Trying to improve on swimming

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ashman
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Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 1:06 am

Trying to improve on swimming

Postby ashman » Sat May 07, 2011 1:37 am

Hi,
I have just returned to swimming after a 10-14 year break. I originally used to swim with my head out of the water which is what was common in the islands. Them when I came to Wellington I saw people were swimming differently and they looked more efficient so I got an instructor and she taught me the S pull technique etc. I managed to swim 80-100 lengths in those days quite comfortably. On my return after a long gap, however I found I can only do 100 metres and I am out of breath. Being a keen cyclist I thought some fitness may be transferred however as different muscles are used I guess its a totally different ball game. I also recently purchased the box set and it is a gem and I have to admit I love the way Bill Kirby swims and have been trying to emulate that Bill kirby visualisation. So, my next question is is this the right thing to do? I am a 1.72 cm male and my ape index is zero so I figure I must be a bambino. I recently went to Hilton Brown swim school for an assessment and they reckoned one of the things obvious was that my supporting hand was dropping while I am trying to breathe and I was flat but since have incorporated my rotation well. What is the best thing for me to do for fitness and tecnique? Join a squad class...the only thing is they require someone to be able to swim 1500m in 30 mins to join a squad. I cannot do that. I can do may be 1800m in 60mins, so am quite slow. Basically, I wonder as I dont have any footage of me and am not a triathlete but I am really keen to improve my technique,be efficient and swim well as cross training. Should I just continue doing the dvd boxset etc to improve or can I incorporate say fins, buoy? Should I buy a bambino correcting technique? Just want to make sure I dont pick up any more bad habits and continue to improve my swimming.

Cheers,

Ash

gregorywannabe
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Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:43 am
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: Trying to improve on swimming

Postby gregorywannabe » Wed May 18, 2011 8:17 am

When you say a "swim squad" are you referring to Masters Swimming? I suspect not as Masters welcome anyone of any ability and/or speed and should have lanes/sessions for all abilities. I'm guessing you're in NZ so you could try finding a club local to you, see: http://www.nzmastersswimming.org.nz/ for general info and http://www.nzmastersswimming.org.nz/abo ... ning_times for
local clubs. Hope there's one near to you that you can join.

gw

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Adam Young
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Re: Trying to improve on swimming

Postby Adam Young » Fri May 27, 2011 7:57 pm

Hi Ash,

Do you feel at all anxious in the water? From how you describe yourself you don't sound it, especially as you swam a lot when you were younger.

Are you sure you're not more of an Arnie? If your legs are sinking low in the water then this adds a huge amount of drag and will slow you down massively no matter how fit you are.

Saying that fitness doesn't carry over very well between bike/run and swimming as a lot of the aerobic system is in the cells in the muscles you're using and you need to develop this in the swimming groups. I'm sure with some regular training this will come back pretty quick though.

Adam

ashman
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Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 1:06 am

Re: Trying to improve on swimming

Postby ashman » Sat May 28, 2011 10:43 am

Hi Adam,
Not really sure what I am to be honest. However, I have found my legs to sink even from way back (Thats why I love the pull buoy) as I am not so buoyant or should I say am still experimenting to find the best streamlined position for me. And, as a slightly built male i.e 1.72cm at 64-65 kg I am reluctant to say I am Arnie as my visual of Arnie is well more like Arnie (Terminator) and I am no Body builder per say. The reason why I gravitate towards Bambino is my left arm dropping while I am breathing and the fact my legs sink a lot unless I kick a 6 beat, plus my medium built size....aaahh- just thought of it when I did the test it came out as a Bambino mostly with a slightly Arnie mix. So you are sort of correct really, Adam. However, I have just downloaded my bambino guide which I will play with in my next swim. Plus incorporate some of the tips the good folks have imparted very kindly.

Cheers,

Ash

ashman
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Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 1:06 am

Re: Trying to improve on swimming

Postby ashman » Sat May 28, 2011 10:53 am

Adam,
I forgot to say no I am not anxious in the water at all. However, If I am tired or have tried to push myself while I am still building my stamina and am halfway through the lane I find I can get a little tense as the first thing to go is my form and my hastiness to get to the other side of the pull so I can stop and breathe. Really all I need to do is go on my back and gently kick...so that is an odd thing which I only thought of it as you asked me the question whether I was anxious...interesting insight though for me.

