"The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt."
~Frederick Buechner (b. 1926), educator, writer, theologian
Make sure you watch to the very end...
As requested, for you Jake!
"To swim well is an asset for life."
Mel: (In a funny voice) "Who wants to see a gold medal?"
Kids: "Oooooh! Aaaaaaaah!"
Breaststroke is believed to be the oldest type of swimming stroke, dating back to the dawn of mankind.
Photo: Rowdy Gaines, Jake Gulick, Laura Burke, Billy Geoghan, Mel Stewart
~Billy Geoghegan writes:
Rowdy and Mel talked all drills. For free, Rowdy pretty much described as Mel demonstrated. A main thrust was body positioning. The first step was moving the head down, or "level swimming", not as we are used to, with the waterline just over our goggles. The head up position forces the back down, and presents a larger frontal area to the water, therefore more resistance. And streamlining off turns, with dolphin kicks was said to be "40% of the job". One drill was to keep one arm back at your side and stroke with the other arm. If you were moving the left arm you would then breathe on the right side to create rotation making the right shoulder nearly perpendicular to the bottom of the pool (when out of the water). One must be careful not to crossover when doing this drill. Rowdy also had the kids swim with their legs crossed at the ankles. This proved how important the kick is while keeping the feet aligned with the rest of the body at the surface. The fist drill was then added as a method of showing the importance of forearm positioning. Rowdy said that when kicking, to have at most, the heels break the surface.
Another drill was related to hand (arm) speed. Everyone had to try to turn their hands over as fast as possible when swimming while keeping the head up and out of the water. One point I found very interesting from him was about the finish. He said you "don't" (necessarily) have to finish past your suit. Most of the strength and speed from the hands are done by the time your hand position reached the suit, at that point you are only pushing water up thus pushing your body position down.
Mel worked the butterfly drills. He stressed how important the body is from chest to knees -that's where all the power is. They worked sculling, like we do, hands under body at the chest section and feeling the water being pushed by the hands. He also had the kids swim laps with the head completely out of the water doing fly.
By the way, Mel was telling us how he is swimming Masters, and how is wife is too, and is loving it. It was a great presentation in a short time!
Thanks so much, Billy!
"Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up."
~Anne Lamott (b. 1954), author, political activist
Held September 12-13, 2008
Last night Glenn Partelow (6:28) and Kate Sussman (7:30) swam in the 500 Free. They both did well and came in 1st in their age groups! Way to go, Glenn and Kate!
Kate, Glenn and I had a fantastic time today. The meet was extremely crowded with kids when we first arrived since the 2008 Tom Kingston SC Invitational was taking place in the morning and their finals later in the afternoon. The masters meet fell in between.
It was a relatively small meet but well organized. The heats came up quick. Kate swam the 50 breaststroke (43.?), 100 breaststroke (1:32.5) and 100 IM (1.28.42). Glenn swam in the 50 free (28.56), 100 free (1:03.41), 50 butterfly (32.?) and 100 butterfly (1:14.36). I swam the 50 free (31.5), 50 back (39.9), 50 fly (41.7) and 100 IM (1:25.45). We placed in many of the events.
Glenn was kind enough to take our splits and Kate made her famous chocolate chip cookies. Thanks.
Today's meet was a lot of fun and I look forward to swimming it again next year. We noted our strengths along with our weaknesses and plan to focus on them at practice. We hope to have more swimmers attend next year!
Photo (left to right): Glenn Partelow, Kate Sussman and Judi Rich
Dan Cerasale was so taken back after reading this book, that we asked him to review it. Dan's a passionate and accomplished runner, a triathlete, and some time Masters swimmer. In fact, at the time of this blog publishing, he'll be in the midst of a 24 hour 200 mile relay!
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
~By, Huraki Murakami
The alarm goes off. It is 32 degrees outside. 15 minutes later, cold weather gear equipped, sleep still in your eyes, you head out. Your lungs burn for the first 10 minutes adjusting to the cold air. You nimbly dodge ice patches and hop over snow chunks. People drive by in salt crusted cars with their mouths agape and look at you like you are totally insane. You give them a smile back, a wave if they are lucky. People always ask you... why would you do that to yourself? The only answer I can give them is I really like to run. That is what this book is about. If you are a runner than you know. There is something about running that you just can't describe to someone who doesn't run.
Huraki Murakami is well known throughout the world. He has won a plethora of literary awards for his often extremely imaginative fiction. This book, however, is non-fiction. It's more an account of a couple years of his life that encompasses races, memoirs, training, self discovery, all through running. It is not only an exploration of himself through running, it explores all of life's questions and idiosyncrasies.
I think the pacing of the book is it's one flaw. Like a hilly run, it has its ups and downs, its faster paced sections and it's slower paced sections. All in all, if you are a runner, it's a must read!
September 4, 1972 - Mark Spitz wins his seventh swimming gold medal at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany, becoming the first Olympian to do so. Spitz set world records in all seven events in which he competed ...
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- For Olympic swimmer Eric Shanteau, the last two months have been a whirlwind. "Full of the best moments and the scariest moments of my life," says the 24-year-old Olympic swimmer.
Read on at CNN.com
Later we all took part in a team-building exercise which lasted most of the day. Then on Sunday, we capped our weekend off with an open-water swim in Southport, Connecticut. I guess you could say it was the perfect weekend.
