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Crawl Storke Count

Just realised i typo'd on the title - that will teach me to sneak onto the forum when i should be working! Ooops


  • hound doghound dog Posts: 293
    Dont talk to tme about stroke count [:@] Ive been trying to make my stroke more effecient for ages. I can get it down to 19 if I really think about it, but when I put a bit of pace on it, up goes the count!!

    I did read in 220 mag (I think) that on race day technique goes out the door anyway. Total immersion course seems to be the cure if you have thetime and money.
  • pdundepdunde Posts: 99
    Just out of interest, does anyone perform a stroke count doing front crawl during training? Tri220 reckon its possible to get down to 17 during a 25m length! Im down to about 21 - anyone done the magic 17 yet?

    I think i can probably get to 20 with my current technique but really cant see me getting any more efficient than that! Must have short arms ;-)

  • pdundepdunde Posts: 99
    tell me about it, ive been trying to improve it specifically for 8 months and still only down to 20-21. Mind you if i managed a stroke / min of 50 instead of my leisurely 40 thats a 24 min finish time! HAHA I WISH!! im pretty sure its my breathing thats cocking it all up for me
  • WellaWella Posts: 188
    i'll need to make a mathematical adjustment as my pool is only 22 metres.

    However, I've just started swimming again as part of my training plan and I'm currently reading the total immersion book.

    I tried a length based on my usual thrashing style - 23 strokes and 20 seconds to complete.

    I then tried a length based on the TI techniques - 18 strokes again in 20 seconds to complete the length.

    Although this proved to me that technique is key I was unable to sustain the stroke for over 4 lengths. Anyone else experience this problem when trying to learn a new technique.
  • hound doghound dog Posts: 293
    Wella, thats quite impressive! I too have the book but was finding it awkward to practice all the drills in my local pool, unless I had a lane to myself (which is very rare).Did you start from the beginning or....?
  • JulieMacJulieMac Posts: 30
    Wella I'm glad you've put times in relation to strokes. I've heard loads of good things about TI and thought about going on a weekend course and fell over at the cost! It seems your time stayed the same but you used fewer strokes so I imagine saved energy, it would be nice to see how it worked over all in a race if it makes a difference or if your swim times come down over certain distances, so far no one has put any relivant times on I can't count when I'm swimming (who said women can muti task!!)so this many or that many strokes make no difference to me but I do know when I try and thrash out 100m I do it in 1:30 and get red in the face[:@] and when I swim in a relaxed calm manner more befitting a "Lady" I do it in 1:30 minus the red face just more of a rosey glow!!
  • pdundepdunde Posts: 99
    yeah i know what you mean, last night i was swimming and spent a good 20 mintues trying to bang in some fast lengths to simulate race start but ended up knackered and lengths were taking ages...then did some relaxed and absoloutley flew (well flew for my standards!). Think im going to mainly concentrate on how to stay relaxed!

    PS Julie, with regards to times and stuff, by far the easiest way is to time your average length time on a 25m pool in seconds - then thats equivalent 1500m time in minutes...i.e. a 25 second length time is equivalent to 25 mintues on race day (obviously this is different for larger pools). So get warmed up and time a length - thats what you are likely to be looking at if you can keep that up over 1500m. I normally try this at the end of my sessions so im most tired...it benchmarks quite well for me against race times.
  • pdundepdunde Posts: 99
    If you have too much spare time on your hands heres the more accurate mathematical approach to calculating your swim efficiency! Use strokes/length (SL) and stroke rate in units of strokes per minute (SR). IF you can manage to get hold of these figures basically your race time is equal to

    RT (in mins)=((SL)*(60/SR))

    the way I get strokes per minute is to count strokes for one length, then time one length. Divide 60 by the time for one length, then multiply this by the strokes for one length i.e. if I take 22 strokes for one length and 28 secs to do the length my SR = (60/28)*22 = 47 Strokes / Min. It is best to do this sum several times (at the start of your session, in the middle and at the end – then take the average).

    It seems complicated but if you look at the RT equation basically your race time is directly dependant on two things - your stroke rate and stroke length, if you can improve either of these your onto a winner. Also generally speaking stroke rate is difficult to keep the same all the way over 1500m so stroke length is by far the most efficient way to improve your times – this is why most people are banging on about stroke length and total immersion techniques.


    In reality in open water racing it only takes something simple to make you panic, like a mouth full of water or a bash in the face and your whole swim goes to pot. My personal opinion is to concentrate the following in this order of priority

    1) Learn how to stay calm whilst swimming in stressful situations – a good way is swimming in a busy pool with kids and old people getting in your way! If you live in Preston – Westview is ideal for this as its bloody chocka block!

