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POLIDORI 09-07-2017 10:07 AM

Swimming with closed eyes
I usually spent my summers swimming in the sea as much as I can.
However, this year I am experiencing the experience (ha, ha) of being a father for the first time. Te baby girl is now 7 months old and that does not leave much time for things I used to do.

I manage to play sports and that include two or three times of swimming during the week, but I has to be in the pool that was build within the premises where I live. The pool almost has perfect measures, but it is a free swimming pool with neighbours using it all the time. However, come September, you can enjoy the emptiness of the pool for almost the whole morning and I can swim diagonals instead of the length of the pool, which makes up for a real entire lapse in a 25 m. pool.

One thing I began to do many years ago was to swim the first two or four pools with no googles. It offers me a more relaxed way of feeling the water and I have to put a bigger effort in thinking which the position of my body and a body parts can be.

This year I started doing more lapses without googles. Now I usually complete 24 of them before I start wearing them.

Swimming without seeing (except for short glampses to avoid collisionig with a wall or a person) offers me a much greater sense of feeling the water, focusing on going through it. As I cannot see my arms moving forward, I unconsciently do not aply so much force in them, so I relax much more. The feeling is so extreme in me that I am considering swimming longer without googles. The first few turns with them are mortifying for me.

I usually begin by swimming 12 lapses breathing to the left. Then 12 to the right. All w/out googles. Then I swim some with googles. Then I change to chest stroke for 12 lapses, which leaves me ready for a really good and hard trainning session of crawl, as I need to begin swimming at a very slow tempo to find my energy and rythm once I am 10-15-20 minutes into the water. So starting to swim with no googles helps me a lot to slow my pace at the beginning, which allows me to lengthen my sessions and complete more lapses. My main problem with swimming, I believe, is that I tend to go faster then I should, so sometimes I end up with no breath after 15 minutes. That forces me to recover between series (often changing styles or my breathing side) for a longer time than I would love to.

I would like to write a post about this, but in the meantime I need to think longer about what I feel. Also I would love to hear from experiences in other swimmers.

Thank you and greetings to you all.

novaswimmer 09-07-2017 01:33 PM

Why not just keep your goggles on all the time and close your eyes? Then when you need to see, just open your eyes? I do that sometimes when I don't have to share a lane with anyone. Just take a quick peek to make sure you're not running into the wall. When I have the luxury of getting my own lane, I do like to close my eyes.

POLIDORI 09-08-2017 09:28 AM


Originally Posted by novaswimmer (Post 63504)
Why not just keep your goggles on all the time and close your eyes? Then when you need to see, just open your eyes? I do that sometimes when I don't have to share a lane with anyone. Just take a quick peek to make sure you're not running into the wall. When I have the luxury of getting my own lane, I do like to close my eyes.

This is a pretty good idea. I might try that, although I suspect that the main thing to feel this free is the fact of not wearing googles.
I have not tried much with my eyes closed, but I believe I have done it quite a few times and the results were not that relaxing.

Anyway, thank you very much for your advice. I will share my sensations when I have them.

sclim 09-11-2017 01:10 AM

The suggestion that novaswimmer had seems to me like an obvious one, and I found it surprising that you had not considered it yourself. To understand what it means when you say you may have actually tried it, and didn't find it relaxing is puzzling to me. Obviously there is more going on than what I (and maybe novaswimmer too) can easily grasp.

In what way is closed eyes with goggles on different from closed eyes without goggles? The only thing I can think of is that without goggles you have really committed to not looking, and this commitment is what has given you this "freedom", or maybe it's the totality of getting information from water sensation, i.e. not augmented by vision, and this richness of mental focus from the water sensation is liberating. Could this be the reason?

alittlelove 10-11-2017 08:43 AM

Love the title of the thread.

MarkMcCollum 10-12-2017 05:50 AM

Hi, thanks for sharing the amazing post. I love to swim.

CoachSuzanne 10-13-2017 05:51 PM

I love this post, thank you!!

I don't htink you need to wear goggles for your "warmup" sicne you have such an effective warmup already. I wish more swimmers could accept this slow start and ease into a proper "workout". WEll done, keep it up.

charlesjohny8 10-14-2017 06:38 AM

I also swim with close eyes but I wear googles as well. Swimming with close eyes really gives another taste and peace to mind. I feel like I am a fish and don't know where to go you can say a blind fish. Sometimes I forget the direction but then I open my eyes to see whether I am going at the right side or not.
Its extremely a wonderful experience with close eyes one day I will be perfect in it.

sclim 10-15-2017 06:48 AM

The only closed eyes swimming I've done is to practice pool swimming in a straight line in preparation for open water swimming. I have to admit it didn't feel any thing special. But then I really wasn't leaving myself open to all and any kinds of feelings -- I was just totally focussed on not deviating from the line, and looking for any indication that I was about to brush against a line divider rope or hit someone that I hadn't seen before...hardly the right mindframe to experience anything transcendental. I don't think having goggles on at the time had anything to do with my unremarkable experience.

CoachStuartMcDougal 10-17-2017 01:20 PM

Hi Sclim,

I think you are and charlesjohny8 are saying the same thing, Charles is more feeling. It's the "Observation Effect" - the act of measuring or observing changes the outcome or the act. Swimming a few strokes with eyes open, close for a few strokes, then open again - one discovers how much our eyes trigger unconscious movements. I have a blind swimmer and it's fascinating how other senses magnify and compensate (ears, pressure/feel, etc). He can swim a 25y length and never hit the lane ropes, and I often have him split the lane with another swimmer. Most are amazed to find out he's blind.


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