The NAVY SWAMP DOG NEWS – 30 November 2008


Keith vs. John at the Nanaimo Meet - Saturday, 29 November 2008


Keith John Steve Shannon


:40.10 :40.10 :44.10 :44.10 :44.30 :44.30 :41.70 :41.70


1:26.00 :45.90 1:33.70 :49.60 1:34.20 :49.90 1:30.60 :48.90


2:19.30 :53.30 2:25.74 :52.04 2:24.90 :50.70 2:22.50 :51.80


3:17.83 :58.53 3:19.42 :53.03 3:10.77 :45.87 3:16.86 :54.36


Filed by ace reporter 'Old Sea Dog' Swampbottom (Swampy)


Start of the 200 Fly

Well folks, we gathered in Nanaimo for the long-awaited battle between the part-time Navy Coach (Keith Kendal) and our man John McManus (called Old Man by Kendal).  This rematch has been almost seven months in the making.  On Saturday, they only raced the 200 Fly head-to-head.  Also in the race was an even 'older' man - pushing 60 years old, Steve Wallace as well as young Shannon Davis who are both from Victoria Masters.

Let us recap where we left off in the spring of 2008 after the BC provincials.


After the first 50

The last recorded battle was in Kamloops where Kendal swam the 800m, and left Old Man to swim his 1500 free all alone.  Old Man did a fairly good 20:36 with a 10:57.31 split at the 800.  Kendal beat off his 'Bubonic Plague' and sprinted that last portion of his 800 to claim victory at 10:57.29!


Before reading the interviews, it is necessary for our readers to watch the race video.  The video credit for this filming goes to Tracy Lowe of Victoria Masters.  All the files are .wmv and will run using Windows Media Player or other video applications.  The still photo. jpg shots were taken by Claudia.


First 50 Second 50 Third 50 Final 50
Low Res (2.1 Mgs) Low Res (2.5 Mgs) Low Res (2.5 Mgs) Low Res (2.5 Mgs)
Med Res (8.9 Mgs) Med Res (10 Mgs) Med Res (10 Mgs) Med Res (9.2 Mgs)
High Res (36.3 Mgs) High Res (40 Mgs) High Res (40 Mgs) High Res (44 Mgs)
Full Race - Low Res (14.4 Mgs)


Well let’s talk to our combatants. First, we are going to interview the Old Man. Next, we will interview Kendal.


Old Man, about that 200 Fly…Can you give us the background behind this race?




OM Yes Swampy, it is a race that almost never happened.  First, a little history.  Kendal and I have never raced a fly race in any of our heat-to-head challenges.   That is because he is a good butterfly swimmer and I never learned how to swim the stroke as a kid.  I have usually avoided fly events, and the only time that we have raced fly is during our IM races.  He always gets way ahead, and I spent the rest of the race trying to catch him. 


Last year at the 2007 Nanaimo meet, I signed up for the 200 Fly.  That was because Kendal and I got hung up at the border on the way to the 2007 Oak Harbor Pentathlon meet and I missed my 200 Fly - the only time I swim it each year.  Well, Steve Wallace also signed up for the 200 Fly in Nanaimo, and we were the only competitors.  I had never seen him swim the 200 Fly, and he assured me before the race, based on our entry times of 3:15 and 3:25, that I would beat him by 10 seconds.  He stayed behind me for the first 150m, and then he really turned it on - passing me on the final 50.  If you watched the video of  this years race, you will see exactly how he swims this race. 


Steve and I agreed to race it again in 2008, but that agreement was almost a year ago and I did not even know if he had signed up for the meet this year.  Unknown to me, Keith had offered to "pace" Steve for the first 100 metres because Steve was aiming to break the Provincial Record for his age group. Keith told Steve that he would swim the 200 metres in less than 3 minutes!  About one month before the entries were due for Nanaimo, Kendal challenged me to also race this 200 Fly one day at practice.  I agreed and submitted my entry form to my NavyMasters coach, Tony. Kendal must have had 2nd thoughts, and he submitted his entry form to his Vic Masters coach, Danielle - with no 200 Fly!




Apparently, Steve heard about this.  Steve was quoted as saying "You can imagine my shock and dismay when I heard that KK was not even entered in the 200 Fly". He demanded that Kendal keep his word, and told him to race the event.  All this was news to me, but when I saw the heat sheets on Saturday morning, there were 3 Vic Masters swimmers entered along with me - and Kendal was one of them.


Old Man, tell us what happened to you during this race?


OM Well Swampy, the gun went off and I executed a long dive with a few dolphin kicks to minimize the number of arm strokes I required during the first length.  When I was out in Winnipeg swimming with MMAC at Pan Am Pool 3 days before this race, Ben and Paul challenged me to a 200 Fly after practice.  While I insisted that we all do a dive start, the boys said "No" - "We will do a push off the wall".  That made for a long 1st length in a 200 Fly race.  So, I knew to make the most of the starting block and dive.  My race plan called for 1:30/1:45 splits for a 3:15.  As expected at the 100, Steve was just slightly behind me and Kendal was way out ahead with Shannon about half way between Kendal and the 2 old guys.  At the bulkhead (125m), I noticed that Kendal hung on for a few seconds and it looked to me like he was trying to get some air into his lungs.  At the 150, Steve and I were still right together, and I noticed that the gap between Shannon and us was unchanged since the first 50.  Looking at the splits that Danielle took, I see that Steve and I were 3 seconds behind her at 50, 100 & 150.  I also noticed that the gap between Kendal and us was reducing. 