    2) Then try to concentrate on your technique and stroke length.

    3) Then concentrate on stroke rate.
  • AlgarniAlgarni Posts: 46
    Definately best to practice relaxing in the stressfull or exciting times in the water. I did my first olympic distance tri in 3 years on Sunday and came out of the water in 12th place. I managed to stay calm in the water (Rough Sea Swim) and only exerted myself right at the beginning to get myself out of the "washing machine".

    This was the first time I managed to relax, concentrate on my stroke technique and especially stroke length. At the end of the swim I wasn't puffed and managed to get on my bike and feel like I could actually do 40km without keeling over.(I always remember I used to try thrash the swim and end up having to do breaststroke half way through and still be knackered at the end)

    To improve your stroke count your balance needs to improve in the water. To do this i did a drill where you push and glide from the wall staying as level as possible. I also did lots of drills where i would only breathe every 5 strokes to work on the feeling of a balanced stroke.
  • pdundepdunde Posts: 99
    Thats interesting you should bring up drills, im looking for drills to improve both my technique and stroke rate.

    Im thinking of doing

    1) lengths with fist gloves to improve high elbows

    2) Torpedos with a snorkel for posture and streamlining

    3) 200m intervals at highest output to simulate race start

    But cant think of anymore that i really want to implement. Is there any drill that specifically improves the final push phase past the hips?

  • pdundepdunde Posts: 99
    just been looking at catchup drills - where the leading hand stays out streched until the recovery from the trailing hand enters....is this just a drill or does this timing actually happen in real swimming? Currently my timing has my arms constantly at opposing sections, i.e. my leading hand begins the catch as my recovery hand is "exiting" the water, not "entering". I am confused!
  • AlgarniAlgarni Posts: 46
    Catch up drills are to be used to slow your stroke down and promote the glide phase of the stroke. It is not the exact timing of the stroke but most people start the catch phase too early so this helps prevent that.

    I start the catch phase as my other arm starts the recovery, a tiny bit later than my recovery arm coming out of the water. (It has been a little while since I examined my stroke this much and I Probably look pretty silly practising my stroke on front of this screen)

    To promote High Elbow I use a drill called "finger tricle" and what I call shoulder and head touch.

    Finger Tricle: During the recovery stage tricle your fingers along the surface of the water. Your elbow should be hig in the air and your finger tips should touch the surface of the water all the way through the recovery phase.

    The other drill your recovering arm needs to touch your shouler then your head before entering the water.

    The torpedos are a great idea but during this drill you have to keep the stroke extremely long and slow. For some of this drill use flippers and over exagerate the glide.

    200m intervals are great. Again the stroke has to be slow and powerfull rather than very quick. You could also make a drill of 300m at 200m highest output followed by 100m race pace.

    When I first got back into swimming I spent a few sessions just concentrating on balance in the water. You might feel you are wasting a session because you haven't done any fitness but it improved my technique no end and now I am faster for it.

    I hope this helps a little and sorry for the ling post.
  • JulieMacJulieMac Posts: 30
    I'd say catch up is my fav drill and is a good all rounder. I tend to over reach/cross over the mid line (very bad habbit) and catchup is good as you can use your lead hand as a guide on position, its also a nice slow drill and you can watch your hand position through the water to make sure your following the phases correctly I also do a rolling drill (not sure if its called anything maybe Jim!) where you swim on your side lead arm stretched out in front and resting arm on body/side kick 5-6 times then roll on to opposite side extending resting arm out to lead and lead arm to rest not sure about push phase drills and got told off at a master class session for reaching too far back as its a waste of energy but then got told off again at a tri swim session for not doing it!

    Cheers on the info re times/lenghts most usefull, thankfully I'm fairly confident in openwater the bigger the better! Besides arn't mass starts why we do the fists drill!!!

    Forgot to mention to keep the rolling drill nice and smooth but thats probably a given [:)]
  • rj1265rj1265 Posts: 70
    JulieMac your rolling drill sounds like one of the Total Immersion Drills, I think its the skating drill, this is also my favorite drill since it forces you to relax and helps slow your stroke down - always get strange looks in the pool when trying any of the TI drills, swimming a length on your side (sweet spot) and just kicking or 'creeping' an arm up to roll and change the leading arm in the skating position. When you are over 6ft 6 tall and have your lead arm outstretched you take up a lot of pool [:)].

    Happy swimming
  • WellaWella Posts: 188
    Hound dog,

    Basically I did my first length based on the usual stroke, wild and eratic and leaving me out of breath.

