Cr@p Swimmers R Us

Swimming Support Thread

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15/10/2013 at 13:44

Hi, my name's Beth and I'm a crap swimmer.

After a long and boring year of tests etc I cannot run and therefore decided, after watching my other half train for triathlon, I have decided I need to learn to swim properly.  However, I'm a bit scared of water and am unable to/have no desire to put my face in the water. 

Over the summer I dabbled with some open water swimming (just breast stroke, head out of the water) and was frequently asked by the safety guys if I was ok as I didn't appear to be moving very much or quickly......  

So, over the winter, I am going to be helped by aforementioned OH to try and learn to front crawl properly (with face in the water) and aim to maybe do one of the Great Swim series next year...............GULP....................

Anyway, thanks for listening and happy swimming everyone.

15/10/2013 at 15:42

BI - This morning I shared a lane with a chap who did IM Austria this year and he watched me and said I was doing ok apart from the fact I was using my legs far too much (thrashing about like a fish on a hook) and he told me to kick sort of

dum-du-dum what I'm trying to say is one big kick then a couple of smaller ones.

Beth - most of us were/are like that, you'll get there

16/10/2013 at 06:52

It's a personal thing Molly, whatever suits you best - my OH is 65, a sub-17 minute 1000m swimmer and has a 66 minute IM 3.8km swim, also has 3 times completed the Cologne 12km open water swim in under 4 hours. He hardly kicks at all, just uses his legs for balance. Don't use mine much either since a hip replacement op last year.

Last  night's tri club:

9 x 400m:-

1. 400m warmup

2. 400m fist drills

3. 400m 2 strokes left arm/2 strokes right arm

4. 400m fast

5. 400m breathing 2/3 then 4/5, change every 50m

6. 4 x 100m

7. 2 x 200m

8. 400m fast

9. cooldown.


16/10/2013 at 07:58

H guys, I just came back from my morning swim. 

I'd just started to transition from breaststroke to learning front crawl when a couple of things kept me away from the pool for the last 2 months.  Today was the second day of getting back to it.

It was a lot better than yesterday, in that I managed to remember enough to get a 25m length completed.  The weird thing is I can do a length of one handed drills (either left or right arm kept out in skate position), and find that easier than normal swimming.  On one side in particular I can capture that lovely feeling of being supported in the water and just riding along on it making breathing comparitively relaxed.  That at least gives me confidence I can get to where I need to be at some stage - just need to be patient and stick with it.

16/10/2013 at 09:28

Well after looking a bit odd blowing raspberries all the way home then doing some practice exhaling under the water at the edge of the pool before my swim last night I noticed a marked improvement in my breathing, it's far from perfect but I wasn't gasping for breath as much as last time.

Still not covering any great distances and that session BI has posted is FRIGHTENING not a chance I could cover any where neat 3200m in one session!!

Hi Dawn Shadow do you find drills help? I've read about some that sound as if they'd be worth a try but I'm concentrating on my form and breathing to just get up and down the pool at the minute as the drills would just wear me outbefore I started doing any laps!

16/10/2013 at 11:48

Hiya swiller

I'm not great at this stuff, but I'll try to answer your question about drills from my experience.

I think if you're concentrating on breathing and form, you're doing exactly the right thing.  Getting to the point where it's natural to start breathing out underwater rather than hold your breath,  understanding what happens to your relationship with the water when you lift your head etc, getting a nice sense of what it's like to be in a good streamlined position, all this stuff to me is worth lots of time practising and focussing on - and I call those drills. 

I do those single sided lengths I referred to in my previous post to achieve a couple of things that I want to focus on, but I do them very rarely because although I get something from them, my form is poor while I'm doing them and simply repeating those probably isn't my best use of time  It's not something my coach would encourage me to do.

In that respect, simply doing drills without being able to know that my form is correct (or know what needs correcting) while doing them, isn't something I'd automatically say was good.

Blisters    pirate
16/10/2013 at 21:57

The key to early days progress is helpful critical coaching. Some insist on one to one teaching, but in reality, if I have to think about more than one issue during a session I'll get confused and go back to bad habits. Therefore shared coaching has worked fine for the first year and a half.

Hello to the newcomers. Bionic ironwolf is very kind to keep coming down to our damp and dismal corner of despair, but she knows her stuff. I'm no expert by any means, but I'm hanging around here because I'd just like to give you some encouragement. I give you 6 weeks. In 6 weeks you WILL be able to swim crawl for 400m without stopping for a rest. All you have to do is to get a little coaching, to go to the pool twice a week, and to have confidence. You are going to drink water. You are going to think that you'll never get it. BUT YOU WILL. 
After 6 weeks, I admit that it won't be pretty, but it will be front crawl.

Pool day for me, just did 64 lengths. I've not been doing enough. I felt strong and powerful for the first 16, but started to tire at the end. 43 minutes for the mile.

