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Old 03-03-2009
madvet madvet is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 230
Default Manatee Drill

I have never been in love with the word "drill" because it sounds so un-fun. But, you have to use some kind of word and I guess it will do, with the meaning of, "anything that is not full-out swimming."

So, I developed this "drill" in conjunction with taking my then 5 year old son to the pool. It is a step above bobbing and is designed to be a breathing drill to make you more aware of how to get to the surface and also to take the anxiety away from it and also to make it less rote.

The description is pretty simple. Hold your breath and drop below the surface. But unlike bobbing you want to keep your body vaguely parallel to the bottom of the pool. Bubble out slowly and stay under for 5 to 10 seconds. Then do some type of movement with your body and/or legs and/or arms to get you up to the surface and take a quick exhale/inhale at the surface and back down again. You can lift your head straight up, roll to one side or the other or try to grab a "sneaky breath" as you would in butterfly. Try to imitate the leisurely movements that something like a manatee would use (you can make a little bit of forward progress), and vary these every time to put some new movement or twist in, using a combination of whole-body movement, some degree of graceful movement, and a fairly minimal amount of expenditure of energy.

There are several lessons to learn about breathing -- that the surface is never very far away and that your body will naturally guide you there, how to use your body's rotation to help bring you to air and also how to inhale/hold/exhale without tension, and to move the air correctly so you don't hyperventilate.

It seems simple but there is a lot to learn there.

I used to worry about people thinking that I was acting a little strange in the water by doing this, but I am convinced that hardly anyone ever notices.
John Carey
Madison, Wisconsin

Last edited by madvet : 03-03-2009 at 07:21 PM.
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