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Thread: Help! My SDK is Horrible!

  1. #61
    Very Active Member Chris Stevenson's Avatar
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    Re: Help! My SDK is Horrible!

    Article on SDK in today's Washington Post:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...061903765.html

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    Re: Help! My SDK is Horrible!

    great article
    thanks Chris,

    here's the link to the whole text and below is the text to archive it, in case the post drops it off their site
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...903765_pf.html

    SDK is a weapon
    practice it
    master it
    use it in races

    Ande Rasmussen


    A Revolution That Began With a Kick

    By Amy Shipley
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Friday, June 20, 2008; E01

    Even longtime swimming coaches profess to being baffled by the more than three dozen world records broken in the last 18 months in pools around the world. They wonder how to fully explain such a sudden and widespread explosion of speed in a sport contested since the first Olympics more than a century ago.

    The answer, they say, cannot lie solely in the latest high-tech swimsuits introduced amid a swirl of controversy this winter, because the world-record smashing began at last year's world championships -- long before the newest of the newfangled apparel came out.

    Swimmers, coaches and scientists say it is impossible to pinpoint one explanation. They cite many contributing factors, ranging from professional training groups that have sprouted across the United States to greater access to underwater cameras and other advanced technology.

    But some say the most significant breakthrough has been a revival of a swimming maneuver developed more than 70 years ago by one of the physicists who worked on the atomic bomb.

    Though utilized for decades, the underwater dolphin kick had not been fully exploited by the swimming mainstream until Olympic megastar Michael Phelps and a few other stars began polishing it -- and crushing other swimmers with it -- in recent years. Some say the revival has caused a quiet sensation that has been largely drowned out by the reaction to the suits, whose tightness, futuristic fabric and seam-free design make swimmers sleeker and more streamlined.

    It is the use of the dolphin kick, coaches point out, that keeps swimmers where they can best take advantage of whatever advantages the suits offer: underwater.

    "You cannot succeed without this skill," said Mark Schubert, the head coach and general manager of USA Swimming's national team.

    "It's a weapon," said Jonty Skinner, the performance science director for the U.S. national team.

    "It's been a quantum-leap difference," said Phelps's longtime coach, Bob Bowman. "Michael's going 13 meters underwater [using the kick] instead of five. That was what he did that Ian Thorpe didn't."

    Bowman was referring to Phelps's demolition of Thorpe's world record in the 200-meter freestyle last year, an achievement that stunned fans at the world championships in Melbourne, Australia. The mark set by the now-retired Thorpe, the greatest swimmer of his era, had been considered virtually untouchable before Phelps's swim.

    But Bowman said the difference in Phelps's record race (1 minute 43.86 seconds) and Thorpe's 2001 effort (1:44.06) was plain: Phelps stayed underwater longer off the turns, executing the undulating motion with his entire body that is designed to mimic a dolphin's use of its flipper. It wasn't that Thorpe did not use the dolphin kick. All elite freestylers have for years, rather than the old-fashioned flutter kick. But Thorpe came to the surface earlier throughout his race, dolphin-kicking less and relying more on his freestyle stroke.

    The problem for Thorpe? When executed properly, experts say, the underwater dolphin kick is faster than any stroke except a full-out freestyle sprint over 50 meters.

    Phelps's turns and underwater kicking were the difference, Bowman said. "Free-swimming 200 straight meters, Ian would probably win handily."

    Also known as the fly kick because of its connection with the butterfly stroke, the underwater dolphin kick has become so important, some coaches contend, it has earned its own classification.

    "There are now five strokes," Schubert said. "The fifth stroke is the underwater dolphin kick."

    Origins of the Kick

    The underwater dolphin kick attracted the interest of swimming innovators as early as the 1930s. The late Volney C. Wilson explored its possibilities before diving into later work on nuclear fission and the atomic bomb, according to David Schrader, a research professor at Marquette University who is Wilson's biographer.

    Schrader said Wilson, an alternate on the 1932 Olympic water polo team who studied fish propulsion at a Chicago aquarium, claimed to have shown the kick to Johnny Weissmuller, a training mate at the Illinois Athletic Club.

    "Weissmuller reproduced it perfectly, but was not impressed by it," said Schrader in a phone interview, recalling a conversation with Wilson.

