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Thread: 50m freestyle Help!!!

  1. #1
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    50m freestyle Help!!!

    Hi!
    i'm new here and this being my first post, i'm not sure on how to go about it; so i shall start from the beginning.

    From May last year, i've began my quest to lower my freestyle 50m timing and have since worked on trying to attain a more stream line position of my body.

    currently i can only barely reach 30secs and would really hope to lower it down to 23-24.. i really hope it is possible.

    Please look at the videos in my youtube channel to give me pointers.

    heres the link: Youtube Channel

    Plz do help me =) ty in advance

  2. #2
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    Re: 50m freestyle Help!!!

    Getting to 24 is going to take you a long time.

    I think you have the conditioning down for 50 meters. Lots of effort, and your speed doesn't fade until the very end. If you can shorten the race by being more efficient, you'll barely fade at all.

    It looks like you are slipping in the water with your arm stroke, and rushing the catch. You can improve this at the same time as working on your streamline by doing lots of catch drills. I think it's best to do these while wearing fins, so that you can work with a fast flow of water, and also improve your kick at the same time.

    Do flutter kick on your stomach with your arms extended in front of you but not locked in a streamline. Tilt one wrist slightly downward, and allow the water to push against the back of your hand. Then bring the wrist back up and do it with the other wrist. Once you're used to the pressure on the back of your hand, allow the pressure to push your forearm until it's completely vertical, with your elbow still at the surface. Do this with alternating arms. It's kind of like doggy paddle, except you aren't pulling. Just let each forearm slide into a vertical position, and then straighten it back out.

    That position, with your elbow above your wrist, is the most powerful position for the freestyle stroke. Once you feel comfortable with the first drill I describe, start engaging the water with a strong pull in this position. Just quick short pulses of power at first, recovering underwater like in the first drill. Then work up to the full stroke with an over-the-water recovery. Instead of focusing on the movement of your hand, imagine pulling your elbow to your side. The strongest muscles on your upper body are the ones that bring your elbow to your side, and you want to use them as much as possible.

    That's the drill progression I like to use personally for a strong catch. I hope it works for you, and please ask questions if anything is unclear.

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    Re: 50m freestyle Help!!!

    thank you very much for your prompt reply!

    i too find that i can't generate much pull (catch) as much as i do in the gym. and for my legs, what should i be looking out for? it seems like i'm putting so much effort into pushing my lower body up and little is driving me forward.

    on another note, does fins really help in understanding how to properly catch water? if so i would really invest in one!

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    Re: 50m freestyle Help!!!

    23 in a 50m free is a HUGE goal.

    I'd have loved to see a demo start in the videos. So many people dismiss their start and start sequence as "good enough" when they could be leaving a whole second on the table. Its all "free" time if you take it right off the start/underwater. Also it looks like you might not be using an SDK. I don't know that you'll get down to 23-24 without that. Last, what jazz said... you're not getting the full distance per stroke while sprinting. The only way to sprint faster is to maximize distance while increasing stroke rate assuming all other factors remain constant. Sounds simple, but very hard. Also, you need to work on kicking.

    Given the magnitude of the goal you've set out, you should make intermediate goals and work towards those first. You should check ande's tips too, there are a ton of good ones in there to point you in the right direction.

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    Re: 50m freestyle Help!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by fmracing
    Also it looks like you might not be using an SDK. I don't know that you'll get down to 23-24 without that.
    It's not a big deal in freestyle. People have gone 21 without SDK. I went 24.7 and I did maybe one dolphin kick

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    Re: 50m freestyle Help!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz Hands View Post
    It's not a big deal in freestyle. People have gone 21 without SDK. I went 24.7 and I did maybe one dolphin kick
    I'm not saying it can't be done... but for those of us that don't have olympian genetics, it sure does help

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    Re: 50m freestyle Help!!!

    I have three observations:
    • It's only a fifty, you need to get up on the water sooner from what you did from this video pushoff.
    • You are breathing alot for a fifty, and you have a hesitation every time you breath. The breathing needs to be more integrated, and hopefully, you can reduce the number of times you need to.
    • You started in one lane, nearly finished in the other. Do you have your eyes open or not? The shortest distance in the 50 is straight line, end to end. You may have something in your stroke that's angling you off to your right, and you need to fix it. start with openeing your eyes so you can stay on top of the line.
    It is an aggressive goal, but no-one ever got their by being feignt of heart! Good luck.


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    Re: 50m freestyle Help!!!

    Thank you all for your prompt reply! i'm dazzled by the activeness of this forum =)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz Hands View Post
    Getting to 24 is going to take you a long time.

