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B70 Assist Analysis & Data

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Had two kids home with the flu yesterday, so didn't get a chance to workout. Will swim later today.

I did, however, get a chance to compile the data to answer Jim's challenge on the "Ban the Tech Suit" thread. He has claimed/posted that much (not all) of my recent improvement is due to B70 use. I looked at events that I had swum 3+ times since 2006 or so. After looking at the times, I don't feel like I'm getting a "huge" assist from my B70s, though the suit definitely helps you swim fast(er) unrested. (Technically, I'm never completely unrested for meets, as I usually do a 3 day very mini taper.) There were only 4 of the 13 events where I had what I consider significant time drops after using a B70 (indicated with a * below) -- and in each race it was a brand new B70 suit. These events, swum at the IGLA meet last June (and one in Auburn after a 10 month hiatus), have other confounding factors that could account for the drops, although I concede the B70 accounts for a portion of the drop: (1) there was a 6 month time gap between the SCM swims; (2) I switched from an old recordbreaker Pro (6 meets + use) to a new B70; (3) I had just started lifting "heavy" to be "non-weak" and was about 5 weeks into this effort, and (4) I only swam 3 events at the IGLA meet instead of the 7 events I swam at NE Champs the preceding December. I think these 4 factors weight heavily in the analysis. Plus, Hulk said I looked much stronger in the water at IGLA. With respect to the 100 IM, I had been lifting heavy for almost 10 months before dropping significant time at Auburn last month. Plus, I've just been training more in the last 10 months.

In any event, here is the time progression. It is mostly linear. I feel like my biggest drops were during serious (2 week) tapers, particularly at Austin in 2008 and Auburn in 2009 where I swam in very fast pools. I think fast pools make a difference. In Auburn, moreover, my drops were from previous B70 swims. I've tried to indicate meets that I did a 2 week taper for with a "T" below. However, I'm a little foggy on this as my first couple years I didn't really taper, just sort of rested up a bit a swam. I've also indicted which suit I was wearing, where I remember. I used an FSI and FSII fairly interchangeably for a period of time. If I can't remember which one I was wearing, I just wrote FS. Recordbreaker Pros are listed as R-Pro; Hi Neck Pro is listed as H-Pro. Times are listed in chronological order, of course.

In the final analysis, it appears that unrested B70 swims are largely comparable to tapered non-B70 swims, but not always. Of course, this is significant. Without this factor, I would likely not have had a linear progression of times. But is not comparable to a claim that the B70 takes "huge chunks" of time off and gives you automatic lifetime bests. My sense (I recall Ande and Patrick agreed) is that the B70 helps more on longer events than sprints. Perhaps the buoyancy which helps counter fatigue is more significant in longer races. My fastest times, at least in SCY, were just done this Feb. after changing my taper. I had used a B70 in previous races, so don't feel that the improvements can be attributed to the B70.

Any other analysis or commentary is welcome.

Backstroke Events:

50 Back SCY:

31.17 (poly tank)(10/05)
30.25 (FS II)(4/06)
29.92 (FS II (Nats)(5/06)
30.45 (FS II)(10/06)
30.15 (FS II)(4/07)
29.80 (R-Pro)(11/07)
29.55 (H-Pro)(4/08)
29.34 (H-Pro, Nats)(T)(5/08)
29.16 (B70)(9/08)
28.5 (B70)(T)(2/09)

B70 Assist: less than .2

100 Back SCY:

1:06.5 (FS II, Nats)(5/06)
2 year gap
1:04.7 (H-Pro)(T)(5/08)
1:04.7 (B70)(9/08)(Geek 9/27!)
1:02.8 (B70)(T)(2/08)

B70 Assist: No difference

50 Back SCM:

33.8 (FS II)(4/06)
33.2 (R-Pro)(T)(12/07)
31.7 (B70)(6/08)*

B70 Assist, with caveats noted above: 1.5 seconds

100 Back, SCM:

1:15.1 (FS II)(4/06)
1:13.9 (R-Pro)(T)(12/07)
1:14.1 (R-Pro)(4/07)
1:11.7 (B70)(6/08)*

B70 Assist with caveats noted above, 2.4 seconds

50 Back, LCM:

34.88 (FS II)(8/06)(bad finish)(Worlds)
34.80 (FS II)(7/06)
34.17 (FS II)(7/07)
33.48 (R-Pro)(T)(8/07)
33.40 (B70)(T)(8/08)
(Slipped on start. There is a funny video of me letting an f bomb go after this race. I'll try to post it.)

