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  #1  
Old 05-11-2015
larryc larryc is offline
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Default Making swimming more than a joyless experience

It took me half a year to be comfortable in the water. And another four months not to fear the deep end. And I'm still working on breathing, rotation, etc. Recovery arm still drops but is finally getting better.

I've worked with two (good) swim coaches, been active on this forum, watched countless videos and swim at least three times a week.

Each time I get out of the pool at the end of a swim practice (including just now) I'm frustrated, disappointed and exhausted. Mostly, my lack of efficiency in the water is sabotaging my swimming. (Admittedly I'm very hard on myself in everything I do, but I shouldn't be.)

Will reading Terry's "Swim Ultra-Efficient Freestyle!" help me? I sure hope so, because I just ordered it from Amazon and will begin reading it tonight.

I won't give up till my swimming is where I want it to be. I know there has to be more fun to it than this.

Last edited by larryc : 05-12-2015 at 02:24 AM.
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  #2  
Old 05-12-2015
junkman junkman is offline
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Sounds like swimming was put into your life as a learning process. The world isn't the way I want it either but I'm learning to do what I can and enjoy the process.

Today on a wild hair, I remembered a vid of Shinji gliding along holding 1 elbow high and Terry saying that he (Terry) can't do that. Well, I tried and couldn't but did come closer. When I let my arm naturally drop and gave a little leg flick, my rotation suddenly improved and my arm went where it is supposed to.

I got some things done at work too. What a fun day!! Tomorrow is the pool and a bike ride.

I suggest that it isn't swimming that is causing your frustration but your choice to be frustrated. How much older will you be in 20 years if you don't swim?

Last edited by junkman : 05-12-2015 at 02:01 AM.
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  #3  
Old 05-12-2015
larryc larryc is offline
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^^. You're right, the frustration is a choice. And when I swim tomorrow, I'm going to choose to not be frustrated. No matter what. (Just typing that out makes me feel better.)

I didn't swim at all for about six months while I recovered from two major spine surgeries. Finally, I'm getting back into it. Patience will have its rewards, I'm sure.

Last edited by larryc : 05-12-2015 at 02:23 AM.
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  #4  
Old 05-12-2015
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larryc View Post
I won't give up till my swimming is where I want it to be. I know there has to be more fun to it than this.
For me, the satisfaction and fun comes from a detached, non-judgmental curiosity--not focusing on results as a goal I'm trying to achieve, but simply trying to let my mind NOTICE what I'm feeling, and what is happening as a result of different motions and body positions. I'm really fascinated by the sensations of moving through the water--really try to FEEL the water with my whole body.

Whatever successes I have with added speed or longer strokes or whatever seem to happen as byproducts of openness and curiosity. Maybe it would be worth trying to re-direct your sessions this way--to think "I wonder what it will feel like today" and then just NOTICE as many sensations as you can while you swim. Don't let your mind think of certain outcomes as good or bad--just notice the outcome without judging. As in "I swam 25 SPL this time, but 23 SPL last time. I wonder what I'm doing differently to account for the different result?" Simply refuse to attach labels of "good" or "bad" and just spend your time noticing what happens.

Giving yourself permission to just NOTICE, free from all judgment (especially your own) might lead to increased ease and relaxation--and most importantly, increased enjoyment. That's how it seems to work for me--I can't focus on outcomes without risking disappointment, but I can't focus on the PROCESS without joy. Good luck!

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryc View Post
Will reading Terry's "Swim Ultra-Efficient Freestyle!" help me? I sure hope so, because I just ordered it from Amazon and will begin reading it tonight.
Sure, it could help. Probably it will--I always like to read what knowledgeable people have to say, and I know Terry's earlier books have helped me a lot. I suspect it might give you ideas about what sensations and movements to be curious about. I often find that books like Terry's help me recognize what a feeling or sensation IS--that is, I'll feel something and not be sure what it is, and then all of a sudden I'll remember how the book described it and realize that's what I'm feeling. Which usually helps me know if I'm on the right track with my explorations or not.
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Last edited by Tom Pamperin : 05-12-2015 at 03:15 AM.
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  #5  
Old 05-12-2015
Zenturtle Zenturtle is offline
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I go to the pool with about the same mindset as Tom. Moving through the water as pleasantly and coordinated as possible.
The complex 3D movement through the water, the timing, the balance, feeling the drag.
Its a never ending quest to get everything just right.
Often frustating, sometimes finding golden nuggets along the way.
Never boring.

Do you swim with is specific goal thats far away from your current state?
Where do you want your swimming to be?
Is there anything you DO like?
Are you a sinker?
What exercises. things you do in the pool?

I dont think reading another book will give much help. It wouldnt hurt either.
I have read Terrys book , Maglischo, Counsilman, Swim Smooth, Emmet Hines, Sheila Taormina and some more.
After watching lot of youtube stuff and other internet sources, I found most of them rather disappointing.
Nothing new compared to what isnt already available on the internet I like Sheilas books most, but they assume your balance and streamline is allready sorted.
Emmet Hines articles on his website are better than his book. Great stuff if you have the patience to slowly buildup your skill level.
Dont expect Terry has suddenly found revolutionary new swim (learning) techniques, but maybe I should read it first.
You never know.

