HOW CHAMPIONS DO IT
Researched, produced, and prepared by Brent S. Rushall,
JENNY THOMPSON'S FULL STROKE (NON-BREATHING) AT 80 m OF HER LEG OF THE GOLD MEDAL 4 x 100 m MEDLEY RELAY RACE AT THE 1998 PERTH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Each frame is .1 seconds apart. Differences between this sequence and actions described in the 35-m analysis might be due to the fact that this stroke is non-breathing while the former was a breathing stroke. Further differences could be attributable to fatigue.
- Frame #1: The hand entry is almost at shoulder width, wider than depicted in the 35-m analysis. The hands are pitched outward and the legs have just commenced to kick.
- Frame #2: The hands push to the side. The legs kick but since there are no vertical forces from the arms to counter-balance, the hips react and elevate noticeably.
- Frame #3: The hands are about double shoulder-width apart and are re-pitched to begin to press downward. The head momentarily looks upward causing the curvature of the back to be exaggerated. The leg kick is completed and an exaggerated piked non-streamlined position is developed. The vertical force component of the hip elevation has moved a considerable amount of water that is unrelated to propulsion.
- Frame #4: As soon as the hands start to press down the counter-balancing actions do not come from the legs but from a downward movement of the hips and the commencement of shoulder elevation! As the hips have pushed down the feet have also risen. The arms bend at the elbows to attain a more powerful propulsive position. Force is generated mainly by adduction of the upper arms.
- Frame #5: The continued downward and backward arm thrusts cause the shoulders to rise and the hips to drop even further. The knees begin to bend preparatory to positioning the feet to kick when the exiting arms will need to be counter-balanced.
- Frame #6: Arm propulsion continues to be powered by very vigorous upper-arm adduction. The propulsive surfaces are the hand/forearm combinations. Further bending at the elbows occurs preparatory to initiating arm extension. The knees drop deeper as the knees are flexed further.
- Frame #7: The power of the arm action is demonstrated by the large amount of drag force turbulence that can be seen in this frame. As the elbows extend the upper arms rise as part of a "rounded-out" extraction. The legs kick down to counter-balance the upward vertical forces created by the exiting arms.
- Frame #8: The arms are close to fully extracted. It should be noted that when the hands exit the water they are pronated so that the little fingers exit first. This illustrates that the last 6-12 inches of the underwater arm action has little to do with propulsion. The body position is quite streamlined because the head has remained looking directly to the bottom. Since only the arms need to be counter-balanced the kick is smaller here than in the front part of the stroke.
- Frame #9: Arm recovery is fast and relatively flat which assists in maintaining a streamlined position.
- Frame #10: Arm recovery continues and passes its mid-point. The knees begin to bend preparatory to kicking after entry.
- Frame #11: The arms approach entry and the knees bend further prior to kicking. The next stroke phase would be the position depicted in frame #1 when the stroke cycle commences again.
Jenny Thompson's stroke continues to have deficiencies at entry. The narrow entry and outward scull do not contribute to propulsion and contribute to unnecessary body movements and deterioration in streamline. These movements should be compared to those of Mary T. Meagher and the efficiencies compared.
It is this writer's opinion that the differences exhibited between Jenny Thompson's breathing and non-breathing strokes are due to breathing and not fatigue.
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