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More on Tarzan, Plus a Coach’s Recollection

Effective freestyle that utilizes the mechanical advantage (law of levers etc) and the kinesiological principles (anatomy of muscular movement) and especially the first and second laws of motion dictates the hands should always be opposed to each other throughout the full arm cycle allowing for the most efficient application of muscular force, thus eliminating any stop and go movements that are created with an inefficient catch up stroke (the worst technique ever developed!)…Dara Torres has a very efficient freestyle.  Check it out. Rule of thumb – apply any of the ridiculous swim drills to walking, and you will get the idea!!

FasterSwimming Answer:

Remember to account for body position in your analysis… posture dictates execution and effectiveness, more than lever action.  Tarzan places added emphasis on full hip extension and a tight core that can transmit force.  Try swimming freestyle with your chin on your chest even if you have great oppositional arm force. Tarzan doesn’t replace efficient swimming but adds great cross training that develops core strength, shoulder and leg speed.

Another email about Tarzan, great story!

Hello Coach;

This is the first time I’ve seen your email letter and I got a kick out of the Tarzan article. I used the Tarzan drill a lot earlier in my career in the early 1970s.  I first saw it used by Don Gambril at Phillipps 66 Long Beach A.C. in 1969. Assistant Coaches were Ron Balatore and Flip Darr.

But here is one of my favorite memories of the Man, Tarzan. In 1967-68-69 (can’t remember which year) I was swimming in an East/West College meet at the Hall of Fame Pool. One evening there were some festivities at the pool and I was in the stands along with a few hundred other swimmers. In the late 60s all of those swimmers were baby boomers.  There was a featured sprint race between some of the best sprinters in the country and Johnny Weismuller. Tarzan still looked great and was in good shape.  But, none of us could quite figure out what was going to happen.  Weismuller was about 65 years old. He dove in, flew down the pool, beat everyone (and they were swimming fast), climbed out and gave the Tarzan yell.

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They had laid a rope on the bottom of the pool- at night it couldn’t be seen- and Tarzan picked up the rope on the dive.  There were about 5 guys on the other side of the fence at the Hall of Fame Pool.  As soon as they got the signal that Tarzan had the rope, they took off running.

The interesting thing to me and I didn’t quite comprehend this until years later, was the tremendous almost instant togetherness type of yelling that went through the crowd of male swimmers who were kids born between 1945-1950. I think there was sort of a group epiphany.  A lot of us had grown up watching Tarzan movies, being swimmers, and thinking we were unique or alone in all these little towns across the USA. Many of us dreamed of being Tarzan, swimming like Tarzan and loving the Tarzan movies and being swimmers.

Yours;

Marc

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