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  1. #1
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    The Backstroke Lane

    Backstrokers unite.
    We know every detail of the ceilings where we train unless it's the sky which is ever changing.
    We SDK every day. It's breath taking.
    We go forwards in reverse.

    We get to flip over on turns. We gotta stay on our back.
    We swim back. We kick back.

    Aaron's the man

    [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BZVe743qPE"]YouTube- Aaron Peirsol gets title and new record, from Universal Sports[/nomedia]

    [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoQMAgimYRU"]YouTube- Aaron Peirsol Late Night Appearance/Interview (8.28.08)[/nomedia]

    What did you do in practice today?



    [ame="http://www.usms.org/forums/showthread.php?t=16584"]the breastroke lane[/ame]


    [ame="http://www.usms.org/forums/showthread.php?t=16601"]The Middle Distance Lane[/ame]


    [ame="http://www.usms.org/forums/showthread.php?t=16587"]The Backstroke Lane[/ame]


    [ame="http://www.usms.org/forums/showthread.php?t=16588"]The Butterfly Lane[/ame]


    [ame="http://www.usms.org/forums/showthread.php?t=16618"]The SDK Lane[/ame]


    [ame="http://www.usms.org/forums/showthread.php?t=16591"]The Taper Lane[/ame]


    [ame="http://www.usms.org/forums/showthread.php?t=16586"]The Distance Lane[/ame]


    [ame="http://www.usms.org/forums/showthread.php?t=16589"]The IM Lane[/ame]


    [ame="http://www.usms.org/forums/showthread.php?t=16585"]The Sprint Free Lane[/ame]


    [ame="http://www.usms.org/forums/showthread.php?t=16619"]The Pool Deck[/ame]
    Last edited by ande; May 6th, 2010 at 10:55 PM.

  2. #2
    Very Active Member Novaova's Avatar
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    Re: The Backstroke Lane

    We have bumps on our heads from the time the flags were not put up.

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    Re: The Backstroke Lane

    Aaron Peirsol is quite possibly the coolest person in the history of cool persons.

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    Re: The Backstroke Lane

    Amen!

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    Very Active Member Swimosaur's Avatar
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    Re: The Backstroke Lane

    Pacing 200 back

    Check out this race, from the recent Albatross Open:
    Event 20, 200 Meter Backstroke

    1 Swimosaur M55 GAJA 2:38.93 2:39.95
    37.08 1:16.93 (39.85) 1:58.50 (41.57) 2:39.95 (41.45)

    2 SwimmieAVSFan F32 TERR 2:32.72 2:35.50
    37.47 1:16.95 (39.48) 1:56.61 (39.66) 2:35.50 (38.89)
    Splits in lane 2 conform to the ideal formula N, N+2, N+2, N+2, very nearly perfectly! An excellent race!

    Splits in lane 1, not so much! More like N, N+2, N+4, N+4.

    Now, I'm not complaining! That was a good race & time for me! I have been working on and improving my splitting in the 200 back for the last year (yes, the above represents an improvement). The question is, beyond the obvious advice to get in better condition, how to learn better splitting in this race? I probably need to take my foot off the gas a bit in the first 100. How do you learn this? Are there sets or other training methods for learning to split 200s correctly? Thanks!

  6. #6
    sǝssɐןb ɹǝʇʇǝq ʇǝb That Guy's Avatar
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    Re: The Backstroke Lane

    Quote Originally Posted by Swimosaur View Post
    Pacing 200 back

    Check out this race, from the recent Albatross Open:

    Splits in lane 2 conform to the ideal formula N, N+2, N+2, N+2, very nearly perfectly! An excellent race!

    Splits in lane 1, not so much! More like N, N+2, N+4, N+4.

    Now, I'm not complaining! That was a good race & time for me! I have been working on and improving my splitting in the 200 back for the last year (yes, the above represents an improvement). The question is, beyond the obvious advice to get in better condition, how to learn better splitting in this race? I probably need to take my foot off the gas a bit in the first 100. How do you learn this? Are there sets or other training methods for learning to split 200s correctly? Thanks!
    Good swims! In training, do repeats where you sprint the second half of the swim with low to medium rest. For example, 50's where you sprint the 2nd 25, 100's where you sprint the 2nd 50, and so on. Only having low to medium rest will mean that on the first half of the next repeat, you will still be somewhat tired from the preceding sprint, so your foot will naturally come off the gas. But then you must sprint again! That will teach you to crank it up, over and over again.
    "I blame you, James!" - knelson

