Get Slippier at High Tempos

Today I swam 2600m. The pool was a very nice 28 degrees C- cool enough to make one want to keep moving. I got poor sleep the 2 nights previous, but last night I slept 9 hours hard so I felt awake this morning.


4x 100m, FG/hand alternate for warm-up

1st SET

12x 50m, fast tempo and descend to find my tempo threshold (that point where I cannot maintain the quality of my stroke and keep the tempo)

# tempo Time, SPL # tempo Time, SPL
1 1.00 :42, 19-20 7 recovery
2 0.95 :42, 19-20 8 1.05 :45, 19
3 0.90 :42, 19-20 9 1.00 :43, 19
4 0.85 :41, 19-20 10 1.00 :44, 19
5 0.80 :40, 19-20 11 1.10 :44,19
6 0.75 :41, 19-20 Failed 12 1.10 :43, 19


Last night I planned to do a 6x [4x25m with descending tempo to threshold + 1x100m timed + 50 recovery]. I tried 1x [4x25m at TT 1.10 and came in at :21 with SPL 18 for all. Then 100m timed was 1:30 with SPL 18. But after feeling how my shoulder tendons felt strained in this previous set, I changed the set to something safer for my shoulders.

5x [2x 100m descending tempo, hold SPL at 16, then 50m recovery]

# tempo Time, SPL # tempo Time, SPL
1 1.25 1:33, 16 6 1.15 1:31, 17
2 1.25 1:32, 16 7 1.20 1:32,
15 16 16 17
3 1.20 1:32,
15 16 17 16
8 1.20 1:33,
16 16 16 17
4 1.20 1:32, 16 9 1.25 1:34, 16
5 1.15 1:31, 16 10 1.25 1:33, 16

I was going to do a timed 400m holding SPL to 16, but felt I needed to rest those tendons instead. I finished with a 100m EZ.


Looking at my 12×50 times I bet I could crank out a 1:20 100m at .80 tempo – BUT it would likely hurt my tendons. What I noticed is that I could move my arms down to .80 speed, but under .95 my power source shifted significantly from core to shoulders and that’s when my tendons started to ache. I can’t coordinate the pull from torso/lats smooth and fast enough at those faster tempos. I found my threshold, but I am not conditioned to play around at those tempos yet.

I also noticed how I could hit fast pace for the first length, but then lose time on the flip-turn and push-off, as evidenced by my split estimates. I believe I have a decently tight and snappy flip-and-jump but still the break in momentum at the wall is slower than just swimming the same distance. The quality of each push-off is critical as well as the timing of the grab underwater for that first pull. I guess that a poor push-off and grab timing could cost me 1/3 to 1/2 a second, and I notice that coming up shorter often costs me 1 SPL. The timing is critical because I need to squeeze all the momentum I can out of that jump, yet make my first grab right when the glide has reached it’s peak so I don’t have to use my first strokes to accelerate.

I wonder how much faster I would be in a long-course pool without 2 of 3 flip-turns to slow me down?

It was interesting to note that I can hold SPL at 16 at 1.15 tempo and come in on 1:31, when last week I came in on 1:33 with 17 SPL. The quality of the spear-forward, and the grab (high elbow, forearm and hand holding firm) is critical to time. I was fatiguing fast on the last 4 100s. The 2nd of each repeat were notably harder to hold a solid grip on. That’s a endurance conditioning detail I need to work on.

Using a Tempo Trainer and then doing a “hold SPL @ XX” per varied tempo is a really fascinating set. It exposed the points in my stroke and along the course, where I lose efficiency at higher tempos- hand transition, dropping elbow during the pull, wall-push-off, chin to lead shoulder gap, tight spear-hand entry point, etc. I have very patient hands during the glide, but it’s compromised heavily at these high tempos. When at those higher tempos, since I can’t glide as long (in milliseconds) then I need to glide slippier at the earlier parts of the hand transition, to make a more streamlined entry and transition, in order to make up for what I have to cut off in keeping the tempo.


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