The Threestyle Freestyle by Mike Bottom (2007)


This is the first major talk of the World Clinic in San Diego and I hope that all of you are enjoying the hotel and that you will enjoy the Clinic. I am Peter Daland, a Board Member (of ASCA). The first address will be made by Michael Bottom. Mike graduated from USC in 1978. He was a very good swimmer; mostly backstroke and butterfly. In 1974 he won the butterfly for the U.S. against East Germany in Concord, California. And received and deserved great credit for that swim. He turned out to be a coach and a very good one. While he was at CAL he had Anthony Ervin, double gold medal winner Olympic Games; Gary Hall, a club swimmer from Arizona that he worked with in the summers – gold medals. Bart Kizierowski from Poland – European Champion. And a list of other people. Mike realized early on that sprint training was not the same as what he received college or in his club. It was a different thing and he has developed some very innovative ideas. I asked him one day – I said Mike, what kind of mileage are you doing? He said Coach, you won’t believe it, but once a week we go 5,000 plus. And I said, wow Mike, I bet they are tired. But he has made a great name for himself and it is deserved, because he understands sprinting. More important, he understands the diverse mentalities of some of the bazaar people with whom he is working. These are not the kind of people that are going up and down the pool in 7,000 yard or meter workouts. These are a whole different species of human – men and women alike. I give you Michael Bottom. Mike said the intro was fair.

You know, Coach Daland, I have to credit you for my drive to coach sprinters, because I swam faster prior to college and after college. My brother, who was swimming at the same time as I was at USC, for some reason Coach Daland did not say anything to Joe. He would be over in the outside lane, jumping up and down, blowing bubbles, wearing a t-shirt, swimming fast 25’s, just enjoying life. And I would be over with Bruce Furness, swimming 200’s. Lots of them – and 400’s, and all that stuff. So I said, you know there has got to be something going on here. So, you were my inspiration Coach. Is that fair?

Curious George glasses case; life changes. I love the ASCA Clinic. The ASCA Clinic, to me, is the start of a new year. And it is kind of like, for swim coaches, it is the New Year’s celebration for us. Because we have finished the old and we are bringing in the new. And we can look back at the past, and we can be excited about the future. And we can listen to speakers that motivate us and speakers that bring in ideas. Yet we go back and we think about some of the things that have happened in the past. As swim coaches, I know many swim coaches that are the same as me. When you look at a season, it is hard to give yourself the pat on the back that you really deserve. Maybe you had three or four athletes that didn’t swim well. Maybe you had one athlete that swam out of their mind and three or four athletes that didn’t swim well. You know, however you want to measure yourself.

This last couple of years for me has been a real exciting time. As you can see, a couple of additions have taught me responsibility that I have never known. And some of the things that have happened in some of my athletes’ lives like Gary Hall having a daughter, almost the same age as mine. And they’re expecting another. And you know I went back with my wife to her home town a few weeks ago. And we met some of her swimmers that she coached when they were young kids. And they are older and they are having children. One of the things that I realized is how important you, we, are in the lives, in the developing lives, of the athletes that we touch. And I know that you have heard this before, but please remind yourself again. There is no more influential person in an adolescent’s life, than their coach. Not their parents. Not even their friends. But the coaches that you are, affects the lives of the swimmers that you are working with to an extent that you would not believe. And you could be proud of the things that went on this year in some of their lives. Whether it be something like Bart Kizierowski getting married and having a son. Or like Anthony Ervin going back to school.

One of the most exciting things that happened to me in the last four years is that Anthony Ervin is back in school. And I pray that he will finish and graduate from CAL. So as you reflect over the last year, reflect on the things that really matter. Which are the changes in the lives of the athletes that you are affecting? And part of that change is teaching them that there is a cause and affect in life. And that is where fast swimming comes in. That is where getting better in the pool comes in. Because one of the best things that we could teach our athletes is: if you do this, this will happen. If you take responsibility and make these changes, this will occur because that carries on through life.

