In this diagram we see the curve of one swimmer, but with two options for how the curve will form.
Below Node #1, when power is low, her swimming is beautiful, smooth, efficient. This is the Easy Speed zone.
Then, beyond that point, the curve on the right represents the speed product the swimmer gets if she maintains superior form while increasing power. This represents swimming on the Smart Speed path.
The path to the left represents the speed product she gets if she lets her form degrade while increasing power. This swimmer can produce such a beautiful stroke under low-power conditions. But what explains the difference in speed results as she turns up the power?
The depth of integration.
The more resilient her stroke is under pressure, the more integrated it has become in her neuro-muscular system. This resilience is a result of training with a Dual-State emphasis, as explained in the previous post Two Essential Measurements. (And some more comments on the importance of integration here).
If this swimmer turns up the power and her shape and movement patterns remain precise – evidenced by her proportional increase in speed – then we know she has deeply integrated those patterns into her system by training and testing them under higher swimming stress conditions. The swimmer with deep integration will be able to maintain loyalty to quality (shape, precision, smooth flow of power, etc) while increasing power, or when swimming in more challenging conditions.
If this swimmer turns up the power and her shape deteriorates significantly – indicated by speed not increasing proportionally – then we know she has not integrated those patterns very deeply. A swimmer with low integration will lose quality (shape, precision, smooth flow of power, etc) under higher intensity – adding more power, or when swimming in more challenging conditions.
The main point of this part: those who aspire to swim faster than Easy Speed need to train and test their stroke integration under increasingly challenging swimming conditions. This is done by Efficient Speed Training as described in Two Essential Measurements.
Deep integration is done through mindful repetition of motions under a variety of conditions and intensities, over time. This way the necessary fitness is developed in tandem with superior technique.
Now the question I have for you, especially if you aspire to swim faster than Easy Speed…
Which curve variation represents you? What happens to your stroke when you turn up the power? And, when the going gets tough, what are you more loyal to – maintaining quality position and precision, or contorting your body to leverage more power?
Your answers gives you an idea of what you need to work on.
More on this in the next part…