Cheers,

Ashman

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Adam Young
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Re: Trying to improve on swimming

Postby Adam Young » Sat May 28, 2011 6:15 pm

Hi Ash,

OK, let us know how you go!

Watch your pacing and check you don't start too fast when you swim - it will feel easy to begin with but will make things much harder after a few laps.

Adam

ashman
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Re: Trying to improve on swimming

Postby ashman » Sat May 28, 2011 11:26 pm

Hi Adam,
Thanks I will report my progress. I was curious and did the questionnaire again and maybe I had forgotten to press get results as this time I really thought about each question and this time I get 50% Arnie & 50% Bambino. So I am bemused but I am sure the bambino guide (which I have ) will still help me as well as the Arnie guide which I may get at some stage.

Cheers,

Ash

ambassadorpools
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Re: Trying to improve on swimming

Postby ambassadorpools » Mon Jun 27, 2011 1:13 pm

You can try freestyle it can help swimmer a lot, you spend most of your time on your edge or side, not on your belly! Imitate a sharp knife, on the edge of the blade, not a big soup spoon. Good freestyle, both swimming and drilling, requires you to rotate or roll your body along your "long-axis" or spine
Services of above ground swimming pools to make home beautiful with above ground pools

ashman
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Re: Trying to improve on swimming

Postby ashman » Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:46 am

Thanks for the advice. I need to get some fins as I believe some of the drills on the side would be beneficial to try with the fins particularly the one on the dvd set. I have recently received my Masterclass DVD so keen to try them out a bit more. As for the earlier question I posed whether I could float or not on my back my legs definitely sink no matter what I try. As for The mushroom float or rolling into a foetal like position I do float so yeah! I have been doing some drills already with the kickboard and just catch up drills without the fins etc and I think it is going well. However I am not able to yet find out my most efficient strokes per minute as I haven't really given that a go. Just trying to improve efficiency by rotating, exhaling and to do many laps without stopping. So far, I am able to do 12 laps in a 25m pool but at the end of it I am almost gasping. Every now and then I realise I tend to hold my breath so I am trying to be aware of bubble, bubble , stretch. What is an efficient time to do a lap in(25m pool) ? I average 25-30secs per length which is quite slow so am still trying to improve on this. I guess more drills and bulding stamina and patience. Every now and then I seem to have a great feel for the water especially if I scull for a bit. Thanks for the advice everyone, really appreciate it.

Ashman

Don Wright
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Re: Trying to improve on swimming

Postby Don Wright » Wed Jun 29, 2011 4:44 pm

Hi ashman!
Sorry to read thar you ain't getting anywhere with your effort to float - I looked back at your earlier topic "Floating" (of early May). Maybe you are one of those rare "sinker" chaps that "solarenergy" mentioned from his experience in instructing. The only answer to that, is to always keep the legs busy, even if it's only a subdued flutter kick! But, have you really tried that fully stretched out position (front or back), with the hands raised above the water surface? It should take a couple of seconds for the legs to come up slowly. The reason for doing that is quite simple, in the water, gravity is drawing your body downwards, counteracted by water pressure pushing in on all sides, including the direction opposed to the downward gravitational effect (And of course there must be some upward effect due to buoyancy because of air in the lungs). Now if you can raise just your hands above the surface, the only force acting on the hands is the downward gravitational one - this means that the hands act as a considerable counterweight, so your body should seesaw about your centre of buoyancy. You must have some buoyance (we hope) unless you sink like a brick to the bottom!!!
On the matter of fins! - many of us are prohibited from using them in Public pool sessions, and although they give you a smashing sense of movement, you can do a very effective "on your side" flutter kicking drill without them! If you have low buoyancy it may be necessary to turn the neck and look up at the ceiling to breathe, and possibly keep in that position till your mouth is clear of the water. Personally, it was only a short time ago that I plucked up the courage to do such a drill with both arms down at the sides - it was a weird sensation at first, but am quite used to it now (I even tried doing a surface body dolphin action with my arms at the sides and tum down - but that felt very clumsy indeed. I must try it on my side to see if thats better!) Good luck with your efforts! Bye / Don
Last edited by Don Wright on Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Don Wright
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Re: Trying to improve on swimming