I am so excited about this talk because there are very few times in life, especially in a coach’s life, that you get a revolutionary, what I would consider revolutionary mind change. Two years ago at the National Coach’s Meeting I listened to Russell Mark who is one of the guys that works for US Swimming. He does a lot of videoing and he studies a lot of videoing. He is a very intelligent and well-spoken individual. He stood up and talked about the freestyle. And he talked about the two different freestyles that he observed: the high elbow freestyle and the straight arm freestyle. And he went ahead and talked about how with the high elbow freestyle, there is X number of medals (99.9% of the medals won in the last four Olympics) were won by guys that do, or gals that do the high elbow catch freestyle. And then he glossed over the straight arm freestyle. And said there are a few guys that swim this way you know, but this (high elbow) is the way to swim and he went on and talked about the high elbow catch freestyle. Then at the end he started talking about how this (high elbow) freestyle is the fastest freestyle. And I was kind of thinking to myself, wait a second that is not true. What is true is that the straight arm, according to his definition, the straight arm freestyle is the fastest freestyle. It is not the most efficient. But it is the fastest. I raised my hand and I said, excuse me, Russell. Don’t you think that our athletes could learn two different freestyles? Don’t you think that we as coaches can teach two different freestyles? And we have athletes that are good enough in this country to learn two different freestyles? And you know it kind of fell off, as sometimes my comments do, and then another subject was brought up. But I took that back and I thought to myself, you know there is a challenge: because I have never taught my athletes the high elbow freestyle. I have taught them the straight arm freestyle.

So in the last two years, what I have been doing is talking to my guys about freestyle. And kind of adapting this new thought pattern. And defining, trying to define freestyle in a different way than I have ever done it before. And so we are going to term it the “threestyle” freestyle. In my teaching of guys who swim the hundred, we actually have three different styles of freestyle. And we teach all three now at the Race Club in Islamorada, Florida.

The three different freestyles that we are defining is the hip driven, the shoulder driven and the body driven. The hip driven freestyle is what Russell would call the high elbow catch freestyle; the shoulder driven freestyle being the straight arm freestyle. And the body driven freestyle being, what I would term, the Michael Klim. You have all saw Michael Klem swim that straight arm freestyle, where it is complete body connection. Alright? And going over these three freestyles has revolutionized my thought pattern and looking at the different possibilities of the freestyle in a whole different way. Part of how you select what freestyle to use is based on body type. If you’ll just stand up for a minute; if you could just stand up for one minute. And put your arms down by your side. Try to just go ahead and put your thumbs to your legs. And then keep your elbows tight and turn out. Turn out so that your thumbs are out, okay? Keeping your elbows tight to your body, now look down and you can see that the distance between your little finger and your leg is probably different than the person next to you. This is because the way your body is made is unique. Everybody has a different length of forearm and everybody has a different flexibility in the arm. The same thing happens if you put your hands up. Now at this point here, bring your shoulders back. Actually you probably can’t do that because you would be smacking each other. Alright, just put your hands down and bring your shoulders back and then elevate your shoulders. Now try to keep your shoulder back and continue to elevate alright? Some of you can do that very easily. Others can’t do that at all. Alright, have a seat. So lets go over the hip driven freestyle and then we will look at some videos.

I am going to summarize what Russell went over. The hip driven freestyle is one where you skate. You skate on the hip, so that your hips are coming out. You skate on the hip, alright? Your arms and shoulders are going in the maximum distance. So you are creating a sublexing of your shoulder. You can almost, even drop the elbow down. If you watch Ian Thorpe he sublexes and he drops the elbow. And then he brings it up, and catches. The hand slides out a bit. It slides out a bit so that you are in good position to make your catch. Your elbow comes up. You shift to your side with a kick, and keep your abs tight. So, at this point here, you are on your side. You keep your abs tight. You use the same leg to bring your hips around, and your elbow comes up. You hold the water at the front end and you release in the back end. You are not pushing all the way through, it is a rounded off stroke. Recovery for this stroke is comfortable. It’s relaxed. It’s in a plane that works for your body type. Some people swing. I always love watching Terri teach her girls the freestyle because they have such a nice relaxed recovery and the whole team does that. They have this nice relaxed recovery. They recover right in the plane of comfortableness. They throw forward to a skate position so that your hand comes out, throws forward again to that skate position. There is a little bit of a catch-up in the stroke. Your hand comes up so that as the hand slides out here, you actually add a little bit of power with this rotation of the upper body. So the hand slides out a bit and the elbow comes up as the shoulder comes down, and the kick, as you anchor with the kick, your elbow comes up. And you can actually increase your power with this catch-up recovery.

