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I used to hate it, joined a tri club, got taught how to swim properly so i dont splash about and run out of breath after a length and now love it!


  • deeessdeeess Posts: 150

    Phew - just had to get that off my chest - feel better now [:)]
  • jacjac Posts: 452
    I don't hate it but I seem to make it much harder work than it should be!

    Am starting lessons next week to try and get breathing right.
  • GHarvGHarv Posts: 456
    Try Duathlon?


    Try this for some inspiration and tips:

  • deeessdeeess Posts: 150
    i can't see any difference between hackett's technique and mine [;)]
  • Swimming is the one area I don't think I'd dream of doing on my own. It's too hard at the beginning of the sessions when your mind is fighting being in the water and it's too difficult to push yourself through the necessary and difficult sets without some motivation. In my case I've found two friends who are really good swimmers to set me goals, coach and swim with me, it's been a lot of fun. I'd imagine joining a swim club would be a similar experience. But, yes, try and find someone to share the pain with, that'd be my advice.
  • julesojuleso Posts: 279
    Do you do it perhaps because it's nice to smell slightly of chlorine? Or is it the attractive goggle marks? Chance of picking up athlete's foot? Or a kick from the bloke in the next lane? Ace.
  • deeessdeeess Posts: 150
    you can't beat that chlorine smell - better than aftershave. i have booked in to go to my local club next week and see if they can work wonders
  • JulesJules Posts: 987
    I seem to be a bit odd in actually quite liking swimming. My mind doesn't fight being in the water, I think it's great!

    Also as a newbie speaking to other new triathletes almost everyone seems when they start to only be able to do breast stroke and to find front crawl really hard. Personally front crawl is the only stroke I could ever manage with any degree of competance.

    Not that I'm any good. I can get up and down the pool OK and do lots of lengths and I can now breathe on both sides thanks to tips on here but I'm pretty sure my stroke is rubbish. I have no co-ordination, if my arms are right my legs are wrong or vicea versa. Not that I'm sure what "right" is anyway. Hence I am going to a tri club swimming class starting on Sunday!
  • shadowone1shadowone1 Posts: 1,408
    I used to be a billy breastrokes and done the 5k swimathon for marie curie cancer in breastroke. I had planned to do alternate between breast and front but got bad cramp and done it breast. My time was just over 1hhr 40min which I thought was not bad.

    Any moved onto front crawl and struggled with the breathing and then joied a tri club who sorted it out in quick time. I now hate breaststroke and would never go back to it.
  • JulesJules Posts: 987
    Went to the coached swim today, my first proper coaching I've had since I was in school. They made us do 4 lengths of breastroke arms. This took me about a week. Four of us in my lane, the other three finished this a full length ahead of me.

    Apart from that it was rather fun!
  • julesojuleso Posts: 279
    Good on you Jules. I think it's quite good when you're a grownup to learn something new (or something you were rubbish at years ago); keeps us fresh!

    When I was having lessons last year I couldn't do the old breaststroke legs. So in my grownup way I decided to pack in the lessons, and just never do that stroke again.

    I think I'm going to brave my first tri club swimming session next week. Eeek.
  • Hi al.

    I'm new to the forum, and new to tri. I had my first swimming lesson last week and managed a few strokes of FC. I went to the pool on Saturday to get some practice in before tomorrow nights lesson and struggled like anything. Every time I put my face in the water I got a gob, and nose, full of water and came to the surface coughing and spluttering. :(

    Also, when I breathe, I get a mouth full of water. What am I doing wrong and how do I fix it?

  • JulesJules Posts: 987
    swimlikeabrick wrote:

    Hi al.

    I'm new to the forum, and new to tri. I had my first swimming lesson last week and managed a few strokes of FC. I went to the pool on Saturday to get some practice in before tomorrow nights lesson and struggled like anything. Every time I put my face in the water I got a gob, and nose, full of water and came to the surface coughing and spluttering. :(

    Also, when I breathe, I get a mouth full of water. What am I doing wrong and how do I fix it?

