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Thread: 500 free improvement needed

  1. #21
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    Re: 500 free improvement needed

    I think the head positioning is really making a difference.

    Masters coach also suggested the same head position change yesterday BTW.

    At last Saturdays meet during the 1650, I swam in a lane next to a lady from our team that avg. 42.4 sec/50 in the mile. I went about 44.1 sec/50.
    Yesterday at practice I was in a lane next to her again. During the 200s, when I would keep my eyes/head position at bottom of pool, after about 4 to 5 strokes, I would gain about 1/2 a body length. If I looked at the guys feet ahead of me, we would be even again after 4 to 5 strokes.
    I can't tell where my hips were at but I do think when my head is down I feel my ankles on the surface some, and dont ever feel that when I'm looking for feet.

  2. #22
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    Re: 500 free improvement needed-added video 3/29/19

    Someone had requested some video clips.
    I don't have a side view yet. taken during set of 10x100s on 1:50. Going about 1:16-1:17
    1st is the full last 100. 2nd is shorter from the middle of set.

    Could not find a way to store this on USMS. Let me know if this works for anybody. My video player starts funny when I run them.

    https://1drv.ms/f/s!ApJUMQl1sh_KhCesbAxJaKCiiYYj

    https://1drv.ms/f/s!ApJUMQl1sh_KhCj5eSTeLoZ-hgmI


    There is an odd left foot snap out to the left about every 4-6 kicks.

    Thanks for input.
    Last edited by pstephen5; March 29th, 2019 at 08:51 PM.

  3. #23
    Very Active Member JPEnge's Avatar
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    Re: 500 free improvement needed

    Ok, so not the best angle, but the two things I see are:

    1) You need to make your kick smaller and more controlled. That big amplitude kick is out of rhythm with your rotation and causing your lower body to slew back and forth a bit. Hence the left foot snap that puts you back in rhythm temporarily.

    2) On the catch, you need to bend your arm in order to pull the hand straight back on the pull. As it is now, your first movement on the catch is to push your hand down, which gives momentum up instead of forward.

  4. #24
    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: 500 free improvement needed-added video 3/29/19

    Quote Originally Posted by pstephen5 View Post
    There is an odd left foot snap out to the left about every 4-6 kicks.
    I think that is what is part of what is causing you to shimmy. Looks like your upper body isn't moving in sync (rolling) with your lower body. They are sort of moving like two separate parts instead of as one continuous rolling motion. Pull looks good. No crossover, and no pulling way outside the body line. But your hip shimmy is definitely slowing you down in the water. Also have you considered kicking off walls? Even one dolphin kick is better than none.

    I always tried to preach "free speed" to my swimmers:

    - tight streamlines
    - kicking off walls
    - fast turns
    - fast starts

    three out of the four above don't require any sort of fitness, just practice and sticktoitiveness. I would even say the kicking off walls doesn't require too much fitness, just practice. The fitness comes in if you want to MAXIMIZE your kicking off the walls.

    EDIT: Cause Jeff is more of a sprinter than me and beat me to it. Agree about the catch. I missed that on the first two watches.

  5. #25
    Very Active Member Swimspire's Avatar
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    Re: 500 free improvement needed-added video 3/29/19

    Great to see that you were able to get some GoPro videos of your stroke! Overall you're a good swimmer, and in order to make the improvements you wish to achieve, you need to work on fine-tuning the efficiency of your pull and your kick - working on the finer details of your stroke to increase speed and maximize the energy you are putting in.

    In terms of the upper body, as mentioned you could get more out of your pull by aiming for an earlier catch - more of an early vertical forearm. As you'll see in the screen shot below, you start out with a straight arm and only really start the catch at the midway point of your pull. Start the catch early, just after extending your arm. Here's a good drill to work on the early vertical forearm.

    You also have a slight tendency to cross over with the left arm at the beginning of the pull, as displayed in the screen shot. Make sure that your hand enters the water in front of the shoulder, not in front of the nose.




    You can also work on improving your kick - as others have noted, your left foot is too wide and too far outside of the body, especially when you extend your right arm (see screen shot).




    Finally, your push off the wall can be improved - and over a 500 swim, you can take quite a bit of time off if you get more distance off the wall on the push before beginning the dolphin kick.


