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Thread: Beginner video critique

  1. #1
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    Beginner video critique

    I learned how to swim freestyle two summers ago and I love it! I'd appreciate any swimming tips and feedback. I'd like to improve my form with the aim of swimming faster triathlon distances (1.5 - 4 km). The video below is grainy and watermarked but I'm hoping there's enough there to give a general gist of my current stroke.

    http://youtu.be/H4_a263ytBw

    Thanks!

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    Wannabe Middle D. Swimmer qbrain's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner video critique

    Quote Originally Posted by jonathanpdx View Post
    I learned how to swim freestyle two summers ago and I love it! I'd appreciate any swimming tips and feedback. I'd like to improve my form with the aim of swimming faster triathlon distances (1.5 - 4 km). The video below is grainy and watermarked but I'm hoping there's enough there to give a general gist of my current stroke.

    http://youtu.be/H4_a263ytBw

    Thanks!
    I am going to make some triathlon specific comments because you want to swim as fast as possible using the least amount of energy and save the legs for the bike and run.

    Recovery - You are using too much energy to recover your arm over the water. Rotate your body more so your upper arm never crosses the plane of your torso. This should take less energy using larger more enduring muscles and be easier on your shoulder joint than what you are doing now. Do finger tip drag drill to figure out just how high your hand needs to be to clear the water. Concentrate on being as relaxed as possible through the recovery.

    Reach - reach further forward on your hand entry without hyper extending your shoulder. Do not lock out the elbow, but your arm should be otherwise straight.

    Finish - You are not completing your stroke. Rotate at hips and finish your stroke past your waist.

    Balance - You are dragging your hips and legs. The easiest way to correct this without a strong kick is to look down at the bottom of the pool, straighten your neck and press your chest towards the bottom of the pool. That should bring the hips up. Swimming in a pool, you really want your butt checks regularly breaking the surface of the water as you swim.

    Kick - You don't really want to, you are saving your legs for the bike and run, but you want to keep your legs high in the water to minimize drag. When you are sighting, try to get away with a frogman (goggles only out of the water) and kick to compensate for the poor body position. You also want to kick as you come into the finish to fill your legs with blood and warm them up for the transition.

    Breathing - breath to the side and try to avoid Tarzan swimming. It is easiest to get clean air to the side (instead of eating a wave or someones kick to the front). With a good amount of chop, Tarzan will be unavoidable, so it is worth practicing to get your shoulders used to it, and to learn to arch your body to minimize drag.

    One thing you should really focus on in the pool is your stroke count per length. If we are the same speed, but you are taking 20 strokes and I am taking 15, I am going to be less tired getting out of the water. Stroke count is a very good indicator of stroke improvements. Swimmers play golf, where we count our strokes and add it to our time and try to decrease that number. A length is pretty common, but it would make sense for you to keep track of 4 or 8 lengths of the pool. Pick a distance and use it as a benchmark to see how your stroke is improving.

    Joining a masters team will be helpful. Regular training, coaching, better swimmers to watch and ask questions of and someone else coming up with workout ideas.

    I can't see what you are doing underwater, but it is pretty simple at the beginning. You want your palm to face straight back as soon as possible, your finger tips point straight down and you pull in a straight line, straight back.

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    Very Active Member __steve__'s Avatar
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    Re: Beginner video critique

    It (↑) might be alot of info, but believe me, it will pay off if you take the time. It will be a great deal of work, but the more you continue without correction, the more difficult it will be to fix. Even worse, it may cause permanent shoulder problems. I'm speaking from experience after injuring my good shoulder within the first few years of swimming.

    One thing I notice is that you should think of yourself as a solid vessle that rotates together using the torso and hips. The butt should surface and you look straight down (as if your watching fish below you on a reef). The shoulders don't rotate at all, they just flex. When you breath, just rotate enough so you can get your air from also turning the head, but the head must stay within the same axis. There's alot of drills for this (I have been working on daily recently).

    There is also some excellent cd's/downloads available at go-swim

    Also, brain might have covered it above, but whenever your arm is out of the water everything about the arm should be relaxed, especially the shoulder. Just let gravity grab the arm into the water.

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    Very Active Member geochuck's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner video critique

    It appears that you are swinging the body from side to side a perfect example of fishtailng. This is Julio doing fishtailing [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NB7nCKRRWNw&feature=plcp"]Fish tailing - YouTube[/nomedia]
    Last edited by geochuck; June 22nd, 2012 at 07:52 AM.
    Keep it simple George Park
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    Very Active Member mlabresh's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner video critique

    Quote Originally Posted by geochuck View Post
    It appears that you are swinging the body from side to side aperfect example of fishtailng. This Julio doing fishtailing Fish tailing - YouTube

    My son does this! We call it the 'wiggle'. How can I help him fix it?

    ~Megan

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    Very Active Member geochuck's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner video critique

    To start with - Use a catch up stroke. Hold your extended left hand out front and do not start your pull until the right hand palm touches the back of your left hand. Then hold your right hand extended out front until the left palm touches your right hand on the back of the hand. Make sure you do not cross over underneath the water.
    Keep it simple George Park
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    Very Active Member geochuck's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner video critique

    Jonathon the head should stay over the center line on the bottom of the pool you can actually see how far it moves to the right off a streamline position.
    Quote Originally Posted by jonathanpdx View Post
    I learned how to swim freestyle two summers ago and I love it! I'd appreciate any swimming tips and feedback. I'd like to improve my form with the aim of swimming faster triathlon distances (1.5 - 4 km). The video below is grainy and watermarked but I'm hoping there's enough there to give a general gist of my current stroke.

    http://youtu.be/H4_a263ytBw

    Thanks!
    Keep it simple George Park
    Swimsuit Sale http://www.swimdownhill.com/index.html

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    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner video critique

    Something else that might help correct the sinuous motion is to kick quickly and without much amplitude. I think if you do this it will be very difficult for your hips to slide as much.

