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I SUCK at swimming

Old 03-27-09, 02:53 PM
  #26  
Keith99
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Originally Posted by j mazz View Post
whats the "zero to 1650" plan?

I'm in the same boat (no pun intended) i can't breathe! I get more water in my lungs than air! I've been trying to hold my breath for 4 strokes, exhale in the water then -gasp- to the left. I try to slow down like the other guys in the pool but tend to sink. There are some old guys who are incredible! They only go about 1/2 a mile an hour but do lap after lap after lap.
Think they would disqualify me if i showed up with scuba gear?
When you swim your body makes a wave as it goes through the water. That means a crest and a trough. Competitive swimmers know where these are. Breath where the trough is. This is so natural to experienced swimmers they often forget about it.

The point about not using a lot of energy on kicking is also right on the mark. When I was swimming competitively I had a pretty good kick. As in 1:05 or so for 100 yards (short course) kick only. But it is not efficient. Good for sprinters, poor for distance. Distance swimming the kick is to stablize and the last length in a close race. For a Tri a kick is for stablizing and perhaps for a burst at the beginning to get out of the mass of bodies. But that is for those trying to win. Of perhaps like me a real swimmer trying to get a huge lead. (which I could likely maintain through the cycling only to lose in the run).

Depending on conditions a decent backstroke might be worth developing. Again not for winners in elite or semi elite levels, but in choppy water for those who do not have the breathing down to the level of a competitive swimmer it could be a huge help.
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Old 03-29-09, 08:51 PM
  #27  
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Your kidding right?

I would expect no improvement that is of any significance in your swimming considering the tiny amount that you devote to doing it. There is some fantastic advice here but none of it matters if you don't get in the water and suffer through the sucky part of learning to be a good swimmer. I am no pro and I am bit on the slow side in all three sports but I do do one thing correct, I show up for every workout and push myself to be better while avoiding injury as best I can. JUST DO IT BABY!
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Old 03-29-09, 11:20 PM
  #28  
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I suck at swimming too, I bought total immersion, it pretty much showed that I'm a rear quadrant swimmer. I'm trying to fix that now but its looking pretty pathetic.

I still think I'm going with lessons; one of our local pools trains physically challenged triathletes so I'm sure its top notch.
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Old 03-30-09, 04:54 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by pilam99 View Post
+1 on Total Immersion
It took me about 3 months of ~4 days per week, 1/2 hour per day to get to the point that I can breathe and have a somewhat efficient stroke. I don't mean to sound like a commercial for the product, but it worked for me. I'm sure there are other methods, with any of them, you'll have to spend more time in the water.
I'm not so sure on TI. I bought the book and read it but if it was the best method, one suspects it would be popular beyond triathlon. I'm guessing there's not many swim record holders using TI. I'm worried it fits into the realm of 'Triathletes will buy anything' syndrome.

Not to say it's a total waste, i'm sure there's plenty of people who swear by it, just that there must be a reason conventional teaching still reigns supreme in both speed and popularity. I suspect if you devoted 3 months of ~4 days per week, 1/2 hour per day to conventional swimming you'd have seem major improvements also - and might even be faster.

just my 2c, not trying to start a war
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Old 03-30-09, 10:58 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by kakman View Post
I'm not so sure on TI. I bought the book and read it but if it was the best method, one suspects it would be popular beyond triathlon. I'm guessing there's not many swim record holders using TI. I'm worried it fits into the realm of 'Triathletes will buy anything' syndrome.

Not to say it's a total waste, i'm sure there's plenty of people who swear by it, just that there must be a reason conventional teaching still reigns supreme in both speed and popularity. I suspect if you devoted 3 months of ~4 days per week, 1/2 hour per day to conventional swimming you'd have seem major improvements also - and might even be faster.

just my 2c, not trying to start a war
For someone who has looked at both, the difference between traditional and TI seem marginal at best.
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Old 04-02-09, 01:57 PM
  #31  
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I have slowed down and shortened my rest between laps. I'm now NOT out of breath.

Regarding breathing it seems this area is an open book and as individual as anything else. I have found that alternating my breathing is helpful. Meaning I may start for a few strokes without breathing then get short on iar and breath every stroke, then get into a rhythm breathing every other stroke and alternating and sometimes try breathing just to one side. It is a matter of practice. I can only spare enough time for 500 meters twice a week and that's pushing it with my cycling and weight training. Unfortunately I don't run every day because of scheduling issues.

