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-   -   Holding onto air for buoyancy (http://www.totalimmersion.net/forum/showthread.php?t=7670)

dupdup 02-15-2015 11:24 PM

Holding onto air for buoyancy
 
I'm struggling to get my mouth to air. I'm am so close but not close enough. I'm ok with keeping half my head in the water, just can't quite get there. If I swim a length holding my breath and just going through the movements for air I consistently get enough of my face about water to breath. As soon as I start to breath out at all I seem to slowly sink during the length to the point where I would just get water. Is it just that my form is missing something (breathing should not be this precise) or is everyone just doing a really good job of air management. I've tried to focus on letting out very gradually but I can't seem to get it right. Terry makes an interesting point in the workbook:

"Make air exchange continuous never hold breath at any time.
Expel air forcefully as mouth clears. Think of blowing the water away from your mouth.
This helps make the inhale automatic by creating a vacuum. Air will rush in.
Finally, inhale just enough, and exhale just enough. Neither try to fill nor empty your lungs."

Which almost sounds like he is advocating for not breathing out underwater, but I'm guessing he is talking about more aggressive breathing out when you surface.

CoachStuartMcDougal 02-16-2015 03:29 AM

Hi Dupdup,

Terry's not advocating for not breathing out underwater, nor holding your breath at anytime, as he notes in his first statement: "Make air exchange continuous never hold breath at any time"

Exhaling too quickly, too early will change buoyancy, especially with guys and heavy hips. It's important "make the air exchange continuous", but clearly there's more time to exhale than inhale; establishing good timing of both exhale and inhale is absolutely necessary.

In short, after quick inhale, begin a slow controlled exhale until you roll to get air on next stroke. At roll is when you empty you lungs as chin follows shoulder to air. Unlike Terry, I like to use "empty lungs" when rolling to breathe to underscore the timing of when to exhale quickly and forcibly, although you don't completely empty lungs.

Here's a video that demonstrates body position with continuous breathing holding enough air back (slow exhale) until chin follows shoulder to air, as well as, exhaling too quickly too soon. SwimVICE - How to Make Breathing Comfortable in Freestyle

Stuart

sclim 02-16-2015 04:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CoachStuartMcDougal (Post 51184)

Here's a video that demonstrates body position with continuous breathing holding enough air back (slow exhale) until chin follows shoulder to air, as well as, exhaling too quickly too soon. SwimVICE - How to Make Breathing Comfortable in Freestyle

Stuart

It's interesting how much Mandy sinks on too much exhalation, even given her normal female body fat distribution. Imagine how much worse the problem becomes for us super skinny guys.

CoachStuartMcDougal 02-16-2015 06:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sclim (Post 51195)
It's interesting how much Mandy sinks on too much exhalation, even given her normal female body fat distribution. Imagine how much worse the problem becomes for us super skinny guys.

Yup - and us not so skinny guys too ;-) A good test each swimmer can do is the buoyancy test. In the pool, fill your lungs, deep breath - then hold knees to chest, face in water and bob on the surface for a moment until body stabilizes. Then begin exhaling quickly and continuously to see/feel when your body begins to drop to the bottom of the pool. This will give you a sense of how much air is needed in your lungs to maintain buoyancy.

I've seen swimmers exhale almost all air in their lungs and remain at the surface (lucky!), while on the other extreme, some will head to the bottom after just a few seconds of exhaling (sinkers!). The majority seem to be within 60%-40% lung capacity before falling to the bottom of the pool.

Its a fun and interesting test - give it a try.

Stuart

dupdup 02-16-2015 09:26 PM

Thanks for the replies! I'll need to try that test. That video was the one that got me started on the buoyancy issue.

I was swimming today and what seemed to be sort of working for me was focusing on actually breathing in, not just going through the motion. Trying not focus as much on breathing out. Had some success. Still need to get that control down. Having never been a swimmer at all I don't have breathing established using classic technique either.

jenson1a 02-17-2015 11:02 AM

Coach Stuart

Partial quote of your post:
I've seen swimmers exhale almost all air in their lungs and remain at the surface (lucky!), while on the other extreme, some will head to the bottom after just a few seconds of exhaling (sinkers!). The majority seem to be within 60%-40% lung capacity before falling to the bottom of the pool.


Just curious, but why does that happen? My husband could not believe that I could not sink to the bottom when exhaling air. He pushed me down and placed his foot on my back. When he released it, I popped up like a cork. Could it be that I still had some air trapped in the lungs somewhere?

Sherry

CoachStuartMcDougal 02-17-2015 05:35 PM

Hi Sherry,

You are one of the lucky ones! I'm always a bit jealous since I sink much easier than remain buoyant.

Based on observation, I haven't had a female sinker (at lease not yet) and all float quite easily, even after emptying lungs. It's largely understood or accepted that body fat is more buoyant than lean muscle, women are typically 10-15% higher in body fat than men providing that added buoyancy.

