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Thread: "What do YOU need to do to have a major swimming breakthrough?"

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    "What do YOU need to do to have a major swimming breakthrough?"

    What do YOU need to do to have a major swimming breakthrough?"
    I started this thread over in the work outs section which I think doesn't get as much traffic as the general discussion board

    so here's the link
    http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=4163

    but my point is,
    No matter what, the time between right now and your focus meet is going to pass, and the things you do to prepare for your meet is of the UTMOST importance.
    the choices you make
    the chances you take

    swim hard in practice
    rehearse racing

    I want to read your story about your breakthrough.

    Decide it starts today
    that this season will be your best season EVER

    What do you need to do to make this true?

    Ande
    Last edited by ande; November 15th, 2006 at 11:14 AM.

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    sprint diva The Fortress's Avatar
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    Re: "What do YOU need to do to have a major swimming breakthrough?"

    OK. I could use a breakthrough/advice on how NOT to breathe 3 times on a 50. I can maybe get it down to 2 in a 50 yard free. (But I think I actually snuck in 4 breaths on my LC 50 free in August ....) What should I do to fix this?

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    Very Active Member newmastersswimmer's Avatar
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    Re: "What do YOU need to do to have a major swimming breakthrough?"

    OK. I could use a breakthrough/advice on how NOT to breathe 3 times on a 50. I can maybe get it down to 2 in a 50 yard free. (But I think I actually snuck in 4 breaths on my LC 50 free in August ....) What should I do to fix this?

    posted by the fortress

    Try cutting back on the Ganja a bit and that should help clean out your lungs.....(just j/k of course!)
    "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits" Albert Einstein

    "I would love to help you out.....Which way did you come in?" Groucho Marx

    "24 beers in a case and 24 hours in a day....Coincidence?" Steven Wright

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    sprint diva The Fortress's Avatar
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    Re: "What do YOU need to do to have a major swimming breakthrough?"

    What the heck is Ganja? Is this what I think? If so, I don't think I'm doing that, though I may have other vices.

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    Very Active Member newmastersswimmer's Avatar
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    Re: "What do YOU need to do to have a major swimming breakthrough?"

    What the heck is Ganja? Is this what I think? If so, I don't think I'm doing that, though I may have other vices.

    posted by the fortress

    Ah this reminds me of the old saying "Denial aint just a river in Egypt"

    (Once again only j/k around with you of course).

    Newmastersswimmer
    "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits" Albert Einstein

    "I would love to help you out.....Which way did you come in?" Groucho Marx

    "24 beers in a case and 24 hours in a day....Coincidence?" Steven Wright

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    sprint diva The Fortress's Avatar
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    Re: "What do YOU need to do to have a major swimming breakthrough?"

    Ha, ha, you j/k-er.

    "It's not denial. I'm just selective about the reality I accept."

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    Re: "What do YOU need to do to have a major swimming breakthrough?"

    I think I need to start consistently strength training. It's always the thing that gets bumped because I don't really enjoy it the way I do aerobic exercise like swimming and running. I also often get sick when I first start back to weights. I don't know if it's because it's hard on my body or if it's because even though I wash my hands as quickly as I can afterwards, lifting at the gyms means touching other people's sweat germs on the equipment. :-) I'm sure lifting would help my starts, push-offs and overall power.

    P.S. The dead horse icon makes me sad every time I see it while I'm composing. I know it's silly to feel sorry for a cartoon animal, but I can't help it!

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    Very Active Member dorothyrde's Avatar
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    Re: "What do YOU need to do to have a major swimming breakthrough?"

    More time to swim. Just don't have the time to get to the pool and train. I supplement with weight training, which I do at home(only my germs on my weights), and do other cardio, but I simply need to have more water time. right now ain't happening, so just have to be satisfied with what time I have.

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    Very Active Member FlyQueen's Avatar
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    Re: "What do YOU need to do to have a major swimming breakthrough?"

    Quote Originally Posted by The Fortress View Post
    Ha, ha, you j/k-er.

    "It's not denial. I'm just selective about the reality I accept."
    Leslie I think the best way is to practice it in practice. I personally had to figure out exactly when I wanted to breathe. I needed to actually plan my breathes ... I also think 1 down 2 back is easier. You have your start and all so breathe a couple of strokes before the turn then a few after and about 1/2 back or 3/4 of the way back. I found I do much better with breathing if I actually go okay, I'll breathe just past 1/2 way okay, I'll breathe 2 strokes after my turn ....

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    Re: "What do YOU need to do to have a major swimming breakthrough?"

