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How is stroke count suppose to be taken when swimming? I counted today when warming up just out of curiosity. I counted every time my right arm left the water as a stroke. Is that correct? Or is it both arms. In a 25m pool I had 12 - 13 strokes. (I counted 3 times and ended up either 12 or 13 each time).<br><br>
What does this mean? I am new to swimming.
 

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Just started talking swimming lessons, so this information is fresh. My coach says you count every stroke, left and right. So you probably have 24-26
 

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Every time <i><b>a</b></i> hand enters the water, not necessarily the same hand.<br><br>
I've gone as low as 9 / 25y, but stroke count isn't the whole picture. If you're working on reducing stroke count, be sure to include something like "golf 50s" to make sure you're not cutting SPL at the cost of slower times. Take your SPL for a 50 then add your time and use <i>that</i> as the benchmark you try to reduce. If you're overgliding or overkicking in an effort to reduce SPL, your time will likely suffer and your golf score will remain the same (or increase).
 

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A stroke count of 24-26 is pretty high, which means you probably have some issues with your form. Or it could be a complete lack of gliding, as in jkaiser's thread last week. <a href="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17915" target="_blank">http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17915</a><br><br>
Work on drills and form for a few weeks, try to get your stroke count under 20.
 

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It's not as hard as it sounds. The first time my coach counted for me, I was doing 30-32.<br>
Now I can easily do 24-25 and if I manage to focus on EVERYTHING she told me I'm doing wrong, I was able to hit 20.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Now I just need to figure out what I am doing wrong. I haven't read any books on swimming yet and can't afford any swim lessons at this time.<br><br>
I have a lot of reading to do to figure this thing out. I am currently reading the Triathlon training bible. Is there anything in there I should focus on for swimming?<br><br>
Thanks
 

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Look for a used copy (i.e. "cheap"<img alt="wink.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/wink.gif"> of Total Immersion on Amazon. Lots of good tips for form and technique.
 

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Drill, drill, drill. Every little thing you can do to reduce drag and avoid the highly resistive nature of water counts, so focus most of your effort on technique improvement.
 

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My Masters coach had us to Golf 50s and 25s quite a bit for a while. I often found I could do either the one or the other - I'm either fast or don't take many strokes. Thus, I know what I need to work on. Different folks place different values on stroke count and DPS (Distance per Stroke), with my coach being one of the more fanatical in favour!<br><br>
Bradley
 

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My SPL is all over. 26 if I'm tired and thrashing. 20 if I'm rested and swimming well. I've hit say 16, but face it, pushing off and not taking a stroke for half a length is not what we're after here.<br><br>
Golf score ranges from sub 90 to 110 depending on tiredness and form.<br><br>
Videos of good swimmers are most disturbing, it's the glide, they do not slow at all. I on the other hand, had a swim coach once point out to me that I was slowing and re-accelerating with each stroke. Think about that one.<br><br>
On the other hand, watch pro triathletes do a short tri. They make a washing machine look calm.
 

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That difference with the pull buoy really sounds like it's a body position issue. Try thinking about pressing your chest into the water. CC once suggested thinking of almost like leaning into a surfboard you're paddling (paraphrasing, it's probably been a year and a half since that post). When I catch myself missing this, I tell myself to get back up on my surfboard, leaning on my chest to get that "downhill swimming" sensation, and there's a clear difference.<br><br>
19-20 with a pull buoy makes it sound like you've got a big break-through coming as soon as you lick the balance issue.<br><br>
And, Pro, I don't have to think about that deceleration. Since I have brakes where others have fins, I live that deceleration. It's slight, but annoying. I suppose while I'm working on ankle flexibility I should experiment with a faster stroke rate. I guess that would mean there's less time for deceleration.
 

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Interesting - during my last session, I did some pull buoy sets for the first time in a long time. Afterward, I kept imagining I still was using the pull buoy and it seemed to help things a lot as time went on. Normally I'm right in there with LRR's ranges stroke-count-wise, but I actually got a 17 without the buoy in that final 25 yd of my workout when it suddenly seemed to all come together.
 

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I believe under 20 is very efficient (both arms). Unless you are kicking like a mad man or dolphining all the way down the pool. Its good to try and do sets of descending stroke count and increasing speed. In masters we will do 6x 50s descending count but increasing speed for warmup.<br><br>
Someone said pressing your chest. Yes press your chest or "T" as they say. You should feel like you are swimming downhill. If you start feeling like you are downhill that is when you make breakthroughs (in my opinion), but using a buoy to swim downhill doesn't count. Drill your butt off.
 

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I have a stroke count of 18 for a 25y length. But I'm ridiculously slow anyway. On the other hand, I'm not tired when I get out of the water....
 

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There is no magic stroke count. It will depend some on your height. The taller you are, the less strokes you will take (just as longer boats go faster), more than likely. I'm only 5'3", and if I really concentrate, I can get my stroke count down to 19, but I'm much slower at that stroke count than I am at say, 22-23. You can only get it so low for your height. If I go much lower, I'm having to kick too hard. I'm not saying 22-23 is the right stroke count for me, but it is until I change something. I do need to work some on my body roll, but my body position is pretty good (I push my chest down and swim downhill). I haven't found the perfect rhythm quite yet. I was a breast stroker, so freestyle was never my thing (except at the end of an I.M., another of my events). I do have TI, but I haven't put much of it into practice yet. I really want a coach. I'm going to try to get the cash to do that for a month or two. I also don't tire easily, so I know I'm not THAT inefficient. DH talked about all the guys huffing and puffing when getting out of the water last year compared to the women who seemed fine. Very interesting (yes, I know women have more fat and, therefore, float more easily -- my DH can't swim very far at all and just sinks like a rock). I'm never that tired after swimming, and my HR stays quite low unless I'm doing intervals.
 
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