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  #1  
Old 04-13-2011
gregnz gregnz is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2009
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gregnz
Default I ... can swim.

Apologies for the lengthy post. The title says it all really. Its about ... 1 year, 6 months? or thereabouts since picking up the TI books and dvds.

Prior to that I hated swimming. I'm on the fit side of being fit, not super fit... run in hills kinda fit. So I do lots of outdoor/exercise stuff, and am reasonable at it. Benefits of living in New Zealand!

But not swimming. Swimming was... horrible. I would struggle to the end of a 33m pool, try and look like I wasn't dying/drowning/flapping like an octopus in a electric socket. Have a massive rest, and then struggle to the shallow end again. I might repeat the debacle once more so I didn't waste my money (odd, I know!) and that would be swimming for the next 6 months.

Hated it. But it was always a deficiency I was aware of. I couldn't swim.

So then the TI journey. Being in NZ, everything was self-taught from the books and DVD. I did most of the drills, although some didn't work very well for me, perhaps being tall and lean. So I did them, skipped some and moved on.

* interlude covering numerous training sessions, litres of pool water being involuntarily consumed (kind of a lung enema?) and slow progress to.... today *

Today I effortlessly swum 16 lengths of a 33 m pool. No idea what the time was, but lets call it slow. Stroke rate was around 32-38 strokes, but I don't pay too much attention to that. Fundamentally, it was...effortless, and I was breathing on both sides, the first time ever that everything I've been trying to do has worked.

I feel I have nothing left to add (left/right breathing was the last) and now its just polishing.

The reason I thought I would share is that it is such a binary thing. I went from not being able to swim, to being able to swim, and I sit here amazed.

:-)

So, my hints for other beginners...

1. relax. One thing TI gave me was permission *not* to swim. You can go to the pool and relax, doing the drills. I would spend half an hour doing superman, and still spend 15 minutes warming up with superman. Superman is an incredibly useful drill... and its fun. I mean, the only thing missing is a cape!

1.5 2-beat kick. Or at least don't kick anywhere near as much. I just kept doing it until it more or less worked. Really important.

2. breathing is critically important for relaxing. Because I was fit, I could breath every four strokes, but... it wasn't comfortable. I couldnt breath every 3, and it felt like I had so many other things to focus on. So... I tried breathing every 2, which allowed me to keep going. The problem is breathing every 2 is... it stops you focussing on streamlining and all the other things you should be doing. So... I breathed every 4, then every 2, then every 4, which gave me enough air to swim quite well.

3. Superman drill!

4. I found rolling and extending to be critical to getting a good body position and low strokes per length. And it helps a lot with breathing on the left side... so I swim in the following way... roll left, roll right, ROLL LEFT breath, roll right, roll left, ROLL RIGHT breath... the little rolls are basically extending the lead arm out as far as it will go. This was a major breakthrough.

5. Head position. Now I can breath both sides, its obvious that my left side breath puts my head in all sorts of funny positions. I just compare it to the ease of my right side. I turn more than Terry suggests, that whole '1 goggle out of the water' eludes me, although he does wear huge goggles!

6. A wide catch when going to breath. Not sure if you have a wide catch every stroke, but on the breathing stroke, putting your hand out wider seems to make it much easier to get to air. Not exactly sure why, but a must do...

7. Glide. That whole glide,stroke, glide, stroke thing is awesome. Thats where the effortless thing comes in. There should be a sense of gliding on every stroke.

Today I did 16 lengths of effortless swimming, so 500m+. It was effortless because my arms were already tired from my pushups. Breathing both sides, like someone who knew how to swim. It was actually relaxing... and then I realised... I could swim. I've also done about 100m in the (freezing freezing cold!) ocean.

Its hard to communicate the sense of 'amazing' I feel. I think swimming is a very binary thing, you either can or you can't. If you can, then theres speed and technique and lots to improve. If you can't... you just can't. You're the octopus in the light socket. And I couldn't. And ... now I can.

I have to thank Terry and everyone at TI, enormously. Apologies for the long post, the word count is directly correlated with my sense of awe!


Thanks everyone!
Greg
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  #2  
Old 04-13-2011
collinsdc collinsdc is offline
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Location: The Rebel County, Rep of Ireland.
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Greg, well done on your achievements, you must be wired to the moon with your success!

I have been at TI with both book & DVD for about the same duration as you. I am again self coached as I live in the Ireland where TI is little known.

I am still waiting for the light-bulb moment when it all comes together & to swim the distances I would like to, thank you for sharing your insights, they have inspired me.

Denis.
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  #3  
Old 04-13-2011
tab tab is offline
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tab
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I'm in a similar "pool", I can see the distance dancing out in front. I can relate to Greg's list. It is working. I would second the "thanks".
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  #4  
Old 04-13-2011
gregnz gregnz is offline
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gregnz
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Hi Denis
it did take a while for the light-bulb moment. The breathing was the main thing, since I think everything about relaxing springs from that. Can you breathe both sides? If not, the 4-2-4-2 style of breathing worked for me.

But I think the most important 'technique' was the feeling that I was swimming on my side. Not completely on the side, but extending the lead arm until you feel a pull in the lats. The rocking motion you get really sets you up for breathing. Until I got that roll sensation, it wasnt quite right...