    Indeed, the kick did not immediately take off. For years, swimmers relied on the flutter kick in the freestyle. The dolphin kick has always been associated with the butterfly, which was not contested in the Olympics until 1956.

    One of the first swimmers to turn heads with the underwater dolphin kick was David Berkoff, a Harvard graduate who became known for the "Berkoff Blastoff." In 1988, Berkoff set several world records in the 100 backstroke by dolphin-kicking for 35 meters underwater at the start of the race. When rivals began doing the same, FINA, the sport's international governing body, acted quickly, banning underwater swimming in the backstroke for more than 10 meters, then later, 15 meters.

    Seven years later, Arizona-based swim coach Bob Gillet urged his young butterfly star, Misty Hyman, not only to do the dolphin kick underwater as long as she could, but also to swim on her side to enhance the stroke's effects. By 1997, she was winning butterfly races by swimming 35 meters underwater.

    A year later, FINA banned swimming underwater more than 15 meters for the butterfly and freestyle. (In the breaststroke, swimming underwater has been banned since the 1950s; however, since 2005, competitors have been allowed one downward dolphin kick off the turns.)

    'We All Studied Him'

    Despite the success of Berkoff, Hyman and others, few coaches were tempted to try to maximize the available 15 meters of underwater opportunity. Some looked at the success of Berkoff and Hyman as something of a fluke, figuring that extra time underwater would provide only temporary gains. They thought swimmers would surge ahead but fade at the end of races out of pure exhaustion, particularly in races longer than 100 meters.

    They also worried about safety; no one wanted swimmers passing out during practice while trying to hold their breath longer than usual.

    And because the kick was executed underwater, coaches added, it was a difficult skill to teach and evaluate. No one really knew the perfect way to do it. No one really knew whether it would be a big plus or not. So for years, many coaches and athletes worked on it only perfunctorily.

    "Nobody figures out what's faster until somebody goes faster using it, then all of the coaches sit in the video room saying, 'How are we going to beat this guy?' " Schubert said.

    Among the first swimmers to perfect the maneuver within the 15-meter limit, Schubert said, was American Neil Walker, who used to frustrate four-time Olympic gold medal winner Lenny Krayzelburg in backstroke races in 25-meter pools (as opposed to the Olympic 50-meter distance) in the late 1990s and early 2000s. With the extra turns, Walker could routinely defeat the more acclaimed Krayzelburg, surging ahead in the underwater portion of races.

    "We all studied him," Schubert said. "He was the first great dolphin kicker. We all studied his underwater technique and copied it."

    Then there was Phelps.

    In August 2002, Phelps broke the 400 individual medley record in a close race against teammate Erik Vendt at the U.S. championships in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. In that race, Schubert recalled, Phelps -- then a rising teenage star -- passed Vendt in the last 50 meters by catapulting ahead with his dolphin kick. Back then, however, Phelps was just learning to use the kick to his advantage. He has mastered it only recently, coaches say, putting him in an elite group along with Americans Natalie Coughlin, Ryan Lochte and Aaron Peirsol.

    A year before the 2004 Olympics in Athens, U.S. swimming coaches got together and agreed they needed to better understand this dolphin kick. Clearly it was important. But there was virtually no body of research on the topic. How much of a difference did it make? How should they teach it? Which was the best approach?

    They got in touch with group of scientists at George Washington University who had been studying how fish swim in an effort to aid in the design of small submarines for the Navy. USA Swimming's biomechanics coordinator, Russell Mark, immediately set the GW team -- which included professors Rajat Mittal and James Hahn and student Alfred von Loebbecke -- to the task of studying the underwater dolphin kick. The USA Swimming-sponsored research, which began in 2003, continues to this day.

    "The advantages of doing it," Mittal said, "are very apparent to everybody."

    The race has since been on to implement the kick.

    "I've talked to people about the fly kick being a weapon for your swimming that you must have," said Eddie Reese, a two-time Olympic team coach at the University of Texas. But in years past, "I was always disappointed I wouldn't see [school-age swimmers] doing the fly kick underwater. . . . In the last five years, I've been seeing it more and more.

    "Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Aaron Peirsol -- you can't compete with them unless you can fly kick."