Regarding your stroke - I have found it helpful to try different things to find my own stroke. In between laps or while I sit in the whirlpool I watch others and see what they do.

This one guy the last time I was there I was chatting briefly with him was just amazing, like a robot. Amazingly consistent form. Then when he was close to his finish he said to me: "now for some speed". He then proceeded to swim like the shark in JAWS with his head almost out of the water. It was a weird body position but he was much faster. His stroke changed too. It was a remarkable sight but it was nothing like I ever saw on TV watching the olympics.

Find your own unique self in the pool. He is in there.
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Old 04-05-09, 01:17 PM
  #32  
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You might try finding someone who does a lot of triathlons.

A friend of mine competes for the University of Georgia triathlon team. So I asked her to help me out with swimming which she did. It was very intense (thanks to the 10mile Mtn bike ride I did before) but I improved big time. She told me my technique was pretty good but could tell when I got fatigued since my form got real sloppy. I swam for roughly an hour. But 2 days before at my local gym I struggled to swim for 25m after just getting into the pool. At the UGA pool it was 50m and even after a very intense mountain bike ride and an hour of swimming at the end I was able to swim a full 50m with fairly good form.

You could probably find a local university and run in some of their 5/10Ks and talk to people there. Odds are you'll find a Tri kid who I'm sure would love to teach you and push you along for a little cash.
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Old 04-08-09, 08:55 AM
  #33  
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+10 on the swim more.

I hit the pool a little over a month ago to begin training.

My first day time was 27:00 for 400 Meters.

Yesterday my time was 17:00 for 400 Meters.

If i'd worked out harder and eaten better all month, I'd be faster and stronger.

I still have about a week to improve my time.
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Old 04-08-09, 09:05 AM
  #34  
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I have a tough decision 2nite. Swim or weight train. I've logged 76 miles cycling but due to kid's school events I missed my regular weight training & swimming. Maybe I'll see what kind of mood I'm in or how well my lunch digests ...
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Old 05-18-09, 12:22 AM
  #35  
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oh boy do i feel your pain. i always feel like i'm drowning and can't get enough air. and this is AFTER a 4-month long swim class (where i went from, er, doggy-paddle to knowing 3 strokes) and breast stroke is still what i feel most comfortable doing. i've accepted that i'm just kinda panicky in the pool and need to swim more. i'm fine with anaerobic work on the bike or on the run, but man, put me in a pool, facedown in the water and make me try to swim anything but leisurely and i'm in full panic mode.

i'm working on this. i have no advice - just wanted to sympathize with the O.P. good luck (since your original post was months ago, i should instead say i hope everything is working out for you.)
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Old 05-18-09, 06:16 AM
  #36  
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Got a new suit, for tanning, but I'm tempted to use it for swimming. I imagine it would be fun and freeing. I've been swimming in giant modest board shorts and the new suit is a properly fitted brief style. I don't look too bad in it but I wouldn't wear it at the beach or pool with people I knew. If I can slip into the water quickly I would really like to see what different is with a streamlined suit.

Last time in the pool was interesting - it always is. My stroke and breathing are coming along but it definitely takes pool time to improve. I think my technique was better because I wasn't breathing so hard and my total time for 500 meters was a little shorter.
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Old 05-18-09, 08:31 AM
  #37  
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I'll echo the swim more sentiment.... Here is my workout two days a week:

Warm-Up
200yrds.

Kick Drills
2 x 50yrds

Side Drills (swim with one arm out and the opposite arm doing the work)
2 x 50yds (on each side)

8 x 25yrd freestyle laps
10 x 25yrd laps freestyle laps
8 x 25yrd laps any....
6 x 25yrs laps

100 yrd cool down
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Old 05-18-09, 03:22 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
Got a new suit, for tanning, but I'm tempted to use it for swimming. I imagine it would be fun and freeing. I've been swimming in giant modest board shorts and the new suit is a properly fitted brief style. I don't look too bad in it but I wouldn't wear it at the beach or pool with people I knew. If I can slip into the water quickly I would really like to see what different is with a streamlined suit.
.
I did my 1st Triathlon this weekend which was at a beach on the coast of Georgia. After the tri I drove 100miles up the coast to Savannah, GA which is where I planned to stay the night. I wanted to eat something at the beach at a restaurant I like but they were closed. I was still in my tri shorts and decided to go back to the beach on Tybee Island. That island is a giant tourist island. I still had numbers on my body and swam in my tights. No one noticed except the life gaurds.
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Old 05-18-09, 03:46 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by furiousferret View Post
For someone who has looked at both, the difference between traditional and TI seem marginal at best.
I don't think it's a matter of a difference between TI & "traditional" swimming. The best athletes, like Michael Phelps, do this naturally. They don't need these particular drills and analysis to be as smokin fast as they are.

