Lotte Friis, one of Denmark’s best ever swimmers, has announced that she will retire from competitive swimming effective immediately.
Friis, 29, has been an integral part of the recent successes of the Danish swimming team, winning a host of medals at World and European Championships in the 400m, 800m and 1,500m free style. She holds Nordic records in all three events.
Friis also won a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, but had been struggling in recent years, with her last medal at a major championship coming in 2013.
A good measure of stroke effectiveness is the distance a swimmer travels during each pull cycle. Known as distance per stroke, this statistic is an important factor in your racing speed. If two swimmers have the same stroke rate (cadence), the swimmer who has the best DPS will swim faster.
Body geometry (height, wingspan, hand size, etc.)
Elements that affect DPS include the following:
- Body geometry (height, wingspan, hand size, etc.)
- Drag profile (the amount of body surface pushing against the water)
- Amount of propulsive force applied
- Duration of propulsive force application
Here’s how you can improve in all four of these areas.
Gymnastics vs. Genetics
You can’t do much about your height or the size of your limbs so improving body geometry is mainly accomplished by increasing flexibility. Additional range of motion allows for a longer stroke that uses less energy. Working with a personal trainer can help, as can yoga and TRX classes. But the easiest thing Masters swimmers can do to avoid losing flexibility as we age is to get out of our chairs and move around during the day.
Diminish the Drag
Think about how fast you can go on ice skates. To generate that speed, you use only a fraction of the muscles you apply to swimming yet attain vastly greater velocity. Propelling yourself through water requires you to overcome far more friction than what you encounter on ice and in air. Therefore, reducing your drag profile has an enormous impact on your ability to achieve good DPS.
Lower drag comes from streamlining, holding good posture, and breathing correctly.
Pick up the Power
Once you’ve minimized your drag profile, it’s time to increase the force you apply to your stroke. It’s not simply about being strong. It’s about developing a feel for the water that ensures your strength generates pressure that propels you forward. You should be able to identify which muscles are exerting the effort that causes your propulsion. If you succeed in getting a good grip and the water and accelerating throughout the stroke, you should hear your muscles yelling, “Hey, I’m feeling this!”
Continue the Contact
To increase distance per stroke, it’s obvious that each pull should cover the maximum effective distance. But it’s important to learn the dimensions of effective pull distance, because it’s possible to move your hand through long underwater arcs that do nothing to provide propulsion or even slow you down. Recent research indicates that a fairly straight pull is most effective (as opposed to the “S” pull that many of us were taught in our youth). Lateral hand motions in freestyle and backstroke tend to create sideways forces that take us out of alignment and should therefore be avoided.
Other considerations for stroke duration include the following:
- Flutter or dolphin kicks should stay in line with the body’s drag profile. A large-amplitude kick creates drag that offsets propulsion.
- Breaststroke requires a short, quick armstroke and a kick that keeps the knees from going wider than the feet. If you kick too wide or pull back too far, the extra resistance negates any thrust those motions may generate.
- Butterfly rhythm is critical. For some people, an elongated pull destroys that rhythm so a slightly shorter stroke could be more efficient.
Implementing the Idea
The standard method for measuring DPS is to count strokes for one length of the pool. Such single-length DPS drills provide an excellent opportunity to focus on streamline, breathing smoothness, and power production and should be performed regularly to ensure that we continually strive to improve our form.
But don’t stop there. A one-length swim at a moderate effort is a far different experience than trying to hold your DPS during a race. Therefore, it’s important to regularly swim sets where you continue to count strokes over a longer distance.
In golf, the lowest score wins. A great way to test our DPS abilities is known as swim golf, or swolf. The idea is to add together the time and the stroke count for a swim, trying to find the sweet spot where we’re best able to hold an efficient form at a high speed. For example:
- If you swim a 50 freestyle in 30 strokes and it takes 38 seconds, your swolf score would be 30 + 38 = 68. If you swam it again in 28 strokes, but it took 42 seconds, you’d have a higher (less desirable) swolf score of 70.
