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2014-06-24 9:34 PM


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Subject: Swim stroke technique question
I've been working hard on balance drills, especially side balance to work on lead arm stability and good rotation. I am currently working on this particular drill (very much like Over-Switch drill from TI) where I extend my lead arm, keep my other arm at my side with my hand near my hip, rotate my body, and kick with fins. About 2-3 times per length I switch arms. I typically use a snorkel for this so I don't have to worry yet about breathing and can focus on feeling the right balance.

This has really brought out an issue in my stroke. It seems that as soon as I start to lift my elbow or make any movement to bring my “recovery” arm forward to stroke and switch sides, I start to sink straight down to the bottom of the pool. It’s like somebody just strapped a small car to the middle of my back. As soon as I get the recovering arm back out in front I can regain my balance and I float right back up, until time to bring the other recovering arm around and the sinking issue repeats.

Watch the person in this YouTube video, starting at :45 seconds. Notice when she does the drill how she sinks down when she begins the arm recovery. (Interesting note, the coach narrating the video seems to be ok with it). You can especially see this happen at 1:05. Her body position is great all the way through the pull but right when she starts recovery she sinks down. That’s exactly what is happening to me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6R2jnYBeeA

Another example, starting at 1:20 notice how the swimmer drops down and sinks when starting the recovery phase.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WciZerjGoU

So how to fix it? I am trying to figure out the timing of engagement of the core (hips/pelvis) to provide lift (that might not be the right terminology) at my hips so that I don't sink downward. (Does that even make sense?) In the video below, disregarding for a moment any arguments about what she says about the catch and pull motion, what do you think about her “drill” where the “hip gives dynamic energy to the finish" (0:40 seconds into the video)?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdf5zASY6Yg


2014-06-24 10:05 PM
in reply to: nx882


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Subject: RE: Swim stroke technique question
Originally posted by nx882



Watch the person in this YouTube video, starting at :45 seconds. Notice when she does the drill how she sinks down when she begins the arm recovery. (Interesting note, the coach narrating the video seems to be ok with it). You can especially see this happen at 1:05. Her body position is great all the way through the pull but right when she starts recovery she sinks down. That’s exactly what is happening to me.




What she is doing is her rotating her body. You should never really be level in the water as that is not aerodynamic. So you continually roll from side to side. If you are "sinking straight down to the bottom of the pool" at any point of swimming freestyle there is something fundamentally wrong with your technique or conditioning or both. How fast do you normally go e.g 100. When you swim you should aim to be aerodynamic and to glide, so if you were to put both arms out in front and suddenly stop swimming your should in theory glide for a short period of time. Perhaps you are not aerodynamic and you are going too slowly? If this is the case, because you are not gliding and not aerodynamic, as soon as your lead arm exits the water you lose all propulsion and sink.
2014-06-24 11:16 PM
in reply to: nx882

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Subject: RE: Swim stroke technique question
I would like to see a video of you doing this during the drill and during actuall freestyle swimming. That would make identifying your issues a lot easier. Any chance you could get a GoPro camera in the water to video you? If not, a cell phone video of you swimming will suffice.
2014-06-25 11:58 AM
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Subject: RE: Swim stroke technique question
THere's nothign fundamentally wrong with your technique in one sense...this is just a simple combination of bouyancy, distribution of weight around your center of bouancy and the relative location of your recovery arm combined with how much rotation you are doing at the time you recover.

There are ways to mimiize it, but your recognition that it is happening is a huge factor in becoming an awesome swimmer. It means that you will ALSO notice the subtle changes you make to reduce up and down movement.

I often demonstrate this to my swimmers and call it a "magic trick". If I do nothing in the water...just strecth out in superman glide, I float nicely (I am blessed that way). If I get into skate position I am balanced front to back and near the surface. Now if I point my elbow straight up like a shark fin...I start to sink! I do it several times and bob up and down like a cork.

This demonstrates that its physics and the relative position of body parts. I lift up my elbow and in maintaining my slightly less dense than water bounacy the rest of the body sinks so instead of a sliver of head/shoulder/hip above the surface with the other 98% of my body below the water, now my elbow/arm becomes taht 2% above the surface and teh rest of the body sinks. It's just physics.

To minimize it you can focs on a few things:
-rotate less. Think of a dinner plate dropped in the water. Hold it by the edge and it will sink quickly to the bottom. Hold it flat and it will gently hover down (less quickly). Rotate only enough to clear the recoverying shoulder and same side hip just barely...not 90degrees. Mabye 30-60 degrees. experiemtn

-recovery wider. the eblow directly above the body caues more sinking. recover the elbow slightly wider...as wide from your body as your upper arm is long...and let the forearm dangle as if from a puppet string, and that 2% will be spread out over the surface of the water and the rest of the body will not sink as much.

The combination of the 2 things above will keep you much more fliuid and less sinky

You CAN cover it up by kicking more but that doesn't solve the alighment and body position issues, just covers them up.

One more thing...very dense people who float (ie are bouyant) but just barely, don't need much disturbance in order to start sinking. If you are not exhaling while this is happening, you would eventually float back up to the top as soon as you finished your elbow movement.

The thing is that the arm (or head or anything out of the water) weighs 10 times more once it comes out of the water than when it is IN the water. So recovery needs to be smooth and brisk...yet not rushed. The slower hte recovery or the slower the overall tempo, the more challengning these things are for denser individuals, especially if their kick is also poor (because it is a liability).

One more thing about the kick...when slightly rotated in the water as opposed to on your side your kick is needed to anchor your hip position...not so much for forward propulpsion. If you do not kick, your body wants to be either flat (which makes recovery impossible) or completely rotated 90 degrees. neither is optimal rotation for full stroke swimming.

OK final thing in these videos you shared...look at the lead arm in the drills. not only is the elbow coming out sinking the hips, but the lead hand is often reaching up towards the surface of the water, again in an unnatural swim position. It acts like a kite tail but in reverse. if the lead arm reaches up, any FORWARD movement like from a kick of any speed, whill cause the hips to go down.

So now combine these liabililties... denser body even if you float, lifting the arm out (gets 10x heavier), overrotated (dinner plate effect), lead arm too high (kite tail) and down you go to the bottom.

You have control over all of them except your density unless you start eating some pie and milkshakes. This is one reason you see SO MNAY different swimming styles. A bouyant person, usually a woman, who is a little "blessed" with fat distrubution all over (not even if they are overweight, just say 30% body fat on an athletic woman) will not have nearly as many issues with this sort of thing. But she would make faster advacnes in other areas and then have to come back to these subtleties to refine the stroke further. She could get a way with sloppier recovery, less kicking and suboptimal body rotation (too much or too little) and still make forward progress.

Swimming is so cool.

Good luck.

Edited by AdventureBear 2014-06-25 12:11 PM
2014-06-30 12:13 PM
in reply to: nx882

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Subject: RE: Swim stroke technique question
OP, any updates?
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