drill to improve stroke



A

Andres Muro

Guest
I wanted to share a drill that has improved my stroke considerably and get your opinions. I used to
be a 19 stroker in 25 yards with 17 strokes with a lot of effort. About 6 months ago a friend of
mine came back from a TI workshop and mentioned that he did a drill where he would stop his
recovering arm above his head while trying to keep the opposite arm gliding in front. I decided to
try this to lengthen my stroke. Essentially what I do is start my recovery, and when my hand is
passing by my head I stop for a couple of seconds while trying to keep the other arm gliding in
front of my head. My tendencey at first was to try to start pulling back with the other arm, but I
would try to keep the arm in front of me. I found this drill very relaxing, and I was able to reduce
my stroke count immediately with the drill as intuition would suggest. This is a sort of catch up
freestyle, but it is more balanced to do it this way, while it forces a front quadrant style.

After doing this for a while, I realize that I am keeping my arms in a glide position a lot longer,
and when I don't stop my hand above my head, my other hand stays gliding in front until my hand
passes my head. I have now reduced my stroke count to 17 strokes per 25 yards
w/o effort, and 15 with some effort. I must point that I am short, under 5.8, with very short arms.
I want to get to 15 strokes w/o effort. What do you all think?

Andres
 
D

Donal Fagan

Guest
On 3 Feb 2004 14:25:57 -0800, [email protected]
(andres muro) wrote:

>Essentially what I do is start my recovery, and when my hand is passing by my head I stop for a
>couple of seconds while trying to keep the other arm gliding in front of my head.

Sounds like the 'shark fin' drill. I think it is supposed to teach you to stay longitudinally
balanced during recovery rather than letting the recovering arm throw you out of balance..

Donal Fagan AIA [email protected]'Fagan.com (Anglicise the name to reply by e-mail)
 
A

Aw

Guest
"andres muro" <[email protected]> wrote: [edited]

> I want to get to 15 strokes w/o effort. What do you all think? <

Why do you want to get to 15 strokes? What is your ultimate goal? Faster swimming? Better fitness?

There's a lot more to swimming fast than stroke length.
 
D

Diablo

Guest
as donal mentioned, this isn't a TI drill. i used to do this when i swam as both an age grouper and
senior in the UK. I still use it now as a preferable alternative to catch up with developmental
swimmers. The idea being that you don't *want* to encourage the swimmer to hold the glide while in a
supine/flat position - again, as donal mentioned.

however, yes, it *is* a good drill for this purpose.

and yeah, stroke length is only 50% of the story re: technique development.

steve

"AW" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
> "andres muro" <[email protected]> wrote: [edited]
>
> > I want to get to 15 strokes w/o effort. What do you all think? <
>
> Why do you want to get to 15 strokes? What is your ultimate goal? Faster swimming? Better fitness?
>
> There's a lot more to swimming fast than stroke length.
 
A

Aw

Guest
"diablo" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> as donal mentioned, this isn't a TI drill. i used to do this when i swam
as both an age grouper and senior in the UK. I still use it now as a preferable alternative to catch
up with developmental swimmers. The idea being that you don't *want* to encourage the swimmer to
hold the glide while in a supine/flat position - again, as donal mentioned. however, yes, it *is* a
good drill for this purpose. <

Indeed it is good for that purpose, and I think you are correct that it's preferable to catch-up
drill. They were called "six-beat, side hesitatation" drills when I did them. I didn't intend my
post to be construed as a slam against stroke length drills, TI drills, constant pressure/kayak
drills, or any other stroke drill. My intention was to encourage the poster to give more thought to
his overall training & swimming objectives rather than merely focusing on stroke length. I would've
made a similar comment had the poster stated that he'd decided to focus his training on aerobic ( or
anaeorobic) development. With that said, however, his ultimate objectives may very well be best
fulfilled by focusing on stroke length.
 
A

Andres Muro

Guest
Hi AW:

I have a fairly good stroke and I can swim fine. However, I love to swim long distance w/o stopping.
I may swim 2000 to 30000 yards every other morning and I don't stop. On ocassions I go longer. At
some point in my life I would like to do a really long swim. However, since I live in El Paso, TX,
there are no open water swims near by.

