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swim stroke

md6md6 Posts: 969
Hi, So i've been practacing and working on my technique, but my stoke count has not reduced barely at all. I swim in a 20m pool, with an average of about 19 or 20 strokes per length and i am pretty consistent at that up to 1,500m. Is there any specific drill that i can do that's going to help reduce my stroke per length?

I have had some coaching (will get some more soon too) and i'm working on the drills i was given, while my technique is smoother and easier and i think i'm a bit quicker i've not managed to increase stroke length.


  • durhamvamdurhamvam Posts: 246
    Hi md6,
    here's my advice for all it's worth. I might be wrong but I would think you need to work on improving your glide phase and also your physical length in the water - what I mean is that although your arm spears the water bent it needs to be fully extended and reaching for the wall before when you are at the greatest rotation and before you start to catch the water and begin your next pull. I can't think of a specific drill right now for that although I'm sure I must have done one at some stage It might be something you just need to think about for a while.

    For the glide phase have you tried doing a distance per stroke drill? Basically you need to try to extend the glide phase as long as possible whilst still swimming, make the recovery phase slow and then still pull fast through the water fast. You might find it easier to use fins to begin with. Count the number of strokes you should aim to get it down to 16 or 17 for each length (without fins) do DPS for a length and then swim back and repeat until exhausted

    Does that help? VAM
  • durhamvamdurhamvam Posts: 246
    Ok Conehead said it better and shorter!

    My mum phoned in the middle and distracted me.
  • gunforhiregunforhire Posts: 457
    Have a look at these for inspiration - try and ignore the dodgy Euro pop.

    There's another one where they demonstrate 9 and 12 strokes per length!
  • TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    Have you ever played swimming golf?

    Don't get too caught up on stroke distance or stroke per length, I did and it was to my cost as I developed a slow gliding stroke and did nearly full catch-up. Yes I could probably cover the 25m in 15-18 strokes, but I didn't get there very fast.
    Whilst it is important to make full use of your reach you shouldn't glide too much and loose momentum. This is one of the disagreements I have with the TI method as it teaches this long gliding stroke, which whilst may be excellent for efficiency may not translate to faster times.
    There also may be a tendancy to overreach as you try and stretch yourself out as much as possible to increase that glide, which can lead to the dreaded dropped elbow.

    So back to swimming golf, if you don't know what it is its a game where you add the strokes per length to the time in seconds, essentially going for the lowest score. I'll let you search the net for the variation that you want to try, but essentially if you do it properly it can help take into consideration stroke length/stroke rate and help you know if you are making good progress.

    In my opinion you should look at times and perceived exertion as a measure of how well your doing.
  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    cheers guys, I'm just back from the pool having tried to lengthen my glide without dropping the elbow or loosing momentum. I got my average for the session down to 18 for the session. beter, not great but getting there...

    I'll give swim golf a go but i have to admit that I struggle to be able to count and swim for more than a few lengths, i take my average by counting for one length in about every 5. Still i can try. Thanks again guys
  • Hi there, new to the site but been following your chat for ages (very informative & entertaining!!!!) Might be struck down for admitting it but not a triathlete open water distance swimmer/ surf lifesaving (but do a bit of running & biking)& lifeguard for the local triathlon clubs training. Enough waffle but just checking are you counting your right or left arm individually for stroke count?....which would be alot but if your counting both arms for stroke count then 19- 20 even in a 20m pool isn't too bad atall. golf is a great one .Another tip is to imagine that you are trying to extend to your full body length as if when on land you were stretching to reach the ceiling........
  • Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    MD6, do you have a feel for what your position is like in the water? i.e. are you as streamlined as you can be - hips up, toes pointed - do you get that downhill feeling?

    At the moment, I ache when I get out of the water, just from using my core to keep me in a position.

    However, just making that bit of effort to get a better position is enough to knock a stroke or five off the count.

    When are you breathing? 2 strokes, 3, 4?

    I loose form terribly when I breath (it's the area I am most focussed on at the moment). If I breath every 2 then I will be quite a few strokes up on if I breath every 4. If you do a length with as few breaths as possible, and you find that your stroke rate drops, then you might also be loosing form there.

