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The source of glide in swimming

2054 Views 41 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  Tithers
Ok, those that know me know I struggle in the water, those that don't know me - I struggle in the water. If you go to my Active site you can see some above water videos from last week. One comment (given several times) was 'You need to slow the arms down and increase your glide'.<br><br>
So the question I have is where does the glide come from? Are rather, which part of the stroke needs to be longer? Does an increase of stroke length come from slower recovery? Or from an actual pause somewhere? I am thinking that the pull needs to be virtually the same. Is that right?<br><br>
My 25 meter stroke count is 25. One meter per stroke? Not so good. Obviously this means my pull is also not perfect. I do catch-up drills in an effort to help this, and am trying to figure out the tickle and maybe some sculling. As soon as I get all the water out of my sinuses from last night's attempt, I will try again!<br><br>
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I don't consider myself a proponent of adding glide to get more distance out of each stroke. Instead, I think you should concentrate on the underwater stroke mechanics. That means focusing body position (most important), high elbows, and the general movement of your arms through the water. You can pick up a copy of <i>Swimming Fastest</i> by Maglischo if you want a great book on swimming.<br><br>
Body position is most important because if your head is high and your feet dropping, you are creating a lot of drag and that is what is causing your high stroke rate.<br><br>
If, however, you are convinced you want to add some glide to your stroke, I think the place to do it is right after your hand enters the water. Extend your are out in front, pay attention to your body position, and then start the catch.<br><br>
Here are a couple quotes from Maglischo, whose book I highly recommend:<br><br>
* One hand enters the water when the other is at mid-stroke. (entry)<br>
* After entering the water, the are should be extended forward and in. (the stretch)<br>
* The downsweep should begin the instant the swimmer releases pressure on the water with the other arm. From other descriptions and pictures in his book, I translate this to mean that one arm starts the downsweep when the other is leaving the water.<br><br>
What Maglischo refers to as the stretch, we are calling a glide here, but I think glide is a bit of a strong word and I prefer stretch. Artificially letting your arm float out in front longer than necessary will be inefficient. I'm not saying anybody is advocating that, but beginners should be careful to not focus too much on stroke count at the expense of an efficient stroke.<br><br>
Having said that, I think letting one arm stretch out in front for an abnormally long time while the swimmer focuses on the mechanics of the other arm is great practice and helps with stroke dynamics.<br><br>
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I think it is difficult for a beginner to teach themselves good stroke mechanics, but not impossible. The first thing I would do is pick up a copy of <i>Swimming Fastest</i> by Maglischo and focus on the section that describes and illustrates stroke mechanics. (I promise I'll stop promoting this book, but in my opinion it is the best.) You can also pick up some videos or find some on the internet. Work on drills and the pattern of your arms underwater. Don't worry about speed at all for some period of time.<br><br>
I'm also going to respectfully disagree with TriBob as to where the hand exits the water. I believe your arm should be bent at the elbow as it leaves the water (not fully extended) so it (your hand) leaves the water at the bottom of your suit, assuming you are wearing briefs and not jammers, or at the very top of your leg.<br><br>
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