Regarding the long stroke, I want to swim as relaxed as possible. I want to get to the point that I
am gliding through the water without expending any energy and having the perfect stroke. I love the
feeling of gliding smoothly only hearing my breat and barely disturbing the water. I don't
necessarily think that this makes me a better swimmer, but it does give me a great feeling.
Sometimes I am swimming and a swimer gets next to me and tries to race me. I am not too competitive,
but I really like when I see people next to me taking a bunch of strokes while I pass them while
barely moving, and when they stop a few laps later, I keep swiming.

when I compare my 19 strokes with my 17 strokes, I am swimming faster now, and with less effort. I
feel smoother and more powerful. When I want to do a sprint, all i do is just pull harder trying to
catch more water, and I focus on kicking once per every pull. I try to keep the recovery as relax
and splashless as possible.

I noticed that with 15 strokes, I swim slightly faster. However, I am not getting close enough to
the wall, and the flipturn requires too much air and I come out short of breath. I want to slightly
extend my stroke w/o kicking too hard out of the wall (too much effort) and not gliding too long
before the turn (too much air). If I can extend my glide per stroke just an itsy bit, i will be able
to get to 15 strokes (I hope). Again, the feeling that I get gliding through the pool barely
stroking and moving fast is very cool.

BTW, I don't think that I have a powerful kick. I have short legs and short chubby feet. I barely
kick when I swim and my feet don't brake the surface. I keep my feet high by having an arch on my
back that forces the hamstrings to the surface. I also keep my feet pointing back. I think that not
kicking too much is good not to get tired. I also think that you don't need to kick too much, or
hard to swim with few strokes (I disagree with Larry on this). I also think that the head position
is irrelevant. It doesn't matter if you look down or forward (I disagree with Terry on this).

I will do my annual and only half ironman in June. I wnat to be able to put more effort into the
pull while swiming relaxed.

Anyways, the shark fin stroke, or whatever is called, has been able to extend my stroke without
making a greater effort, and, as everyone stated, it is like a modified catch up that doesn't
through me off balance.

Andres

"AW" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
> "andres muro" <[email protected]> wrote: [edited]
>
> > I want to get to 15 strokes w/o effort. What do you all think? <
>
> Why do you want to get to 15 strokes? What is your ultimate goal? Faster swimming? Better fitness?
>
> There's a lot more to swimming fast than stroke length.
 
D

Donal Fagan

Guest
On Wed, 04 Feb 2004 02:44:46 GMT, "diablo"
<[email protected]> wrote:

>as donal mentioned, this isn't a TI drill.

Actually, the TI folk do use the 'shark fin', though they may well have learned it elsewhere.

Donal Fagan AIA [email protected]'Fagan.com (Anglicise the name to reply by e-mail)
 
A

Aw

Guest
"andres muro" wrote [edited]:

> ...I may swim 2000 to 30000 yards every other morning and I don't
stop....I want to swim as relaxed as possible. I want to get to the point that I am gliding through
the water without expending any energy and having the perfect stroke. I love the feeling of gliding
smoothly only hearing my breat and barely disturbing the water. I don't necessarily think that this
makes me a better swimmer, but it does give me a great feeling.<

> I will do my annual and only half ironman in June. I wnat to be able to
put more effort into the pull while swiming relaxed.<

I think you're 1/2 iron, swim strategy is a good one: relaxation, energy conservation, etc. If
you're referring to Buffalo Springs, then I'm sure you know how important it is to have a reasonably
low heart rate when starting the bike leg; those first few hills are a killer!

Apart from swimming for pure enjoyment, it's my opinion "long course" triathlon swim training should
focus on maximizing one's velocity at, or below lactate threshold. Indeed your relaxed, continuous
swims can improve this somewhat, however, you may be better served by interval training. If you're
swim split is already below 30 minutes, and you feel "fresh" transitioning to the bike, I wouldn't
bother to change anything: a minute or two just isn't worth it unless you're in contention for a
podium finish.

