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  #21  
Old 10-02-2014
novaswimmer novaswimmer is offline
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Originally Posted by Talvi View Post
I don't think of myself as a sinker, as I have no real problem floating, but what you describe is my experience exactly. I found that having my head so that on rotation my face is at the 2:30.9:30 position i.e with eyes looking just forward of sideways was the key - no more water in my mouth, a much more relaxed breath etc etc.
Yes, I noticed in one of Terry's videos of whole stroke freestyle (front-on perspective) that his head was more at a 9:30 position.

Here's what I 'think' I am doing (right image). This is only what it feels like to me, but without taking a video, or having someone watch me underwater, I guess I'll never know for sure. The water level may actually be higher in real life for me and my head may actually be more at 10 or 10:30.


Last edited by novaswimmer : 10-02-2014 at 06:54 PM.
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  #22  
Old 10-02-2014
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Ahh I see what you mean. Your clock-face is vertical, whereas mine lies on the surface of the water.

The head/spne connection is a pretty complicated 3D geometry, so when the head turns there are a lot of possibilities. What I find is that when I turn my head it does not rotate in quite as "true" a way as shown in your diagram. If you compare Terry's head position (at the end of the PMF DVD for instance) and Shinji's (in that famous video of his), mine is now more like Terry's, slightly raised.

With my eyes looking a little bit forward as I turn, I get a feeling that my head is slicing through the surface of the water. Before it was flowing over my head!

The density of heads is so close to that of water that I don't believe it is possible to feel when it is truly "at rest" in the water. I just aim to cut out any effort I can. If you chopped your head off and threw it in the pool it would take maybe a minute or more to settle down into an equilibrium position so while swimming and rotating etc there really is no time to feel that position even if your neck muscles were sufficiently tuned and sensitive which I don't think they are. After all they're designed to hold 15lbs of mass, uncomplainingly, on a bendy pole, for 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 70+ years. A millimetre or two here or there is not something they're geared to pick up on imo.

In the water I find it all a really complex motion, so I'm focussed on the turned position more than the head down position (I just try to keep the head down position on line and still. I want it as relaxed as possible and to minimise any unnecessary twisting. Mostly now I look for the early breath, eyes looking just slightly forward, and my head cutting through the surface.

One other benefit I find with doing this, something which is only weeks old for me, is the confidence it has given me. I feel unsinkable when I do it!

I also think your diagram is missing the bow wave and trough which, even if moving very slowly, I think gives another 25-35mm space say in which to breathe.
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A psychological disorder is: "Any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation."
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"The water is your friend.....you don't have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move."
~ Aleksandr Popov
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  #23  
Old 10-02-2014
novaswimmer novaswimmer is offline
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Originally Posted by Talvi View Post

I also think your diagram is missing the bow wave and trough which, even if moving very slowly, I think gives another 25-35mm space say in which to breathe.
I honestly can't feel or see a bow wave, so I left it out! LOL!

What do you do with regards to your 'horizontality' (if that is a word) of your head as you take your breath? Are you an A (perfectly horizontal), B (eyes up slightly) or C (chin up slightly)? I realize you said your eyes are a bit forward -- that's too hard for me to illustrate in this view. And yes, I understand the geometry is very complex. So I'm just working on one 'plane' at a time. There are three different planes that the head is capable of rotating in.



I would add that I'm also experimenting with a trickle exhale while my head is underwater, but then quickly exhaling the remainder just as my head comes up. I'm hoping this keeps at least some air in my lungs to give me better average buoyancy.

I'm trying to glean any kind of advice I can here, because not knowing if I will be sucking air or water makes me a lot less relaxed in the water.

Last edited by novaswimmer : 10-02-2014 at 08:01 PM.
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  #24  
Old 10-02-2014
novaswimmer novaswimmer is offline
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Here's the final 'plane'.

The aspect of this figure is as if you were above the swimmer looking directly down at him as he is rotating his head up to catch a breath to his right side.

Talvi, would you say you are a 'B' -- eyes slightly looking forward?



Anyway, all this to say that I'll keep working on balancing body position, head position, minimizing drag and getting all these parts to work together. I think it will all come together over time. I can't recall who presented the analogy of swimming as creating a sculpture, but that is a very appropriate analogy. You sort of 'rough in' the form, individual parts, and then fine tune it over time. The drills only take you so far, because once you do 'whole stroke', a relearning process has to take place to get back in balance. And incorporating breathing throws everything off again.

