Monday, February 27, 2006

The power of an image

Yurtie sent me this image of South African swimmer Ryk Neethling and for some reason it stuck in my mind this morning. I hadn't really studied it, I just had a mental impression of it.

Somehow, both subliminally and consciously, it told me that the leading arm needs to be stretched WAY out during the stroke, punching a hole in the water. And that it needs to be there when the other arm is in the middle of the power stroke. And all the while the body is being rotated on its axis.

To achieve this before I think I tried to slow down the power stroke so that my hand wouldn't get down toward my legs too fast. This time I think I speeded up my recovery arm to get it stretched out straight faster.

I also latched on to a mental image of tunneling through the water like a corkscrew, which kept me conscious of that important body rotation.

Result? Over a minute off my best recent 500m time at the same effort level. 13:47 for 500m, 8% faster than I did it 11 days ago. I was also consistently down to about 14 (one-sided breathing) to 15 strokes (bilateral breathing) per 25m pool length.

Last August (last time I counted) I was doing about 19 strokes per 25m pool length. Some elite freestyle swimmers do about 13 strokes per 25m pool length. So 14 - 15 is not shabby at all!

This technique stuff actually works! Who knew!?


Brett said...

Congrats! Those strokes per length are looking good. Keep that up!

Mark I. said...

Cool. I believe strongly in form but i'll concentrate on just staying afloat for now. ;)

Great job.

nancytoby said...

I'm a pragmatist. I think the proof is in the pudding - that is, if changes in form result quickly in enhanced speed and/or endurance, then they're Good, by definition. :-)

mipper said...

wow! great job Nancy! i haven't even dared to count strokes yet. i am simply trying to work on form and rolling and all of that. i ket sucking water up my nose this morning. frustrating.

one thing i found today at the pool 9don't know if it will help you) but i did some pool running and then decided to swim a few laps with teh flotation belt on. i could tell i had great form which helped my speed, even though the belt caused insane drag. when i took it off, i felt like i had a better sense of just how straight my body should be in the water. if nothing else, the drag will help improve time once you remove it. ;)

Fe-lady said...

I actually got to watch Ryk and Amanda Beard swim at a tri here in town last summer. Boy are THEY FUN to watch! Effortless...flying in the water!