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Old 05-22-2011
cynthiam cynthiam is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: San Francisco, USA
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cynthiam
Default Lengthening really does work

I was interested to read on another thread some talk about lengthening one's body while swimming in rough conditions.

For some reason I had thought that shortening one's stroke was the way to deal with choppy conditions. Last summer/fall when I first started swimming in OW I tried shortening. I wasn't sure if my lack of forward motion and control were down to my nascent swimming skills or the conditions.

Today I was back in OW for the first time in 2 weeks. The water has warmed up (to about 56F/13C), which delighted me. It was also windy and choppy, with a good flood tide. After I breaststroked & freestyled for a bit perpendicular to the incoming water, I turned into it.

I lengthened from head to toe and held a really patient lead hand, making sure it was on a wide track and not drifting in toward the center. Focused on circling my relaxed elbows and entering fairly steeply. Well, lo and behold, I felt in control (relatively) and made decent progress in spite of being slapped in the head and side by the chop. It also felt kind of leisurely.

I was breathing to one side only because I took a few nosefuls and mouthfuls on the other side. The lengthening and patient lead hand really helped me keep my head from coming up out of the water. I actually was breathing most of the time with part of my mouth in the water. I know I was rotating a bit more than I would in the pool, but not as much as I would have last year.

It was thrilling to feel so relaxed and semi-capable in rough-ish water. I did only short lengths, maybe 12 or so strokes at a time, then would stop to look around and decide where to head next. Instead of just trying to survive out there, I had a ton of fun!
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Old 05-22-2011
naj naj is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: San Francisco, CA
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naj
Default

That's great Cynthia! You've come a long way in the last year with your ow swimming!!! I was in yesterday (Sat may21st) and it was still 53F/11.6 not 56/13.3 as you say. I checked both of the thermometers (Flag & Balcutha's). But that's not the point, the point is that your right, lengthening the body creates less drag especially in rough water. I know you'll be swimming from Alcatraz soon enough within the year and I hope I'm there to cheer you on!

Keep Swimming!
Naji
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