Swimming lessons, what to focus on ?

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Mike A
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Re: Swimming lessons, what to focus on ?

Postby Mike A » Sun Jul 26, 2015 1:12 pm

Pretty respectable pace, Tom. 30s per 25m is round about my sustainable pace.

The point of fins? Try drills like UNCO and you'll quickly learn the point of fins! :D
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Re: Swimming lessons, what to focus on ?

Postby Tom65 » Sun Jul 26, 2015 9:05 pm

Have tried unco with fins as suggested by GavinP, makes a hard drill easy, too easy, I've got Zoggs training fins, probably need something smaller.
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Re: Swimming lessons, what to focus on ?

Postby gavinp » Wed Jul 29, 2015 9:18 pm

Tom65 wrote:Have tried unco with fins as suggested by GavinP, makes a hard drill easy, too easy, I've got Zoggs training fins, probably need something smaller.


If it's too easy then you are probably doing it wrong ;) Are you breathing on the stroking arm side, or the arm that is by your side?

Longer fins are better due to their flexibility, when it comes to drills they are better. Only use short/hard fins if you have been swimming since you were 4 years old for at least 5 times a week and are a sprinter :D
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Re: Swimming lessons, what to focus on ?

Postby Tom65 » Thu Jul 30, 2015 4:00 am

Haha, maybe I just don't do the drills for long enough ?
With the fins you can do just about anything because you just kick until you have enough speed to make the drill easy.

I'll have another go and add some distance.....lucky you replied before the fins went in the guillotine.

They are short fins that I'm using, the pool has long soft ones, they are ridiculously fast, doubt I could stroke my arms fast enough to keep up with them, great fun for kicking on your back, hard hit on the fingers when you get to the wall.

Freestyle using only goggles and briefs is still puffing me out in 50 metres, tried different breathing patterns. Every 3, then 4, then 5, then 6 and then stepped back to every 2.

Still more effort required.



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Last edited by Tom65 on Mon Aug 24, 2015 6:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Swimming lessons, what to focus on ?

Postby gavinp » Fri Jul 31, 2015 10:35 am

Take your time with the drills. Lots of people feel they need to go as fast as you can. It isn't a race, it's drill time. Slow it all down a little. The fins are there to keep the momentum going while letting you think about whatever element of the stroke you are working on.
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Re: Swimming lessons, what to focus on ?

Postby Tom65 » Sat Aug 01, 2015 12:25 am

OK...Fins Saturday...morning.

Unco drill, straight into it, bit awkward no big problems, pool was busy though.
A couple of early laps I took my first breath on the wrong side didn't take long to stop that.
No bobbing up and down, still seems to easy (with fins) roll to breathe, roll the other way to recover the arm.

Did a small amplitude low frequency kick only for one lap with no stroke, netted 30 seconds for 25 metres. Had to be careful when adding the unco arm stroke as I was catching the lap swimmers too quickly.

Finally got an empty lane but took the opportunity to use it for double arm backstroke, even more enjoyable when wearing fins, make like a rowboat.

A couple of laps of freestyle at the end to show the lovely ladies that I can in fact swim unaided, fins are the only swimming aid I'm embarrassed to use even though the snorkel is just as big a cheat device.
I guess the snorkel is just head down arse up and keep going, in a world of your own concentrating on the many aspects of freestyle.
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Re: Swimming lessons, what to focus on ?

Postby Tom65 » Sun Aug 02, 2015 3:16 am

Snorkel Sunday.

Brunch swim, mostly walkers in the pool, got a lane to myself. Freestyle approx 33 second laps, didn't time them, just wanted to go half hard for 20 minutes concentrating on front quadrant swimming without going into catchup.
After about 10 minutes I noticed a Woman in the lane next to me lapping with me but keeping her head at about my feet, seemed pretty keen to keep that position because I even stopped once about 5 metres from the wall to blow out the snorkel and noticed she was still in the same timing as me when I looked back a couple of metres later.
A walker also jumped in my lane, don't know what that's about, he coulda shared a walking lane.

Several laps on back, various strokes then a fast as I can 25 trying to keep the kick amplitude moderate. Often feel a fair bit of air on a least one foot when I take off for a fast one, the whole lane is white wash by the end of the lap, probably look like I'm having a fit. :lol:
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Re: Swimming lessons, what to focus on ?

Postby Mike A » Sun Aug 09, 2015 10:50 pm

I agree with Gavin's comments about Unco. The thing is, when doing arm drills, the idea is to use the fins gently, to sustain a steady basic speed at minimal effort, so you can concentrate on the arms without worrying about anything else. I find most arm drills challenging without fins (classic one-arm is not too bad, but Unco is tough, and another one I do, where you drag your thumb along your side, then rest for a count of three with thumb in armpit and recovering elbow high, is almost impossible - I just sink doing this one without fins).
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Re: Swimming lessons, what to focus on ?

Postby Tom65 » Thu Aug 13, 2015 12:13 am

Instructor change over.
That meant two lovely young ladies looking after me.