The idea of swolf is to teach us how to get good distance per stroke while working hard. If we only count our strokes when we’re doing easy 25s, we tend to achieve misleadingly low counts by gliding more or almost doing a catch-up stroke. But gliding between strokes is not propulsive, so we also need to count when we’re cranking. Find your swolf sweet spot in all four strokes.
We also learn a lot by counting strokes during longer sets. For example:
- Swim 8 x 100s on a consistent sendoff that would normally give you about 20 seconds of rest. But instead of focusing on how fast you can go, focus on keeping the stroke count low. You likely won’t get quite enough rest to maintain the same count throughout the set, which provides an opportunity to identify your breakdown mechanisms. Are you coming out of your streamlines earlier off the wall? Is your pull getting shorter as you get tired? Is your core getting loose and sloppy, leading to a wider drag profile? And the critical question: What are you going to do to eliminate these breakdowns?
Remember that distance per stroke is not the goal—because a long stroke doesn’t help if you can’t turn it over quickly. But if you can hold a great DPS at a high stroke cadence, you’ll consistently have blazing speed.
The following United States Olympic Committee statement regarding the passing of USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus is attributable to USOC CEO Scott Blackmun:
“Chuck Wielgus was an impactful and respected leader in the U.S. Olympic Movement. During his tenure at USA Swimming, American swimmers enjoyed more success and more support than ever before. He had a passion for his work and cared deeply about sport. Chuck fought a long and hard battle with amazing grace and optimism, and will be missed.”
British Swimming has announced a 29-strong team for this summer’s World Championships in Budapest.
Olympic 100 metres breaststroke champion Adam Peaty features after gaining a spot automatically by winning his event in a qualification-standard time at the British Championships in Sheffield last week.
That was also achieved by Max Litchfield, Duncan Scott, Ben Proud and Jocelyn Ulyett.
Adam Peaty is included in a 29-strong British Swimming team for the World Championships
Peaty will defend his 100m and 50m breaststroke world titles at the Budapest competition in July.
His and Scott’s fellow Olympic medallists Siobhan-Marie O’Connor, Chris Walker-Hebborn, James Guy – the reigning world 200m freestyle champion – and Stephen Milne are also included in the team after registering ‘consideration’ times last week.
Jazz Carlin, who claimed Olympic silvers in the 400m and 800m freestyle in Rio last summer, failed to make the consideration bracket with her times last week but won the longer event and has been included on a discretionary basis.
British Swimming head coach Bill Furniss said: ‘It (the British Championships) was a tough week but we saw some very good performances as both athletes and coaches rose to the challenge.
‘I think it was a typical first selection competition following an Olympic Games. Some of our athletes that were successful in Rio, and had an extended break afterwards, did well yet others did not fire on all cylinders. This is to be expected.
‘However, we’ve got all of our top swimmers there along with an exciting group of juniors that came through and showed themselves and their potential to achieve within the international arena.
‘It’s a good balance between youth and senior, and will create a positive and productive dynamic within the squad
BRITISH TEAM FOR 2017 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Adam Peaty, Jocelyn Ulyett, Max Litchfield, Duncan Scott, Ben Proud, Hannah Miley, Chris Walker-Hebborn, James Guy, Calum Jarvis, Nick Grainger, Ross Murdoch, Molly Renshaw, Daniel Jervis, Charlotte Atkinson, Georgia Davies, Sarah Vasey, Alys Thomas, Freya Anderson, Stephen Milne, James Wilby, Aimee Wilmot, Holly Hibbott, Siobhan-Marie O’Connor, Jazz Carlin, Abbie Wood, Rosie Rudin, Mark Szaranek, Luke Greenbank, Kathleen Dawson
Synchronized swimming is often described as aquatic ballet; some call it weird and wacky; but it is also really hard. Just ask Northlands Girls’ High School Grade 11 learner, Sonal Reddi. The 17-year-old recently competed in the South African Nationals Synchronised Swimming Championships earlier this month. She went home with a silver medal in the solo and figure events (U18) and a gold medal in the duet event.