B70 Assist: .08 second

100 Back, LCM:

1:17.0 (FS II)(8/06)(Worlds)
1:14.1 (R-Pro)(T)(8/07)
1:13.4 (B70)(7/08)

B70 Assist: .7 second, 1 year later, same pool.

Fly Events:

50 fly, SCY:

29.8 (poly tank)(10/05)
29.5 (FS)(4/06)
28.8 (FS II)(5/06)(Nats)
29.3 (FS)(10/06)
28.8 (FS)(4/07)
28.8 (FS II)(10/07)
28.4 (R-Pro)(4/08)
27.6 (H-Pro)(T)(5/08)
27.5 (B70)(9/08)
27.3 (B70)(10/08)
27.2 (B70)(T)(2/09)

Side note: This progression definitely shows that my fly has improved relatively more than other strokes and possibly benefits more from heavy lifting.


B70 assist: .1 second

100 fly SCY:

1:05.1 (R-Pro)(11/07)
1:05.5 (R-Pro)(4/08)
1:04.2 (H-Pro)(T)(10/08)
1:04.5 (B70)(10/08)
1:01.3 (B70)(T)(2/09)

B70 Assist: None, went .3 slower with B70

50 fly SCM:

31.88 (FS II)(12/06)(only 1 event this day)
32.6 (FS II)(3/07)
31.37 (R-Pro)(T)(12/07)
31.48 (R-Pro)(3/08)
30.76 (B70)(6/08)*
29.99 (B70)(some T)(12/08)

B70 Assist: .6 second

50 fly, LCM:

32.24 (FS)(8/06)(Worlds)
33.20 (FS II)(7/06)
31.61 (R-Pro)(T)((7/07)
31.71 (R-Pro)(8/07)
31.13 (B70)(T)(8/08)

B70 Assist: .58 (but this B70 assist came when I was tapered, not unrested)

50 free, SCY:

26.72 (poly tank)(10/05)
26.35 (FS)(4/06)
26.30 (FS)(10/06)
25.57 (FS I)(4/07)
26.58 (FS II)(4/08)
25.99 (H-Pro)(T)(5/08)
25.51 (B70)(10/08)
24.97 (B70)(T)(2/09)

B70 Assist: None, swam the same 25.5 in an FS I.

50 free, SCM:

29.2 (FS II)(3/07)
28.7 (R-Pro)(T)(12/07)
29.2 (R-Pro)(3/08)
28.5 (B70)(12/08)

B70 Assist: .2 seconds, one year later and in a faster pool.


50 free, LCM:


29.87 (FS)(7/06)
29.71 (FS)(8/06)(Worlds)
29.76 (FS)(T)(7/07)
29.2 (R-Pro)(T)(8/07)
29.3 (B70)(7/08)

B70 Assist: None, faster in Pro.

100 IM, SCY:

1:08.6 (poly tank)(first race as master)(10/05)
1:07.1 (FS)(4/06)
1:07.7 (FS)(5/06)
1:07.8 (FS)(10/06)
1:07.5 (FS II tank)(4/07)
1:07.0 (R-Pro)(10/07)
1:06.8 (H-Pro)(5/08)
1:04.1 (B70)(2/09)*

I was stuck on 1:07 forever in this event ... made me dislike it. There's really been no improvement per se in the evilstroke leg. Splits are always 6-7 seconds apart, usually the latter.

B70 Assist: Big drop here, 2.7 seconds, but it was after a 10 month hiatus in the event and after lifting heavy for 10 months)

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Updated March 17th, 2009 at 06:41 PM by The Fortress

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  1. knelson's Avatar
    Do you have any "non-serious" meets coming up? It would be interesting to see how you would swim in a normal tank right now, even if it's just a single event. That might give an idea how much is the suit and how much is your own progress.
  2. The Fortress's Avatar
    I just swam a 200 IM in a tank in Jan. Nasty experience!

    I have a meet this weekend in SCM, but I want to swim well, as I rarely get to do these meets. I'm swimming in Zones in April. Could vary my suit there, as I already have times from tapering in Auburn. But I want to get use out of my B70 before it's possibly banned! I'll think on it.

    She Puffster did compare a 50 fly w/poly tank and 50 fly w/B70 and the difference was .5. Obviously, there would be much less of a difference between, say, a Pro and a B70 (maybe .2 or so). That seems pretty comparable to my experience.

