suits, which are akin to body kayaks, and it seems to me that TI is more about rowing a boat than swimming a body...

But perhaps I am being unfair here. All I mean to suggest is that I, like many of my friends, have tried to embrace the TI promise and found it just doesn't work for us. In fact, it's a recipe for swimming slower and at much greater expenditure of effort.

Another random thought: human bodies are different. I believe everyone has a optimum resonating frequency, if you will, a kind of musical key where SL and C come together in an individually optimal way for a given event. My own SL and C resonating frequencies are different when I swim a 50 vs. a 1650, but I have gradually learned (or perhaps intuitively discovered) what works best for these two kinds of races.

As far as C slowing down with age, I had not thought about this before, and I am not sure it is true. Or put it this way: we probably all slow down a little, but how significant is the decline. Could my 25 year old self skip rope twice as fast as I can now at 50? I suspect I might have skipped faster back then--but not hugely so.

Final suggestion: the next time you are swimming a longish set, try humming to yourself the 1812 overture, the classical piece with the cannonballs booming at the end. As you swim, start humming this slowly, then gradually pick up the pace and volume. As you reach the ever increasing crescendos of cannons firing, etc., let your stroke cadence increase to reflect this. You might surprise yourself and turnover faster than you thought you could.

Apologies to all TI devotees; didn't mean to be too obnoxious.

Ion Beza
January 31st, 2003, 11:08 AM
Originally posted by jim thornton
Ion,

Permit me to clarify and simplify, from my point of view, what you are saying.
...
Are these assumptions correct?
...

Yes.

Originally posted by jim thornton

...
As far as C slowing down with age, I had not thought about this before, and I am not sure it is true. Or put it this way: we probably all slow down a little, but how significant is the decline. Could my 25 year old self skip rope twice as fast as I can now at 50? I suspect I might have skipped faster back then--but not hugely so.
...

The peak times of Hall and Vendt, done with their own peak Cadences (or 'Tempos') of 59.0 cycles per minute, and 51.1 cycles per minute, cannot be reproduced by Hall and Vendt with less physical conditioning than they were, and cannot be reproduced by Hall and Vendt much later on in life.

Training-wise, if Hall and Vendt will join later on in life the more modest Masters Swimming, they will have their tremendous Stroke Length, but not their lifetime peak Cadences:
Masters Swimmers train more casually than Olympians, including the physical fitness to generate the top Cadence.

Age-wise (i.e.: "...but how significant is the decline."), probably with focused training over the years, the Cadence declines a little bit in step with how the heart rate declines, which is relatively not much.

The key is to have the proper training, obtaining the peak Cadence and maintaining as much of it.

In yesterday's workout, the woman swimmer who used to be an age-group swimmer at Mission Viejo and told me about the types of Cadence, was shouting at me to sprint 25s with my highest Cadence.

The result was that doing these 25s at the end of an aerobic workout, one day after a speed workout, so under extreme fatigue, I produced one 25 yards sprint from push of the wall, in 12.xx seconds.

I am thinking:
"No wonder I lost many years, before focusing now on Cadence, an important parameter in speed.".

kaelonj
January 31st, 2003, 11:52 AM
Ion,
There has been some very good points brought out in this discussion. Things to think about though is cadence isn't everything, I can get my cadence (arm turnover rate) faster than Gary Hall, that doesn't mean I will swim faster than him (It means I will have shorten my stroke or I am letting my arm slip through the water so each arm stroke is very inefficient). The bicycle analogy was pretty good, another way of thinking this is take a motorized vehicle (a Hummer is pretty close for this comparison)- say 1 gallon of gas in first gear at 6000 rpm, traveling at 20 mph will get you 2 miles (your all out sprint cadence). If you shift your car into second gear that same at 3000 RPM maintaining 20 mph will get you 2 miles with only using 1/2 gallon of gas (assuming we are taking a 2:1 gear ration from first gear or we could keep the same RPM (cadence) of 6000 and travel the same distance in a faster time. You could switch gears again to get even better performance but at some point your engine will bog down because you are trying to push gears that are too hard. I think this is a little better analogy since our body does have a fuel tank with a limited supply of energy, it can be conditioned to perform better but at some point a just a higher turnover rate or a more efficient arm pull with a lower turn over rate will not equate into more speed(hence in the racing world they are always tuning gear ratios - for boats its prop size and pitch in order to find the best performance) its a matter of finding a balance. Your 12.xx time is good, but do you think you could maintain that stroke cadence for a 50,100, 200 ? 50 maybe a 100 but for a 200 you will have to shift things around a little because of that limited power supply (and your bodied ability to rid of the waste buildup). Keep experimenting - remember you will learn from your mistakes as well as your successes.