    Working on these issues - in addition to improving overall conditioning and speed - will help you get where you want to be in terms of 500 free improvements! Good luck!

  6. #26
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    Re: 500 free improvement needed-added video 3/29/19

    (I love this thread. Just sayin'. I'm learning a lot. Thanks.)
    Current PRs: 25m-:16.8/50m-:36.0/100m-1:19.5/200m-2:55.5/400m-6:14/800m-12:50/1600m-26:37


  7. #27
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    Re: 500 free improvement needed-2nd meet update

    So first results are in from MN state championship SCY meet. Two day meet.
    Day1: 50free, 100Br, 200free, 100IM, 1650free
    Day2: 200MRel (fly), 400FRel, 500free, 100back, 50Br, 200FRel
    1650 at end of D1, 500 early D2. Honestly I hoped for more improvement, but I worked on changing the 'catch' quite a bit and worked too much last couple of weeks (70+ hours, short sleep) before meet too. Here are graphs of the 1st and 2nd 1650 and 500:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    50 free's: from mid 28's last time to mid 27's for all of them this time (sprinting is fun, never really did that much before)
    100 free relay split: 1:03.19
    200 free splits: 31.62, 36.62, 37.68, 35.23 (happy with these but hadn't swam this before)
    500 free: 6:52.74 to 6:48.30
    1650 free: 24:14.29 to 23:43:54
    non-freestyle swims I was very happy with

    I'm a little disappointed because I had a great heat to try to go after a 6:30. There were 3 people right around 6:30 and I couldn't keep up with them. I did feel really short of breath again around 200 mark, just like first time.
    I did get a chance to swim on a couple of relays before the 500 that I needed to sprint in (swam 50 fly and 100 free). Can't really blame that. The 100 free I didn't think I swam wide open and got a 1:03.19 (30.59/32.6) so I was really looking forward to the 500.

    My coach more than once has told me to not watch everyone around me and swim MY race. I know what a 40 sec 50 feels like now. Got to listen to her like Paul W. told me.
    (tip of the cap to her: 7/7 first places, 6 state records, even with my bugging her about little things, like where to put my toes on backstroke start, all meet).

    This is the revised base AM practice I've used for the last month from your input:
    500 swim wup
    400 pull wup
    300 kick 75%
    6x50s S/P technique on :60 (stress the new catch, 12 strokes / length swim, 13 strokes / length pull, 3 dolphins off wall EVERY start/turn)
    10x100s S on 1:50, 1:16-1:17s
    4x50s S/P tech. on :60 (38-40 secs.)
    10x50s S on :50, 35-38's
    4x50s S/P tech. on :60 (38-40 secs.)
    6x100 IMs swim on 1:15(error) 2:15
    8x25s no breathers (fly/free/underwater)

    PM practices starting last week:
    M/W: 1650 moderate, work technique, turns. 10x50s on :60 (:40s), technique, not speed
    T/R/F: walk two miles, lift shoulders / back / chest then Torres stomach routine
    (at meet talked to a hall of fame swimmer in MN that is 70 and went a 22:09.95! 1650 free, really believes in some weight lifting)

    I will put up video with the NEW catch in a day or two. I'm not faster with it yet, but it does seem like less energy and has reduced the strokes / length when I concentrate on it. Still feels awkward, kind of like I'm slipping.

    Thanks again.
    Last edited by pstephen5; April 26th, 2019 at 05:52 PM.

  8. #28
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    Re: 500 free improvement needed-2nd meet update

    haven't updated in some time, but I have the meet this Saturday again. First time since the meet 10 months ago.
    other than about 6 weeks this fall, I've been pretty consistent 4-5 days / week.
    I haven't swam with the masters team since spring ended, but will again starting after this meet.

    goal for the 500 is 6:30: 1:15,1:20, 1:20, 1:20, 1:15

    Basic workout most days now is the following:
    1x1650, first 500 easy, 2nd 500 medium, 3rd 500 pretty hard (no specific speed, just a perceived effort level. There is a lady that is a former college distance swimmer that swims next lane now, and I try to stay even first 500, gain a little each 50 in the middle 500, and pass at least twice in the last 650)
    1x500 kick
    1x500 pull (work the EVF technique, 75%+ effort)

    main
    4x150 S/P on 2:30, hold pace at <2:00, most days a barely make it
    1x100 EZ
    6x100 S/P on 1:30, try to hold pace <=1:20, most days pretty tough, usually 4-5 at or under. (typical would be 1:15,1:19,1:20,1:20,1:22,1:18)
    1x100 EZ
    12x50 S/P on :50, hold pace at <:40, this is pretty easy to make now. Can swim :38 very consistent.

    warm down
    12x25: no breath freestyle down, underwater breaststroke back.

    only dryland has been walking up a pretty steep sliding hill 2x a week for an hour when snowboarding. 20 pushups and 40 situps, twice a day.
    Last edited by pstephen5; February 26th, 2020 at 07:02 PM.

