Thursday, January 20, 2011

Learning to swim freestyle: Challenges and TRIumphs!

LISTEN UP.  You have GOT to get the TI book Extraordinary swimming for every body.     Just stop what you are doing rite now...because YOU NEED to get this book.

I got my copy the first few pages....and there was NO putting this book down. I read the entire 168 pages in one I implemented the tweaks suggested in the book....and all I can say is WOWIE ZOW!!!!! No kidding!

Here are the tweaks...followed by more blather on how the changes affected my swim - it was freakin' monumentous:

  • move my forward extended arm to a more downward position in the water to counterbalance my sinking butt and legs
  • palms face down...with limp saggy wrist
  • the above caused my recovery arm (which is now poised to re-enter the water) enter at a point where both arms are for a moment in the front quad
  • eliminated the pointless endless fluttering kick...with a simple...silent...and more efficient 2 beat kick that is timed with each "piercing" of the water

REBALANCED the extended arm to be LOWER in the water:
I modified depth of front arm to lower in water position...this raised my back end (without adding extra kicking)...and the results are my butt and legs are suddenly floating on top of the water. Why does this matter? This reduces the resistance in the water HUGE...I mean HUGE....which translates into saving energy for swimming. ** By fixing your balance point...which is different for each fix your buoyancy...and reduce drag on the water ** In my arm position was TOO high...just a few inches below the surface of the water. With my "balance position" on the high side in left my legs to no matter how much I tried...I was still dragging along my back end thru the water. It was exhausting! It is absolutely making this ONE SINGLE adjustment. Your speed over the water improves 10 fold by just reducing drag.

Finding the balance point each time with palms down:
next I worked on piercing the water with each arm and trying to nail that lower perfect balance position (that I discovered above) each time. Since I work endlessly on drills...this didn't take too long...especially since my butt rides high on the water now. I tried to feel the sensation of my butt and legs riding high each time. Just for kicks I thru in a balance point that I knew would cause my legs to sink just to see how that felt. I can assure you it won't take long for your body to pick up on what is sinking and what is gliding effortlessly. It's incredible!

2 Beat Kick:
then I worked on getting rid of the endless hyperactive flutter kick that was wearing me out (in addition to my bad balancing). I replaced the endless flutter with the 2 beat kick. For some bizarre reason...the 2 beat kick came natural...and when I time the kick with each piercing / torso propels me even further thru the water -- all effortlessly!! I could probably go 8-9 strokes without air...tho I maxed at 7 just because ;-) The end result of these few I can suddenly take 5-7 strokes without feeling the least bit breathless. Before...3 was max...and by midway thru the pool I had to rotate every other stroke. Now...I'm in no hurry to come up for air. It was so much like MAGIC, that I was afraid to leave the pool in case I come back the next day and this wonderful feeling is gone. But...that won't happen....I'm on to this thing called Freestyle now.

Lastly...I started working on a more seamless breath. Not there yet mainly cuz I ran out of time (1.5 hours in the pool and I was wrinkling up!) - but I felt the breathing was right around the corner. When I roll on my right side (more comfy side) I am starting to keep the cadence of the 2 beat kick as I come up for air (this is typically where I morph into flutter kick and struggle)....will continue working the breathing in next practice. When rolling on left side I can see that I don't need to roll as far...and will also work to coordinate this with the 2 beat kick. There were momentous breakthru's today in the pool....and I'm SOO excited!


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