Told the leaving instructor I'd swim a continuous 75m before she left.
Swam a slow 50 in 50 seconds breathing every 3, couldn't go on, knew I was in trouble at 40m, tried again at 55sec same again.
Next try, started breathing every 3, switched to every 2 at about 38m's and went on to swim my first 75m.
Had floaty pants on but.

Swimming with the snorkel had already shown that I need to breathe more than every 3, just struggling to get comfortable breathing every 2.
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Re: Swimming lessons, what to focus on ?

Postby Mike A » Thu Aug 13, 2015 8:23 am

Well done Tom! If you can push that to 100m you will be well on your way to continuous freestyle. If you need to breathe every two, then do it. It's a good idea to switch breathing sides each length though. As a compromise, have you tried 3,2,3,2 breathing? Takes a little practice, but it's a good halfway house between uni and bi breathing.
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Re: Swimming lessons, what to focus on ?

Postby Mike A » Thu Aug 13, 2015 8:28 am

50m in 50s isn't that slow, by the way, if your aim is to swim longer distances. That's 1:40 per 100. My top sprint speed is currently about 1:30/100, and over a mile I cruise at 1:56/100 - equating to 58s for 50m.
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Re: Swimming lessons, what to focus on ?

Postby Tom65 » Thu Aug 13, 2015 8:16 pm

60 seconds per 50 metre continuous would be more than enough to keep me happy. I think keeping the speed up has been a crutch for easier access to air and shorter times between breath, then when I try to breathe every 2 it all gets a bit rushed.
Breathing every three hasn't been a problem from a technique point of view, so if I breathe every 2 I'll be able to either, keep looking to the same wall, or switch when it suits me during a length.

I like a bit of speed, that's one reason I think I enjoy the double arm backstroke, I've got largish hands for my height so there's some good acceleration with each stroke. Takes a lot of oxygen to do it fast though.

Anyway, bit of light again, the running out of air on the 50's had me fairly despondent, especially since I had the core shorts on. Not that I'd ever quit, sprints, snorkel swimming and back strokes are still good exercise.

Will get the new instructor to keep track of my times on the various strokes and inform her that bilateral breathing doesn't just mean every three strokes. :o
Last edited by Tom65 on Sun Aug 23, 2015 8:19 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Swimming lessons, what to focus on ?

Postby Tom65 » Sun Aug 16, 2015 1:56 am

Missed Saturday, chose fins over snorkel for Sunday.

Had a lane to myself for the 40 minutes that I was there.
Decided on fins to experiment with different breathing patterns, do some fin appropriate drills and have some speedy fun.
Breathing patterns was a bit of a waste, breathe anytime, any number of strokes you want, no challenge and everything becomes wrong, less strokes per lap etc.
Drills...yep...fins make drills easy.
"Speedy fun" was a success, but the downer after taking them off doesn't justify the upper.
Still got some exercise, legs get a bit of a workout, but it's a lot different to the finless kick, where there is little resistance from the water to the kicking action.

Sooo....gunna get some paddles and try loading up the arms for some more relevant exercise.
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Re: Swimming lessons, what to focus on ?

Postby smootharnie » Sun Aug 16, 2015 9:07 am

Fun to read about your journey.

Paddles.
Reminds me of a swimmer a few weeks ago.
27 strokes/25 m with his paddles, being overtaken every lap by a typical long time long stroke pool swimmers lazy 15 strokes/25m at double the paddlers swimspeed.
Not to go in the long-short stroke discussion, but for this guy to wear paddles isnt the best idea to learn a good stroke.
Chopping of his hands would be my suggestion :twisted:

Nothing wrong with using them for a while though. Fresh sensory imput keeps you happy.
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Re: Swimming lessons, what to focus on ?

Postby Tom65 » Sun Aug 16, 2015 11:12 am

Yeh....tried paddles once before......hated them....couldn't get my hands in the right orientation.
But they did give me a workout.
Did love the 15 second laps with the fins, just can't see them improving my swimming.
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Re: Swimming lessons, what to focus on ?

Postby Tom65 » Wed Aug 19, 2015 10:16 am

.
No toys Wednesday.

Straight to swimming from a chipped tooth repair, 35 odd year old filling had to be replaced as well. Could talk OK by the time I got in the pool, turns out I could freestyle breathe as well with the swelling and numbness.

Finally making some headway with increasing distance, I still dislike breathing every two strokes, as I did when I started this thread, but it's helping, the difference now (besides extra fitness) is I can slow down and mess with the stroke timing and symmetry, or lack of symmetry. I just do what I need to do to get the breathing done.

Swam 3 lots of 75m and 3 lots of 50m plus other strokes on my back. On one of the 75's I started to get a little rushed at about 62m's so I just calmed it down glided a bit and made it to the end.

Watching Kazan and seeing the different styles has freed me from doing everything exactly as I'm told to and instead do what I think I need to to keep going.

Still a long way to go, but I had stagnated, now I'm moving forward again with more optimism.

