View Full Version : Stroke Count Estimation

Namor

December 15th, 2007, 08:04 AM

I have been looking at this article on estimating baseline stroke counts

http://www.usaswimming.org/USASWeb/ViewMiscArticle.aspx?TabId=518&Alias=rainbow&Lang=en&mid=936&ItemId=1010

I have relatively short arms and the method produces quite a high stroke count. It does make quite difference though whether I measure wrist to wrist as suggested or (say) finger tip to finger tip.

Does anyone have a view on whether the method suggested produces reasonable targets?

Thanks,

Namor

Glenn

December 15th, 2007, 06:10 PM

It seems like a very cumbersome way to find your stroke count target. May I suggest that you simply count your strokes and then try to see how many fewer you can do by stretching/reaching, keeping a high elbow, front quadrant swimming etc.

If it takes you 28 strokes to swim 25 yards, see if you can get it down to 21. Someone will correct me if I am wrong, but top Masters swimmers are probably going 12 freestyle strokes per length or better (depending upon speed and underwater breakout of course.)

jim clemmons

December 15th, 2007, 08:13 PM

Does anyone have a view on whether the method suggested produces reasonable targets?

Thanks,

Namor

An alternate view - try this calculation:

Take your height (inches, feet or yards) and divide that number into the length of the pool (gotta convert to same i.e., inches, feet or yards) and that number will give you how many strokes you (roughly) should be taking. Of course it will decrease the better your underwater work is.

Example:

I am 6' tall. 6 feet goes into 75 feet (25 yds) 12.5 times. On a good day I will be at 11 to 13 strokes per length. I can decrease that number by working the underwater portion better. On a rough day, (or race like a 1000 or 1650), I will approach 14 or 15 strokes per length as I approach the end of the race and I have a harder time staying underwater (as high as 16).

Make sense?

notsofast

December 16th, 2007, 08:09 AM

Try this formula:

Start with your height.

Subtract one foot.

Convert that answer into feet. (In other words, four foot one would be 4.083333.)

Divide that number into 60.

The result is optimum strokes per pool length on a 25-yard pool.

So, if you are six foot three: 60/5.25 = 11.4. Five foot one would be 60/4.25 = 14.7.

I'm making some assumptions here:

- You break out at the flags. (That's where 60 comes from. It's the distance in feet from the flags to the other end.)

- Your hand is approximately six inches from tip to wrist. (That's why you subtract one foot from your height. It also means this formula won't work for youngsters.)

- Your height is approximately equal to your wingspan.

Of these assumptions, the one that changes the answer most is where you break out. If you break out well short of the flags, add one. If you break out well past the flags, subtract one.

SCM pools are three feet longer, but I guess the flags are a little farther out, so you shouldn't need a whole extra stroke. So add a half.

I don't know the swimming theory, but I'm a pretty good estimator, and this exercise sounds like one where a quick answer imparts as much useful information as a precise one. I say that because the thing that is difficult to measure - distance from wrist to wrist - can be estimated well enough from a person's height. The actual calculation might be a couple of inches different, but it won't significantly affect the answer.

By significant, I mean three strokes or more. It sure sounds like the optimal will usually be 11 to 13 for people of average height, 14 or 15 for short people. If that's your actual SPL, you know that fact and you know you are close to optimum. At that point you should be trying to minimize SPL with no lower boundary. After all, is it physically impossible to travel more than the wrist-to-wrist distance in a single stroke?

If you are considerably higher, say 18 SPL, it doesn't make much difference if your optimum is 11 or 12 or 13. You know you have some work to do.

I'd be interested if anyone uses this method, compares it with the method at the usaswimming site and comes up with an answer that differs by more than one or two.

allenhighnote

December 16th, 2007, 03:41 PM

May I suggest that you simply count your strokes and then try to see how many fewer you can do by stretching/reaching, keeping a high elbow, front quadrant swimming etc.

If it takes you 28 strokes to swim 25 yards, see if you can get it down to 21. Someone will correct me if I am wrong, but top Masters swimmers are probably going 12 freestyle strokes per length or better (depending upon speed and underwater breakout of course.)

Glenn is correct. While an estimate may be derived using a formula as suggested in the article. What's the point, start with where you are at and work on lowering that number to something reasonable. Remember that tempo should not suffer for the sake of DPS.

My stoke count is 11 per 25 but if I really focus on a 15 meter SDK I bet I can get that down to 4-6 strokes per length but speed would suffer.

It really depends on too many factors such as streamline, flexibility, catch, kick, strength, arm length, height, etc. A formula may approximate it but I don't think it serves much use for most masters swimmers. :2cents:

I like the way the article ended.

From Jonty Skinner's Article:

By cutting out one stroke per lap at all training intensity levels, you could begin the slow process of adapting to a higher level of racing efficiency. However although there is a very high correlation between efficiency at low and high velocity, just working on Distance Per Stroke won’t get the job done. A coach should always balance elements of efficiency and tempo work into their practice, and allow the athlete to adapt to a variety of loads during the development phase of the season.

Namor

December 16th, 2007, 05:02 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions. I was curious to try to get some idea of a stroke count to aim for but agree that experimentation in the pool is the most important thing!

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