    It sounds obvious, but practice breathing in a large breath when your head turns out of the water, then breathe out steadily when your head is back under again. If you're breathing out with your head under the water you can't swallow any water.

    I am absolutely not a swimming coach (see above!) but you if you are struggling you may want to practice this a few times without actualy swimming. Just stand in the pool, breathe in, put your face in the water, breathe out then turn your head to the side, breathe in and repeat. Warning - you will look slightly silly.

    Some folks who know more about swimming than may have some better tips!
  • Thanks a lot for that Jules, I'll get to the pool a bit earlier tomorrow night and give it a go before the lesson starts.
  • BlinkybazBlinkybaz Posts: 1,144
    It took me a while to sort out the breathing thing and Jules is right you need to breath out underwater and practice makes perfect. one thing I noticed and I see it sometimes in the pool is people seem to panic slightly when the put their face in the water. If you find that your heart rate seems to go up as soon as you start try and focus on the stroke and breath evry stroke. after a while you find that it becomes second nature.

    The other thing you could try is breathing on the other side.
  • julesojuleso Posts: 279
    There's a company called 'swimming without stress' - I think they have some helpful info on their website.

  • GGBGGB Posts: 482
    Luckily for me I find swimming quite easy - its just the pace and breathing thats the problem - Since going to the Tri club swim and then going swimming on my own during the week I have just about managed to get the bilateral breathing thing - though every now and again I forget to breathe out and end up missing a breath or drinking it.

    It just takes time - best advice I can give is to take it easy - relax and dont go for speed but concentrate on breathing and the actual swimming motion - take it one legnth at a time.

    20 years ago I could swim a mile freestyle no problem and after a gap of 20 years and only a few weeks swimming I am about up to that standard again. Its all about the confidence but I still had to get that from a coached swimming session or 2.

  • WilkoWilko Posts: 23
    I agree, good quality coaching will get you a long way and a coach will always be able to look at your stroke from the pool side - hopefully providing constructive comments.

    For those with issues with water up the nose, why not try a nose clip?

    Try some of these exercises to help with the stroke:

    - Stand in the shallow end of the pool, and bent at the hips so you are standing on the bottom of the pool and you torso is on the surface - try performing the arm action starting with one arm at a time then building up to the 'full' arm stroke. Concentrate on the feel of the water, imagine grabbing a globe of water behind your palm, try and push that as far behind you as possible.

    - When you are swimming try a drill with a kick board under one arm, while you are working on the other. That way you can slow your stroke down - and hopefully not drown.

    - Have a look through some back issues of 220 if you can, when you become more confident in the water try doing the full stroke drills.

    Things I have found helped people in the past:

    - Try to relax your hands. If you have tightly gripped fingers you may not be making the best use of the surface area. By relaxing the hands the surface area increases. If you feel your fingers flapping together slightly as you pull through the stroke that is about right - it is about vortices between your fingers acting as additional 'grip' on the water.

    - Stretch the recovery phase of your stroke, this also encourages body roll.

    - When doing faster sets, keep the stroke controlled and stretch out. This will be more efficient. The automatic reaction when asked to go faster is to increase stroke count - which usually shortens the stroke and you lose the benefit of pulling right back to hips from your full stretch on the recovery. If you want to go faster, think more power to the stroke.

    For the more advanced swimmers, it can be down to what part of your body you are initiating first. You should bend from the elbow first (keeping the elbows high in the water) bringing you hand under your shoulder (that is the catch phase) then you can power from the shoulder to you hip - the acceleration phase (exactly what it says on the tin - accelerate the stroke through to the start of the recovery). Always think elbows high and it kind of comes automatically. An extremely good example is that of Rebecca Addlington in her 800m Olympic swim, if you can find a video.

    This does seem a lot of waffle, sorry folks. I have done some teaching in the past and like practical examples - unfortunatley a little difficult over the forum!