Postby Don Wright » Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:12 pm

Hi again ashman! I've just had some afterthoughts - when I said the only force on the hands held above the water was the downward gravitational one - that wasn't quite correct. We are living at the bottom of an overhead "ocean" of air - and that, like water, exerts a pressure all around us (14 Lb/sq in!?). However by comparison with water pressure, due to water's density relative to air, it can be ignored! On the business of doing "on the side" crawl flutter kicking drills, I remembered what Bob Bowman says on the Swim Fast DVD of Michael Phelps fly stroke (and by cross fertilisation of ideas, I think it applies to the crawl leg flutter as well). Basically, he says that the purpose of doing body dolphin "on the side" drill, is to encourage getting as much propulsion out of the dolphin kick upbeat as for the downbeat (which is normally the most propulsive). If one uses a kickboard while on the tum doing a crawl flutter kick, it's often a problem getting the body in the correct full stroke position - and without any such aid its a bit unsatisfactory I think, However, if the crawl kicking drill is done on the side, then there is more freedom in the leg action - which translates into a better leg flutter when in the normal position! What do you reckon? Bye / Don

Don Wright
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Re: Trying to improve on swimming

Postby Don Wright » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:15 pm

Oh no!!! Yus it's me again! A propos my mention of doing flutter kicking drills on the side, with both arms also at the sides. I expect you wonder why would anyone wish to do such a thing? Well, heres the answer! In a recent blog, the SS team sugested trying something new to avoid boredom from always doing the same old stuff. I noticed on the forum, a topic quite a long time ago, about some one having a leg injury but needing to swim the US Navy Seals so-called Combat Side Stroke (I think "Covert" might be a better term than "Combat!, 'cos the stroke is meant to show as little of the body above water as possible). In that stroke you start off flutter kicking on the tum, with arms outstretched. Then sweep one arm down as in a front crawl stroke, rotating your body to the side as you do so. During this action, you look up at the ceiling, with just the face breaking the surface to inhale. (The flutter kick is maintained throughout until a sort of sideways breastroke kick is done later!) Next, you turn the head to look down at the bottom, and still on the side, pull the other arm right through, like a crawl arm stroke action, until it also is at the side. (i.e. now both arms are at the side, and you are still on the side flutter kicking!) Now comes the tricky bit, you have to recover the arms from the hips, as close to the body as possible, without destroying the forward momentum. This should be done with a simultaneous rotation of the body back onto the tum. while doing a wide scissor kick and resumption of the crawl flutter kick. In practice, my scissor kick is a bit feeble, so I substitute a sort of sideways breaststroke kick! That's it - now you know how I came to try flutter kicking on the side with my arms also at the side!!! Bye / Don

P.S. There is a sprint version of the stroke in which the second armstroke only travels down until it is just under the chest, then both arms are recovered - the first one from the hips, and the second from under the chest! Worth trying!!!
Last edited by Don Wright on Fri Sep 16, 2011 10:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

ashman
Posts: 12
Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 1:06 am

Re: Trying to improve on swimming

Postby ashman » Sat Sep 17, 2011 12:49 am

Hi Don,
It has been a while since I posted a reply. But I have incorporated ideas plus practising the drills and so on. I am pleased to reply I can now comfortably do 20-30 laps in the 25m pool so I am really pleased. Now for learning tumble tuns as well, me thinks. Thanks for all your help Don and others. PS That navy seals drill sounds kinda exciting too...something different and like you said variety is the spice of life.