If you swim 3 times per week, and replace 1,500 to 2,000 yards with interval training, you will get
a much better return on your time. You can still work on stroke mechanics during these sets, and you
can vary them from workout to workout to make them interesting and enjoyable.

On one day, I would focus on general endurance training similar to what you're doing currently.
Instead of a continous 3,000 swim, I'd do a 500yd warm-up building from recovery pace to a general
endurance pace; you can include stroke drills and kicking in this set. Then I'd do a 2,000+ yard set
of intervals at a "comfortable" pace with fairly short rest. You could do 10 x 200's on a fixed
interval that gives you about 15 sec rest if you swim at a comfortable, even pace. You could do
400's or 300's or 500's. Just keep the pace comfortable & the rest short. During the sets, you can
work on front sighting, breathing exclusively to one side or the other, etc. Then cool down with a
few hundred yards of easy swimming, kicking, and/or drills.

The other two days, I'd do threshold training. Warm-up with 500yds or so, and then do a 1,500 yard
set a little quicker than a comfortably fast pace; ie., it should be a little uncomfortable to
maintain your pace near the end of the set. I'd use 100's, 150's, or 200's as the interval distance.
maintain an even pace an establish an interval that gives you about 10 sec rest for 100's, maybe 15-
20 for 200's. After that, I'd do a continuous swim for 500 - 800 yds at a general endurance pace,
then cool down, then get out.

Then again, if you really enjoy what you're doing now, and time/results aren't a factor, then I'd
keep doing it.

Good luck.
 
A

Andres Muro

Guest
Help me please, here is where I am:

I breath on my right side. I always flip when my right hand glides into the water after taking a
breath. So far, I take 17 stokes, and come really close the the wall, so I have to take two
short strokes.

If I try to go for 15, I can do it, but I prolong the last stroke and end up short of breath for a
couple of strokes when I come out.

I have found 16 strokes to be perfect, but, I get to the wall breathing on my right while gliding
with my left. This gives me extra air to flip and come out w/o being tired. However, breathing right
before fliping seems to waste momentum. If I don't take a breath on the last stroke, I end up short
of breath. Also, I stroke with my right hand and take a breath when I come out. If I stroke with the
left first, would end up hitting 16 strokes with my right hand gliding, but I would again be short
of breath because I wouldn't breath right away when I come out.

So, to make it erfect, I want to do 15 strokes. I need one little thing that will get me closer to
the wall at the 15th stroke w/o expending additional energy. I already tried the usual drills.
Again, my purpose is to swim continuously w/o effort and feel that I am floating in a cloud.

Are you all confused? what do I do? can you help? Thanks,

Andres
 
D

Diablo

Guest
i don't think anyone is confused Andres, simply at a loss of how to help you whilst 'maintaining
your serenity'.

if you can't do 15 strokes without encountering shortness of breath, without increasing speed into
the wall through kicking for example, well.....you can't do it.

my first answer, and the most obvious, is to build in the kick as you approach the wall. without
increasing your DPS through either improving your swimming efficiency, or adding in a moderate kick
towards the wall, there are no easy answers.

perhaps you need to just continue going through the restricted breathing, until you get used to it?

*i* think your question is, "how do i do this without doing extra work at some point", which,
unfortunately, isn't possible.

"take what you want, and pay for it" as the saying goes.

steve

"andres muro" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> Help me please, here is where I am:
>
> I breath on my right side. I always flip when my right hand glides into the water after taking a
> breath. So far, I take 17 stokes, and come really close the the wall, so I have to take two short
> strokes.
>
> If I try to go for 15, I can do it, but I prolong the last stroke and end up short of breath for a
> couple of strokes when I come out.
>
> I have found 16 strokes to be perfect, but, I get to the wall breathing on my right while gliding
> with my left. This gives me extra air to flip and come out w/o being tired. However, breathing
> right before fliping seems to waste momentum. If I don't take a breath on the last stroke, I end
> up short of breath. Also, I stroke with my right hand and take a breath when I come out. If I
> stroke with the left first, would end up hitting 16 strokes with my right hand gliding, but I
> would again be short of breath because I wouldn't breath right away when I come out.
>
> So, to make it erfect, I want to do 15 strokes. I need one little thing that will get me closer to
> the wall at the 15th stroke w/o expending additional energy. I already tried the usual drills.
> Again, my purpose is to swim continuously w/o effort and feel that I am floating in a cloud.
>
> Are you all confused? what do I do? can you help? Thanks,
>
> Andres
 
A

Andres Muro

Guest
HI AW, thanks for the tips.