That said I've had some very thick, not so lean guys, head right to the bottom with lugs full, as well as some very lean, male (5% or less bf) runners bob effortlessly on the surface, including legs. Body builders (guys) on the other hand, generally sink fairly quickly. It seems the frame, size of bone and its density is also a big factor too. But this is only based on my observations, not necessarily science or fact. Size of lungs I'm sure is a factor as well.

Coach Suzanne, "Dr A" probably has a much better, more refined explanation if she sees this thread.

Stuart

jenson1a 02-18-2015 11:04 AM

Coach Stuart

Well I guess that my buoyancy is all (or one of the few) things that I have going for me. I am short. 63 inches, and wingspan the same, small hands and forearms (not much of a paddle), female, and 71 yrs old. But I can't change any of those, so why worry. Got to play the cards you are dealt with.

Sherry

CoachStuartMcDougal 02-18-2015 04:06 PM

Haaa! I sure like your humble spirit Sherry. You are 71(!), arms and legs are moving freely, you're engaged in a sport like never before, learning and improving daily/weekly, activating parts of your brain that go mostly unused in our senior years --- how great is that? Swimming, or better - "mindful swimming" = smiles, fun, enjoyment and youth. :-)

Enjoy!

Stuart

jenson1a 02-19-2015 10:26 AM

Thank you Stuart!

sclim 04-02-2015 07:50 AM

OK, I'm revisiting this topic after initially obsessing about it, then abandoning it for a while after I found it too hard to do effectively.

Just to bring everyone up to date, I'm a very dense sinker, and because my legs are particularly dense. By pushing my head and chest down to level, I can only float horizontally below the surface for a short while with gliding with some forward velocity before my legs start to drop, drastically reducing the velocity further.

While swimming, I tried to keep some air in my lungs for buoyancy, but it only seemed to keep my trunk up, and didn't help the legs to stay up. Then I ran into some subjective shortness of breath that after thinking about it, likely came from retained carbon dioxide, as a result of shutting my throat and not letting any breath at all out (see "How Important is Exhaling Underwater?" thread). That's when I abandoned any idea of finessing my exhalation -- too difficult to do while micromanaging so many other details.

But now, I'm coming back to the topic because for the last month I have been trying specifically to increase my stroke length/decrease my SPL, using short one length sets with this single focus. One aspect of this quest has been to self observe what's happening on my initial push-off, and I notice the glide is getting better and better as I learn how to align my overlapping hands, squeeze my elbows to my head etc. but this all deteriorates when my legs start to drop (at the end of the glide), and I can't seem to prevent this.

That's when today I thought about trying again for a large inhalation to start with before the push off. Only this time, I thought I would try it with particular attention to getting a good diaphragmatic breath in, which I find difficult while breathing that quick gasp of air during that narrow time window while the mouth is half out of the water. My theory was that if I was really successful in displacing my diaphragm inferiorly and holding it there during my glide, my centre of buoyancy would move closer to my centre of gravity, thus reducing the rotational lever that was pushing my (hips and) legs down.

It seemed to work, and not only did I sink overall much less during my push-off glide, but the ending phase was much less decelerated by sinking legs. As I mentioned today in the "Favourite Practices and Sets -- Gearing Practice (no TT)" thread, I hit an SPL of 20 for the first time today, although I am not sure if this had anything to do with the diaphragmatic focus of my first hyper-inhalation on push-off. But it's certainly a possibility, maybe even likely.

But I'll keep on practicing this one huge inhalation at a time, (i.e. at the beginning of each length) and as I get used to it, and get used to holding the breath with a sustained lowered diaphragm, maybe I can do the same for subsequent inhalations during whole stroke swimming, and maybe with good enough control that I can dribble it out slowly through my nose in between top-up inhalations, but retaining enough for lower body buoyancy.

fooboo 04-02-2015 09:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sclim (Post 52354)
I'm a very dense sinker, and because my legs are particularly dense. By pushing my head and chest down to level, I can only float horizontally below the surface

The right place to start with.
Try to relax your head as very first. Let it fall onto the pillow.
Look straight down. Forget all around. With spearing arm
see if you feel how the water supports you. Try till you get
that.
If not enough, lean on armpit, during roll to the side. Not too
much, just as you need it.
Horizontal posture is must have. Leave everything else and
get balance at any price.

sclim 04-03-2015 09:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fooboo (Post 52355)
The right place to start with.
Try to relax your head as very first. Let it fall onto the pillow.
Look straight down. Forget all around. With spearing arm
see if you feel how the water supports you. Try till you get
that.
If not enough, lean on armpit, during roll to the side. Not too
much, just as you need it.
Horizontal posture is must have. Leave everything else and
get balance at any price.

