Cr@p Swimmers R Us

Swimming Support Thread

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Bionic Ironwolf    pirate
21/02/2009 at 19:40
PQ - practice breathing without actually swimming, just put your face in the water, breathe out, and turn your head to breathe in again.
Gyraffe    pirate
22/02/2009 at 08:36

PQ and others - not sure if this helps - but I read in 'Going long' that the no air feeling can be a buildup of co2 rather than a shortage of oxygen. The significance is that if you can get accustomed to that feeling you'll realise you don't need to breath as much or as soon as you think and this can lessen the sense of panic - or just the unfamiliarity of it all.

22/02/2009 at 17:59

Hi everyone.  I'm just back from my TI swim weekend and a bit shattered - more mentally than physically though.  Where to start?.......

They say to breath every 2 strokes, not every 3 especially for distance swimming.
Conentrate on stroke length rather that stroke rate.

Is my swimming better?  Well there are no sounds of the hallelujah chorus chiming in the background but my stroke rate did go down from 23 on Saturday to 17 this afternoon so a marked improvement.  The videoing was esential - I hadn't realised just how poor and inefficient my fc stroke was  before but I was crossing my arms right over and kicking far too much.  On the last video swim this afternoon I found it really hard because I was concentrating so much and so it felt like I'd got worse because it was so difficult. But when I saw the video footage it was obvious how much I'd actually improved.  Now got lots of pratice and drills to do. And I wasnt gasping for breath at the end of the length either so that's encouraging. 

Could I have learned the same just with the DVD and the book?  - In my case no not at all, I would have been reinforcing more bad technique and I needed a lot of help on where to get my arm position to lead with the elbow without crossing my arm over to the other side.  They teach not rotating the shoulder too much as well as this can cause serious shoulder injury - something else I need to unlearn. 

So my advice if you're just setting out like me would be - get a coach to watch or video you swimming, don't just rely on a book or DVD.

IronNina    pirate
22/02/2009 at 21:50
That's great feedback Soup Dragon, and reassuring re: breathing. It's certainly working for me.
I'm still painfully slow 1800m in an hour but I can see where I need to improve - I just need Michael Phelps shoulders!
22/02/2009 at 21:58
I'm interested in the 2 strokes vs 3 thing!  In the (one and only) lesson I've had so far I was told it needed to be every 3 strokes as more balanced etc. Hence I've not allowed myself to even try breathing every 2 stokes....but I def find it easier to breathe on one side (my right).......might try it...
IronNina    pirate
22/02/2009 at 22:06
Yeah, Wonder Woman, I was told I would swim in circles if I breathed on just one side! I found it to be a breath of fresh air - literally! No more gasping for breath by the time I reach the end of the pool. Now I just need to get the rest right
22/02/2009 at 22:10

On the breathing it was 2 stroke but alterating which side on each length so that you can still breath from either side. They said that for endurance you need the oxygen and to breath naturally as in walking (just like was said earlier). 

Just realised I was talking about stroke rate earlier instead of stroke count.  It was my stroke count that came down to 17 not my stroke rate which we didnt time as not important.   

Balance was something that we drilled for a long time on the Saturday so it is possible to keep a good even balance which was more to do with where your head and arm are positioned.  I struggled with the later drills of zipper switch but I think its because I hadn't really grasped the correct movement before going on to using  fist gloves which really threw me.  Then after a whole weekend of just drills I'd almost forgotten how to just swim and kept falling back into drill and pausing (which is partly why my stroke count came down I think).  But I've never done any sort of drills before so it was a totally new concept. 

Bionic Ironwolf    pirate
23/02/2009 at 06:25
Drills are important to reinforce stroke mechanics and implant the right moves into your muscle memory. Our trainer always incorporates some into our tri club sessions.
23/02/2009 at 10:15

Hi there Soup Dragon,

I have always been interested in doing the TI workshop - do you think it's worth doing and worth the £350?

24/02/2009 at 11:26
I've got swim lesson tonight (group lessons) and we are focusing on back crawl I think.  I'll probably end up with a headache from bumping into the wall.....
24/02/2009 at 11:46

I'd like to join this thread - being new to tri, and having never swum front crawl in my life before last month. I've picked up loads of useful tips on here

 It's actually been fun learning although I'm still painfully slow. I've been doing some sessions with a tri club and our last session was all about improving stroke length, stretching out and extending.