Jeff

PS - just kidding about the Hummer

Windrath
January 31st, 2003, 02:39 PM
Jim -

Here is something to think about with regard to your comment about front quadrant swimming and catch-up stroke swimming being very tiring.

IMHO, the reason these styles are more tiring is because, especially with catch-up your legs carry more of the propulsion burden while one arm is recovering and the other arm has not started pulling yet. And, we all know, the legs are not as good as the arms when it comes to efficient propulsion.

If you watch elite swimmers doing catch-up stroke drills, they don't kick very hard, but real catch-up racers dating all the way back to Hans Fasnacht, kick like madmen.

It is for this reason that I don't promote catch-up stroke swimming for most people. Most people do not have the strength and endurance to sustain the leg power necessary for catch-up swimming.

This makes the catch-up stroke somewhat self-limiting in terms of the speed you can achieve. At the extreme it is like swimming with only one arm.

Paul Windrath

Ion Beza
January 31st, 2003, 07:56 PM
Originally posted by kaelonj
Ion,
There has been some very good points brought out in this discussion. Things to think about though is cadence isn't everything, I can get my cadence (arm turnover rate) faster than Gary Hall, that doesn't mean I will swim faster than him (It means I will have shorten my stroke or I am letting my arm slip through the water so each arm stroke is very inefficient).
...
Your 12.xx time is good, but do you think you could maintain that stroke cadence for a 50,100, 200 ? 50 maybe a 100 but for a 200 you will have to shift things around a little because of that limited power supply (and your bodied ability to rid of the waste buildup). Keep experimenting - remember you will learn from your mistakes as well as your successes.

Jeff
...

Jeff,
let's put back my statements, in the context I made them:

"Stroke Length and Rate are both very training-oriented, from building the swimmer VO2Max, best when one is a growing teenager."

is what I wrote in conclusion of my the third post.

What does this mean?

Speed (in meters/seconds) is Stroke Length (in meters/cycles) multiplied by Stroke Rate (in cycles/seconds).

Total Immersion, "...by dismissing the benefits of cadence, starting in page 31..." (as I wrote in my opening post of this thread), says work mainly on Length, and come race time use Length and Rate.

News:
Rate declines, without working on it.

I say, again:
"Stroke Length and Rate are both very training-oriented, from building the swimmer VO2Max, best when one is a growing teenager."

"Your 12.xx time is good, but do you think you could maintain that stroke cadence for a 50,100, 200 ?":

.) For a former age-group swimmer who trains now like an adult staying in shape, 12.xx time for 25 yards free, means a heart rate of say 150 beats per minute, with the swimmer VO2Max of maybe 7 blood vessels connecting the heart with the triceps, blood vessels that were developed when swimming during the teenage development of the body.

A 100 yards free in 48.xx, is then conceivable for this adult, with:
a heart rate in the first 25 yards of 150, in the second 25 -maintaining the same Cadence through fatigue- of 160, in the third 25 -maintaining the same Cadence through fatigue- of 170, and in the fourth 25 -maintaining the same Cadence through fatigue- of 180.

.) For a late starter in swimming, not having the swimmer VO2Max of 7 blood vessels connecting the heart with the triceps, there is instead a swimmer VO2Max of maybe 4 blood vessels connecting the heart with the triceps, blood vessels developed as an adult when training accordingly.

A 12.xx for 25 yards free, requires then for this late starter, a heart rate say of 170 beats per minute.

Starting a 100 free with 170, when the adult's maximum heart rate is 180, that's bad news.

The principle of improving the adult's swimming VO2Max is like for the teenage age-grouper, it is only harder when the body doesn't grow much anymore.

One adult can use this increased VO2Max in delivering and maintaining a superior Cadence:
5 blood vessels is better than 4 blood vessels, exactly like for a race car 12 cylinders is better than 8 cylinders.