I fully agree with you. But at present I can't get that last bit of balance (legs stay horizontal when not going forward fast) for any price.

fooboo 04-04-2015 08:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sclim (Post 52378)
I can't get that last bit of balance (legs stay horizontal when not going forward fast).

I assume some movement of arms or legs or the body makes that
imbalance. If you have perfect position in the water, work from there.
Be aware of mail-slot as great way to spear. Wait with rotation a
bit longer, to have spring for it.
My method is to remove all un-neccesary parts. No fancy elbows
as the rest of swimmers like to show. Or frantic kicks resembling
steamboats. Or wide breast style enough to make Hercules tired.
Best regards.

novaswimmer 04-05-2015 12:20 AM

OK, another 'sinker' here, and I have a question for all the swimmers...

In this video (at 1:05), see how the swimmer can float (prone) and keep legs up?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDM6s0JpwnI

or here (at 0:41)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bK4S8zD3pkk

There was another one but I can't find it now.

I have tried and tried and I cannot do this. Legs sink. There is no amount of arching back, moving arms down or up, or moving head down, for me to achieve this. The coaches seem to suggest that everyone can and should be able to do this (?).

This is why I believe I cannot gain speed in swimming and why my breathing is difficult.

Do others have an easy time with this drill? Fooboo, can you do this??

fooboo 04-05-2015 04:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by novaswimmer (Post 52389)
Do others have an easy time with this drill? Fooboo, can you do this??

At the moment I'm not able to youtube.
For sure, you could be horizontal. Imagine that you are tired.
You came to the bed. "My dear pillow, here I am!" Let your head
lean on the water, not doing a thing. Just let the water hold it.
If not enough, put your weight on the thorso. Lean on. When on
the side, lean on armpit. Don't do anything to move hips or legs
up. Once you find the correct position, you'll see how even lead
arm becomes "weightless".
First time you find a balance, you'd know.
I solved my position correcting head to straight down. It ruined
the way I breathe. I'm sure about balance, since I don't need to
kick. Have to remind myself "kick now on rotation!" Previously
I breathed on 3rd, now on 5th. Cannot say how deep I am, but
not too deep.
Some other posters might help you better.

novaswimmer 04-05-2015 06:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fooboo (Post 52390)
At the moment I'm not able to youtube.
For sure, you could be horizontal. Imagine that you are tired.
You came to the bed. "My dear pillow, here I am!" Let your head
lean on the water, not doing a thing. Just let the water hold it.
If not enough, put your weight on the thorso. Lean on. When on
the side, lean on armpit. Don't do anything to move hips or legs
up. Once you find the correct position, you'll see how even lead
arm becomes "weightless".
First time you find a balance, you'd know.
I solved my position correcting head to straight down. It ruined
the way I breathe. I'm sure about balance, since I don't need to
kick. Have to remind myself "kick now on rotation!" Previously
I breathed on 3rd, now on 5th. Cannot say how deep I am, but
not too deep.
Some other posters might help you better.

Thanks!

So you don't consider yourself a 'sinker', right?

fooboo 04-06-2015 06:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by novaswimmer (Post 52392)
So you don't consider yourself a 'sinker', right?

Nope. :)
For some reason I'm high in the water. From time to time
I look back and see myself on the surface.
I still have to find right way to breath with new head po-
sition. Tougher than I thought it would be.

sclim 04-06-2015 07:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by novaswimmer (Post 52392)
Thanks!

So you don't consider yourself a 'sinker', right?

novaswimmer: you and I likely are the two lonely outliers lol. I understand you completely. As long as I have a tiny bit of forward motion, I can exploit this movement to get some planing effect to minimise my leg sinking. It's not perfect, but it's manageable. I think I'm slowly getting better at it, or getting all the tricks to work at once, belly breathing, subtle balance skill, streamlining skill, stroke angulation management skill, maybe, I don't know, but my working on lowering SPL at a given fixed low TT rate whole stroke is slowly getting less strained and still achieving a reasonable (for me) low SPL which is ever so slowly inching downward still, I think.

novaswimmer 04-07-2015 12:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sclim (Post 52399)
novaswimmer: you and I likely are the two lonely outliers lol. I understand you completely. As long as I have a tiny bit of forward motion, I can exploit this movement to get some planing effect to minimise my leg sinking. It's not perfect, but it's manageable. I think I'm slowly getting better at it, or getting all the tricks to work at once, belly breathing, subtle balance skill, streamlining skill, stroke angulation management skill, maybe, I don't know, but my working on lowering SPL at a given fixed low TT rate whole stroke is slowly getting less strained and still achieving a reasonable (for me) low SPL which is ever so slowly inching downward still, I think.

Yeah, it's lonely at the 'bottom'.

I am getting frustrated with advice which works for non-sinkers but not necessarily for 'us'. Guess I'll just have to settle for a slow pace.