  9. #29
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    Re: 500 free improvement needed-current video, not much bett

    took some video today. I really don't think I've changed much. Disappointing, need more technique work and video. Maybe left arm EVF is a little better, doesn't seem to drop right away. right arm not much better. Left foot flick is still there. back half still low in the water.

    link to video: link fixed
    (date time on video not accurate)https://1drv.ms/v/s!AJJUMQl1sh_KhD0
    Last edited by pstephen5; February 28th, 2020 at 12:49 AM. Reason: fix link

  10. #30
    Very Active Member pwb's Avatar
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    Re: 500 free improvement needed-2nd meet update

    Quote Originally Posted by pstephen5 View Post
    haven't updated in some time, but I have the meet this Saturday again. First time since the meet 10 months ago.
    other than about 6 weeks this fall, I've been pretty consistent 4-5 days / week.
    I haven't swam with the masters team since spring ended, but will again starting after this meet.

    goal for the 500 is 6:30: 1:15,1:20, 1:20, 1:20, 1:15

    Basic workout most days now is the following:
    1x1650, first 500 easy, 2nd 500 medium, 3rd 500 pretty hard (no specific speed, just a perceived effort level. There is a lady that is a former college distance swimmer that swims next lane now, and I try to stay even first 500, gain a little each 50 in the middle 500, and pass at least twice in the last 650)
    1x500 kick
    1x500 pull (work the EVF technique, 75%+ effort)

    main
    4x150 S/P on 2:30, hold pace at <2:00, most days a barely make it
    1x100 EZ
    6x100 S/P on 1:30, try to hold pace <=1:20, most days pretty tough, usually 4-5 at or under. (typical would be 1:15,1:19,1:20,1:20,1:22,1:18)
    1x100 EZ
    12x50 S/P on :50, hold pace at <:40, this is pretty easy to make now. Can swim :38 very consistent.

    warm down
    12x25: no breath freestyle down, underwater breaststroke back.

    only dryland has been walking up a pretty steep sliding hill 2x a week for an hour when snowboarding. 20 pushups and 40 situps, twice a day.
    Looking at this workout, I'd have a few comments:
    • You're spending way too much of your workout doing basically non-pace swimming through that 2,650 warmup.
    • A workout needs to be very intentional and easy swimming should be limited to - gentle (but not overly long) warmup, some drills, cool-down (again not overly long)
    • I've had a fair amount of success in the 500 over the years and, on a percentage basis, my typical workout would typical have about
      • 20% easy - the first few hundred, cool-downs
      • 25% moderate / build - the actual warming up part where most of my sets are descending to pretty face
      • 55% race pace work


    I find many swimmers and many masters programs spend way too much time swimming slow. If you want to swim faster in a race, you've got to train faster in a workout.

  11. #31
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    Re: 500 free improvement needed-2nd meet update

    Hi! I am also working on building a better 500. I wonder if you need to mix up your workouts more? doing the same thing at the same pace is unlikely to elicit a change in your swimming. Lots of great suggestions previously in the thread...

    sets I like to mix in

    repeat 50s at pace on shorter interval- say :45, holding 32-33, doing 8-10 of these or more

    repeat 100s on a tough interval 1:15 doing 6-8 of these, okay to just make it

    repeat 100s on long rest like 2:00, holding sub-goal 500 pace maybe 4-6 total

    16 x25s on :30 holding <15 or <16

    6-10 x 200s @300 holding 500 tempo and perfect turns

    3x300s @430 (thanks pwb for this monster), best average

    For reference, these are all in yards, i swim 3-5x week usually 3k, went a 6:01 in january but even/neg split the race and it was my 4th race of the day and am hoping to drop significant time for nats. I am not sure i'd meet your goal of 630 on the workout plan you describe, it would be close. However, you are male and I am female, so that does mean that our training effect will have differing results.
    Last edited by JSC910; February 28th, 2020 at 10:29 AM.

