Cr@p Swimmers R Us

Swimming Support Thread

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19/10/2013 at 14:41

Hi there, newbie to endurance sports here but no stranger to sport in general. Definitely joining in this thread. I've just started swimming training and sweet lord I am woeful.

I can swim breastroke for ages but when I go to front crawl I'm out of breath by the end of a length.

Having researched it I think it's down to me excessively kicking my legs, so will try a buoy inbetween my thighs next time I go for a swim. If that's not the reason then I can't think what it is, my running fitness and bike fitness is fine, I just really struggle with the breathing when swimming.

Still undecided as to whether to enter triathlons or just running, but tris are much more appealing to me so I'm determined to focus on my swimming. 

tricoops    pirate
19/10/2013 at 17:09

I am a slightly worse than average swimmer in a pool but a terrible swimmer in openwater. I think it is because I keep my head higher in open water to sight, watch out for other peoples feet to get behind and to avoid loosing my teeth! This then causes my legs to sink lower and creates a lot more drag. Any tips to avoid this happening?

Iron Pugsley    pirate
19/10/2013 at 23:05

Tricoops - you're wetsuit should be giving you a good bit of buoyancy in your legs so you must be lifting your head quite high. The benefit in drafting will be lost if your legs are dragging.  Only thing I could recommend is finding clear space and using your normal pool stroke.  

Iron Pugsley    pirate
19/10/2013 at 23:08

Molly - BI is completely right on paddles!  With practice arm strength will come.  Other thing to try would be gym work; swimming is a pulling movememt so think about weight machines with pulleys where you can pull from above your head down to your hip. To avoid injury try not to cross your centre line as you pull.

You will get stronger quickly!

tricoops    pirate
19/10/2013 at 23:54

Thanks IP. Might need to work on my sighting to not lift my head so high!

21/10/2013 at 10:54


I'm still enjoying my time in the pool, although I'm still far from sorting out my front crawl yet.  At the moment the panicky feeling that it's never going to happen has gone which is great.

I am having the silliest problem at the moment though.  I'm just wanting to work with a simple 2 beat kick for now and I keep on driving with the wrong leg.  When I should be kicking with the right, I use the left and vice/versa.  It's not a stressy thing for me -  I'll sort it, but it's taking up so much head space while swimming that other things are going to pot.  It's just so weird to me that I can't instantly correct it by thinking about it as I swim.

On the bright side, even though things are still very much off kilter and breathing isn't smoothed out yet, I achieved a first today.  I let a swimmer who was doing a fairly fast breaststroke go first so I wouldn't spoil his swim, and though I gave him a decent head start, I accidentally caught up with him and had to apologise for catching his ankle with my hand.  DW said I was fairly smooth, no splashing, reasonably streamlined etc.. so there must be a front crawl of sorts in there somewhere waiting to be discovered.

21/10/2013 at 11:54

Hello all 'waves'. Still getting to the pool approx 3 times per week and according to my Tri club swim coach I actually look like a swimmer now!

Saturdays sessions was tough as we are focusing on technique at the moment, this weeks sessions was all about the catch and pull - my shoulders and lat's were killing me by the end. The session involved lots of sculling - both scull 1 and scull 2 (really feels like you are going nowhere), but it is supposed to improve your 'feel' for the water. All I know is by the end I had difficulty pulling myself out of the pool 

Starting to look at entering a couple of tri's for next season- would love to do a couple of sprints and they an oly July/Aug time but I am not sure if I will be up to the standard, especially as I will be marathon training again over the winter (although I am determined to keep my swimming up).

Onwards and upwards...

Iron Pugsley    pirate
21/10/2013 at 13:36

Dawn Shadow - all you are really getting with a two beat kick is balance rather than propulsion.  Instead, work with a pull buoy until you have got the upper body strength and technique and then bring the whole stroke back together.  Use a kickboard and do some leg work in the meantime so that you get the whole workout.

Legs will make a lot more sense when you have a stable and strong top half.

21/10/2013 at 15:12

Hi Pugsley and thanks, your help is much appreciated.

I totally agree, and get that the 2 beat kick is a stability thing rather than propulsion.  It's just that right at the moment I'm fine with that, or at least I would be if I could actually get it working properly and get the feeling in the water that I'm looking for.  (I do have a pull buoy and kickboard if I need to fall back on those though )

Iron Pugsley    pirate
21/10/2013 at 16:05

No worries.  Good luck with it!

21/10/2013 at 16:57

Went for a swim today with a buoy but didn't think it did anything for me, but I'll persist.

Watching someone else swim today made me realise how fast I try to go and I need to teach myself to slow down, but that's easier said than done when you're not a natural in the water!!

Can consistently get one length out now front crawl, but not much chance of going any further for now

21/10/2013 at 17:33
Iron Pugsley wrote (see)

No worries.  Good luck with it!

Cheers Pugsley,  at the moment I'm really just enjoying messing about while taking a small break from my swim coach (had to give up some sessions as I spent some of this year's swimcoach budget on a turbo trainer ).  As soon as I get back to him, I'm sure he'll have some new homework for me and I'll have to behave again.

22/10/2013 at 06:00

Tricoops, you need to practice bilateral breathing, being able to breathe on either side will help you with sighting in OW.

22/10/2013 at 10:37

Half way through week 2 of front crawl, I'm now a rubbish 50m swimmer instead of a rubbish 25m swimmer - be still my beating heart .

22/10/2013 at 11:39

Had my first ever go with a pull buoy this morning. I put it between my knees and as I turned to breathe....I rolled over onto my back  so I presume I must be rotating too much!

22/10/2013 at 14:13

Daft question I know but did you have the buoy the right way up?

Iron Pugsley    pirate
22/10/2013 at 15:15

The more bulbous side of the buoy should be in the water.

22/10/2013 at 15:47

Elbeanpole/ Iron Pugsley - I didn't even know there was a "right" way, this is just getting worse 

22/10/2013 at 21:33

Hi Molly.

Tonight's tri club swim training :

400m warmup (100m each crawl/breast/crawl/backstroke).

400m dolphin kick/crawl arms

400m (50m fingertips drill, 50m fast/50m hand to armpit drill, 50m fast), repeat.

Pacing drill - 10 x 100m on 2 min:30 for each. 30 secs break.

4 x 50m fast/50m recovery.

800m steady cooldown, various strokes.

Quite tired now. Pleased with my pace drill though, I was consistently 2min 28, 2min 29 although one was a bit too fast at 2:25 and the last one slower at 2:33


25/10/2013 at 08:09

First trip to the pool this week last night, managed 4 blocks of 50m crawl and 500m of breaststroke, so an improvement, I'm far from graceful or fast but at least I'm getting somewhere, I seemed to be getting into a rhythm with my breathing now that I'm tilting my head a bit further up in the water (thanks for explaining that Bionic Ironwolf) and concentrating on breathing out under the water, I’m practicing my head position/breathing as I have a rest after each set and it’s making it a bit easier to remember.

I think the more time I spend in the pool the more confident I get, so I guess I’ll just have to get as often as possible, I’m aiming for a minimum of twice a week which I seem to be able to fit in without having an impact at home so fingers crossed that will be enough.

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