Yes, at a faster pace, I can keep legs up better (drafting effect), but I wear out faster. When I first push off from the wall, my body is very horizontal and breathing is a breeze. But then legs begin to go down as speed diminishes.

My SPL are probably around 20, but it's a very slow pace and I can't maintain it for very long. But I will keep working -- hey, I need the exercise!

sclim 04-07-2015 05:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by novaswimmer (Post 52401)
Yeah, it's lonely at the 'bottom'.

LOL -- you got that right!

Quote:

Originally Posted by novaswimmer (Post 52401)
I am getting frustrated with advice which works for non-sinkers but not necessarily for 'us'. Guess I'll just have to settle for a slow pace.

Yes, at a faster pace, I can keep legs up better (drafting effect), but I wear out faster. When I first push off from the wall, my body is very horizontal and breathing is a breeze. But then legs begin to go down as speed diminishes.

My SPL are probably around 20, but it's a very slow pace and I can't maintain it for very long. But I will keep working -- hey, I need the exercise!

Don't get frustrated. The advice is actually generally correct, just that it may not work for us exactly like they say. Or rather, I think we have to work much harder to make it work. But I think it can be done.

For instance, your push-off experience is exactly like mine. So I try to use those brief few seconds and milliseconds to learn how my body feels when it balances and when it goes out of balance. On each occasion I am concentrating very hard on that moment of transition, and I experiment all the time to see if I can exploit some aspect of my body's planing ability to try and delay the onset of imbalance, or to put it another way, to maintain some residual balance at a lower residual velocity.

Or maybe I'm kidding myself, and all I'm learning is the point of no return, and I'm learning to get my first half stroke or arm pull started before my legs drop too far. Whatever the case, I know I'm learning something useful, and the paying close attention and experimenting is working.

Likewise, I know I float very deep in the water in the horizontal balanced position (compared to "normal, i.e. buoyant" people). Therefore everything the standard advice tells us about not bobbing up (then down) but maintaining uniform head position at the water surface (or as uniform as I can achieve) to get half mouth barely to the surface is still valid for efficient breathing in swimming, and maybe even more so for us people with less leeway for inefficiency. Even if it means I have to rotate for air more than other people whose heads are closer to the surface in the horizontal position.

My wing-span is 164cm, so my green zone is 17.5 to 22.5 SPL in a 25m pool. I was struggling to maintain 24 SLP on continuous lengths at TT 1.20 seconds, and I just couldn't get my SPL down. So I set the TT at 1.40, and barely made it to 22 SPL if I did one length at a time. I thought I'd never get any better, but in the last 3-4 weeks I am gradually getting my average down to 20.5 to 21.5, and I have achieved a grand total of ONE length at 20 SPL for the first time last week. So there is progress.

But I have hopes I will be able to repeat the feat, then do it more often, then get good enough so that 20SPL will become a predictable achievement...then incorporate it into multiple lengths, then speed up the tempo, etc...That's the plan, anyway. Gotta set a goal, right?

You gotta work with what you've got. Guess what, it'll be harder now, but when we crack the code, and ingrain all that efficiency we'll be forced to learn, when we've finally picked up all the little tricks that are there for everyone, not just the buoyant people, to steal, you and I will be better swimmers over the long haul!!

jenson1a 04-07-2015 11:39 AM

sclim

Just a thought--is it possible that in the effort to decrease spl, you are creating tension in your body that shouldn't be there? While I can't identify with your balance problem, I do remember when I first started TI, it seemed to me that spl was what to concentrate on. I got so uptight that I used whatever energy I had to decrease spl. This caused me to run out of air and my rest periods were longer than my swim times. Now the mantra seem s to be optimal stroke, optimal spl, etc. etc. Suddenly the lower spl doesn't seem to be important. Now the talk is all about gears and different spl at different rates. so who knows what will be the next all important thought process?

But since you are improving, maybe you are on the right track. I admire your determination and wish you well.

Sherry

sclim 04-07-2015 06:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jenson1a (Post 52407)
sclim

Just a thought--is it possible that in the effort to decrease spl, you are creating tension in your body that shouldn't be there? While I can't identify with your balance problem, I do remember when I first started TI, it seemed to me that spl was what to concentrate on. I got so uptight that I used whatever energy I had to decrease spl. This caused me to run out of air and my rest periods were longer than my swim times. Now the mantra seem s to be optimal stroke, optimal spl, etc. etc. Suddenly the lower spl doesn't seem to be important. Now the talk is all about gears and different spl at different rates. so who knows what will be the next all important thought process?

But since you are improving, maybe you are on the right track. I admire your determination and wish you well.

