Cr@p Swimmers R Us

Swimming Support Thread

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Blisters    pirate
18/06/2013 at 22:17

Cotswold 113 Middle Distance tri.
Swim 1.9km. That's a distance I'd use the car for.
4 waves of swimmers, and by request I was placed in "an appropriate" one. ie, last. Looking around, everyone with my colour hat seemed to be nervous, so I thought that I'd just swim. Soon I was with others of similar inability, and we went round the course at our pace. I even drafted a couple of times.
Given my pool times, I expected that I'd take 50 minutes. Amazingly I was given a chip time of 42:28. I can only guess that the wetsuit and calm conditions helped.

Out of interest I looked behind me. Out of 630 athletes, there were still 6 in the water. Result!

Blisters    pirate
24/06/2013 at 23:05

Swim training in the pool last night. Focus was on arm entries. This is seriously an area I need to focus on. Seriously, I focussed on it so much I was unable to count my lengths: up to 4.

Conversely, I definitely felt higher in the water, faster, and seemingly I was! On a couple of occassions I was even crawling up the legs of my Lane 4 colleague. That was a rarity. However, it was not natural, and the breathing was somewhat forced. There is work to do here, but the coaches reckoned that they could see a change.

This may be a step change.

25/06/2013 at 00:13

Sounds like great progress Blisters, how was the Cotswolds?


25/06/2013 at 07:02

I really want to do a triathlon next year. Currently I can just about manage 75m continuous crawl before my breathing messes up. Is there any hope for me?

25/06/2013 at 18:00

You can do most tri's swimming breast stroke. I couldn't even do front crawl when I did my first sprint tri last year and only started to learn earlier this year, if you keep up the training it soon comes, I am now swimming between 1500mtrs and over 2k in open water albeit very slowly, within 3 months of having lessons, I am still very much a beginner but with the help of a good coach and lots of practice it is coming together much quicker than I expected

Blisters    pirate
25/06/2013 at 23:42

T2A. Absolutely no problem. April 1st last year and I was nowhere near as good as you currently are. I could do between 25 and 50m before I took a great gulp full of water.
-Check out the Swimsmooth website videos.
-Get to the pool three times a week.
-Pay for lessons or coaching once a week.

You will take about 4 weeks then CLICK continuous swimming suddenly happens. Then improvements come thick and fast. Then they stop. Then there's another tip that works. Then you embed that. Apparently this almost continuous improvement happens for 2 to 3 years. I think that muscle growth is in there somewhere too.

My first sprint tri was 4 months after starting lessons.

I just did my first Half Ironman 14 months after starting. Out of 630 starters I wasn't last out of the lake. But I had an absolute HOOT on the bike and overtook hundreds, literally. That continued on the run.

Wait until the end of season before buying your wet suit. Worn once only, or ex hire, or last season's model. Depends on how you like to spend your money. I got a £150 wettie off ebay for £80 and it was unused. I didn't get to use it for months myself though! Only get a proper tri wettie though.

27/06/2013 at 16:50

Fingers crossed then. I swam 650m today in 50m blocks. Only swallowed water 3 times. I end up getting super bloated when I get out of the pool, I guess this is due to bad breathing technique?

Cortina5    pirate
27/06/2013 at 21:28

Can you swim slower, like really slow? This may improve your breathing, making you go faster and further. That's what clicked for me.

Don't forget to breathe out underwater!

Blisters    pirate
27/06/2013 at 21:50

The bloaty is just the quantity of pool water you drank. Keep swimming, keep practicing, You are doing it right. I guess. Do it more, and more again.


Scuba Trooper    pirate
06/07/2013 at 18:57

I'm sure this has been covered here before but..... I'm having serious cramp issues in my calf and/or foot on exiting and trying to get my wetsuit off, this is in races and OW practise and even sometimes in the pool. I'm no super fast swimmer OW 1500m 31mins.

Are there any stretches or warm up moves that can help? Do other find this problem is worse if the swim is at the end of a day with other training particulaly running? 

Blisters    pirate
07/07/2013 at 23:52

I think that it's a runner thing. We simply are not used to pointy toes position for more than a few seconds. Whenever I sit down I pressure massage to tendons in the bottom of my foot. It may just be coincidental with general practice, but there appear to be imrovements.