    I think you have the conditioning down for 50 meters. Lots of effort, and your speed doesn't fade until the very end. If you can shorten the race by being more efficient, you'll barely fade at all.

    It looks like you are slipping in the water with your arm stroke, and rushing the catch. You can improve this at the same time as working on your streamline by doing lots of catch drills. I think it's best to do these while wearing fins, so that you can work with a fast flow of water, and also improve your kick at the same time.

    Do flutter kick on your stomach with your arms extended in front of you but not locked in a streamline. Tilt one wrist slightly downward, and allow the water to push against the back of your hand. Then bring the wrist back up and do it with the other wrist. Once you're used to the pressure on the back of your hand, allow the pressure to push your forearm until it's completely vertical, with your elbow still at the surface. Do this with alternating arms. It's kind of like doggy paddle, except you aren't pulling. Just let each forearm slide into a vertical position, and then straighten it back out.

    That position, with your elbow above your wrist, is the most powerful position for the freestyle stroke. Once you feel comfortable with the first drill I describe, start engaging the water with a strong pull in this position. Just quick short pulses of power at first, recovering underwater like in the first drill. Then work up to the full stroke with an over-the-water recovery. Instead of focusing on the movement of your hand, imagine pulling your elbow to your side. The strongest muscles on your upper body are the ones that bring your elbow to your side, and you want to use them as much as possible.

    That's the drill progression I like to use personally for a strong catch. I hope it works for you, and please ask questions if anything is unclear.
    i do think that my stroke rate seems to be a little too slow for a sprint race though.
    When you said "rushing with my catch", does it mean that i'm not gliding enough? or i did not set up the catch position at all?
    And are fins really essential? because it is kinda expensive in my country. But if it will serve to understand the concept of a proper catch i would definitely invest in one!

    For the drills, is the emphasis meant to achieve a gd EVF? i'm having trouble with EVF, seems hard to achieve in the water bt possible dry-land. (not sure if i'm making any sense, EVF = early vertical forearm)

    And yet another, am i supposed to sway so much on the upper body when swimming with only the flutter kick?



    Quote Originally Posted by fmracing View Post
    23 in a 50m free is a HUGE goal.

    I'd have loved to see a demo start in the videos. So many people dismiss their start and start sequence as "good enough" when they could be leaving a whole second on the table. Its all "free" time if you take it right off the start/underwater. Also it looks like you might not be using an SDK. I don't know that you'll get down to 23-24 without that. Last, what jazz said... you're not getting the full distance per stroke while sprinting. The only way to sprint faster is to maximize distance while increasing stroke rate assuming all other factors remain constant. Sounds simple, but very hard. Also, you need to work on kicking.

    Given the magnitude of the goal you've set out, you should make intermediate goals and work towards those first. You should check ande's tips too, there are a ton of good ones in there to point you in the right direction.
    could you fill me in on what SDK stands for? oh i'm trying to push it down to 25 sec without the jump start so that i'm able to tackle the problems individually.
    by getting the full distance per stroke does it mean i have to pull all the way to the end? just a question cause i've never trained with a team before nor have found any videos on this, when i pull, is my palm supposed to be orientated to the body middle-line or to the sides (like shoulder width)?

    once again tyvm =)!
    Last edited by etzr; June 13th, 2011 at 09:48 AM.

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    Re: 50m freestyle Help!!!

    could you recommend me a method as to how not to breathe ever so often? it almost seem habitual for me, and i realised that when i breathe, my body tends to turn too much. could you advice me on how to remain flat while breathing? does the timing at which i breathe have to do with it?

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    Re: 50m freestyle Help!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by etzr View Post
    could you fill me in on what SDK stands for? oh i'm trying to push it down to 25 sec without the jump start so that i'm able to tackle the problems individually.
    by getting the full distance per stroke does it mean i have to pull all the way to the end? just a question cause i've never trained with a team before nor have found any videos on this, when i pull, is my palm supposed to be orientated to the body middle-line or to the sides (like shoulder width)?

    once again tyvm =)!
    Streamline dolphin kick. If you can get good at it, it will help the underwater part of your divestart. In my opinion, train the way you intend to race. Don't train a pushoff 50m for time. Train a divestart 50m for time because that is how you will race. You will need to work on the transition from the dive to the breakout and getting up and out of the water to start your sprint, so don't leave that part of the training til the very end, be sure to integrate it in and work on all of it at least once a week.

    The full distance per stroke basically means what jazz said. It looks like you're spinning your wheels while you sprint. Call it, distance per stroke, or evf, or the catch. Its all the same thing... make sure you get the most efficient stroke you can at a high stroke rate. Make sure water is being pushed by your arms and hands and not slipping around them. This is something that can only be ligthly explained in a forum. You will likely need a coach for fine tuning of your stroke if you have no experience doing this already.

