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  #1  
Old 02-01-2012
fargo007 fargo007 is offline
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fargo007
Default Help for a hopeless sinker?

Hi guys,

My goal is to finish four open water swims this year. .5mi, 1 mi, 2.5mi, and 3.1 mi.

I have an interesting problem. I have a very low body fat percentage, and it affects my freestyle swimming tremendously.

I sink. I mean SINK. If I do the zipperskate drill and let half my air out, I can nearly reach the bottom of a 5' pool.

Only freestyle though. I can swim CSS (Combat Swimmer's Stroke) like there's no tomorrow. 8:44 for 500Y, easy. I am really comfortable in this stroke and can go a long way with each stroke using very little effort.

Here are two freestyle videos shot today. They were after about 5-600Y of only drill work. Skate, skate to sweet spot, underswitches, zipper skates, all of them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XU7mLo_Igk0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evjQX9RVfao

My own analysis isn't helping because I'm too close to the problem. What I DO see:

1 - My kick is too busy during a breath because I am using it as compensation against sinkage to stay up by the air.
2 - My hips are low. I can balance, and straighten out only with full air, otherwise my head goes about 6" underwater. You can see this happening in the uw vid when I try to breathe.
3 - I tend to not let air out because of this, preferring a mass exodus just before the intake of air.

My CSS is easy on me, but after just a few laps of freestyle I am smoked.
heaving.... totally out of breath...

So I have a decision to make. Can I fix these issues before it's time to get in the open water and swim freestyle like everyone else, or do I stick with the ace in the hole I have, CSS.

I am working really really hard at this, but I just don't feel like I am making any progress at all.

Thanks, I respect the counsel I see being laid out here on this forum.

Freddy
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  #2  
Old 02-01-2012
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fargo007 View Post
Hi guys,

My goal is to finish four open water swims this year. .5mi, 1 mi, 2.5mi, and 3.1 mi.

I have an interesting problem. I have a very low body fat percentage, and it affects my freestyle swimming tremendously.

I sink. I mean SINK. If I do the zipperskate drill and let half my air out, I can nearly reach the bottom of a 5' pool.

Only freestyle though. I can swim CSS (Combat Swimmer's Stroke) like there's no tomorrow. 8:44 for 500Y, easy. I am really comfortable in this stroke and can go a long way with each stroke using very little effort.

Here are two freestyle videos shot today. They were after about 5-600Y of only drill work. Skate, skate to sweet spot, underswitches, zipper skates, all of them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XU7mLo_Igk0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evjQX9RVfao

My own analysis isn't helping because I'm too close to the problem. What I DO see:

1 - My kick is too busy during a breath because I am using it as compensation against sinkage to stay up by the air.
2 - My hips are low. I can balance, and straighten out only with full air, otherwise my head goes about 6" underwater. You can see this happening in the uw vid when I try to breathe.
3 - I tend to not let air out because of this, preferring a mass exodus just before the intake of air.

My CSS is easy on me, but after just a few laps of freestyle I am smoked.
heaving.... totally out of breath...

So I have a decision to make. Can I fix these issues before it's time to get in the open water and swim freestyle like everyone else, or do I stick with the ace in the hole I have, CSS.

I am working really really hard at this, but I just don't feel like I am making any progress at all.

Thanks, I respect the counsel I see being laid out here on this forum.

Freddy
Head is looking forward which is contributing to hips sinking. Relax the neck. Point the crown of your head to hte opposite wall. It's OK to sink as long as you sink horizontally. You are fighting a lot of drag in the water, but despite that you still look pretty fast. When you fix your linear balacne you'll be flying.
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Level 3 USAT Coach
USA Paralympic Triathlon Coach
Coach of 5 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle

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  #3  
Old 02-02-2012
westyswoods westyswoods is offline
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Go to 55 seconds of the underwater vid with the left hand spearing. This one shot speaks volumes. You are way over rotated and raising your head for air and not streamlined.

Underwater video is always a greater indicator of swimming inefficiencies than above water.

Spend some time on streamline and relaxing your head into the water. Practice superman glides and really focus on that relaxation.

I would love to see you with good TI technique, man you look fast and strong now. Often times that is the problem though, take the time to find that relaxed feeling.

Swim Silent and Be Well
Westy
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  #4  
Old 02-02-2012
Butiki Butiki is offline
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That's what I saw too: (1) Head being in a non-neutral position, and (2) the over-rotation. The "busy" feet is a consequence of being out of balance - too much kicking on the side. If you've seen Shinji's video, you'd notice that although he rotates, his feet mostly kick downward. Also, when you face skyward to catch a breath, it is most likely an effect of the over-rotation. The "swim and nod" drill is a great breathing drill. Somewhere on this board, Coach Suzanne describes it in detail.

By the way, the zipper skate has been removed from current drills. Not totally sure why, because although it has its benefits (balance drill, prep for Overswitch timing, etc.) it may be due to the over-rotation that the drill imprints, i.e. the stacked shoulders, swimming on one's side, etc.

The zipper skate has been replaced by Swing Skate. In this drill, the rotation is "just enough", i.e. shoulders are not stacked, as is recommended in Zipper Skate, or what is termed the "shark fin" position.

Last edited by Butiki : 02-02-2012 at 04:53 AM. Reason: Added swing skate
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  #5  
Old 02-02-2012
fargo007 fargo007 is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 14
fargo007
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Thanks a lot for the feedback guys.

I will be hitting the pool today to put the advice here into practice, and intend to come out of the water a better swimmer than when I go in.