New instructor has a manner that'll have me wanting to show off like a teenager, so that'll help make it all seem a bit easier. :P


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Re: Swimming lessons, what to focus on ?

Postby Tom65 » Sun Aug 23, 2015 1:22 am

Buoyancy shorts Saturday.
Snorkel Sunday.

Needed a crutch for Saturday, since I'm not keen on the fins and hadn't purchased paddles yet, I settled on the buoyancy shorts.
Did a few 75m freestyles some 50's but mostly done backstrokes, double arm and normal, several hundred metres of each.

Saturday I ended up with fast lane to myself, Sunday I end up with the slow lane to myself, 2 swimmers per medium speed lane and somebody dawdling up and down the fast lane.

Sunday with the snorkel, kick a couple of laps, freestyle several laps, had a good shadow on the bottom of the pool in the slow lane, could clearly see my lead hand and the ripples on the waters surface reflected on the floor giving me a good view of speed and time with the hand out front. Shadow wasn't dead center over the lane but I could see if my lead hand entered crossed over.

Tried some fastish 100 metre swims with the snorkel, stop start turns, 2 minutes per hundred metres, didn't bust a valve but couldn't have gone much faster and doubt I could have gone any longer.
So a 100 metre snorkeless swim is still going to be hard work, will have to try and get comfortable swimming 35 seconds for 25 metres if I'm going to get there I think.

Finished off with a fast 25m and several laps of back strokes plus drills.

Have bought some paddles to try, Large Speedo tech paddles, hopefully I'll get to the pool next Saturday to try them.
Last edited by Tom65 on Sun Aug 23, 2015 8:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Swimming lessons, what to focus on ?

Postby Don Wright » Sun Aug 23, 2015 7:17 am

Hi Tom!

It's interesting to see the stuff you're "having a go" at - think you could become quite an expert in time! :)

Have put my snorkel away for a few sessions - I don't want to become dependent on it for swimming FS!

Am "toying" with the idea of going back to an old idea which was on the forum about 3 years ago - aiming for "perpetual" action, by swimming FS as best I can for at least a length (and hopefully into more), then instead of the old idea of "switching to another easier" stroke" for a few lengths before continuing with FS - just roll onto my back if desperate for a rest, and flutter the legs while I get my equivalent of an end wall "pit-stop" - then back to proper FS again until desperate for another rest. At least that will get me over the "hurdle" of thinking I deserve a rest after each length! :roll: All I will be doing is just switching my desperately needed rest at the end walls, to somewhere in the "middle" of a current length.

For some time have been trying (well, occasionally!) to add a few dolphin waggles at my "push-offs" - but soon discovered that wearing buoyancy shorts means if the waggles are done when on the tum, the "uplift" of the shorts quickly dampens out the waggle effect. (Find it disappointing when wearing BS, doing dolphin waggles on the tum down near the pool floor - the "uplift" of the shorts is quite large!) Then I realized that by doing the waggles on my side up near the surface (as normally I do for a few metres in fly drills), means the "dampening" effect is not so noticeable. That just means a gradual turn from being partly on the side onto the tum as the FS begins. Shall be incorporating that into into my little effort at getting further without the end wall "pit-stops" mentioned above. Knowing am going to need a rest somewhen during a length - adding the waggles, means almost a case of "Might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb!". ;)

Bye / Don

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Re: Swimming lessons, what to focus on ?

Postby Tom65 » Sun Aug 23, 2015 8:29 am

Yeh Don, I've rolled over when things aren't going well, swallowing water whilst doing a drill, trying a drill and getting it all messed up, just roll over then kick and skull to the wall like nothing happened :lol:

I do like the snorkel, if I never get to perpetual swimming without it, it won't be the end of my swimming world. I'm quite happy to use it once a week for exercise and the chance to focus on various aspects of the freestyle stroke.
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Re: Swimming lessons, what to focus on ?

Postby Don Wright » Tue Aug 25, 2015 7:20 am

Hi Tom!

"Got my feathers a bit ruffled" when yesterday I was determined to try out the "go as far as I can and then roll over" idea. On the first length in the un-roped area I had a head-on collision with another chap - guess we were both "floor gazers" while swimming FS! Then I noticed a young lass near the side wall doing strange "flouncy" things - think she might have been trying out "ladies synchro swimming" moves, 'cos apparently she was down on her back nearer the pool bottom (uniform 4 ft depth I think), but was making "twiddly" movements with her legs raised vertical above the water (hope she had a decent nose clip)! As I passed close by - she fell sideways towards my path, and my recovering arm accidentally "clocked" her. Well that really "put me off my stroke". Ah well! - maybe next time ("The road to hell is paved with good intentions.")! So it was back to the old "do a length and have an end wall pit-stop" routine - beginning to think that's all I'll ever manage (apart from occasional double length efforts) - but at least I get plenty of exercise when trying to "get a move on". I suppose it must be doing me some good if I get to the end wall panting and heart working hard!?

Bye / Don


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