Bahhh, you never know.
Started working on a case in 2010 (ishh, already). Swimmer is 6feet in height, Ape Index +4 so that gives him a 6'4 arm span. PB of 21min40sec over 1500 OW back then.
I tried I tried I tried I tried I tried everything I could to train him as a Smooth, forget it.
Next (if he still dare to work with me), I got to turn him into a Swinger.
So it all depends on how fast you really want to swim, how fast you are at the mo, this gives you a gap, which could be expressed in term of pace/100m. If the gap is to big, if years trying to close it won't work, then a complete redesign may be required.
But you know, it mostly depend on how fast you are at the mo, and how fast you really want to be. Someone that has a goal of holding 1:45/100 will have more options that someone (like this guy I was talking about) who would like to go under 20min for 1500 (ie, 1:20/100).
Ryan Cochrane probably had the talent to build up his stroke as a classical smooth type. But possible that he would have concede far more than a small 9sec to Yang over 1500 in doing so. Therefore he did choose a simpler, less refined vehicle. But if it hadn't been his goal to try to beat Yang, if his goal had been to do well here in Canada, period, then yeah, Smooth, Swinger, whatever would have worked just fine.
The closer you get from your true limit, the less options you got. The more you have to go with what makes who you are, how you think and how you move, what you like, what you dislike. In the case of this athlete I failed with, he just doesn't like to think dammit, and there's nothing I can do. You can spend hours and hours trying to undo this recovery with palm facing outward, which sets up for crossing over the mid line, video etc... A week after, it's as if nothing had happened. These guys don't think. So we would aim for a simpler stroke, as simple as possible, cutting down on drag, then the rest will be a matter of boosting up the rate.
Charles G. Couturier, Canadian Swimming / Triathlon Coach