Sorry to resuscitate this old topic, but have only recently made a little personal "discovery" that explains my breathing problem preventing me from perpetual FS swimming. The topic title isn't quite about the "happy/effective" arm action style I've finally settled into. To be more accurate, it would be better to say that my stroking arm is well past the catch and into the pull, while my recovering arm is about mid-way. I suppose you might call it a bit of "wind-milling" of the arms. My down-sweep to a FS catch is more of a real
drop now (I suppose the drop is started just as the rear arm starts recovery) - am not in any hurry now at 80, and my SPM is ridiculously low!
The real reason for this post was about that little personal discovery.
Before heart surgery in 2010, I had angina for a few years, and went back to swimming in a 25m pool - one length of FS was about the most I could manage without a "pit-stop" for a rest (even as a bad-overglider trying to conserve energy, with a poor in-effective arm action). My hospital discharge papers ended with the single comment word "Pneumothorax" - which I understood to mean that some op theatre air was still in the chest cavity after they "zipped" me up, preventing to some degree, my lungs from expanding normally. By pure chance, I have by accident, after some 6 years, discovered that is almost certain to be a fact. During a sort of "karaoke" session (I won't go into the embarrassing "toe-curling" details!
), I noticed that other singers could sustain a note far
longer than me - while I had already run out of "puff".
Ah well - I don't feel so bad now
about my need for little rests and being easily puffed out! The fact that I can swim "forever" using English back-stroke, just emphasizes how much "rest" one can obtain at each stage of that stroke - whereas in FS it's all "go-go-go"! I've even re-started doing a little bit of breast-stroke after many years of avoidance, because formerly the kick "murdered" my knee joints - I just do a more feeble kick now!
Am more conscious of really
over-lapping pull and push when I swim an FS drill shown in an old Go-Swim video - in that, the arm action is normal FS (except I use a bit of arm overlap action) but the body action is a dolphin kick upbeat initiated by nodding the head down into the water as the arm on my inhalation side enters the water - "pressing the buoy" to get the legs up near the surface! That head nod "encourages" a quick down-sweep to a catch - i.e. no gentle drop of the lead arm in this drill. The dolphin kick downbeat occurs as the non-inhalation-side arm does it's UW stroke and recovers. You can't dolphin kick as fast as the arms turn-over IMO, so it's only one "head nod" and full kick upbeat/downbeat for each stroke cycle. It seems quite a speedy action, but it's a bit of a "fluff" (not exactly smooth swimming!) snatching a quick breath and immediately getting the head back to the front to nod the head down, so as to start the hips/legs upward for the next kick upbeat.
I just can't resist talking about fly stroke (even though my capability to do much now is rather limited). I don't suppose many read my rubbishy thoughts, so I'll just carry on and get it out of the system!
When I think about what we understand about FS flutter kicking and those who use a bit of knee bend to present the shins in a more backward-facing (and hence a more propulsive) fashion than absolutely straight leg kicking can afford - that reminds me of what we need to think about when dolphin kicking. The upbeat
of a dolphin kick gives IMO best "wave action" by introducing a "ripple" running down the back from the shoulder blade area to the hips
(this is something that the afore-mentioned "head nod" helps initiate), then swivelling the straight legs up from the hips towards the surface once the hips have reached the highest point of the "ripple". That "swivelling" of the legs from the hips, up towards the surface, squeezes a narrowing wedge of water backwards providing forward motion (this is similar in effect to the back crawl kick upbeat). However the dolphin kick downbeat
, is an action that comes from the hips
, by throwing the thighs forwards, with the knees bending so that the shins have a great backward-facing influence as the lower legs are flicked down
. Think some would-be flyers do the kick upbeat without that swivelling action at the hips and just allow the upward curl of the body to continue with relaxed knees, so that the back of the lower legs are facing against
the intended direction of motion!
To make matters worse, some don't throw the thighs forward, and just thrash the lower legs down at that stage, to complete the kick downbeat without the preliminary throwing forwards of the thighs and better knee bends to get the shins more backward-facing. After much watching of maestro Phelp's fly technique, have come to the conclusion that as the feet/ankles appear above the surface at the end of a dolphin kick upbeat, the feet are drawn forwards, gradually disappearing below the surface, as the heels move towards the butt (as a result of the knees bending, as the thighs are thrown forwards). IMO that "drawing the heels towards the butt" action is very similar to the leg action a breast stroke swimmer initially makes, when drawing the lower legs up in preparation for a kick!
Bye / Don