  7. #7
    Very Active Member Swimosaur's Avatar
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    Re: The Backstroke Lane

    Quote Originally Posted by That Guy View Post
    Good swims! In training, do repeats where you sprint the second half of the swim with low to medium rest. For example, 50's where you sprint the 2nd 25, 100's where you sprint the 2nd 50, and so on. Only having low to medium rest will mean that on the first half of the next repeat, you will still be somewhat tired from the preceding sprint, so your foot will naturally come off the gas. But then you must sprint again! That will teach you to crank it up, over and over again.
    Thanks for the suggestion! But I confess I'm confused. The first time I read it, I thought, when doing a set of 100s as 2x50s, put low rest between the two 50s. Then I read, "Only having low to medium rest will mean that on the first half of the next repeat, you will still be somewhat tired ...", and I thought, maybe the low rest is after the 2nd 50, before starting the next 2x50?

    It could be,

    (50, low rest, <sprint 50>) ... high rest ... (50, low rest, <sprint 50>) ... high rest ... (50, low rest, <sprint 50>) ...

    Or it could be,

    (50, high rest, <sprint 50>) ... low rest ... (50, high rest, <sprint 50>) ... low rest ... (50, high rest, <sprint 50>) ...

    Or I guess it could be,

    (50, low rest, <sprint 50>) ... low rest ... (50, low rest, <sprint 50>) ... low rest ... (50, low rest, <sprint 50>) ...

    Also, what do you consider low rest? Thanks!

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    Re: The Backstroke Lane

    Backstrokers seem to be rare or too busy, tired, timid or whatever to post! I'll try to liven up this thread.

    My coach is advocating that I hold my hands on the gutter instead of the starting block to start. She claims that she always does this and that many of the local collegiate swimmers do as well. She has been working with me on it and, sure enough, it does seem smoother for me. I've been to a lot of swim meets in my life and I have never seen this done in competition. I am concerned that this might cause a problem if I try to do it at a meet. Is it common practice? Will the starter give me trouble? There is also the problem that some pools don't have "hold-able" gutters.

    Hey, if it is faster for me I am all for it, but I don't want a dq, nor do I want to have a high-anxiety conversation with the start judge just before my race. What's the collective wisdom on this issue?

  9. #9
    Very Active Member Chris Stevenson's Avatar
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    Re: The Backstroke Lane

    Yes I've seen it done in masters competition. The starter shouldn't give you any hassle; it is perfectly legal.

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    Re: The Backstroke Lane

    Quote Originally Posted by Karl_S View Post
    My coach is advocating that I hold my hands on the gutter instead of the starting block to start.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Stevenson View Post
    Yes I've seen it done in masters competition. The starter shouldn't give you any hassle; it is perfectly legal.
    I swim in Costa Rica, so I checked the FINA swimming rules and they state "with both hands holding the starting grip". The US Rules specifically state "both hands placed on the gutter or on the starting grips."

    Anybody know if the FINA "on the starting grip" rule really gets enforced? The gutter idea sounds like a great option to me because I have serious foot slippage problems on my backstroke starts.

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    Won Slowest Swimmer Award bzaks1424's Avatar
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    Re: The Backstroke Lane

    Quote Originally Posted by BLRry View Post
    I swim in Costa Rica, so I checked the FINA swimming rules and they state "with both hands holding the starting grip". The US Rules specifically state "both hands placed on the gutter or on the starting grips."

    Anybody know if the FINA "on the starting grip" rule really gets enforced? The gutter idea sounds like a great option to me because I have serious foot slippage problems on my backstroke starts.
    Do you have that problem with the touch pads though? I've found its a lot easier to do my (terrible) back starts when I have a touch pad to grip my toes on.
    "Fran operated under the assumption that one’s ability to cope with the travails of daily life fluctuates in direct proportion to one’s willingness to work through hurt." -Ian Prichard

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    Re: The Backstroke Lane

    Quote Originally Posted by Karl_S View Post
    My coach is advocating that I hold my hands on the gutter instead of the starting block to start. She claims that she always does this and that many of the local collegiate swimmers do as well. She has been working with me on it and, sure enough, it does seem smoother for me. I've been to a lot of swim meets in my life and I have never seen this done in competition. I am concerned that this might cause a problem if I try to do it at a meet. Is it common practice? Will the starter give me trouble? There is also the problem that some pools don't have "hold-able" gutters.