    Of course, you need to be as tall as possible, and then gliding as much as possible - a catchup type drill (which you are probably doing) can help as well.

    I've found that using practice fins is a good way of getting the feel for good/better position in the water. Once you hit that downhill feeling (lifting the hips, stretching the legs, holding in the core, and pressing down with your chest), and starting gliding, it really feels that you are just going down hill - it's disappointing when you hit the wall at the end!

    Are you able to time yourself? - I've invested in a little stopwatch/counter that goes on my finger, as there is no decent clock in my local pool. This helps as you get some objective feedback on whether adjustments to your technique are paying off - i.e. not just reducing stroke count, but going faster through the water too (which is, of course, the elements of swim golf).
  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    cheers all, surfer girl, I count both arms not just left or right. Jack i tend to vary breathing from 2 or 3, but tbh make very little difference to the total no of strokes (breathing every 3 saves 1 stroke per length over breathing every 2).

    As conehead and tommi have said i think that i may need to make sure that i don't worry too much about reducing too much at the cost of speed/efficiency.
  • ashthetashashthetash Posts: 164
    Gunforhire said:
    Have a look at these for inspiration - try and ignore the dodgy Euro pop.

    There's another one where they demonstrate 9 and 12 strokes per length!
    I have struggled with my swim and have made little improvement over the last year. I watched these clips and managed to identify a fundemental error in my kick. I applied the appropriate modification and almost immediately saved about 3 secs per 25m. I'm still slow but not as slow as I was.

    Thanks Gunforhire
  • PC_67PC_67 Posts: 196
    I'm a big fan of swim golf and can now do just under 80 from time to time for 50m. If I was to take my score in the middle of a session it'd be higher, but I believe that if my stroke is better at the best of times (i.e., totally fresh) then it should also be better than it would otherwise be two-thirds of the way through a race.

    On Saturday I did my PB for a single 25m length - 21 seconds - and did so taking only 17 strokes.

    I can do al ength doing 11 strokes but this is dumb as it's a snails pace, but can do respectable length times taking 16-18 strokes. I'm now cruising at 25/26 seconds whereas last year I was c.30 seconds on closer to 20 strokes.

    It'sa good way of achieving the trade off between stroke rate & speed I suspect that trade off will differ for most people.

    What worked for me was making sure I reached ahead that extra bit on every stroke. In fact what really clicked was the timing - at the very furthest point with my right hand my left hand began its pull and the very process of moving my body forwards (by stretching) seemed to make my pull much easier. I've heard Dan Bullock say that your're really moving your body over an anchor rather than simply pulling yourself along with every stroke and I think this is what he's getting at.

    I'm far less elegant & efficient in OW though, because my wetsuit simply doesn't give me the flexibility that bare skin does, and also because I still don't trust myself to swim smooth in a race, I massively increase my stroke rate.
  • joolzdjoolzd Posts: 245
    As much as I try, I cant even get under 25 strokes and find it almost impossible to do 19 or 20 (think it must be due to my height!! ) anyway, my swim however has improved as can now do a mile in 36mins or so in ow give and take, but need to get under 30 - I shall take some of the tips here and see if it works!
  • ShaggyShaggy Posts: 140
    Someone else posted this link in a different thread, so I can't take the credit for this.


    excellent info. Mr smooth very good

  • already been said, but just to say that working on a combo of lengthened glide, body rotation and good strong and straight-armed pull really helps my count on 25m .. i think I'm at about 23 on average but can get it down to about 19 but no way i could sustain that yet for more than about 4 lengths as it really uses up the energy quickly but something i've started doing in intervals, so four like that .. then 8 at normals pace and repeat .. good for learning to recover whilst still swimming too.

    derailing for a second ..

    Whilst i was swimming this morning, bikini girl walked out of the steam room and walked along the left side of the pool .. hark, for i only breath on the right... no longer, for i just switched to my newly acquired left side breathing and continued my swim whilst taking slow, deep breaths every other stroke. Triathlong training put to great use.
  • FlavadaveFlavadave Posts: 749
    you dirty old devil saltbar!

    Good work.
  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    Saltbar - that was the same way i learnt to breathe on both sides. having something to admire always helps with the motivation!
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