First 200 Breaststroke in 5 years: Please critique?

I "raced" (it was slow!) 200 Yard Breaststroke for the first time in five years, yesterday, even though breaststroke is my best stroke.  This distance in this particular stroke has always been the most physically demanding for me due to my arms always being out in front of my shoulders-- the only stroke where this is the case.  Between having past surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome (left side surgery; rehab without surgery on the right side) and having dysautonomia, the motion of the arms presents a physical challenge that I don't experience in butterfly, a more physically demanding stroke for most swimmers.

So, here's a video of my race.  My stroke count was high; 9, 11's, and 12-12-12.  I used to start off with 6 and max out at 10 for my last two 25's.  I also raced it about 20 seconds faster five years ago!  (On the other hand, it was a fast meet, yesterday.  I swam the 50 Br, 200 Fly, 200 Bk, and 200 IM before it-- all in less than 90 minutes.)

Care to critique?  Constructive criticism and suggestions welcomed, because I would like to keep challenging myself to successfully complete this race without tipping over physically with my autonomic nervous system!  Thanks!

  • I'll not talk about your pull as I think it is probably as good as you can physically do. I like your timing. Your underwaters are pretty good in terms of timing, actually maybe better than the last video. The actual turn is not smooth. You get to the wall and seem to hesitate an instant. Maybe you are grabbing the gutter instead of just pushing off with your left hand. Your kick is very narrow, which can be good for some, but you are not getting your feet turned out well to maximize the propulsive surface. You used to be able to turn them out more. Turning them out more maybe something you can do with stretching and concentration. If not I'd recommend having the knees slightly wider at the beginning of the kick On recovering your arms your hands are fairly low in your streamlined position. This may be a flexibility issue, but see if you can have the arms angled less down. Do you have much opportunity to work on starts? You hit relatively flat. I can't be sure if that is a one time issue or not. If you can practice starts work on a steeper entry or aim to enter closer to the block. Your body should go through one hole. As you got more tired you shortened your kick. You don't really want to touch your feet to your butt on the recovery in a race, but you should try in practice. I saw an interview with Adam Peaty where they said "you only seem to recover your feet half way, is that faster for you" and he replied "they have some ultraslow video of me and I am recovering them pretty high.

    Good job and keep swimming breaststroke

  • Thanks, King Frog!  I appreciate your feedback!  Regarding the turn, you are right; I notice the same thing.  I think I'm just not snapping my hips fast enough, so it's taking too long to get my legs up to the wall.  I need to work more on that.  I haven't been training much breaststroke over the last couple of years, so my turns have gotten slower, and what used to be a good kick has fallen apart a bit.  Somewhere along the line, I started kicking narrower, too, so I will work on circling my feet out more.  I have excellent flexibility throughout my body from doing yoga over the past seven years, so it's just a matter of execution.  The same with my arm recovery.  I just need to think more about keeping my arms up, because I have the flexibility to do it.

    As for starts, I train in a 5-foot deep pool with no blocks, so I am unable to practice starts.  My starts are quite inconsistent because of it!  In trying not to go too deep in order to have a good breakout on my first stroke, I went too shallow on both my breaststroke races.  Here's my 50 race:

    Thanks for giving me some guidance on what to work on for next time.  I will keep plugging away!

  • Your technique looks excellent! Much better than the fella in lane 3 Slight smile

    I think he just beat you on stroke rate / turnover. I don't know very much about dysautonomia, so it might prevent you from taking quicker strokes, but if you can get to the kick faster, I think you could drop some serious time and start lapping people! Your stroke looks really really good.

  • Thanks, Tyler!  Yeah, that's my buddy, Mark.  He's 58 and I'm 62.  Mark ended up with a DQ on that race.  Watching the video, I think it was a bad touch before one of his turns at the blocks end.  I don't think he touched both hands at the same time; it looks like one slipped(?).

    Anyway, I haven't been training much breaststroke, because of my dysautonomia issues as well as being obsessed with improving my 200 fly and 200 backstroke.  I used to have a better stroke, especially my kick.  This is the first time in a long time King Frog (Allen Stark) has commented on my kick needing improvement, so I need to sharpen my technique back up to snuff!

    Having said that, I appreciate your positive feedback, especially after the other thread screw-up on my part. Worried

  • I agree with your summation of 200 Br being much harder than expected. I only swam it once recently and was totally shot after finishing. I think you have a great Br. My opinion is that you could gain a lot by working on your turns. Watch some videos of great Br turns and emulate one aspect of the turn at a time. Then put it all together. Also seems to me that you aren't getting the thrust from your legs that you should be able to realize. As Allan indicated turning your feet out to catch and throw water back. Also, squeezing your legs. There's so much more strength and drive from your legs and they should be shooting you forward. Make them work harder for you.

    Congratulations for "keep on keeping on" with the 200 Br                   

  • Hey 'Z!  Nice to see you.  Thanks for your input!  Yeah, I used to have a good kick, but I will get it back.  One "problem" is my husband and I are doing a ton of international traveling, and there haven't been pools in a lot of the places we have been and will be going.  (Iceland, last summer, was one exception, thankfully!)  I put "problem" in quotes, because it's only a problem for my strokes and speed!  Otherwise, it's the only passion I prioritize over swimming...  I live to travel and swim!

    Thanks for the kick and turn suggestions.  I have a lot to work on!