17/10/2013 at 09:41

Bit the bullet and went along to the Tri clubs swim session last night, I can hardly lift my arms today!!

I sat out a few of the drills when I was tired but it was good to feel involved and I've had some of my many weak points highlighted so I can work on them myself, the 2 main ones were my breathing which I already knew was an issue and the rotation of my body during the stroke, so it's practicing "reaching" to help my shoulders roll and consciously forcing a breath out under water while I'm swimming.

I've decided I'll give it a month practicing and then try another session, they we're definitly too advanced for me at the minute, the coach said that to get the most out of the sessions I'd need to be able to consistantly swim 100m blocks at under 2:30 although I managed one 100m set at 2:20 I couldn't do the next set so theres no way I can keep it up for a full session yet.

The wife was a swimmer at school and has taken it up again in the last month and joined the swim club last week, she's been to the pool this morning and swam 64 lengths in 34 minutes so I might see her for some tips!!

17/10/2013 at 10:18

Hi all!

I'm a cr*p front crawl swimmer as well. Last year OH tried to teach me but it didn't go so well. Though he's taught kids before and knows how to swim himself (even getting compliments in the pool for his style) he just didn't remember all the drills etc to help me start from the beginning.

So, I contacted the local tri club and first reply was really quick but the people this guy cc'd to give me further help haven't replied so need to send them an email today. It's a new city for me so don't know anyone who could recommed a good place to go for lessons and I do want to learn properly from the start.

I can basically do one lenght of front crawl and struggle with my breathing and positon etc so lessons are definitely needed if I want to get any better. Find this thread really useful though as same problems seem to surface for almost everyone.

17/10/2013 at 12:06

Coordination is a big problem for many beginner swimmers. If this is you, it may be helpful to concentrate just on your arms or legs for a few lengths, not both together. Use a pull bouy between your knees to isolate your arms so you can work on your arm stroke, conversely use a float with your hands and practice just kicking until it feels comfortable.

BeerSwiller, you have an advantage there, your wife should be able to help you a lot. Well done on improving your breathing. Swimming is often a confidence thing, the more you practice, the better and more confident you will get. Really!

Iron Pugsley    pirate
17/10/2013 at 12:37

I'm with IW, it's really difficult to co-ordinate as you are learning.  A pull buoy will lift your legs and you will be able to concentrate on your arms without any distractions.

Don't get disheartened - I managed to teach someone from a terrified non-swimmer to a one mile OW swim in 5 months with one lesson a week.  Stick in at it!

17/10/2013 at 13:28

Ghostess says - That's exactly what I've been told BIonic Ironwolf. It's fear that's stopping me, I can't quite believe that turning my head will be sufficient to clear the water line and prevent me breathing it in

Your head will definitely clear the water.  All you have to do it look to the top of the pool edge or imagine someone walking poolside and look at their ankles.  Even better, get someone to walk along the edge of the pool and look at their ankles

As you move through the water, you create a bow wave.  When you turn to breath, your mouth is in the bow wave and so you are free to breath in.

Have a look at some Total Immersion or Swim Smooth video clips on YouTube/their websites for a clearer understanding of whatI am trying to say

As for head position, I was also told to paint my thumb nails bright red.  When I am not turning to breathe, I should be able to see my thumb nails entering the water and my eyeline should be that of my thumbs.


17/10/2013 at 14:10

I have been warned about looking at ladies ankles at our local pool

17/10/2013 at 14:56


17/10/2013 at 14:59

Don't know what happened there...

BI - I've decided to use my legs as little as possible and have ordered some paddle type things so I can concentrate on my arms. No swimming tomorrow as I've got another marathon on Sunday. Your OH does a fab IM swim time, I'm well impressed! 

JPG - don't bother looking at my ankles, very chunky and unattractive!

Blisters    pirate
17/10/2013 at 22:56

Looking at the pool boy? That gets me into trouble.

18/10/2013 at 19:58

Don't want to be a wet blanket Molly but please be very very careful with the paddles, if your stroke isn't perfect and you do too much swimming with paddles you can badly damage your shoulders. Paddles do not improve your stroke per se, just your power.

18/10/2013 at 22:46

I'm just reading Total Immersion and basically it sounds like you should just learn to streamline your position in water and work on that rather than concentrate all this gadgets...which sounds like the way to do it for me...

Blisters    pirate
19/10/2013 at 00:46

The pull buoys actually do help. Use one for a few times and you will swim faster, and realise that it really is your legs hanging free that cause the drag. They help you realise (feel) the right sort of body position in the water. But, and a big but, (big butt?) don't get to rely on one.

I still can't get the hang of doing it for real without one though.

19/10/2013 at 08:24

BI - thanks for telling me, i can always put them on one side until i get better. How can i improve my upper body strength as i'm so reliant on my legs. Should i be doing weights, backstroke or just use a pull buoy (never used one because i didn't know at where to put it - knees, top part of my legs)?

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