3 TI Principles
Catch– the point where foreward arm is positioned to ‘grab’ the water, with the palm facing back, fingers down, elbow rotated out and high enough so that the forearm is nearly vertical.
Bonk– when you run out of energy really, really bad in the middle of a workout or race and barely make it back home.
Focus Point– the very small, very specific aspect of your body or movement that you are concentrating on during the repeat.
Recovery Arm– the arm that is being pulled out of the water and being swung forward, returning to the catch position.
Stroke Length (SL)– the length the body travels through the water on each stroke.
How to measure stroke length- it is more of an estimate really. Take the length of the pool you swim in and subtract the distance from the wall to where you begin the first catch- maybe about 5 meters for most. Then count your strokes to the far wall. (I recommend my method of counting strokes below to get a more accurate reading.) Then do some simple division 20 meters / 16 strokes = 1.25 meter stroke length.
Stroke Per Length (SPL)– the number of strokes taken per length of your pool. Usually swimmers are comparing SPL in 25 yards or 25 meters.
* To convert some measurement in a yard pool to a meter pool figure mutliply by 1.0936. Vice versa mutliply by .9144.
How I count SPL… After I push off the wall, I count EVERY pull of the catch arm, except for the stroke that anchors my arm for the flip turn since that is not propulsive. I count this way because I want to know exactly how many propulsive movements I took per length. There are slight variations to this. What matters is that you are consistent in how you count for yourself and when you do comparisons to another’s SPL you make sure you are both counting by the same method, so that the comparison means something. Some people count by each full revolution of the arm at the point when the recovery arm enters the water. I don’t use this because it may discount the last propulsive stroke that did not end with a complete recovery- especially when taking open turns, I often glide to the wall on the last stroke.
Stroke Rate (SR)– this is also called tempo. SR is the seconds it takes between each stroke (each arm).
How to calculate SR… it’s more of an estimate really. First estimate how many seconds it took to glide to that first catch. Then count your SPL and record the time it took to complete the length. Subtract the glide seconds from the overall time, then take that figure and divide by your SPL. For instance. I glided 6 meters to my first catch in 3 seconds. It took 23 seconds to complete the 25 meters and 16 SPL. (23 seconds – 3 seconds) / 16 SPL = 1.25 seconds per stroke.
Tempo Trainer– a little device, about the size of a watch, that you slip under your swim cap. You set it so that it beeps at you on a certain interval, then you match your stroke to it. You can use it in several different ways.
TT– Tempo Trainer