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Old 02-16-2011
m_ridhwan m_ridhwan is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 5

Here's an update from me. After going to the pool today, I've tried some of the tips that are shared in this thread. Surprisingly, I feel my balance improved a bit, even though my lower body sunk. But the rate of sinking of my lower body seemed 'decreased' as I felt my legs sunk a bit slower than before.

Today's session wasn't that long. I roughly had one hour of time in the pool before the bell rang. My internship and the pool's opening hours doesn't really complement each other very well. But I won't give up either!

Also, today I just realized the importance of being able to see my own body position. When I drove back home today I considered buying the underwater camera that is featured on the TI blog...

Well, I will keep on trying!
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Old 02-16-2011
dshen dshen is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Palo Alto, CA
Posts: 200

Originally Posted by borate View Post
Deeper arms may aid in floatation - try varying depths.
Here is something to try, sparked by borate's comment and some experimentation of my own.

Start into skating position with one arm speared and down, and other arm stroked back and against the body. Kick gently across the pool. As you kick, try varying the depth of your lead arm. I bet you will find that depending on how deep your arm is, your hips, and balance, will vary.

This also may be a good place for you to train with a snorkel, which means you don't have to constantly turn for a breath. But I would do it sparingly and only as a way to focus on the one focal point, which is to figure out how deep you have to spear to maintain balance at gentle flutter kicking speed.

Some people can be balanced with the arm extended almost horizontally; I unfortunately am not one of them. For skating on one side while kicking, I have to spear about 45 degrees downward to balance at gentle flutter kick, relatively slow speed (higher speeds give you some balance advantage due to forward motion).

(BTW, this also allowed me to do something I never was able to do before, and that was actually to kick my way all the way to the other side of the pool! Being balanced horizontally maximized the forward motion I could generate from kicking, which previously was hampered by dragging my butt in the lane. FTW!!)

Once you figure out what this spear angle is for you, then I would practice the TI drills starting with this spear angle. Once you get more proficient, I think you will also find that you can start making the spear angle more horizontal, which should give you some actual speed due to less resistance of the water pressing against the front of the spear arm.

In working with Coach Shinji, he has told me that even experienced swimmers should be able to vary the spear angle both in depth and in how wide from the centerline. During a race, especially in open water where the waves are constantly battering you and challenging your balance, you will find that sometimes you have no choice but to spear either deeper or wider to maintain control and balance in the water. Also, your physical condition at that moment in the race can also affect how deep/wide you spear. You may find that because you are getting tired, you will naturally begin to spear differently to adjust for a lowering of energy.

He and Dave Cameron told me beginners should probably start with relatively constant/calm pool water conditions and figure out their balance via some deeper spear first (as deep as necessary to help train basic balance in water), and then as proficiency increases, you can start playing with spear depth/width.
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Old 02-19-2011
m_ridhwan m_ridhwan is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 5

Thank you for the kind suggestions and tips. :D

I'm still doing the superman glide drill at the moment. Even though my progress is minuscule I might say, I feel I'm getting better at doing it.

My legs still sink though, but at a much lower rate now. I managed to achieve a balanced position for about 1-2 seconds before I start to become like a barge and lose my streamline.

Sometimes during practicing I got bored and tried other stuff. I tried dshen's suggestion, but I haven't noticed anything yet. I also tried sweet spot breathing, but I somehow failed miserably. My head didn't break the surface and I panicked as I went down because I purged almost all of the air when bubbling to keep the water out of my nose when turning my head. After that...I just continued gliding over and over again.

Well, another thing about me is that I'm not that athletic and I get the breathlessness feeling very easily, leading to faster heart rates and one breath is not enough for me. Maybe I should increase my cardiovascular capacity/lung capacity together with the superman glide drill. I guess my Finis Swimmer's Snorkel will come in handy.

That's an update from me.
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Old 02-19-2011
cynthcor cynthcor is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 26
Default Just relax....

I know that is very easy for me to say, but I'd submit that you could very well be psyching yourself out so badly that you're wound up tighter than a rubber band in the water. When I tense up, something always sinks. I also struggled with balance and start every practice with superman glides, and several times during my practice I stop and do superman glides to get the correct balance position back.

One of the best tips that I got was from CoachSuzanne. She told me to not worry about getting from one end of the pool to the other. I quit worrying about swimming and gave myself permission to take as much time as I needed to find the balance and to be able to recognize when I was falling out of balance.

Here's an exercise I used to help me relax in the water.

Tell yourself to relax and enjoy the water. Drop/relax your shoulders, if you're tensed up, they'll be right up there with your earlobes. Take a breath, not a gulp, a regular breath and gently push off the side or bottom of the pool. Feel the way the water reaches out to you and wraps you in warmth. Slowly, very slowly, exhale and meditate in the sound of the bubbles until you feel that you are no longer moving forward or need a breath. Repeat - but this time as you slowly exhale, count 1001, 1002, 1003, 1004 very slowly in your head - Stand up. Recognize that all you had to do when you needed air was to stand up. Now ask yourself, could you have stayed under longer without a breath? If yes, then add one more second to your count and repeat this until your mind and body realize that you can easily accomplish without tensing up. When you are ready, add one more second and continue as before.

I learned the trick of counting to relax me when I was learning to run. I hope this helps you too.

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Old 02-20-2011
terry terry is offline
Head Coach
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,305
terry has disabled reputation

PS: Something additional that SG does is break the reactive tendency we humans have when we feel some sinking - which is usually only the legs. We go into survival mode. So we encourage swimmers practicing SG to let the legs sink if that's what how they incline. That simple choice creates space for your subsequent responses to be thoughtful, not emotional.
Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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Old 02-20-2011
westyswoods westyswoods is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Rio, Wisconsin
Posts: 564
Default SG and sinking legs

Thanks Terry for a very simple and reasoned explanation of why it is okay for those practicing SG to let legs sinks. I've been working with a pool mate on SG and not found a reasonable explanation for not worrying about legs sinking, other than it will get better.

Swim Silent and Be Well (Say Hello To All)
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