So I read this and the study did not take into account physiology, or more specifically height when measuring underwater kicking performance.
I would be curious if shorter swimmers can underwater kick as fast or faster than taller swimmers and if they should work to exploit this more than the typical effort given to underwater kicking.
Last edited by rtodd; January 22nd, 2014 at 07:06 PM.
Taller swimmers have less wave drag at any given swimming speed,so they have an advantage at the surface.Underwater you shouldn't generate surface waves and height is a negligible factor.
"To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
Didn't Misty Hyman refer to this issue in her interview in the current Swimmer, noting how the 15-meter rule favored tall swimmers more than shorter swimmers who might benefit more from the opportunity to SDK farther?
I have my own opinion on this topic, not just because I suck at kicking under the surface, but from basic physics. Firstly I believe UW streamlining comes from the ability to flex, bend and hold yourself in that position. The major benefit taller swimmers have here, is reaching the destination sooner with height. But the ability to glide efficiently in streamlined position is one thing, being able to carry momentum and propel oneself under the surface (and at a faster speed than at the surface) is another. To do this with undulating kicks UW I believe, partly requires natural talent from genes (i.e., large feet, ankle flexibility, and relatively shorter legs), where shorter legs allow greater backward facing leverage of the propulsive surface on top of the feet, but with less frontal drag than someone with longer legs, who would have to increase kick amplitude (drag) to achieve same leverage. What do you think, am I right?
I think it's a lot to do with each of our flexibility -yes. I am older & have always been more flexible than others my age.
I don't think Hyman specifically stated UW kicking favored short swimmers. I will have to re read. Interesting thoughts about leg length. Was first sorting out height, before thinking of leg length.
Is there data or respected opinion that shows shorter swimmers can exploit UW kicking?
Thanks for posting, good read and still working on digesting this one - Love that you and others post research(esque, as the article humbly points out).
Putting my uneducated, unqualified .02 in, if you look at who is known for underwater ability it isn't the exclusive domain of tall swimmers. I'd say superior flexibility and dedication to the skill set are bigger factors than height.
I ain't as good as I once was
But I'm as good once as I ever was
Nick Thoman's coach had mentioned that taller swimmers have difficulty staying *connected* to their underwater kicks as compared to shorter athletes. Not sure why, but he says that Nick takes advantage of u/w kicking with his shorter height.
Interesting that he and Matt Grevers both went :44 for the 100 scy back this year. And Grevers is a giant in comparison.
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At 5'4", I'm pretty short for a swimmer. I was a gymnast when young, so very flexy. My times have been improving since adding more UW kicks (even in free -- I take 12 SDKs off the start of the 50 free). I agree with Allen's point above: tall swimmers have the advantage on the surface, but that advantage is erased UW.
I also agree with Misty about the 15 meter rule taking away a weapon. I wouldn't go crazy and stay under forever, but I'm not decelerating at 15 meters so wouldn't mind a few more kicks, especially in long course.
Oh, I don't have particularly short legs or big feet.
Phelps is 6'4" and his underwaters were pretty good as I recall.
"Librarians are hiding something." - Stephen Colbert
At a much, much lower level of performance than the Thomans and Phelps out there, I can anecdotally attest to the ease of shorter swimmers at SDK. I'm 5'9" and usually have some of the best underwaters at meets, and have the best at practice. At the bigger meets, I'm usually one of the shortest in my heat, if not the shortest. Relatively speaking, I've got a long torso and shorter legs. One of my teammates is 6'1" with a shorter torso and longer legs. We swam the 100 back next to each other a few weeks ago and I crushed him underwater. He made up ground on the surface, but I definitely had an advantage underwater, even with both of us taking about the same number of kicks off each wall.
Last edited by habu987; January 29th, 2014 at 01:14 PM.
I think it is less related to torso to leg length ratio, as it is to lower body power to leg length ratio.
I recently did a quick poor-man's experiment which involved wall pushed, 25 free efforts at 95% every 1:00. I alternated through SDK's, flutter kick, and no kick at all, to breakout and observed the times. The push-off glide swims were consistently faster (and use less energy) than both the flutter and SDK's (which were about equal).
My lower body strength is relatively weak (and long), which probably make me a non SDK'er, though I can glide fairly decent.
Last edited by __steve__; January 29th, 2014 at 06:58 PM.
My 12 year old is tiny, not yet 5 feet tall, and 80 pounds or so. Breaststroke has always been her best event. At the start after her single dolphin kick and pull down she is always in the lead. Then the tall 11-12 year old girls do(SCY) 9 or 10 strokes to her 15 and beat her, but at the wall she gains on them again. This probably explains why she does so much better in short course than long course against the same girls.
This is the fastest 50 LCM SDK I've ever seen or heard of
Hill Taylor is about 5'10"
Amazing. There is also his 47 sec 100scy kick out there somewhere. What is Taylor's height?