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  #21  
Old 04-07-2015
sclim sclim is offline
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Originally Posted by novaswimmer View Post
Yeah, it's lonely at the 'bottom'.
LOL -- you got that right!

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Originally Posted by novaswimmer View Post
I am getting frustrated with advice which works for non-sinkers but not necessarily for 'us'. Guess I'll just have to settle for a slow pace.

Yes, at a faster pace, I can keep legs up better (drafting effect), but I wear out faster. When I first push off from the wall, my body is very horizontal and breathing is a breeze. But then legs begin to go down as speed diminishes.

My SPL are probably around 20, but it's a very slow pace and I can't maintain it for very long. But I will keep working -- hey, I need the exercise!
Don't get frustrated. The advice is actually generally correct, just that it may not work for us exactly like they say. Or rather, I think we have to work much harder to make it work. But I think it can be done.

For instance, your push-off experience is exactly like mine. So I try to use those brief few seconds and milliseconds to learn how my body feels when it balances and when it goes out of balance. On each occasion I am concentrating very hard on that moment of transition, and I experiment all the time to see if I can exploit some aspect of my body's planing ability to try and delay the onset of imbalance, or to put it another way, to maintain some residual balance at a lower residual velocity.

Or maybe I'm kidding myself, and all I'm learning is the point of no return, and I'm learning to get my first half stroke or arm pull started before my legs drop too far. Whatever the case, I know I'm learning something useful, and the paying close attention and experimenting is working.

Likewise, I know I float very deep in the water in the horizontal balanced position (compared to "normal, i.e. buoyant" people). Therefore everything the standard advice tells us about not bobbing up (then down) but maintaining uniform head position at the water surface (or as uniform as I can achieve) to get half mouth barely to the surface is still valid for efficient breathing in swimming, and maybe even more so for us people with less leeway for inefficiency. Even if it means I have to rotate for air more than other people whose heads are closer to the surface in the horizontal position.

My wing-span is 164cm, so my green zone is 17.5 to 22.5 SPL in a 25m pool. I was struggling to maintain 24 SLP on continuous lengths at TT 1.20 seconds, and I just couldn't get my SPL down. So I set the TT at 1.40, and barely made it to 22 SPL if I did one length at a time. I thought I'd never get any better, but in the last 3-4 weeks I am gradually getting my average down to 20.5 to 21.5, and I have achieved a grand total of ONE length at 20 SPL for the first time last week. So there is progress.

But I have hopes I will be able to repeat the feat, then do it more often, then get good enough so that 20SPL will become a predictable achievement...then incorporate it into multiple lengths, then speed up the tempo, etc...That's the plan, anyway. Gotta set a goal, right?

You gotta work with what you've got. Guess what, it'll be harder now, but when we crack the code, and ingrain all that efficiency we'll be forced to learn, when we've finally picked up all the little tricks that are there for everyone, not just the buoyant people, to steal, you and I will be better swimmers over the long haul!!

Last edited by sclim : 04-07-2015 at 05:50 AM.
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  #22  
Old 04-07-2015
jenson1a jenson1a is offline
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sclim

Just a thought--is it possible that in the effort to decrease spl, you are creating tension in your body that shouldn't be there? While I can't identify with your balance problem, I do remember when I first started TI, it seemed to me that spl was what to concentrate on. I got so uptight that I used whatever energy I had to decrease spl. This caused me to run out of air and my rest periods were longer than my swim times. Now the mantra seem s to be optimal stroke, optimal spl, etc. etc. Suddenly the lower spl doesn't seem to be important. Now the talk is all about gears and different spl at different rates. so who knows what will be the next all important thought process?

But since you are improving, maybe you are on the right track. I admire your determination and wish you well.

Sherry
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  #23  
Old 04-07-2015
sclim sclim is offline
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sclim

Just a thought--is it possible that in the effort to decrease spl, you are creating tension in your body that shouldn't be there? While I can't identify with your balance problem, I do remember when I first started TI, it seemed to me that spl was what to concentrate on. I got so uptight that I used whatever energy I had to decrease spl. This caused me to run out of air and my rest periods were longer than my swim times. Now the mantra seem s to be optimal stroke, optimal spl, etc. etc. Suddenly the lower spl doesn't seem to be important. Now the talk is all about gears and different spl at different rates. so who knows what will be the next all important thought process?

