Originally Posted by novaswimmer
I'm right there with you sclim! It's a real b@#$tch being slim and dense and have a poor 'aquatic signature'. I also have a small lung capacity, so have less of a 'buoy' than others as well. I'm convinced that is why Boomer did his 'aquatic signature' analysis of swimmers to help them find a stroke or event that fits their body type (among other things). He got it. And if you look at most people who swim the English Channel, what is their body type? They look like seals with fairly even fat distribution. Have you ever seen a skinny Channel swimmer?
Breathing has never come easy to me. I aim to swim about a mile when I get to swim these days, and going slowly is the best way to do that. I'm sure I rotate my head more than 90 degrees to get air. But it compromises my streamline a bit. I use a hybrid 2 / 6 beat kick with the down-kick that assists rotation being the strongest and the other two kicks being having much less amplitude. But i feel this kick helps to keep my hips higher. I am improving over time, but may never achieve even average speed because of my inherent built-in drag.
I practice front-quadrant swimming. All helps to a degree I guess. I do find, for me, that a slow trickle of air actually helps me stay more horizontal, than if I were to hold more air in. But i have to plan my exhale and breath very carefully so that I empty my lungs about 80% just before turning my head to breath, and exhale the last bit forcefully AS I TURN, to prevent water coming in my mouth. This usually works.
Believe it or not, I tend to breathe easier in water when I close my eyes. I can feel the water move down across my face as I rotate my head and then breathe at just the right moment. Unfortunately I usually have to share a lane with someone, so I can't keep my eyes closed for very long!
It's good to know one is not all alone in this world lol!
As it turns out I have a large lung capacity relative to my small body size, and a good thing too, as it makes a huge difference as to how fast I sink (yes, I still sink). But it turns out this is also a factor for people of "normal" buoyancy, too. See Coach Stuart McDougal's post on this topic, and particularly his reference to Mandy McDougal's SwimVice video, where she visibly drops a couple of inches when she exhales too much!
Incidentally, I was actually searching for Mandy's Video when I found Coach Stuart's post, so I'm glad to have this thorough treatment of the subject which I will now review in depth myself.