I still have plenty to work on, but have tried to summarise the things that made a noticeable difference for me...

cheers
Greg
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  #5  
Old 04-13-2011
naj naj is offline
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Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 624
naj
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Congratulations Greg on achieving such a milestone in your swimming journey. Since I first learned to swim back in '08, I have found so many exciting nuances to Ti swimming. I once thought that I would never learn to swim with ease and comfort like i saw so many elite swimmers doing but now here I am, three years later, swimming in the cold Pacific Ocean (avg temp 12C), preparing to swim The Cook Strait in '13, and loving the TI journey even more! All the points you mentioned are ones that I discovered along the way and still find myself marveling and trying to teach others that inquire when I'm at the pool or in open water. keep up the great work and I hope to see you when I come to your neck of the woods in march of 2013, maybe you can be on my crew hehe!

Keep Swimming!
Naji
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  #6  
Old 04-13-2011
eicoguy eicoguy is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2011
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eicoguy
Default TI Moment

I had a similar experience today.

My normal day at the pool consists of 5 minutes of TI drills followed by 1/2 hour of laps doing the Combat Sidestroke - followed by another 15 minutes of TI drills. Lately I have been trying, not too successfully, to transition to full stroke.

This morning, without much thought, I decided I would warm up before doing the Combat Sidestroke by swimming one lap of TI freestyle. Note, I wanted to do something to 'warm up' so I chose an easy stroke - must have been all those relaxing Superman drills. Anyway, by the end of the lap I realized what I was doing, swimming freestyle easily. Prior to this freestyle was very much as described here, i.e., the octopus in the electric plug thing. Wow! I was elated to think I finally had it figured out - I was swimming the TI way - too many SPL to be sure, but TI none the less.

Alas, it didn't last very long because as soon as I started trying to swim TI, everything fell apart. But I felt it, so I know I can get to that place again -the place where swimming is easy.

A special thanks to Terry and all the contributors to this forum.

Bill
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  #7  
Old 04-14-2011
collinsdc collinsdc is offline
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Location: The Rebel County, Rep of Ireland.
Posts: 54
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Greg, I have yet to master bi-lateral breathing but I am practicing. At the moment I tend to breathe to the one side. Lately I have been experimenting with my breath intervals to see what suits me & although it goes against the grain, I find breathing every 4th stroke suits me.

I persevered with every 2 strokes for a while but like you also found it difficult to stay streamlined & to achieve any rythmn in my stroke. No doubt breathing every 3rd stroke is the ideal interval. I have not tried the 4-2-4-2 as you suggested but will try this at my next practice.

Would you say that finding a comfortable breathing pattern & slowing the pace down was what finally allowed you to relax more which enabled you to swim that 500m + ? After the same duration of time at TI I have been stuck on a plateau for some weeks now & cannot seem to advance beyond 50m of whole stroke.

I know that if I could solve my breathing issues it would help me to become more relaxed in the water, to focus on improving my balance more & perhaps put the final pieces of the jigsaw in place.

Denis.
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  #8  
Old 04-14-2011
gregnz gregnz is offline
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gregnz
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Hi Denis

The major breakthrough for me was the rotating and extending of the arm. Prior to that, I was swimming very flat, ie, my stomach parallel to the ground. I could breath, using a 4 2 4 pattern (which isnt that regular, but when I needed more air, I breathed every 2 for a while).

So the extend is super important, and you end up swimming on your side. I think in the book it shows you stretching your arm up against a wall. Its like that, and it makes you rock as you extend.

I found once I started extending and rocking, my strokes per length went down, and it just felt better. So I played with that a while, doing 50m like you, but nothing more.

And then as I was 'rocking' down the lane, I thought... hmm.... if I rock a bit more on my left, I could probably breath there. So I started trying to breath on my left. Which with the rocking, was actually easier than I imagined. Its still quite rough, my head does completely un-laser like things, but I get air.

Plenty to work on. But... to try and help, and summarise:
rock (but don't turn head) and extend, glide. rock and extend, glide. Rock more and turn head and breath and extend, rock and extend, glide. rock and extend, glide.

And thats pretty much it. And every place you feel ... tense muscles in your upper body, try and relax it.

hope this helps, let me know if any other questions...

cheers
Greg
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  #9  
Old 04-14-2011
racullen racullen is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2
racullen
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I had the same experience a week or so ago - love it!
I'd been flailing around trying to 'do the TI thing' then decided at the end of the session to do a warm-down lap. Instead of doing breast-stroke I did a nana-style slllooowwww lap, got to the end and .... magically ... did not feel puffed at all. Not a jot. Nada. It was a very odd feeling but I realised I'd cracked it.
I could only then do 3 more laps (time was pressing) but have been able to follow up since and get similar results. I even tried a fast lap and was able to hold good form and speed for the full 50m!
Thanks to Terry and all on the forum for great advice and support! My advice - slow down and relax!
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  #10  
Old 04-14-2011
gregnz gregnz is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2009
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gregnz
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Thanks Naji, I live in Wellington which is probably your start? Cook Straight is one of those waterways that... one a good day its great. On a bad day.... whew!

So hope you get a good day! But good plan on the 12C water. It will always be cold. I'm guessing thats about how cold it is when I swim in the sea (thats an amazing sentence, Me swimming in the sea!). Its kind of head-pain cold.

I'd be honored to be on your crew!
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