SWIMNEWS ONLINE: August 1997 Magazine Articles

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Knabe's Coming And Not Stopping


Neil Harvey

Morgan Knabe has won his first national 100 breaststroke championship in a time placing him third on the all time Canadian ranking. The 16 year old has vaulted to the top, showing serious promise for the future. The trend in breaststroke technique has been towards a flatter stroke with less overall undulations in the body. What does Knabe do during the stroke? "Well, I don't want to give away too many of my secrets, but I like to stay lower in the water to keep the wave disturbance at a minimum. Coming up high and shooting my arms across the top doesn't work very well with me."

Morgan Knabe
For larger 64k photo click on image. Photo © Marco Chiesa

How wide are his elbows just as the hands come together in front? Some coaches are saying there should be a flow of water between the inside of the arm and body. "There's enough room for the water to get through but not much. I don't fire the elbow against my side because I'm trying to keep holding onto the water for as long as possible through the sweep in front. I don't turn my hands up very much at the end of the insweep because I don't want to push water up."

Morgan doesn't do much specific technique work on the stroke as it does not change too much. "I really only think about it when it doesn't feel right." He has a balanced stroke for the most part and he works on all aspects equally. He does some kick work on his back and always kicks breaststroke on kick sets.

Morgan tends to go out quite relaxed. He was third at the 50 and his greatest strength is an explosive second 50. "I don't get worried when people are out faster than me, I know I can really bring it home. On the second 50 I pick up the stroke rate and try to get more power, while keeping the stroke long." Morgan split almost 1.5 seconds better than his rivals coming home which really says it all. (30.06 at the 50, 32.97 for the second length).

Japan-bound Knabe looks and sounds confident. As he said to the local newspaper, "Japan will be my chance to show the world what I've got and show the world Knabe's coming and I'm not stopping." He sounds a bit like a guy named Davis. He is another great example of the youth movement this summer in Canadian swimming. They are young swimmers who are not afraid to knock off the old guys, while showing a mature sense of where they want to go next.

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