I start the lead arm gently down to the catch just at the instant the hand of my stroking arm reaches the hip. That timing works out nicely, so that when the recovered arm enters, the other arm is already at the transition from pull to push, pointing to the bottom (the 90 degree separation!).
Have been doing this for a few weeks now (in an effort to get away from my almost full "catch-up" drill style, which involved a glide), and I can manage OK doing bilateral breathing without problems of the lead arm collapsing. In fact I now wonder what all the fuss was about - the SS advice to keep the lead arm extended for support while breathing is OK as long as the lead arm is not kept outstretched until inhalation finishes - that was my downfall, overdoing the "supporting arm" business!
My "light-bulb moment" came when SS Adam posted a pic of Phelps (when talking about gliding!) doing just what I've described above - re : starting the lead arm down to the catch as the rear arm was back at the hip and about to recover.
Thanks for the reply. I read through your post - there was a lot of good discussion. I concur with you about the unco drill - I have tried it a few times and it was very successful at reminding me that I can't breath water. I think SS recommends this drill for intermediate to advanced swimmers. Back to the timing issues, I stumbled across the paper a while back: http://www.teamunify.com/cseksc/__doc__ ... 20Free.pdf. It is what got me thinking about changing my timing away from front quadrant.
I used to make quite a business of reaching as far ahead as possible with the entering arm - upper arm close to the cheek, and body rolled towards that arm - something the article refers and I learnt from a Tom Jager DVD. But! - I've dropped that idea now in favour of an entry more in line with the shoulder/hip, because am now into using an EVF arm action (after reading Sheila Taormina's book!), instead of the more gentle SS style catch. For that EVF, I want to be in a flatter posture, so the extended lead arm has only a little way to drift outside that shoulder/hip line - (left arm at perhaps at 10:30, or right arm at 13:30, relative to head at 12:00, depending on elbow joint flexibility) - and I can then drop just the forearm/hand as a unit vertically downwards, leaving the upper arm almost parallel with the surface - and am then ready for the pull!
I only used the SS style catch with the "deeper arm entry" while playing about with overlapping the arm action more, so that both arms were propelling for a short while - the snag was that it seemed to produce a lot of disturbance in the water beneath the body I reckon (i.e. bad for smooth motion!) and I couldn't find any clips of swimmers doing that action. Since seeing the clip of Phelps with the rear arm back by the hip and the lead arm almost at the catch - that prompted me to ease off on the "overlapping" business and go more for his style of arm action timing!
He advocates a 2-part body roll, shoulders roll first, then hips follow in quick succession - giving improved water flow under the body. I think he means a diagonal undulation almost, beneath the torso - as a shoulder presses down on one side to start a body roll pushes a "volume of water" down, and then the hip on the other side following on an instant later rises up to complete the body roll, pushing that "volume of water" backwards, under the torso in a slightly diagonal direction.
That runs counter to what Maglischo recommends - he reckons the torso should be rolled as a fixed unit.
However, there are others who say that the hips should roll first - because the action of doing a flutter kick downbeat will raise the hip on the same side as that leg kicking down. I can understand that the latter works out fine if one is kicking at a slow rate, 2-beat kick for instance - but at 6-beat rate would have thought the kicks come more frequently than the body can react to, in such a short time, so as to provide much upward effect at the hips. In that case any body roll is really initiated from higher up, i.e. the shoulders!
Colwin calls the action of having both arms in the front UW quadrant as the lead arm enters, or is about to, enter the water as an "overlapping" arm action. While he calls the other style where the stroking arm is about to exit, or has just exitted, the UW front quadrant, a "rotary" arm action. In that latter case, his illustrations do not show the lead arm in a propelling action (just vaguely at, or near the catch) at the same time as the rear arm action is also propelling - he shows the rear arm finishing it's upsweep to the surface.
What I had in mind when I started topic "overlapping the pull and push", was an arm action where both arms were actively producing propulsion at some instant. I can understand that each arm acting on it's side of the body is going to have some diagonal components to it's movement - and those may well conflict with the diagonal component movements of the other arm (acting in a different direction and time compared with the other arm's movements). That could cause a very disturbed water flow pattern under the body - causing drag. However, the more rapid arm turn-over such arm action involves, means that the drag may be partly cancelled out by the increased propulsive efforts - if you get what I mean by all this surmising!
With the "overlapping" that I'm referring to - the inhalation is snatched during the rear arm's upsweep to the surface and early stage of recovery, and the body is rolled away from that arm as soon as the upsweep to the surface is started (as in the ordinary FC arm action). So that means the lead arm doing it's pull (while the rear arm is pushing back up to the surface), may well have some wasteful diagonal components!
Such an "overlapping pull and push" arm action seems quicker than letting just one arm produce the propulsion at any one time - but it is more tiring (not used to such "all on the go" action without the little muscular rest that gliding affords). However, will continue playing around with it for a while!
P.S. Since my buoyancy shorts have recently developed a tear around the crotch area after nearly a year of usage (due to stretching action when doing English back stroke or breast stroke I reckon), I have put them away and reverted to wearing just speedos. Have only just realized that is a "blessing" in a way. I can now go back to doing underwater body dolphin practice - something that I had to drop when wearing B.S. 'cos the "upward tug" of buoyancy "killed" attempts to move forward when UW!
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