A Closer Look At Zane Grothe’s Freestyle

Courtesy of Gary Hall Sr., 10-time World Record Holder, 3-time Olympian, 1976 Olympic Games US Flagbearer and The Race Club co-founder.

Last month at the Winter Nationals, Zane Grothe broke two American records in the 500 and 1650 freestyle: 4:07.2 and 14:18.2. Not a bad weekend! As I watched the video of his swims several times, there were three things about his freestyle technique that he does exceptionally well and that really stand out to me.

  1. Zane buries the head under water after the breath.

I understand Zane majored in Aeronautical Engineering, which by definition makes him smart. At some point in his classes they must have taught him that submarines go much faster under water than on the surface. Zane has figured out that eliminating surface drag in his freestyle at the surge point is a good thing. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he has a low drag coefficient body shape to go along with getting underwater.

  1. Zane throws the hands hard to the water at the end of the freestyle recovery.

He does this not only with the right arm, coming off of the breath stroke to his right, but also with the non-breath sided left arm. Accelerating his hand hard to the water adds important kinetic energy to the strong pulling arm and kick behind, increasing his propulsion; what we at The Race Club call coupling energy. The fast hand to the water recovery also forces the body to rotate quickly at this pivotal point in the pulling motion, another important coupling motion.

  1. Zane sustains a strong 6 beat kick

The kicking speed is the baseline speed of a swimmer and Zane has a pretty high baseline speed. Those that can sustain the steady propulsive six beat kick are swimming in a river down stream. Those that cannot, are swimming in a lake. I’d rather be in the river going downstream.

It is not that Zane is the only swimmer using these three important techniques. It is just that he did them better than the other swimmers on that particular weekend. In fact, he regularly executes them all really well and as a result, swims exceptionally fast.

Yours in swimming,

Gary Sr.

Gary Hall, Sr., Technical Director and Head Coach of The Race Club (courtesy of TRC)

https://www.facebook.com/theraceclub    
http://instagram.com/theraceclub  
https://twitter.com/theraceclub  
https://www.linkedin.com/pub/gary-hall/9/908/671 [email protected]  
<http://[email protected]  
Www.theraceclub.com <http://Www.theraceclub.com

THE RACE CLUB

The Race Club, logoBecause Life is Worth Swimming, our mission is to promote swimming through sport, lifelong enjoyment, and good health benefits. Our objective is for each member of and each participant in The Race Club to improve his or her swimming performances, health, and self-esteem through our educational programs, services and creativity. We strive to help each member of The Race Club overcome challenges and reach his or her individual life goals.

The Race Club provides facilities, coaching, training, technical instruction, video, fitness and health programs for swimmers of all ages and abilities. Race Club swim camps are designed and tailored to satisfy each swimmer’s needs, whether one is trying to reach the Olympic Games or simply improve one’s fitness. Our programs are suitable for beginner swimmers, pleasure swimmers, fitness swimmers, USA swimming or YMCA swimmers, or triathletes; anyone who wants to improve swimming skills. All of our Race Club members share an enjoyment of being in the water and use swimming to stimulate a more active mind and body.

In This Story

12
Leave a Reply

5 Comment threads
7 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
10 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted
djalbertson

Great technical discussion. Thanks!

Steve Nolan

I understand Zane majored in Aeronautical Engineering, which by definition makes him smart.”

I cannot disagree with this more strongly.

Sincerely,

-A biomedical engineering major, and a moron.

Marty

I don’t think the author was offering an exhaustive list of majors with smart students.

sven

It’s ok buddy. At least you aren’t civil engineering. The more I talk to civil engineering students, the less safe I feel when I see a bridge or tall building.

12beatkick

Don’t worry pal I’m a med student and I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed either to say the least

Nah

We’ll see if it works when he’s next to Horton this summer, a guy who takes 10+ less strokes a lap than him

fatsmcgee

Different strokes for different folks. Laure Manaudou was the best of the best at 400 with a high turnover. Less common for men, but Ryan Cochrane and David Davies were quite good as well. My gut feeling is that it’s possible to win gold / go 14:29 in the 1500 with high turnover, could be wrong though.

gary hall sr

I agree. Sun Yang and Gregorio Paltrinieri each won the 1500 meter Olympic final with very different techniques. The former a hip driven 60 stroke rate and the latter a 96 SR hybrid. Different strokes for different folks. Zane is around 86 SR.

Don't want to miss anything?

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive our latest updates!