    Hope this provides some help to people.
  • deeessdeeess Posts: 150
    I went along to the local swim club on Monday night for first time. They had half the pool whilst public had the other half. Once I saw the club swimmers I bottled it and decided to stay in the public half (much to my shame).

    However, when I got to the end of my swim I plucked up the courage to go and talk to the coach. He was a nice guy. Clearly knew his stuff. I told him my objective (swim freestlye faster) and he basically said:

    1 if i joined the club he would make me swim every style

    2 30% of my sessions would be swimming on my back

    3 20-25% of my sessions would be swimming only by kicking - no arms

    4 my current freestyle stroke would be deconstructed and put back together properly over time

    he said this would be the most effective way of getting me faster. he trains a couple of ironmen (i'm only looking at olympic distance) and said he had spoken to the british triathlon federation who apparently were tearing their hair out at the fact lots of people are joining the sport but think the only way of getting faster is to swim up and down the pool again and again

    all quite interesting - now just trying to muster up the courage to go for a session proper - they were flying up and down the pool!!! and i really don't fancy learning butterfly!!!
  • BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    That is all great advice. Sounds like you'll have fun there.

    Swimming on your back is very important, particularly if you spend most of your non-coached sessions just doing freestyle. Back stroke will help develop your back muscles and the muscles at the rear of your shoulder joint (can't remember what they're called!). This will help you avoid 'swimmers shoulder' - rotator-cuff injuries.

    Butterfly is great fun. Really good way to learn about pushing the water behind you and a good core workout too. If your technique is as poor as mine it is also a good aerobic workout.

    lots of people are joining the sport but think the only way of getting faster is to swim up and down the pool again and again

    Yes indeed. I think we've said many times on the forum that a long plod swim is something that should only be done occasionally (like once a month), as you can be reinforcing bad technique. Stick to much smaller sets and concentrate on holding good form, getting your breathing sorted and keeping the stroke count as low as possible. 10 x 100m with 20s rests is far better for most improver swimmers than just doing 1k straight.
  • JulesJules Posts: 987
    Just got back from swimming, practising the drills I've been shown at swimming class. It does all feel a bit strange at first but I can tell it's (very slowly) helping my stroke.

    Backstroke? - aaagh! [X(] Voluntary drowning when I try it. I hate the feeling of imminenent disaster I get from not beinng able to see where I'm going.
  • julesojuleso Posts: 279
    Jules - I'd be interested to hear what kind of drills you're doing - catchups, that sort of thing? My sessions could do with some variation.

    Backstroke, ooh, that scares me.........I too like to be able to see where I'm going. I crashed so hard into the wall doing that once that I thought I'd be sick. Strangely, I haven't tried it since.
  • JulesJules Posts: 987
    I'm doing the ones I've been shown in my two swimming lessons so far [:D]

    I'm doing (these may have proper names I'm unaware of) legs only, zips, swimming on my side using one arm, a breathing drill of breathing 2 strokes next length 3 strokes then 4, then 5 and finally one length using a fist rather than a flat hand alternating with a "normal" length.

    I'm doing 6 lengths of each, with 2 lengths of catch-up (which I'm finding the most unnatural thing to do, apart from backstroke) in between as recovery.

    I'm not doing backstroke, my excuse is fear for the safety of the other swimmers in my lane! Also in class we were told to do breaststroke arms with a leg float. I've not done this but I must give it another go.
  • julesojuleso Posts: 279
    Thanks very much, Jules. I'm familiar with most of those - I just never seem to get around to doing them........must try harder.

    I find that if I need something to inspire me to do drills, I just look at some of the swimmers at the local pool who go day in, day out and don't even get their hair wet, let alone have a nice style and 18 strokes per length! And that makes me get back on with it, quick smart.

  • kinbarkinbar Posts: 15
    Just in case it helps I had one lesson because I kept getting out of breath after 100m. Started the lesson doing 28 strokes per 25m and finished the lesson doing 14 strokes per length. Obviously this was much more efficient and I didn't get anywhere near as out of breath! Lesson taught me to slow down and glide between strokes.
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