TI seems to promote a very full-body swimming approach, which has resonated very well with me. Over time, I think you'll see what's most useful to you from that philosophy and learn from that. Sure there'll always be room for the Janet Evans-style windmill stroke, but that's a rare occurrence.

To the OP: at some point reading a book & watching a DVD & talking with people on a form just isn't going to cut it. Join a master's program or consult a coach, as others have said. Terry Laughlin does clinics as well. It will do wonders for you. Good luck!
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Old 05-18-09, 05:33 PM
  #40  
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did my home commute 13 miles then drove to the pool for my swimming. 1st time doing one after the other. not sure why I felt so strong today. my time on the bike was sprint-like and my time in the water was my quickest ever. I couldn't wear the new suit, did my laps in board shorts again. was gonna wear the new suit under the shorts then whip them off when I got in the water, but then that seemed silly.

was gonna say that's a long time to stay in a wet suit but I've done that. I love getting beachy, but have learned from my kids the comfort of swapped undies and dry shorts. the water up here is still cold but I have been known to do my first lake swim on Memorial Day weekend, (now if only I can get away ...)
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Old 05-18-09, 05:59 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by K-S2 View Post
I don't think it's a matter of a difference between TI & "traditional" swimming. The best athletes, like Michael Phelps, do this naturally. They don't need these particular drills and analysis to be as smokin fast as they are.

TI seems to promote a very full-body swimming approach, which has resonated very well with me. Over time, I think you'll see what's most useful to you from that philosophy and learn from that. Sure there'll always be room for the Janet Evans-style windmill stroke, but that's a rare occurrence.

To the OP: at some point reading a book & watching a DVD & talking with people on a form just isn't going to cut it. Join a master's program or consult a coach, as others have said. Terry Laughlin does clinics as well. It will do wonders for you. Good luck!
Rubbish. They work with drills that make anything so far on this thread look like childs play. Their coach will analyze their technique and see that their fingers are spread 1/8 of an inch too much or too litttle (yes there is a optimum and it is not no space between the fingers).

But the big thing is the work level. Figure 2 workouts a day at least 6 days a week. and at least one on the 7th. Some of those will tilted a bit more toward technique, at least some of the time. But a Phelps workout that is a pure taper to get ready for competition is still far more than most of the workouts listed here.
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Old 05-19-09, 11:10 AM
  #42  
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Proud to say, I'm in week 12 of 16 for training for an Olympic in June. Did my longest set EVAR on sunday - 1,000 m in about 23 minutes. Not fast by any means, but gives me encouragement that I can do 1500 in a less-than-embarassing time. I wasn't pushing my hardest either, because I'm still feeling out my limits.

The first month I was in the pool 3-4 times a week. Now, its 2-3. but, mostly 2. Keep on keepin on, and you'll see improvements!
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Old 05-19-09, 01:28 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
did my home commute 13 miles then drove to the pool for my swimming. 1st time doing one after the other. not sure why I felt so strong today. my time on the bike was sprint-like and my time in the water was my quickest ever. I couldn't wear the new suit, did my laps in board shorts again. was gonna wear the new suit under the shorts then whip them off when I got in the water, but then that seemed silly.

was gonna say that's a long time to stay in a wet suit but I've done that. I love getting beachy, but have learned from my kids the comfort of swapped undies and dry shorts. the water up here is still cold but I have been known to do my first lake swim on Memorial Day weekend, (now if only I can get away ...)
maybe I am missing something here...but the only way your gonna learn your limits is to get in your wetsuit/tri shorts...whatever... AND SWIM!!!!!!!! Do you ride your bike in board shorts? Get over your fear and just HTFU and get it over with.
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Old 05-19-09, 03:45 PM
  #44  
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It has been a long long time since I really trained for swimming. But one of the standards was sets of either 5 or 10 x 100 yeads going every 1:30 or 2 minutes. Each 100 you go all out and then get a little rest. Or doing similar stuff based on pulse. Sprint 100 yards, take your pulse and keep doing so. Once it is down to 150 beats poer minute go again. \

The point is going hard and getting just a little rest to recover lets you spend more time working hard and improves conditioning faster than just going 500 or 1000 yards.