    How old are you and how long have you been swimming?

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    Re: 50m freestyle Help!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by etzr View Post
    could you recommend me a method as to how not to breathe ever so often? it almost seem habitual for me, and i realised that when i breathe, my body tends to turn too much. could you advice me on how to remain flat while breathing? does the timing at which i breathe have to do with it?
    A little, but for a 50 its really about holding your breath longer. You can work this by doing breath control 50's... breath as much as you want the first 25, and don't breath at all the second 25. Eventually you'll be able to do more than 25m without breathing. Keep working this up til you can do a full 50 without breathing in practice. It should help prepare you for a none or one breath race. The best sprinters breath once or not at all in a 50. Breathing just wastes time, and your body isn't going to make use of that oxygen until the race is over anyway... after all, you're only talking about 24 seconds

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    Re: 50m freestyle Help!!!

    i'm 22 yrs old, i've been working on freestyle for 1 year now. =/ hope that i'm not too late!

    I realised that as much as i try to imagine what a good catch should be like, i'll need to experience it in the water. i'll try the drill jazz mentioned and post yet another video on u-tube in a week time.

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    Re: 50m freestyle Help!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by etzr View Post
    i'm 22 yrs old, i've been working on freestyle for 1 year now. =/ hope that i'm not too late!

    I realised that as much as i try to imagine what a good catch should be like, i'll need to experience it in the water. i'll try the drill jazz mentioned and post yet another video on u-tube in a week time.

    Its one of those things, a minute to learn and lifetime to master. Its never too late though.

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    Re: 50m freestyle Help!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by etzr
    i do think that my stroke rate seems to be a little too slow for a sprint race though.
    I like the stroke rate. I don't think you can really dictate stroke rate in a sprint, though. You'll have a certain amount of efficiency, strength, and kicking power. Your sprint stroke rate just happens from those factors.

    When you said "rushing with my catch", does it mean that i'm not gliding enough? or i did not set up the catch position at all?
    And are fins really essential? because it is kinda expensive in my country. But if it will serve to understand the concept of a proper catch i would definitely invest in one!
    Rushing the catch isn't about gliding, it's about the time from when the arm motion starts to when your arm is in a powerful position. You should be relatively relaxed until your arm gets into that position. I find that it's easier to practice this feeling at about 90% effort instead of top speed.

    Fins are not essential, but if you end up having trouble with body position in slow drills they can be very useful.

    For the drills, is the emphasis meant to achieve a gd EVF? i'm having trouble with EVF, seems hard to achieve in the water bt possible dry-land. (not sure if i'm making any sense, EVF = early vertical forearm)
    Yes, this is an EVF drill.

    And yet another, am i supposed to sway so much on the upper body when swimming with only the flutter kick?
    Try to limit the sway as much as possible by keeping your body rigid.

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    Re: 50m freestyle Help!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by etzr View Post
    i'm 22 yrs old, i've been working on freestyle for 1 year now. =/ hope that i'm not too late!
    I think you're on a very good path so far. You have a good build for swimming, and it seems like you have the flexibility for it, which is what holds back a lot of swimmers who start as adults.

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    Re: 50m freestyle Help!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz Hands View Post
    Do flutter kick on your stomach with your arms extended in front of you but not locked in a streamline. Tilt one wrist slightly downward, and allow the water to push against the back of your hand. Then bring the wrist back up and do it with the other wrist. Once you're used to the pressure on the back of your hand, allow the pressure to push your forearm until it's completely vertical, with your elbow still at the surface. Do this with alternating arms. It's kind of like doggy paddle, except you aren't pulling. Just let each forearm slide into a vertical position, and then straighten it back out.

    That position, with your elbow above your wrist, is the most powerful position for the freestyle stroke. Once you feel comfortable with the first drill I describe, start engaging the water with a strong pull in this position. Just quick short pulses of power at first, recovering underwater like in the first drill. Then work up to the full stroke with an over-the-water recovery. Instead of focusing on the movement of your hand, imagine pulling your elbow to your side. The strongest muscles on your upper body are the ones that bring your elbow to your side, and you want to use them as much as possible.
    Thanks for posting this. I kind of put it in the back of my mind to try out one day. Yesterday, my coach was showing me what I was doing wrong. He was emphasizing that my right hand was sliding outward through my stroke but I also noticed that when he immitated my motion, he had no catch. That reminded me of the drill progression you suggested so this morning I gave it a try. Makes a HUGE difference.... thanks!