 However, the coach had us doing most of the session with our eyes closed (to feel the water better). As a relatively weak swimmer I found this quite strange, but thankfully I wasn't the worst at getting entangled with the lane ropes.. thank god.

 After the shock had worn off I did find it quite useful- I wondered if anyone else does this drill as part of their training..

24/02/2009 at 11:49

Hi All,

Thanks for the tips on breathing. Went swimming last night and took shallower breaths, kept my head looking down, turned my whole body to breathe and did 2 stroke breathing instead of 3, and it was definitely easier. A bit smoother and less frantic. Still swallowing water from time to time and gasping a bit at each end, but definitely an improvement.

SD - your course sounded like an education! Thanks for sharing the experience for those of us too scared to get our credit cards out! Getting your stroke rate down to 17 is really impressive. Do you think you'll remember all that you learnt, or was it a bit overwhelming?

24/02/2009 at 11:59
SD - sorry, getting your stroke count down to 17 is really impressive. I think mine is 30-something!!
24/02/2009 at 18:10

Been to the pool today to try and practice (and remember) what I learned at the weekend.  I bought a book to remind me of the drills as well as the DVD and it is starting to come along.  The key points that I recall (any TI experts out there please correct me if I'm wrong) are:

Head down for better balance - nose pointing to the bottom of the pool
Relaxed kick from the hips
Rotate easily - no flat swimming
Propulsion comes from the core, not arms and legs by rotating and piercing the water.   Your  recovery hand enters the water  just past your head and follows through sharply under the water as you rotate.  Only when that hand has pierced the water does your other arm start the recovery which anchors the water, not pushing it backwards. (does any of this make sense?). 
Don't use kick floats - they put you in the wrong position
Don't  learn struggle!

Getting all the co-ordination and bits right is going to take some time but I definately felt it coming together today and the first drills are starting to feel more natural.  I may need a session in an endless pool just to get the last drills of zipper switch right because that's where I started to lose it at the weekend.

As for the cost and is it worth it?  Well it depends on how much you want to be able to swim I suppose.  The weekend won't make you a perfect swimmer overnight but it will point you in the right direction.  Some more experienced swimmers made excellent progress.  But if you think how much you might spend on a bike just to cut a few minutes off your time,  then money spent to make the swim easier so you leave the water fresh could be more than justified.  And you'll have a skill for life too.  I've no regrets except for now knowing just how much work I have to do. But it was a very enjoyable weekend and I liked learning with other people. 

Pearly queen - what length pool are you counting your stroke count?  This was 25m.

24/02/2009 at 18:19
PS Pearly Queen - do you mean stroke count or stroke rate?   I got them mixed up on Sunday but I mean stroke count as in how many strokes to do a length, not how many strokes per minute.
Richard 123    pirate
24/02/2009 at 20:24
Hey soupy, glad the swimming's coming along (with the help of the DVD of course  ). A great summary of TI, as I understand it,  well done!
IronNina    pirate
26/02/2009 at 18:26

Well, pleased to say I did 2.3k in 75mins today. That's the furthest and longest I've gone.  I seemed to get better, as in faster and more "streamline", the longer I swam. I think because I relaxed after a while and got the coordination together so I was gliding more. I could also feel my core muscles (would lateral abs be the right ones?) working so the pull was not coming all from my shoulders but along my side too.

Very happy bunny

IronNina    pirate
26/02/2009 at 18:27
Oops, that last post sounds as though I'm bragging but just meant it as encouragement from someone who couldn't swim a length last July
26/02/2009 at 18:43
Nina - that's exactly the sort of encouragement I need!  75 min crawl - I am SO impressed!
IronNina    pirate
26/02/2009 at 18:49

Well don't be As I say, I couldn't do a length last year, I got a couple of lessons, and now just turn up at the tri club swim session  and take on board any advice given here and on You Tube and basically practise!

Oh that and sheer bloody-mindedness that I AM going to do it!!

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