Swimming...

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Swimming...

Postby ultraslacker » Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:49 pm

ok, I've been attempting to re-learn swimming. I took lessons as a kid and then stopped for 20 years and now I'm starting over. :P

I really suck at it.

Someone recommended the Total Immersion series so I am going to grab that from the library tomorrow.

I'm posting this mainly for moral support. My biggest problem (at the moment) is fear of putting my face in the water. Pretty sure I'm going to end up with lungs full of water. :) Any tips for helping myself get over that??

Should I take some lessons? Or will the TI be enough help? Any suggestions?
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Re: Swimming...

Postby lisaannr » Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:52 pm

I took lessons a few years ago. I found that I was having a bit of anxiety in the deeper water, taking the lessons forced me to face my fear. I only took the one session of lessons, I certainly could use more to help my form.

I would like to do one of the Total Immersion Workshops but unfortunately I have to many other priorities. I am not sure if a book (I am assuming your getting the book or video?) would help. I think (personally) lessons would be better because then you'd "have" to do it. kwim?
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Re: Swimming...

Postby ultraslacker » Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:54 pm

They have books and videos, so I'm going to try to get both.

You're right about the motivation of a teacher... maybe some private sessions would be more worthwhile to me than group lessons...?
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Swimming...

Postby Jwolf » Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:15 am

Personally I can't learn from books and videos- I need to have someone show me and give me feedback.
I would do private lessons...
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Re: Swimming...

Postby turd ferguson » Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:01 am

As someone who in 2011 went from thrashing / flailing to completing a sprint triathlon, my advice is to spend a bunch of time in the water.

Get yourself a good pair of goggles and get into the water. Do a ton of front floats, practice breathing out through your mouth and nose underwater. Blow lots of bubbles. Float a lot.

Get comfortable in the water. Really comfortable. I spent a bunch of time picking up golf balls off the bottom of a lake. Practice moving around in the water, flipping over, body position, etc.
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Re: Swimming...

Postby ultraslacker » Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:04 am

turd ferguson wrote:As someone who in 2011 went from thrashing / flailing to completing a sprint triathlon, my advice is to spend a bunch of time in the water.

Get yourself a good pair of goggles and get into the water. Do a ton of front floats, practice breathing out through your mouth and nose underwater. Blow lots of bubbles. Float a lot.

Get comfortable in the water. Really comfortable. I spent a bunch of time picking up golf balls off the bottom of a lake. Practice moving around in the water, flipping over, body position, etc.


I have been spending more time lately, just playing around, but still have a long way to go!

Don't have goggles... need to get some!
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Swimming...

Postby Jwolf » Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:05 am

Goggles will make a HUGE difference to be able to put your face in the water!

That and learning to blow bubbles...
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Re: Swimming...

Postby jamix » Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:49 am

Jwolf wrote:Goggles will make a HUGE difference to be able to put your face in the water!

That and learning to blow bubbles...


+1
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Re: Swimming...

Postby scrumhalfgirl » Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:02 am

turd ferguson wrote:As someone who in 2011 went from thrashing / flailing to completing a sprint triathlon, my advice is to spend a bunch of time in the water.

Get yourself a good pair of goggles and get into the water. Do a ton of front floats, practice breathing out through your mouth and nose underwater. Blow lots of bubbles. Float a lot.

Get comfortable in the water. Really comfortable. I spent a bunch of time picking up golf balls off the bottom of a lake. Practice moving around in the water, flipping over, body position, etc.


Great advice here! Goggles for sure. And maybe even a nose clip. I know, some people thing they are silly, but even if I blow out through my nose, I always got a tonne of water up it, and so I started wearing a nose clip - and never stopped.
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Re: Swimming...

Postby carm » Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:16 am

Your priority right now is getting comfortable in the water as everyone has said. Get into the shallow end and go under the water for baby step durations. Learn to relax there (think yogic breathing if you do yoga), afterall, at any point you can stand up. Don't be afraid to exhale slowly while you're underwater. It seems counter-intuitive but it will actually allow you to exhale carbon dioxide which causes panic when it gets built up. After you achieve a decent level of comfort in the water, you can start thinking about all the other stuff involved in swimming like body position, breathing, stroke mechanics etc. Without that comfort, you will fight the water, your stroke will suffer, and you may lose your head and panic when something unexpected happens.

I was in your place 5 years ago and after a lot of hard work and time in the water going swimming, scuba diving and playing underwater hockey, I can now say that the water doesn't scare me at all....well unless, there are 10m waves and I'm stranded "Open Water" style. :lol:
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Re: Swimming...