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    Re: Help! My SDK is Horrible!

    at the US Olympic trials we saw Michael Phelps use his SDK in all the events he swam
    He used it on that last turn of his 400 IM and that is what propelled him a half body length ahead of Lochte

    He used it off the last turn in his 200 FR
    there's great footage of it about 2:18 into this video
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=p3eweBSc3Pw

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    Re: Help! My SDK is Horrible!

    Quote Originally Posted by ande View Post
    at the US Olympic trials we saw Michael Phelps use his SDK in all the events he swam
    He used it on that last turn of his 400 IM and that is what propelled him a half body length ahead of Lochte
    If Phelps uses it every place he can during a 400IM, why does it seem the 400 free swimmers use few, if any, SDKs? Where I could see it, it looks like two to four at the start, maybe one (two at the most) off the turns.

    Examples from recent US trials:

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=D0vZWxUuI6M
    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=-jRoaOXVYeM

    From the Canadian trials:

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=xmI1kgbxdkU

    Santa Clara, 2007:

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=oji0gcI7y7o

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    Spends Too Much Time Here Iwannafly's Avatar
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    Re: Help! My SDK is Horrible!

    Quote Originally Posted by smontanaro View Post
    If Phelps uses it every place he can during a 400IM, why does it seem the 400 free swimmers use few, if any, SDKs? Where I could see it, it looks like two to four at the start, maybe one (two at the most) off the turns.
    Phelps said in his 400 IM post-race interview, that it hurt to stay under for as long as he did, but he knew that was the only way to beat Lochte! I would assume that the 400 free-ers can't afford to go into that much oxygen debt on every turn!

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    Very Active Member rtodd's Avatar
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    Re: Help! My SDK is Horrible!

    If Phelps uses it every place he can during a 400IM, why does it seem the 400 free swimmers use few, if any, SDKs?
    Maybe because Phelps hasn't decided to take down the 400 free record.....yet.

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    Very Active Member Chris Stevenson's Avatar
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    Re: Help! My SDK is Horrible!

    Quote Originally Posted by smontanaro View Post
    If Phelps uses it every place he can during a 400IM, why does it seem the 400 free swimmers use few, if any, SDKs? Where I could see it, it looks like two to four at the start, maybe one (two at the most) off the turns.
    Using SDKs is not a free lunch...you can gain some time at the expense of more oxygen debt and the effects are somewhat cumulative. Even Phelps seems to save a little for that last turn (where he seems to say under for an extra kick or two).

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    Re: Help! My SDK is Horrible!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Stevenson View Post
    Using SDKs is not a free lunch...you can gain some time at the expense of more oxygen debt and the effects are somewhat cumulative. Even Phelps seems to save a little for that last turn (where he seems to say under for an extra kick or two).
    Are you implying that somehow the 400IM is easier than the 400 free? SDKs are used in 3/4s of the 400IM. Why wouldn't some number of them be useful in the 400 free? I realize that it adds some to your oxygen debt, but it probably also means you can take one or two strokes less per length.

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    Very Active Member Chris Stevenson's Avatar
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    Re: Help! My SDK is Horrible!

    Quote Originally Posted by smontanaro View Post
    Are you implying that somehow the 400IM is easier than the 400 free? SDKs are used in 3/4s of the 400IM. Why wouldn't some number of them be useful in the 400 free? I realize that it adds some to your oxygen debt, but it probably also means you can take one or two strokes less per length.
    I'm simply saying that it may make sense to take fewer SDKs in a 400 than a 200. And freestylers tend to take fewer because the "break even" point occurs earlier.

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    Very Active Member 3strokes's Avatar
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    Re: Help! My SDK is Horrible!

    If Phelps uses it every place he can during a 400IM, why does it seem the 400 free swimmers use few, if any, SDKs?

    Quote Originally Posted by rtodd View Post
    Maybe because Phelps hasn't decided to take down the 400 free record.....yet.
    We're all forgetting that Phelps isn't actually "human"; he must have some amphibian genes. Joking apart, he is physiologically "superior" in several aspects (among them flexibility). I remember reading years ago that "elite" athletes usually have some characteristics that differentiate them from us mortals. Bjorn Borg, for instance, had a resting heart rate of somewhere below 40 or around there; way below average. (My memory is not as good as I'd want it be but 40-ish sounds just about right.) Good thing that I didn't trust my memory and Googled it.


