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  #1  
Old 08-20-2009
madinjapan madinjapan is offline
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madinjapan
Default Is it possible I got this much better from just watching Terry?

I'll start with an honest statement; I'm not into drills. Last year I couldn't swim front crawl for toffee; two lengths and I'd be chucking up a lung. Then I came across TI on the internet and bought the book and DVD. I started practicing the first few drills, but to be frank I was getting some strange looks down at the pool (I live in Japan, so being a foreigner makes you stand out as it is).

I decided I'd just try to copy how I saw Terry swimming from the DVD and from the perpetual motion video on youtube. The very next week I was up to 20 lengths. Things have continued like that and literally now I'm at the point where the tedium of swimming up and down stops me, rather than tiredness (3.2km in a 25m pool).

I check this site often but I haven't registered so far, I've been doing TI for about 6 months now. I've had a few compliments in the pool from friendly Japanese people, but today a swimmer actually sat at the end of my lane while I was swimming and studied my swimming style.

So, to my question! Without practicing all the drills and from just watching how other people swim TI (including the TI guy from japan) can i have become that good or is it just my fitness that has increased? I actually imagine the lake scene of Terry with the music in the background while im swimming, that seems to keep my motion, and actions very fluid.

One thing that I'm not particularly good at is bilateral breathing. I can do it, but when i turn to my "vanilla" side I feel like im sinking a little. If i stay on "chocolate" side then no problem.

anyway. let me know your thoughts.
David
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  #2  
Old 08-20-2009
splashingpat splashingpat is offline
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splashingpat
Default chocolate and vanilla....you doing something different

Quote:
Originally Posted by madinjapan View Post
I'll start with an honest statement; I'm not into drills. Last year I couldn't swim front crawl for toffee; two lengths and I'd be chucking up a lung. Then I came across TI on the internet and bought the book and DVD. I started practicing the first few drills, but to be frank I was getting some strange looks down at the pool (I live in Japan, so being a foreigner makes you stand out as it is).

I decided I'd just try to copy how I saw Terry swimming from the DVD and from the perpetual motion video on youtube. The very next week I was up to 20 lengths. Things have continued like that and literally now I'm at the point where the tedium of swimming up and down stops me, rather than tiredness (3.2km in a 25m pool).

I check this site often but I haven't registered so far, I've been doing TI for about 6 months now. I've had a few compliments in the pool from friendly Japanese people, but today a swimmer actually sat at the end of my lane while I was swimming and studied my swimming style.

So, to my question! Without practicing all the drills and from just watching how other people swim TI (including the TI guy from japan) can i have become that good or is it just my fitness that has increased? I actually imagine the lake scene of Terry with the music in the background while im swimming, that seems to keep my motion, and actions very fluid.

One thing that I'm not particularly good at is bilateral breathing. I can do it, but when i turn to my "vanilla" side I feel like im sinking a little. If i stay on "chocolate" side then no problem.

anyway. let me know your thoughts.
David
but I believe you know how to POST to get a response from TERRY
what I have seen and told others check out your arm position....
that is usually where the difference is?

could be!
just
Pat

Last edited by splashingpat : 08-20-2009 at 06:39 PM.
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  #3  
Old 08-20-2009
tedscastle tedscastle is offline
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I think that watching the video helps a lot. I was struggling in the water like many others and decided to purchase Easy Freestyle. I kept watching and yesterday I felt I made a breakthrough. Since the pool was crowded and I had to share a lane, I decided just to start with laps instead of the drills. For the first time, I felt the relaxation and enjoyed swimming. 20-30 minutes later, I took my first break. This is fun.
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  #4  
Old 08-20-2009
terry terry is offline
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David
Congratulations on the progress you've made and the sense of accomplishment that has brought. Choosing to learn through whole stroke is a path many others have followed, some with success similar to yours. I have a good friend here in New Paltz who learned the drill process, but just couldn't develop much passion or motivation for them, so he's practiced mainly whole stroke with visual cues and focal points. He's made good progress and been very excited by his progress. He also reports having received compliments from others on his swimming. Though he never did much swimming prior to a few years ago, many who see him assume he's swum well all his life.

We shot video of his stroke a week ago and he was shocked/disappointed to see some of the errors that remained in his stroke -- for instance splaying his legs widely as he rotated and bracing on a forearm at the same time.

I explained that perception is often unreliable. That his perception of swimming well suggests how far he's come because he can recall how it used to feel. But it can't reveal much about how much future improvement may be possible because he doesn't have a basis for imagining how swimming even better would feel.

I was also able to show him, for instance, how selective practice of the Skating drill and a few switches would correct the cause of his overrotation/leg-splay/bracing. It is possible to correct it with focal point practice in whole stroke, but he's grown some myelin on the circuits for his current stroke habits and so they're resistant to change. The drills are sufficiently different as to bypass that.
Cheers.