(I have to say, I really love these photos...)
Photos include Mabel Prada (top only) Laura Burke, Dan Cerasale (top only), Jake Gulick, Sharon Kriz (bottom only), Billy Geoghegan and Dean Osterloh.
Also a special thanks to Suzanne Simmonds for taking some great photos of us in the Long Island Sound and sending them to us, thanks!
"Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is."
~Mary Anne Radmacher, author
~By Scott Rabalais
With the recent emphasis on faster swimming through decreased resistance, the position of the upper body at the initiation of the breaststroke kick becomes vitally important to increasing one's distance per stroke, or more accurately, distance per kick, in breaststroke.
The next time you swim breaststroke, mentally photograph the position of your body when the heels have been brought to their highest point in the kick, that is, just at the end of the kick's recovery and at the very beginning of the propulsive phase. Better yet, if you have access to underwater video equipment, have someone film you and then view the tape, pausing the video at the beginning of the kick.
For virtually all swimmers, the kicking action in breaststroke produces far greater propulsion than any pulling or sweeping action in the arm stroke. Thus, it becomes ever more important to maximize the propulsion from the kick by having a streamlined upper body through this propulsive kicking phase. However, many Masters swimmers fail to obtain that streamlined position at the kick's initiation, usually falling well behind in the arm stroke to allow for such efficiency. If the streamlined position is reached, it is often done so well into the kick or even after the kick has concluded its propulsive phase.
Imagine pushing off of a wall slightly under the surface with head up and arms bent. This type of pushoff would result in a distance traveled significantly less than during a pushoff that is perfectly streamlined, head between straight arms. The initiation of a breaststroke kick is much like a push off the wall, with the best result coming when the upper body is streamlined at the beginning of the push off.
When swimming a pool length of breaststroke, there is only one push off from the wall. However, in that same length of breaststroke, there are multiple strokes, depending on the length of the pool and the distance per stroke of the swimmer. The point being made is that what a swimmer loses by lacking the proper timing of streamlining in breaststroke is lost many times over, or once each stroke. Lose a 12 inches in each stroke through improper timing and streamlining and you lose roughly 10 yards in a 100-yard swim - or about 10 percent of your time.
So the point made is this:
At the beginning of the breaststroke kick, the upper body should be in its least-resistive or best-streamlined position.
So why do so many swimmers fail to achieve this position? The answer can be found in the recovery of the stroke, the sweeping of the hands and in the head position.
Basically, the recovery of the breast pull is that portion of the stroke where the hands are moving forward. It is non-propulsive and highly resistive. Therefore, it is advantageous for the swimmer to recover the hands quickly, thus achieving the streamlined position sooner. Many Masters swimmers are found to recover the hands slowly instead of accelerating the hands until the arms reach their most extended position. In the "old style" of breaststroke, the acceleration ended as the hands were brought together at the end of the inward sweep. The newer style of breaststroke requires a swimmer to continue the acceleration forward through the extension so that the swimmer can achieve the streamlined state just as the kick begins.
Another common fault with the recovery is that the hands are directed at a steep angle downward rather than straight forward. Many swimmers who attempt to achieve an undulation in the body's core do so by diving down with the hands, shoulders and head. While the end result is higher hips, the loss of streamlining by having the upper body at such a steep downward angle negates any advantage gained from undulation in the stroke. While the swimmer with this stroke fault may be fully extended at the beginning of the kick, the downward angle of the upper body is far from the ideal streamlined position.
Like the recovery, the sweep in breaststroke is a quick, accelerating action - and it requires strength, power and efficiency. Without this desired quickness, the swimmer is unlikely to execute the sweeping action of the arm stroke with enough speed to reach the recovery - and ultimately the streamlined position - at the proper time. Swimmers who sweep with relatively straight arms, which often end up too deep on the insweep, will also have timing troubles. And, those with excessively wide hand positions at the meeting of the outsweep and insweep also typically experience delays in achieving the streamlined position.
Another common stroke fault lies in the position of the head when it has re-entered the water after a breath. Often, breaststrokers are caught looking forward, which makes performing an ideal streamlined position impossible. For the head to be directly between the arms, the swimmer must look down, which will likely drop the head level with the arms. When breathing, the breaststroker should keep the chin tucked in slightly toward the chest to allow for an easier and quicker replacement of the head between the arms. If a swimmer looks straight forward on the breath, the head will have to travel further to reach the "top" of the breath and the same distance to return to its origin. Interestingly, the same holds true for butterfliers, many of whom now breathe with a chin tucked closer to the chest than in the past.
The result of reaching one's best-streamlined position at the start of the kick is obvious: more distance per stroke, better rhythm and flow to the stroke and faster times. Conversely, a late arrival for the streamlined position means less efficiency, a broken and slightly jerky stroke, and more time to get to the wall.
So which do you prefer?
The Clara Walker Invitational at Taylor Natatorium, Providence College
This is a SCM meet and will be held on Sunday, October 12, 2008.
For those of you interested, check out the attached description and entry form.
By the way, if you're interested in learning more about the Little Rhody Aquatic Club, then please visit their website.
According the USOC, the U.S. synchronized swimming team practices more than any other sport. Between eight and ten hours a day, six days a week.
"We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations."
~Charles R. Swindoll (b.1934), writer, clergyman