    Quote Originally Posted by The Fortress View Post
    OK. I could use a breakthrough/advice on how NOT to breathe 3 times on a 50.
    When Joe Bottom was on a quest to be first person under 20 seconds in the 50 - now 20 years ago - a key part of his strategy was to complete it without a breath.
    Peter Daland timed him for 3 dive start 50s once or twice a week after practice. Initially he did it at a "comfortable" speed. Over the season, they gradually made them faster. At NCAA's he went 19.79 without breathing once.
    If you'd like to do a 2-breather, decide where those breaths will occur -- probably at 18 and approx 30 yards -- and practice as Joe did, starting with a very relaxed pace. One or two, rather than 3 reps, ought to be about right at 40+.

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    Re: "What do YOU need to do to have a major swimming breakthrough?"

    I had two breakthrough seasons this year, both the scy season and even more in the OW season. Staying healthy was key. Losing 15 lbs also contributed. Most important factor was significant improvements in technique, one specific, the other general
    Specific: (1) My ability to set a patient, firm catch at higher speeds and while breathing, and (2) improved synch between the patient catch and hip/leg drive.
    General: Marked improvement in my ability to achieve and maintain a state of relaxation through the first 90 percent of my races without sacrificing speed.
    Both resulted from countless whole-stroke repeats devoted to "examined" practice of those points. I basically never swam a freestyle set that did not include focus on one or both, which resulted in being able to do them almost instinctively in races.

    This season I’ve set goals to make similar improvements as part of a multi-year (2 to 6 year plan) to raise myself to a level where I can realistically compete for a world championship in the 3K OW event. I know I have to improve my average practice times by nearly five seconds/100 to compete with peer swimmers currently on that level.

    What I’ll do this season to maximize my chances:
    1. Improve strength:weight ratio through (a) Further weight loss, then maintenance, of 12 to 15 lbs (from 192 to 178-180.) and (b) Begin consistent dryland training two to three days a week. Was unable to do this during the past year, as I allowed my right shoulder to recover fully from surgery and separation in 2005.
    2. Continued rigorous focus on the same points of technique, particularly that my right leg drive is a bit “flabby” and inconsistent when I spear my left hand, compared to the other side.
    3. Accustom myself to higher stroke rates without sacrificing technical gains achieved at lower stroke rates – i.e. can I make the patient catch more quickly without losing firmness – and adjust my 2-beat to match it, mainly by making it more compact and sharper.
    4. Narrow the range of my repeat times. Last year I was able to swim fairly fast at the end of sets, but was overly conservative at the beginning. Would often descend a set of 500s from, say, 6:45 to 6:20. Consequently I got into a pattern of finishing 1650s much faster than I started them, but feeling unprepared to set a strong pace earlier. This also affected my performance in OW At the World Champs, the top finishers in my age group got out fast and stayed in a tight pack all the way. I swam with a slower pack. This year I’m starting those 500 sets at, say, 6:28 and though my 5th may not be faster, my average is much faster. At meets I’ll set a stronger pace from the beginning, even if I’m not quite comfortable with it in the early going.
    5. Start every practice session aiming to swim better than I ever have in my life.

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    Re: "What do YOU need to do to have a major swimming breakthrough?"

    This topic came up today on the Discussion Forum at the TI web site too. I posted the following thoughts on my goals-of-the-moment in IM.

    >>I'm training myself as an IM swimmer this fall. Like Angus, I've made this choice, in part, to balance the fact that my training from spring through summer was highly freestyle-centric because of my OW racing focus.

    So I'll think of myself as a 400IMer through the end of the year and will continue training for it as a key event at the USMS Nationals next May, but secondary to distance freestyle.

    Accordingly I've set goals for my Fly, Back and Breast and have been working mindfully on them for the past couple of months. These are:

    Fly - I've discovered I swim "Butterfly for Boomers" best with a breast or whip kick, rather than a dolphin. I can increase my Stroke Rate without sacrificing Stroke Length because a quick, compact Breast kick drives me forward with more energy and rebalances me more quickly than the dolphin. It also saves energy.

    Back - I've spent years trying to develop a "long, effective" stroke, but recently realized that care and attention was limiting my SR but wasn't producing improvement in speed. Two weeks ago I began to focus on swimming more like my Free - establishing a firm catch, but not trying to guide my stroke after that. That allowed me to significantly raise my SR, again without sacrificing significant SL. Result: I'm now consistently swimming 200-yd training repeats under 3:00 for the first time in many years.

    Breast - I've been focusing on a quicker, more compact kick and on cleanly re-entering my subsurface glide. Once again, my SR is up, as is my SPL, but the tradeoff has resulted in swimming faster repeat times, with a marked reduction in fatigue.

    To prepare for a good 400 IM race I think it's most helpful to race the 200s in Fly, Back and Breast, so I'm entering a 400 IM plus at least one 200 stroke event in every meet this fall.

    So far so good. First 400 IM was Oct 29. I went 5:54 with which I was immensely pleased. Swam it again on Nov 12 and went 5:45. The work on higher SR paid off noticeably. Went faster but felt just as comfortable as on the 5:54. Increased my SPL by one on the Breast leg, but kept it the same on BK. Haven't been able to compare splits as they were not posted at the meet.

