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Thread: Butterfly turn

  1. #1
    Very Active Member breastroker's Avatar
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    Talking Butterfly turn

    In the first issue of USMS Swimmer magazine I actually liked the Freestyle Open Turns article. I have perfected my own freestyle turn where I can beat most flip turn people. Note I said most. Having a great flip turn is an awesome advantage to fast freestylers. But that leaves me out.

    A good open turn allows me to get a good breathe, VERY important for someone with asthma. It also allows me to get in a perfect streamline and push off about 7 to 8 yards before the first stroke. I also have a bad wing, so taking less strokes per lap means I can sleep at night.

    But now to be critical, looking at pages 18 and 19 there are several minor flaws in this "Competitive Butterfly Turn". My concern is that both new and older swimmers will think this is the "perfect" butterfly turn, and it is not.

    Let me state that I feel the fastest competitive butterfly and breaststroke turn is actually done where you change from being on your front to immediately going on your back!

    Let me explain, the rules simply say that on butterfly and breaststroke turns you must be "101.2.4—Turns
    The shoulders must be at or past the vertical toward the breast when the swimmer leaves the wall ".

    Note key works, Shoulders, vertical and wall. It does not say you must have the entire body facing downwards, as new swimmers often think.

    Going on to the magazine article, pages 18 and 19, I agree on the feet position shown in 2 B.

    Ever see a new swimmer try the butterfly or breast turn, and they stay completely on the waters surface and throw their entire body sideways until they can push off again on their stomachs? SLOW! It takes time to move your body to the side, even more time to move the body to the same "breast" position.

    The swimmer in 2 C and 2 D clearly show the swimmer has taken the time to turn the body 90 degrees to the waters surface. This means he has to twist his body just one more degree "past the vertical towards the breast" to satisfy the rules.


    What would have been about two tenths faster would have been to turn from "on the breast" in butterfly and breaststroke to immediately throw the head back and pull the legs up, effectively turning onto your back. This is just faster than turing onto your side first.

    Now that you have gone from butterfly to on your back, just like in figure 2D the bottom arm both pulls your body underwater and allows the upper body to twist. All you have to do is twist your shoulders that 90 degrees to satisfy the rule book. Your body momentum will continue the twisting until you are completely on the breast.

    Most coaches prefer the feet to point not at 90 degrees as in 2D, but to be pointed at an angle between 20 and 45 degrees from vertical, nearly pointing to the waters surface!

    Note that you must have gone past vertical before the feet leaves to wall. There was a great woman swimmer who lost a Gold medal from the Olympics, she was disqualified in trials because she did not bother to go past vertical until after her feet passed the "T" on the bottom of the pool.

    With practice this "Stanford" turn is between 2 and 5 tenths of a second faster than standard turns. The reason I call it the Stanford turn is former World Record holder John Moffett taught it to me in the 80s, and at that time not a lot of other schools used this style. Look at swimmers from the Olympics and NCAA's and you will see this turn 90 % of the time in butterfly and breaststroke.

    Now to my last observation. Figure 2E shows the swimmer in what I call the old style Superman streamline, with the head looking slightly forwards. This style has the biceps next to the ears and the hands either next to each other or placed on top of each other.

    The modern streamline can gain one to two YARDS more distance for ZERO extra effort. It starts with the swimmers head ALWAYS looking at the bottom of the pool. The biceps are behind the head as the shoulders are squeezed together. This allows the body with as measured at the shoulders to decrease several inches.
    The KEY to this streamline is to lock the top hands thumb over the bottom hands little fingure, and push this locked hands forwards.
    This makes the body longer in length and smaller in diameter.
    For those of you who taped the Olympics or will be taping the NCAAs, you will see this streamline in most of the better swimmers.


    More information on turns and streamlines can be found at www.breaststroke.info.

    Coach Wayne McCauley
    ASCA Level 5 Masters
    It's not how fast you swim, it's how fast you slow down.

