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Thread: Breaststroke faster than crawl

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    Breaststroke faster than crawl

    Sorry if this is a repeat thread, but I searched and couldn't find anything. Is it odd to have your breaststroke be significantly faster than your front crawl? I thought breaststroke was supposed to be the slowest stroke, but it seems to be the opposite for me. My time for a 50y free used to be 45-50s, but it's about 35 now (VERY slow, I know). My time for 50y breast is between 28 and 29s even at the end of a long practice.

    My coaches have watched my technique for both strokes, and they said that my front crawl technique is great. I'm probably taking about 10 strokes per 25 yards. The only thing I can think of is that my front crawl looks almost identical to Grant Hackett's, even when I'm trying to sprint. I think you're supposed to stay flat when you sprint, but it doesn't feel natural to me.

    Anyway, does this just mean that breast is my natural stroke, or is there something horrifically wrong with my front crawl that 4 coaches and myself missed?

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    Active Member alphadog's Avatar
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    Re: Breaststroke faster than crawl

    Conventional thought suggests that something must be wrong. Here is a place to start...turnover.

    If your taking 10 strokes per length and it takes you 35 seconds to swim a 50, you are taking one stroke every 1.75 seconds (35/20). I recently swam a 50 free in 23.5 and took 26 strokes. My turnover was one stroke every 0.90 seconds.

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    Re: Breaststroke faster than crawl

    So, basically, I should try and increase my turnover while keeping my strokes efficient. That seems obvious, but I guess my body just doesn't want to do it. Ha.

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    Re: Breaststroke faster than crawl

    What is your kick? Are you doing a 2, 4 or 6 beat kick? How about your starts and turns?


    It's very unusual to have that sort of time diff. My breakdown is 23.6 - free, 26 - fly, 28 - back and 31.3 - Breast

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    Here to keep it real JimRude's Avatar
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    Re: Breaststroke faster than crawl

    If you are swimming breastroke 50s in 28 at the end of workout, forget the freestyle and focus on breast - depending on your age you're probably almost at national record level now...
    This bush league psyche-out stuff. Laughable, man - ha ha!

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    Very Active Member geochuck's Avatar
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    Re: Breaststroke faster than crawl

    Very easy solution take some swimming lessons.

    When swimmers came to Canada from other countries - Holland and Germany they had all learned how to swim breaststroke as their first stroke. It took them a little while to learn how to swim the crawl. We had two swimmers in our club Mike Utz (German) and Bill Vanderpool (Dutch) who were great breaststokers but could not swim the crawl. It took them a few years before they could make our freestyle relays.
    Last edited by geochuck; September 25th, 2008 at 02:14 PM.
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    Very Active Member Lump's Avatar
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    Re: Breaststroke faster than crawl

    If MY Breaststroke was ever faster than my free I'd quit. Yes, I'm a freestyler and HATE breaststroke!

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    Very Active Member mctrusty's Avatar
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    Re: Breaststroke faster than crawl

    Quote Originally Posted by mjgold View Post
    So, basically, I should try and increase my turnover while keeping my strokes efficient. That seems obvious, but I guess my body just doesn't want to do it. Ha.
    You might throw in some swims where you just turn over as fast as you can w/o worrying much about technique. Just try doing some 25s where you spin your arms as fast as you can and see what your time/stroke count is there.

    Overall, yeah, ideally you want to increase turnover and keep your strokes efficient at the same time. You shouldn't let stroke count be your sole metric for determining efficiency, though. Like alphadog said, you probably want to look at your time and your stroke count together.
    Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work. --Aristotle

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    Re: Breaststroke faster than crawl

    Do some Swim Golf sets where you do some 25s and 50s where you add your time to your stroke count and try to get the lowest total. That will help you find out where your 'sweet' spot is.

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    Very Active Member Midas's Avatar
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    Re: Breaststroke faster than crawl

    28-29s 50 breast at the end of practice is FAST. You're a natural. Forget freestyle. Train breaststroke!

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    Active Member alphadog's Avatar
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    Re: Breaststroke faster than crawl

    mjgold

    I watched some video of 50 yard freestyle events. It is hard to count strokes exactly, but it seems like the top guys are taking 23-26 strokes. For a 19 second race, this means their turnover is between one stroke every 0.73 and 0.83 seconds. That is more than twice as fast as yours. I think it is safe to say that you should try to move in that direction.

    Like anything else in swimming, your body will adjust in time. Keep in mind that you are going to give up some efficiency in return for the turnover. The key is to find the right balance.

    Mike

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    Very Active Member mctrusty's Avatar
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    Re: Breaststroke faster than crawl

    Quote Originally Posted by alphadog View Post
    mjgold

    I watched some video of 50 yard freestyle events. It is hard to count strokes exactly, but it seems like the top guys are taking 23-26 strokes. For a 19 second race, this means their turnover is between one stroke every 0.73 and 0.83 seconds. That is more than twice as fast as yours. I think it is safe to say that you should try to move in that direction.

    Like anything else in swimming, your body will adjust in time. Keep in mind that you are going to give up some efficiency in return for the turnover. The key is to find the right balance.

    Mike
    And if you watch a video of Grant Hackett swimming, his turnover is around 0.9 - 1 s per stroke on the 1500. I mention this because mj said his freestyle "looks like Grant Hackett's".
    Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work. --Aristotle

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    Very Active Member Thrashing Slug's Avatar
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    Re: Breaststroke faster than crawl

    How long can you maintain that 50 speed? Maybe you should train distance free instead of worrying about sprinting.

    What is your stroke rate for a 28s 50 BR?

