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Gaz 09-05-2017 01:33 PM

Newbie looking for advice
Although I am an experienced/competitive runner and cyclist, I never learnt to swim as a child and I have been afraid of the water ever since. However, about a year ago at a somewhat late stage in my life (I retire next year) I decided to learn to swim.

I initially had some lessons at a local pool that got me nowhere, and then a few months later after searching the web bought a TI book, worked through the drills and made some progress, but I was still struggling. Three months ago, after doing a bit more searching, I bought the "effortless endurance self coaching course", which I have found easier to use, with less emphasis on the leg kick.

I have now made a bit more progress, such that I can just about manage a length (25m), albeit with poor form/style; and feel that I need some advice to help me progress further. Attached is a link to a video of me swimming a length. I would appreciate any comments that would assist me in improving

AWP 09-05-2017 04:27 PM

Not too bad and I applaud your decision to pursue a new skill in swimming!
If I were to give you any advice, at this point, it would be to have maybe two stroke thoughts (focal points) while swimming your lengths... a) Extend your body line; while switching from one "skate" side to the other i.e. from your left side to your right, fully extend your lead arm until your recovery arm is almost forward, unhurried, especially while taking a breath. b) Swim as quietly as possible, taking care not to disturb the water too much; make each hand entry 'silent'!
Much luck and happiness in your progress, keep us up.


P.S. Key aspects to focus on: "Marionette arm" and "Mail Slot Entry"
As always work tirelessly on balance and a relaxed head!

Mike from NS 09-05-2017 05:01 PM


Similar story here ... I never swam as a child and when finally decided it was time to learn (at 54) I took a rec program for adults who never swam. Nearly a complete waste of time. I then found TI and studied what they teach us. Without that discovery and the assistance from people on the forum, I expect I would never have learned to swim. Still lots to learn ... but ... So I really understand "from where you are coming". People here are qualified to give you better answer than I, however I will offer a few things. Try to go slowly ... no rush to stroke. Continue with the Superman Glide to help learn balance and try to keep the legs quiet by drafting them behind the body. Study the 2 beat kick will help with this. Practice elbow circles and try to enter the spearing hand to your personal best X-Y target .... but all the while without a hurry to do so. Set simple goal for each time you swim and add to that the next time. And the most important aspect, which I felt very difficult to do, is to relax. No need to be in a hurry ... be "one" with the water.

Learning to swim can be daunting by oneself but with positive, patient and progressive practice, in the often mentioned Kaizen mind set, you will get there. For 3 months , you are doing quite well indeed.
All the best,

CoachBobM 09-05-2017 05:08 PM

Congratulations on getting over your fear of the water and on learning to swim the length of the pool!

Here are some things I noticed:

1) Your head is nearly always too high. You seem to be looking forward most of the time, and that is unbalancing your body, causing your hips to sink a bit. This makes the whole underside of your body a source of drag.

2) Your body rotation is lopsided. You're rotating too far to your left and not far enough to your right. When you rotate to your left, you're rotating all the way to what we call "stacked shoulders" in which your left shoulder is literally directly above your right shoulder, and when you breathe on your left side, you're even rotating slightly onto your back. But you don't seem to rotate to your right at all when you're not breathing.

If you freeze the video about 14 seconds in (the second time you breathe to your right), that's the one place I see where your amount of body rotation is fairly good. And its also one of the few places where your head isn't too high.

To remedy this, I'd suggest spending some more time practicing superman glide, focusing on relaxing your head into the water with your nose pointed down. Then proceed to the laser-lead and core balance drills, where you bring your hands to your thighs and then rotate your core body about 45 degrees while keeping your nose pointed down. Try the core balance drill on both sides and focus on rotating your body about 45 degrees on both sides, and also focus on continuing to keep your head relaxed into the water with your nose pointed down as you do so.

When you feel comfortable with this on each side, trying slipping your lower arm forward and finding the skate position. Remember the focal points: (1) the wrist of your leading arm should be lower than your shoulder - experiment with how much you need to lower it in order for your body to feel horizontal, (2) the palm of your leading hand should be facing down, (3) the wrist of your leading arm should be relaxed, with your fingertips angled slightly down.

When you feel comfortable in skate on both sides, try the spearswitch drill (in which you recover your arm underwater), and as you are switching, focus on spearing to a perfect skate position on the other side. Pause at each skate and mentally inventory the various checkpoints: Is your head relaxed into the water with your nose pointed down? Is your body rotated about 45 degrees? Is the wrist of your leading arm lower than your shoulder? Is the wrist of your leading arm relaxed, with your fingertips angled slightly down? Does your body feel horizontal?

Remember that the skate position is your anchor point in freestyle. You want to be stroking from your skate position on one side to your skate position on the other side.

When you start to feel comfortable with this, you can also focus on your stroke timing in spearswitch: Focus on not starting to drop your leading arm until you see your recovering hand beside your face (what we call a "patient leading arm"). When you begin to drop your leading arm, imagine that you are reaching over the hood of a Volkswagen beetle toward the headlight, and then focus on holding onto the water with that arm as you spear past it with the other arm.

3) You need to lead with your elbow when you are recovering each arm. I'd suggest spending some time on the swingswitch drill, in which you drag your fingertips through the water behind your elbow and then swing your forearm forward and spear to your skate position on the other side.

Try these drills and let us know how you make out!


Gaz 09-06-2017 05:41 AM

Newbie looking for advice
Many thanks for all your advice and encouragement, it is much appreciated. There are a lot of useful points that I will work on that I am sure will help me "get there". I will keep you posted.

MarkMcCollum 09-20-2017 08:01 AM

Some similar story I have

novaswimmer 09-20-2017 05:49 PM

Your kick looks ineffective and not timed to your arms. Study the two-beat kick and try to coordinate the down-kick of left leg as the right arm spears (enters) the water. Use your down-kick to assist in rotation. Some prefer to associate the left leg down-kick with left arm pull.

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