“I was extremely proud of my results. I had a goal in mind to finish top in my individual routine, but I’m pleased with the silver. My partner, Julia Torino, was amazing in the duet event and we were both so excited to win gold. Of course my goal is to make the South African team which is travelling to Hungary for the world champs later this year but we just have to wait and see. This year I’ve worked very hard on my routines and trying to be as competitive as I can be. I think the misconception is that it is an easy sport but it’s really not,” she said.
Sonal added her sister, a former South African synchronised swimmer had been a guiding force for her through the competition.
“She was so excited for me. She was someone I looked up to when I entered the sport and she’s always been by my side just encouraging me. Without my parents and my sister I don’t think I would be where I am today. You really have to be dedicated and give a lot of time to the sport and they have always given up their time to make sure I’m able to chase my dream,” she said.
Sports Agency Japan will attempt to dig up hidden talent for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics/Paralympics and beyond through a new national program called “Japan Rising Star Project,” it announced Tuesday.
The project is part of the agency’s athlete development and support plans that it hammered out last fall, dubbed “the Suzuki Plan” after its commissioner, Daichi Suzuki.
The Japan Sports Association, which oversees the country’s sports governing bodies, has been entrusted by the Japan Sports Council to operate the project, cooperating with the Japan Olympic Committee, Japanese Para-Sports Association and Japanese Paralympic Committee.
Japan set new medal-count records at both the last two Summer Olympics. But sporting chiefs are concerned that the most of those medals were won in particular sports, such as swimming, wrestling and judo, and would like to develop globally competitive athletes in other sports as well.
Seven Olympic sports and five Paralympic sports that do not require participants to take them up from extremely young ages have been selected for the project.
For Olympic sports, diving, rowing, weightlifting, handball, rugby sevens (women), cycling and softball have been chosen. For Paralympic sports, boccia, swimming, powerlifting, wheelchair fencing and cycling have been selected.
Junior high and high school students will be the focus for Olympics sports, while anyone from junior high school students to people up to the age of 39 will be able to apply for the Paralympic sports program.
“We think that this is a very important project,” Suzuki said at a news conference in Tokyo. “This project is intended to find talent for the 2020 Olympics and beyond.”
By the end of May, the program will choose nine and five sites across the nation for the Olympics and Paralympics, respectively, to host physical tests. It will then conduct those tests between July and September.
Those who qualify will advance to the next round, which will be conducted in training camps held over a one-year period starting from November. The participants, the number of whom will be narrowed down to around 40 for Olympic sports and 30 for Paralympic sports, will be put through global-standard training, potentially from world-class coaches.
One to three people will be selected for each sport, and they will be added to developmental programs run by each sport’s governing body.
Suzuki, the swimming gold medalist in the men’s 100-meter backstroke at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, who became the agency’s inaugural head in 2015, said some governing bodies and organizations had run similar talent-mining programs before, but that now with the formation of the agency, it is “important to do it all together,” with the support from the national sporting federations.
When he outlined the project last year, Suzuki said he would welcome players from high school baseball — a sport considered to have a deep talent pool — to switch sports.
On Tuesday, Suzuki again referred to Japanese high school baseball as “a treasure trove.”
Japan Sports Association executive managing director Masafumi Izumi said that the project would be held until the 2020 Olympics, with the content revised every year.
Japan will aim for at least three gold medals at the July 23-30 world swimming championships in Budapest, head coach Norimasa Hirai said recently.
As the Japan Swimming Federation announced its team for the worlds a night after the national championships concluded in Nagoya, Hirai said he wants to see Japan win more than the two golds it won at last year’s Rio Olympics, by Kosuke Hagino and Rie Kaneto.
