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View Full Version : Pacing,we don't need no stinking pacing



Allen Stark
January 11th, 2008, 08:09 PM
I had a swimming experience that makes me rethink my approach to the 200 BR.2006 I swam a 2:48.34 200 SCM BR in a very well paced swim and was happy with it(it was the AA time.) At the SPMA meet I went out way too slow and swam a 2:52.40 and was not happy with it.Jim Clemmons went 2:46.33 at that meet.The next week I had the opportunity to swim another 200 BR and was determined to"redeem" myself.I didn't think I could match Jim's time,but I knew I could do better than the prior meet.My plan was to go out somewhere between fast and too fast because there was no way I was taking it out too slow again.My splits were
37.14,41.49,42.56,45.17 for a 2:46.36.OK Jim beat me by .03 sec(in the probable AA time) and it hurt like hell the last 50,but that was my fastest time in about 5 years. I can't explain it.Ideas?

rtodd
January 11th, 2008, 08:11 PM
YOU GOT MAD.

fastjack
January 11th, 2008, 08:19 PM
Pacing in a 200 I don't think any one should do this (pace).

You should be able to go nearly top speed all the way.

I would sooner drop off my speed at the end of a race.

It is easier to win from the front in a 200 then to save it til the end.

blainesapprentice
January 11th, 2008, 09:40 PM
Pacing in a 200 I don't think any one should do this (pace).

You should be able to go nearly top speed all the way.

I would sooner drop off my speed at the end of a race.

It is easier to win from the front in a 200 then to save it til the end.

I agree with your last statement full heartedly--unfortunately I know how it feels to be out in front and lose it on the last 50 or 25 even just because you have nothing left. So...I have resorted to what might be a worser evil and I inevitably negative split my 200 free in meets....fortunately, I do manage to win this way, but I think I could be much faster if I brought more to my first 100. I like the 75 50 75 pacing... first 75 long and strong, 50 build to a 75 all out sprint. I'm gonna try that out on Monday at our next dual meet. We'll see how much better that works/feels.

meldyck
January 11th, 2008, 10:08 PM
I had a swimming experience that makes me rethink my approach to the 200 BR.2006 I swam a 2:48.34 200 SCM BR in a very well paced swim and was happy with it(it was the AA time.) At the SPMA meet I went out way too slow and swam a 2:52.40 and was not happy with it.Jim Clemmons went 2:46.33 at that meet.The next week I had the opportunity to swim another 200 BR and was determined to"redeem" myself.I didn't think I could match Jim's time,but I knew I could do better than the prior meet.My plan was to go out somewhere between fast and too fast because there was no way I was taking it out too slow again.My splits were
37.14,41.49,42.56,45.17 for a 2:46.36.OK Jim beat me by .03 sec(in the probable AA time) and it hurt like hell the last 50,but that was my fastest time in about 5 years. I can't explain it.Ideas?

I have had similar experiences. In Tempe in November I swam the 1500 SCM. My strategy was to swim it for a good 800 time and just hang on. I went out as hard as I could and just stayed with it as long as possible. The result: a lifetime best 800 and a lifetime best 1500 as well.

I had the same kind of experience in Federal Way with my breaststroke. In the 100 I went out as hard as possible and got lifetime bests in both the 50 and 100. My 100 was nearly 2.5 seconds faster than my best college time almost 50 years ago. But before swimming the 100 I raced the 200 with the same strategy. The pain was miserable in the last 50 but the results for the 100 split told me what I needed to know for the race in the 100.

To Hell with pacing..just die like a pig!

