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How Swimming is Related to Math
Transcript of How Swimming is Related to Math
By Henry Lucco
Main uses of Math
Conversions - Converting times from yards to meters
Training - Workouts, pace clock, and yardage
Results and Times - Figuring out who won
Stroke Technique - Angles for you arms and legs
History of Math and Swimming
Ever sense competitive swimming began, it has always used math. The first swim meet had times and results and the pools were the same distance and needed the same conversions . Also, the strokes were the same as they are today, and therefore, the angles of pushing off the wall and flipping for turns would stay the same.
However swimming and the math it uses has also changed over the years. My coach, Andrew, said that the biggest thing that has changed is the amount of yardage people do. Using math, people have been able to divise workouts that are shorter but more effective. For example, instead of doing an 8000 yd workout on slow sendoffs, people have fit faster sendoffs into a 4000 yd workout that is better for the swimmmer's training.
Every workout at every practice has been planned out. "To do this, coaches must use a lot of math. Workouts have a specific amount of yardage, and many intervals."(Hannula 127). Swimming is mostly interval training. These intervals require a pace clock. Pace clocks (except the fancy ones) require the swimmer to do basic math to make sure they leave at the right interval. These intervals must be a certain distance for a certain amount of time. For example:
4x100 @1:10 means four rounds of 100 yards (4 lengths of the pool) and each round will take 1 minute and 10 seconds until the next round starts.
My Coach said that he has certain components he likes to include in workouts, a 400 yd warm-up, a 1000 yd kick, etc. To make all these components fit into 1 hour and 45 minutes, calculations are required .
Results and Times
There are many people who swim at swim meets. Each of these people finishes their race and gets a time, which is the amount of time it took them to swim the event. At smaller meets it is not so hard to keep track of these times.
However, at large meets such as the Olympic trials, it can become very hard to keep track of those times. Math is used to help keep track. There is basic addition and subtraction and also tables to help with organization.
"FINA (Federation International De Natacion) has only approved 4 strokes to make meets easier" (Boudreau 4)
FINA has also said that the precision of measurement for race results will be hundredths of seconds. That means that there are fewer ties and more exciting races.
Even the technique of swimming uses math.
The angle that you push off the wall
How much you rotate when you do a flip turn
The fastest angle for diving off of the start blocks
"Mastering these techniques can make the difference between winning a race and losing a race." (Counsilman 417).
To master these, you must use math. My Coach listed angles that were ideal for swimming:
180 degrees for pushing off the wall
180 degrees of rotation for turns
Arms at 90 degrees for freestyle and butterfly
120 degrees for diving off the block
"You should be linear with and on top of the water" (Andrew Ngyuen)
In swimming, there are three different distances that pools can be:
Short Course Yards
Short Course Meters
Long Course Meters
Because there are three different distances, a person can swim the same event and have three different times, one for each type of pool. To gather results, officials must convert these times so that all three are the same. To convert these times we use alegbra.
Boudreau, Hélène. Swimming Science. New York: Crabtree Pub., 2009. Print.
Counsilman, James E. The Science of Swimming. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1968. Print.
Hannula, Dick, and Nort Thornton. The Swim Coaching Bible. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2012. Print.
Stott, Michael J. "Hypoxic Training (Got Oxygen?)." Swimming World 54.8 (2013): 34-36. Web.
Stott, Michael J. "The Pros and Cons of Hypoxic Training (Part 1)." Swimming World 54.7 (2013): 32-34. Web.
Swimming. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole, 1997. Print.
Professional interviewed: Andrew Ngyuen, Senior Coach, Bellevue Club Swim Team
Training: if the set is 8x25 (1 length) @ 35 seconds, then I would subtract 25 seconds from when I left, and that would be leaving time for the next 25. For example, if I left at the 10 second mark, then I would leave for the next 25 at the 55 second mark.
Results: a pentatholon is when you swim a 100 (4 lengths) of each stroke and a 200 (8 lengths) IM (a 50 of each stroke) . The winner of a pentathlon is the swimmer who has the shortest total time. If the swimmer swam 56 seconds for the fly, 53 seconds for the free, 1 minute 2 seconds for the back, 1 minute and 10 seconds for the breast, and 2 minutes 12 seconds for the IM. Then their overall time would be 373 seconds or 6 minutes and 13 seconds
Technique: when you do a flip turn, you are swimming into the wall, flipping over, and using the wall to get a boost into the next length. When you flip, you must rotate 180 degrees, not 110 because you would go down further into the water encountering more resistance. But it is importnat not to rotate 240 degrees , because then you would surface too soon.