Mini swimming breakthrough

Thanks Funkin' - i stopped kicking!

20 messages
17/07/2012 at 12:16

This was actually only my second swimming session where I was trying to swim lots of lengths in a pool. However, I knew from the first session and my previous attempts at swimming that I tend to run out of breath every length. I tried swimming slowly but this only really allowed me to swim 2 lengths at at time. 

I am really glad I attended the Pirates social last week. Apart from meeting lots of very nice people I got a tip from Funkin that just stuck in my head. He told me not to kick. I retorted that I had tried swimming more slowly and he repeated that I should just not kick.

As I hit the pool today I was sceptical. I tried it anyway. It worked! I swam 2000m today in a 25m pool. It was slow. It was not elegant. But I did it! It took me 70 mins to do so you can see it was very slow but I never really got out of breath and i just plugged away. I feel like a million dollars and that ANYTHING is possible!!!

Thanks Funkin - sometimes you know something from reading forums but you only put it in to practice when someone tells you to your face

17/07/2012 at 12:20

and to make it easier - stick a pullbuoy between your legs (assuming he didn't tell you that in the 1st place)

seren nos    pirate
17/07/2012 at 12:25

great effort Tortuga...........you can just keep practising now and concentrate on the breathing and arms more....it works for me.i'm still slow but always finish the swim 

funkin-baby    pirate
17/07/2012 at 17:37

Well.... move your legs just enough to stay afloat.  You need your legs near the surface but not sinking deep.  That's where the pullbuoys come into it - they keep the legs nice and high in the pool, and when you get into open water with a nice buoyant wetsuit your legs should be lifted a bit automatically.  I say all this as someone who doesn't own a pullboy and hasn't ever used one, but I know they're good for you and I will buy one soon!

Swimming is all about technique.  You can fight with the water and muscle your way through but that just slows you and is a waste of energy - energy you'll be needing much later in the day

17/07/2012 at 17:43

Good effort!  I must try that ... I'm still at 50m then a rest.

17/07/2012 at 18:02
Really struggle with my swim, so this thread may be just what ive been looking for.....i'll keep you informed.
17/07/2012 at 18:07

Yeah thinking about it I was doing one or two kicks per stroke which was keeping my legs high... but they were super gentle kicks.. just enough to keep me up and they were not aimed at propelling me. I will introduce kicking for propulsion later maybe but for now spending a long time in the pool moving is my goal.

ET7
18/07/2012 at 21:28
Top tip T, as like you I can only manage 50m at any one time FC. Plan to give it try!
ET7
Blisters    pirate
18/07/2012 at 23:46

I agree with the above, but it's truly helpful to check out the Swimsmooth website, as well as to have an improvement coach pass critical appraisal.

One of the tips that really helped me click from "25/50m knackered" up to "1000m slow" was to focus on the timing especially of the breathing. In tri technique, breathing every second arm stroke ie every right arm helps me keep oxygen levels up. Breathe out underwater. Also to fully reach with the leading arm as it slightly turns the body in a natural way and helps to generate the mythical bow wave. (Apparently)

I need to do a lot of work to generate a smooth bow wave.

20/07/2012 at 10:15

Tortuga, tried this today and managed 100m FC!  Thanks for the tip, worked great.  Now to get my crappy swimming style sorted out....

Bouncing Barlist    pirate
20/07/2012 at 12:05

Just a word of warning about pull-bouy's.  Theyre should be used as a swimming aid and not become something you always rely upon.

No harm using them to get you through a barrier like increasing your distance or concentrating on your catch, pull, learning a flat body position etc, but long term use will lead you to rely on them and not develop a fully rounded/effective technique.

I used to be rubbish without a pull-buoy, still am but now ive learnt to swim without one I dont miss it.  Its just a matter of developing an effective flutter kick (nothing hard like a propulsive kick but enough to keep your legs up).

Good luck

20/07/2012 at 12:29

DTT well done! I put a more complete reply on the sausagedog thread. But very well done man! Great breakthrough for you!

Barlist - i think i will skip the pull bouy for now after reading that. Thanks for sharing mate

20/07/2012 at 14:16

Barlist is kind of right and kind of wrong imho...

IF you are planning to do most of your tris in a wetsuit - covers most off here I would suggest - then there is nothing wrong with using a pullbuoy in the pool all the time to train.  It allows you to mimic the flotation you'll get in a wetsuit so you can develop a stroke that will work best in that position.   Brett Sutton, coach of Team TBB (has a stellar cast of triathletes and he used to coach Chrissie) advocates it's use in training - he even goes as far as suggesting using 2 pullbuoys (ie. more float) to get a better position in the water that's like wearing a wetsuit.   And you'll find a lot of coaches/top athletes advocate the same.

