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  #1  
Old 09-03-2011
gar3181 gar3181 is offline
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Location: Albuquerque, NM
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gar3181
Default Head too low in water?

One of the first concepts I grabbed when learning the TI method of swimming was "hiding your head" or having it such that there is just a little sliver of the back of your head above water. I thought I had it, but as I was struggling with my breathing mechanics, I decided to take some underwater video to see what's going on. I learned that my head is way low in the water. You could fit another head between mine and the surface. It appears to be causing some awkwardness when I go to get air. I have to really rotate to get to the surface.
Here's the video:

http://youtu.be/QbzpkwxjRsk

As you can see, I need to rotate to vertical (or even past) to get that life-giving oxygen and nitrogen (et al). It's really messing up my balance, streamline, etc.

Are there any drills that I could try to level things out, get my head closer to the surface so I can just rotate a little bit and grab my bite of air? Anyone else struggle with this? Thanks for the assistance and opinion!
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  #2  
Old 09-04-2011
daveblt daveblt is offline
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There's quite a bit going on here .Your whole body is sinking because your rolling way too far on the breathing stroke and your pulling hand at the same time is crossing all the way across your body line . The entry on both arms is too narrow .Your hands seem to shoot straight down a little too far on entry which is also contributing to low body position .Do you only breathe on one side ?
You need to widen out your entry and pull
keep looking down but relax your head and neck
Reduce your roll on both sides to just clear the shoulders for stability
Try breathing on both sides to even out your stroke .
Try a little less clock position on entry into the water

Dave

Last edited by daveblt : 09-04-2011 at 02:06 AM.
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  #3  
Old 09-04-2011
Zoner Zoner is offline
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Gar,
Try looking just a couple yards in front of you. That'll lift your head. Unfortunately that'll also sink your hips and legs slightly, causing more drag. But as I was working on breathing I would use a pull buoy so I could concentrate on proper alignment and rotation. We all must continue to work on stroking and pulling down the line. Swimming is about good technique and consistency. It helped me, maybe it'll do the same for you.
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  #4  
Old 09-04-2011
gar3181 gar3181 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveblt View Post
There's quite a bit going on here .Your whole body is sinking because your rolling way too far on the breathing stroke and your pulling hand at the same time is crossing all the way across your body line . The entry on both arms is too narrow .Your hands seem to shoot straight down a little too far on entry which is also contributing to low body position .Do you only breathe on one side ?
You need to widen out your entry and pull
keep looking down but relax your head and neck
Reduce your roll on both sides to just clear the shoulders for stability
Try breathing on both sides to even out your stroke .
Try a little less clock position on entry into the water

Dave
Thanks Dave for the tips. I, unfortunately, do breathe only on the one side (to my right). It's something that I've been working on but I don't feel comfortable breathing to my left.

Gonna take your suggestions to the pool tomorrow morning for a Labor Day swim. Less rotation is something I know I need to work on. Might need to take a few steps back and do some more underswitchs. Thanks again for your help!
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  #5  
Old 09-04-2011
gar3181 gar3181 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoner View Post
Gar,
Try looking just a couple yards in front of you. That'll lift your head. Unfortunately that'll also sink your hips and legs slightly, causing more drag. But as I was working on breathing I would use a pull buoy so I could concentrate on proper alignment and rotation. We all must continue to work on stroking and pulling down the line. Swimming is about good technique and consistency. It helped me, maybe it'll do the same for you.
Good idea, Zoner. I do notice if I look a little bit forward I seem to get a better breath. I'll play around with it. Thanks and good luck!
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  #6  
Old 09-04-2011
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Can you send us a video of you doing
1) superman glide
2) Skating position
3) any switches (spear or swing switch)
4) full stroke swimming from ABOVE the water?

in the screen shot I posted, this is after your breath. You are extremely over-rotated here...look at how uncomfortable and awkward your neck looks in this still photo...if you were not as young or as flexible, this would be impossible to do.

This overrotation is caused by/causing several other components that we'd need to see in a video to help diagnose your problem. Looking ahead and/or using a pull buoy are not the solutions.

My sense the following:
a) You are over-rotatating on every stroke (not just breathing strokes)
b) This causes you to sink further underwater than you should be (being flatter will keep your head closer to the surface...it's basic trigonometry as flattening your angle will decrease the "height" of a triagle created from your surface shoulder to your head back up to the water surface and to the surface shoulder again.
c) The recovering arm is likely doing something funky that is further pushing you under teh water (lifting it too high will push you under)
d) the whole combination creates an increased level of tension which contributes to you sinking further.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Screen Shot 2011-09-04 at 3.16.28 PM.jpg (17.8 KB, 49 views)
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Suzanne Atkinson, MD
Level 3 USAT Coach
USA Paralympic Triathlon Coach
Coach of 5 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle

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  #7  
Old 09-04-2011
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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There are a couple of tell tale things going on, but here's one that you should enjoy. This is a still shot of you breathing. You are now looking directly up at the sky. But look at where the level of the water is. Your left ear (the near ear) is actually in air, not in water. There is air much, much closer to the surface of the water than you THINK it is. Actually..it soulds silly but the air is sitting their right on top of the water. And right now, if your left ear was attached to your lungs, it could be breathing as well.

