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cynthcor 01-06-2011 06:33 PM

Advice Please
I'm very new to swimming. Don't get me wrong I could do enough before to not drown and I've been scuba certified for 20+ years, but there's a big difference between free style and what I was doing before and I recognize that. I'm 5'2", 150 lbs. I'm not what you'd call fat, but my 48 year old body is not what it was when I was 22. I run (lots of half marathons) and bike (lots of century's) and I'm training for a sprint tri in May.

I have the Easy Freestyle: 21st Century DVD and I have watched every TI video I can find on the web at least 10 times, some particular favorites I've watched hundreds of replays. I would love to get a TI coach but that just isn't happening where I live and unfortunately the timing for the nearest workshop is just not in the cards - thus I turn to the experts (and anyone with more experience than me) to answer a couple of questions.

1) My biggest challenge is keeping my face in the water beyond 2 strokes, sometimes 4 without needing to roll and breathe. I can breathe fine in SS (I am comfortable in the water) and I have been doing lots of SG's, but I'm concerned that I'm imprinting something negative. I spent 45 minutes this morning doing drills before I did any whole stroke. By the time I finished drilling, I could SG the length of the pool (25y) in 3.5 glides with no push off.

I devised a drill where I do SG until I need a breath, breath right, stroke left and go back into a glide with little to no kick repeating that the length of the pool and continue gliding for a count of 10. I switched and did the next set with a left breath, etc. It seemed to help and I'm hoping that if I continue to do this I'll build into 4 and 6 strokes between breaths. Is there anything wrong with this drill? If so please tell me before I screw up and make it even worse.

2) I need help understanding how to get power out of my hips to help propel myself forward. I counted this morning and on average it takes 28 strokes to get from one end of the pool to the other. I'm keeping a patient extended arm, holding it until the entering arm passes my ear. I just don't seem to be getting any propulsion from the core as a whole and I know that does not come from kicking.

I will post video asap - just waiting for bigger memory to show up for the camera.


CoachSuzanne 01-06-2011 07:00 PM

Great that you are asking for help now. Its really hard to say without video though. For you, underwater video will be key. I have a client much like you, 28 strokes 2 weeks ago, now she's down to 18. For her the big thing was her undrwater mivements were basically putting the brakes on, despite good balance.
Id suggest not worrying about getting to the other side of the pool right now. Start with a superman glide, and do 4-6 non breathing stokes then stand up. Or just start with 2 to 3 strokes, stand up and repeat.

cynthcor 01-06-2011 07:04 PM

oops forgot to say...
I forgot to tell you that this is the end of my 2nd week swimming. It takes me 1:28 to do 50 yards and I can do it 30 laps continuously but I've got to take that breath.

CoachSuzanne 01-06-2011 08:04 PM


Originally Posted by cynthcor (Post 16050)
I forgot to tell you that this is the end of my 2nd week swimming. It takes me 1:28 to do 50 yards and I can do it 30 laps continuously but I've got to take that breath.

In that case, I'd definately recommned that you forget the notion of "getting to the wall". Swimming 30 laps @ 1:28/50yards may be good for general "conditioning" and getting your blood moving, but it won't help you improve your freestyle technique.

The best way to improve your freestyle technique is to do very brief, specific tasks well. Build on successful movements...create one good stroke before doing 2 or 3. WHen I say "stroke", it may only be a single spearswitch, a single superman glide to skate or a single overswitch.

Without direct visual/coaching feedback it's going to be hard for you to know if you are doing thigs correctly or not. You'll have to start developing a "feel" for when you are doing things well. You should feel very little resistance in the water, like there is very little holding you back from moving forward.

In my private lessons, we don't swim a length of 25 yards except once at the beginning to get some film, and not until the end of lesson 3. I'm not saying we dont swim full stroke...but there's no need to swim to the other wall if the learning point can be made in 3-5 strokes (it can).

Again, I know this is much harder flying posting some video will really help us help you.


cynthcor 01-09-2011 01:17 AM

Thanks for input

I conned my lovely wife into going to the pool with me on Friday night just before closing time and she took lots of film. It's amazing what you can see when you watch yourself versus what you think you feel when you feel yourself. And no I'm not going to post it yet - maybe later when I can do a before and after and don't have to feel so bad about it.

What I see is painfully obvious - first I am not 'immersed'. My legs are sinking and I'm kicking like a fool even when I think I'm doing a two beat kick. Second - I'm not rolling, I'm lifting.

Today I spent 1.5 hours at the pool drilling. I took your advice and in that time I only actually touched the far wall a couple of times and that was when I was very comfortable in the drill I was doing. After about an hour of drilling, I was doing 6 switches consistently without having to breathe and I felt a sense of peace that was magical.

I paid a lot of attention to stopping immediately if I was falling out of form as I transitioned from drill to drill and when I felt it I stopped immediately and went back and found it. Oh and I took Louis' advice in one of his blogs and just let my legs hang today on the majority of the drills.

Louis - I too can kick and stay perfectly still, I almost choked on a mouth full of water when I remembered your blog and laughed out loud under water.

Can't wait til the pool opens tomorrow to go do some more drilling. Who'd a thunk.


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