    I think the B70 disproportionately helps taller people, those who are overweight and those who have poor body position the most.
  3. Jazz Hands's Avatar
    I agree with Kirk. Try it out. Maybe a lycra tank, if you have one.
  4. The Fortress's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz Hands
    I agree with Kirk. Try it out. Maybe a lycra tank, if you have one.
    Don't own any racing tanks at the moment.
  5. The Fortress's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz Hands
    I agree with Kirk. Try it out. Maybe a lycra tank, if you have one.
    Jazz, how much of the recent improvement do you think is due to weights as opposed to B70?
  6. knelson's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by The Fortress
    I think the B70 disproportionately helps taller people, those who are overweight and those who have poor body position the most.
    You exhibit none of these characteristics, so you probably should have saved your money!

    I still really want to buy a B70, but now that I know it will likely only be allowed through the end of this year it has really made me second guess buying one. I don't want to shell out $550 for a LZR.
  7. The Fortress's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by knelson
    You exhibit none of these characteristics, so you probably should have saved your money!

    I still really want to buy a B70, but now that I know it will likely only be allowed through the end of this year it has really made me second guess buying one. I don't want to shell out $550 for a LZR.
    Well, that's part of the reason I think the "assist" --while very helpful -- isn't as huge for me.

    Maybe try the Renegade? I think it's at $345. It is a lot to shell out unless you think you'll use it. I plan to use my B70 every meet from here on out, and I'm hoping to do more LC meets.

    I'm leery about LZRs too. I posted an question on the "ban the tech suit" thread about their life expectancy and what happens when they're "stretched out" for one swimmer, but no one answered. I would be curious about those issues.
  8. qbrain's Avatar
    I know it would be a lot of work but could you date your times?

    Do you have your splits for your IM? Did your breast time account for a large portion of the drop?

    Based on your times, and if I remember your training correctly, I think you are making a case for more yardage and lifting. I don't think there is any basis for saying the B70 is why you dropped time. There is not enough info to say that the B70 is even the best tech suit for you.

    You are obviously getting faster.
  9. Jazz Hands's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by The Fortress
    Jazz, how much of the recent improvement do you think is due to weights as opposed to B70?
    Couldn't say without a more controlled comparison. The effect of strength training is individual and hard to predict.
  10. SwimStud's Avatar
    Need to add BR events for full picture.
  11. Chris Stevenson's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by qbrain
    Based on your times, and if I remember your training correctly, I think you are making a case for more yardage and lifting. I don't think there is any basis for saying the B70 is why you dropped time. There is not enough info to say that the B70 is even the best tech suit for you.

    You are obviously getting faster.
    Even though you've used many suits, I don't think you are a good person for this kind of study. Because as QB suggests, I think the dominant factor in your improvement is your training and the B70, if significant at all, is a secondary effect.

    A better person would be someone whose times and training had been fairly stagnant, and who decided to use a B70 (or whatever). The placebo effect is a problem, of course.

    I don't know that I agree with you about the distance thing. Someone posted this link in a forum thread:

    http://www.floswimming.org/blogs/blo...olympic-trials

    comparing predicted vs actual performance of the 8th place person at US Trials. The only men's event where the improvement was not significant was the 1500 free; the only women's event where there was NO improvement was the 800 free. (Of course, most of those competitors are wearing LZRs, not the B70, so that might make a difference.)

    Besides the uncontrolled nature of these experiments, we are really working blind here because no one really knows why these suits work (or not). Buoyancy? Effect of compressionon muscles? Hydrodynamics? Body position? Without some clue of the important factors, it is just so difficult to know what variables to try to control through sampling.

    About buoyancy/distance, I will say one thing: the only time I wore a B70 in a 200 fly -- an event where buoyancy in the last 50 would be a huge help! -- was at Rugers (SCM) and that was my most disappointing swim of the meet/season. It is hard to compare across courses, but I think my SCY time from last year (1:56.3, swum in an old pair of jammers) is better than the SCM time (2:10.99, in a B70).

    In general I have not been impressed with the effect of the B70 on my butterfly. It is just a feeling, but I think the effect is greater in the backstroke; in fact, I am not completely sure there IS an effect on fly. (For me, anyway.)
  12. Jazz Hands's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Stevenson
    The placebo effect is a problem, of course.
    Or maybe it's the point. If someone needs a spendy suit to bring the proper intensity to the race, then they might as well buy it. Caffeine pills are cheaper, though.
  13. quicksilver's Avatar
    I don't think it's the suit so much as your training and race experience.
    I agree with Jazz on the right frame of mind. It's hard to argue that the suits don't offer that.

    They might provide more stealth for swimmers with muffin tops, saddle bags, and love handles. But if one has shaped their birthday suit into the ideal mold, a regular old poly probably does the same job, assuming the 'game face' is still on.