PS: How long have you lived in Japan and where are you based?
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  #5  
Old 08-21-2009
madinjapan madinjapan is offline
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Thank you for the replies,

The reason I'm sure it's an improvement in my technique, rather than fitness is that I originally began swimming to lose weight. Being from England we are taught breaststroke before anything else and this is what I did for a few months. I was swimming about 80 lengths of breaststroke quite easily and decided to throw in 2 lengths of front crawl every 9th and 10th stroke. I'd spend the next 6 lengths of breaststroke trying to get my breath back.

That's when I realised I was missing something and did a bit of research. I was always in awe of the folks that could endlessly glide up and down the pool without so much as a splash.

I know there is still alot of improvements to make to my technique and I wonder what the possibilities are for the future. The vanilla and chocolate sides refer to your natural side for breathing and the opposite one (doesn't terry mention them in his book?). At the same time I bought terry's book I also bought "The Essential Swimmer" by Steve Tarpinian. I loved the history section about the development of the front crawl but some of the things he was saying you should do i.e. elbow flexion and keeping it at a 90 degree angle just didnt seem humanly possible to me as a beginner.

In terms of strokes per 25m, I'm down to about 14 if I really concentrate. On average though I'm still at about 18 per length so lots of room for improvement. I have an overkick on my left leg in my two beat kick, which causes the occasional big splash.

I live in Yonago, on the west coast of Japan, population 150,000 (nearest big cities are Hiroshima and Osaka). My local pool is Kaike, which happens to be the birthplace of Triathlon in Japan (http://www.kaike-triathlon.com/). I'm toying with the idea of entering at some point. It's a huge commitment to training and not sure if I'll have the time, considering my wife and I have just found out she's having triplets!! Looks like im not the only one that's improved my swimming.
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  #6  
Old 08-21-2009
terry terry is offline
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David
Congratulations on receiving news of the impending dramatic expansion of your family. Multiple births are less rare these days because of fertility aids. Is this one of the decreasingly-prevalent instances of a naturally-occurring multiple birth? When is she due?

I love your account of being able to swim breaststroke endlessly, while simultaneously being envious of people who could do the same in freestyle. And how your first instinct was to mix in a little freestyle, which led you to discover that it would then take many lengths of breaststroke to recover from the ordeal of a few lengths of freestyle.

There are three reasons for this:
1) Breaststroke is a naturally-imbalanced stroke. The human body's natural orientation in water is tending-toward-vertical as gravity drags down the solid mass of the hips, while buoyancy pushes up the air-filled space in the chest. In breaststroke we feel comfortable in that position and our brains don't interpret it as "sinking." In freestyle, we feel the same thing happen and interpret it as bad, leading to a universally ineffectual and exhausting survival stroking. Legs churn like mad but have no effect on imbalance.

2) It's easy to adopt a leisurely, unhurried rhythm in breaststroke, which allows for restful moments within each full-stroke cycle. Survival stroking in freestyle requires a ceaseless churn. You feel if you slow for even a moment you'll just sink.

3) The head-out position and leisurely rhythm common to those who swim long distances (20 to 80 lengths) of breaststroke allow plenty of time to get air and there's seldom any doubt about getting it. In freestyle, the requirement to turn the head to the side (while your body keeps moving forward) and the rather frantic rhythm of imbalanced/unsupported swimming combine to make the mechanics of breathing very difficult, while simultaneously leaving you feeling as if there's just not enough time.

Your logical/thoughtful approach to solving the problem should provide encouragement to many people who've had similar experiences about the possibility of improvement and how to pursue it.

I'll also note that while one should tirelessly pursue improvements in efficiency, the most important measure is increased ease, rather than decreased stroke counts. From that standpoint, the metric or goal I'd suggest would be to increase the number of easeful, flowing continuous lengths you can swim @ 17-18 SPL, rather than decreasing your SPL from there to, say, 14.
A second goal would be to be able to take incrementally faster strokes at 17-18 SPL with the aid of a Tempo Trainer.
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  #7  
Old 08-21-2009
madinjapan madinjapan is offline
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Terry, thanks for all the practical advice on how to move forwards. Especially, the point about reducing stroke count. I think I've been over zealous with that lately, particularly after watching Shinji's effortless 9-stroke performance. It's good to hear that ease is the holy grail of good swimming, and not necessarily numbers. As you suggested, I've recently tried to up the tempo a little, while remaining relaxed.