    For competition breaststroke information visit: http://www.breaststroke.info/

  2. #2
    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    I can't believe you didn't critique the freestyle open turn. It was awful. He made all the mistakes of the fly turn and made them worse. He is trying to turn towards his stomach before pushing off and worse the article seems to think thats a good idea. His streamlining is poor as he is clearly not shrugging his shoulders. When I read the article I thought "Wow Whayne is going to jump all over this."
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
    Allen

  3. #3
    Bill Volckening
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    Hi Wayne,

    Thank you for the feedback, and for the excellent observations. We are very excited that our first issue has generated such interesting discussion. Since the magazine is so new and different, we thought we would offer some points of clarification. Hopefully, these points will also clarify our vision for the magazine and some of the thought process behind our new direction.

    Originally posted by breastroker
    “Looking at pages 18 and 19 there are several minor flaws in this "Competitive Butterfly Turn". My concern is that both new and older swimmers will think this is the "perfect" butterfly turn, and it is not.”
    • The article doesn’t make any claim that the technique demonstrated is “perfect” technique. It simply shows how a USMS top ten swimmer does the turn, with commentary from his coach.

    Originally posted by breastroker
    “Look at swimmers from the Olympics and NCAA's…”
    • Our technique features are totally unique because we’re looking at Masters swimmers – not elite level NCAA Division I, USA Swimming Senior National, or Olympic swimmers.

    • We did consider using elite level swimmers for our technical analyses, but we felt that Masters swimmers of varied levels would be much more appropriate for our audience.

    • Although it may be the goal of certain Masters swimmers to fine-tune their technique at the elite level, it’s probably a little unfair and inaccurate to suggest that all Masters swimmers aspire to reach that level.

    • Can we learn from elite level swimmers? Definitely! Can we learn from Masters swimmers? Definitely! When faced with this decision, we felt Masters swimmers would represent something much more obtainable and real for our readers. We want readers to see themselves in the magazine, and featuring elite level swimmers from outside the Masters swimming community unfortunately does not serve this purpose.

    • In using Masters swimmers to demonstrate technique, we do understand that there will sometimes be technical points that do not match those seen in elite level swimmers. We also understand that not all coaches will agree on these technical points.


    Having said all that, I’d just like to add that we are very grateful to have worked with such a highly qualified Masters swimming coach (and swimmers from the same program) to provide a technical feature that is groundbreaking for USMS in many ways. It’s OK if people don’t agree with everything that’s said. We expect that. What’s most important is the discussion we have stimulated. It’s a good sign! We’re reaching people.

    Best Wishes,
    Bill

  4. #4
    Very Active Member LindsayNB's Avatar
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    Just for reference, here is Michael Phelps on his way to a world record in Barcelona, his feet have just contacted the wall:
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  5. #5
    Suit Chaser
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    Originally posted by LindsayNB
    Just for reference, here is Michael Phelps on his way to a world record in Barcelona, his feet have just contacted the wall:
    Can anyone say missed the point?

  6. #6
    Administrator matysekj's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Suit Chaser
    Can anyone say missed the point?
    I'm guessing here, because I don't know if Lindsay has even seen the magazine. He may be pointing out the similarity between Michael Phelps' turn in the photo he posted and photo 2d on page 19 of SWIMMER. To this untrained eye, the body positions of Michael Phelps and Tom Perrin are nearly identical at the exact same point in their turns.

  7. #7
    Very Active Member LindsayNB's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Suit Chaser
    Can anyone say missed the point?
    Ok, I'll bite, which point did I miss? One of Wayne's or one of Bill's?

  8. #8
    Bill Volckening
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    Hi Lindsay,

    Thank you for the message. I think what "Suit Chaser" was trying to say is that it was a little ironic to see a picture of an Olympian following a long message about how we're looking at Masters swimmers (not Olympians) in our technique pictorials.

    However, I agree with WebJim. Although Olympians are not the focus of our magazine, it is nice to see the similarities between Mr. Phelps and Mr. Perrin.

    Best Wishes,
    Bill

  9. #9
    Bigger than a breadbox mattson's Avatar
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    Bill, those were good points. Sometimes it is just as important to point out common mistakes, instead of only seeing the "right" way to do it. My butterfly wasn't getting any better until I figured out the big problems in my butter-struggle.

    I remember an article in Tennis magazine, from the '80s. Kids were messing up their serves by trying to emulate the wrong parts of McEnroe's unique motion. The author went over each photo, pointing out what motions were important (and why), and which were embellishments/quirks (that do not improve the serve).