SwimStud
January 11th, 2008, 11:03 PM
I had a swimming experience that makes me rethink my approach to the 200 BR.2006 I swam a 2:48.34 200 SCM BR in a very well paced swim and was happy with it(it was the AA time.) At the SPMA meet I went out way too slow and swam a 2:52.40 and was not happy with it.Jim Clemmons went 2:46.33 at that meet.The next week I had the opportunity to swim another 200 BR and was determined to"redeem" myself.I didn't think I could match Jim's time,but I knew I could do better than the prior meet.My plan was to go out somewhere between fast and too fast because there was no way I was taking it out too slow again.My splits were
37.14,41.49,42.56,45.17 for a 2:46.36.OK Jim beat me by .03 sec(in the probable AA time) and it hurt like hell the last 50,but that was my fastest time in about 5 years. I can't explain it.Ideas?

Allen, I also say you got mad, dug deep and found some. Kudos. I wish I could do that time SCY!

Allen Stark
January 11th, 2008, 11:24 PM
Yes,I was mad at myself from the previous week.The pain of a disappointing time lasts longer than the pain of a hard race.

Paul Smith
January 12th, 2008, 08:00 PM
Pacing in a 200 I don't think any one should do this (pace).

You should be able to go nearly top speed all the way.

I would sooner drop off my speed at the end of a race.

It is easier to win from the front in a 200 then to save it til the end.

Fast...your correct...the 200 is no longer a "paced" event its 100% all out the entire way....and really so is the 400/500 anymore. It's a differant world for us old-schoolers!!

Chris Stevenson
January 13th, 2008, 08:17 AM
No one can TRULY sprint a 200 all out, but one can attack the first half aggressively or conservatively. I've had success and failures with both strategies.

The advantage of being aggressive is that you can be pretty sure you've held nothing back by the end of the race. The problem is that we tend to become more inefficient as we tire (I find this to be particularly true in butterfly). Plus the memory of over-aggressive failures tends to be particularly acute: muscles screaming, lungs starved for oxygen while watching someone motor past and feeling helpless to do anything about it. And physical recovery from (over-)agressive races can sometimes takes longer, which is a consideration if you are swimming many events in one day.

Conservative races require a little different mindset. You go for "easy speed" the first half. The entire race, you are gearing up mentally for the last 75 yards (or whatever). When you reach that point, you accelerate into those turns and explode off them, sprinting your way past your competitors. It can be a great feeling when it works. BUT it doesn't always work, because sometimes "easy speed" seems to tire one more than it should and you're left with the unsatisfied feeling that you didn't give it your best shot. Personally, I really really hate that feeling.

As I said, both strategies can work. My own advice is that you should race like you train. Do you attack sets and then hang on for dear life at the end? Or do you naturally tend to build into them, doing your best repeats at the end of the set? If you tend to swim agressively, then you need to train yourself to swim efficiently and fast even when you are dog tired. If you tend to negative-split, you need to train your "easy speed" and make sure you can bump the intensity up a notch smoothly and on demand.

You should also practice your strategy at or near race-pace speed and intensities. Don't just wait for the meets.

Chris

geochuck
January 13th, 2008, 09:24 AM
As a competitive swimmer is it Pacing when in a final to try and be with the leader. Match him/her nose to nose, letting the other person set the tone of the race. It could be it is faster than you normally would swim. Then it will be a duel at the end.

I hated races where the fastest time won the race and there was no matchup of the top 8 finalists. I would rather win in a final. Even if my last 50 was very slow.

gull
January 13th, 2008, 12:12 PM
With all due respect to Allen and Paul (whose comments may have been made tongue-in-cheek), I have to disagree. I think that more often than not the average Masters swimmer will get burned in events 200 and up if he or she does not pace it properly. Unlike the two of you, most of the people reading these posts are not "elite" Masters swimmers and have neither the technique nor the conditioning to do what you suggest and still finish strong. Maglischo, in Swimming Fastest, has an excellent discussion on pacing strategies, with data from several Olympic performances. When we mortals take out a race too fast, we pay dearly for it at the end, and it is not pretty.

rtodd
January 13th, 2008, 12:20 PM
I think a great swimmer can take out a 200 like a 100. Anyone olympians included who take out a 200 like a 50 is going to pay for it. My opinion.