    My take on backstroke starting off the gutter is this:

    It can be VERY fast!

    Since most masters swimmers don't have blocks set up with a touch pad on the wall, slipping when practicing starts in workouts is very common.
    Somehow, I don't slip as badly starting off the gutter as I do off a block without a touch pad.

    Another thing to try is stagger your feet on the wall a little bit. Somehow that gives better stability and even traction.

    When I was trying to get my whole body to arc out of the water on my block start, I worked to get it to arc out off a gutter start first.
    I didn't even realize I was up and over the water when I first starting to do it off the blocks after that because it was so much easier.

    (have I mentioned lately that I LOVE BACKSTROKE?)

    I'm told we are oxygen addicts

    We have a BACKSTROKE Blogger on the Forum - QUICKSILVER!
    http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?u=4609

    I do not know WHY however, he has freestylers pictured on his home page right now...

    Ande has GREAT BACKSTROKE TIPS that help me improve my stroke every week.
    Seriously.

  13. #13
    Very Active Member Chris Stevenson's Avatar
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    Re: The Backstroke Lane

    Quote Originally Posted by Karl_S View Post
    Backstrokers seem to be rare or too busy, tired, timid or whatever to post!
    Backstroke is the most philosophical of the strokes. We are the daydreamers of the swimming world. We like looking up at the clouds, waving to the crowd.

    During a backstroke race, I've seen my son spit water up like a fountain (a little gross I guess, but I had to laugh b/c he was clearly having fun). He looks up and sees us cheering for him, and he gets a big grin on his face.

    And there is nothing like dolphining on your back, it is the closest we get to swimming like a fish.

    What's not to love? All the other strokes, they like staring at the black line for hours on end. How boring.

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    Re: The Backstroke Lane

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Stevenson View Post
    All the other strokes, they like staring at the black line for hours on end. How boring.
    And they all have the breathing problem.

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    Very Active Member Swimosaur's Avatar
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    Re: The Backstroke Lane

    Ok, here's a question.

    After swimming backstroke for one year, diligently working on core for the last four months, and increasing dolphin practice for the last 3 months, I am finally starting to get a little bit comfortable with dolphins off the wall.

    How do you decide how many dolphins to use off each wall in each event? When to use flutter instead? Right now I can put maybe six or eight dolphins off the start and turn in the 50, five off the start and first two turns in the 100 (only two on the last turn, alas), and like zero off all walls in the 200. It seems to me a quite a complicated tradeoff between oxygen, legs, and speed of dolphins at various levels of tiredness, not to mention other factors. Right now it doesn't seem to matter whether or not I use dolphins in a meet, the times come out pretty much the same. However, I think my kick will improve.

    Unfortunately I don't have a coach to time 12.5 yard sprints under various conditions. What's the best way, or even a good way, to systematically think about dolphins?

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    Very Active Member Chris Stevenson's Avatar
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    Re: The Backstroke Lane

    Quote Originally Posted by Swimosaur View Post
    After swimming backstroke for one year, diligently working on core for the last four months, and increasing dolphin practice for the last 3 months, I am finally starting to get a little bit comfortable with dolphins off the wall.

    How do you decide how many dolphins to use off each wall in each event? When to use flutter instead? Right now I can put maybe six or eight dolphins off the start and turn in the 50, five off the start and first two turns in the 100 (only two on the last turn, alas), and like zero off all walls in the 200. It seems to me a quite a complicated tradeoff between oxygen, legs, and speed of dolphins at various levels of tiredness, not to mention other factors. Right now it doesn't seem to matter whether or not I use dolphins in a meet, the times come out pretty much the same. However, I think my kick will improve.

    Unfortunately I don't have a coach to time 12.5 yard sprints under various conditions. What's the best way, or even a good way, to systematically think about dolphins?
    Yes, the trade-off is complicated. First of all: is your all-out dolphin kick faster than your swim? If so then, in a 50 at least, you want to be under the water as much as possible (15m off both walls if you can). How many you take for the 100 and 200 will depend on your conditioning and practice.

    You talk about working on core and dolphin kicks for months...I've worked on them for many years and am still finding ways to improve. It is a long process, though initial improvement should come rapidly.