    I'm swimming it yet again Nov 19 and hoping to break 5:40. >>

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    Very Active Member swimr4life's Avatar
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    Re: "What do YOU need to do to have a major swimming breakthrough?"

    Do my shoulder exercises, core strength exercises and do more sprints in practice.

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    Very Active Member LindsayNB's Avatar
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    Re: "What do YOU need to do to have a major swimming breakthrough?"

    Quote Originally Posted by KaizenSwimmer View Post
    Fly - I've discovered I swim "Butterfly for Boomers" best with a breast or whip kick, rather than a dolphin. I can increase my Stroke Rate without sacrificing Stroke Length because a quick, compact Breast kick drives me forward with more energy and rebalances me more quickly than the dolphin. It also saves energy.
    I found this interesting, do you see a wider role for the breaststroke kick being used or is this a personal strategy for dealing with a weakness with your dolphin kick? I have never tried the whip kick in fly and you've got me curious.

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    Re: "What do YOU need to do to have a major swimming breakthrough?"

    Quote Originally Posted by KaizenSwimmer View Post
    Fly - I've discovered I swim "Butterfly for Boomers" best with a breast or whip kick, rather than a dolphin. I can increase my Stroke Rate without sacrificing Stroke Length because a quick, compact Breast kick drives me forward with more energy and rebalances me more quickly than the dolphin. It also saves energy.
    Am I the only one who thinks that until I can swim breast with a fly kick, fly with a breast kick shouldn't be allowed?

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    Very Active Member swimmerlisa's Avatar
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    Re: "What do YOU need to do to have a major swimming breakthrough?"

    i agree with some girl!! shouldn't all strokes just be kept pure and in original form?

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    Re: "What do YOU need to do to have a major swimming breakthrough?"

    I need to increase my practice time and focus. I will not have access to a pool for the second half of December, but in January I should be able to increase my practice from 4 days a week to 5-6. My practices have been pretty bland lately, so I need to really focus on what I need to do when I'm working on technique, endurance, and sprints instead of just going through the motions.

    I'm really hoping to improve my 200 IM by the spring. It's currently about 3:03, but I think with some serious work I should be able to get it closer to 2:50.

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    Very Active Member swimr4life's Avatar
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    Re: "What do YOU need to do to have a major swimming breakthrough?"

    Quote Originally Posted by swimmerlisa View Post
    i agree with some girl!! shouldn't all strokes just be kept pure and in original form?
    Maybe for USS meets. Masters swimming is all inclusive for all ages. I think it is unrealistic to expect our older members to do a 200 fly with a dolphin kick the whole way through the race! One of the most inspirational moments I've ever had at a Masters meet was watching Arthur Koblish- 80 and Jay Charles - 82 compete in the 200 meter fly at Nationals. Everyone gave them a standing ovation!

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    Very Active Member islandsox's Avatar
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    Re: "What do YOU need to do to have a major swimming breakthrough?"

    Sometimes I am amazed at what I read. I guess I don't see the true value of not breathing for a 50 sprint. Does anyone know how much time is gained (a tenth of a second?) over that distance to offset the tremendous oxygen debt your muscles will be in? What comes to my mind are exploding lungs and brain; at least this would happen to me. I will tell you that I do practice the under/over drill where you swim underwater with arms in front and doing the dolphin kick. And it will build great lung capacity.

    But seriously, I've seen some of the men in the Olympics take two breaths on a 50 but many others taking 4.

    And the fly with the breast kick is baffling. Dolphin kick uses a lot of energy and I would think a person would be better off training with the kick he/she will be using in the swim. At least more than not. Because when you go back from breast kick and start the dolphin kick, what happens to that SR then? Why not train with the correct kick to start with?

    All of this is so interesting, though, I love reading it all!!!!

    Donna

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    sprint diva The Fortress's Avatar
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    Re: "What do YOU need to do to have a major swimming breakthrough?"

    Quote Originally Posted by islandsox View Post
    Does anyone know how much time is gained (a tenth of a second?) over that distance to offset the tremendous oxygen debt your muscles will be in? What comes to my mind are exploding lungs and brain; at least this would happen to me. Donna
    Ha, ha! This sounds good. Because I doubt I could do a no breather 50 free at 45 unless maybe my child's life was at stake. But I can see some value in reducing breaths. Remember, not everyone gets to swim in the gorgeous blue water. Some of us are sprinters through either choice, nature, nurture or training limitations. Lots of sprint races are decided by tenths or hundredths of a second. Just check meet results or the list of current top times. Life is tough out there as a sprinter. Make a mistake, breathe too much, and your race is caput.
    Last edited by The Fortress; November 16th, 2006 at 02:24 PM.

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