View Full Version : It worked for me too!

01-31-2011, 08:15 PM
Thanks! This post is thanks to TI, Terry and all of the posters here who helped me. 2 years ago (about 12 months of actual practice) I could hardly swim a stroke and now I'm shooting for my first triathlon for my 50th bday. Last week I swam my first continuous mile, and repeated the fete two more times to prove to myself that I really had it. I now feel like I can swim perpetually with little effort (albeit not very fast).

In hopes that I can help others the way that I have been helped by this forum, I offer the following. In addition to all of the TI techniques, the following little things (most I got from this forum) seemed to help me a lot. As you might guess, the real key is relaxation and breathing.

1) Bounce and breath in your natural rhythm. Then superman and breath in natural rhythm. Then breastroke and breath in natural rhythm. I do this at the beginning every time I get in the water. It helps you feel the water, feel your streamline and get your strokes and breathing synchronized.

2) Slow down. Your aim is to swim as effortlessly as if you were walking. Breathing should come easily and as you warm up your stroke and breathing rate can increase together. If you start to feel winded, slow down.

3) Learn to relax muscles that aren't being used. I had some trouble with foot and toe cramps. Once I concentrated on relaxing my legs during the pause in the kick the problem went away.

4) Don't hang on the walls. I got into a habit of thinking of swimming as from wall to wall with the wall as the safety breathing zone. I kind of hit a mental plateau at 200 yards and I would tense up beyond that. Then I decided to learn flip turns (it was a Saturday "fun" thing that I did on a whim, see below) and that turned walls into "no breathing" zones and so I then started thinking of the pool as the safe breathing zone. And so I started stroking slower to allow myself to recover. Once I made that leap, I became much more relaxed in the pool, and of course better balanced, and of course breathing became much easier.

5) Give yourself a break! During the week I go to the pool very focused. I have a set of goals to work on, I have an hour to get it done, and then back to work. I started going on Saturday as my "day off" and just letting it happen. No plan other than the insistence that I will be relaxed and I will enjoy it. Some days I couldn't and I didn't so it was a short session and then hit the hot tub. But overall, I think most of my breakthroughs came on Saturdays.

Good Luck to others on this quest!

01-31-2011, 08:19 PM
Congratulations on your first - of many - mile. And thanks for sharing so much hard-won wisdom. One question. When you wrote "Bounce and breathe" did you mean "Bob and breathe?"

01-31-2011, 08:42 PM
yes, bouncing = bobbing, with style!

02-01-2011, 01:42 AM
Scott, I love your description of the transition of the pool to the "safe breathing zone"...it shows you've really reached a good level of comfort in the water!

02-01-2011, 09:40 AM
This is a real motivating story for me, thanks Scott.

As a new swimmer, I decided that I was going to have fun with this, so I work on the drills but I try to incorporate your "Saturday" into a part of every swim. It helps me to really enjoy the process of learning how to move in the water.
I'm sure my stroke is presently pretty ugly in TI circles but am finding a way to relax, learning to find balance and breath and to swim lengths without being worn out at the end of the day. Yours message gives me confidence that I will continue to improve and some day be able to swim distance.
Thanks again for sharing.

08-12-2016, 09:07 AM
Congrats. Appreciating your hard work.

06-11-2017, 02:43 PM
As someone who has always wanted to swim that first mile, this is very encouraging for me so I thank you.

I suffer from the safe breathing zone as well and I will try the flip turns to see if it helps. I have gone 4 laps max so far.

Cheers and Happy Laps.

02-10-2018, 11:10 AM
Thanks Scott, it will help many newbies in performing better.