Ryosuke Irie in the backstroke is the oldest at 27 among the 17 who qualified for the individual events through the nationals. Sixteen-year-old Rikako Ikee, who became the first woman to win five races at the nationals, is the youngest.
“At the national championships, three records were set in four days,” Hirai said. “I thought we could have done better than three records to be honest, but there were some performances that give me hope for the summer.
“We won two gold medals in Rio so I hope we can top that at the worlds. We’ll need the entire team to work together to achieve this.”
Hirai said the most impressive race for him was the men’s 200-meter breaststroke on the final day of the four-day meet, where Yasuhiro Koseki edged world record-holder Ippei Watanabe in 2 minutes, 7.18 seconds.
Koseki’s time was faster than the 2:07.46 Dmitriy Balandin posted to win the gold in Rio.
“The race that caught my eye was the last race of the meet between Koseki and Watanabe,” Hirai said. “Koseki’s time would have been good enough for gold in Rio. If he continues to race like that at the world championship, he can win there for sure.”
Koseki may have figured something out, saying he thinks he has a shot at breaking Watanabe’s 2:06.67 set earlier this year.
“To be honest, I kind of thought Ippei might get to the world record first,” Koseki said. “When he set the Olympic record in the semifinals in Rio, I thought then that he might do it this year — and he did.
“Yesterday, I swam a fast 2:07 so if I change my race plans a little bit, I think I can do 2:06.”
Also among those headed to Budapest: two-time defending men’s 400 individual medley champion Daiya Seto and Rio 200 butterfly silver medalist Masato Sakai; new women’s 400 IM record-holder Yui Ohashi and Satomi Suzuki, who won a silver and two bronze in the breakstroke and 4×100 medley relay.
Hagino won four of five in Nagoya, even though the meet was only his second competition after coming back from the elbow surgery he had following Rio. Hagino, for starters, wants to make sure he stays fit all the way to Budapest.
Ahead of the last worlds two years ago in Kazan, Russia, Hagino broke his elbow in a bicycle accident, forcing him to miss the meet.
“I couldn’t take part at the last worlds, so this time I just want to be sure I don’t get hurt before then,” said Hagino, who is in the 200 and 400 individual medleys plus the 200 backstroke at Budapest. “All the races will be tough, but I think I have to win all of them.
“I’ve never won at the world championships so I want to do it, no matter what. To me, the Olympics is the Olympics and the worlds is the worlds. But if you have a good world championships, you can build on it toward the Olympics.
“I’m really looking forward to it.”
Ikee is entered in a team-high five races — the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle and the 50 and 100 butterfly — and could also enter in the relays. The federation will decide the relay team at a later date.
“I need to focus on staying fit,” Ikee said. “In Rio last year, the only race I did well in was the 100 fly. This summer I want to reach the final in all five events and hopefully win one of them — especially in the 100 fly.”
Men: Katsumi Nakamura, Shinri Shioura, Ryosuke Irie, Kosuke Hagino, Yasuhiro Koseki, Ippei Watanabe, Masato Sakai, Daiya Seto
Women: Rikako Ikee, Chihiro Igarashi, Reona Aoki, Satomi Suzuki, Suzuka Hasegawa, Hiroko Makino, Yui Ohashi, Runa Imai, Sakiko Shimizu
Japan, the more experienced team, blew a chance to grab an opening win by being two goals up in the third period only to lose by two. Japan lost in Rio last year as well and tonight’s performance proved it could easily be the form team in the Gold Coast. However, three goals down in the third, Japan levelled the match at 5-5 by halftime, went 8-6 up and then let USA in with two, including a screamer from Olympian Alex Roelse on the buzzer to close the period and have the match at 8-8. Japan was shut out in the fourth, but not before some excellent scoring opportunities being blocked. The desperation showed in that final period, but USA’s desire for victory was keener.
