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  #21  
Old 11-24-2014
sclim sclim is offline
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OK, back after my first snorkel session post snorkel-fix. Still alive.

Rationale for thinking would help: After a lot of trial and error, and practice in whole stroke I have got to what I thought was quite a smooth stroke cycle, nice easy neck rotation for bilateral breathing, mouth half out of the water, not lurching head up like I used to do, TT showing equal time on non breathing stroke as breathing stroke, BUT agonizingly slow, and high SPL despite considerable effort, and I'm in good aerobic shape. So I got a video and I was shocked at how low I was; for breathing, although I thought I was merely rotating my head, I had 3-4 inches of water to clear to hit the surface with my rotated mouth. Therefore there was an inevitable amount of hip drop in the process.

So, now with the snorkel just up by my scalp and allowing only 1 inch of back of head submersion before I drown, my idea was that if I learn to get into equilibrium with my head no more than 1 inch down, and my hips equally at the same level, practicing continuous non-breathing strokes for now, I will be in a better position to do my rotation to breathe.

Turns out that if I'm very careful I can glide along with my head in this position. However, currently, during my (either side) lead hand spear I have also been adding a slight forward and down head bob. I know this because I get a mouthful each time I spear with any vigour. So now I know at what point in the cycle my head's going down. (I'm only at diagnosis yet, I haven't yet learned how to not do this, but that's the idea).
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  #22  
Old 11-25-2014
Zenturtle Zenturtle is offline
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Thats what I was afraid off. Head in line and low with the snorkel.(good for swimming though)
Best to build some experience with anorkel and a good bodyposition where you glide easy forward between strokes,
There are some people who can breathe well with a low head, so it is possible.
Maybe a good balance and some forward speed helps.
Keep us informed and good luch with your efforts.
Sinkers can learn the other swimmers a lot if they manage to get a good breath.

Holding good posture is vital.
If I go in the easy relaxed float swimmode I tend to let the shoulders and head hang and move with a rounded back and a low hanging head through the water. Now when turning the head I get a half mouth of water because the head is much lower than it needs to be.
Pulling shoulders proud and moving the head back in line makes breathing much easier.
So its important to keep a part of the head above water and hold proper posture. Its easy to forget that with a snorkel.

Last edited by Zenturtle : 11-25-2014 at 08:19 AM.
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  #23  
Old 11-28-2014
sclim sclim is offline
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OK, a bit more practice with my modified snorkel. Now that I'm aware of how low I'm holding my head, I am forcing myself to swim with the back of my head just at or below the water surface. At this position, with my face flat down in good TI angle, the snorkel tip is 1 to 1.5 inches above water level. If I'm careful I can swim OK. However, I notice I habitually do 2 things. 1) sometimes my head rotates as I don't compensate accurately against body roll. A slight amount of head roll is barely acceptable, but when combined with a slight head bob -- look out! 2) I have been careless before in having the head generally too low, but specifically at time of hand spear especially on the right hand spear. I have strted to eliminate the "average low depth", but I have to be very careful of the right hand spear, because the head bob creeps back in. So far I usually make it to 20 metres, then my concentration fails, and I go deep with a right hand spear and get a mouthful of water 3-4 m from the end.

It is interesting, now that I'm heightening my sensitivity to head depth, I can usually tell it has happened a split second before I choke on the incoming water.

Similarly, when I practice without the snorkel, I'm much more sensitive to where my head is now. I'm much more aware of when I do a bit of a head dive as I do the hand spear. Also I think I've toned down the head roll a bit, too. So this process has been very useful, although I'm barely past the diagnosis stage, and just getting started on the remedial stage.

P.S. I'm assuming that I will eventually be able to acquire a new stable body alignment with my head at or just below the water surface, and my hips (or upper hip) also at the same distance from the surface. Part of the solution, too, I now realise is learning to align the direction of arm pull horizontally back, or even slightly upwards towards the centre of drag, so as not to create a tipping effect. Of course this negates the idea of hip driving over the anchored "catch" arm -- maybe it's a bit of both thought flavours.