For now, I want to swim as lazy as possible. Later, I will try to add some intervals. I do like to
do workouts without stopping so I usually do intervals and then keep on swimming. I feel that I am
not wasting time and that I'' be able to relax in a panic situation.

Once, a long time ago I was swimming in a lake. I was following the front group overdid it and went
anaerobic. I had to stop, but I was in the middle of nowhere. Slower swimers had been dropped and
faster swimers had dropped me. It felt horrible, like I was going to die. since then, I decided that
every time I do a sprint I won't stop and I'll continue to swim slowly until I bring my heart rate
down. This way, even if I die fighting other triathletes and I go anaerobic in a lake swim, I'll be
able to swim until I relax.

This is a workout that I like to do: I'll swim 8 length easy and two fast then I'll do 6 easy , 4
fast, then I' ll do 4 easy and six fast, then I'll do 2 easy and eight fast. I'll do this two or
three times
w/o ever stopping. I'll end up swimming 2 to 3000 yards w/o stopping.

In truth, I love to swim during the winter, but after march I get lazy since I love to be on my
bike. I usually go to buffalo springs w/o swimming for 3 to 4 months. the fastest I've gone is 32,
but I should

do and I don't care about beating anyone. Actually, I want to break 6 hours. Problem is that I am a
lousy runner. I average 12 minute miles even though I can ride well. I have short legs and I like
beer too much. I've done BS 4 times. This year I am turning 40, so I' will break the 6 hour mark. I
need to run 10 to 11 minute miles to do this. we'll see. Thanks, for the tips,

Andres

"AW" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
> "andres muro" wrote [edited]:
>
> > ...I may swim 2000 to 30000 yards every other morning and I don't
> stop....I want to swim as relaxed as possible. I want to get to the point that I am gliding
> through the water without expending any energy and having the perfect stroke. I love the feeling
> of gliding smoothly only hearing my breat and barely disturbing the water. I don't necessarily
> think that this makes me a better swimmer, but it does give me a great feeling.<
>
> > I will do my annual and only half ironman in June. I wnat to be able to
> put more effort into the pull while swiming relaxed.<
>
> I think you're 1/2 iron, swim strategy is a good one: relaxation, energy conservation, etc. If
> you're referring to Buffalo Springs, then I'm sure you know how important it is to have a
> reasonably low heart rate when starting the bike leg; those first few hills are a killer!
>
> Apart from swimming for pure enjoyment, it's my opinion "long course" triathlon swim training
> should focus on maximizing one's velocity at, or below lactate threshold. Indeed your relaxed,
> continuous swims can improve this somewhat, however, you may be better served by interval
> training. If you're swim split is already below 30 minutes, and you feel "fresh" transitioning to
> the bike, I wouldn't bother to change anything: a minute or two just isn't worth it unless you're
> in contention for a podium finish.
>
> If you swim 3 times per week, and replace 1,500 to 2,000 yards with interval training, you will
> get a much better return on your time. You can still work on stroke mechanics during these sets,
> and you can vary them from workout to workout to make them interesting and enjoyable.
>
> On one day, I would focus on general endurance training similar to what you're doing currently.
> Instead of a continous 3,000 swim, I'd do a 500yd warm-up building from recovery pace to a general
> endurance pace; you can include stroke drills and kicking in this set. Then I'd do a 2,000+ yard
> set of intervals at a "comfortable" pace with fairly short rest. You could do 10 x 200's on a
> fixed interval that gives you about 15 sec rest if you swim at a comfortable, even pace. You could
> do 400's or 300's or 500's. Just keep the pace comfortable & the rest short. During the sets, you
> can work on front sighting, breathing exclusively to one side or the other, etc. Then cool down
> with a few hundred yards of easy swimming, kicking, and/or drills.
>
> The other two days, I'd do threshold training. Warm-up with 500yds or so, and then do a 1,500 yard
> set a little quicker than a comfortably fast pace; ie., it should be a little uncomfortable to
> maintain your pace near the end of the set. I'd use 100's, 150's, or 200's as the interval
> distance. maintain an even pace an establish an interval that gives you about 10 sec rest for
> 100's, maybe 15-20 for 200's. After that, I'd do a continuous swim for 500 - 800 yds at a general
> endurance pace, then cool down, then get out.
>
> Then again, if you really enjoy what you're doing now, and time/results aren't a factor, then I'd
> keep doing it.
>
> Good luck.
 
