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Fact of the Day

Nov 4, 1998

The late Howard Firby, commonly acknowledged as one of the finest stroke technicians who ever lived, was way ahead of his time. In his benchmark book, "Howard Firby on Swimming " Pelham, London, 1975, p. 9 & 27), Firby advised swimmers to "shape your own boat."

Firby said, "In swimming, each athlete is in a sense his own boat, so the swimming coach must - or should - shape his boats and train their one-man crews at one and the same time. In so-doing, the knowledgeable swimming coach will often compromise power for the sake of better streamlining."

"We should therefore strive to shape ourselves better to penetrate through the water, which means that while at the surface we should avoid the flat barge-like attitude and spend as much time as possible [on the side] shaped for better water splitting."