The point is that part of why you are over rotating is because you believe that the air is "up there" way above you. But it's not...it's right next to your head, and this photo shows you right where it's available.

next time you swim, focus on looking at the air/water interface while you rotate to air. Look for where the air is sitting right on top of the water next to you rhead and put your lips right above it. You are much closer than you think you are.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Screen Shot 2011-09-04 at 3.32.11 PM.jpg (18.2 KB, 48 views)
__________________
Suzanne Atkinson, MD
Level 3 USAT Coach
USA Paralympic Triathlon Coach
Coach of 5 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle

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  #8  
Old 09-04-2011
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveblt View Post
There's quite a bit going on here .Your whole body is sinking because your rolling way too far on the breathing stroke and your pulling hand at the same time is crossing all the way across your body line . The entry on both arms is too narrow .Your hands seem to shoot straight down a little too far on entry which is also contributing to low body position .Do you only breathe on one side ?
You need to widen out your entry and pull
keep looking down but relax your head and neck
Reduce your roll on both sides to just clear the shoulders for stability
Try breathing on both sides to even out your stroke .
Try a little less clock position on entry into the water

Dave
Agreed with Dave. I would focus on this order


-Reduce your roll
-Enter the water slightly less steep. your hips are already nicely horizontally aligned, and for you a steeper entry is now hurting you by creating downward momentum pulling you under a bit
-With each of the above, maintain a relaxed head & neck while looking down

-Practice a patient lead arm that waits until the other arm is ready to enter (front quadrant swimming)

And while I can't see it on these videos I suspect your recovery arm is hyperextendign at the shoulder joint (that is, your elbow is "behind your back" as you recover...I can see this in the angle of your right hand as you roll to breath. The elbow attached to that hand is pointed behind you and is "stuck" back there. Practice shrugging the recovery elbow FORWARD directly down the lane of the pool. The elbow should not break the plane of the back as you recover, but rather SWING AWAY from your body as it leads the hand down the lane in the direction you are traveling.
__________________
Suzanne Atkinson, MD
Level 3 USAT Coach
USA Paralympic Triathlon Coach
Coach of 5 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle

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  #9  
Old 09-05-2011
CoachKevin CoachKevin is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Dubai, UAE
Posts: 159
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gar3181 View Post
One of the first concepts I grabbed when learning the TI method of swimming was "hiding your head" or having it such that there is just a little sliver of the back of your head above water. I thought I had it, but as I was struggling with my breathing mechanics, I decided to take some underwater video to see what's going on. I learned that my head is way low in the water. You could fit another head between mine and the surface. It appears to be causing some awkwardness when I go to get air. I have to really rotate to get to the surface.
Here's the video:

http://youtu.be/QbzpkwxjRsk

As you can see, I need to rotate to vertical (or even past) to get that life-giving oxygen and nitrogen (et al). It's really messing up my balance, streamline, etc.

Are there any drills that I could try to level things out, get my head closer to the surface so I can just rotate a little bit and grab my bite of air? Anyone else struggle with this? Thanks for the assistance and opinion!
Gar, it's not that your head is too low, it's that your lead hand is spearing WAAAAY too deep. In the screen shot that Suzanne posted @ :22 there's a patch of sunlight behind you. As long as your balance is good your arm/hand should cover that sunlight to be in the right positiion which puts your hand Nose Deep.

Your head is neutral & you've got a nice straight line down your head/neck/spine. Your balance looks good, too, so don't look forward just spear forward. Make another straight line from your bottom hip to your nose deep fingertips. I see you're wearing a Tempo Trainer. Try using it to time your patient lead hand. Once your hand is nose deep, keep it there for longer than you think you should... no matter what!

You can only fix one thing at a time, so work on that. You may find that spearing shallower will help "unrotate" you, too, so you'll kill 2 birds with one stone. That could easily lead to easier breathing, so bird #3...

Good luck!
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+971 (0)505597442
Dubai, UAE
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  #10  
Old 09-05-2011
gar3181 gar3181 is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Posts: 15
gar3181
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachSuzanne View Post
Can you send us a video of you doing
1) superman glide
2) Skating position
3) any switches (spear or swing switch)
4) full stroke swimming from ABOVE the water?

in the screen shot I posted, this is after your breath. You are extremely over-rotated here...look at how uncomfortable and awkward your neck looks in this still photo...if you were not as young or as flexible, this would be impossible to do.

This overrotation is caused by/causing several other components that we'd need to see in a video to help diagnose your problem. Looking ahead and/or using a pull buoy are not the solutions.

My sense the following:
a) You are over-rotatating on every stroke (not just breathing strokes)
b) This causes you to sink further underwater than you should be (being flatter will keep your head closer to the surface...it's basic trigonometry as flattening your angle will decrease the "height" of a triagle created from your surface shoulder to your head back up to the water surface and to the surface shoulder again.
c) The recovering arm is likely doing something funky that is further pushing you under teh water (lifting it too high will push you under)
d) the whole combination creates an increased level of tension which contributes to you sinking further.
Hi Coach Suzanne,

Thanks for your input! Amazing stuff! Just got back from the pool and I took the videos you requested.

Superman glide: http://youtu.be/Iya_ptShUM0
Skating: http://youtu.be/6TUsCvO4cCk
Triple Zipperswitches: http://youtu.be/Ff72aXg-AoI
Above water front crawl: http://youtu.be/Xi2o51TZTuY

I wrote down the ideas that you wanted me to work on, most notably, limiting my rotation and not shooting my hand into the water at such a steep angle. Things are feeling a lot better. I was able to feel the air "right there" as I turn my head slightly, even keeping an eye in the water as I breathe. I videoed one of my last laps after working at those ideas. It's a work-in-progress. Need to undo some old, bad habits. Here's a sample:

http://youtu.be/-omiauTq_vU

Thanks again for your input!

Andrew
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