Okay – let’s look at some videos here – this is me trying to explain: (Directions given to swimmers on video) Slide out with the hands. Pop the elbow up. Bring the hip across, alright, or hip down. Do four 200’s. Do you hear that coach? (referring to Coach Daland). When you are ready for that, slide out with the hand, pop the elbow up. Bring the hip across or hip down.

(Coach Bottom speaking to audience) Okay, Dominick Mitree, from Switzerland has a great high elbow catch. The hand slides out a bit. You can see, he moves over to his side. And I know in the latest Swim Technique magazine, they talked a little bit about how the hip movement is not so crucial, but I think that there is some misconception in that article. I really think that in working with this freestyle, which is really interesting, you could see that the core body, if the hips are connected and the core body is tight you could really see, and you are connecting with that lower foot, there is a real power source in the hip movement. As the elbow shoots up and the hip pops around, you really do get a lot of power. And you do get, you get power also in that catch-up as the other shoulder comes down, you can see. The shoulder comes down at the same time that the elbow pops up. So the key there is the high elbow connection, sliding out, you can see. He slides out. He doesn’t press all the way back.

Here is a little bit of a drill that we do. It helps them understand the connection of the kick to the movement of the hip. So what they are doing is, one, they are using snorkels, which we use every day. And the truth is, I don’t think there is a better tool to use for stroke work than the snorkel. I think the front end snorkel is something that if you are working stroke technique you have to have it. It helps them focus on what they are doing. So, what they are doing is they are getting out on their side, right? And they are using that lower leg. They are bending it a little bit more than normal. They are bringing the lower leg up and then popping it. At the same time, popping the elbow up so that what they are trying to do is feel the connection and tightening their abs at the same time. So they are really working on feeling that connection of the hip coming over, the elbow coming up and the hand on the water. One more video of this and then we will go on.

This is George Bovel, and you will notice that a lot of your swimmers are better on one side than the other, with the connection. It is because of the breathing. And I think that the more that you can use the front end snorkel, and take the breathing out of the system, the better they can understand the stroke. Plus with a snorkel too, what we do is use some (and you would have to be very careful with this), but duct tape over a snorkel with a little hole in it – makes it a lot more painful. (editor notes sarcasm) So, not only are they thinking about their stroke, they are thinking about possibly getting their next breath. George does a real good job with his right arm, but you can see, his left arm is a little more straight. The key is to get that elbow up in position so you have a full hand on the water and you are connected through the shoulder, all the way to the spine, bringing around the hip. And that is the key of that stroke. If you watch Ian Thorpe, who in my opinion, has got the most exciting high elbow catch. And there are a lot of videos of him on the internet. He does a great job and it is fun to watch that.

Let’s go now to the shoulder driven stroke. The shoulder driven stroke is what we have been working on for years. Bart Kizierowski, Anthony Ervin, Gary Hall, Dewey Dugonia: these are the guys who have kind of taught me a lot of what I know about this stroke. Bart Kizierowski actually is probably the expert on it. He has done more thinking as a coach than anybody that I know of. The first thing in the shoulder driven stroke is the high elevation of the shoulder. The high elevation of the shoulder connects everything to the spine and brings the shoulders together. So the shoulders are elevated and then the compression point is up front. If you are elevated to the highest level, here, the compression point is where you can’t move it back any further. The compression point is where, at some point you can’t move back any further. It is like when you are bringing your elbow out in this direction okay? There is a certain point where you are not going to go any further. It is compression. It is no longer stretching the muscle, it is compression, right? Bringing your leg, if you straighten your leg, you cannot stretch past this point because you are compressing bone on bone. The same here – the compression here, there is no way that I am going to be able to get my elbow up any higher at this point. If I am elevated back here and lifting up here, alright? That is my compression point. I am bringing it up and back as far as I can so that the bone is compressed to the back as far as it can go.