My apologies to the original poster if I high-jacked this thread.

Last edited by novaswimmer : 10-02-2014 at 10:54 PM.
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  #25  
Old 10-03-2014
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by novaswimmer View Post
...You sort of 'rough in' the form, individual parts, and then fine tune it over time. The drills only take you so far, because once you do 'whole stroke', a relearning process has to take place to get back in balance. And incorporating breathing throws everything off again...
That's been my experience. At the moment I have the feeling that the worst of this one step forward two back part is behind me.

The drawings are great! I think I've tried all the six combinations and as you guess I'm now a double-B breather!

It would be great if you edited one of the two posts so the letters in one of them are lower case, or numbered instead of lettered to help use the diagrams as a general reference.

BTW I too never believed I had a bow wave. Thrn people said they saw it in my video, and I guess I could too, but I only experienced a bow wave when I changed my head orientation. Before that the bow wave was just drowning me. Now it is helps. The bow wave is there for everyone, and even if it is small, say 10mm, it significantly helps.

With exhaling I've found the best policy is to control it as little as possible while remembering that if you getbreathless it's most probably because you haven't exhaled enough - so the next stroke make sure you do - and then have your focus on the inhale. Getting stressed about breathing is the main problem with breathing. Strange but true :)

EDIT

Just realized I wrote this from previous swimming memory rather than from what I realized (yesterday) about my posture generally. I had thought I had been standing straight whereas in fact my head has always been angled slightly down/forward. I may therefore have been simply correcting for this in the water and while imagining my head was angled back it has actually just become straighter (going from C to A, not from A to B). Similarly my eyes have become habituated to looking slightly down, so the sensation of looking ahead might also be coming from this basic error in proprioception. What I know for sure however is that the corrections have worked a treat. So my recommendation would be that if the theory isn't working don't fret it. Try the six permutations and find what works for you - assuming of course that balance and streamlining are not adversely affected.
__________________
A psychological disorder is: "Any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation."
~ George Kelly

"The water is your friend.....you don't have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move."
~ Aleksandr Popov

Last edited by Talvi : 10-03-2014 at 09:10 AM.
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  #26  
Old 12-31-2014
novaswimmer novaswimmer is offline
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I've been working on this breathing thing a lot lately -- for months now.

Here's what seems to be working for me:

When I approach a breathing stroke, I actually rotate my body (belly button) more laterally than I do during a non-breathing stroke. I have to so I can reach air. Using this diagram...



... during a breathing stroke, my belly button is probably at about 8:00 or so. Head is rotated to about 10:30, sometimes lower. That sounds like too much head rotation, but it's what I have to do to reach air -- at this point any way. During non-breathing, my belly button is probably around 7:00.



In regard to head 'horizontality',... this one:



...upon breathing, my chin is slightly elevated as in 'C' with a popeye mouth shape. I'm working at this to reduce my head rotation (10:30) so much.



With regard to head 'attitude'... this one:



...My head is probably closer to 'C' when I'm breathing, but closer to 'B' in a head-down position between breaths.

So I guess right now, I'm a 10:30, C, C. LOL!
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  #27  
Old 01-01-2015
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Default Nice diagrams!

Great drawings novaswimmer :) but might I ask you to relabel them, or the last one anyway? Head and breathing are central imo and it would be a great help to my mind for posts on this subject to be able to refer to refer to the positions shown in an unambiguous and clear manner. The last two sets of pictures are difficult to use as the lettering in them is the same.

Personally I find the 9:45 position, for head roll at body rotation, as shown in your diagram, to be about right. It looks good on the diagram too.

However I find that if I adopt the C position for "horizontality", water gets up my nose. So if for no other reason than this I prefer position A or B. In the Thorpe video Andy recently posted he looks to me to adopt the B position.

With regard to the last diagrams of head "cant"/attitude (to my mind most important diagram) I find again that B is the best. With that position I find I get to air faster, breathe earlier and return to vertical faster and more smoothly. For me this position prevent my bow wave (such as it is!) flowing across my mouth as I reach the air - something which also delays my breath in the stroke cycle.