JimRude
January 13th, 2008, 01:27 PM
I agree with Chris, I don't think it's physiologically possible to swim the 200 at 100% the whole way. The key, I think, is to train so that you can swim the first 100 as fast as possible while limiting the build-up of lactic acid.

We did lots of this during the 1980s in college (dating myself here) - lots of broken 200s, etc.

new
January 13th, 2008, 02:04 PM
I agree, is impossible to swim the 200 at 100%!

For example, look at the 200 Breaststroke World record, set in 2006.

Hansen vs Kitajima.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLuGCo0nSg8&feature=related

Watch the rhythm during the first 100 (less strokes more power from kicking), and then the second part (more power from arms with faster strokes)

You have to save energy for the second half, that's why coaches get mad when breastrokers save too much for the second half and don't make their times. I always hear about that.

SwimStud
January 13th, 2008, 02:35 PM
Fast...your correct...the 200 is no longer a "paced" event its 100% all out the entire way....and really so is the 400/500 anymore. It's a differant world for us old-schoolers!!

Can't agree with that, at least not on a 200BR, while there may be no loafing and planning of reserved energy for a negative split...there is still "a pacing" that goes on. Take it out "long" and work the glide for the first 100 then start cranking.
Admittedly for a top level swimmer the strategic approach vs a gut buster effort from the dive may only yield in a second or two difference but that's big news in swimming as we all know. To a good masters swimmer I think the the difference will be amplified.

Robert Strand
January 13th, 2008, 03:32 PM
When in shape, not really at this point, I like to take a 200 breastroke out 3 seconds slower then my current 100 time. I think the perfect 200 for me split wise was, I believe I was 48 at the time, were splits of 30, 35, 35, 35=2:15. You want to get out solid and reasonably confortable at the 100. You can not afford a major lactic build-up at 4 laps. For me, when swimming well, I am thru turn six before I start to really feel it. At this point you just dig in and hold on and make sure you get a quality turn at 7.

stillwater
January 13th, 2008, 05:06 PM
If I remember my education from the old college days, 100% energy expenditure lasts about six seconds. Then you slow down.

All sprints are paced, the 100 meter dash, or the 50 free. The 200 is just a bit more vomit inducing.

Sorry to bring up vomit again.

The Fortress
January 13th, 2008, 05:10 PM
I can't even do a 100 at 100%. Can't imagine doing a 200 that way.

I agree with what Chris and Gull said. I'm a back half-er that hates dying.

Allen Stark
January 13th, 2008, 07:59 PM
Gull,I was not recommending this way.My preference is to go 4 sec faster the first 50 than the others and keep the last 3 50s even or slightly negatively split.I do almost all my breaststroke training at race pace and that is the 200 pace I try to hold(for 100 or in a broken 200.) That is why this race was so strange,I did it "wrong" based on my preconceived notions and swam faster than I anticipated. Note my first 50 was out in 37. I went 33.73 the week before in the 50 so even"too fast" was not all out.

Glenn
January 13th, 2008, 08:43 PM
Hi Bob,

Welcome to the USMS forum! Glad you found us. See you at the pool.

Glenn

BTW, my 2 cents - as a second half swimmer I have tried to go under 2:00 for the 200 free getting as close as 2:00.64. I haven't been able to break 2:00 by going out in 57 or in 58 or 59. Given my splits in the 100 at Federal Way (27.12 and 27.19) I think I need to take the 200 out in 1:01 and bring it back in 58. But that's me, I'd rather come from behind and run the leaders down than to tie up and be helpless the last 50.

Redbird Alum
January 13th, 2008, 09:41 PM
I like the 75 50 75 pacing... first 75 long and strong, 50 build to a 75 all out sprint. I'm gonna try that out on Monday at our next dual meet. We'll see how much better that works/feels.

Morgan - Please let us know how this turned out.

blainesapprentice
January 13th, 2008, 09:49 PM
Morgan - Please let us know how this turned out.