Trading off between kicking and pulling sets was common. Different muscles, but overall conditioning continues.

One other thing was heading into meets to do 75 yards as hard as you can (this was back in age group where 100 was the standard distance). The idea was that everyone finishes hard, you see the end in sight and gut it out. But if you break things down by 25 year distances it is the thrid 25 that is both the slowest and the greatest difference between swimmers. I'm not sure this works well as a training technique for tris, but it is food for thought. Also people might want to train for a swimming distance longer than in hteir tri, esp for sprint tris. Difference is in a tri it is not over when you get out of the water and feeling like you are exiting the water with something left could be important.
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Old 06-01-09, 11:51 AM
  #45  
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""So: breathe 4 to the left (1,2 breath left 1,2 breath left 1,2 breath left 1,2 breath 1,2,3 (this swithces the side you are breathing on) breathe right 1,2 breath right 1,2 breath right 1,2 breathe right 1,2,3... This works for me. The first time I tried I was able to extend my swim from 400-500 sets to 1000yd sets and I can now (after two months) swim for 2500yds with a great deal of confidence...""



I can't wait to try this tonight in the pool - GREAT advice
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Old 06-02-09, 03:16 PM
  #46  
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+1 on Total Immersion

Also, I'd have to disagree -- on the basis of my own experience -- with anyone giving up on bilateral breathing because they find the oxygen debt too onerous. I taught myself how to swim with Terry Laughlin's books and one class over about 18 months, and I breathed bilaterally every workout, at least 90% of the time. My "good" steady-state 100m pace was around 2:00 and I left it there, working on almost nothing but technique and perfecting my bilateral breathing.

Then one day the week before a race I jumped in the water and did a 1000m time trial. I finished in 16:50, in a 25 m pool! That's 1:41/100m!

I continue to breathe bilaterally in 90% of my pool work. I believe being hypoxic all the time vastly increases my oxygen usage efficiency. I save breathing on one-side only for intensity work (which I rarely do), and races.
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Old 06-02-09, 03:53 PM
  #47  
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?? hmmm ... you must be getting enough air cuz:

  • Hypoxia (environmental), a phenomenon that occurs in aquatic environments where, due to lack of water circulation, portions of the water column are reduced in dissolved oxygen (DO) content, which can be detrimental for aquatic organisms that need DO to live
  • Hypoxia (medical), a pathological condition in which the body as a whole or region of the body is deprived of adequate oxygen supply
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Old 06-03-09, 10:08 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by Keith99 View Post
Rubbish. They work with drills that make anything so far on this thread look like childs play.
I do my swimming at Meadowbrook in Baltimore where Phelps has always trained. I see him there quite often along with Katie and many other incredible swimmers. Their drills are exhausting just to watch, but a beautiful site. Phelps looks 12 feet long in the water.

I on the other hand am a total beginner but have hope since Meadowbrook has so many great swimmers and triathletes, all willing to offer advice. I was doing the intro to masters which was great but decided to just swim on my own for a while. Did my first tri on Sunday and even though the wetsuit gave me buoyancy I was exhausted 100 meters in-why? not enough non stop training. So I feel your pain and am now trying to do consistent distance workouts. I'm also training for my first half marathon in October, trying to figure out how to fit all these workouts into my schedule.
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Old 06-04-09, 06:22 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
?? hmmm ... you must be getting enough air cuz:

  • Hypoxia (environmental), a phenomenon that occurs in aquatic environments where, due to lack of water circulation, portions of the water column are reduced in dissolved oxygen (DO) content, which can be detrimental for aquatic organisms that need DO to live
  • Hypoxia (medical), a pathological condition in which the body as a whole or region of the body is deprived of adequate oxygen supply
The second one. Any time you extend the length of time between breaths, you are going hypoxic. Wikipedia's definition is a poor one, because hypoxia's not "pathological." It's just a way to describe oxygen deficiency in tissue, which it is important swimmers to learn to tolerate.
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Old 06-04-09, 07:31 PM
  #50  
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Really? But how long can one tolerate this deficiency? I mean won't you get dizzy or drown? Or just not have the ability to compete?
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