Sherry

I'm sure that is part of the mix of possibilities, and even probabilities. But what I intend and hope to do is focus on lowering SPL, and in the process, which will be a zig-zag path, I'm sure, by experimentation and observation, try and figure out what improves things and what makes things worse. It's already working in some areas (see Favourite Practices and Sets - "Gearing Practice (No TT)" thread), and sometimes I even think I have a clue how that last little tweak of improvement happens. But when it's a puzzle I just accept it and move on, hoping understanding will come later.

If excess tension is a relevant detriment, it should make itself obvious in the experimentation process and all come out in the wash anyway.

PS: I have a vague vision for my future. I'll get my SPL down further -- I don't know how low, but lower than now. Then I'll speed up the tempo again, and my SPL will increase some, but I'll try to hang on to some part of my improvement, and, hopefully, because I've spent so much effort in shaping my stroke and balance to get the SPL down, when it increases again, I'll still have a relatively acceptable SPL at "normal" swimming tempo. So I see the low SPL not so much as an end in itself, but a tool for improvement -- more like a surrogate measurement for whole stroke efficiency.

But thanks for the thought, and for forcing me to think it through again.

novaswimmer 04-08-2015 02:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sclim (Post 52404)

You gotta work with what you've got. Guess what, it'll be harder now, but when we crack the code, and ingrain all that efficiency we'll be forced to learn, when we've finally picked up all the little tricks that are there for everyone, not just the buoyant people, to steal, you and I will be better swimmers over the long haul!!

Thanks for the encouragement. I will not not give up. I need the exercise and I have, in my last year of swimming using TI book and focused practice, seen a fair amount of improvement.

I used to be really hesitant to share a lane with another swimmer for fear I'd bang into them, but now I'm like 'whatever', although always humbled by my usually slower pace.

I def. need to keep tweaking the issues of drag, balance, timing of kick, hold on water during pull, relaxation, etc.

sclim 04-08-2015 11:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by novaswimmer (Post 52426)
Thanks for the encouragement. I will not not give up. I need the exercise and I have, in my last year of swimming using TI book and focused practice, seen a fair amount of improvement.

I used to be really hesitant to share a lane with another swimmer for fear I'd bang into them, but now I'm like 'whatever', although always humbled by my usually slower pace.

I def. need to keep tweaking the issues of drag, balance, timing of kick, hold on water during pull, relaxation, etc.

Yeah, I'm in the same situation. But then I remind myself it's not about humbled/not humbled, or whether at this moment I'm slower or faster than the other swimmer(s) in the lane -- I'm choosing to swim at this speed because at my level of proficiency this is the right speed that helps me most while I am tweaking whatever element that I'm focusing on in this drill (the final result being faster pace at lower effort -- but that's way further down the line, after I've tweaked all the elements then re-assembled them, hopefully into a cohesive whole).

But I gotta agree with you, it's a nuisance to share the lane; for me, I think it's because the extra effort and concentration to avoid potential collisions takes away from the concentration required to make the drill work right.

sclim 04-08-2015 11:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by novaswimmer (Post 52426)
I used to be really hesitant to share a lane with another swimmer for fear I'd bang into them, but now I'm like 'whatever', although always humbled by my usually slower pace.

I just had a thought -- at some point of time, in spite of my reluctance to swim with shared lanes, I might actually try to use the presence of another swimmer ahead of me to practice drafting. This would require a whole lot of concentration and skill that I don't have right now yet:

1) Stroke efficiency and strength and corresponding automaticity, i.e. the ability to maintain the speed and efficiency equivalent to focussed practice, yet while focussing on trailing the swimmer ahead.

2) The ability to change speeds smoothly and efficiently at will so as to catch up with the swimmer ahead then latch on behind at a 1/2 metre trailing length.

3) The ability to do all the above while looking slightly ahead. Right now all I've practiced is looking straight down. In fact I've had several near collisions due to this. Including one almost-hit on the far pool end when I was so focussed on the drill I failed to note that I had run out of pool!

Just a thought for me to keep in mind for the future.

novaswimmer 04-09-2015 12:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sclim (Post 52432)

But I gotta agree with you, it's a nuisance to share the lane; for me, I think it's because the extra effort and concentration to avoid potential collisions takes away from the concentration required to make the drill work right.

Yes, it still throws me off a bit and sharing a lane is not my preference. I'm not so much self-conscious about my pace, it's more the wave action from the other swimmer that disrupts my breathing (face barely at the surface). Although I try to breathe on the opposite side as the other swimmer usually.

And my relaxation and ease is reduced, so less concentration on form.

There's no way I can keep up with some of these swimmers to even THINK about drafting! Maybe if I threw a rope around them (?)

sclim 04-09-2015 06:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by novaswimmer (Post 52435)
Yes, it still throws me off a bit and sharing a lane is not my preference. I'm not so much self-conscious about my pace, it's more the wave action from the other swimmer that disrupts my breathing (face barely at the surface). Although I try to breathe on the opposite side as the other swimmer usually.