A

Andres Muro

Guest
Thanks steve. what I was thinking is that by changing my technique I was able to bring it down from
about 19 to about 16 w/o additional effort, just a few touches in technique. the shark fin drill
allowed me to increase my glide, and become more front quadrant. I am thinking that if I can add
something else to my technique, may be I can get the extra reach. So I was wondering if anyone knew
of some secret drill that would add reach/glide/etc.

I thought of doing some hypoxy drills to hold my breath longer. Also, adding the kick will increase
reach. However, all at the expense of energy. Right now I want to achieve the perfect stroke with no
energy expenditure. later, I will start doing strength drills that will use my energy.

Thanks,

Andres

"diablo" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
> i don't think anyone is confused Andres, simply at a loss of how to help you whilst 'maintaining
> your serenity'.
>
> if you can't do 15 strokes without encountering shortness of breath, without increasing speed into
> the wall through kicking for example, well.....you can't do it.
>
> my first answer, and the most obvious, is to build in the kick as you approach the wall. without
> increasing your DPS through either improving your swimming efficiency, or adding in a moderate
> kick towards the wall, there are no easy answers.
>

> perhaps you need to just continue going through the restricted breathing, until you get
> used to it?
>
> *i* think your question is, "how do i do this without doing extra work at some point", which,
> unfortunately, isn't possible.
>
> "take what you want, and pay for it" as the saying goes.
>
> steve
>
>
> "andres muro" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]...
> > Help me please, here is where I am:
> >
> > I breath on my right side. I always flip when my right hand glides into the water after taking a
> > breath. So far, I take 17 stokes, and come really close the the wall, so I have to take two
> > short strokes.
> >
> > If I try to go for 15, I can do it, but I prolong the last stroke and end up short of breath for
> > a couple of strokes when I come out.
> >
> > I have found 16 strokes to be perfect, but, I get to the wall breathing on my right while
> > gliding with my left. This gives me extra air to flip and come out w/o being tired. However,
> > breathing right before fliping seems to waste momentum. If I don't take a breath on the last
> > stroke, I end up short of breath. Also, I stroke with my right hand and take a breath when I
> > come out. If I stroke with the left first, would end up hitting 16 strokes with my right hand
> > gliding, but I would again be short of breath because I wouldn't breath right away when I
> > come out.
> >
> > So, to make it erfect, I want to do 15 strokes. I need one little thing that will get me closer
> > to the wall at the 15th stroke w/o expending additional energy. I already tried the usual
> > drills. Again, my purpose is to swim continuously w/o effort and feel that I am floating in a
> > cloud.
> >
> > Are you all confused? what do I do? can you help? Thanks,
> >
> > Andres
 
D

Dakitty

Guest
"AW" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> "andres muro" <[email protected]> wrote: [edited]
>
> > I want to get to 15 strokes w/o effort. What do you all think? <
>
> Why do you want to get to 15 strokes? What is your ultimate goal? Faster swimming? Better fitness?
>
> There's a lot more to swimming fast than stroke length.
>
Just think if you can maintain certain stroke rate, but do it with a longer stroke... you'd go
faster. Getting you stroke longer is one of the ways of getting faster.
 