  12. #32
    Very Active Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Re: 500 free improvement needed

    Quote Originally Posted by knelson View Post
    To me this suggests you might want to drop your pace. If you want to swim a 6:00 500 then definitely shoot for :36 on these.
    This is correct...except that holding :36 per 50 is actually :36 and a fraction. If you see :36 change to :37 as you hit the wall, that will be a :36.8 or so, if you see :36 stay for a moment, that is what I call a :36 solid which is maybe a :36.4 or so. Either way, if you add up 10 repeat 50s that are :36.4, that is a 6:04 500!

    What really needs to happen is to repeat 50s holding :35 so that when you add the fractions you will get to 5:59.99!!! Which is infinetly better than 6:00.
    Glenn Gruber

  13. #33
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    Re: 500 free improvement needed-2nd meet update

    Thanks for the info. A couple questions if you don't mind.
    1. how many strokes per length do you take, and how far off the wall to you get on the turns? to the flags or more?
    2. do you use any UDK's on the turn?
    3. do you watch heart rate at all on the hard sets? I get to 190 pretty quick on the short intervals. It does recover better than a year ago in 10-15 seconds.
    4. I used to do a lot of 100s on 2:00, sub goal 500 pace. Maybe I should mix that in once a week again.
    5. I see "best average" used a lot, but I don't know what that means, could you explain?

  14. #34
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    Re: 500 free improvement needed-2nd meet update

    Quote Originally Posted by pstephen5 View Post
    Thanks for the info. A couple questions if you don't mind.
    1. how many strokes per length do you take, and how far off the wall to you get on the turns? to the flags or more?
    2. do you use any UDK's on the turn?
    3. do you watch heart rate at all on the hard sets? I get to 190 pretty quick on the short intervals. It does recover better than a year ago in 10-15 seconds.
    4. I used to do a lot of 100s on 2:00, sub goal 500 pace. Maybe I should mix that in once a week again.
    5. I see "best average" used a lot, but I don't know what that means, could you explain?

    assuming these questions are for me

    1. i take 7 or 7.5 stroke cycles per 25 yds. i am 5'6. i always come up after the flags even if i'm just warming up. i do a legit streamline on all turns every set every day and keep my head down through the break out.
    2. for the 500 i will do 1 or maybe 2 udk off each wall. i don't think everyone should do this... i have a pretty good aerobic engine (no speed, just endurance over here), so i can handle a little less o2 off the wall. my udk's are immediate, not after a glide. time yourself doing both ways to determine what is right for you.
    3. i do not watch my heart rate other than spot checks... my resting pulse is 45-50 and it just doesn't seem to get up that high in practice unless doing AO 50's in close proximity
    4. i agree you should be mixing your workouts up so that you can build different skills and different parts of your engine
    5. best average, to me, means the fastest pace I can hold across the set. so for example 10x 25s fr on :30 my best average will probably be 14h or 15L, but if i did them 'all out' the first couple would be faster and then i would deteriorate. steady pacing is an important skill-- for example a couple days ago i was doing descend 50s and can tell you before i touch the wall what each one is and descend just by 1 second like 36-35-34-33-32-31-30-29. It passes the time...

    good luck this weekend! don't be afraid of the second half- that is where the fun of racing lies in the 500!

  15. #35
    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: 500 free improvement needed-2nd meet update

    Think I posted it elsewhere in this thread:

    10x100 @ 2:00 best average is one I use often. I used it when I coached as well. I realize a better ďfeelĒ for 500 pace is trying to hold your goal pace with short rest, but I also feel like occasionally you need to FEEL what your particular necessary speed for the 500 is. When my goal was to break 5:00 years ago, and when I coached girls who wanted to break 5:00, I was coached and coached them to think like this: to break 5:00 you need to average under 1:00 on every 100. How can you possibly do that if you donít know what it feels like to go under 1:00 again and again? So I used a best average set like above to promote this. The BARE MINIMUM for someone wanting to break 5:00 was to see :59s every time. Now obviously if you could hold better than that across the whole set, all the better. But it also encouraged being under your goal pace when you were just completely gassed (usually around #7!).

