I have been a triathlete swimmer (totally comfortable in open water since some swimming lessons when I was a boy). Now up in years but still doing it!
I have been aware of Swimsmooth for the past six years of triathlon, but this past year my coaches (TriDot) introduced a lot of SwimSmooth drills and the CSS testing which I believe are helping me understand my swim technique weaknesses.
My problem is that as a mature athlete in my 60's, I am fighting inflexibility and difficulty in building muscle. I can swim long as I have now done 3 Ironman events with associated training, however my open water swim is holding me back. I still am primarily comfortable breathing on one side although I am doing the uni-/bi-lateral breathing drills that TriDot coaches.
I have identified myself as an Overglider so I am working on increasing my stroke rate. I am currently at a 1:57/100yds on my CSS test which is about where I have been for a long time. I am currently averaging 12 strokes per length at my threshold pace (CSS).
However, what I may have hit on is this:
when my lead arm is pulling through, I then kick with the opposite leg which is opposite to what what swimsmooth is saying. And, as sometime my back can really start hurting.
I began thinking about what it would mean if my kick timing was 180 degrees out of sync - it would put a twisting moment on my body, prevent me from getting a good breath, and drastically increase my drag. Well, maybe that is what I have been doing… said again: when my lead arm gets a catch and starts to pull through, then I initiate the opposite leg in a downward kick which appears to be exactly opposite the following video at around 5:30 in:
crazy? we will see if this makes sense as I try to develop a new stroke/kick timing! it is really hard to unlearn what I have been doing for a long time.
however, this would explain why my speed is not increasing in spite of my conditioning…
Any thoughts on this observation?
Thanks for the great site and resources!
I've been using this site and videos for a few months (16 weeks to be exact) and while I still am a beginner I think that I owe much to this site (credit also goes to my swim classes twice a week). I look forward to virtually running into you all and maybe in real life at triathlons!
I'm swimmer level intermediate but I practice triathlon.
I am following the page Swim smooth for 2 years and too I have been reading, learning,searching videos, documents, notes, forums and others.
Until now I decided take more serious because i want reduce time of 5:42 for 400m. It has been maximum level.
I go to swim 3 times for week and I am trying doing 3km - 4km with 3 keys (Technique - long swim - css time trial).
I just wondered if there is anyone in my position, 18 months ago I completed my first half ironman doing breaststroke and decided I needed to learn FC, I am on my second coach and swim 4 times a week but after 18 months I still can't swim 100 meters without being exhausted, they say I execute the drills really well but I just can't put it altogether, I know it's not the coaches now it is me as have seen complete non swimmers start and within 3 months are comfortably swimming 400 meters comfortably and moving up a lane but not me lane 1 is still mine 18 minths later, woops, I have my first full Ironman nxt year which I will now be doing breaststroke as I can't continue to spend 4 hrs a week training just to try and do front crawl, so am being realistic and winter training will focus on my breast stroke, so the question is is there anyone else out there who like me have never had that eureka moment when it clicks n feels easy, I can't be the only one. Symone
Think a large part of your difficulty in swimming FC could be psychcological - because when you swim breast stroke and do an inhalation your head is up above the water surface and you can see all that's going on. With FC if you are attempting to do it properly and have a horizontal position all the time, you only get a brief glimpse of the pool side deck as you roll your body to make it easier for the mouth to clear the water line for an inhalation (unless you are rolling too much in "star-gazer" mode! ). The rest of the stroke cycle is spent blowing out bubbles in an underwater exhalation. You can make the mistake of trying to swim FC too slowly (with each complete stroke cycle taking more than 5 secs say!) - that may in fact magnify your problems, it doesn't seem to work well, if you make every action deliberately very slow! Getting up a bit of decent forward momentum can help things, e.g. by keeping the whole body up nearer the surface. You don't want to be dragging low-lying legs along, because that will consume energy and possibly make breathing more difficult as you roll your body to facilitate inhalation!
I am possibly nearing the end of my ration of time (at 79) but due to lack of fitness etc, I can now only manage about 3x20m of FC, using a relaxed slow'ish style, without stopping for a rest to allow breathing/heart rate to get back to an acceptable level before continuing. I get to almost the end of my third 20m length, and can feel almost a dislike for carrying on much further due to spending what seems a lot of time peering through the water with my head low - so in my case am sure there is a psychological factor. When swimming faster and inhaling on every 3rd arm stroke, and even on every 4th arm stroke - that means for me, spending less time looking UW. It seems better because I'm concentrating on doing the very best I can to go faster - but then my lack of fitness "kicks in" and I got to have a rest! Long gone are the days in my mid 20s when I used to swim a mile of FC in a 75 yard open-air lido pool - without any rests, but probably with "crappy" technique and slow - (about 45-50 mins to the mile - I didn't learn to swim till I was 21). When I came back to swimming at 70 after "donkey's years" of just an occasional swim while on holiday, found I could barely manage 1 length of FC without a rest, and despite a lot of practice it hasn't got much better!
So what's the answer in your case? Think it might be best to concentrate on getting used to a quick snatched inhalation while swimming a very basic FC - just paddling the arms through the water - but concentrating on the inhalation/exhalation process - relaxing as much as possible - and don't force the exhalation! Be positive and (try to) think how enjoyable the whole process is - forget about covering any set distance, just get used to having your face in the water, steadily exhaling for much of the time. Inhale quickly, and exhale slowly/steadily!
Another factor that may be important in your case is the "energy expenditure rate versus breathing rate". You wont get far if you don't take in sufficient air! Trouble can build-up gradually if you don't take in enough air - and just as important, exhale enough stale air. You might get along fine for a while, and then either, get to the point where you can't seem to take another breath (this is usually caused by a build up of stale air through insufficient exhalation) - or your muscles get so fatigued you can't go much further, due to not getting sufficient air into your system (assuming you are going at a moderate pace, and not expending an enormous amount of energy).
Um! I think I need to "take a slice of my own advice"!
Just finished setting up the account and briefly went through the forum so I guess the first thing to do is say hello and introduce myself. I will keep it short.
Married with two kids a boy and a girl.I am an age group (50 as you read) triathlete and an intermediate swimmer looking for the next breakthrough in my swimming. Doing sports more than a hobby is a way of life. Looking forward to learn from you all, put it in practise in the water and bring back to those close to me a bit of what I have learned.
All the very best.
In general any newly-learned stroke or technique will feel awkward and unnatural at first; it will take time before it starts to "flow".
With breaststroke, particularly for beginners, the key thing is to synchronise the kick and arm-pull so that they alternate - i.e. when you kick, your hands go forwards, and when you pull with the hands, the legs tuck under ready for the next kick. The hands going forward and the legs tucking under are what are known as "recovery" phases - this means actions that don't cause propulsion, but 'recover' the arms (or legs) to the position ready to make the next propulsive move. So, in breast stroke, when the the legs kick, the hands recover, and when the hands pull, the legs recover.
The other thing with breaststroke is the glide - after the legs kick back and the hands have gone forward you can glide for some distance before starting the arm pull. Try to make the glide as relaxed as possible and you should find the stroke less tiring. In breaststroke, it's mostly the kick that gives you propulsion; the arm pull can be quite small and is only really needed to help lift your head out of the water for the breath.
When I say that, I'm assuming of course that you're not swimming 'heads up'! Swimming breaststroke with your face out of the water will definitely make it more tiring. That's because when the head's up, the legs tend to sink, so you're dragging yourself through a lot of water resistance. In the 'glide' phase of the stroke, you want your face in the water and your body as horizontal as possible, to minimize drag.
Hope that helps a bit!
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