BUT, doing all your training that way could lead to you being completely stuffed in a non-wetsuit swim!  So you are also best doing some sessions without the buoy to develop some form of kick which will help raise the legs in the water.

remember, most triathletes come from a non-swim background so have poor kicks but gain compensation in the form of wetsuit buoyancy; those who come from competitive swimming backgrounds will have developed their kick and swim efficiency much earlier in their life so don't need that "crutch" of a pullbuoy in training and are happy when it comes to non-wetsuit swims.

and even good swimmers will rarely use their legs in a wetsuit - it saps too much energy fighting against the 5mm of neoprene so best to keep that energy for the bike leg.

I will also says that I've gone from a 1:23 to a 1:09 IM swim through training with a pullbuoy as it's helped me develop a better stroke and focus on my upper body without worrying what my legs are doing.   

Edited: 20/07/2012 at 14:20
20/07/2012 at 15:20

Hmm back to the pull buoy i go!

24/07/2012 at 13:42

Just to give the revolving door on the pull bouy question another spin...

As I understand it, FB is built like a union prop forward becsaue he was a member of the front row union. So I doubt he would be in the middle of the bell curve as a typical triathlete. Given that FB cycles a lot he probably has more weight in the legs to deal with than mere mortals. In addition he peobably is signifucantly stronger in terms of upper body than the rest of us. So it is quite likely that his approcah to swimming must solve different problems than the rest of us.

Rather than using FB's post as y/n answer to pull bouy, I would suggest that the general principle to be learned from FB is not to be constrained by conventional wisdom if conventional wisdom does not the answers you need. i.e. find out what works for you.

Also, I dont think Funkin is suggesting NO kicking. I think he is suggesting that you cut out useless kicking. Top swimmers dont do zero kicking, they tend to do minimal kicking, but there still is a kick there.

Nurse Ratched    pirate
24/07/2012 at 13:57
Bouncing Barlist wrote (see)

Its just a matter of developing an effective flutter kick (nothing hard like a propulsive kick but enough to keep your legs up).

That's what has worked for me. I'm not a great swimmer, by any stretch of the imagination, but I found it wasn't about not kicking, but more not trying to kick, if that makes sense.  I concentrated harder on what my upper body was doing, and my legs almost seemed to sort themselves out.  A flutter kick for position rather than trying to get propulsion form my legs.
Also, I found I was beginning to rely too much on my poolbuoy, so I have weaned myself off it! Much easier to do without it now that I have made progress with my technique. 

24/07/2012 at 14:40

Bos - I won't disagree with your comments at all and I am in fact advocating in a sliightly different way to you of the same thing - do what's best for you.  but I have to take into account that if top tri coaches and athletes are advocationg a pull buoy approach to swim improvement, then there must be something in it.   the fact that I have come to it without that knowhow when I started to improve my swim - basically when I started to use the pool more 2 years ago - is coincidental.

and yes - I am built like a brick shithouse so have heavier legs than many, and my strengthn come from my upper body.  and as for being in the middle of the bell curve, then you may have described my beer gut quite nicely....   if anything I am at the far end of that bell curve when it comes to triathletes general statures but there are many bigger than me out there...

seren nos    pirate
24/07/2012 at 15:13

i am not built like FB.....but i hate swimming in a pool and my legs drop like a dead weight behind me slowing me down.................probably partly because i have crap core muscles.........

i could spend hours in the pool trying to learn how to keep me legs up and swim properely................

but as i hate it so much.......... when i do go i swim with a pullbuoy at all times so i can get some distance in..................because of this i will never enter a pool based tri.........and will avoid all ironman races where there is a slightest chance onm a non wetsuit swim

so if you can swim properely great.........but if you try and can't then therer are other ways

Tommygun2    pirate
24/07/2012 at 15:57

You know what I brought a pullbouy last year but have never used it as I thought I would be cheating myself that I could swim properly. But I have alway struggled to go much futher than 500meters. So guess what I'll be taking to the pool this week.

oh and like Seren I hate swimming in pools

Running Postie    pirate
24/07/2012 at 16:49

Seren nos I read in the swim smooth book that sinking legs could be because your holding your breath which pushes up the torso causing the legs to drop...any help?


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