HOW CHAMPIONS DO IT
Researched, produced, and prepared by Brent S. Rushall,
LENNY KRAZELBERG'S TURN AT 50 m OF HIS GOLD MEDAL 200 m RACE AT THE 1999 PAN PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIPS IN SYDNEY
Each frame is .1 second apart. Lenny Krayzelberg's time for this race was 1:55.87, a new world record.
Frames #1-4: The swimmer rolls over onto the pulling arm. The recovering left arm assists the rotation by crossing over the body. The roll is completed by the end of the propulsive phase of the right arm.
Frames #5-7: The recovering arm enters the water and pulls immediately. There is no "glide" after the right arm pull before commencing the left arm action. If there were, it would indicate that the turn commenced too far from the wall.
Frames #8-11: Body rotation begins with a bending at the hips closely followed by neck and thoracic flexion, and hip and knee flexion. The hips initiate the rotation and when at maximum momentum the other movements, particularly the thoracic and knee flexions, begin.
Frames #12-14: The plant on the wall is accomplished by holding the legs firm. Because of the forward momentum caused by the previous lap's swimming, the leg muscles will be put on stretch before extending. The feet are planted hard producing force as soon as firm contact is achieved. The orientation of the body is achieved by thrusting the hands overhead and arching the back to make minor adjustments. While this occurs, the legs begin to extend with the last part of the extension occurring maximally.
Frames #15-19: The momentum generated by the leg drive off the wall is maintained. The direction of the swimmer is slightly downward. A position of maximum streamline is achieved by cradling the head between the upper arms as well as holding fully extended arms with one hand on top of the other.
Frames #20-23: The first kick is completed. The speed of the kick is what is important, not its extent. In this sequence, the arms and head remain fixed. Only the slightest movement of the torso occurs, which may well be unintentional. The actual propulsive movement occurs from below the torso with each segment increasing in its extent of movement. That increase accelerates the speed of the water along the body causing a very fast kick to speed the swimmer away from the accelerated water. This action bears no resemblance to a "dolphin kick." Using that term to describe this motion is misleading and conceptually incorrect.
- Frames #24-39: Six more kicks are achieved producing seven kicks in two seconds. This supports the contention that it is the rate of kicks, not the size of kicks that is important in underwater double-leg kicking. If the upper body and head had moved during this time, there is no way that number of kicks could be completed in such a short period.
- Frames #40-43: The first arm stroke commences as the last double-leg kick is completed. Once the pull is established, kicking changes to alternating leg movements. The first breath taken is after the first underwater pull is completed and the right arm has entered.
Lenny Krayzelberg's turn features several aspects of good movement mechanics.
- There are no inertial lags in the total sequence. One part of the sequence flows into the next.
- Rotation to change direction, once it is initiated, is completed quickly.
- The double-leg kick is a distinct action and bears no resemblance to a butterfly stroke's "dolphin" action. The reason for that is the kick in butterfly is a reaction to arm movements and is required to keep the swimmer streamlined (when done well). It does add some horizontal propulsion but not to the same extent as that developed in the double-leg kick. In butterfly, the kick develops both vertical and horizontal forces. In the double-leg kick, all forces result in horizontal propulsion.
- Finally, the streamlining of the swimmer is excellent. The stable leading edge (hands, arms, head, and torso) presents a desirable minimized cross-sectional area to the oncoming fluid and does not waste energy by causing water to move unnecessarily.
This sequence is a fine demonstration of how to perform a modern backstroke turn into, on, and away from the wall.
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