Swimming efficiency: finding my stroke rate

My work in the pool continues with trying to find the correct balance between stroke rate and stroke length, to move me through the water as efficiently as possible at a sustainable effort

…the chart summarizes the Total Immersion goals for the number of strokes per 25 yards based on height…at 5’8″ I should ideally be at 15-18…although I suspect that’s based on a leaner, more tiny perfect 5’8″, rather than my bulkier, fullback version

Two weeks ago as Coach Dinah Mistilis and I were looking at the numbers, it appeared that a stroke rate of 1.28 (one stroke every 1.28 seconds) was a sustainable level over 100 yards, with 20-22 strokes per 25 yards…I _can_ go lower into the 15 to 18 stroke range, but that’s not really swimming for me…more like a gliding stretch, and _very_ slow.

Since then I’ve been experimenting with different stroke rates down to 1.1, and finding that I can sustain that rate at 25 yards in the 20-22 range, but it goes up to 24 strokes in the 2nd 25 of a 50 yard interval…so too fast, at least at this point.

…a 1.15 rate (one stroke every 1.15 seconds) gets me through 50 yards now at a 20-21 stroke count, so that’s good…although it requires a _lot_ of focus to keep the stroke count under 22 at that rate

At a stroke rate of 1.3, I feel relaxed, and usually around 20 strokes per 25 yards, but that’s pretty slow swimming, and I don’t feel as tight, or as balanced, or as streamlined in the water as the faster stroke rates…but it is sustainable over longer distances…although my stroke count still tends to go up over time

…sooo, I’m seeing that in all likelihood, I’ll probably need to find my speed with a faster stroke rate…maybe somewhere in the 1.15 – 1.2 range, with a stroke count that tends to edge up to 22 per 25 yards, than someone that may be sleeker in the water, and can more easily find a 15-18 stroke count per 25 yards.

…oh a 1.2 stroke rate, at 22 strokes per 25 yards, without turns and walls…is 26’ish seconds per 25 yards, so a pace of 1:53/100M or 1:12:44 for the Ironman 2.4 mile swim

So in the short term, I _really_ need to find that stroke rate that I can sustain for at least 100M at a stroke count under 22 per 25 yards…so that I can get on with at least doing 100M intervals…and longer…to build up my ability to maintain that efficiency combination for over an hour and a half in open water.

…or closer to 1:15:00 if I actually get it figured out 🙂

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