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varrojames 10-20-2014 06:26 PM

TI with Snorkel ?
Dear TI Coaches,

What do you think of practising TI swimming and drills with snorkel ?

Advantages...... ? Disadvantages....?

Your opinion will be appreciated.

Talvi 10-25-2014 08:28 AM

I'm not a coach, I am barely a competent swimmer but as you've not got any replies I'll pitch in.

I bought got a snorkel to help me practice. In the end I've hardly used it. I didn't find it really helped me though it was interesting using it.

The problem for me is that with a snorkel I find much less incentive to rotate and so rotate less. When I have to breathe normally I have to rotate better and then have some measure to balance rotation on the other side.

Having said that using a snorkel eliminates the complexity of breathing and so does allow more intense focusing on elements of the stroke.

I think, like any tool, a snorkel can help but whether it does or not depends on how you use it. Maybe it'll help you. I don't think there is much of a down side. In the end you have to learn to breathe and doing that is to my mind more important than anything else in the stroke.

sclim 11-18-2014 08:31 PM

@Talvi: I agree you still have to learn to breathe, and snorkel use doesn't help here. But in the skate drill, I find with my flotation issues, I get not very long duration doing the drill, before it is disrupted by the need to breathe. I find with the Finis snorkel I can spend time in the skate position without flippers gradually fine-tuning my optimum skate position. In other words, I am using the snorkel here as a tool to isolate out the breathing disruption so I can concentrate on only one thing at a time during this drill.

Trouble is, with the regular Finis swim snorkel, it forces you to adopt the more conventional swimming slight head tilt rather than the TI face flat down position, which, because of my rather low in the water position, submerges the Finis snorkel tip unless I do a slight head up-tilt. I know in theory I can dial in the head tilt only for snorkel practice and "subtract" it for "real" TI swimming, but I worry that, if the point is to practice a subtle skill like balance, am I imprinting the wrong head angle by forcing myself to drill with the wrong head angle.

Does anyone have advice on a TI-friendly snorkel?

Zenturtle 11-18-2014 09:44 PM

There seem to be 2 types of snorkesl. One has a longer pipe.
Or you do a bit of DIY and lenghten the air pipe.
I dont see much harm in ingraining a whole stroke with a snorkel.
If the stroke is deeply ingrained its a strong base to add a breathing skill.

sojomojo 11-19-2014 02:11 AM

TI drills using a center mounted snorkel
Here’s a couple of YouTube videos of Terry using a Finis center mounted snorkel to perform drills.

Here's a video on using a center mounted snorkel to perform a Side to Side drill:

The one thing that I’ve been striving to do is to keep my head still while swimming. Last summer, I had someone videotape me while swimming with a Finis swimmer snorkel. It wasn’t pretty and I was surprised at how much movement there was in my head. When I showed the video to a friend, he laughingly compared me to these guys but I was doing it underwater:

s.sciame 11-19-2014 06:39 AM

I use a snorkel regularly when doing kicking laps instead of using a kickboard. Ie try 4x25 Superman Flutter with snorkel, then remove it and transition to swimming: it's gold swimming. Anyway, not only a snorkel helps keeping the head still when swimming, but I find it also can tell you interesting info about your natural breathing rate: for instance, I usually breathe in every 3rd stroke, but when swimming with a snorkel - that is free breathing - I realize that I naturally breathe in every 4th stroke and exhale for 3 strokes. It definitely is a powerful tool to use, just my 2 cents

Talvi 11-19-2014 12:10 PM

I'd never thought of using a snorkel for kicking drills s.sciame, mostly because I've seen those as being face down and kicking vertically whereas I think the kick should be on more of a diagonal, if it isn't then if you lift your leg before kicking the foot breaks the surface and/or if you bend the knee, at all, before kicking then it breaks the surface and this I understand is poor technique. Any TI comments (kick boards and kicking drills are generally not "favourites" in TI from all I gather here) would be very welcome on this as of late I have found that using the kick to rotate is of benefit to the feel of the stroke as a whole.


Originally Posted by sclim (Post 49409)
...Trouble is, with the regular Finis swim snorkel, it forces you to adopt the more conventional swimming slight head tilt rather than the TI face flat down position, which, because of my rather low in the water position, submerges the Finis snorkel tip unless I do a slight head up-tilt. I know in theory I can dial in the head tilt only for snorkel practice and "subtract" it for "real" TI swimming, but I worry that, if the point is to practice a subtle skill like balance, am I imprinting the wrong head angle by forcing myself to drill with the wrong head angle....

Hiya Sclim, good to see/hear you back on the forum!

