HOW CHAMPIONS DO IT
Researched, produced, and prepared by Brent S. Rushall,
XUEJUAN LUO AT 70 m OF HER GOLD MEDAL 100 m BREASTSTROKE RACE AT THE 2001 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS IN FUKUOKA
Each frame is .1 seconds apart. Xuejuan Lou's time for this race was 1:07.18.
This stroke analysis includes a moving sequence in real time, a moving sequence where each frame is displayed for .5 of a second, and still frames.
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At the end of the following narrative, each frame is illustrated in detail in a sequential collage.
Xuejuan Lou displays excellent streamlining. Her body and leg alignment in frames 1 though 5 could serve as a model for that aspect of the stroke.
The propulsive action (frames 3 through 6) illustrates a relatively direct pull with similarities to the early part of a butterfly stroke.
There is no inward or outward scull. Frames 1 through 3 display a simple repositioning of the arms, while frames 6 and 7 show the hands sliding or cutting inward.
The power to lift the head and shoulders to breathe is derived from the vertical force component of the propulsive phase of the arm action.
Hyperflexibility of the lower back allows the legs to trail horizontally while the upper body is vertical.
The recovery of the hands commences slightly out of the water but the ensuing thrust forward is horizontal, not downward as is the case with many swimmers.
The leg kick is fully effective. It begins with the feet fully turned outward and is made directly backward. There is no "semicircular" or "sweeping" action.
The repositioning of the arms commences when the feet are apart (sometime between frames 1 and 2), which reduces the inertial lag between the kick and arm propulsion phases.
Vertical movements and oscillations are quite restricted.
Xuejuan Lou displays an excellent form of traditional breaststroking. The directness and power of her pull and the minimization of resistance due to her excellent streamlining are factors worthy of emulation.
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