HOW CHAMPIONS DO IT
Researched, produced, and prepared by Brent S. Rushall,
CLAUDIA POLL'S FULL STROKE AT 120 m OF HER 200 m GOLD MEDAL RACE AT THE 1998 PERTH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Each frame is .1 second apart.
- Frame #1: The left arm approaches entry. The right foot is clear of the water preparatory to kicking in order to counter-balance the right arm entry. The right arm is in a very strong pulling position with the hand/forearm-propelling surface almost perpendicular to the line of intended propulsion. The body and legs are streamlined.
- Frame #2: The left arm has entered vigorously. It is long forward and is immediately bent at the elbow. The right leg kicks to counter-balance the entry. The right arm is still propelling. The upper right arm is fully adducted and the elbow begins to extend. Propulsion is still provided by the hand/forearm surface. The head begins to turn to the right.
- Frame #3: The left arm presses down but remains forward and bent at the elbow. The right leg nears completion of its kick. The right upper right arm and elbow have exited the water. In a four-beat kicking stroke, there normally would be a left leg kick to counter-balance this exit. However, the left arm entry provides sufficient force to also counter-balance the right arm exit. The head continues to turn to the right. The left leg begins to rise. Streamlining is maintained. The shoulders and hips have rotated to the right, partly to facilitate the right arm exit as well as to place the left arm in an advantageous position for propulsion.
- Frame #4: Left upper arm adduction has begun still with the elbow bent. Effective propulsive stroke length commences from well in front of the swimmer. The right leg has completed its kick. The right arm is near the peak of its recovery. The left foot is very high. The shoulders and hips are at their maximum angle of rotation to the right. The head looks to the right.
- Frame #5: Left upper arm adduction accelerates. The elbow is bent further and the full hand/forearm propelling surface has come into effect. The recovering right arm is past the peak of its recovery and to counter-balance the vertical force component of that recovery, the left leg begins to kick. The head begins to rotate back to the centerline. Streamlining is maintained.
- Frame #6: Left arm propulsion continues in a very forceful manner. Upper arm adduction provides most of the muscular force while the hand/forearm surface is positioned across the line of intended propulsion. The recovering right arm reaches forward over the surface. The right leg kicks. The head looks directly to the pool bottom.
- Frame #7: Upper left arm adduction is completed as a source of power for the lower arm-propelling surface. The right arm is stretched straight, forward, and over the water. The left leg continues to kick. The head looks directly to the pool bottom.
- Frame #8: The right arm has entered and immediately begins to bend at the elbow. As well, the upper right arm begins to medially rotate to set the stage for an "elbow-up" movement. The left arm has completed its propulsion and exits the water. The rotation of the shoulders and hips has been rapid. The head starts to turn to the left.
- Frame #9: Right upper-arm medial rotation has only been partially accomplished. Adduction of the right upper arm has commenced. The left leg kick is close to completion. The non-kicking right leg is extended back at least at hip height to produce a very streamlined posture. The left arm has exited. The head continues to turn to the left.
- Frame #10: As right upper-arm adduction occurs it medially rotates more to place the hand/forearm-propelling surface into a more favorable position. Right elbow bend has increased. The right leg rises. The left leg has completed its kick. The head is fully turned and raised prior to inhalation.
- Frame #11: Right arm propulsion is fully effective. The hand/forearm surface is aligned across the direction of intended propulsion and upper arm adduction provides most of the power. The left arm continues to recover and is past peak height. Inhalation is occurring. The right leg continues to rise.
- Frames #12 and #13: The positions of frames #1 and #2 are repeated with the exception of the head being returned to face down in the water after inhalation.
Claudia Poll's stroke displays a classic two-beat kick. The arm movement of this stroke is somewhat like that of Brooke Bennett and Janet Evans in that there is no lost time after entry in attempting to develop propulsion.
The stroke is completed rapidly, a full cycle lasting 1.1 seconds. Streamlining is maintained well. The positioning of the hand/forearm-propelling surface in propulsion is worthy of emulation.
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