varying focal points
Hi - I'm still fairly new to TI (started in December 2009), but was interested in this thread because I've encountered some "tight spaces" in our local pool recently. The pool has an unusual shape in that its width narrows towards the deep end, so the lanes do too.
After unforeseen contact with both a foot and an arm of a "wide" breast stroker in the neighboring lane, and close calls with a "very wide arm" freestyler in the lane I was sharing, I tried stopping at each end of the pool to see where I was in relation to these other swimmers. I also did some peeking along the way and when I was approaching them (either from the opposite direction or to pass them in the same direction), I would concentrate more on "feeling" my streamlining while pausing longer between strokes.
The earlier suggestion in this thread to focus on staying relaxed has also helped me, since normally I tend to tense up when I feel crowded. I also try to pay attention to how changing my form (by peeking, etc.) affects my streamlining.
The fun thing for me is that with TI, I can now swim continuously for longer stretches of time, which means I tend to "outlast" other lappers and thus I almost always get a lane to myself for at least a few minutes towards the end of the busier sessions.
Hope you are finding some strategies that will work for you!
I have had exactly the same 'side-effects' as you described. I can swim twice as long now and eventually a free lane will be available. And when it is I try to make the most of it to practice more the slow drills, like superman glide and skate.
An advice I found very useful on this thread was to practice the movements as slow as you can when you find yourself behind someone, even if this sometime makes me actually go faster as the tecnique is more precise :)
I have had this problem from time to time myself, and in fact I got "dove into" last week, that's right some guy dove into me when he wasn't paying attention to where I was in the lane. Leaving this incident out of the equation, I have had issues of choppiness affecting my ability to inhale properly, but not necessarily distance of other swimmers in proximity to me. My arm rotation is close to my body so I do not run into arms extending out to hit others passing by, and I am able to hug the lane rope pretty well. I guess what I am getting at is sharing my experiences, but also to encourage a tight line of the arm rotation.
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