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    Re: 50m freestyle Help!!!

    I agree with many of the points already posted. The primary things I see:


    • You are underwater too long at the start of your race. Your kick is not powerful enough to warrant you being underwater so long, come up much quicker.
    • Take less breaths. Ideally you should be taking 2 or less. Anything more is slowing you down.
    • Put your head down. Hard to tell on camera, but it appears your head is not as far down as it should be - you should be looking straight at the bottom of the pool, not in front of you.
    • Here's the biggest one: bend your arms. It appears you are swinging your arms around, and that's an inefficient stroke. If you don't know what I mean by bend your arms (at the elbow) just stand on land, bend over, and take a stroke but try and graze your ear with your hand. That's bending your arms. Your stroke should be like that, but not as far in as to graze your ear. A drill that will really help with this is "fingertip drag." [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGHa86_gK8I"]YouTube - ‪Fingertip Drag Drill‬‏[/nomedia] (start about 40 sec into the vid). Your stroke should not be this exaggerated in a race setting, but its a good drill to get your elbows up and bent.

    Hope this helps! Good luck to you

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    Re: 50m freestyle Help!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by tlshaheen View Post
    I agree with many of the points already posted. The primary things I see:


    • You are underwater too long at the start of your race. Your kick is not powerful enough to warrant you being underwater so long, come up much quicker.
    • Take less breaths. Ideally you should be taking 2 or less. Anything more is slowing you down.
    • Put your head down. Hard to tell on camera, but it appears your head is not as far down as it should be - you should be looking straight at the bottom of the pool, not in front of you.
    • Here's the biggest one: bend your arms. It appears you are swinging your arms around, and that's an inefficient stroke. If you don't know what I mean by bend your arms (at the elbow) just stand on land, bend over, and take a stroke but try and graze your ear with your hand. That's bending your arms. Your stroke should be like that, but not as far in as to graze your ear. A drill that will really help with this is "fingertip drag." YouTube - ‪Fingertip Drag Drill‬‏ (start about 40 sec into the vid). Your stroke should not be this exaggerated in a race setting, but its a good drill to get your elbows up and bent.

    Hope this helps! Good luck to you
    sry for the mia-ness, was working on doing the catch drill jazz proposed and i must say that i could feel more force being exerted from my hands, however when i take an underwater footage, i don't seem to be having the EVF. i think lots more have to be done.

    with regards to the fingertip drag, i admire popov's technique that seem to have the same form, however his body doesn't rotate that much. I'm not sure if i'm making myself clear, but when i try to do so, my body would no longer be flat.

    Because i see pros staying flat i always assumed flat was better, but will rotating my body to achieve that form be better (was thinking the sway would cause drag). Or is there a way to remain flat and still achieve the same form (refering to the recovery phase).

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    Re: 50m freestyle Help!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by etzr View Post
    with regards to the fingertip drag, i admire popov's technique that seem to have the same form, however his body doesn't rotate that much. I'm not sure if i'm making myself clear, but when i try to do so, my body would no longer be flat.

    Because i see pros staying flat i always assumed flat was better, but will rotating my body to achieve that form be better (was thinking the sway would cause drag). Or is there a way to remain flat and still achieve the same form (refering to the recovery phase).
    With regards to staying flat, I'm not sure I understand why you are saying you want to be flat. You definitely want to rotate, you never really want to be flat. Example: just sitting here, put your arm straight up in the air. Now rotate your upper body. Feel how your hand goes higher, and you have a longer reach? This is what you want in the water. When you pull with that arm then, your body should be rotating to take the same stroke with your other arm.

    I'm not sure where you are thinking you want to be flat!

    Edit: You may not be doing another drill which will help you understand this and help with your rotation. Kick on your right side, both arms straight against your body (like you were standing at attention). Take eight kicks, then only using your upper body, rotate to your left side and kick.

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    Re: 50m freestyle Help!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by tlshaheen View Post
    With regards to staying flat, I'm not sure I understand why you are saying you want to be flat. You definitely want to rotate, you never really want to be flat. Example: just sitting here, put your arm straight up in the air. Now rotate your upper body. Feel how your hand goes higher, and you have a longer reach? This is what you want in the water. When you pull with that arm then, your body should be rotating to take the same stroke with your other arm.

    I'm not sure where you are thinking you want to be flat!
    Disagree. In a 50 free your turnover should be such that a hip-driven freestyle is not possible- everything except your shoulders should be relatively flat (e.g Popov). If your hips are keeping up with your arms, your turnover is too slow, or you were formerly a bellydancer. Most 50 freestylers have a shoulder-driven freestyle, where the shoulders move independently of the hips.

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