  10. #10
    Very Active Member LindsayNB's Avatar
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    For the record, the point I had in mind when I posted was that Phelps does not turn the way that Wayne described and his feet are pointing at basically 90 degrees as Wayne said was illustrated in the article. I'm not saying that Wayne's method isn't faster or that masters swimmers shouldn't try it, but if Phelps does it this way it is probably ok for a masters publication to show it this way. Yes, it might have been valid even if many elite swimmers didn't also turn this way, but the fact that they do reinforces that validity. I didn't say so but if you observe the other swimmers in the same video clip they also turn on their side. It seems unfortunate for suit chaser to attack my post without actually bothering to check what point the picture made.

    Also for the record, being a Canadian masters swimmer I don't get the US magazine and have not seen the pictures in question, although I did see the picture of the cover, which again looks a lot like the picture of Phelps.

  11. #11
    Suit Chaser
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    Sorry Lindsay, I thought you were trying to suggest we look at Olympians, which was pretty clearly addressed in Bill's message (above).

    Good points about Phelps though.

  12. #12
    Very Active Member breastroker's Avatar
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    How fast a person can turn is greatly affected by body height. Not only can a 5 footer turn in a tighter ball, the feet and legs do not weigh as much. So someone like Kitajima can turn faster than a much taller breaststroker, given the same technique. Phelps is still learning, I am sure his technique will continue to change in the next 4 years.

    What I try to describe is what should be the best technique, not what every one can attain. But I have never heard a masters swimmer who did not want to at least know what would be best.

    It is amazing to look at past Olympic Champions and you can often see horrendous bad turns, bad starts, and you wonder how they won. As recently as 1980 there were still people belly flopping. Have you seen the video of the two English Olympic breaststroke champions? One had bad start, the other bad turns. But because they won, should we copy them?

    Bill feels it is OK to see simularities between Phelps and the swimmer shown. I used to get the same stuff from Swim magazine. The problem will always be, people assume that what they are getting is the best, most perfect technique. Is it better than what they are doing now, Yes probably.

    Yet I guarranty you there are masters swimmers who are half a second faster 5 meters to the wall and out, using better technique. And I have seen masters swimmers with better technique than some Olympians! I have seen teammates blow other swimmers out of the water with better technique. One of our women did 24.9 for 50 back, not in great shape! We used to have a woman who could go below 23 in a 50 free any time she felt like beating the men!

    Technique, and practicing perfect are the keys.


    Which would you prefer, loosing a half a second or being ahead?

    Same goes for the starts, combine all the parts of a start, dive underwater and first stroke and there can be a full second difference even at the Olympic level.

    Again, which do you prefer?

    Instead of showing Phelps feet, you should show his streamline where he takes 7 to 9 Kicks underwater to go the full 15 meters allowed in LESS time than others for the same distance. His genetics will never allow him to have a perfect turn as fast as some one much smaller. But his genetics does allow him to have a longer boat streamline and go faster underwater!

    When you read my articles I never discuss ordinary, I strive for perfection. There are 593 tenths of a second in the 100 meters breaststroke world record. Yet when Hansen pushed off the wall, his hands (one over the other), were angled down and not straight. That cost him at least 2 tenths of a second in the hundred and 6 tenths in the 200.

    If you don't practice for perfection, someone else will
    It's not how fast you swim, it's how fast you slow down.

    For competition breaststroke information visit: http://www.breaststroke.info/

  13. #13
    Very Active Member geochuck's Avatar
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    Wayne the 2nd most popular page on my web site is breast stroke I guess there must be a reason.

    George Park www.swimdownhill.com

  14. #14
    Very Active Member breastroker's Avatar
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    We had a clinic yesterday at Mission Viejo. Majority of swimmers were there to improve their breaststroke.

    Other coaches were Mark Moore head coach at MV, and Karlyn Pipes Neilsen. Both great coaches

    As Ande stated in his thread, it all starts with body position. Once they start swimming with their body and head in line, it may only take a half inch difference in head position to make their strokes work great.

    A couple of swimmers were retunging to swimming after two decades. Yet their breaststroke kicks had perfect catches, feet out. And their freestyle kicks were nice and flexible.

    But it always takes time to learn not to keep the head up.

    We also workes on turns and finishes.

    How many of you work on finishes?
    It's not how fast you swim, it's how fast you slow down.

    For competition breaststroke information visit: http://www.breaststroke.info/

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