The hips. Unlike the hip driven stroke, the hips are flat, alright? They rotate slightly and quickly, but the kick drives hard and fast holding the hips in place. The shoulders drive downward at the same time, and extend the forearm and pronate the hand. So, the shoulder, as you bring your shoulder down, your hand flattens out, pronates and goes forward and that’s a set. So, the forearm is up. The hand is pronated. And as you drive your shoulders forward you are trying to get a maximum extension. Maintain tension in shoulder. Hold elbow rotated up. Hand on water, extend with rotation. Some arm and shoulder extension as a result of relieved compression. As you come forward here, alright? You can’t keep this position here and come forward. Your arm is naturally going to elongate a little bit, okay? Full extension of opposite arm ensures full rotation of shoulders, maximum amount of time in the water. Fully press through the back hand. Again, fully press it through the back hand. Make sure that you are rotating fully with the shoulders. Arms in sync, one hand / arm always on the water. If you will notice with great sprinters, their hand, one hand is always on the water. It always has power. There is power on the water.

We do a lot of work with a sonar device that we can watch their speed and match it to a video. And the idea is to almost flatten that speed curve out. I mean, no one can do it, but the great sprinters have less of a dip than other guys. It is because they always have a hand on the water, alright? As they are pressing through the back end they are catching onto the front end. Alright, and going round and around and around.

Okay, let’s look at a few of these videos. Now unfortunately, I do not have a lot any of these guys swimming real fast. Most of this is just stroke work. First, let’s look at this little blurb here. [(Video: giving directions to swimmers.) It is going to pull apart a little bit just because of the way you are rotating your scapula. So you got points down here. And then it is going to rotate to the side so they come out a little bit. And then it is going to rotate him completely as they come out here, alright? The idea is to be as loose as you can in the mobility of this, alright? So that you can shift it forward with freestyle. So you can shift it forward and keep connected as you are doing your shoulder driven strokes, alright? Now with the hip driven stroke it is not as important, alright? It is more important to be able just to rotate here. You do not have to be lifting so much on the hip driven stroke.]

Okay, we are in the process of understanding the anatomy of the shoulder driven stroke and the hip driven stroke. And that is why it is exciting to me as a coach. It is because it is a new way of thinking. So when you think in a different way, and you have different categories to put things in, even though those categories aren’t perfect, there are three categories, which is a pretty good you know, ideal, to have three categories to put things in, and you start to think in a different way. For me, it just really helps me to get excited about learning as a coach. And you see the way I was working with their shoulders and helping the guys understand that they need to be able to manipulate their shoulder blades right there. So we do a lot of exercises where their hands are down to the side and we are doing this, you know. Bringing them back, manipulating them up.

Then we bring their hands out to the side, and we are bringing them back and manipulating them up. Then we bring them up a little higher, up. Then we bring them up this way, up. The idea is so that they can learn to move their shoulders, and feel a difference in those muscles. You know, we are used to doing this with our fingers. We are not used to doing this, or this, or this, with our shoulder blades, but that is the key to the shoulder driven stroke. It is getting the shoulders attached to the spine where you are getting your power, alright?

Now a lot of this comes from Gary’s boxing. What we understand is, the power of a boxer is in this throw here. It’s in locking the outer limbs to the power source of the spine, and the rotation of the shoulders. And again – this is the fastest stroke. I watched Stefan Nistrum, in Paris go :47.9. He uses a variation of the shoulder driven stroke. He actually uses a straight arm, which we are going to see a little bit later.

Let’s look at another video. Okay, what we are doing here is we are just working through it slowly. Now the hips are going to be going back and forth because we are working slowly, and it is hard to hold your hips flat. But the idea is they are just working, and understanding. They are trying to understand the shift of the shoulder forward. Here we are again. You can actually see that this is a little later in the practice or in another practice. They are better. See that high elbow? There’s a nice high shift. The shoulder blades are better connected. You see the same three guys here. We spend a lot of time working on the understanding of both the shoulder driven and the hip driven. And it is a great opportunity for swimming the yardage that Coach Daland would like us all to do.

Okay, this is a little bit faster. That is Dewey right there in the middle. You can see that he is still rotating the hips. But again he is manipulating the shoulder, bringing it forward. Bring the shoulder down, the hand down. The hand goes right onto the water. A little more speed on this one. See Dewey’s hips flatten out a lot more. His head is just a little bit high on that. He has dropped it there. But that is the other thing about his shoulder driven stroke. If the head is high it is real hard to move the shoulders. And you can see how much power it takes for this stroke. Dewey can’t hold the front end of his stroke. If you watch you will see his hand actually flatten out as he hits because he doesn’t have enough power in his wrists to go right through the water, right through the hole. See that right hand, how it kind of flattens out like that. And we have talked about that. That he needs to do some strengthening exercises so that when he comes in on the water he can hold it. Again, the idea: connect, connect upper body. Rotate the shoulders to the maximum amount and you will find that if you have your athletes turn, some of them have more keeping their heads flat. Some of them have more turn than others. And that is your ability to stretch that. You are able to increase that rotation of force.