    I then did a length really concentrating on stroke length and I was really suprised it took the same time. I need to focus on technique to get faster and stronger while maintaining the length. First Sprint tri of the year in 8 weeks so plenty of sessions in the pool ahead of me.

    Sustaining the technique for 1500m will be quite a challenge.
  • JulieMacJulieMac Posts: 30
    rj1265 at 6f 6 you must take up most of the pool just being in it[:D]!!!
  • rpopper65rpopper65 Posts: 171
    I recently started reading the Total Immersion swimming book and yesterday was my first day putting it all in to practice. I noticed an improvement right away in terms of fewer strokes per length of the pool (used to be 25-27 strokes per 25m length, now it's about 18-20 strokes per length), and that was on the first day. I have tried the "swimming downhill" bit on its own before and the "swimming sideways" bit once or twice, but yesterday was the first time doing the "swimming taller" where I glided a little longer and didn't start the pull until my other back hand was nearly coming into the water next to the front hand, and especially putting all 3 together.

    It did feel quite different, a little odd and a little shaky there at the beginning, but my lap time for 50m laps remained as fast as or faster than the times I had before putting it all together. I was surprised by all of that, because it felt like I was going slower, I suppose because it felt like I was gliding and floating so much longer than I used to and not working and thrashing as much as I used to. But, there was no noticeable drop in my lap times.

    It's a pretty cool feeling, as if you are doing less work to get the same result. I maintained satisfactory results throughout all 6 of 50m sets and even through all 3 of the 500m sets. It felt like I had discovered something new that will get better over time.

    The one down side I found of "swimming taller" is that my shoulders are really, really sore today. Maybe I'm over-stretching too much in an effort to swim taller (us short guys do tend to over-compensate sometimes), or maybe I just need to build up more shoulder strength.

    But, I definitely got the feeling that this is an improvement, and I'm glad I discovered it early enough in the season to get lots of practice before my A races come up.
  • rj1265rj1265 Posts: 70

    Aye - I was away on business and the hotel had a small pool (15m) , Push off , glide , 2 strokes , turn , push off , glide etc... it was quiet funny

    If I get my body position correct and arm extension right I am 9ft long (3m) , in a house I can put both hands flat on the ceiling [:)] .... Using the TI method where your hand stays still and your body glides over it I should be down to 12/13 strokes per 25m... Oh I wish.

    I keep being reminded that all the great swimmers are tall ...... lets keep trying

    ps I have slightly webbed toes as well ..... is that legal ??

    Happy swimming and happy training

  • pdundepdunde Posts: 99
    went swimming this morning, and going flat out did some 24 sec lengths, although the style was not very clean, and i had to keep my head up so to avoid some old people haha - which meant my feet sank. Still pretty happy with that. Then did some slower technical lengths and stroke counted - did 21 strokes repeatedly, i also noticed that i tend to glide for quite a while when doing my slower technical lengths and that definately helps. So getting better but not quite there yet. Just booked some advanced tutoring over a 10 week course so im hoping that will fit in the remaining missing peices of the puzzle!

    PS Did some fist swimming drills this morning as well, i practically stayed in the same spot !!! Obviously my forearms are not being used that efficiently during the stroke. Going to concenrate on that for a while!
  • pdundepdunde Posts: 99
    ive thought of a new drill, not sure if its one thats defined elsewhere, but i need to concentrate on keeping my head down during the stroke and to stop lifting my head taking a breath...so im going to buy a rubber ball and keep it under my chin during strokes, that should force me to keep my head down...just hope i dont bang into anyone! Just an idea, although no doubt i will look like a total tool.
  • JulieMacJulieMac Posts: 30
    I find a good way of keeping my head from lifting when I breath is to look at the side of the pool or lane divider so you roll just enough to breath without lifting your head (roll to the side and breath rather than looking forward or up)

    rj1265 I bet your great at dusting cobwebs!!! [:D]
  • rj1265rj1265 Posts: 70
    Oh Yes - dusting, changing light bulbs & painting ceilings very easy, finding wetsuits and bikes much more difficult, having said that I collected my new Cannondale Carbon Synapse (ultegra equipped version) today and had a 50 mile ride back from my LBS, not that local but best in the area. very cold headwind all the way..[:(]..

    Swimming tomorrow ... 'sweet spot' practice to get that downhill swimming sorted... we always look 'total tools' as you put it when practicing drills. but look much better that the 'I don't want to get my hair wet' brigade who swim an S shaped course up the pool [:)], they get so upset with my 'recovery' as water flies off my fingers [:)]

    (Why am I watching football ????)