If it looks like I'm fast, it kinda feels like I MUST go that fast or I will surely sink. I'm doin' it on pure rage. LOL

I don't think I can swim any slower, or when I rotate to breathe, my head is going to be way underwater and I won't be able to reach the surface on rotation alone. And if I let air out smoothly (like you are supposed to) during the stroke, the sinking becomes progressively worse.

I think what I did with my head was a misplaced compensation effort to try and keep it nearer to the surface.

Man, I am a mess and I have a lot of stuff to work on. I see what you all are saying and it is spot on.

Thank you again. I'm not just going to ask for advice here, I'm going to listen to it.

--Freddy
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  #6  
Old 02-02-2012
mjm mjm is offline
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mjm
Default Sinker? Or just Low in the water

Freddy: perhaps before the next time you swim look at this video of a "sinker", low-body fat, head mostly below water surface--maintains a horizontal position without over-rotating while breathing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wa_5q...lcp&playnext=1
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  #7  
Old 02-02-2012
fargo007 fargo007 is offline
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fargo007
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Thanks for adding that. It shows me that it's possible for me to swim this stroke. I haven't been able to convince myself of it.

I am seeing the importance of being flat, even if that means my head is underwater. I will try to find a way to work around that.

One of the things I noticed is that he holds his breath 100% until the last possible second. This is what I have been doing, and was hoping to not have to do that anymore.

--Freddy
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  #8  
Old 02-02-2012
ALMD ALMD is offline
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I read this somewhere about us beginners trying to go so fast in swimming..."learn to walk before you run" !! ... and I am guilty of doing that...I was like stroking really fast, as if I am in a competition..and this making the balance, breathing more and more difficult...for a beginner...I think most of the time, we try to transfer our fast nature ( running, cycling, etc...) to the swimming pool, and little we don't know, that doesn't work ...we have to take it slow, once we master that...we can work on speed ...

I read it in several blogs here and elsewhere..the key to relax and slow down when we stroke, breath etc..., and if you are balanced well, you won't sink even if you slow...you can always skate on that side and you won't sink..unless not in balance, then one would sink..
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  #9  
Old 02-02-2012
fargo007 fargo007 is offline
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fargo007
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Here's my skate drill if I slowly exhale out to about half the air gone. You will see what I mean by "sinker." LOL The density of my upper body drags me right down. I do sink horizontally (mostly), but as you can see it's too far to be able to rotate to breath unless I keep 100% full lungs until the last possible instant.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6ZX5nBy4W4

I took the head position advice and tried to avoid over-rotation. I felt a lot of improvement. I feel like I can "get there from here."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9KlGeL-vlQ

I felt an appreciable speed increase, and a significant reduction in effort.

I still have some "krazy chicken legs" thing going on. I assume that is still a balance issue?

I also point out with regret that I cannot straighten my ankles more than this. Years of being taught to, and forced to run the wrong way, landing on the heel first. I know that is hydrodynamic drag but I can't do anything but see it as a chance to work on my coping skills, or develop expertise in the stroke to minimize it.

I'm still feeling pretty far from acceptable but I am working hard every day.

Thanks again for all the good advice here. I love this program and this place.

My blueseventy wetsuit just came in. Gonna go try it on.

--Freddy
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  #10  
Old 02-03-2012
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fargo007 View Post
Here's my skate drill if I slowly exhale out to about half the air gone. You will see what I mean by "sinker." LOL The density of my upper body drags me right down. I do sink horizontally (mostly), but as you can see it's too far to be able to rotate to breath unless I keep 100% full lungs until the last possible instant.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6ZX5nBy4W4

I took the head position advice and tried to avoid over-rotation. I felt a lot of improvement. I feel like I can "get there from here."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9KlGeL-vlQ

I felt an appreciable speed increase, and a significant reduction in effort.

I still have some "krazy chicken legs" thing going on. I assume that is still a balance issue?

I also point out with regret that I cannot straighten my ankles more than this. Years of being taught to, and forced to run the wrong way, landing on the heel first. I know that is hydrodynamic drag but I can't do anything but see it as a chance to work on my coping skills, or develop expertise in the stroke to minimize it.

I'm still feeling pretty far from acceptable but I am working hard every day.

Thanks again for all the good advice here. I love this program and this place.

My blueseventy wetsuit just came in. Gonna go try it on.

--Freddy
I count at least 9 seconds into the skating video before the "rock" effect takes hold. ;) So you are not hodling air until the last possible second, even though it may seem like it.

This is part of the process of learning swimming...learnign to use breath control as a bouyancy device is going to be part of your swim. But 9 seconds is a long time in swim land...You should easily be taking 2-3 breaths during that time frame.

As far as your ankles, thats a definate liabilty for sure, but it's not the only problem. there is still some stiffness in your skateing position..your hips are low, there is a triangle of "see through" space between your left arm and your body int eh skate video...meaning yoru elbow is up which contributes to pushing yoru hips down, and it looks like you are overotated with the body mostly facing the camera.

That sounds like a lot of bad stuff, but it's not.

Your balance is good, you look comfortable, you've deomonstrated you can release air at a slow steady pace without swimming and your swim stroke looks pretty good!

Your left leg isn't extending at all, it just looks like you're shaking a sock of your left foot...but the upper part of your leg never really aids you at all...it's in a constantly slightly flexed state. This is hurting you more than the ankle thing. Think about stretching the hip flexors/contracting the gluts to help engage more of the leg while kicking.
__________________
Suzanne Atkinson, MD
Level 3 USAT Coach
USA Paralympic Triathlon Coach
Coach of 5 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle

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