Match 2, 16:50, JAPAN 8 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 10
Quarters: 2-4, 3-1, 3-3, 0-2
Referees: Dragan Stampalija (CRO), Vojin Putnikovic (SRB)
Penalties: JPN: 1/2. USA: 1/1.
Extra Man: JPN: 2/7. USA: 2/7.
JAPAN: Katsuyuki Tanamura, Seiya Adachi (2), Shuma Kawamoto, Mitsuaki Shiga (3), Takuma Yoshida (1), Atsuto Jida, Yusuke Shimizu, Mitsura Takata, Atsushi Arai (1), Kohei Inaba, Keigo Okawa (1), Kenta Araki, Tomoyoshi Fukushima. Head Coach: Yogi Omato.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Alexander Wolf, Nolan McConnell, Hannes Daube, Alexander Obert (3), Matthew De Trane, Johnathan Hooper (4), Maxwell Irving (1), Nicholas Carniglic, Jacob Ehrhardt, Ashworth Malthen (1), Alex Roelse (1), Marko Vavic, Zackery Rhodes. Head Coach: Dejan Udovicic.
Japan, the more experienced team, blew a chance to grab an opening win by being two goals up in the third period only to lose by two. Japan lost in Rio last year as well and tonight’s performance proved it could easily be the form team in the Gold Coast. However, three goals down in the third, Japan levelled the match at 5-5 by halftime, went 8-6 up and then let USA in with two, including a screamer from Olympian Alex Roelse on the buzzer to close the period and have the match at 8-8. Japan was shut out in the fourth, but not before some excellent scoring opportunities being blocked. The desperation showed in that final period, but USA’s desire for victory was keener. Japan has the most Olympians here, but even captain Yusuke Shimizu, playing his heart out, including a last-gasp two-metre shot, could not breach the USA defence. It was there for Japan. However, some silly passes, a blocked penalty shot attempt at 5:36 in the last and some extra-man chances lost, gave the match to USA. With so many new faces in the USA line-up, the result must have rightfully pleased head coach Dejan Udovicic.
Dejan Udovicic (USA) — Head Coach
“It was a tough game for us, we came in with a totally new team, a young team. I need to be pleased with that result. We took control early in the game, but after we led 5-2 we lost a little patience or threat to control the game. But we had a successful recovery, especially in the last quarter. For us the crucial point is to qualify (for the World League Super Final). But we are going to try and win every game. We have that state of mind, especially with the young guys, that we want to win.”
Alexander Obert (USA) — Captain
“We’ve got a lot of young guys out here so it’s kind of a learning experience for me, learning experience for them and it was a lot of fun, a good team win. They (Japan) have seven of their Olympians from Rio, we were ready for them. A lot of the young guys watched some game film on them, learnt how their style of play is different from normal water polo — it was a good learning experience for everyone. Just keep doing what we were doing. We knew if we kept to our systems, played counter defence we’d end up winning in the end.”
Yoji Omoto (JPN) — Head Coach
“After we led by two we did not change our play, but we missed the penalty goal and some six on fives. We didn’t go well any more. We are not so big physically so we had to attack strongly, but we couldn’t score, missing shots. It was like the Olympics last year when we lost by four (to the USA). The best thing was coming back from 4-1 down in the first period to lead 8-6.”
Yusuke Shimizu (JPN) — Captain
“That was not good. I was not happy. In the third period we attacked well and took the lead by two. Then at a point we made some easy mistakes. We lost the 8-6 lead because of our defensive mistakes. We need to correct these.”
Match 1. 15.30, AUSTRALIA 18 NEW ZEALAND 3
Quarters: 4-1, 3-0, 4-1, 7-1
Referees: Haziel Ortega (USA), Yosuke Kajiwara (JPN)
Penalties: AUS: 2/2.
