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Motivation

In 2012, my children started swimming competitively. At the time, I knew little about swimming and nothing about competitive age group swimming. While observing their practices, I marveled at how fast some swimmers were, and how slow others were. I wondered why there was such an enormous difference in the speed of the swimmers, and whether a slow swimmer could make themselves into a fast swimmer, and if so, how.


I spend the subsequent years watching swimmers of all ages and abilities, in practices, meets and on youtube, pondering the physics and statistics of swimming, and trying to make sense of the apparently contradictory advice offered by various coaches. Is it better to press your fingers together when you pull or let the water slip through them? How hard and often should the swimmer kick? What is the benefit of a breakout stroke? How can a swimmer "catch" water? Are some birthdays better or worse? Are there any relative age effects in swimming? Why do some events in a swim meet finish ahead of their timeline while others don’t? How accurate are time conversions between 25 yard pools and 50 meter pools? What is the life cycle of a competitive swimmer? How can we best measure a swimmer’s present ability and future promise? What is the best swim team for your child? Why do some teams score so many more points than others at a swim meet?


The purpose of this site is to share my thoughts on these and other technical topics related to competitive swimming.