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Thread: The Backstroke Lane

  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 11:55 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

    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?

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    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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    Love SWIMMING! Ahelee Sue Osborn's Avatar
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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.

  7. #7
    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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    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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    Re: The Backstroke Lane

    Thanks, Ande!! LOVE IT!! And *loved* the video of AP's late night appearance. That was great.

    Happy swims to ya.

    Bridge
    Think where mans glory most begins and ends, and say that my glory was I had such friends. -Yeats

  10. #10
    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.

  11. #11
    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.

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    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!

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    Very Active Member david.margrave's Avatar
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    Re: The Backstroke Lane

    Aaron Peirsol has dropped significant amounts of time in just the last year, right? How did he do it, some new technique? At his level, big time drops like that aren't very common.

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    Love SWIMMING! Ahelee Sue Osborn's Avatar
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    Re: The Backstroke Lane

    Quote Originally Posted by david.margrave View Post
    Aaron Peirsol has dropped significant amounts of time in just the last year, right? How did he do it, some new technique? At his level, big time drops like that aren't very common.
    He has always said that the SDK wasn't his strong point.
    But he had to really address it and get better - because now, even in long course - TURNS COUNT FOR A LOT OF TIME.

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    Re: The Backstroke Lane

    Quote Originally Posted by david.margrave View Post
    Aaron Peirsol has dropped significant amounts of time in just the last year, right? How did he do it, some new technique? At his level, big time drops like that aren't very common.
    I suspect that Ryosuke Irie and his very beautiful stroke provided a lot of motivation.

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    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 11:03 PM.

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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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    Re: The Backstroke Lane

    I'm not a very fast backstroker, so I guess if there's any place I stand to gain, this is it. I'm changing my technique a bit. I didn't used to start exerting any significant force until my hand was even with my shoulder, then finished with the big sweep that mostly uses triceps. Instead I'm trying to 'dig in' with my hand as soon as possible and get some more effort into the pull.

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

    Instead I'm trying to 'dig in' with my hand as soon as possible and get some more effort into the pull.
    Pulling too soon as you described might not allow the ideal traction. Save the *umph* for the middle and latter portions of the stroke cycle where it can really count.

    After your hand slices the surface and drops in...you should feel as if you are reaching for the ceiling (stay long), and then begin a shoulder rotation. This will help you achieve a deeper hand position before you start applying more force.


    Reach and roll. Throw the water towards your feet.
    Last edited by quicksilver; April 28th, 2010 at 03:20 PM.

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    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 12:29 PM.

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