D

Dakitty

Guest
"AW" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:Ex%[email protected]...
> "diablo" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
> > as donal mentioned, this isn't a TI drill. i used to do this when i swam
> as both an age grouper and senior in the UK. I still use it now as a preferable alternative to
> catch up with developmental swimmers. The idea being that you don't *want* to encourage the
> swimmer to hold the glide
while
> in a supine/flat position - again, as donal mentioned. however, yes, it
*is*
> a good drill for this purpose. <
>
> Indeed it is good for that purpose, and I think you are correct that it's preferable to catch-up
> drill. They were called "six-beat, side hesitatation" drills when I did them. I didn't intend my
> post to be construed as a slam against stroke length drills, TI drills, constant pressure/kayak
> drills, or any other stroke drill. My intention was to encourage the poster to give more thought
> to his overall training &
swimming
> objectives rather than merely focusing on stroke length. I would've made
a
> similar comment had the poster stated that he'd decided to focus his training on aerobic ( or
> anaeorobic) development. With that said, however, his ultimate objectives may very well be best
> fulfilled by focusing on stroke length.
>
The guy had a question/comment about a stroke drill, not his swimming goals, or overall
training methods.
 
R

Rtk

Guest
Larry Weisenthal wrote:

> Having said the above, most of us swim for pleasure. If we gain greater pleasure, zen, endorphins,
> or whatever by swimming a certain way, then, by all means, that's the way we should swim.
>
> - Larry

I don't remember where I read a little article by Counsilman about the disadvantages of swimming
with fins. But, he added, if it weren't for fins his wife wouldn't swim at all, so he was an
advocate of fins for the reasons stated above by Larry.

Ruth Kazez
 
D

Diablo

Guest
"rtk" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...

> I don't remember where I read a little article by Counsilman about the disadvantages of swimming
> with fins.

my biggest misgiving about fins is that to establish a 6-beat kick while sprinting wearing full fins
is very very hard. i believe this may have been one of C's gripes too. However, when using zoomers,
this isn't a problem with the shorter blade length. We have our age groupers use fins, then when
they get to the enior program, they're instructed to either buy zoomers, or get creative with a
hacksaw...

But, he added, if it weren't for
> fins his wife wouldn't swim at all, so he was an advocate of fins for the reasons stated above
> by Larry.

Right now, i'm using them a great deal. Moving towards the taper, i'm trying to meld the powerful,
extended strokes we developed early season witht he high stroke rate/thundering tempo of the mid
season...wearing zoomers allows them to feel this very well.
 
4

4precious

Guest
[email protected] (Larry Weisenthal) wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
> From: [email protected] (andres muro)
>
> >> I
> also think that you don't need to kick too much, or hard to swim with few strokes (I disagree with
> Larry on this). <<
>
> I certainly never said that you have to kick hard to swim with a long stroke style. Obviously, a
> zillion people do this quite well (swim long, with little/no kick). My consistent point has simply
> been that, at high level competitive swimming, people who have weak kicks almost never have long
> strokes, with the occasional exception of a very tall, very long armed, pencil thin swimmer like
> Tom Dolan.

I originally started this post thinking that your data was wrong, Larry. But I think you
got it right.

In the video on Graft's site of Dolan's IM race in the Olympics, I measure 1.5 seconds per cycle.
That's a fairly high number considering he doesn't kick much.

In contrast, another swimmer who uses pretty minimal kick, Rossolino, uses only about 1.2 seconds
per cycle. So his arms are flying. So you're right, Dolan has a relatively slow stroke rate and
minimal kick.

But two points:

1. Dolan is very tall and rail thin, as you point out. (6'6" and only 180 pounds. Body fat less
than 5%, I believe)

2. The stroke rates of these swimmers is still prodigous. I highly encourage anyone to try and
maintain a cadence of 40 cycles/minute for any appreciable distance. It's mind-boggling how
fast that is, and yet that's about the SLOWEST cadence you will find at the elite level, even
among swimmers with big kicks.

So once again, swimmers interested in going faster should be just as aware of stroke rate as they
are of stroke distance.

Eric