Last edited by Zenturtle : 05-12-2015 at 08:31 AM.
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  #6  
Old 05-12-2015
larryc larryc is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenturtle View Post
Do you swim with is specific goal thats far away from your current state?
Where do you want your swimming to be?
Is there anything you DO like?
Are you a sinker?
What exercises. things you do in the pool?
One of my goals is to be able to swim one lap after another without getting exhausted. Others in the pool (and I try not to watch them very much because it just leads to comparisons) make it look easy -- which it is, for them.

I want swimming to be a big part of my exercise & fun regimen like yoga and weightlifting already are.

I like being in the water itself. I like moving through the water. I like the feeling of accomplishment when I do SOMETHING right in a swim, even if it's something small.

Not really a sinker, but my legs drop more than I want them to.

Mostly freestyle right now, though one of my coaches said he thinks I'm a natural backstroke swimmer so I've been working on that more too.

Thanks for the advice -- I'll let you know how it goes today!
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  #7  
Old 05-12-2015
Zenturtle Zenturtle is offline
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It just takes a lot of time for adults to achieve reasonable swim technique and fitness.
Be happy with every lenght you can add and dont compare with those nonstop fast swimmers.

A natural backstroker?
When are you considered a natural backstroker?

Last edited by Zenturtle : 05-12-2015 at 01:51 PM.
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  #8  
Old 05-12-2015
Streak Streak is offline
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Larry,
I was in the same position as you about 6 years ago.
I decided to start swimming because spinning was giving me a sore back.
I had no coaching.
I would swim one length rest, swim another one rest etc. for about 8 lengths.
I did this for some time. My technique was poor with lots of leg and arm thrashing so I needed to be fitter to overcome these issues.
I then managed to do two lengths and then rest and so it progressed very slowly.

I then arrived in the USA about 5 years ago. I started looking into TI and it became my swimming coach with a methodology I could follow that suited my slow lumbering style with minimal kicking. I became more streamlined and with less drag could do more lengths with the same level of fitness.

I then started building on this and making sometimes small and sometimes bigger steps in my progress. Before every swim I visit this forum and choose a focal point for the next swim. Having said this, during yesterday's outing, for a change, I just put the mind in neutral and went out to enjoy myself. My times were good and ended up not only doing my session but part of my buddies session as well and before I knew it I had done 2400 yards comprising mainly sets of 100 freestyle with a little breast and backstroke thrown in for good measure.

Don't get too frustrated, take baby steps, visit here often, challenge yourself sometimes but more importantly go out there and have fun.
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  #9  
Old 05-12-2015
descending descending is offline
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I bought the Total Immersion series for someone who was afraid of swimming. It's been about 8 months and they are starting to see the light. TI has been instrumental in getting them from 'think stinks' to 'what do we get to do next'. If you can find one little nugget to get you to come back keep after it.

I sometimes forget coming from a swim background and being a junkie that it's awfully tough to learn the things as an adult. I cannot imagine having to learn how to balance, catch and kick at my age. I hope you stick with it and keep after it.

Just wanted to thank TI for making the series b/c it's been great for my friend's health!
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  #10  
Old 05-12-2015
sclim sclim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Pamperin View Post
For me, the satisfaction and fun comes from a detached, non-judgmental curiosity--not focusing on results as a goal I'm trying to achieve, but simply trying to let my mind NOTICE what I'm feeling, and what is happening as a result of different motions and body positions.
AMEN!

I have derived the most serenity and fun whenever my mind was in the state you described here.

Whenever I was task or objective oriented it became more like a chore, and especially so if the objective was not forthcoming in being achieved. However, if I approached the task in the exploratory spirit of "this is the next thing that has to be achieved, and I'll just do it like this, and allow it to happen or not happen", even the task often became a more enjoyable experience.

I recently went on a long quest of trying to drop my SPL. To do this I did everything possible that I could, increasing my TT time, increasing my stroke forcefulness (an initial error), and, now I realise, also holding my breath to a fault. In the process my balance got a bit better, and this was the really most useful thing I got out of it. But I was only doing one length at a time and having to rest after each 25m length. After thinking it over, I realised that this tiredness was unreasonable. I tried to relax which helped, but the real problem was the breath holding. I have revised my approach in the last 2 days, telling myself that whatever effort had to be sustainable for several lengths. Very quickly I increased my range to 100 then 200 then 250m; I really don't think I needed to stop at 250 today -- it was more for a mental break than a physical. I was too distracted to count accurately, but I think I retained a good portion of my stroke length that I have been practicing this past month. So the detour that I took to specifically decrease my SPL was less enjoyable, in retrospect, because I put a stipulation on it, to reduce my SPL, and because it was not decreasing as much as I hoped, once it got down to 20 or so, it was a little frustrating. But I managed to make it somewhat productive, and I just accepted the results as what they were.

And when I changed to a new task, i.e., to increase my range, especially when I realised I was breath holding and was able to correct that relatively quickly, the process became quite enjoyable, especially as I wasn't quite sure what was going to happen.
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