Posts Tagged ‘proper swimming technique’

Swimming Technique – Balance

September 24, 2008

I must say that going to a swimming class has greatly improved my swimming technique. My first post on proper technique was trying to teach myself using free online resources.

That got me through a triathlon, though not very well, and with what I have learned in the last few weeks from my triathlon instructor is orders of magnitude more.

Now I cannot speak for anyone else, I am sure everyone has their own set of troubles, but with how I taught myself I needed to work on one main thing: Balance.

Balance in the water so that the body is in the right position and the arms and legs can simply work to propel you rather than keeping you afloat in the position you think you want. You need to rotate from side to side well and from front to back you need to make sure your hips and legs aren’t sinking making your head pop up.

I can only share my troubles that have fixed my swimming for the most part. I can now swim slowly if I want. The reason I could not swim slow before was because I was not balanced front to back and as I slowed down my legs dropped down slowing me to a rediculous pace. I wanted to teach myself how to swim and thought I didn’t need a swim instructor, just a few online lessons. I was of course wrong, but that is because I was hunting for this stuff on my own and I had never thought to lookup a balance drill. I had no idea such a beast existed. I guess I should have bought a book. But if you are like me and want to teach yourself, hopefully this and my last post on the topic help you out.

Most of the balance drills I was shown by my instructor I found online:

There was one drill similar to the third one that I couldn’t find. It is starting on the side, breath with head straight up to the ceiling, then breath out facing down as you take a single stroke and switch sides. It is like normal swimming but rotating around in an exagerated fashion. Rather than going 180 degrees with the head and about 90 degrees with the body you go 360 degrees with the head and 180 with the body.

There were two other things that helped me greatly once I had the balance down:

  1. I had no idea to rotate with every stroke not just when breathing.
  2. You kick with the whole leg from the hip, not bending the knees, keeping it real small to stay inside the tunnel of moving water your body created, taking care not to get out into the water that you can imagine is just nicely flowing around the disturbance you already created. Legs are just in the way and don’t propel you too much

Go to a class if you really want to improve, the teacher can easily see what is wrong and fix it right away, no need to swim miles trying to figure it out for yourself.

Workin on the Weekend

July 6, 2008

I swam before the weights this time, and it did not make a bit of difference. I was shocked. In fact I did worse. I must have been all around tired because I could not even muster up one grouping of 4 consecutive laps. The goggles kept coming loose, or I just got too tired each time. One time I fixed the goggles and started to just rest then decided what the heck, just keep going. So I must have rested a good 20 seconds between, but still got 2:30 as a time for 4 laps. I did improve the other times though, 1/2/4 = 0:18/0:48/2:30

I noticed that I don’t choke on the water while breathing anymore and taking a giant breath is easier. I had a little whoopdie-doo in my arm pull when trying to stay up a split second longer, it is very obvious cause I can see the vortexes of bubbles as my arm pulls through the water. This was killing the power in one of every 3 pulls. I sort of found the way to do it is pretend like you are a body builder that has to bend your elbows to keep them from rubbing the huge biceps on your side as you walk. This is the shape that your arms need to be in while swimming. The key to getting rid of the whoopdie-doo was to get the breathing done quicker then I don’t have to delay getting my head back down.  I just remember the article I linked to in my proper swimming technique post that talk about how your arms must be bent like this and it is certainly working for me. I made it down the length of the pool in 19 strokes.

Now I was watching a very fit woman swim some, she was doing the 4×50 medley for practice, at least 3 in a row without stopping as far as I could tell, while I was doing the 1×50 plus the 2 minutes of huffing and puffing between. It was incredible. Especially the butterfly, that is one stroke I won’t be trying any time soon. The thing I noticed was the flip turns. She was cutting out 6 yards of the swim by using the flip turnsand pushing off the wall. Her freestyle arm pulls were still taking somewhere in the 20’s. So I am very excited that I am swimming efficiently, I just don’t have the stamina to do it for long, but that will come.

I am obsessed with the darn clock while I am in the pool. I find I am waiting for the top of a minute all too often to time myself and that is just making me waste time I don’t need to waste. I am going to time myself once at each distance unless I screw something up and think I can do better. Then I will just swim without worrying about the clock the rest of the time. I am going to start practicing flip turns, they seem like they will take a bit of time to master though. But hey it will be fun to swallow and choke on all that water while I am learning.

The thing about my times for the laps I am swimming now is that I am not pushing off the wall when I start and when swimming multiple laps I grab the top of the wall with my hand and bring my feet up under me before starting off in the other direction. I guess I push off slightly but I am on top of the water starting my stroke immediately. By properly pushing off the wall I should be able to cut 5 yards off the distance and get the number of arm pulls down to somewhere near 15-16. I might start swimming another day of the week to get a little more practice in for a bit too. I really didn’t like being last out of the water with my last (and first) triathlon as I described in the story in one of my first posts. I want to swim better so I don’t look like an injured mamal while swimming.

Here is a site with a bunch of videos with training techinques, it also has an open turn for the natural first step in learning how to turn.