Monday, December 15, 2008

Times Online: "Strokes of genius that changed the world for Rebecca Adlington"

The Times Online has a great overview regarding Rebecca Adlington's training for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Shades of Michael Phelps here: Technology and a plan allowed Adlington to reverse split in the 400-meter free earning herself a solid gold medal in Beijing by 700-of-a-second:

"...To swim faster, most swimmers increase the stroke rate, but with the aquapacer, Miley took Adlington through a session where they slowed her stroke rate down and found she was able to maintain the same high speed. In other words, the length of her stroke was her asset. “Rebecca is one of the rare swimmers where this is the case,” Miley said. “She was moving with such efficiency, it may have felt like she was swimming downhill....”

Adlington also worked on the finer points of her swim such as her turns. I like the innovative way they addressed filming them:

"... Once back in the pool, Adlington was able to fine-tune the weaker part of her game: her tumble turn. This involved linking up again with Jodi Cossor, the biomechanist at British Swimming, who, over the course of the previous year, had worked with her in the pool at Loughborough, videoing her turns from above and below. ..."

Then there was her finish, the one side-by-side with Katie Hoff. The one where I quoted Clay Evans angrily saying this about Katie Hoff: "it looked like she didn't want to break a nail. ..."

"... The finish itself was programmed into Adlington, too. “Rebecca knows exactly how many strokes per length so she is coached to finish at the end of a stroke,” Furniss said. “It's been drilled into her. And that is what she did.”

Hoff, however, finished with her arm not straight, her wrist cocked and her hand flat. No one can be sure how much time that final error cost her but for that last five metres took Adlington 2.69sec, Hoff 2.89. ..."

The photo comes from RobH3's photostream at

Here is a direct link to the photo: [Link]

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