    .....tennis player Bjorn Borg owned a resting heart rate of 35 BPM. ...
    http://www.universalnutrition.com/features/breathingheartrate.html

    and, to make a liar out of me, the same article (same paragraph) states
    ........... But Olympic marathon superstar Frank Shorter’s resting heart rate was 175 BPM. Your genes account for about 50% of what your maximum heart rate will turn out to be.

    Go figure.

    ..... Where, Oh, where did I last see my swimming suit? Oh well!

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    Re: Help! My SDK is Horrible!

    Quote Originally Posted by 3strokes View Post
    We're all forgetting that Phelps isn't actually "human"; he must have some amphibian genes. Joking apart, he is physiologically "superior" in several aspects (among them flexibility). I remember reading years ago that "elite" athletes usually have some characteristics that differentiate them from us mortals. Bjorn Borg, for instance, had a resting heart rate of somewhere below 40 or around there; way below average. (My memory is not as good as I'd want it be but 40-ish sounds just about right.) Good thing that I didn't trust my memory and Googled it.


    .....tennis player Bjorn Borg owned a resting heart rate of 35 BPM. ...
    http://www.universalnutrition.com/features/breathingheartrate.html

    and, to make a liar out of me, the same article (same paragraph) states
    ........... But Olympic marathon superstar Frank Shorter’s resting heart rate was 175 BPM. Your genes account for about 50% of what your maximum heart rate will turn out to be.

    Go figure.

    http://outside.away.com/outside/body...el-phelps.html

    This article describes how Phelps' lactate levels after an event are about 2x lower than anybody else. Superhuman recovery rate.

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    Re: Help! My SDK is Horrible!

    Phelps must have gils or something. I have been using SDK since I saw Berkoff do it in 1992. First, I used in after my backstroke start. Plus, I used it here and there in my 200 fly pull offs. When it was legal to use in freestyle pull offs, it was a pretty easy transition. But, when Phelps does it, it is just super human. How does he keep from getting oxygen debt. I get out of breathe when I do it for every pull off. But, I guess that it takes getting used to. But, the SDK is really beneficial to my swimming.

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    Very Active Member geochuck's Avatar
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    Re: Help! My SDK is Horrible!

    I have heard of swimmers using Oxygen pills in the past, do you think it is possible they have started using them again. http://www.alternative-doctor.com/cancer/oxygen.htm

    When we went fishing we used to drop oxygen pills in the water to keep our bait fish alive.
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    Re: Help! My SDK is Horrible!

    Quote Originally Posted by That Guy View Post
    This article describes how Phelps' lactate levels after an event are about 2x lower than anybody else. Superhuman recovery rate.
    He must be juiced.

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    Re: Help! My SDK is Horrible!


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    Re: Help! My SDK is Horrible!

    It is amazing how Phelps can have a strong SDK going into the 4th lap of his 200 fly. I guess that I have to start doing pilates exercises to strengthen my SDK. Coughlin said that she does pilates and look how amazing her SDK. It seems to work well for her in 100 free too.

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    Very Active Member Chris Stevenson's Avatar
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    Re: Help! My SDK is Horrible!

    Quote Originally Posted by tjrpatt View Post
    It is amazing how Phelps can have a strong SDK going into the 4th lap of his 200 fly. I guess that I have to start doing pilates exercises to strengthen my SDK. Coughlin said that she does pilates and look how amazing her SDK. It seems to work well for her in 100 free too.
    Pilates helps some but that alone won't do it. Most people just don't have the conditioning and lung power to stay under very long on the last turn of a 200 fly or back.

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    Re: Help! My SDK is Horrible!

    Are you improving your SDK?

    Ande

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    Re: Help! My SDK is Horrible!


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    Re: Help! My SDK is Horrible!

    Quote Originally Posted by tjrpatt View Post
    It is amazing how Phelps can have a strong SDK going into the 4th lap of his 200 fly. I guess that I have to start doing pilates exercises to strengthen my SDK. Coughlin said that she does pilates and look how amazing her SDK. It seems to work well for her in 100 free too.
    You have to distinguish between mat pilates and the pilates machines. I think the latter would help, but where I live you can only use those with a trainer or take very expensive group classes. I doubt mat pilates would help much, except possibly with flexibility.

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