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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dolphining With Your Hands And Feet

Gerry Rodrigues, the founder and organizer of Tower 26 club who runs highly specific open water swimming workouts for triathletes in Santa Monica, California, was tested using the highly sophisticated SwiMetrics.

The test was specifically to understand his open water dolphining technique.

Gerry's onshore ocean starts have been equated with Michael Phelps' wall turns in the pool. Just as it is rare that Michael Phelps is beaten off the walls in a pool, Gerry was rarely beaten going into or coming out of the ocean in open water races.

Similar to the SwiMetrics velocity, force and acceleration measurements and tests that were utilized to analyze Michael Phelps' swimming techinques and turns in the pool, we used SwiMetrics to analyze Gerry's open water dolphining technique. In order to clearly see what he does in oceans and lakes, we tested Gerry in a shallow pool. Gerry's SwiMetrics velocity data was measured and analyzed and can be seen here and below.

Imagine that the pool shown in the video is the ocean floor or lake bottom in an open water race with an on-shore start and finish.

You can see how Gerry pushes off at a 45° angle and using a butterfly kick to maintain his momentum.

Planting his feet and pushing forcefully with his legs, Gerry peak velocity is about 2.3 meters per second. Also, very importantly, he pushes off the bottom with both hands which enables him to generate about 1.9 meters per second speed when he pushes off the bottom with his hands. He also keeps his chin down as he re-enters the water. His ability to maintain a high velocity throughout his dolphin is because he remains streamlined throughout his pushoff and re-entry back into the water - his arms are squeezed tightly to his head and his hands are overlapped...an example of an exemplary dolphining technique.

In the SwiMetrics video, the white line represents the instantaneous velocity measured 60 times per second. The intersection of the green line and the white line indicates the velocity (speed in meters per second) reached by Gerry at any specific moment. With such an analysis, we can understand what techniques are good and what needs to be improved upon with objective data.

Of course, this dolphining technique, appropriate for flat and calm conditions, can be modified when the ocean surf is large.

Copyright © 2010 by Open Water Source

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