Cr@p Swimmers R Us

Swimming Support Thread

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10/10/2013 at 19:36

BI - gold badge, that's brilliant . I went swimming on Tues but I was full of a cold and couldn't breathe out of the water never mind in it. It's quite boring actually on my own - even though I take some of your drills on a piece of paper. Swimming again tomorrow morning before work. Hope it goes a bit better than last time.

11/10/2013 at 13:10


Hi Everyone,

New here but definitely qualify for this thread! Did my first swim this week and it was awful, 500m split 1 length crawl 1 length breaststroke, this looks like it will be the thread I’ll be using most to start with as the advice I’ve been given in my “starting out” thread is to work on my weaknesses first and swimming is absolutely top of that list. I will say I enjoyed the swim though so hopefully motivating myself to get to the pool won’t be too much trouble!!

14/10/2013 at 10:10

Hi Ghostess that sounds like a great idea!

I've spoken to my local tri club and they were very encouraging but  I think I'd like to be able to swim 500m of constant crawl before I join in with them so having someone else just starting out to compare notes with would be great!

The tri coach did suggest that starting out with better technique would benefit me in the long run although he understood where I was coming from not wanting to feel out of my depth at the club session, I’ll see, I’m supposed to be running with one of their members on Wednesday so no doubt they’ll try and talk me round.

I'm terrible with my breathing, the breathing out thing sounds familiar, trying to do out and in at the same time when my head is above water, it's the bilateral part I really struggle with which leaves me panting as 3 strokes feels too long between breaths so I end up swimming the next length breast stroke to recover.

Are you going to go to more club sessions It sounds liek youve found that one worth it

14/10/2013 at 20:20

Hey guys, quit trying to breathe in and out at the same time! You should be breathing out underwater, then you have plenty of time to breathe in when your face is out of the water. Try just standing in the water and practicing just breathing in and out. Tiny kids are taught to blow bubbles in the water to get them used early to breathing  out underwater. I also caught mention of lifting the head - when swimming the crawl stroke, your face should be in the water and you are looking slightly ahead. The water should be about at your forehead level. To breath in, don't lift your head, you should be turning it to the side so that your face is out of the water to breathe but you haven't broken your body position. You breathe in under the arch made by your elbow as you pull your arm back.

15/10/2013 at 08:54

Ghostess, wow 30 miles is a long trip and means I've got no excuses as the Tri club train in the pool I use and it's only 2 minutes from home, it's only a small club and they run specific beginner session with limited numbers, unfortunately this block is fully subscribed and I defo don't want to be in with the main club members just yet, although the coach said it would be fine I'm just not confident enough.

Funnily enough Bionic Ironwolf my daughter did exactly what you describe with the bubble blowing at her early swimming lessons, I hadn’t realised that was the reason for it, I'm like Ghostess, a combination of fear and lack of a decent technique mean I do lift my head rather than turn it, reading your post I think my problem might be having my head too far in the water, it's certainly not at forehead level as I'm looking pretty much straight down, I'm at the pool tonight so I'll try changing that to see if it helps.

15/10/2013 at 12:04

Don't look down at the bottom, you should be looking ahead to where you are going. Try breathing at your bathroom sink where you don't have to think about anything else. Submerge your face in water to forehead level and breathe out, then turn your face to the side and breathe in. Doesn't matter which side - or you can try both, bilateral breathing is a good skill for open water swimming, when you need to keep sighting to see where to go.

15/10/2013 at 13:04

Just popping in to say hi, my names DS and I'm a cr*p swimmer.  I enjoy being in the water, and my big challenge at the moment is to pull my technique/breathing rhythm together for the front crawl. 

15/10/2013 at 13:31

Thanks Bionic Ironwolf, I'll give that a go tonight before I head to the pool and see if it helps, I like the idea of having little drills I can practice at home to get the feel of things!

Been trying Ghostess's blowing raspberry's thing and although I'm not sure how it's going to help it's fun

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.


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