Extra Man: AUS: 4/7. NZL: 2/5
AUSTRALIA: Ed Slade, Luke Pavillard (2), Tim Putt (1), Joe Kayes (2), Nathan Power (2), Andrew Ford (3), Jarrod Gilchrist (4), Rhys Holden (1), James Fannon (1), Lachlan Hollis (1), Nicholas Brooks, Anthony Hrysanthos. Head Coach: Elvis Fatovic.
NEW ZEALAND: Sid Dymond, Matthew Lewis (1), Matthew Morris, Ryan Pike (1), Callum Maxwell, Matthew Small, Anton Sunde, Liam Paterson, Sean Bryant, Matthew Bryant, Jerome McGuinness, Sean Newcombe (1), Bae Fountain. Head Coach: Goran Sablic.
The Aussie Sharks prevailed with a seemingly easy scoreline, which belied the hard work New Zealand put in until the end. Australia was all power and finished off strongly, something New Zealand struggled with, especially in the second period. Head Coach Elvis Fatovic used his entire team and all bar one field player scored. The quarter scores tell the story — especially the last — of the extra abilities of the Aussies, especially after a tough National League season and the late naming of the team the day before. There were five debutantes, who all performed well. Top of the tree for the Sharks was Rio Olympian Jarrod Gilchrist with four goals while fellow Olympian Joe Kayes, captaining the team for the first time, scored twice and earned ejections. In a strange twist, New Zealand had four Matthews in the six-man attack at the one time, probably a rarity in world sport. One, Matthew Morris, has just turned 17 and was not afraid to shoot. Goalkeeper Bae Fountain (16) was in excellent form with several fine saves in his stint in the water. One of the best goals of the match came from Sean Newcombe, who hustled and spun for 14-3 to score from the top.
Russell McKinnon, FINA Media Committee Member
The U.S and China shared the gold medals at stake in the second leg of the FINA Synchronised Swimming World Series, held in Taiyuan (CHN), from April 22-24, 2017.
In the team events, China grabbed the gold medals with 91.6333 points in the free, and 89.4537 in the technical respectively.
USA’s Anita Alvarez earned victory in the solo technical routine on Day 2 with 76.9270, while Malaysia’s Gan Hua Wei took silver in 72.4391.
Alvarez together with teammate Victoria Woroniecki ranked second in the Duet Free & Technical routines behind the Chinese aces Li Xiaolu / Sun Wenyan who topped both events.
China’s mixed duet Sheng Shuwen / Shi Haoyu was the strongest in the free routine with 73.3667.
The third leg of the 2017 FINA Synchronised Swimming World Series will take place in Tokyo, Japan, on April 28-30.
Medallists in Taiyuan*
Solo Technical: 1. Anita Alvarez (USA) 76.9270; 2. Gan Hua Wei (MAS) 72.4391
Solo Free: 1. Lee Yhing Huey (MAS) 74.5333
Duet Technical: 1. Li Xiaolu / Sun Wenyan (CHN) 89.7401; 2. Anita Alvarez / Victoria Woroniecki (USA) 76.21463; 3. Gan Hua Wei / Lee Yhing Huey (MAS) 71.4805
Duet Free: 1. Li Xiaolu / Sun Wenyan (CHN) 91.8000; 2. Anita Alvarez / Victoria Woroniecki (USA) 79.9667; 3. Gan Hua Wei / Lee Yhing Huey (MAS) 74.9333
Duet Free Mixed: 1. Sheng Shuwen / Shi Haoyu (CHN) 73.3667
Team Free: 1. China 91.6333;
Team Technical: 1. China 89.4537
*Please note that the only two international teams present in Taiyuan were Malaysia and USA
Calendar of the 2017 FINA Synchronised Swimming World Series:
1. Paris (FRA) – March 10-12
2. Taiyuan (CHN) – April 22-24
3. Tokyo (JPN) – April 28-30
4. Toronto (CAN) – May 2-7
5. Las Palmas (ESP) – May 25-28
6. Long Island (USA) – June 22-24
7. Tashkent (UZB) – September 21-24
FINA Communication Department