FWIW I find getting an early breath is highly beneficial to the entire stroke sequence.
__________________
A psychological disorder is: "Any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation."
~ George Kelly

"The water is your friend.....you don't have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move."
~ Aleksandr Popov
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  #28  
Old 01-01-2015
novaswimmer novaswimmer is offline
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Talvi,

I always appreciate your thoughts.

This breathing thing will likely be a 'work in progress' for quite a while longer.

I have to say that when I started all this back in February (2014), it seemed like it took forever to do one length of the pool (25 yds) in about 26 strokes. Now, I can easily do it in between 16 and 18 strokes and it seems to go by rather quickly. Of course I'm much more streamlined in my push off from the wall, so that helps too!

I still can only go about 50 yds, sometimes 75 before I get out of breath and have to rest. I've often wondered if there were no 'pool wall' whether I'd be able to go much further. That wall, turning and pushing off, seems to sap some energy, create 'stress' and pose a psychological barrier.

Edit: Forgot to address 'early breathing'. I'm trying to get a handle on what that means exactly. I mean, my timing to breath is very, very short or I sink. I usually breathe just as my recovery arm is just about to come up out of the water, and as my extended underwater arm is at full extension. As my body rotates (to skate -- let's say to the right), my head follows with it (as if it were welded in position), but then continues to rotate beyond that to air. Take a gulp and quickly rotate my head back to 6:00.

If I wait to breathe when recovery arm is OUT of the water, it seems that extra weight above the water pushes me downward into the water and air is further away.

Still trying to practice 'ease', good hydrodynamics. etc.

Last edited by novaswimmer : 01-01-2015 at 08:21 PM.
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  #29  
Old 01-02-2015
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by novaswimmer View Post
...
Edit: Forgot to address 'early breathing'. I'm trying to get a handle on what that means exactly. ...
It's a feel and position more than anything. It didn't come from the timing but rather the other way around. Modifying my head position, as I tried to describe with reference to your diagrams, has the result of an earlier breath etc. You have to change the head position not the timing. The timing will follow when the head psition is correct. Try what I described and I think you'll get it.

BTW 16/18 spl is very good after only 10 months, imo, but maybe you should let the stroke length increase while you get the breathing relaxed. Breathing is the key to being able to practice whole stroke. Focus on an effortlss balance in the water and rolling to the air, rather than reaching for the air and struggling to float.

All the best for 2015 :)
__________________
A psychological disorder is: "Any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation."
~ George Kelly

"The water is your friend.....you don't have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move."
~ Aleksandr Popov
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  #30  
Old 01-02-2015
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by novaswimmer View Post

I still can only go about 50 yds, sometimes 75 before I get out of breath and have to rest. I've often wondered if there were no 'pool wall' whether I'd be able to go much further. That wall, turning and pushing off, seems to sap some energy, create 'stress' and pose a psychological barrier.

Edit: Forgot to address 'early breathing'. I'm trying to get a handle on what that means exactly. I mean, my timing to breath is very, very short or I sink. I usually breathe just as my recovery arm is just about to come up out of the water, and as my extended underwater arm is at full extension. As my body rotates (to skate -- let's say to the right), my head follows with it (as if it were welded in position), but then continues to rotate beyond that to air. Take a gulp and quickly rotate my head back to 6:00.

If I wait to breathe when recovery arm is OUT of the water, it seems that extra weight above the water pushes me downward into the water and air is further away.

Still trying to practice 'ease', good hydrodynamics. etc.
Hi Novaswimmer,

The wall and turn is an interruption that can cause problems in breathing too. 1. Do an open turn to get more air, but most importantly, get a good streamline push not stroking too soon. Wait until you're on the surface (air on back), stable and level before you start your stroke. If you stroke too soon, this can throw you off balance, hips drop - anxiety & tension sets in, getting a breath is much more difficult. 2. After turn and good streamline push - take a couple of long (non breathing) strokes *before* getting your first breath of each length. Don't reach for air on first stroke. Both tips allow you to set up (or reset) your body position for a stable breath.

Second, "early breath". Don't make too much out of this in terms of where all body parts should be (belly button, head, recovery arm, clock positions, etc), makes it all that more complicated managing too many pieces. Just allow shoulders to do the breath timing: Chin follows shoulder to air until one goggle is above the surface. I wrote a coach blog early Dec so I don't need to repeat, and I don't think I've added this to this post (if I have forgive the redundancy), see: Breathing, it's Overrated!

Keep up the good work!

Stuart
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