And my relaxation and ease is reduced, so less concentration on form.

There's no way I can keep up with some of these swimmers to even THINK about drafting! Maybe if I threw a rope around them (?)

Hey, I just realised I've become very fixed in my ways. I breathe every 3rd stroke, and I've fallen into a fixed routine of breathing on the 3rd, 6th 9th, 12th, 15th, 18th 21st and 24th (when I used to do it) stroke. When I was first learning it, the mental divisor by 3 was a check to make sure I was keeping to the breathing order correctly. Now that I do this automatically and basically don't make a mistake, it helps me when I fall asleep during the stroke counting, which is almost always now -- it becomes very clear which stroke I am on because I am usually paying enough attention to know if the left breathing stroke I just did was the 18th or the 12th.

But I'm going to have to build some flexibility into this to learn how to do other ad hoc breathing patterns and not freak out.

BTW, a propos of my struggles in vain to drop my SPL, I finally had a breakthrough this week -- see Favourite Sets and Practices "Gearing Practice (No TT)" thread. Last week I achieved a single length of exactly 20 SPL, but couldn't do it again no matter how hard I tried, in the days that followed, including Monday this week. But yesterday I managed to do it 7 times altogether. And today within the first 8 lengths I did it 7 times, and by the end of the whole session I had accumulated a total of 18 or 19 successes! It took me so long to get tto this point I can hardly believe it finally happened. Very cool. (Although it's easy for me to say now that I always had faith that if I stuck to the process of mindfully drilling and putting all the learned elements in place it would finally all click into place if I practiced long enough!)

And regarding keeping up with the other swimmers, there is quite a range of swimming speeds in my pool; and in fact I can swim faster for one length now that I'm getting the lower SPL with a fixed TT tempo than some other swimmers, except they keep on swimming, and I have to stop to rest after one length and recollect my concentration. In theory, once I get the concentration right, and the drafting doesn't throw me off, I should be able to dive right in on their tail and obtain relative rest while drafting at the same speed that had me close to maxing out before.

Hmmm..., I have never considered the etiquette of drafting before. I suppose I better talk to the potential draftee first and make sure it's ok with them. And to make sure that I keep my head up and maintain that 18 inches or whatever separation with great precision so that I'm not running into the draftees feet all the time.

novaswimmer 04-11-2015 01:08 AM

Yes, I pretty much breathe 'as I need it' on either side. It took me a while to work up to this...like pretty much all summer. But it's getting more comfortable. Still swallow water once in a while.

sclim 04-11-2015 04:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by novaswimmer (Post 52460)
Yes, I pretty much breathe 'as I need it' on either side. It took me a while to work up to this...like pretty much all summer. But it's getting more comfortable. Still swallow water once in a while.

Yeah, I almost forget now, that when I started this TI thing a couple years ago, I absolutely could not breath on the left. Took me a long time and brutal drills to get me to breath on the left more than once, and it was really ugly at first. Now my left side breathing (in the context of breathing every 3 strokes) is really smooth, and actually very low at the waterline. But I still have a residual anxiety about it, and I know doing a whole length of exclusive left side breathing will be a real challenge. I have to find the time and priority to drill exclusively left side breathing, to get comfortable with it, in case the situation makes it necessary during an open water competition.

jenson1a 04-11-2015 11:08 AM

sclim

this idea that you are doing, swimming only 1 length at a time. Did you get the idea from Mat Hudson's blogs? (Aim for stroke length ease, and the metrics 101 series)

How long have you been doing this and when do you plan on introducing the increase of distance? I'm assuming that once you reach your desired spl you will try to increase distance?

I have been doing much the same, off and on, but more off than on! I have dedicated the month of April to doing much of what you are doing and hoping some good will come of it. I swim in a pool that is 70 feet long and typical spl is 18. My height is 5 ft 3 inches, so spl isn't too bad. I have managed lower spl, but perceived rate of effort is very high, so that can't be good.

Anyway, I look forward to your future posts and also your ideas. Keep em comin!

Sherry

sclim 04-13-2015 02:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jenson1a (Post 52465)
sclim

this idea that you are doing, swimming only 1 length at a time. Did you get the idea from Mat Hudson's blogs? (Aim for stroke length ease, and the metrics 101 series)

How long have you been doing this and when do you plan on introducing the increase of distance? I'm assuming that once you reach your desired spl you will try to increase distance?

I have been doing much the same, off and on, but more off than on! I have dedicated the month of April to doing much of what you are doing and hoping some good will come of it. I swim in a pool that is 70 feet long and typical spl is 18. My height is 5 ft 3 inches, so spl isn't too bad. I have managed lower spl, but perceived rate of effort is very high, so that can't be good.

Anyway, I look forward to your future posts and also your ideas. Keep em comin!

