1. #1

    Ledecky's Technique

    Just read an article that Ledecky had another spectacular, record shattering swim. As a former swimmer I'm fascinated because I think Ledecky may be winning because she's exploiting an inefficiency that everyone else in women's swimming is slow to recognize: that a stroke with a hitch in it (where you favor the side you tend to breathe on) is more effective that a traditional symmetrical stroke.

    Here's a video of the 2008 women's 800 meter olympic swim:


    Notice how most swimmers have a highly symmetrical technique.

    Here's a video of Ledecky in 2016:


    Her stroke definitely is not symmetrical, with a major hitch to support breathing.

    Now here's a video of the 1600 freestyle on the men's side from 2004:


    Almost every competitor has a major hitch in his stroke.

    To me this is interesting because I was a swimmer growing up, and I received a ton of instruction on how the best technique was to be perfectly symmetrical. This continues to be the prevalent theory to the present day. Growing up, coaches teach you to "breathe every 3" (where you alternate the side you breathe on) because it keeps you more symmetrical (but costing you 1/3 of your breaths!).

    This is very interesting to me because I think we tend to focus on what looks nice and assume that's what is efficient, and sometimes it can take a very long time for people to realize that the "ugly" stroke with a hitch is potentially faster. I think Ledecky's technique has two potential advantages: 1, by favoring the side she breathes on, she can take longer breaths because she over-rotates to that side, and 2, she doesn't have to spend as much energy rotating back to the other side on every stroke. The disadvantage is it's not as fluid so she might be losing momentum. But it seems to be working out for her.

    The weird part is, Ledecky's been dominating for years now, and it doesn't seem like her technique has really caught on yet with anyone else. I'd think that if someone was crushing your sport doing something differently, you'd think, "hmm, maybe I should try that."

    Anyway, random thoughts so I put it on mmo champ.
    Quote Originally Posted by lummiuster View Post
    This war was literally KingKong fighting vs giant dinosaur and some humans (UK, USA, CAN) shot a missile on the back of the dinosaur so that kingkong could beat him with the final punch while he was looking in the back. This is the best analogy...

  2. #2
    Stood in the Fire Brader's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    Doping. Anglo-Saxons control all those doping test institutions.

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