Postby Annelizabeth » Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:54 am

As somebody who never was taught to swim as a kid and picked it up as an adult- here's what I did.
Oh and I couldn't do lessons cause they were a time I couldn't get to.
- Bought really good expensive goggles. So they would work and I would feel guilty about not using them.
- Bought a membership to the pool so I would have massive guilt if I didn't go often.
- Went to lane swim and worked on one lap at a time.
-Initially had a friend who used to teach to show me the basics ( less than 15min)
-After than an another friend taught me one thing at a time over a long period of time.

This worked for me- I am not a fast swimmer- but i am getting better. My major issue is my right arm keeps on crossing the mid line and I am flat in the water- as opposed to rolling from side to side. I suppose if I did drills that might help but I don't want to.
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Re: Swimming...

Postby La » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:20 am

Similar to what carm said, getting your breathing right (and this requires practice) means trying to avoid the temptation to "hold your breath" while under water. Ideally, you want to practice breathing out while your face is in the water, and breathing in when your face is out of the water.

The breathlessness that people often feel while swimming is because they are trying to breathe out AND in when their face is out of the water, and that makes you hyperventilate and can create a feeling of panic.
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Re: Swimming...

Postby MikeM » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:45 am

Glad to see this thread here - lots of great tips!

I'm comfortable in the water but my goal for this year is to figure out how to swim/float without my legs sinking like an anchor (and having to kick them like crazy to keep them afloat) and to work on my breathing so that I can go to either side and not have to lift my whole head out of the water.

I have a couple of Total Immersion DVDs form the library but are there other resources that I should be looking at?

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Re: Swimming...

Postby La » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:02 am

The way it was explained to me by a coach is that being in water is not a "natural" state for mammals like humans who rely on air to breathe. :lol: As a result, we compensate with behaviours that are designed to keep our heads above water (to breathe). However that body position isn't conducive to efficient swimming.

Men have a harder time than women keeping their legs afloat because of muscle mass, but generally speaking the sinking legs is due to the fact that you are keeping your head and chest too high. And we keep our head/chest high because of the fear of not being able to breathe. So, if you get the breathing right, the body position will follow. And then if you get the body position right, everything else is just fine tuning.

His final advice/analogy was that instead of "fighting" the water to keep yourself on top of it, "use" the water to help move yourself through it.
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Re: Swimming...

Postby Wu wei » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:59 am

La wrote:His final advice/analogy was that instead of "fighting" the water to keep yourself on top of it, "use" the water to help move yourself through it.


Swimming Yoda! :D

My advice as always for new swimmers... use the pull buoy. New swimmers kick like mad and incorrectly... spiking the heart rate, causing drag, messing up the body position. Pull buoy makes learning the basic aspects of swimming (breathing, balance, stroke mechanics) so much easier!
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Re: Swimming...

Postby CinC » Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:01 pm

Agree with what La and Carm.

Watching videos and reading books will only minimally help IMO. Invest in a couple of private lessons or join a 'swim fit' type group and the coach there should be able to help. Another option, depending on your pool - you can ask the lifeguard to watch you swim and see if they can give you some simple 'pointers' - most are willing to help you out if you're willing to listen!

And yes - goggles (try them on in the store - the packages open for this reason) - and they 'stay' on your face without putting the strap behind your back - they should 'suck' in around your eyes a bit - if they aren't, then you'll likely end up with a leaky pair when you hit the water. Also, get a swim cap if your hair doesn't all hold back into a pony tail (or get a lot of clips for your hair) - my biggest pet peeve is when I swim without a cap and then have hair plastered to my face when I hit the wall. Little thing but was quickly solved by a swim cap. Geeky looking, but effective.
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Re: Swimming...

Postby babysteps » Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:12 pm

Just wanted to say good luck and keep it up! I'm still working on this swimming thing too. I recommend some good goggles and private swim lessons.

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Re: Swimming...

Postby ultraslacker » Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:42 pm

I think I will start with the TI and then get help as I need it (either through a friend or buying individual sessions as I need them).

Thanks for all the advice! Going to go find goggles today. :)
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First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. ~Epictetus

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Re: Swimming...

Postby MINITEE » Mon Jan 30, 2012 1:15 pm

CinC wrote:Agree with what La and Carm.

Watching videos and reading books will only minimally help IMO. Invest in a couple of private lessons or join a 'swim fit' type group and the coach there should be able to help. Another option, depending on your pool - you can ask the lifeguard to watch you swim and see if they can give you some simple 'pointers' - most are willing to help you out if you're willing to listen!

And yes - goggles (try them on in the store - the packages open for this reason) - and they 'stay' on your face without putting the strap behind your back - they should 'suck' in around your eyes a bit - if they aren't, then you'll likely end up with a leaky pair when you hit the water. Also, get a swim cap if your hair doesn't all hold back into a pony tail (or get a lot of clips for your hair) - my biggest pet peeve is when I swim without a cap and then have hair plastered to my face when I hit the wall. Little thing but was quickly solved by a swim cap. Geeky looking, but effective.