Cheerio,

Ashman

Don Wright
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Re: Trying to improve on swimming

Postby Don Wright » Sat Sep 17, 2011 9:37 am

Hi ashman! The reason this topic got resuscitated a few days ago, is that a spammer added a reply to this topic, plus 4 others. The chap posted in what looked like relevant text in some of the cases, but always added a different blue advert line at the conclusion of each. A long time ago the SS team told me that was an attempt to improve the ranking of the advertised firms for search engine scans. The chap got his stuff chopped pronto! The individual posts were only separated by a minute, a shorter time than the text could be typed in - so it was a "copy" from external text to the clipboard, and then a "paste" in to the forum! The SS team have got a bit of a headache with the rubbish some try to put on the forum, posts about handbags, jewelry, clothes etc. Onto more important things like swimming! Am glad that you are doing well - keep at it. Not doing so well at my end, I wouldn't say that I was thinking about reserving a place for myself under the daisies, but osteo-arthritic pains in most of my joints, plus side effects of the medication they put me on after heart surgery, doesn't make for a cheery existence. At the ripe old age of 75, I won't be breaking any speed records! Doing better on front crawl - using a small amplitude flutter kick and feeling the feet pass each other, so as to avoid scissor kicks while inhaling. As I've said elsewhere on the forum, am trying to utilize the momentum of the arm recovery to get a forward surge as the arm enters the water with fingers spearing in first ( a sort of "corkscrew" action!). At arm entry, I roll towards that entering arm (as recommended on a Tom Jager DVD, really stretching out on the side), but keeping that entering arm going down gently/slowly (no gliding!) to the catch (arm maybe at 20-30 degrees to the surface). Then speeding up, as the palm is tilted to point the fingers down to the pool bottom (i.e. SS team's idea of "show a smiley face on the palm of the hand to the wall you've just left "). By that time, am into the start of the pull phase and am rolling back momentarily onto an even keel, ready to roll away from the stroking arm as it gets into the push phase. Have found that I actually seemed to get along a bit faster, by making the whole action slightly slower but smoother - i.e. less turbulent! I've completely adopted the SS team's recommend of bilateral breathing, because it gives me longer to exhale. For a while I used unilateral breathing for making a "quick dash" (my version of a sprint!), but can now get along just as well doing bilateral breathing, so "phooey!" to unilateral. The other thing that I've picked up from the SS team recommends, is to translate the idea of making a "soft entry" with the hands across to my fly stroke (-efforts!). On a DVD I have of Phelps doing his stuff, his coach says that one of the important things is to make a "soft entry" with the hands, so as not to take down lots of air bubbles - i.e. turbulence ahead of one's approaching body. I could see this clearly when I did my one-arm fly drill, using first my old "thumb first" entry (which slices into the water!), then the SS team idea of gently spearing the finger tips in first (that presents the palm in a downward direction, and so lessens the extent to which the upper torso plunges down below the surface!). With the arm entry in front crawl, I can manage making a "soft entry" with my right arm, but the left still seems to be taking down a lot of bubbles. Am basically left handed for "small" hand movements (like writing) with little arm movement, but right handed for "big" hand/arm movements using tools (sawing, hammering etc) - so I guess my right arm is the most coordinated for swimming. Before coming across the SwimSmooth website, I used to use the front crawl arm action described in Maglischo's "swimmers bible". That meant, for the "insweep" after the catch, doing a radial action of the upper arm (almost parallel with the surface) with the lower arm pointed to the bottom, as the elbow was brought in close to the ribs (part of the old "S" bend idea). At the tail end of that action, if done vigorously, the arm action causes one to roll towards that arm automatically (this is why Maglischo states that the arm action initiates body roll ). However, with the SS team idea of what is effectively a direct pull/push through - there is no automatic body roll, we have to "manually" remember to do it in order to facilitate inhalation etc (and the "etc" includes Maglischo's recommend to "always try to pull/push into undisturbed water" - which covers the legs kicking first one way then the other - also, it covers the business "up front" of the downsweeping arms avoiding bubble entrainment, which impedes the smooth flow of one's oncoming body). Can't say that I do very well over keeping the head still (except of course for a quick turn of the neck for inhalation), haven't quite got the "nodding donkey" head problem, but there is a tendency to rotate the head a little as the rest of the body rolls. I think the answer to that might be to look ahead under the water surface more, instead of straight at the bottom - but that might cause the legs to sink a bit - will give it a try anyway. There is a place a short train journey from me where they do stroke analysis in an "endless" pool with a take-away DVD to brood over one's faults - I've asked them for an appointment but they say they are heavily booked for a while - so I'll have to be patient!!! Have you made any discoveries that I can learn from?! All the best to you. Bye / Don