Okay, now I know that this is entitled the threestyle freestyle. But I want to show you a little bit of, we also have been working with the backstroke. And seeing there is a difference in the way the backstroke can be looked at as well. Guy Bornai, a guy from Israel, has been real helpful in trying to understand how this works with the backstroke. The idea is a shoulder driven backstroke being more immediate catch, right? As opposed to a hip driven backstroke, it’s more like Marcus Rogan, who even gets a little bit of a bend here. Or even Natalie Coughlin, a little bit of a bend here, but she comes over and really snaps her hips. Whereas somebody like Aaron Peirsol, a little more drive-in catch, gets the elbow up. Get the hand on the water. Then again, I am not saying it is a perfect description of what each athlete does because I think it is kind of a mix and match. Yet it gives a communication factor between me and my athletes. So now we are talking about stuff and thinking about things in a different way. Here is another shot of Guy. This is a little bit later, again, working in the same thing. You see how the idea is to come in right on the water as you rotate in, using the power of the rotation on the water. We worked a little bit with the breaststroke and the fly as well, trying to apply shoulder driven and hip driven styles to those strokes.

Okay, let’s go to the third freestyle of the threestyles and that is the body driven. A guy by the name of Scott Greenwood, back in the late 90’s helped me understand a little bit more about the body driven stroke and how it could be used and again. It can be used all the time for certain people who have certain body types like Stefan Nistrom. If you watch him swim, I don’t know if that is on U-Tube or anything like his swim from Paris, but you could see that he is a straight arm swimmer. He swims straight arm for the whole entire time. Scott Greenwood used to do the same. He used to be a straight arm swimmer for his whole time. My take is that these guys need to learn this stroke because it is a great stroke to finish off a race when you are dying because what it does is that it allows you to attach everything to your core and rotate as opposed to using your arms and your legs. So you are tightening your core. That is the number one thing. Everything is fixed, so that you are trying to tighten everything. Everything goes to here as opposed to up here or down here. Everything is into the core, alright? The scapula is fixed. So your scapula is fixed. It could be high or it could be low. Most likely it is just right in the middle. Head and chest are pressed down. So, especially the last 10 meters, I say don’t breathe. Get your head down, your hips come up, press the chest, the head comes down, the chest comes down, the body is able to do this more. Arms thrown forward with a last minute flex of the elbow so the arms are thrown forward. At the last minute the elbows flex so that you come onto the water and you are going full side to side.

And there is a dolphin action of the body. A dolphin action or a dolphin kick, as you go side to side. You do not have to dolphin kick, but the body does flip back and forth, alright? It is a great way for guys, when they are dying, to get through that pain at the very end by attaching everything in the core. And what happens is, the body just moves back and forth alright? So instead of trying to kick your way to the wall or pull your way to the wall, which guys do when they go into lactic acidosis, they start flipping back and forth.

The person who has learned this the quickest is a guy by the name of Nathan Adrian. He is a young. He was a freshman last year and he has actually learned how to do all three freestyles in a race and when he does it he does it well. The unfortunate thing about this is it is very complicated. So you are saying okay, you are going to swim this type of freestyle at this point in the race, you are going to change it after the turn, and you are going to change it to this freestyle. So there is a lot for the athlete to think about and there is a lot that could go wrong, but it makes it, for one, it makes it more interesting to coach 100 freestyle because there is a lot more to it as opposed to when you coach a 1500 freestyle. I can see why coaches like to coach 1500 freestyle because you know there are lots of things to do. You hold up this, you do this, you do this, you know? But now sprint coaches have something to do. You say alright you are going to change.

Okay so lets look at some videos of this. Now, I am going to let you listen to a excerpt of me talking about this and you will see, you will hear the frustration that you have experienced many times in my voice. “You are not going to swim freestyle until you can swim like that. This is the way. Attach your body. Go side to side. Let’s go – do it – not like that. Do it like that. You are not going to swim freestyle until you learn to swim like that, this way. Attach your body from side to side”.