    You need to work on:

    -- technique. The proper amplitude for you, and maintaining a very tight and narrow streamline in your upper body. Your head should be *between* your arms, which are very very tight. Stretch to be a long shape underwater; and from your chest up you should be rigid. Lead with your hips in your kicking; ankles need to be very flexible (work on this separately if necessary).

    You can use fins to work on the proper streamline position: the increased speed with the fins will hopefully make small improvements in streamline more noticeable.

    -- kicking conditioning/strength. Do 25 all-out sprints (ideally no-breath "shooters" if you can), as well as 50s, 75s and 100s very fast, with plenty of recovery between. Don't just do 25s and 50s, you need to work on the longer distances too. Push it as far as you can underwater on each lap -- even past the 15m mark, if you are able.

    -- on backstroke sets, gradually increase the number of kicks you do off the walls. You need to have a minimum number of kicks off EVERY wall, no matter how tired you are. (I never take fewer than 6, for example, not even in warmup.)

    -- you need to have a realistic "kicking goal plan" for your races. For example: 5 kicks off every wall in the 100, 3 kicks off every wall in the 200. Do race-intensity 100s and 200s in practice using this plan. Get plenty of rest between repeats and make it your goal to stick to your kicking plan, even at the expense of swimming speed if necessary. Eventually, your legs will be "toughened up" enough that you won't be sacrificing swimming speed...and then add a kick to each wall and start over.

    Just my $0.02, anyway; good luck.

  17. #17
    Very Active Member rtodd's Avatar
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    Re: The Backstroke Lane

    How do you practice starts to gradually work up to proficiency without hurting lower back? Are there any start drills? I'd like to race backstroke, but am afraid of the start hurting my lower back.

  18. #18
    Very Active Member Swimosaur's Avatar
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    Re: The Backstroke Lane

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Stevenson View Post
    Yes, the trade-off is complicated ...
    Yes, this is the answer I was looking for, thanks so much.

    You talk about working on core and dolphin kicks for months...I've worked on them for many years ...
    After several months I am just starting to get a glimmer of hope. It is not an easy trick.

    You need to have a minimum number of kicks off EVERY wall, no matter how tired you are. (I never take fewer than 6, for example, not even in warmup.)
    Now I get to use one of those clever emoticons. How do they say? Oh yeah, ...

    I will burn your bullet points into my retinas, this is what to work on. Thanks again!

  19. #19
    Very Active Member Swimosaur's Avatar
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    Re: The Backstroke Lane

    Yesterday's workout, SCY all backstroke, inspired by this comment,

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Stevenson View Post
    You need to work on:
    -- technique ... You can use fins to work on the proper streamline position ...
    -- kicking conditioning/strength. Do 25 all-out sprints (ideally no-breath "shooters" if you can) ...
    -- on backstroke sets ... You need to have a minimum number of kicks off EVERY wall
    -- realistic "kicking goal plan"
    600 warmup

    4 x (25 shooter w/ fins + 25 EZ kick). Focus on streamline.

    4 x (25 shooter no fins + 25 EZ kick). I can barely make it, but I can make it. It currently takes 24-28 dolphins per 25. That's something I can work on.

    2 x (50 fast, within 2-3 sec of PB, 5 dolphins each wall + 50 EZ kick).

    3 x (100 fast, within 5 sec of PB, some number of dolphins + 100 EZ kick).

    200 swimdown

    Not many yards, but I was wrung out. After the last set, it looks like a near-term "realistic kicking plan" in the 100 for this noob is going to be something like 4-3-2-1 for the start & three walls, and that I'll be lucky to have a minimum number of 1. Hey, it's a start.
    Last edited by Swimosaur; April 28th, 2010 at 11:29 AM.

  20. #20
    Very Active Member quicksilver's Avatar
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    Re: The Backstroke Lane

    Quote Originally Posted by Ahelee Sue Osborn View Post
    I do not know WHY however, he has freestylers pictured on his home page right now...
    ... because I'm a closet freestyler in our off season. Honestly I'd much rather be looking up at blue sky and seagulls in the mornings. The coral reef of hair and band-aids in the deep end is scary!

    And yes hands on the gutters are legal (and done quite often at the kids meets too). There's less risk in slipping at the start. And it can be a much smoother entry.


    Thanks for the tips during practice Chris! Still haven't grown any gills yet, but there's hope.
    Last edited by quicksilver; April 27th, 2010 at 10:03 PM.

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