12/07/2013 at 10:31

Happy bunny,

started swimming 4 weeks ago, 25m front crawl was hard, real hard.

today, first 10 length swim and felt comfortable, feel that 16-20 length is on for next week. swimming 1600-2k 3 times a week in 50-100m blocks. Blisters is so right and I feel continuous swimming is around the corner  

12/07/2013 at 11:13

Apologies for not going through the entire thread - I may well be asking something that is already answered. Is changing from breast stroke to front crawl a big benefit and worth the effort? 

I consider myself to be a reasonable swimmer, I swim a couple of tiems a week and I can currently do 1500m breast stroke in circa 32-36 minutes and if I'm feeling strong 2500m in an hour - however front crawl destroys me. I am quite sure it is down to (very) poor kicking technique tiring me out too quickley as 100m crawl leaves me knackered even though it is not substantially quicker than my breast stroke speed - only a couple of seconds over 100m. 




Edited: 12/07/2013 at 11:14
12/07/2013 at 11:16


Thats great stuff, its a great feeling doing the first 10

I'm the same, I started lessons for front crawl in April, open water has really helped me, I really struggled to do 2x25m for ages but since Ive done a bit of open water Ive been 20+ lengths, I'm now looking at upping my speed as I am very slow, drills in the pool like arms only, legs only, sprints etc really help and I use open water for my distance training.

Like Blisters says It's perfectly possible to go from zero to hero in 6 to 12 months,

Also worth looking at getting some coaching once your comfortable, its a big help on tweaking your style 

12/07/2013 at 11:24


I believe front crawl is a more efficient style than breast stroke, before I could do front crawl I was quite happy with breast stroke, I'm still learning front crawl and it takes a bit of work to get the hang of it especially the breathing (for me), but after swimming a long distance (for me) 2k+ I am a lot fresher after front crawl than I am after breast stroke especially my legs which is a big help if you are about to embark on an epic cycle then run

12/07/2013 at 11:50

Thanks Jp,

just joined my local tri club (COLT) and when I don't feel quite so useless will be going along to their coached sessions  

12/07/2013 at 15:25

Many thanks JPGoodboy

When I get out of the pool following a long swim (breast stroke) my legs are far more tired than my arms - avoiding this would be good if I was to be jumping on a bike afterwards.


12/07/2013 at 15:30

Hi everyone! I've got my first swimming lesson on Tuesday. I can breaststroke without bother but I want to master front crawl. I'm a bit worried about the breathing part but I'm going to do it. Half ironman next year so got plenty of time, fingers crossed.

12/07/2013 at 15:35

OK this is a really stupid Q - been having lessons and been told my arm stroke is lovely but not using my legs enough that i can work on,  but my issue is breathing, not breathing out (although i may not be breathing out hard enough) but inhaling seem to be a problem.

So any tips on what helped you to breath with front crawl.

Finding OW easier than the pool.

Blisters    pirate
12/07/2013 at 18:34

Firstly. I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination. I've just been here for a while. 10 years ago when I failed to do anything about it, and 15 months ago when I resurrected the thread and jumped in the deep end.

I was the same as all beginners here. Satisfied that I could breast stroke my way out of trouble. However, breast is inefficient because after every power stroke you put the brakes on BIG TIME. There is far less power in a crawl stroke, but the aim is to maintain a streamlined profile , therefore reducing drag, and utilising a continuous forward motion, ie free distance for the energy input. This is why it seems completely unfair at our end of the game: breast strokers in the pool continually whup past us. Why? Because they are going to power along for 100 or 200m. Plenty of recovery and no endurance induced lactic build up. We are all here because we want to do longer distances and have fuel left in the tank. Rule 1. DRAG is the biggest enemy, as opposed to POWER being the big aim.

OW easier than pool? Yup, same here. Why? because you have a chance to settle down into a rhythm. If you can use a wettie, then there's additional flotation. Floaty legs = slimmer frontal profile = less drag. See above.

Kicking. The aim of the kick is NOT extra power. See rule 1. The "kick" is more of akin to the action of a fish's tail. The muscle in the middle is used (that's where the meat is). Pointy feet (like a fin) minimise drag. The "kick" is from the thighs, and its primary aim is to elevate the body into streamline. The faster you go, the better this gets. (Pheew)

The BIGGEST issue for beginners is breathing, both OUT as well as in. Practice several times a week, but don't get tired out or your form will droop. This can be frustrating, but is worthwhile. This is the time that a teacher can really make a HUGE difference.

Check out

Finally: As a motivator, today I swam 3900m open water with no wetsuit. Not fast, but significant.

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