Thursday, January 11, 2007
Every Time I Get Full of Myself I Get Indigestion
I watched a video of the 2004 Athens Games 100 backstroke finals today on YouTube and my first observation was I was watching something completely different from my own backstroke. In my January 4th post I was figuratively patting myself on the back for having the same stroke rate as current and former world record holders Aaron Peirsol and Lenny Krayzelburg. Actually watching them swim, however, made it clear there were absolutely no similarities in our respective strokes other than being on our backs, which in turn sent me back to see why my first conclusions were so wrong. It didn’t take long. My use on January 4th of the term ‘cycle rate’ was a misnomer – what I should have written were the three of us carried out virtually the same number of strokes whilst swimming the same distance. Of course I swim the event completely differently from Aaron and Lenny – for one thing they’re really fast - the fact we share the same number of strokes simply a coincidence. Rather I needed to concentrate on two other pieces of data to arrive at the proper conclusions regarding my backstroke. The first is the true cycle rate (the time it takes to complete one full stroke cycle): their rates are around 1.2 seconds/cycle, whereas my rate is roughly 2.1 seconds/cycle. I have a 75% slower turnover in my stroke! The second key comparative is the time spent underwater during the race. For Aaron and Lenny it was 11.47 and 12.60 seconds respectively whereas I doubt if I’m under much more than four seconds. This means they squeeze in the same number of strokes over a much lesser distance and by extension my stroke is too long as well. Of course this is exactly what Coach has told me (December 30th post ‘Some More Stroke Instruction’). I figure my stroke must shorten if I speed it up that much so it leaves me with trying to find how to crank up my tempo way, way up. If anyone has any drill ideas I’m listening!