I certainly will. I am swimming the 200 free and the 500 free as well as anchoring the 400freestyle relay tomorrow at our double duel meet (as long as the snow doesn't cancel the meet). I have a race in both events...so hopefully I'll have some best times:-)

Dennis Tesch
January 13th, 2008, 10:11 PM
The more I think abou this statement of pacing the more I believe that pacing is only a what to measure and plan how you swim a race. It gives us ideas and anaylsis of how we can train and try to race. When I really think about the truely great races I've seen or raced myself something happened that made the race better. Maybe it was an outside influence of a better swimmer you stayed with or you felt great and worked the 3rd 50 harder. Maybe like this thread has stated that you were mad (highly motivated) to swim faster...... I always love the race where someone misses a turn and then has to work their ass off to catch up and they actually swim faster....

I really think sticking to your pacing plan limits you and keeps you inside the box - sometimes something has to happen to take you out of the box. That is when you have the break out swims...

As for swimming 100%... isn't this relative? I mean you have 100 % sprint, 100% mid-distance, and 100% distance. It all about effort and figuring out what your best swim is in whatever event you are in. Now if you want to talk 100% maximum velocity, then a 200 is no where near your 50 max velocity...:confused:

Paul Smith
January 14th, 2008, 09:28 AM
With all due respect to Allen and Paul (whose comments may have been made tongue-in-cheek), I have to disagree. I think that more often than not the average Masters swimmer will get burned in events 200 and up if he or she does not pace it properly. Unlike the two of you, most of the people reading these posts are not "elite" Masters swimmers and have neither the technique nor the conditioning to do what you suggest and still finish strong. Maglischo, in Swimming Fastest, has an excellent discussion on pacing strategies, with data from several Olympic performances. When we mortals take out a race too fast, we pay dearly for it at the end, and it is not pretty.

Gull, I actually wasn't joking. But to clarify I do think there is some level of pacing in all races...and in my case I was always an even splitting/negative splitting swimmer in the 200/500.

My point really was that the way you swim people like Thorpe, Phelps, etc. now swim these distances although it is certainly not 100% all out it is very fast. Jim Montgomery and I discussed this at Wolrds last year, he said he never won a race in the 200 that he didn't attack on the first half like a sprint...and the time drops and incredible times we now see in these events shows much less "old school" pacing (although I'll never change).

Also, disagree with what level i or anyone else is at as far as training/racing like this...face it the 200 in particular is one of the most painful distances in swimming and if swimmers don't start out right away learning to be aggressive vs. holding back and "finishing strong" they may never figure out just how good they can be....

geochuck
January 14th, 2008, 10:12 AM
In the 50s my fastest time for a 50y was 23.1 sec. When I swam the 100y in 50+ sec, I went out in 23+ on the way to a 100. I was going as fast as I could for the 50y and the drop off was greater in the last 50.

You must remember the technique changes and training methods have changed and I would probably have finished the last 50 in the same time as I would have been in much better condition.

gull
January 14th, 2008, 11:26 AM
If anyone in my age group (50-54 as of 2/9) is reading this and planning to swim the 200, 500, or 1000 at Nationals in May, I encourage you to take it out very fast.

SwimStud
January 14th, 2008, 11:42 AM
If anyone in my age group (50-54 as of 2/9) is reading this and planning to swim the 200, 500, or 1000 at Nationals in May, I encourage you to take it out very fast.
LOL:rofl:

Paul Smith
January 14th, 2008, 11:45 AM
If anyone in my age group (50-54 as of 2/9) is reading this and planning to swim the 200, 500, or 1000 at Nationals in May, I encourage you to take it out very fast.

So you mean splitting it like this (yeah I know this is LCM but you get the point):

Montgomery, Jim 51 DAMM-USA 2:08.12
29.22 1:01.85 (32.63)
1:35.22 (33.37) 2:08.12 (32.90)

gull
January 14th, 2008, 12:17 PM
Yes, I mean splitting it like that, as opposed to this:

Smith, Paul L 47 TYR-USA 2:01.48 2:00.44W
28.66 59.23 (30.57)
1:30.10 (30.87) 2:00.44 (30.34)

Fortunately for me, not everyone in my age group is an Olympian or former all-American.