Sherry

The one length at a time I think was influenced by Mat Hudson's blog; but the kicker was when I had abandoned this ideal earlier, and had gone on to increasing my tempo, doing longer sets, assuming, hoping that "somehow" my SPL would improve as I got more efficient with general experience. It didn't happen, so I revamped my approach, slowing down my TT to 1.40 seconds and gave myself a single goal -- to get my SPL down. I started in early March. I have now just finally barely reached 20 SPL in a 25 m pool which is the midpoint of my Green Zone for my wingspan. It initially was killing me; now I am reaching this spl more consistently with more of a relaxed stroke, I think, by better balance and coordination. My shoulder blade ache which came back again after I hit 20 SPL (likely due to renewed exertional effort or stretching) has now receded (again).
I pause after each length and try to figure out what went right and what went wrong.

Interestingly, once I hit 20 SPL a single time, then moved on to hitting that number semi-frequently, there was a brief period where I was reluctant to swim each lap, because of the pressure on myself to repeat the feat, which had been much less apprehension-inducing when I had the mental attitude that "I'll just do the best technique that I am capable of, and the result , whatever the result is, will just happen". I struggled for a while then managed to re-acquire that same fatalistic open minded mental attitude, and became more relaxed about making the effort again.

I hope that the SPL number will drift down further towards 19, maybe even hitting 19 exactly. At some time I will be increasing the sets to 50m, and see what kind of increase that causes my SPL to do. Then slowly increase duration to about 100m I think, then decrease TT interval, maybe using laddered sets.

BTW what is your green zone for your pool length? I thought your 18 SPL was totally out of my reach, given our similar heights, (162 cm is about 5' 3") but I just realised your pool length is 70 feet, which is quite a bit shorter than 25 m; so we're not comparing apples to apples.

jenson1a 04-13-2015 11:08 AM

sclim

Tks for your post. Like you, I was influenced by Mat's blog--Perfect 25, Aim for stroke length ease, etc. I started out with good intentions and got ambushed by so many interesting "how to " skills on this forum. At my age I should have known better!

After reading some of your posts, I made the decision to devote this month to sticking to a routine of seeking the optimal stroke.

You asked about my green zone for my pool length. I had asked Mat that and he replied that it s/b 15.5 to 19.5. He based this on a 25 yard pool and adjusted that by 1.5 spl (pool length is 70 ft or 23.3 yards). Yes that is a significant difference from a 25 m pool. Based on my age (71) and the fact I am female, shorter arms, and the age/power variable, he said I should aim for the higher range of spl (17 to 19). He also reminded me of the need to focus on seeking the optimal spl and not the lowest. This is a huge swing in what TI taught five years ago, at least for me.


Mat also suggested that I should try (at least on a monthly basis) to increase distance.
Here is his suggestion on increasing distance"

You can increase the challenge on your SPL control by adding distance in two way – 1) you can do more repeats, or 2) you can make the individual repeats a longer distance. You definitely need to keep challenging your ability to hold SPL consistent for longer distances.

I think that you are on the right track and it seems that the process is really working for you. Thank you for inspiring me to set a goal and the need to stick to it.

Sherry

sclim 04-14-2015 05:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jenson1a (Post 52481)
sclim

Tks for your post. Like you, I was influenced by Mat's blog--Perfect 25, Aim for stroke length ease, etc. I started out with good intentions and got ambushed by so many interesting "how to " skills on this forum. At my age I should have known better!

After reading some of your posts, I made the decision to devote this month to sticking to a routine of seeking the optimal stroke.

You asked about my green zone for my pool length. I had asked Mat that and he replied that it s/b 15.5 to 19.5. He based this on a 25 yard pool and adjusted that by 1.5 spl (pool length is 70 ft or 23.3 yards). Yes that is a significant difference from a 25 m pool. Based on my age (71) and the fact I am female, shorter arms, and the age/power variable, he said I should aim for the higher range of spl (17 to 19). He also reminded me of the need to focus on seeking the optimal spl and not the lowest. This is a huge swing in what TI taught five years ago, at least for me.


Mat also suggested that I should try (at least on a monthly basis) to increase distance.
Here is his suggestion on increasing distance"

You can increase the challenge on your SPL control by adding distance in two way – 1) you can do more repeats, or 2) you can make the individual repeats a longer distance. You definitely need to keep challenging your ability to hold SPL consistent for longer distances.

I think that you are on the right track and it seems that the process is really working for you. Thank you for inspiring me to set a goal and the need to stick to it.

Sherry

I'm 67, and was a splasher until I started TI 2-1/2 years ago, after deciding to learn swimming and biking so I could compete in Triathlon. I was also terrified of cold water which created huge problems in my first open water tri in a glacial fed lake in Banff. Fortunately I didn't drown. But things are improving surely but surely since then.

