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Old 06-24-2013
ananthaditya ananthaditya is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 100
Default After a long break - help with technique (video included)


I learned TI with the Easy Freestyle DVD about two years ago, and had imprinted most of the rudiments of balance and streamlining to the extent that I had a reasonably identifiable TI stroke. But a knee injury (ligament strain and plica syndrome) sidelined my practice and I was out of the pool for over a year.

My overall fitness level is rather low right now, and in the past year my sedentary routine led to piling on the kilos. I'm 6ft tall and currently weigh 98 kg, with a body fat percentage of 28-30%.

I recently decided to make a comeback to TI, and videoed my first swims after being out of touch for so long. It felt great. Both pools in the video are at the Radisson Blu resort, Mahabalipuram, India.

You can watch the videos here:

I would appreciate some detailed feedback on the stroke. I have a flabby tummy, waist size of 40 inches, so I'm having difficulties engaging my core for active balance and streamlining. I'm working on weight loss and fitness with a fairly good routine at the gym. I have the following questions:

1. How do I develop a stronger core for balance while swimming, besides doing a routine of ab strengthening, crunches, leg raises, etc.

2. What drills would you recommend (after looking at my stroke) to develop a more economical and slippery style?

3. I just know that I'm straining my neck and shoulders way more than necessary, and I'm not really employing hipdrive. What is the best way to imprint hipdrive so as to minimize the need for propelling with the arms?

These questions might be repetitive and answered many times. If you could point out relevant threads, I'd be happy to read them.



Last edited by ananthaditya : 06-27-2013 at 06:31 AM.
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Old 06-24-2013
Rincewind Rincewind is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 340

I am not going to give you detailed advice since I believe other people on this forum are a lot more technical than me. But 3 things that stand out:

1. Bending knees too much when kicking. (1st video)
2. Over-rotation on the breathnig side. (eyes are almost looking at the sky when you breath)
3. Generally raising your head too much, perhaps this is the cause of the shoulder strain you are mentioning.
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Old 06-24-2013 is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 157

Don't worry too much about the flabby tummy!

I have one too. You've just been working on your buoyancy. :)

Of course with our kind of *ahem* streamlining we're more walrus than dolphin, and you have more bulk to move through the water so your maximum realistic speed is going to be much lower than the tall skinny people you see on the Olympics.

But that doesn't mean you can't swim well and even far at moderate to good speeds if you get your stroke right.

Just swimming is a good way to build up a lot of muscle, and though it won't replace the fat, it's certainly possible to have a very strong layer of muscle underneath the fat. Getting rid of fat is more about diet than exercise - or at least it is for me.

Also you have a stunning pool to swim in there! It looks nice and warm. The UK hasn't had a summer in 6 years, so I'm very jealous.

A few immediate points about your stroke from the video:
  1. You are swimming very slowly. You should certainly increase your stroke rate.
  2. Keep your neck nice and relaxed.
  3. Swim with wider tracks. Don't let your hands go in front of your face. Your right arm especially is crossing over.
  4. You're stacking a bit much, let your arm move a little wider and try to lead with the elbow, dragging the backs of your fingers on the surface of the water can help you get a feel for this.
  5. Yes, your kick is very big, but it will get smaller if you speed up your stroke a bit.

Last edited by : 06-24-2013 at 07:37 PM.
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Old 06-25-2013
ananthaditya ananthaditya is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 100

Thanks for the pointers... I guess my immediate focal points from what has been said are:

1. Streamline legs with a gentler kick.
2. Practise nodding to air.
3. Hang the head weightlessly.
4. Try to swim at a faster tempo without increasing SPL.
5. Swim with wider tracks.
6. Practise patient lead hand and lead with elbow.

That's good for my next month of hourly swims, I should think.

And Craig, thanks for the motivation! It might tickle you to know that your mention of walruses got me curious enough to YouTube a pacific walrus swimming--and for quite some time I stared at the ruddy creature, all the while swimming like a ballerina in the water, with an expression on my face that flitted rapidly between rampant disbelief and wonder.

I recollect Terry saying in one video that the dolphin is 80% efficient. I wonder if anyone knows how Walruses figure? :)


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Old 06-26-2013
KarenE KarenE is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 9

As a newbie to TI i have to say watching your video was quite beautiful and inspiring - you have such grace even as you swim slowly, and the pool and area are so stunningly beautiful and its really admirable you are back at it - it looks like you enjoy it!
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Old 06-27-2013
ananthaditya ananthaditya is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 100

Thanks for your appreciation, Karen :-) In fact, I think I'm quite conscious of wanting to swim gracefully, and it holds an almost gestalten fascination for me ever since I saw videos of how graceful a human can be in the water (yep, I, too, was 'Shinjified'). I'm sure every swimmer who's been on this forum for a while has dwelt on the matter a fair bit, and has their own private experience where ease, grace and technique are organic components of whole stroke. To ponder over it some more, I find the pursuit of grace to be a lot like the pursuit of happiness, really, and since true happiness, I believe, presupposes a degree of subordinance in the experiencer to the principle that generates it, so does grace in the water presuppose a body of things that effectually make the swimmer feel aware and blissfully unaware of his limits at the same time.
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