Paul Smith
January 14th, 2008, 01:04 PM
Yes, I mean splitting it like that, as opposed to this:

Smith, Paul L 47 TYR-USA 2:01.48 2:00.44W
28.66 59.23 (30.57)
1:30.10 (30.87) 2:00.44 (30.34)

Fortunately for me, not everyone in my age group is an Olympian or former all-American.


Thanks for reminding me of how badly I swam that race....and lost...because was such a wuss taking it out! :frustrated:

Blackbeard's Peg
January 14th, 2008, 01:36 PM
Here's a great example of some pretty consistent splits:

2005 USMS SCY Nationals, Fort Lauderdale:

Grover, Mollie BCAT 1:58.36
28.33 (28.33) 58.35 (30.02)
1:28.35 (30.00) 1:58.36 (30.01)

:weightlifter:

gull
January 14th, 2008, 02:07 PM
Here is how I split a 200 (scy) last year:

29.74 1:01.06 (31.32)
1:32.45 (31.39) 2:02.94 (30.49)

which is only a .82 difference between the first and second 100.

blainesapprentice
January 14th, 2008, 06:12 PM
Okay--I am back from my meet..and I must say...75-50-75 does not work as well as I had hoped. I think a lot of racing just has to do with your competition, I tried the long and strong 75 and ended up going out in a 29. and a 30. for a first 100 time of 1:00.something. Then I did a 31. and a 31. for a grand total of 2:04.0 (dang those stupid .somethings that add up to be whole seconds!) So, in conclusion, the new method made me no faster, and no slower. I did the same time in my last meet. Back to the drawing board.

hofffam
January 15th, 2008, 02:01 PM
Pacing in a 200 I don't think any one should do this (pace).

You should be able to go nearly top speed all the way.

I would sooner drop off my speed at the end of a race.

It is easier to win from the front in a 200 then to save it til the end.

This suggestion is not based on any science. No one in the real world, even elites are close to a 200 time that is 4 X their 50 time. Cesar Cielo can swim a 50 in 18.74. His 100 is about 42.0 or 2.2 X his 50 time. His 200 time?? Probably around 1:34 or 5 X his 50 time.

You use up your muscle glycogen in 25-30 secs. That's why you can get away with almost not breathing in a 50. Your body needs to tap into additional energy sources to race for 2 minutes. This kind of energy requires oxygen to use. Pacing is required.

I think that many today are very aggressive in their pacing - which guarantees they will leave everything in the pool. That may be a safer strategy than going out too slow and finishing a race regretting not swimming hard enough. It is easy to see how this varies by swimmer. When Phelps races Crocker in 100 fly - Crocker clearly beats Phelps to the first wall, but Phelps reels him in on the back 50. Phelps just doesn't have the speed of Crocker but has better endurance.

Blackbeard's Peg
January 15th, 2008, 04:57 PM
Okay--I am back from my meet..and I must say...75-50-75 does not work as well as I had hoped. I think a lot of racing just has to do with your competition, I tried the long and strong 75 and ended up going out in a 29. and a 30. for a first 100 time of 1:00.something. Then I did a 31. and a 31. for a grand total of 2:04.0 (dang those stupid .somethings that add up to be whole seconds!) So, in conclusion, the new method made me no faster, and no slower. I did the same time in my last meet. Back to the drawing board.

Morgan, Not a shabby time for this time of year... and for a sprinter ;).
Speaking of competition, did you have anyone to race?

blainesapprentice
January 15th, 2008, 05:09 PM
Morgan, Not a shabby time for this time of year... and for a sprinter ;).
Speaking of competition, did you have anyone to race?

Yeah. I had someone to race. and she beat me in both the 200 and 500 haha. by freaking 2 tenths of a second in the 200 and 4seconds in the 500. I am lame. I should have beaten her.