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    Re: Beginner video critique

    I really appreciate the detailed feedback. It's very helpful and I'm excited to incorporate your suggestions. I read all of the responses several times and went out for a swim and at first was overwhelmed trying to do half a dozen new things. So then I tried to focus on one thing: fingertip drag with relaxation on the recovery. Here's what it looks like:

    http://youtu.be/TX8XbbcesnA

    I'm definitely seeing that I need to lengthen my stroke so I'll be working on reeeeeaching next.

    "Rotate your body more so your upper arm never crosses the plane of your torso."
    Can you explain this a bit more? Also, any specific drills you recommend to focus on rotation? It's something that's been recommended to me before in practice -- I attend a weekly master's style swim workout populated mostly with triathletes -- but I (obviously) haven't gotten it yet.

  10. #10
    Wannabe Middle D. Swimmer qbrain's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner video critique

    Quote Originally Posted by jonathanpdx View Post
    Can you explain this a bit more?
    Your elbow is going too far back on your recovery. If you rotate more, your elbow will stay in the same plane as your torso, or in front of it, which should be an easier recovery. The increased rotation will also help lengthen your stroke.

    You want to be more like this:
    http://swim.isport.com/userfiles/ima...01_300x350.jpg

    Quote Originally Posted by jonathanpdx View Post
    Also, any specific drills you recommend to focus on rotation? It's something that's been recommended to me before in practice -- I attend a weekly master's style swim workout populated mostly with triathletes -- but I (obviously) haven't gotten it yet.
    Here is a drill progression. It is not fun without a strong kick.

    1. With your arms at your side, kick with one shoulder up and one shoulder down and alternate shoulders.
    2. With one arm leading (straight out in front of you) and one shoulder up with the arm at the side, kick 10 beats, take a stroke to switch sides and kick 10 beats.
    3. Half speed catch up with exaggerated rotation to shoulder up position.
    4. Catch up drill
    5. Full normal stroke


    "up" is straight up out of the water.

    Since you cannot see yourself, when you are attempting to make a stroke correction, you exaggerate what you are trying to accomplish to achieve something between what you think you are doing (pointing your shoulder straight up) and what you are doing now (shoulder at 30 degrees).

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    Re: Beginner video critique

    KICK. You're focusing so much on your arms that you're forgetting to kick.

    Downloading this animation might help as well. It helps visualize the rotation people here are talking about. This program allows you to view the swimmer from various angles and speeds.
    http://www.swimsmooth.com/

  12. #12
    Wannabe Middle D. Swimmer qbrain's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner video critique

    Quote Originally Posted by EJB190 View Post
    KICK. You're focusing so much on your arms that you're forgetting to kick.
    Are you sure this is good advice for someone planning to bike over 100 miles and run over 26 after swimming a couple miles?

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    Very Active Member geochuck's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner video critique

    You are right gbrain -The advice should be adjust the kick so as not to be overkicking. Become more streamlined keep elbows high and rotate those shoulders. A little more extension when the hand enters.
    Quote Originally Posted by qbrain View Post
    Are you sure this is good advice for someone planning to bike over 100 miles and run over 26 after swimming a couple miles?
    Keep it simple George Park
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    Very Active Member __steve__'s Avatar
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    Re: Beginner video critique

    There is nothing wrong with kicking while training then saving your legs as required at actual events, is there?

    Never seen the swimsmooth mechanical-man before, interesting. They did a good job replicating a swimmer but there's a few things I don't support (if it means anything).

    First is the broken wrist catch, check out Mr. Popov's wrist over there <-.

    Second is related to what Q stated on rotation, I'll attach it. You will have to be very flexible to bend like that and it might require more work.

    gotta go ... My SWIMMER issue just arrived (25's, cool!)
    Last edited by __steve__; August 17th, 2012 at 03:09 PM.

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    Re: Beginner video critique

    I'm a total noob, but I'll contribute with a couple of ideas...

    you only breathe to one side every other stroke... in the pool you're breathing to the right, in the OWS you're breathing to the left... if you're proficient on both sides, I personally would recommend switching it up if you can. I'll never forget a rough Oly distance tri I did in 2009, the swim was freezing and very choppy (Lobsterman in Maine) and failing to breathe bilaterally left me with a nasty giant blister on the right side of my neck from my wetsuit. Also, since learning to breathe bilaterally every 3rd stroke, for me, I notice I am more "balanced" and feel like I swim straighter easier. you will be oxygen deficient in the beginning to take it slow, and practice holding your breath by slapping on some fins and swimming a length entirely under water. just a suggestion.

    Also, are you familiar with the two beat kick for triathlon swimming? It's something I practice in OWS but not necessarily in the pool - the idea is that it saves your legs for the bike/run:

    [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLdQfIyqxtA"]Freestyle two-beat kick - YouTube[/nomedia]

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    Wannabe Middle D. Swimmer qbrain's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner video critique

    Quote Originally Posted by __steve__ View Post
    There is nothing wrong with kicking while training then saving your legs as required at actual events, is there?
    If you are training for a race, train as you will race.

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