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CR4 Olympic Coverage: Practical Swimming

Posted July 03, 2012 2:07 PM by HUSH
Pathfinder Tags: olympics Olympics 2012

I remember four years ago watching the closing of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and wondering, "How the heck can London compare in 2012?"

I think you need a reminder of the awesomeness the Chinese organizers put on.

However, I think London might be able to compete with the pageantry if they arranged something a little like this.

Of course, the Olympics are such a draw because of the athletic prowess, and not the ceremonies. For just a few days every four years, the world watches people swim. That's right, something you would have to badger your mother to do when you were six now garners the attention of millions. Remember that next time little Billy Bob wants another 30 minutes of swim time. He could be the next Ian Thorpe.

...via Laughaloud

The most prolific swimmer of the past two Olympic Games has been American Michael Phelps. Fourteen gold medals and two bronze medals have been awarded for his efforts, and he has said he will not compete in further Olympics-at least in swimming (he's made statements about track and field events, however.) Anyway, his swim coach Bob Bowman boils it down to a few key points that keeps Phelps a half-second faster than his competitors. Bowman has coached Phelps since the age of 10.

You should probably read this with the Olympic theme on full volume, just to get into spirit. Just saying...

Efficiency

Essentially, Phelps needs to be green with his energy expenditure.

Tsk tsk Michael! That's NOT what Bowman means. What we mean is the economy of his movement. It's often said that swimmers have a "feel for the water." While it's difficult to explain, swimmers need to break the water with their hand at a proper angle, and rotate the hand underwater for maximum propulsion. If a swimmer were to break the water with a flat hand, not only does this propel the swimmer slightly upwards (wasting energy), but it also captures air under the hand . Then when the swimmer drops the hand below the body (at least 12 inches), it carries the air with it. The swimmer is not just propelling from the water, but from the air, which provides much less resistance to push from. This is because water is 773 times as dense as air, and 55 times as viscous.

...via Dobkanize

Drag

Swimmers shave their heads (and, ahem, other body parts) so their hair isn't weighed down by the water. Even with a shaved head, swimming caps reduce the minimal drag created by the follicles.

It used to be believed that holding your head and neck slightly above the water line reduced drag in an effort similar to the operation of a hydrofoil. However, a swimmer is never going to be able to generate the speed needed to reduce drag in such a way, so with the introduction of video analysis at competitive swimming levels, coaches began instructing swimmers to keep their heads as low as possible in the water. In turn, this raises the hips which are a more significant source of drag.

...via Acta Orthopaedica

Muscle Training

Having a flexible and strong core is essential for posting good swimming times. The natural curve of the spine decreases humans' efficiency, so swimmers are taught to keep as straight-spined as possible. This isn't easy, and requires heavy amounts of training done by intense workouts of the abdominal and back muscles. If a swimmer were to extend and contract their spine, not only would they waste energy with unnecessary muscle movement, they would also modulate their swimming actions, further decreasing their cooperation.

As further evidence of this, kicking is actually not particularly important for most strokes (with the exception of swims like the backstroke and breaststroke). The benefit of kicking is to keep the body in position while the swimmer rotates his or her arms. Also, leg movements require much more oxygen, so receiving the greatest amount of propulsion with the smallest motion requires extensive leg conditioning. A common ratio is three kicks for every one arm stroke.


Is this everything you need to know about Olympic swimming? Hardly.

Will you now know what to look for when gambling on Olympic swimming? Sure will! (No really, that's a real thing.) Follow my guidelines and you can be swimming in money!

...via Chicagoist

It will be interesting to see if the American duo of Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte will continue to duel for the crown of best swimmer at this year's Olympic Games. They can expect strong competition from the Australians, but swimming has been an American dominated event for decades.

Resources

Wikipedia - Michael Phelps; Hydrofoil

The Sport Factory - Improve Swim Performance and Technique

Alexandria Masters Swimming - Swim Posture

Vizard, Frank, and Robert Lipsyte. Why a Curveball Curves. ; The Incredible Science of Sports. 2009. Print.

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#1

Re: CR4 Olympic Coverage: Practical Swimming

07/04/2012 7:33 AM

It always seems to me there are far too many swimming events.
Admittedly there are a lot of running events too, but they can be seen by more and I assume more people can run than swim so they can relate to it better.
Maybe I'm just a grumpy cat... but I'll be watching the torch come though on Saturday so Nyah nah nah nah nah
Del

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#2
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Re: CR4 Olympic Coverage: Practical Swimming

07/05/2012 7:59 AM

Just admit it cats don't like water.

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Re: CR4 Olympic Coverage: Practical Swimming

07/06/2012 4:12 PM

I won't see the torch when it comes through here, we'll be busy letting off fireworks whilst everyone else is cheering the torch.

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#4

Re: CR4 Olympic Coverage: Practical Swimming

07/09/2012 8:04 AM

As the non-capital-works expenditure is reportedly over budget by +100%, it's going to be awesome in more ways than one...

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Re: CR4 Olympic Coverage: Practical Swimming

07/09/2012 8:38 AM

Never mind, just throw in another £40 million for a facile opening ceremony.
As long as it comes from a gulible public and not the bankers paypackets!
We're all in it together doncha know?
Del

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#7
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Re: CR4 Olympic Coverage: Practical Swimming

07/09/2012 11:07 AM

This thing and its contents springs immediately to mind:

Will people never learn?

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#6

Re: CR4 Olympic Coverage: Practical Swimming

07/09/2012 10:23 AM

Something about British politics seems so proper!

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#8

Re: CR4 Olympic Coverage: Practical Swimming

02/24/2013 11:23 PM

Having been an AAU swimmer in my youth, I can tell you that everyone has a slightly different stroke depending on the build of their body.

The fastest swimmers seem to be tall, broad shouldered (not what you woud suspect) with incredible lung capacity.

When I was at IU though, Mark Spitz was swimming there and he was built that way. So were other people on the team but basically the difference was that Mark would swim double the miles a week more than everyone else.

Usually, in a 'normal' practice you swim two miles a day, 5 days a week. Warm ups consisted of 100 meter easy swims amounting to a quarter mile. Then you start the wind sprints working your way up from one lap to 8 laps in double increments.

Then you swim you specialty plus one lap as hard as you can. Swimming the extra lap is supposed to make you hit the 'wall' actually after you have finished your event. Like if you normally compete in 100 meter events you swim 125.

You repeat this until you have totaled one mile, then you swim a one mile cool down.

Mark would simply double the whole thing, obviously with good results.

I'm waiting for the Olympic Committee to rescind Phelps medals because doing bong hits results in a person having a bigger than normal lung capacity.

http://stuffstonerslike.com/2012/01/12/smoking-weed-eryday-does-not-impair-lung-function/

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