At some point we all lose patience, right? Just do it, go. Do it. Not like that, do it like that. You are not going to swim freestyle until you can swim like that. Attach your body, go side to side. Okay, so these guys are learning this. A lot of them do not want to learn it. So yeah, there is a frustration factor in teaching three freestyles because, especially if you are working with an athlete who at 10 and under was the best in his age group, he didn’t want to change, right? Or at age 18 was the fastest in high school or at age 22 is, you know, NCAA winner. Okay now, these guys are not doing it perfect, but this is pretty good. They are working on going from side to side, attach the scapula, throw forward. And this is Dewey. He doesn’t like to do this. He hates it. He fights me on it, but again, the idea is to learn it. What I always tell them is, learn it. If you learn it and you don’t use it, I am okay with that, but you have got to learn it. It is like a tool in your tool belt. It is like you know, you are able to use it if you want it, but if you don’t know how to use it, then you will never use it.

And we actually played with this in the backstroke as well. And the backstroke, when you go to this stroke, the dolphin really works well to flip them back and forth. Again, I do not think it is the fastest stroke, but when you are at the end of a hundred and you are dying, it probably is a considerable option. Nathan does a good job of getting his head low so he can really get some good rotation in his shoulders. You can see, he starts out with a shoulder driven stroke and then moves into the body driven stroke.

Okay, and you can see on these slides. I put rates, kind of a prescribed rate, for the different strokes. I hadn’t talked about that. Those are cycles per minute. The hip driven stroke is a lot slower. If you are doing it right you are getting over on your side. It takes a while to get from side to side. The shoulder driven stroke on the other hand, your hips are flat right? And the thing Nort Thorton used to say, the thing that determines the speed of your shoulders is your hips. And if you can move your hips, depending on how fast you can move your hips, is the way you can move your shoulders. So, a guy named Salema Isles swims for Algeria, he was a finalist in both the 50 and the 100 last Olympics, is unbelievable. His rates are 67 to 70 in a 50 and a 100 which is crazy, but he just moves his shoulders really fast. He has no kick. He just moves them real fast. So, again, it depends on the strength of your athletes and how you look at it.

I guess at this point we can open it up for questions. Alright, if you want to turn on the lights, I am sure there are a lot of questions about what I have talked about. This is a little blurb about the race club. A lot of people wonder what the Race Club is all about and basically we are not a USA Swimming Team. We are a USA Swimming support club that anybody could come join us. It is not an exclusive club. Anybody can come down and train with us. We have had people come down for a week or two and train and then go back home. And it is just, what we want to do is just promote swimming, promote the sport of swimming and get people to have fun with the sport. Most of our athletes are either out of college or kind of burned out on the traditional back and forth swimming and want something different or to be rejuvenated so they come down and they do a little spear fishing and have some fun and then they go back to the clubs and enjoy what they are doing a little bit more than they did before. So our intention isn’t to usurp anybody. Our intention is just to promote swimming. We hope to have some events in the future where people can come in and swim 50’s and 25’s and open water swims and different events where swimming is promoted. And that is kind of what the race club is about at this point. We are in transition and we are trying to find an identity, but we feel that the race club is something that can fill a void in the swimming community, and we would like to be there to do that.

Alright, questions? The question is, there are swimmers that have loping strokes that one side does one thing, and you saw George, and the other side does the other thing. One side might be straight arm, the other side is bent arm. Jason Lezak is a perfect example of that. You mentioned Michael Phelps. So – and I think that is a result of a breathing thing. They learn to swim a different stroke. I don’t think they are intentionally doing that. I don’t think they know what they are doing and I think that is why a snorkel is good to use. You have to use a snorkel because then the people can understand what they are doing. Now, if they choose to do that that is one thing. If they choose to have one side and I don’t think that is a bad thing, have one side high elbow and one side straight arm. I am not saying that is a bad thing, but I think that what is important is the athlete themselves understands what they are doing and makes that choice to do it.