Now, we go back to the context I stated for the Cadence work I did, and produced a 12.xx in 25 yards free:
"The result was that doing these 25s at the end of an aerobic workout, one day after a speed workout, so under extreme fatigue, I produced one 25 yards sprint from push off the wall, in 12.xx seconds."

I see this VO2Max workout trying to produce the 5th blood vessel, here.

As for you, Terry Laughlin of Total Immersion, and others saying that you have a high Cadence like Gary Hall does, but that you need to work on Stroke Length, I re-iterate my post:
"Stroke Length and Rate are both very training-oriented, from building the swimmer VO2Max, best when one is a growing teenager.".

Rate and Length work, they have vastly different results depending on the physionomy of each person, and there is no reason for any competitive swimmer to neglect the peak Rate in workouts until race time, because the peak Rate disappears if it is untrained.

Jim VB
February 1st, 2003, 11:11 PM
Does a low stroke count cause excellent and fast swimming, or does excellent and fast swimming cause low stroke count? If cities with a lot of country music have more suicides, does one cause the other? I think JimT's comment about breathing is interesting. An excellent distance swimmer with 15 strokes per length gets 7 breaths every 15 seconds (holding minutes per hundred) . Meanwhile, as a slower swimmer, if I am at 18 strokes per length, I get 9 breaths every 25 seconds (holding 1:40 per hundred). this is a lot less air. If I go to 16 strokes and 8 breaths it seems to hurt, not help. The less breaths does not make me go faster than 1:40. In fact it is slower and it does not feel good at all.

cinc3100
February 2nd, 2003, 11:10 PM
I agree with you Ion that speed declines with age. Just because there are some 45 plus people doing near best times or best times doesn't mean that everyone else does. The times for women in 50 yard freestyle from the 20's to the 45-49 age group proves your point. The youngest age group have a national qualifying time of 27.98 for 19-24 year olds and 29.83 for women in the 45 to 49 year old age group. Other age groups in their 20's to early 40's are in-between. But the decline really starts to take place with the 45 to 49 age group. For example in the younger age groups in 100 yard freestyle the time is between 1:01.97 to 1:02.97 for the 40 to 44, but over a 3 second jump to 1:06.15 in the 45 to 49 age group. In strokes like breastroke and butterfly and backstroke there are more differences between the age groups 45 plus and the younger age groups in 50's and 100's. For example, the 19 to 24 age women 50 yard backstroke is 32.64 and the 45 to 49 age group time is 35.82. In butterfly the 50 yard time is 30.96 and in the 45 to 49 age is 32.62. Also, their is over a 3 second difference in breastroke. In the 19 to 24 year old age group the National qualifying time is 36.63 and in the 45 to 49 age group its 40.11. And the 100's in breastroke and butterfly and backstoke their are bigger time gaps.

Gail Roper
February 3rd, 2003, 10:46 AM
My 2 cents worth…


No matter at what age you start training, you need to work very hard to reach the top.

Working hard does not mean doing mega yardage.

Working hard means focusing hard on training right.

You need to begin with efficiency in the water, also called proper technique.

Efficient swimmers take less strokes per length.

Efficiency takes a lot of hard work in paying attention to how your hands and arms are pitched underwater. A quarter of an inch the wrong way can be crucial.

There are different cadences for each distance that you race. The 50 is different from the 100, the 100 different from the 200, etc.

You need to work hard at determining and using the different cadences for each distance.
This can be practiced by training at the different cadences. Train at the cadence you want to use in your race.

You need sprint enduance for each race, not workout enduance for mega yardage.

In general, sprinters focus on a quick catch with a steady kick and instant downward press while distance swimmers focus on a catch up stroke and integrated kick.

Power and strength in the water are critical to speed and stroke length, this is not power and strength in the weight room.

Individuals vary in their strength, flexibility and mental focus. One drill that helps one swimmer might ruin another.

A really good coach can discern what a swimmers good stroke assets are and help eliminate the poor ones. Most masters coaches unfortunately are "group trainers" and only by individual instruction can you gain insight into your stroke analysis.

There are enough videos of great swimmers around that anyone can readily study.

A word to the wise is sufficient. If you can determine what you need to do, it is your responsibility to do it. A swimmer can be told in five minutes what to do, but it might take them five years of hard work to do it.