    Happy Training


  • hound doghound dog Posts: 293
    Cheers Wella. I know what you mean. I too can do a few lengths with good technique, but as soon as a bit of pace is put on it I end up not finishing my stroke properly and over reaching with my right arm. Suppose its down to self discipline.
  • pdundepdunde Posts: 99
    Cheers for the catchup advice Algarni,

    I did some drill sessions on saturday, 10 * fist lengths, 10* catchup lengths and 10* flick lengths...then did some slow methodical lengths putting it all together - did the 25m pool in 18 strokes regularly! I finally feel like im getting somewhere! Although having said that i was gliding considerable amounts, and would probably have problems repeating that stroke efficiency during race pace! (no doubt my "windmilling" will return to haunt me in my races).

    Incidentally i bought a Finis snorkel to concentrate on my entry, catch and pull phase - however my bl00dy local pool wont let me use it! DOH. Better check with your local pool before buying training aids! Im going to see if the pool where im getting tuition will let me use it, as its a bigger olympic size.

    My tuition begins tomorrow night - really looking forward to that now!
  • DarylDaryl Posts: 10
    I try to use a 3/4 catch up timing when swimming normally. This means I don't start the catch until the recovering hand is just about to enter the water. (It was suggested that this is the timing you should be using in a 220 article some time ago). Using this timing I can consistently churn out 15 strokes per length at about 23 - 25 secs per 25m for about 2km. If I could only increase my stroke rate to the recommended 1 stroke per second and I would really be flying!
  • BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    I'm in the same boat (pool?) as you, Daryl: While I do try to keep 'conventional' 180 degree stroke for faster swimming and shorter distances, I tend to use a 3/4 catch-up for longer distances and open water.

    This works particularly well for swimming in the sea. I'm one of those people who is a natural floater - I can happily float on my back with my forearms out of the water - so by the time I put a wetsuit on and get in salt water I'm practically one top of it. The 3/4 catch-up stroke helps me maximise the bouyancy for a long glide. It's like paddling on a lilo. [:D]

    I swim in a 22m pool, and if I concentrate on this slow glide technique I use 11 strokes to get to the end. If I do 60+ strokes/minute this drops to 14-15 strokes. I guess that gap is where I need to work on my technique, although I do seem to get by: Last night was 400m time-trial night at swim class, and I managed a PB of 5:38 for 18 lengths (OK, 18 x 22m is actually 396m) which I was rather happy with.
  • I manage about 17 strokes and 25secs per length when I concentrate, but it generally slips back to about 20 strokes and 28 secs per length once I go over about 250m. V.annoying - I just can't seem to keep it going indefinitely without slowing down

    Separately, a guy was swimming in my lane in the pool last week who hardly appeared to be using any effort whatsoever, yet was going faster than anyone else. I counted his stroke count on 4 lengths and he was 12 or 13 strokes each time (25m pool). I spoke to him the next time he took a break and he said that he used to swim in the national team and that his stroke count had been a couple less per length when he was swimming seriously! It really is utterly depressing to see people who can swim so fast with so little (apparent) effort. Dan Bullock is the same - swims 18s lengths as if he's out for a relaxing snooze swim.

  • FastWestieFastWestie Posts: 26
    [8|] In the world short course swimming championships the fast guys were doing tumble turn, 4 kicks underwater and 7 strokes for 25m [:)]
  • ashthetashashthetash Posts: 164
    My swim always used to be very slow 2:36/100m and I went at about 28-30 strokes per 25M. I followed the TI book for a few months (starting with 6 hours in the pool and no actual swimming). Now I am swimming at about 2 min/100M and average 17/18SPL.

    When I am drilling I quite often get down to 13/14 SPL (with no push from side) but there is a penalty on time for this.

    The most important thing I got from the TI book was probably the mental side - focus and concentration on swimming well not fast. The slow stroke rate allows time to think about the stroke as I go and I focus on specific aspects for each length. Over 400m I might have 4 different focii and I will cycle through them. This stops me thinking about the time and speed. The result is that I am now swimming faster with less effort.

    That said progress has been painfully slow for the last couple of weeks and I am considering whether I need to take a new approach for a while.
  • I have found a combination of using catch-up drills and the pull-bouy the best to emphasise a glide and get used to the feeling of gliding in your stroke and then use the drill where you swim with fists to speed up your 'cadence' / arm strokes. A combination of a higher cadence and longer strokes promotes speed (as far as i can see)

    The best way (in my experience) for extending your stroke length is to make the most of your pull under the water, making sure you 'catch' the water all the way down the body until your hand reaches the exit point near your thigh.

    I have my stoke down to 16/17 per 25m consistantly (until fatigue sets in), although I am trying to drop this further.

    I am sure someone on this forum will be able to explain the above better.
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