    to each their own, but I think best average sets are a useful training tool for the 500.

    just to add: obviously you donít NEED to go under 1:00 on every 100 to break 5:00. Last winter I was 4:58 and split it 55.9/1:00.4/1:00.4/1:00.9/1:00.7. Sometimes you just have to get out after it on that first 100 and then fall into your rhythm. On that swim I probably could have held 1:00s through the 1000 I felt so smooth.


    and also I realize breaking 5:00 isnít the goal of the poster(s) but I use that time cause (a) thatís my benchmark for myself for a good 500 and (b) it makes the math easy

  16. #36
    Very Active Member pwb's Avatar
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    Re: 500 free improvement needed-2nd meet update

    Quote Originally Posted by pstephen5 View Post
    Thanks for the info. A couple questions if you don't mind.
    1. how many strokes per length do you take, and how far off the wall to you get on the turns? to the flags or more?
    2. do you use any UDK's on the turn?
    3. do you watch heart rate at all on the hard sets? I get to 190 pretty quick on the short intervals. It does recover better than a year ago in 10-15 seconds.
    4. I used to do a lot of 100s on 2:00, sub goal 500 pace. Maybe I should mix that in once a week again.
    A few thoughts for comparison:

    1) When racing, I'm probably 13 SPL (strokes per length) on 25 yards, but the first ~150-200 might be at 11-12 SPL and the last 100 might be at 14-15 (I count each arm as one). However, I am 6'4"
    2) 1-2 SDKs ... too many more and I'd be sacrificing oxygen
    3) I do a heart rate test set periodically from Dave Salo that is awesome for conditioning check. If you Google "Salo Pulse Plot," you'll find an excerpt from his excellent book, "Complete Conditioning for Swimming"
    4) If you're going to do 100s and try to simulate your race pace, aim for an interval that gives you about 10-15 seconds of rest. So, when I'm trying to get sub 5:00, I'll aim to do 5 x 100 on 1:15 and hold as close to 1:00 as possible. If you're doing more than 5, you can increase the rest interval, but I wouldn't do more than 20 seconds rest. Otherwise, there's just too much recovery time and it stops simulating the fatigue of a race.

  17. #37
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    Re: 500 free improvement needed-2nd meet update

    Quote Originally Posted by pwb View Post
    A few thoughts for comparison:

    1) When racing, I'm probably 13 SPL (strokes per length) on 25 yards, but the first ~150-200 might be at 11-12 SPL and the last 100 might be at 14-15 (I count each arm as one). However, I am 6'4"
    2) 1-2 SDKs ... too many more and I'd be sacrificing oxygen
    3) I do a heart rate test set periodically from Dave Salo that is awesome for conditioning check. If you Google "Salo Pulse Plot," you'll find an excerpt from his excellent book, "Complete Conditioning for Swimming"
    4) If you're going to do 100s and try to simulate your race pace, aim for an interval that gives you about 10-15 seconds of rest. So, when I'm trying to get sub 5:00, I'll aim to do 5 x 100 on 1:15 and hold as close to 1:00 as possible. If you're doing more than 5, you can increase the rest interval, but I wouldn't do more than 20 seconds rest. Otherwise, there's just too much recovery time and it stops simulating the fatigue of a race.

    looking at your SPL like WOAH until i see that you've got 10" on me...

  18. #38
    Very Active Member Swimspire's Avatar
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    Re: 500 free improvement needed-current video, not much bett

    Quote Originally Posted by pstephen5 View Post
    took some video today. I really don't think I've changed much. Disappointing, need more technique work and video. Maybe left arm EVF is a little better, doesn't seem to drop right away. right arm not much better. Left foot flick is still there. back half still low in the water.

    link to video: link fixed
    (date time on video not accurate)https://1drv.ms/v/s!AJJUMQl1sh_KhD0
    Thanks for sending the updated videos. Your stroke has changed for the better. I can see you have definitely improved your underwater pull. Keep working on the EVF with both arms - you're catching less air during your left arm pull, but due to the angle of your entry into the water with your right hand, you tend to catch more air with the right arm (see screenshots below). Finally, you need to work on keeping your head more still while you are swimming, especially when you are reaching your arm. Overall though, great job - you got a lot of good advice regarding conditioning - now continue to work on building up good stroke mechanics for an efficient and faster swim!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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