I have been working hard on my stroke efficiency for the past couple of years, and making a lot of progress. One stubborn remaining issue: my stroke per length (SPL) is still pretty high, around 20-21 strokes per 25-yard length. I can't seem to get it much lower. All the advice about stretching out, streamlining, "holding" the water, etc -- nothing seems to make a major difference.
One thing I'm wondering: My kick is really weak. And it seems to me that some of the people who have lower SPL counts might actually be benefiting from having a stronger kick, so when they slow down their strokes they're still getting propulsion from their legs.
Does this make sense? Or am I just making excuses for myself?
Also if you are/want become a "Smooth": striving for a low stroke rate can create a very inefficient, artificial --- and SLOW --- stroke: see the SwimSmooth information on "Overglider".
Developing good techniques takes years and much practice. You can't just jump into it and have a great stroke.
My own experience is, that it is beneficial to have phases where you go for speed, higher stroke rates, fitness. After some time you might feel the need to work again more on your stroke, so you might slow down for some time, concentrating more on technique. And so on. Progressing in spirals.
And one needs to monitor progress. Best with the *real* reality, the real time you need for 50m, 100m, 200m, 400m (your stroke counts can be very artificial).
Since you say, you don't make much progress anymore: that seems the sign to switch gears, and now for some time go for fitness, speed, strength.
Regarding the kick: one can kick more or less, it's a fundamental decision. Best (as usual in swimming) to try it out, to do some serious kicking training for some time (best perhaps something like 3 months), to see how that feels (in your current situation).
But in general it is definitely true, that for FAST swimming with a long stroke and lower frequency you need to have a good kick. The 2-beat kick for example only works for a "swinger" (that is, for fast swimming).
Could you tell us your current times, to get an impression where you are?
I might be worrying too much about strokes per length because of my exposure to Total Immersion... which helped me a lot a few years ago in getting my balance and streamlining better. But lately I've been finding the Swim Smooth videos are more helpful and pertinent to my current condition, which is why I'm here.
So, my times: approximately 1:35-1:40 per 100 yards in a sprint; closer to 1:50 per 100 if I'm doing sustained repeats on an interval. (When I started training with a master's team a year ago, I was at 2:00 for my top speed with a maybe 2:20 interval.) I swim meters less often, but it's usually about 2:00 or 2:05 per 100m.
My stroke rate is about 66 per minute. And, as I mentioned, about 20 strokes per 25y length. I don't do flip turns and I don't do long dolphin kick-outs either, so I suppose that increases my strokes per length.
I've been told I bend my knees too much while kicking, which makes my legs sink more than they should. But I don't see much difference when kicking with straight legs vs bendy legs.
Phelps can cross the pool in 10 strokes even if someone is hanging on his legs.from 3 min 15.
if thats you style and you cabt get under 20 for 25 yards you are doing something wrong. Even without kicking
If you use the brooke Bennet style its normal and it doesnt say a thing.
From the OP's post seems to me he has a lot of experimenting to do. Also a bit of over-gliding involved? You know my reaction to that - a more continuous arm action attained by having the stroking arm, past the catch and into the pull as the recovering arm is mid-way in recovery - i.e. a bit of arm "wind-milling"! The OP could prove the effectiveness or not of that, by leaving the legs fairly idle, as per Phelps in that first clip. IMO never mind the DPS, its the rate of movement that counts and whether or not the stroke is sustainable over a decent distance without exhaustion!
Shenaram wrote:What is your wing span?
Shenaram, I'm 71.5" tall and have a wingspan of 73.5", so I guess that means an ape index of 2.
Ducky wrote:as a bit of an aside where in cali?
SF Bay Area. I've just connected with a swim smooth instructor, Evan Morrison, who did a video analysis of me last month. I'm working on some of the things he pointed out. And I work out fairly regularly with a Master's program here, and the coach gives me lots of feedback.
I'm improving. My time per 100y used to be over 2:00, and it's much better than that now. Still lots to learn though!
There are many other points to look after.
Besides, you have joined/found a SwimSmooth squad and seems to be happy with that. I am sure that your coach will show you how to improve effectively.
Keep going and posting! Feedbacks are greatly appreciated.
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