Breakthrough Swimming

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Press:Human Kinetics Human Kinetics (February 20, 2002)
Publication Date:2002-2
Author Name:Colwin, Cecil M.

About the Author

Cecil M. 
Colwin, who passed away in summer 2012, is a legend among swimming coaches.
He had a distinguished international coaching career in which he developed Olympic medalists, world-record holders, and national champions.
Colwin is also acknowledged as one of the swimming world's most influential coach educators and historians.
His indelible mark on the sport spans from pioneering swim training in South Africa to coaching Canadian national and international competitors.
A former national technical director of Canadian swimming, Colwin was instrumental in researching, designing, and implementing Canadian Swimming's National Plan for the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games as well as the Canadian National Apprenticeship Program for training coaches in all sports.
He also designed and conducted coaching certification courses for Level III coaches in the United States and Australia.
In 1985 and 1986, he received the American Swimming Coaches Association's (ASCA) certificate of excellence for outstanding coaching achievement in the United States.
In 1993 he was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
Colwin authored hundreds of articles, papers, and books on competitive swimming, and served as a consultant to administrators, coaches, and swimmers worldwide.
He was a regular contributor to several swimming magazines, including Swimnews, Swimming World, Swimming Technique, and The American Swimmer.
Known as one of the swimming world's most inspirational lecturers, he addressed the World Swimming Coaches' Conference on several occasions and gave hundreds of lectures and clinic presentations worldwide.
Colwin was the founder of Cecil Colwin's International Swim Camps, a leading stroke clinic and training experience for swimmers and coaches from many countries.


Sports & Outdoors,Water Sports,Swimming,Literature & Fiction

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Comment List (Total:3)

  •     A Review of Colwin's:Breakthrough SwimmingThis book has it all: descriptions of historical swimming moments, explanations of the controversies surrounding the use of performance enhancing drugs, in depth discussions of the complex technical principles of human hydrodyamics, as well as the analysis of training and racing skills of the world's best competitive swimmers. The competitive swimming enthusiast will, without a doubt, be rewarded and recharged after reading this extensive and rich anthology.In his quest to keep competitive swimming at the forefront of international sport excellence, the author has left no stone unturned. Colwin's knowledge and passion for competitive swimming translate well into his concise and comprehensive books through which he has established himself as the pre-eminent researcher and writer in this sport. This is his third book in the past ten years, and it is, thus far, his finest work.Colwin has an uncanny knack of selecting the perfect anecdotal material, and conjuring up vivid imagery of the past, in order to enhance the reader's enjoyment and understanding of issues that face competitive swimming today and to help establish realistic goals for the future of this unique sport. The title, "Breakthrough Swimming," is apt as it is consistently used and developed as the major theme of this book; from the cover photo of a breaststroker breaking through the water's surface tension, to the recent breakthroughs of scientists, coaches and swimmers at the elite level. It is certain that this book will play an important role in the continued development of competitive swimming.This treatise is a must have for swimming coaches everywhere and a great read for everyone who enjoys this sport. "Breakthrough Swimming" is exceptionally presentable, readable, and interesting. This is a comprehensive and important book which will set the tone for the sport of competitive swimming for many years to come....
  •     The average swimming book prescribes stroke techniques, then offers a sample training routine. In 'Breakthrough Swimming', Cecil Colwin sets his stroke and training advice amid much firm background and some speculative discussion. Coach Colwin covers three subjects: History, Hydrodynamics and Training.The history is broken into two parts which begin and end the book. The first is a history of swim technique (sidestroke, trudgen, overarm, etc.) which leads to a description of the four current strokes. As in Swimming Dynamics, he illustrates a "typical" way of swimming each stroke even though he admits a wide range of technique possibilities. (Colwin is an excellent draughtsman, but there seems to be a drawing error: In the text and in his side view drawings of the crawl, he describes a full body rotation of 35 - 45 degrees each way as desirable. His front view, however, shows the swimmer almost dead flat throughout the crawl.)Continuing the exploration of hydrodynamics that he began in Swimming Dynamics, Colwin discusses the bow wave, lift, his vortex-shedding theories of propulsion, strategies of streamlining, using the hands to direct the water and many other ideas.In covering training, Colwin (and Pyne) offer the usual ideas of aerobic vs anaerobic, interval vs distance, etc. I find myself thinking of his section, "Development of the Will to Overcome Fatigue," as I swim. I realize that I have rarely reached Hurt, much less Agony or Pain since high school (at least not in the pool).The book ends with a history of competition that discusses rule changes, better pools, the World Cup tour (he's not impressed), national team vs club-based coaching, a chronicle of doping, fistgloves, the problems with bodysuits, a ranking of the stars of the 20th century and a look forward.I definitely found the book worth reading.
  •     This book makes the inane and entirely discredited claim that a swimmer's propulsive force is generated by hydrodynamic lift from the swimmer's hands and feet, like an airfoil. As evidence, the author observed vortices from the swimmer's hands. A few moment of thought shows how preposterous this is. Only streamlined objects can generate lift, because lift requires attached flow. Bluff objects generate drag when the flow detaches from the object. Propulsive force in swimming is generated by rapidly moving the wrists parallel to the direction of motion while holding the hands perpendicular to the direction of motion. When held as such, the hand is a canonical bluff body which creates massive drag as it is pulled through the water. As the hand is pulled through the water, the water separates from the hand and leaves behind vortices which pull against the swimmer's hand (and ultimately pull the swimmer's body forward). There's a good reason this book is out of print. It is full of misleading ideas cloaked in irrelevant technical terms which serve only to confuse the lay reader and ruin your stroke.

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