Any other questions? I think that the tighter you can hold your hips the more power you can get out of your shoulders. It is impossible to keep them still. It is impossible to do that because you are working with a fluid foundation. You cannot hold a fluid foundation still. We do a lot of exercise in the gym where we do boxing you know, and the idea is to try and hold the hip still and you can’t. Even with your feet on the ground, you can’t hold your hip still. You could try, but the more you swing your shoulders the more your hips are going to want to move and that is why core power is such an important part of the whole thing – your core power. Because you are translating everything from up here through your core, right? And your hips are what’s holding your core steady. So, if you are using your shoulders as your power source, but you have to have some foundation you know? And water is all you have. So a 12 beat kick is great. If you can hold a 12 beat kick and just drive those legs that will hold your core body pretty tight.

The question was, have we noticed when people learn the shoulder driven stroke if they improve dramatically? You know, I guess that is tough to say. People who improve, you know, some guys don’t, some guys take a little bit longer. But yeah, I have seen some dramatic improvement. Especially in the 50 and the 100 yards because I think again, that the shoulder driven stroke is, if you are going to use that, I don’t think you can use it for 100 meters – all the way. I think you can apply it within the 100 meters, but 100 yards you can go shoulder driven the whole way and the 50 meter you can go shoulder driven the whole way. So, I think that it is important. That is why it is important for the athlete to know that there are other options. 100 meters is that distance that you can’t go all of one, you kind of have to mix it up a bit – back on the back all the way.

The exciting thing that this has done for me is that, you know, when we used to do aerobic yardage I used to cringe. I used to cringe because I would look at these guys strokes and they would fall apart. And if you are trying to teach a shoulder driven stroke and a specific sprint stroke and you see these guys doing this awful stroke, that makes no sense. And that is why we do all, a lot, all drilling mostly, drilling in our aerobic work. The hip driven stroke, what it has done for me is it has given me an opportunity to run them in aerobic yardage and do aerobic yardage like I have never done before. Now, do I know how to do that? No. Have I screwed up a lot of guys? Trying to do too much aerobic yardage? Yes. For me, this is a whole new opportunity for pain because you know sprinters hate to do the longer stuff. But if I can say hey, we are working on the hip driven stroke today. They kind of go oh, okay, we will work on the hip driven stroke with literally no going oh, we are going four 400’s you know. And they are going oh, what are we doing here? Have to go back to Mission Viejo. Hi Bill. But any way – it is a great – for me it has been a great opportunity. Now, I need to talk to a lot of people and Bart was really good at helping them to understand where the aerobic stuff works in a workout because my mind set for a lot of years had been you know, you don’t do aerobic yardage. You do your aerobic work outside the pool because you are screwing your swimmers up if you do aerobic yardage. Now, I have a whole different mindset. There is an opportunity in aerobic yardage for them to learn a new stroke and it is exciting to me because now I can act like Coach Daland. I can give ten 400’s and feel good about it, alright? But yeah, it is.

So the question is, do I teach the hip driven stroke for longer course? Yeah, of course, that is the stroke that they want to use. Anybody that swims a 200 and above needs to learn the hip driven stroke. That is the stroke of choice. It is most efficient and the fastest for the longer distances. You know, if I had not seen the Australian women swim, I would say that I had not seen a whole lot of shoulder driven stroke for swimming for women. But if you look at Libby Linton or any of the fast Australian girls, they are using the shoulder driven stroke. And they are using it much more than in the 100. I am actually surprised that they are able to hold it the whole 100, so I think, I don’t work with a lot of girls so I don’t know. I haven’t experimented in that realm yet, but I think that there is a good opportunity there for people to learn so I would teach them and see how it works. When I talk about Scott Greenwood, he was very tight shouldered and if I asked him to put his hands above his head, he would get them to about here, alright? And what I was showing you is that there is a difference in everybody’s body type. The way that you straighten your arm out, if you looked at the way you straighten your arm out, and the way it is and the way somebody else does it, it’is completely different, alright? They have more flexibility there or less flexibility and the different strokes enable people to use their strengths. The straight arm stroke uses, if someone is tight in the shoulders, the body connection works a lot better for them. If someone is real loose in the shoulders, they are able to use a shoulder driven stroke very well. So you have to kind of look at your athletes and look at what their flexibility is and play with the different strokes. And you will find that there are probably more than three strokes and you are going to, you know, you will mix and match in working with your athletes.

I guess I am finished. Thank you for your time.

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