Thursday, August 25, 2005

Swimming stats o' the day

My swimming has a long way to go. But it's coming along. Today was just a run-of-the-mill lap swim day, 1250m. Just for fun I counted strokes (and timed it) for 100m of breaststroke and 100m of freestyle, just so that I can track it in my training log as I (hopefully) improve. I was not pushing it, just swimming at my normal lap swim pace that I feel I can maintain over a distance.

Here's my data, just for the record, alongside some data from elite female swimmers, 13-14 years old, during 100m races. It's not a valid direct comparison, certainly, but it's the first such swim stroke data I could find in a quick net search.

Breaststroke speed (meters/sec) : Elite: 1.27 Me: 0.54 (42%)
Breaststroke speed (sec/100 m) : Elite: 78.7 Me: 183 (43%)
Breaststroke stroke length (meters/stroke) : Elite: 1.61 Me: 1.04 (64%)
Breaststroke stroke frequency (strokes/sec) : Elite: 0.79 Me: 0.52 (65%)
Breaststroke, strokes per 25 m: Elite: 15.5 Me: 24.0

Freestyle speed (meters/sec) : Elite: 1.59 Me: 0.54 (33%)
Freestyle speed (sec/100 m) : Elite: 62.8 Me: 185 (35%)
Freestyle stroke length (meters/stroke cycle) : Elite: 1.90 Me: 1.31 (68%)
Freestyle stroke frequency (stroke cycles/sec) : Elite: 0.84 Me: 0.54 (64%)
Freestyle, stroke cycles per 25 m: Elite: 13.1 Me: 19.0

What does this tell me?
* Not that I don't compare well to the elites. That's obvious - I'm about 1/3 as fast! It's not my objective to challenge the elites, that's laughable! Besides, I wasn't even RACING. ;-) I was in a 25m pool and I don't even know how to do flip turns. Yet.
* My objective is to see how my own performance improves gradually over time, and the numbers hopefully move in the right direction, as I repeat this little test periodically in the future as my swimming improves. Today's test gives me baseline data.
* My breaststroke is comparatively better than my freestyle. They were approximately the same speed today.
* Both my distance per stroke and stroke frequency should increase in order to get faster, over time. (Although most experts say work on the technique first to enhance efficiency, then work on stroke frequency and power later).
* I'd like to find some better comparative data, say, for example, female masters swimmers. If you have those numbers for stroke frequency and stroke length, please send them my way! (Like this study, showing that world record times for older female masters swimmers for 1500 m are in the 25-minute range, and anything under 30 minutes is pretty darned fast).

Here's some more swimming data I was just referred to in another great source: the 2000 women's US Olympic Trials (thanks, Jill!):

Breaststroke, 200m, speed (meters/sec) : Elite: 1.22 - 1.34
Breaststroke, 200m, speed (sec/100 m) : Elite: 74.6 - 81.9
Breaststroke, 200m, stroke length (meters/stroke) : Elite: 1.61 - 2.01
Breaststroke, 200m, stroke frequency (strokes/sec) : Elite: 0.665 - 0.770
Breaststroke, 200m, strokes per 25 m: Elite: 12.4 - 15.5

Freestyle, 800m, speed (meters/sec) : Elite: 1.58 - 1.74
Freestyle, 800m, speed (sec/100 m) : Elite: 57.4 - 63.2
Freestyle, 800m, stroke length (meters/stroke cycle) : Elite: 1.70 - 2.22
Freestyle, 800m, stroke frequency (stroke cycles/sec) : Elite: 0.73 - 0.94
Freestyle, 800m, stroke cycles per 25 m: Elite: 11.2 - 14.7

That is just sick, isn't it? I mean, those Olympic freestylers could do a full lap in our 25m club pool in 29 seconds flat. And those aren't even the sprinters.


TriFeist said...

Cool data. Now you have concrete measures for your progress. The next step is to spend time in the pool!

Flatman said...

You might be a bigger numbers geek than me...!

Nah, not possible. Keep posting junk like this, I love it!

runr53 said...

I'd either be a prune or drown if I tried to do that, swimming is not my forte! Its good that it works well for you though! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

White Salamander said...

Now compile all of that into graphs adn pie charts and provide it downloadable power point presentaion for my perusal.

Heh, seriously it seems that you are making steady progress in the pool. One thing that might help lower that stroke count is getting in an occasional long course workout (if you can find a pool) really stretch the strokes and feel the natural roation of your body.

Keep up the good work.

nancytoby said...

Long course. I salivate for long courses! Unfortunately I don't know of any .... maybe it's time to start an intensive search for a master's program, eh?

trifit said...

I'm impressed that your breast stroke is stronger than freestyle. Breast stroke takes me forever to get down the pool, while freestyle feels almost natural.

Chris said...

That's a really good way to keep track of your progress.

Stick with it! My best friend didn't really see much improvement in his times for years, but this year he's really made some good games. I think after a while, you just "get it". Hopefully, you'll get it sooner than he did! :)