I swam 3500m today at Akdeniz Univ pool. The water was 29.5 C. Started at 9:15.

10x 50m check-in and warm up

6x this cycle with Tempo Trainer, starting on 1.18 and descend -.01 sec per cycle

  • 50m fist
  • 50m, hold 16 SPL
  • 50m fist
  • 100m, hold 16 SPL
  • 50m fist
  • 150m, hold 16 SPL

I was able to hold 16 SPL for all open-hand lengths, and gave plenty of rest time between.

COMMENTARY

I showed up at the pool Saturday to find it closed down for some mysterious reason. Sunday did not work out, and Mondays the pool is closed anyway. So I am back in after 4 days off.

The water was just cool enough that I could consider some TT work. I must be acclimating to the warm water as I could stand to wear a cap today without overheating, but I would still perfer it a couple degrees cooler.

I have been dialing in my SL these last few weeks (in the overly warm pool) and can click into 15, 16, or 17 SPL as desired. I will continue to deeply imprint those SL into my brain, but since the water was cool enough I decided to do some Tempo Trainer SR work on top of it.

I started at 1.18 seconds and got 16+ SPL for my first lengths. With the TT driving me it was not as easy as I thought it would be- I was wondering if I had lost that much conditioning in the last 3 months to find 1.18 hard enough (considering I was going as low as .86 last fall) but I trusted my experience that I would loosen up during the set itself (the whole point of using a TT and making small incremental steps) and that I am taking on the great challenge of holding what is for me a long SL, (about 1.10 to 1.15 meters per stroke). (To swim at 0.86 tempo I admit I was slaughtering my SL!)

I gave myself generous rest (6-8 breaths between)- the purpose was to loosen up the neuro-muscular system for faster SR, so I needed the everything calmed down to execute each repeart successfully. I was giving drill lessons to my friend sharing the lane with me while I was doing this so I would break between cycles to talk with him and give him a new instruction. I made it down to 1.13 in the time I had today.

But 1.13 is still a long way from 0.90- my goal to combine with this SL. With  16 SPL and .90 SR (granted I can hold my 6.5m push-offs in 3 seconds) that would put me at a 69.5 second 100m. If I gave up one stroke for 17 SPL then I would need 0.85 second SR to make the same time. Of course, the faster I move through the water, the more water will resist me, and the effort I must put out to achieve a higher pace will go up exponentially. Virtually everyone slows down at higher SR because they cannot hold SL. So the best (hopefully) train to preserve SL. This is the entire point of taking this basic approach to speed:

1) Build SL, then

2) Build SR on top of it, then

3) Increase distance holding that combo

Of course, this is not a linear progression. I work down and the loop around, sometimes isolating one variable, sometimes combining them for more complex work. But the essential idea is that there is a priority, or a foundation for speed: first we lay down SL, then SR, then we can intensify it. But SL must be carefully guarded, and given up a bit only as it proves to be a profitable trade-off.

Holding high SR is not as difficult as holding a long SL. We can easily test windmilling our arms around at a 0.60 tempo and find that we go absolutely no where- then hold that tempo and try to put some actual length into the stroke? No way. It is my  experience that the swimmer with a long SL will have an easier time developing higher SR than a swimmer with a high SR developing a longer SL.

I am a ways away from my goal yet- and with this pool being so hot this winter I don’t know how much progress I am going to make before it’s time to get back in the sea. But the pool is the best place to do this precise kind of work.

However,  I am excited to have a clear objective and a simple, intelligent plan for getting there. I can measure my performance by multiple factors, get immediate feedback, and know precisely what points in my stroke and conditioning need to be improved in order to make progress- no mind-less laps here.

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