Don Wright
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Re: Trying to improve on swimming

Postby Don Wright » Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:18 am

Hi again ashman. This is really a postscript to my lengthy previous post!!! By chance I found this YouTube video clip of Mark Foster doing his stuff : -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlNpFAvt1wk

... about 48 or 50 secs into the clip, as his left arm enters the water you can see him really stretching out AND rolling (certainly the upper torso) so that his left shoulder is down and right shoulder up. He keeps his head looking directly ahead, except for inhalation purposes, and momentarily his arm is in line with his head. I was delighted to see this tie in with what I mentioned as part of the "corkscrew action" of carrying on the momentum of the recovering arm into the body roll at arm entry. There doesn't seem to be any dead spot in his arm action as far as I can see. Am not sure about the rest of his arm stroke, it looks like there is a bit of the upper arm moving radially in to the side (Maglischo's "insweep"), before a standard upsweep when the body rolls away from the upcoming arm, so as to enable the arm to follow a more central path. I will stick with the SS team's idea of a gentle downsweep to the catch - no dramatic EVF for me! I thought that the arm entry in line with the head, due to body roll, was quite interesting compared with the SS idea of entering the arm in line with the shoulder when the body is temporarily in a prone position. As Paul says on his "Catch Masterclass" DVD, as long as the arms are in continuous motion (even if some phases are slower than others!), not much can go wrong - we hope!!! (It was re-assuring to see Mark using the SS team's recommend of spearing the fingers into the water at arm entry, instead of the bad thumb-first entry.) Bye / Don

Don Wright
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Re: Trying to improve on swimming

Postby Don Wright » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:19 pm

Hi again! I've just spent a few minutes looking at the Mr Smooth animation, before adding this explanatory post - which is a sort of apology, since I don't want to mislead anyone. I have sinned - mea culpa! :( The Mr Smooth animation shows that there is considerable body roll as the arm enters and extends momentarily quite close to the head, before moving down to the catch. That's one slap on the wrist for me! :o The other point, on what I called a "corkscrew action" is another "naughtiness" on my part! This misconception of mine arose because of the way I do my arm recovery - not like Mr Smooth where the elbow is the highest point for most of the recovery. I prefer the more relaxed style where the arm comes out of the water with a bend of say 135 degrees between upper/lower arm, and maintaining that bend, swings up and over. In such a case I think my hand traces out a sort of helix (corkscrew) due to changing body roll as the arm nears the approach to water entry. So really, my so-called "corkscrew" action "fluff" deserves yet another slap on the wrist :o - what a thoroughly bad lad I am!!! :twisted: Bye / Don

Draven4545
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Re: Trying to improve on swimming

Postby Draven4545 » Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:04 pm

Swimming burns lots of calories, anywhere from 500-650 per hour depending on how efficiently you swim (you burn more flopping around than swimming cleanly!) and how buoyant you are (the more body fat you have, the more you float and the fewer calories it takes to swim). Very early and original research on swimming and calorie expenditure showed that swimming, regardless of thestroke, burned about 89% of the calories burned during running and 97% ofthecaloriesburnedduring cycling for the same time period.


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Adolfsmith69
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Re: Trying to improve on swimming

Postby Adolfsmith69 » Mon Nov 04, 2013 12:33 pm

Me and my Uncle swam Wastwater back in July but we didn't use a support canoe so not sure where you would find one.
We thought it would be best to start at the Wasdale Head end of the lake and go with the flow of the river through the lake as it were but when we did a recce and then on the day the wind seemed to blow in the opposite direction so we set off from where the river flows out of the lake. It took us 1hr 45mins.
We swam up on the side of the screes and headed for a pebble beach area which left us with a short walk through a field to get to the car park. The bottom disappears gradually when you set off and you don't see it again until the other end when it appears quite suddenly, apparently its a 200ft drop!
It was still pretty cold when we did it and I wish I wore some socks as it took ages to warm my feet up afterwards.


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