    Very interesting statistics. Thansk for posting them.
  14. knelson's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Stevenson
    A better person would be someone whose times and training had been fairly stagnant, and who decided to use a B70 (or whatever)
    Read what Glenn Mills had to say last year:
    http://www.goswim.tv/entries/5355
  15. quicksilver's Avatar
    Good article Kirk.

    A guy at our meet last weekend was hoping to sneak under 11 min. for his 1,000.
    The look on his face said everything when he came in better than 15 seconds faster.
  16. jim thornton's Avatar
    Leslie, I am posting my analysis of your analysis on my vlog because it ended up being too long to post here.

    Prepare, dear woman, to have your eyes opened in the most robust, ruthless, seemingly cruel, but ultimately healing manner as is humanly possible without lasting eyelid trauma!

    For anyone else interested in a
    methodologically less-flawed analysis of a methodologically more-flawed analysis (and who wouldn't be???), I urge you to immediately click here:http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?b=2136
  17. The Fortress's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by SwimStud
    Need to add BR events for full picture.
    My two LC 50 Breasts -- same with Pro & with B70. Both at LC Zones at U of Md.
  18. The Fortress's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by qbrain
    I know it would be a lot of work but could you date your times?

    Do you have your splits for your IM? Did your breast time account for a large portion of the drop?

    Based on your times, and if I remember your training correctly, I think you are making a case for more yardage and lifting. I don't think there is any basis for saying the B70 is why you dropped time. There is not enough info to say that the B70 is even the best tech suit for you.

    You are obviously getting faster.
    I'll try to go back and date them. Shouldn't be too hard.

    My IM splits are just the same. No improvement in BR. They've always been 6-7 seconds apart. I should be faster in BR, as I swam a 15.9 in the 25 BR at the Sprint Classic this year, but I never have a good leg.

    I still think the B70 is probably the best suit. But the Pro seemed to work pretty well too. Trying to give me an excuse to try the LZR? lol
  19. The Fortress's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Stevenson
    Even though you've used many suits, I don't think you are a good person for this kind of study. Because as QB suggests, I think the dominant factor in your improvement is your training and the B70, if significant at all, is a secondary effect.

    A better person would be someone whose times and training had been fairly stagnant, and who decided to use a B70 (or whatever). The placebo effect is a problem, of course.

    I don't know that I agree with you about the distance thing. Someone posted this link in a forum thread:

    http://www.floswimming.org/blogs/blo...olympic-trials

    comparing predicted vs actual performance of the 8th place person at US Trials. The only men's event where the improvement was not significant was the 1500 free; the only women's event where there was NO improvement was the 800 free. (Of course, most of those competitors are wearing LZRs, not the B70, so that might make a difference.)

    Besides the uncontrolled nature of these experiments, we are really working blind here because no one really knows why these suits work (or not). Buoyancy? Effect of compressionon muscles? Hydrodynamics? Body position? Without some clue of the important factors, it is just so difficult to know what variables to try to control through sampling.

    About buoyancy/distance, I will say one thing: the only time I wore a B70 in a 200 fly -- an event where buoyancy in the last 50 would be a huge help! -- was at Rugers (SCM) and that was my most disappointing swim of the meet/season. It is hard to compare across courses, but I think my SCY time from last year (1:56.3, swum in an old pair of jammers) is better than the SCM time (2:10.99, in a B70).

    In general I have not been impressed with the effect of the B70 on my butterfly. It is just a feeling, but I think the effect is greater in the backstroke; in fact, I am not completely sure there IS an effect on fly. (For me, anyway.)
    I may not be the best person because of all the variables/changes in training, etc. Just thought I'd offer it FWIW.

    Maybe it helps you most in the backstroke b/c of your SDKs? Most people seem to agree that the B70 increases streamlining/SDK length. I don't think I've benefited from this effect because in the last year I've been taking less SDKs in my backstroke races.

    The effect does seem to be fairly neutral for my 50 fly. Although I guess Jim is going to tell me why this is wrong on his own vlog now ...lol
  20. The Fortress's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by knelson
    Read what Glenn Mills had to say last year:
    http://www.goswim.tv/entries/5355
    I remember reading that when he first wrote it. It's as I thought: "the longer the swim, the larger the improvement." Although obviously, the time drop was to increase with the distance if it is having the same effect. But he definitely implied it was disproportionately better for longer events.

    I chatted with Glenn about this last week. He is a huge fan of being "covered up" and compressed. He joked he'd quit masters if he beloved suit was outlawed.
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