I'm more subject to tilting my head down than up, but even though I had the same problem with the Finis as you to start with I'm not convinced it's the angle of the snorkel that's wrong. Without video though it is almost impossible to figure out, but I adapted quite quickly.

I have to agree with you about imprinting/learning something that might eventually have to be unlearned. With a coach the drills make sense because they are being fitted by the coach precisely into a unique implementation and attribute set. Without a coach I have floundered, and this is what I found trying to find the point of optimal rotation. Pretty much any angle of rotation is as difficult/easy at the outset and then what I choose to work on becomes easier. This then becomes the base for subsequent stroke development. Without someone saying" more, more" or "less, less" though and as I have no innate sense of what is correct it is more probably that I learn something incorrectly than correctly, simply because there are more options for that. I find no alternative but to learn/sense as best I can the correct rotation via the stroke rather than vice-versa.

One particular use I made of the snorkel was to try and isolate why I executed different movements with my right and left arms. I didn't have much success though even though I did balance out the two sides a bit. Now I attribute this furstration to the systemic nature of swimming. As an example, a number of years back I noted the different movement my two feet described in their movement between footfalls. Not a problem for walking but infuriating in XC-skiing! After years of focus what I have found is... everything's connected! D'oh! :D Focus on my feet led irresistibly to analysis of larger and larger skeletal components and assemblies as the movement of each part of the body is being co-ordinated by myriad and involuntary movements of a mutitude of muscles througout the body not simply in the area concerned. Your body is designed to take care of itself and so while you can overrule big tendencies the rest of the system moves to compensate in the way it has already learned. This is the herding cats experience.

IMO once you know, in a physical sense, the movement you are practicing, then honing it via drills works very well. However finding the correct movement wihout this knowledge and via an elemental drill is a something quite different in my experience.

CoachStuartMcDougal 11-19-2014 04:14 PM

I use snorkels in limited way. For the 'true sinker', I have them use the snorkel in drill and whole stroke until they've discovered how to expand their lung capacity and keep enough air to remain buoyant.

Second, for the novice or intermediate swimmer that struggle with the breath, changing body position to get air - I have put this on them to establish stroke symmetry and stability and then integrate breath. But always short sets, i.e. 50y with snorkel, 50y without.

Lastly, establish good head position. If head and spine are in correct alignment, snorkel will be 2"-4" above the surface (both in drill and whole stroke). If head goes out of alignment or stroke asymmetry causes swimmer to bob up and down - it's down periscope, swimmer is sucking water. This is great feedback for the swimmer that doesn't have a coach on deck telling them their head is out of position and/or bobbing up and down during whole stroke.


s.sciame 11-19-2014 05:32 PM

Hi Talvi, by kicking laps I meant Superman Flutter for instance (see Terry doing it with a snorkel in the link above), or even skating.

What I wanted to highlight anyway is how effective a snorkel is to learn keeping the head still and how it can also help you discover your natural easiest breathing rate (to be replicated when swimming without snorkel), which is obviously one of the fundamental skills to master.

sclim 11-19-2014 11:59 PM

I think most of the posters here gloss over my main frustration -- the wrong tube angle, which forces me to tilt my head up wrongly. Here is a link to the Finis site showing the "Swimmer's Snorkel", which is what I have

Notice the relationship of the mouthpiece, which is used facing vertically downwards in TI, to the end of the breathing tube which would be tilted forwards at a 45 degree angle. If you're not sure how this plays out, click on the 2nd small picture to enlarge it to see a typical "non-TI" swimmer using this snorkel, and see his face angled up position, and the tube vertical. I suppose most TI swimmers could be totally face down and still have the 45 degree angle project far enough to breathe; I swim so low in the water as to not have this leeway.

The alternative seems to be their so-called "Freestyle Snorkel"

This tube tip at first glance seems to be actually angled too far backwards, with the end segment leaning BACK about 45 degrees when the face is flat down. But not only is the angle backwards; the end can be seen to be further UP out of the water above the back of the head, once you visualise the complete picture with the tube curving over the top of the head. This position, projecting out of the water somewhat astern of the corresponding point with the "Swimmer's Snorkel" may also give me some extra "head sink safety".

Bear in mind that when you click on the picture of the conventional swimmer using this snorkel, what you are seeing at the water surface is the last bit of middle segment of the tube before it makes its last bend. In this demonstration picture, the end segment (which you can't see), being angled 45 degrees further backwards must be almost parallel with the water surface, or at least at a pretty shallow angle! I'm hoping that with the proper TI position, the face being rotated downwards 30-40 degrees compared to this demo picture, the end segment will approach verticality sufficiently to provide enough clearance for me. But it's hard to be sure.

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