Stroke length

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matt_1967
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Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 11:10 am

Stroke length

Postby matt_1967 » Thu Jul 23, 2009 1:08 pm

I have just finished reading Dara Torres's book 'Age is just a number', very good read, writing isn't great but the story is....in case you don't know, she is an american swimmer who has competed at 5 olympics and made a comeback at 41 in Beijing after not swimming for 5 years and won 3 silvers!!

Back to the point, in it she says she has to relearn her Freestyle technique to shorten her stroke so she starts the recovery phase at the hip and not the thigh as before. The reason the propulsion has gone out of the stroke by the time your hand has gone past your hip so you stop at the maximum propulsion and get it back to the catch and pull quicker. I guess it makes sense but would this only work for sprint events or could it equally be applied to longer distance.

I have been going through the SS programme and also during one to one coaching, it always advocates a long stoke touching your thigh on the way out?

Interestingly if you look at the Mr Smooth console, he finishes the stroke early as well?

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Paul Newsome
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Location: Perth, Western Australia
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Re: Stroke length

Postby Paul Newsome » Thu Jul 23, 2009 2:10 pm

matt_1967 wrote:I have been going through the SS programme and also during one to one coaching, it always advocates a long stoke touching your thigh on the way out?

Interestingly if you look at the Mr Smooth console, he finishes the stroke early as well?


Some good points Matt and an interesting discussion area indeed.

Please read http://www.swimsmooth.com/strokerate.html and you'll see our whole emphasis / philosophy on this area of the freestyle stroke and development for various types of swimmer (body type, height, sex) and chosen race distance (sprint .vs. distance .vs. open water).

This is very much inline with what you have read in Dara's book, in fact we pride ourselves on spear-heading much of the education around defining the optimal balance between stroke length and stroke rate for age-group swimmers and triathletes. You'll see the Stroke Rate chart at the bottom of that webpage highlights this perfectly and is something totally unique to Swim Smooth and our work and research with thousands of swimmers in this very area. Its all about balance and how this works for you given your own attributes as opposed to suggesting you need to either have a really long, slow stroke or a really short, fast stroke.

You'll also find these two pages useful:

http://www.swimsmooth.com/slowsr.html

http://www.swimsmooth.com/highsr.html

Thanks for the question - its good to see you weighing up this aspect of your own stroke as opposed to falling into the typical world-view of "longer is better" for every swimmer, because that is not always the case.

Cheers

Paul
2013 Manhattan Island Marathon Swim Champion. Don't forget to check out our valuable Know How section on the main site at http://www.swimsmooth.com/knowhow.html

matt_1967
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Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 11:10 am

Re: Stroke length

Postby matt_1967 » Fri Jul 24, 2009 10:55 am

Thanks for the reply Paul. My posts seem to have ignited a fair bit of debate over on TT?

I have to say after 20 years out of the pool/OW it is really refreshing to see the leaps and bounds that are going on in the swimming world- only have to look at the latest swim suit controversy to see that!!

What the SS programme has given me is a focus and framework for my stroke and something to build on. I love the regimented aspect of it, but with a lot of variety. Its fun to play around the stroke introducing 'bad' technique to see what effect it has on the times(but only for short spurts)

I also swim 'doggy paddle' out to a start line on a race as I feel it give me a feel for the water as each is different (get some funny looks as well from the other competitors!!)

Since I started the programme which is only a matter of weeks I have knocked 3 minutes off my 1500m time, some of that is down to fitness my most is down to technique. I guess that was the easy bit, now the hard work to start shaving the time even more and the real reason for my original post, Tweaking!!

MikeH
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Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:33 pm

Re: Stroke length

Postby MikeH » Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:38 pm

To continue that thread in another direction, I noted that Mr Smooth has a more or less straight arm during the underwater portion of his stroke, right ?
This too seems to be a change from the old days of a bent arm pull. What's the thinking there ?
BTW-I liked the dog paddle suggestion- that is a great drill to get the feel of the water.
Regards- Mike

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Paul Newsome
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Re: Stroke length

Postby Paul Newsome » Fri Jul 31, 2009 5:19 am

MikeH wrote:To continue that thread in another direction, I noted that Mr Smooth has a more or less straight arm during the underwater portion of his stroke, right ?


Hi Mike, thanks for your post. I'm not sure if we're looking at the same Mr Smooth though? :?

Check out the discussion points at these two links:

http://www.swimsmooth.com/catch.html

http://www.swimsmooth.com/aboutmrsmoothcatch.html

Look at Mr Smooth from the Perfect Front angle on the Free Console. He's definitely got a bent elbow on pull-through allowing him to engage the water with both the palm of his hand and also his forearm as he presses back on the water, not down.

Does that make sense?

Cheers

Paul
2013 Manhattan Island Marathon Swim Champion. Don't forget to check out our valuable Know How section on the main site at http://www.swimsmooth.com/knowhow.html


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