    How flexible are your ankles? When you point your toes, can your feet reach 180 degrees or beyond?
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    Very Active Member aztimm's Avatar
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    Re: Breaststroke faster than crawl

    Quote Originally Posted by mjgold View Post
    My time for 50y breast is between 28 and 29s even at the end of a long practice.
    Agree with the others, those are some fast times for breast. Do you compete? It would be interesting to see how your times drop even more for a meet. What age group are you in? You may be able to get USMS top 10 times.

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    Re: Breaststroke faster than crawl

    Quote Originally Posted by mjgold View Post
    My time for 50y breast is between 28 and 29s even at the end of a long practice.
    Are you sure that your breaststroke is legal?

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    Re: Breaststroke faster than crawl

    I'm going to just answer everyone in one message.

    Pwolf: I do a 2-beat kick, so that might have something to do with it. I try to incorporate a 4-beat kick in there, but it doesn't feel natural. I'm also not that great at SDKs, so I just do 2 or 3 and then surface.

    JimRude: I'm 24. I can do breaststroke all day and not get tired, but I do a moderate 400 free and I'm done for the night (which is sad because that's part of our warmup, haha).

    George: Thanks for the advice. I think I probably need someone to give me closer attention as far as crawl goes. I can do the stroke at an easy to moderate pace fairly efficiently, but when I try to speed up, it all goes to hell. Our team has a lane that gets more attention from the coaches because people who can't swim a stroke go there to get critiqued.

    Midas: I've always felt the most comfortable doing breaststroke. When we do mock races at practice, everyone does the front crawl, but I do the breaststroke and half the time I'm the first or second in.

    alphadog: You're right, my time is VERY slow, haha. I try to keep myself as efficient as possible, but you're probably right that I need to be willing to sacrifice some of that in order to increase speed and turnover.

    Mctrusty: I meant "like Grant Hackett" in that I watched a ton of his videos, so I model my stroke after his. I didn't mean that I was as fast or as good as him, just in case that's what you got from my post.

    Thrashing Slug: I can maintain that speed in the free for probably 400 right now if it's at the beginning of practice. If it's near the end, then probably only 50-100. I've never counted my strokes for a 28s 50 BR, but I take about 7 strokes on the way out and about 8 or 9 on the way back, so whatever the math is there.

    As far as the ankles go, do you mean pointing them down or turning them out? I can flex my ankles about 180. I'm working on going more (my coach calls it negative), but I can't do it without straining. As far as turning them out, I can go pretty far. If I turn both ankles out, it's like 210 degrees or something. I didn't use a protractor, but it's past 180.

    aztimm: My first meet is Aquapalooza in October. I will definitely post the results here. I'm afraid the times might not be as good due to nerves and the fact that I've only jumped off the blocks a couple times, but if I can get past that, they should be pretty good. I'm 18-24 until next year, btw.

    ourswimmer: I've had my coaches watch me swim many times, and they all love my breaststroke. I try to stay focused throughout the swim so that I make sure I don't do anything illegal in training with the idea that if I train legally, I'll swim legally in competition. We'll see if it works.

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    Very Active Member geochuck's Avatar
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    Re: Breaststroke faster than crawl

    Are your coaches really telling you that your technique for swimming crawl is great??? It can not be that good if your time is 35 seconds. If you are going to race a 50 freestyle you should just swim you version of breaststroke.

    Quote Originally Posted by mjgold View Post
    My coaches have watched my technique for both strokes, and they said that my front crawl technique is great. I'm probably taking about 10 strokes per 25 yards. The only thing I can think of is that my front crawl looks almost identical to Grant Hackett's, even when I'm trying to sprint. I think you're supposed to stay flat when you sprint, but it doesn't feel natural to me.
    Keep it simple George Park
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    Re: Breaststroke faster than crawl

    It might not be that slow; I didn't use a stopwatch, just the clock on the wall. I don't plan on doing any competing in freestyle, I just want to make it better. If I eventually get a decent time, I may try it at an event, but right now I'm focusing on the breaststroke. When doing the workouts with the rest of the guys, I'm usually one of the faster swimmers in the lane. Now that I think about it, I timed myself near the end of practice, so it might be faster than that. I'll time myself tonight at the beginning and get back to you.

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    Re: Breaststroke faster than crawl

    Quote Originally Posted by mjgold View Post
    Pwolf: I do a 2-beat kick, so that might have something to do with it. I try to incorporate a 4-beat kick in there, but it doesn't feel natural. I'm also not that great at SDKs, so I just do 2 or 3 and then surface.
    Try do over kick sets. Like 6x50 Free, 25 EZ, 25 over kicking where you kick as fast as you can.

    Quote Originally Posted by mjgold View Post
    I don't plan on doing any competing in freestyle, I just want to make it better. If I eventually get a decent time, I may try it at an event, but right now I'm focusing on the breaststroke.
    Why not? I guess I don't understand this reasoning. My Breaststroke is easily my worst stroke but I still will race breast and IMs to give myself race experience. As to decent time, decent for who? Just get in there and race. Who (other than you) cares about your times? It's about challenging yourself to do the best you can, and if your best right now is 35 (I bet it's faster than that) then so what? Just my thoughts on the matter.

    Paul

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    Re: Breaststroke faster than crawl

    You're probably right. It depends on the event, I guess. At Aquaplooza, we're only allowed to do one 50 event, and I wanted to do the 50 BR. If I can improve my crawl, I'd like to train for some distance events. We'll see how it goes. I'm really frustrated with the fly right now, but I think that's too much to focus on.

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