Ion Beza
February 3rd, 2003, 07:17 PM
Originally posted by cinc310
I agree with you Ion that speed declines with age. Just because there are some 45 plus people doing near best times or best times doesn't mean that everyone else does.
...

Yes.

I think that Richard Abrahams in Swim Magazine from Nov/Dec 2002, is on to something that works in the only exceptional cases that exist:

"You have to trick yourself," he explains. "A lot of our workouts are designed to trick ourselves into performing at a really high level."

cinc3100
February 3rd, 2003, 11:10 PM
I agree with some of what Mr Abrams said. Its hard to do what he is talking about-it takes guts. I tried to swim a 100 yard breastroke at full speed and the last 25 I died-this was in practice. Maybe, its because I'm not in prime shape and breastroke is a more difficult stroke than freestyle. The underwater pulling takes your breath away.

Gail Roper
February 4th, 2003, 10:17 AM
Swimmers age at different times, depending on how you have abused your body in your lifetime and from genetic programing. One of the first things you notice is that the breaststroke pulldowns begin to get difficult. You need to decide between getting an advantage in doing the pull down and paying for it with increased oxygen debt. That is why you see a lot of older swimmers not doing it and not doing flip turns. Not easy getting old. It is a lot more physically painful to swim in competition, but we keep doing it.......

Fisch
February 4th, 2003, 11:58 AM
Gail,
I like/agree w/ what you said.

What is "integrated kicking" in the distance stroke?

Thanks.

valhallan
February 4th, 2003, 08:15 PM
Ion,

I guess this topic wasn't a dead horse after all.

And just a quick note to Gail...very nicely put. You must be a terrific coach. I think the best coaches are the ones who can communicate with their athletes 'how' and 'why' they should be doing things. And most importantly understanding the specific goals for each athlete.

Swimming is indeed a very complex sport to analize, but can be broken down into some very simple concepts. It's putting all that know-how to work that can be difficult.

Regards, Val.

Gail Roper
February 4th, 2003, 08:33 PM
Thank you for the kine remarks.....By integrated kicking I mean kicking in synchronization with the arm stroke. This is whether you have a 2,4 or 6 beat kick. If you have a six beat kick, beat #1 and 4 should be timed when the downbeat is kicking the entering arm forward. When the right foot kicks down on beat 1, the right arm enters the water, left foot kicks down when the left arm enters the water at beat #4. Hope this helps......it takes practice.....

Gail Roper
February 4th, 2003, 08:37 PM
Oops, sorry, I meant kind remarks...thanks

cinc3100
February 5th, 2003, 01:24 AM
Breathing is harder with age. But its worst if the weather increases the situation. The recent meet I swam I couldn't do the underpull for very long because the wind made my sinus condition worst. And your right that people age differently. I think that people in my age group which is a very young age group compared to some of them, are similar to when they were 11-12 years old. This is of course the females in that age group-the 45 to 49 age group. I swim my 50 yard breastroke at the same speed I did at 12 years old. At 12 years old I didn't swim 100 yards or 200 since, so I can't compared those times.

Bert Petersen
February 5th, 2003, 01:12 PM
The problem with this discussion is that there are so many variables that affect "cadence"...... For instance :
1. Physical make-up of the swimmer...long arms ? strong kick ? tall person ? quick-twitch muscles ?
2. The race itself. 50 ? 100 ? And what stroke are we addressing ?
I mean, my cadence on a 50 fly is radically different than on a 200 fly.

Bert

Bert Petersen
February 5th, 2003, 01:15 PM
I want Gail Roper as my coach.........
She makes a lot of sense without resorting to highly technical speech.
Bert

Ion Beza
February 5th, 2003, 09:37 PM
Originally posted by Bert Petersen
The problem with this discussion is that there are so many variables that affect "cadence"...... For instance :
1. Physical make-up of the swimmer...long arms ? strong kick ? tall person ? quick-twitch muscles ?
2. The race itself. 50 ? 100 ? And what stroke are we addressing ?
I mean, my cadence on a 50 fly is radically different than on a 200 fly.

Bert
Bert,

these variables had been addressed at the beginning of the thread.

Ion Beza
February 5th, 2003, 09:40 PM
In general, off the shelf answers in the past two days, address trivial general experience.

The thread started and continued with specifics.