Reply To: Stroke count as failure criteria?

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The first video is worth a watch if only to hear Gary’s family cheer him on. Good stuff.

Here’s what jumped out at me: you have a really solid kick. Counter to what I usually see as your stroke lost power your kick got bigger. In the first 150 or so I noted how the kick would drop off in rhythm with your breathing. Not good but not uncommon. The legs/feet can do weird stuff during the breathing stroke to compensate for an arm that is placed wide or a head that’s moving out of line. Then as your stroke rate climbs and it looks like your losing power the kick gets bigger and more consistent. Not common at all and a great habit.

Watch your turns. Both your approach and your breakouts change a lot. The approach you look like you are eyeballing the wall more and more. You end up gliding more into the wall later in the race, thus losing momentum and having to really toss yourself into the flip by picking up your head, lunging and adding a fly kick. Those are the turns of a tired dude. Ironically they are slower and cost more and make the push/breakout harder. The breakouts are more stark. Note where your head breaks the surface off each wall. Toward the end it’s barely at the flags whereas earlier it’s well past the flags. Note the quality of the first breath. Earlier it’s smooth and doesn’t effect your speed much while later your head comes up a ton and your speed visibly stalls at the moment of your breakout.

Just the wall stuff could account for most of the added strokes. It also looks like – as you said – your losing DPS. Later in the race your hand is exiting the water closer to you hip instead of finishing the stroke down by your quad. It also looks like you have a nice powerful body rotation in your stroke early on and later much less. That would tend to make finishing the stroke harder to do. It was tough to see if you were rushing your catch as you got deeper in the race, but that is another common error that results in loss of DPS.

Overall I wouldn’t be too discouraged. Despite everything I saw you appeared to fight harder and harder throughout the race. That’s great! I would train to keep my turn mechanics – especially the push and breakout – better for longer and to keep that long rotation driven stroke longer. Switching to higher tempo, bigger kick isn’t bad if it’s on purpose and you aren’t shorting the bottom of your stroke. If you have the gas tank for that it’d be a killer way to finish the last 150 or so of a 400/500.

Hope that helps.