Last edited by sclim : 11-28-2014 at 04:07 AM.
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  #24  
Old 11-28-2014
sclim sclim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s.sciame View Post
For those interested in perfecting breathing skills: maybe you have tried to belly breathe while swimming (guess coach David Shen posted something about it). For sure it's better than chest breathing in general, and it's much easier to achieve in dryland than it is in water. Well, a snorkel can help a lot here (to me it did at least), since it lets you focus on how you are breathing (ie with belly, with chest, how long you're breathing out, how often you need to breathe in etc), having the air available all the time. The key of course is to imprint this kind of self awareness and make it permanent.
In that, not only I find the snorkel does not interfere with developing breathing technique, but it can even take it to the next level.
Absolutely! I was taken by surprise how the snorkel practice, apart from throwing me in total confusion as to how to learn to control my head position, allowed me to focus on breathing, and where the air was ending up in my body. I have a very good belly breath usually (on dry-land), but I realised that when swimming, I was so caught up in catching my breath at the right instant of head rotation at the water surface (not to mention the extra complication of shaping the asymmetrical Popeye mouth position to catch the air without having to over-rotate more than half the face out of the water) that I realised in retrospect that I was chest breathing.

I first noticed this when I was snorkelling face down and trying to visualise breathing not freely, but only at the usual breathing times. First problem was fighting the urge to rotate the face for air -- not a good idea with a snorkel, lol!

Once I kept my face fully down, I noticed that when I concentrated on timing my breath at the exact split second I would normally do it with face rotation, I ended up with a lot of chest tension. A moment's reflection revealed that it was because practically all the inspiration was derived from thoracic expansion, and I was still holding the ribcage in full elevation. With the freedom to breathe freely any time I wanted, I experimented with adding some diaphragm (belly) inspiration, and I got some more cc's of air in. That was as much concentration as I could manage without screwing up my other swimming stroke exactness.

I went back to dry land and found that the reverse was the case too. When I took my absolutely largest diaphragm breath and held it, I found that I hadn't moved my chest much, and, still holding the belly breath in, managed to suck in a few more cc's of air into my body. Now I don't know how much practical use this extra few cc in my chest will be in whole stroke swimming, as the chest flotation is not much of a factor for me, in comparison to my sinking legs, which would really be helped with more "belly" air. But I guess any amount of total floatation to add to the whole can't hurt. The big lesson for me, though, was the realisation that in the panic of learning to swim and breathe at the right instant, I had regressed many years and concentrated on a chest inspiration and managed to not get much belly breath at all.

Now, as you say, the key is to imprint this and make it permanent.
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  #25  
Old 11-28-2014
Zenturtle Zenturtle is offline
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something that does help and can be practiced on dryland is totally focussing on breathing out.
The first 10 breaths feel very strange because it seems the lungs only press the air out and they seem to fill slow and incompletely, but after a while the body arranges a normal inhalation, even if you are only comsciopusly focussing on the breathing out.
If you keep this technique while you swim, you mostly get more airexchange.
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  #26  
Old 11-29-2014
Talvi Talvi is offline
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With dryland breathing practice I have noticed that it is possible to breath using only relaxation. Sounds impossible / insane but it works. Of course there is muscular involvement. It is just a feeling of the two phases as flowing from relaxation!

Relaxing to drive the exhalation phase is pretty easy to do I think but finding the way to relax and inhale is maybe a bit trickier. You need to focus on relaxing a point in the centre of your core and just allowing the air to flow in.

Approaching it in this way allows the natural breathing mechanisms to do their thing. Trying to micro-manage breathing can trigger "panic" responses as well as hyperventilation issues - both of which create the feeling of it being impossible to get air in.

As I say it's more about a feeling but in swimming I find that my breathing is always best when I stop trying.
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