Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Speed is not the ____, it's the _____!

Some interesting quotes from the NYTimes regarding the principles of swimming fast that are very much in line with Igor’s main mantra: “Speed is not the goal, it’s the result” :D

“A lot of people think you’re just thrashing in the 50,” Weber-Gale said. “But there’s a lot more to it than that. You’re trying to go as fast as you possibly can without trying.”

Once the starting beep sounds, the trick is to hit the water sprinting but not all-out. “You’ve got to be able to dive in,” Jones said, “pop up and go and be able to get that tempo exactly right.”

“The more effort I put into it, the more I slipped in my stroke.” (Biondi)

The Zen of the 50 goes beyond slowing down to swim faster. The rule of thumb on breathing, said Ben Wildman-Tobriner, the reigning world champion, is that, “If you take a breath when you need it, it’s too late.”

The 50 is not a thinking person’s race. It is for swimmers whose minds turn off so all they hear is their inner metronome. “People who tend to be cerebral, who are thinking: ‘Don’t forget to breathe; remember to kick; am I ahead?’ are not going to excel in the 50,” Biondi said. “The more people hold onto those thoughts the slower they’ll end up going.”

The shorter the race, the longer it takes to master. “The only way you’re going to be able to get super fast,” Weber-Gale said, “is to be as efficient as you possibly can and perfecting your stroke takes a long time.”

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