But since you are improving, maybe you are on the right track. I admire your determination and wish you well.

Sherry
I'm sure that is part of the mix of possibilities, and even probabilities. But what I intend and hope to do is focus on lowering SPL, and in the process, which will be a zig-zag path, I'm sure, by experimentation and observation, try and figure out what improves things and what makes things worse. It's already working in some areas (see Favourite Practices and Sets - "Gearing Practice (No TT)" thread), and sometimes I even think I have a clue how that last little tweak of improvement happens. But when it's a puzzle I just accept it and move on, hoping understanding will come later.

If excess tension is a relevant detriment, it should make itself obvious in the experimentation process and all come out in the wash anyway.

PS: I have a vague vision for my future. I'll get my SPL down further -- I don't know how low, but lower than now. Then I'll speed up the tempo again, and my SPL will increase some, but I'll try to hang on to some part of my improvement, and, hopefully, because I've spent so much effort in shaping my stroke and balance to get the SPL down, when it increases again, I'll still have a relatively acceptable SPL at "normal" swimming tempo. So I see the low SPL not so much as an end in itself, but a tool for improvement -- more like a surrogate measurement for whole stroke efficiency.

But thanks for the thought, and for forcing me to think it through again.

Last edited by sclim : 04-07-2015 at 06:45 PM.
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  #24  
Old 04-08-2015
novaswimmer novaswimmer is offline
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Originally Posted by sclim View Post

You gotta work with what you've got. Guess what, it'll be harder now, but when we crack the code, and ingrain all that efficiency we'll be forced to learn, when we've finally picked up all the little tricks that are there for everyone, not just the buoyant people, to steal, you and I will be better swimmers over the long haul!!
Thanks for the encouragement. I will not not give up. I need the exercise and I have, in my last year of swimming using TI book and focused practice, seen a fair amount of improvement.

I used to be really hesitant to share a lane with another swimmer for fear I'd bang into them, but now I'm like 'whatever', although always humbled by my usually slower pace.

I def. need to keep tweaking the issues of drag, balance, timing of kick, hold on water during pull, relaxation, etc.
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  #25  
Old 04-08-2015
sclim sclim is offline
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Thanks for the encouragement. I will not not give up. I need the exercise and I have, in my last year of swimming using TI book and focused practice, seen a fair amount of improvement.

I used to be really hesitant to share a lane with another swimmer for fear I'd bang into them, but now I'm like 'whatever', although always humbled by my usually slower pace.

I def. need to keep tweaking the issues of drag, balance, timing of kick, hold on water during pull, relaxation, etc.
Yeah, I'm in the same situation. But then I remind myself it's not about humbled/not humbled, or whether at this moment I'm slower or faster than the other swimmer(s) in the lane -- I'm choosing to swim at this speed because at my level of proficiency this is the right speed that helps me most while I am tweaking whatever element that I'm focusing on in this drill (the final result being faster pace at lower effort -- but that's way further down the line, after I've tweaked all the elements then re-assembled them, hopefully into a cohesive whole).

But I gotta agree with you, it's a nuisance to share the lane; for me, I think it's because the extra effort and concentration to avoid potential collisions takes away from the concentration required to make the drill work right.

Last edited by sclim : 04-08-2015 at 11:28 PM.
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  #26  
Old 04-08-2015
sclim sclim is offline
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I used to be really hesitant to share a lane with another swimmer for fear I'd bang into them, but now I'm like 'whatever', although always humbled by my usually slower pace.
I just had a thought -- at some point of time, in spite of my reluctance to swim with shared lanes, I might actually try to use the presence of another swimmer ahead of me to practice drafting. This would require a whole lot of concentration and skill that I don't have right now yet:

1) Stroke efficiency and strength and corresponding automaticity, i.e. the ability to maintain the speed and efficiency equivalent to focussed practice, yet while focussing on trailing the swimmer ahead.

2) The ability to change speeds smoothly and efficiently at will so as to catch up with the swimmer ahead then latch on behind at a 1/2 metre trailing length.

3) The ability to do all the above while looking slightly ahead. Right now all I've practiced is looking straight down. In fact I've had several near collisions due to this. Including one almost-hit on the far pool end when I was so focussed on the drill I failed to note that I had run out of pool!