A ton of great advice so far, and I second (or third) all of the above.

Good goggles, and get your face into the water, then blow bubbles, slowly rotate your head to the side, then inhale, rotate back down, blow bubbles, rotate to the other side, repeat. You want to be able to breathe from both sides.

As someone who has learned from a TI instructor, it is a great "adult" learning method. One of my clients is absolutely hooked on learning TI and has been doing well with the videos so far, and in another month or so is going to spend a few laps with my coach watching her to double check a few things.
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Re: Swimming...

Postby ultraslacker » Mon Jan 30, 2012 4:05 pm

Day 1 Report:

Bought goggles.
Worked on the first few drills from the TI video.
Practiced submerging and exhaling. Discovered:
- trying to breathe out of both nose and mouth => water up nose
- trying to breathe out of just mouth => water up nose
- closing my mouth and breathing out through nose => good.

So when I got to the drill that required me to put my face in the water, I shut my mouth and breathed out my nose. Is it ok to do it that way?

Also, I noticed in the first few that my neck felt really tense, but that improved as I went. My focus was on trying to relax and keep my body long and balanced. :)

Putting my face under got less scary as I did it more, just for a few seconds at a time.

By the time I was done, I had done 20 laps (!), all in drills. I feel like a champion. :)
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Re: Swimming...

Postby Wu wei » Mon Jan 30, 2012 4:10 pm

Joel Filiol's top 20 rules for faster triathlon swimming. Good stuff if your a newbie or FOP.

http://joelfilliol.blogspot.com/2012/01/most-popular-post-on-this-blog-is-is.html
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Re: Swimming...

Postby carm » Mon Jan 30, 2012 4:34 pm

You've got it! I breathe out my nose while submerged. Great job on the lengths and drills! Another good tip is to actually relax your hand and forearm while doing free style. It creates better eddy currents while swimming during the pull phase (my coach who's a former national level swimmer told me this). Another tip is to not clench your mouth shut while holding your breath. It creates more tension in the neck. Have fun with this and keep us updated.
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Re: Swimming...

Postby CinC » Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:08 pm

and remember - if you do drink any pool water...there's only a little bit of pee in it.

hasn't killed me yet.

:lol:
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Re: Swimming...

Postby Spirit Unleashed » Mon Jan 30, 2012 6:10 pm

ultraslacker wrote:Day 1 Report:

... I feel like a champion. :)
:dance:
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Re: Swimming...

Postby narr » Mon Jan 30, 2012 6:34 pm

I learned to swim as an adult. I read "The Science of Swimming" by James E Counsilman. I "knew" how to swim before I took lessons. I also bought all the manuals for the various levels of badges right through to life guarding, but I only certified to Bronze Medallion. Unlike some people here, I learn by knowing and being told what and how to do something before actually doing it. Don't show me, -- tell me, -- then show me.

You may be more advanced than this already, but the way I got comfortable breathing was to walk to a depth that would allow me to bend my knees and have my my chin and mouth in the water while still staying vertical. Then I blew out under water with my mouth while still being able to breathe in through my nose. That is as basic as it gets. You progress as you feel comfortable. Slowly lower yourself to breathe out in the water through your nose and mouth. Later, develop a rythm where you slowly lower yourself to breathe out in the water and rise to breathe in. Progress to bobbing slowly while breathing out below the water and in above the water. Progress to bending over and having your face parallel with the water surface.

I think you can figure this out pretty fast, but breathing out only through your nose while swimming would be similar to breathing out only through your nose while running. While still in the standing, bobbing phase of learning, start with breathing out only through your nose, but definitely make a conscious effort to teach yourself how much air pressure you need to be sending out your nose while still exhaling most of your breath through your mouth. You should also work on your timing so that you are slowly and constantly blowing out under water and you just finish as your mouth is braking the surface for another breath.

While swimming, you don't turn your head to breathe, you take advantage of the rotation of your body. I haven't been in a pool for a while, but I think there is a little depression created by the shoulder as you rotate your body and bring your arm forward during the reach stage.

I would discourage the use of the pull buoy and nose plugs. Like the previous poster indicated, if you put a crutch on your nose, you will not learn to swim without it. The pull buoy is the same. Don't use it to "learn" to swim, use it for specific drill time after you are completely comfortable with whole stroke swimming.

Just back to breathing for a moment. I am pretty sure I remember breathing with my mouth at the water line and only half of my mouth above the water line (or I guess only half out of the water in the little trough created by the shoulder/arm action). When you see the people that lift their head out of the water and turn it to the side, they are the people that didn't read the book. :wink:

Best of luck. I hope this helps,

narr (not a real swimmer either.)
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