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February 23 2015
This week's KOW is a condensed version of Coach Stu's article in the October 2011 issue of SWIMMER magazine. Here is the full version of that article.
February 17 2015
Unlike the other three strokes, breaststroke propulsion doesn't come from arms using a push/pull motion similar to oars on a rowboat, but instead from inward and upward motions like a fan blade or propeller. Combined with a backwards push of the legs, this stroke is also unique in that overcoming resistance through proper streamlining is nearly as important as creating propulsion.
Two of DAM's top breaststroker's, Eric Wyels and Sarah Bimson, are this week's models. They were filmed recently at a morning practice at Arroyo. Please try to ignore the glare of the underwater lights as you notice the similarities of their strokes.
First and foremost, all breaststoke cycles begin and end with elbows and knees locked into tight streamlining.
The initial arm motion separates the hands on a horizontal plane outside the shoulders.
From that position, keep the shoulders and elbows up as the hands scull downwards into a vertical forearm.
The propulsive forces end next as the hands and thumbs move from upwards to forwards and back towards horizontal. The head and shoulders are at maximum height and the mouth is at mid-inhalation.
Next, the elbows are nearly locked as the timing shifts from arms to legs.
Draw heels directly towards your buttocks and then turn toes out while flexing the ankles. Keep the flexion as the knees straighten and push feet backwards.
Finish the kick with feet together as the body returns to full streamline again.
Here is a link to a looped video showing Eric and Sarah's strokes blended on top of each other for one full cycle. Notice how their arm motions are synchronized and nearly identical.
February 9 2015
This week's KOW is a condensed version of Coach Stu's article in the Nov/Dec 2014 issue of SWIMMER magazine. Here is the full version of that article.
February 2 2015
Swimming has been called a combination of cross country (endurance), gymnastics (strength) and golf (skill). Any way you cut it, effective swimming success is built on a foundation of efficient motions. Those motions, purposeful and propulsive, provide optimal energy expenditures and are the single biggest factor in what makes some swimmers better than others.
We'd like to use one of the newer members of our club who just joined us last fall, as an example of someone that is more effective at swimming because they improved their efficiency.
David Vidmar, age 54, swam as a youth, but hadn't had any coaching for three decades. His freestyle was a product of the '70's and he came to DAM with an 'S-shaped pull, a 2-beat kick and a shoulder problem. He was taking about 22 pulls per length and getting tired quickly. We worked on lengthening his stroke and increasing his kick contributions. During his One Hour Swim he held 12 pulls per length and reached nearly 4300 yards.
The biggest changes he made were to his PATH (linear), PITCH (backwards) and PRESSURE (accelerating). We filmed him recently and asked him to demonstrate his old and new strokes. All of the folowing images show his new style on the left and old on the right.
It's apparent that his hand and forearm are pitched backwards much longer than before, and he's stopped slicing back and forth under his torso.
The three most specific keys to his change were to:
1) Swim by rolling less and using a more catch-up like stroke with continuous kick
2) Keep his shoulder and elbow closer to the surface throughout the pull/push
3) Hyper-extend his wrist during his tricep extension.