Just a thought for me to keep in mind for the future.
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  #27  
Old 04-09-2015
novaswimmer novaswimmer is offline
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But I gotta agree with you, it's a nuisance to share the lane; for me, I think it's because the extra effort and concentration to avoid potential collisions takes away from the concentration required to make the drill work right.
Yes, it still throws me off a bit and sharing a lane is not my preference. I'm not so much self-conscious about my pace, it's more the wave action from the other swimmer that disrupts my breathing (face barely at the surface). Although I try to breathe on the opposite side as the other swimmer usually.

And my relaxation and ease is reduced, so less concentration on form.

There's no way I can keep up with some of these swimmers to even THINK about drafting! Maybe if I threw a rope around them (?)
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  #28  
Old 04-09-2015
sclim sclim is offline
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Originally Posted by novaswimmer View Post
Yes, it still throws me off a bit and sharing a lane is not my preference. I'm not so much self-conscious about my pace, it's more the wave action from the other swimmer that disrupts my breathing (face barely at the surface). Although I try to breathe on the opposite side as the other swimmer usually.

And my relaxation and ease is reduced, so less concentration on form.

There's no way I can keep up with some of these swimmers to even THINK about drafting! Maybe if I threw a rope around them (?)
Hey, I just realised I've become very fixed in my ways. I breathe every 3rd stroke, and I've fallen into a fixed routine of breathing on the 3rd, 6th 9th, 12th, 15th, 18th 21st and 24th (when I used to do it) stroke. When I was first learning it, the mental divisor by 3 was a check to make sure I was keeping to the breathing order correctly. Now that I do this automatically and basically don't make a mistake, it helps me when I fall asleep during the stroke counting, which is almost always now -- it becomes very clear which stroke I am on because I am usually paying enough attention to know if the left breathing stroke I just did was the 18th or the 12th.

But I'm going to have to build some flexibility into this to learn how to do other ad hoc breathing patterns and not freak out.

BTW, a propos of my struggles in vain to drop my SPL, I finally had a breakthrough this week -- see Favourite Sets and Practices "Gearing Practice (No TT)" thread. Last week I achieved a single length of exactly 20 SPL, but couldn't do it again no matter how hard I tried, in the days that followed, including Monday this week. But yesterday I managed to do it 7 times altogether. And today within the first 8 lengths I did it 7 times, and by the end of the whole session I had accumulated a total of 18 or 19 successes! It took me so long to get tto this point I can hardly believe it finally happened. Very cool. (Although it's easy for me to say now that I always had faith that if I stuck to the process of mindfully drilling and putting all the learned elements in place it would finally all click into place if I practiced long enough!)

And regarding keeping up with the other swimmers, there is quite a range of swimming speeds in my pool; and in fact I can swim faster for one length now that I'm getting the lower SPL with a fixed TT tempo than some other swimmers, except they keep on swimming, and I have to stop to rest after one length and recollect my concentration. In theory, once I get the concentration right, and the drafting doesn't throw me off, I should be able to dive right in on their tail and obtain relative rest while drafting at the same speed that had me close to maxing out before.

Hmmm..., I have never considered the etiquette of drafting before. I suppose I better talk to the potential draftee first and make sure it's ok with them. And to make sure that I keep my head up and maintain that 18 inches or whatever separation with great precision so that I'm not running into the draftees feet all the time.

Last edited by sclim : 04-09-2015 at 06:26 AM.
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  #29  
Old 04-11-2015
novaswimmer novaswimmer is offline
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Yes, I pretty much breathe 'as I need it' on either side. It took me a while to work up to this...like pretty much all summer. But it's getting more comfortable. Still swallow water once in a while.
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  #30  
Old 04-11-2015
sclim sclim is offline
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Yes, I pretty much breathe 'as I need it' on either side. It took me a while to work up to this...like pretty much all summer. But it's getting more comfortable. Still swallow water once in a while.
Yeah, I almost forget now, that when I started this TI thing a couple years ago, I absolutely could not breath on the left. Took me a long time and brutal drills to get me to breath on the left more than once, and it was really ugly at first. Now my left side breathing (in the context of breathing every 3 strokes) is really smooth, and actually very low at the waterline. But I still have a residual anxiety about it, and I know doing a whole length of exclusive left side breathing will be a real challenge. I have to find the time and priority to drill exclusively left side breathing, to get comfortable with it, in case the situation makes it necessary during an open water competition.
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