What you said about the expectation of air is spot on, it was always one of my biggest fears, and knowing that you get some everytime in breaststroke kept me away from front crawl for so long. I've since introduced a few other friends to TI (I'm sure they are tired of me going on about it by now) and they too say that breathing is the hardest thing for them. The thing I've noticed them all doing, is lifting their heads right out of the water (as in breaststroke) and then turning it aswell! They almost come to a standstill in the water.

On another note, and this is for everyone; if you ever hear you can't lose weight swimming don't believe a word if it. I was at a max of 84kg last year (185lbs - 176cm), I've since lost 10kg and down to a shapely 158lbs. It definitely pleased my wife, who is superfit (she is a retired captain of the women's Japanese handball team).

Thank for asking about the babies Terry; they are all of the natural variety, and as informed by the doctor at the hospital, possibly the first time for natural triplets in this town. The official due date is February 22nd but it could be up to a month or two before that. Hopefully a few months after they are born I'll be able to take them down to the pool! I'm already trying to teach my 2 year old TI but he's still a little water shy. If he wants to be a sportsman, I hope he chooses either football (the English kind) or swimming.

The schools are on summer break here at the moment, so the lanes are crowded with kids. I'm having to incorporate some of your outside the box techniques for detecting obstacles in the water. Role on school time, when I can get my own lane again!
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  #8  
Old 10-05-2009
madinjapan madinjapan is offline
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madinjapan
Default progress report

Hi, all...I just thought I'd update this thread with a progress report. I felt like I've been stagnating for the last couple of weeks and was finding it difficult to find the momentum to get down to the pool. I often find that when I don't make any significant improvements on what I'm doing my interest tends to wane.

As I originally said, I began swimming to lose weight and while I was initially successful at this I've found that as my stroke efficiency has improved I'm not burning anywhere near as many calories as I did when is was inefficient. Now that is sod's law: an efficient stroke is working against me. I've actually put on a couple of kilos. I'm hoping that this is an increase in muscle mass because I certainly don't look any bigger.

Anyhow, today I had an absolute stormer in the pool, and left with what one could only describe as a feeling of euphoria. I had an epiphany and it came in the form of my arm movements while I was about 60 lengths into my workout.

I think I mentioned before that I find it very difficult to keep my elbows high, and use my whole arm as a paddle, well today as boredom was setting in I decided to spice things up and really concentrate on keeping a right angle in my arm but simultaneously letting my rotation draw the arm back rather than the actual arm muscles themselves.

Eureka! I started to absolutely glide through the water. I felt close to zero resistance and went on to do a total of 140/150 lengths (lost count - probably nearer 150). I barely used my legs/kick at all, and really for the first time felt like their only purpose was the same a metronome in music.

Time constraints forced me to leave the pool, but I felt I could have gone on and covered the same distance again.

I've also been practising my bilateral breathing and have approached this in pretty much the same way I did when I first started front crawl. At the end of my set I see how well I can do a few lengths breathing on both sides. Boom...flew down.

In my whole session today I didn't go above 18 strokes per length. Anyhow, I don't mean to sound boastful (I know there are much better swimmers on here) but I felt like I needed to share my excitement with the rest of you guys.

Last edited by madinjapan : 10-05-2009 at 12:35 PM.
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  #9  
Old 10-05-2009
monicarutherford monicarutherford is offline
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Terry,

Nice to see you're not too busy to still check out the board...I attended your TI workshop in St. Pete sometime in July/August....needless to say 2 weeks of putting the lessons and drills to practice I was swimming a mile!! I went from 2 laps to a mile in 2 weeks. It has amazed all of my swimming friends since I was always the non-swimmer. I have a quick question for you...what is the next step in inprovement? How can I bridge the gap of knowledge I have learned and get better and better? I am at a 44 minute mile...nothing fast, my strokes are a horrible 28 per lap but I will be honest am totally unwinded after a mile. I am afraid of tweaking anything because of fear I will not be able to get as far. What book or DVD do you suggest for post IT workshop graduates? Monica
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  #10  
Old 10-05-2009
terry terry is offline
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David
Your breakthrough experience in the last day or two is evidence of the principle stated in George Leonard's book, "Mastery -- The Keys to Success and Long Term Fulfillment."
That is "Love the plateau." The central idea is that when you take up a new practice, you experience encouraging progress and discovery in the beginning. That keeps you interested. Later, in almost every case, the progress curve flattens. At this point the dabblers lose interest and move onto something else where they repeat the cycle. The eventual Masters continue to practice lovingly each day, understanding that -- so long as you practice with attentive repetition -- learning and improvement continue, albeit at a cellular level where it may be difficult to discern.
Then on a particular wonderful day it all consolidates and you have a "stormer" of a practice as you described it.
The key is to begin your practice each day with a strong and clear intention to swim better than you ever have before.
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May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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