Swimming World Presents – Swimming Technique Concepts: Freestyle Technique For Sprint and Distance (Part 1) – By Rod Havriluk

Swimming World January 2021 - Swimming Technique Concepts - Freestyle Technique For Sprint and Distance (Part 1) - By Rod Havriluk
(Fig. 1) The graph shows stroke rate and stroke length for sprint and distance swimmers at both sprint and distance pace.

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Swimming Technique Concepts: Freestyle Technique For Sprint and Distance (Part 1)

By Rod Havriluk

 

Many sources suggest that swimmers use a different freestyle technique for sprint and distance events.

For example, a “straight-arm” underwater motion is often promoted for sprinting, and a “bent arm” is frequently suggested for distance events. However, science (both physics and research) shows us that a swimmer can optimize performance in events of all distances by using the same arm motion with a different arm coordination.

SIMILAR ARM MOTION FOR SPRINT AND DISTANCE
Technique differences between sprint and distance specialists were examined in two studies (McCabe, Psycharakis & Sanders, 2011; McCabe & Sanders, 2012). Elite male swimmers were tested swimming at sprint pace (about 1.8 meters per second) in the first study and at distance pace (about 1.5 meters per second) in the second study. The analysis included stroke rate and stroke length as well as numerous arm motion variables.

The studies reported comparisons between the sprint and distance groups at both sprint and distance pace. The data from the studies also allowed for comparisons between sprint and distance pace for both sprint and distance swimmers. For all arm position variables, the differences were three centimeters or less. For all elbow angle variables, the differences were 10 degrees or less. The authors concluded that there was no reason for sprint and distance specialists to develop different techniques.

SIMILAR PROPULSION PHASE FOR SPRINT AND DISTANCE
With an increase in swimming velocity from distance to sprint pace, both the sprint and distance specialists similarly and predictably increased their stroke rate and decreased their stroke length (Fig. 1). To increase stroke rate, swimmers change the time duration of the phases within the stroke cycle. A stroke cycle consists of propulsion (pull and push) and non-propulsion (entry and recovery) phases.

 

Dr. Rod Havriluk is a sport scientist and consultant who specializes in swimming technique instruction and analysis. His unique data-based strategies provide rapid improvement while avoiding injury. Learn more at the STR website, swimmingtechnology.com, or contact Rod through info@swimmingtechnology.com. All scientific documentation relating to this article, including scientific principles, studies and research papers, can be provided upon demand.


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SW January 2021 - Cover - Michael Andrew - Taking the Road Less Traveled[PHOTO BY MINE KASABOGLU/ISL]

 

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Swimming World Magazine January 2021 Issue

FEATURES

011 A YEAR LIKE NONE OTHER
by Dan D’Addona
The top story of 2020—the COVID-19 pandemic—impacted all of the year’s stories in aquatics…from age group, high school, college and Masters competition all the way to the Olympics!

012 THE TOP 10 PERFORMANCES OF THE MILLENNIUM’S FIRST 20 YEARS (2000-19)
by John Lohn
One month after we selected the Swimmers of the Millennium (to this point), we have picked the top 10 performances of the millennium’s first 20 years. The swims that were selected were not just based on speed, but carried a certain level of significance or marked a defining moment in the sport.

020 TAKING THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED
by David Rieder
Michael Andrew has been the target of criticism the last seven-and-a-half years for his decision to turn pro at 14, his unique training style (USRPT), his training plan and more. But he’s also enjoyed success along the way and is ready to move to the next level as he prepares to qualify for the 2021 Olympics.

024 WHO “SHOT” THE SWIMMERS?
by Bruce Wigo
This is the first part of a series that highlights an International Swimming Hall of Fame exhibit showing the history of swimming through the eyes of the photojournalists who have covered the aquatic sports for more than 150 years.

028 A SHOOTING STAR IN SEOUL
by John Lohn
American Matt Biondi had it all. The physique. The pure talent. The inner drive. Add those traits together, and it is no surprise that Matt Biondi—over the span of three Olympiads—cultivated one of the finest careers the sport has ever seen.

031 2020 WORLD & AMERICAN RECORD PROGRESSION
compiled by Andy Ross

033 NUTRITION: IF YOU WANT TO BE AN OLYMPIAN OR WORLD CHAMPION, THEN TRAIN LIKE ONE!
by Dawn Weatherwax
A strong immune system means fewer days out of the water.

038 MENTAL PREP: BEFORE THE BEEP WITH OLIVIA SMOLIGA
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COACHING

015 SELLING PROCESS TO SWIMMERS (Part 1)
by Michael J. Stott
In 1993, Swedish cognitive psychologist Anders Ericsson wrote that greatness wasn’t born, but grown. His ideas later formed the basis for the “10,000-hour rule” described in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “Outliers” (2008), which holds that it takes roughly 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in a skill or field. Known by the term, “process,” to coaches, Swimming World details how they use that learning curve to improve the performance of their swimmers.

036 SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: FREESTYLE TECHNIQUE FOR SPRINT AND DISTANCE (Part 1)
by Rod Havriluk
Many sources suggest that swimmers use a different freestyle technique for sprint and distance events. However, science (both physics and research) shows us that a swimmer can optimize performance in events of all distances by using the same arm motion with a different arm coordination.

040 SPECIAL SETS: TOUGH SETS THE DON SWARTZ WAY
by Michael J. Stott
Don Swartz, now at North Bay Aquatics, was Rick DeMont’s coach at Marin Aquatic Club in the early 1970s when he set world records in the 400 and 1500 meter freestyle. The halcyon era was a time of mega yardage being done by the likes of DeMont and fellow Olympians Brian Goodell, Bobby Hackett and Australia’s Steven Holland. When it came to designing tough sets, you could say that Swartz had a front row seat.

043 Q&A WITH COACH KATIE ROBINSON
by Michael J. Stott

044 HOW THEY TRAIN MIRIAM GUEVARA
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

035 DRYSIDE TRAINING: RESOLUTIONS FOR SWIMMING FASTER IN 2021!
by J.R. Rosania

JUNIOR SWIMMER

047 UP & COMERS: LEVENIA SIM
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS

008 A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

027 DID YOU KNOW: ABOUT SPORTS CARTOONS?

042 THE OFFICIAL WORD

046 GUTTERTALK

048 PARTING SHOT

Swimming World is now partnered with the International Swimming Hall of Fame. To find out more, visit us at ishof.org

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