In the final 50, Steve increased his stroke rate and started to get away from me.  He passed everybody in the field to win the race.  On the way to the 175m bulkhead, I could see that I was gaining on both Kendal and Shannon. At that bulkhead, Kendal was hanging on and looked to be in pain.  He pushed off a few seconds ahead of me, but I was gaining on every stroke.  As we went under the false start rope, I could see that his kick had almost stopped.  Under the backstroke flags, I realized that I would need about 5 more metres if I was going to be able to catch him!  He touched, and I had to take an extra stroke to get to the wall, so I ended up losing by 1.59 secs.


Hey, Kendal, get over here and tell our sports fans about this 200 Fly


KK  The 2 old men swam what I call the "TORPEDO" style of butterfly.  Since Shannon and I swim the more traditional butterfly stroke that relies totalling on conditioning to maintain form and speed, there isn't much we can do with out training more fly, or in my case... doing some fly!!! Or I could demand a rematch and swim the "TORPEDOFLY" as opposed to the "BUTTERFLY"


Swampy, you know that I was trained as an engineer, so a race like this needs to be analyzed by going back to first principles. The first thing we need to do in data analysis is to count the number of Strokes Per Length (SPL).  By watching the video, I have counted each swimmer's strokes::


  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total
John 8 9 10 10 11 11 13 13 85
Keith 9 12 13 15 15 16 16 17 113
Steve 5 6 7 8 9 9 9 10 63
Shannon 9 11 12 13 14 14 15 16 104


From that information and knowing that the pool is 25m long, we can calculate the Distance Per Stroke (DPS):


  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Avg
John    3.13    2.78    2.50    2.50  2.27  2.27  1.92  1.92        2.35
Keith    2.78    2.08    1.92    1.67  1.67  1.56  1.56  1.47        1.77
Steve    5.00    4.17    3.57    3.13  2.78  2.78  2.78  2.50        3.17


   2.78    2.27    2.08    1.92  1.79  1.79  1.67  1.56        1.92


Given the 50m splits that we have, we can then calculate Time Per Stroke (TPS):


50    100 150    200
John    2.59    2.48    2.37    2.04
Keith    1.91    1.64    1.72    1.77
Steve    4.03    3.33    2.82    2.41
Shannon    2.09    1.96    1.85    1.75


Then, we can calculate velocity in metres/second by dividing DPS in metres/stroke by TPS in secs/stroke:


50    100 150     200 Comments
John    1.13    1.01    0.96    0.94 slight drop off in speed
Keith    1.25    1.09    0.94    0.85 10% drop off in speed on each 50
(influenced by resting periods at bulk head)
Steve    1.13    1.00    0.99    1.09 increased speed in 4th 50 by 10%
Shannon    1.20    1.02    0.97    0.92 5% drop off in speed over last 150m


Here is my analysis after looking at the raw data.  Shannon and I are about 2 sec per stroke and, up to the end of the 3rd length, stroking 12/13 strokes per length. Whereas Steve and John are doing what was passes for winning Fly stroke. Tip, do not try to sell your video of this, there will not be any takers!!!!. You two are maintaining 2.4 to 3 sec per stroke. Call that the torpedo, arm movement then the glide, arm movement and then the glide.

In Steve's case, there was no difference in performance.  During the last 50, he was able to pick up his distance per stroke, and his speed by 10%. So there may be something to this stroke. John you should study this film. Just the difference between yourself and Steve. You might be able to pick up some new strategies. Your count went up to 13 per length for the last two lengths, whereas Steve did not change. That was the difference in your two performances.

However, please note there may be the law of diminishing returns with the stroke style that you both swim. It is called reaching terminal velocity.

Swimming a 50 fly at 31 sec, means a speed of 1.61 m/s. Obviously, this is hard to maintain. Forgetting the first 50 because of the dive, Steve went 1.00, then 0.99 and finished at 1.09. This would suggest that Steve should try to be a little bit faster starting with the 3rd length. So this was a 3:10.77. I think conditioning and 100% medical fit, Steve could get you closer to 3:00 without changing what you call Fly.

And John, since you also swim the same way, if you could learn to stretch out more like Steve on the recovery of the arms, and glide more like him, you could probably catch up and mirror Steve's existing and future results. The proof of this assertion is in your stroke count. Steve's was 5, 6, 7, 8 then 9.9.9, & 10. (total 63 strokes). Yours was 8,9,10,10,11,11,13,13. (total 85 strokes). Every arm movement takes up energy. John used 33% more strokes. Why because John was not stretching forward and gliding effectively like Steve. THEY DO NOT TEACH GLIDING AS HOW TO SWIM BUTTERFLY!!!!


Mine was 9,12,13,15,15,16,16,17. Mine should be more like 8, 9,9, 10, 10, 11, 11, whatever for the end.. It should have been a longer stroke I was sitting low in the water obviously not strong enough for this kind of "Traditional" butterfly.

Thanks Kendal - it took a long time to get you to submit to an interview, but that is an amazing analysis of an agonizing race.  We can only hope that you don't get passed by the field next year at Nanaimo in the 200 Fly rematch!