This morning I tried new goggles, forgot my TT, and was distracted by too many people in the lane. And the hot tub in which I sit for a while before swimming to build up my courage and to contemplate my sets was out of service today. In 800 m of swimming, 25 m at a time, I hit 20 SPL only twice. My newly developed skill is so fragile, it doesn't take much to throw it off. But it is what it is, as is my body type, unlike my age, which is merely a number.

In my quest to learn to swim, I am trying to understand how to learn. My Aikido Sensei just sent us students a list of "koans", which are Zen sayings which are, on the surface, paradoxes, but which are supposed to lead us to the truth. They are very similar to the wise sayings of Daoism. (In fact, the Dao of Daoism is literally the "Way" that is referenced in the koan below). This one seemed to be directed at me:

The Student asked "Master, how will I know when I have grasped the essence of the Way?" The Master answered "When you stop asking."

I think this means, specifically to me, stop thinking so hard, and just do it.

jenson1a 04-14-2015 11:22 AM

Hi sclim

Well here you have it.

This morning I tried new goggles, forgot my TT, and was distracted by too many people in the lane. And the hot tub in which I sit for a while before swimming to build up my courage and to contemplate my sets was out of service today. In 800 m of swimming, 25 m at a time, I hit 20 SPL only twice. My newly developed skill is so fragile, it doesn't take much to throw it off. But it is what it is, as is my body type, unlike my age, which is merely a number.


I think what happened to you was a lot to throw you off of seeking your 20spl. Seems like everything you usually do prior to swimming was off. Sometimes that happens and I guess we just have to deal with it.

As for your quote:

The Student asked "Master, how will I know when I have grasped the essence of the Way?" The Master answered "When you stop asking."


In another thread the poster MJM told me, "if you have to think, you stink".

I think I like your quote a little better

Sherry

igorner 04-14-2015 01:03 PM

I have just started to "roll to air" on every third stroke....prior to this, every time I would roll to the left...air was taken on board. All of a sudden I can now "sense" the feeling of swimming downhill and there is a definite sense of increase to speed. I had not ever considered exhaling in a controlled way though....I would usually exhale quickly, under water.

After reading these posts in seems I may have been causing a leg sink (increasing drag) by doing so. Very anxious to get in the pool now and try out this new (for me) practice.

Even with all the imperfections of my technique, though, I find that I am swimming better than I ever have. Even to the point of people coming up to me at the pool and saying "you obviously know what you are doing" A 1000 meter swim is just not daunting to me.....on to 1500m.

sclim 04-15-2015 03:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by igorner (Post 52507)
Even with all the imperfections of my technique, though, I find that I am swimming better than I ever have. Even to the point of people coming up to me at the pool and saying "you obviously know what you are doing" A 1000 meter swim is just not daunting to me.....on to 1500m.

Yeah, whenever I get discouraged at apparent lack of further progress, it's helpful to think back at how helpless I was at the very beginning of this process, and it renews my spirits!

sclim 04-15-2015 03:24 AM

Today another slightly puzzling difficult swim. This time I had my TT as per normal, but still only hit 20 SPL a few times, despite really, really trying hard. Maybe that's it. Trying too hard. (Yoda: Mmmm, try not -- do we must.)

But I have been running hard 3 days in a row now, and my legs are beat, and I'm generally quite fatigued too.

No matter. I got it before, and the bliss will return.

Oh, during the swim I also I tried to tidy up my right breathing, which tends to drift rather high and up to about 30-45 degrees from the horizon, unlike my very cool left side which tends to be perfectly placed, but which I still get anxious doing. I did a nicely placed right sided breath exactly at the waterline with my mouth efficiently tucked in the crook of my neck. But I timed it wrong and got a mouthful of water with a vigorous inhalation. I was fortunate not to inhale it right down my lungs, but reflexively gulped the whole mouthful down into my stomach. This really threw me, and I almost had to stop but I struggled on, trying not to throw up. I put on a lot of SPL that length, and it probably affected my concentration for a while after that!

But I still remember how perfectly where that breath was placed. Just the timing was clumsy.

sclim 04-15-2015 03:42 AM

Hey, all; I just reviewed the whole "how long to master bilateral breathing" thread in this O2 in H2O: Breathing Skills section, and Coach Stuart McDougall listed a nice refresher list on the way things can go wrong in breathing and how to fix it. I know I tend to over think, but breathing is one area where all I can see is how high the mouth is above water, and I can't understand why and how hard it is to correct. So some analysis is helpful sometimes.

fooboo 04-15-2015 05:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sclim (Post 52515)
breathing is one area where all I can see is how high the mouth is above water, and I can't understand why and how hard it is to correct.

Since head position might be straight down, in neutral, it is the least
appropriate to breathe. It's much easier to follow doggy path, than
streamline.
I assume arthritis plays a role in the way one breathes. My shoulder
pain changes a lot. I could understand how people ache moving head
where it cannot be moved.
Best regards.


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