An old "freak" wants to swim FS without any rests!

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Re: An old "freak" wants to swim FS without any rests!

Post by Don Wright on Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:17 am

The tail-end of my last post was either the result of my evidently faulty powers of observation, or due to my poor sight (about 2" focal length without correcting specs)!

There are indeed 8 rectangular blocks of alternating light/dark blue on the pool floor in that pool I've been using - for at least 5 years! During yesterday's session, I peered more closely at the end wall - Oh eek! - How come I just did not notice it before? - it is covered with glazed mini-tiles each about 1" square! Furthermore - getting my eyes closer to the bottom - I could see it was the same sized mini-tiles that covered each of the alternately coloured light/dark blue 2mx1.25m rectangular areas.  With the end of a big toe I sampled how slippery the mini-tiles were. Yus! very slippery indeed, but not so when the sole of the foot is planted on the floor.  So no wonder my feet shot from under me when I tried standing while wearing the fins with non-grip undersides! Having discovered this, I think it means farewell to any contemplated fin usage endeavour!

On another "front" - I've been "mugging-up" what Sheila Taormina has written in her book (Swim Speed Strokes) about the 6-beat flutter kicking pattern. Currently (when concentrating, and not just kicking "randomly"  Rolling Eyes ), I fit in 3 kicks for each arm stroke, which means that I do a rather "big fancy arm recovery" to fit the 3 kicks in, during that action on the non-breathing side - it seems much easier to fit the kicks in on the breathing side!  Yet somehow, am having trouble remembering which leg to kick down with, at the various stages of the stroking arm's UW action.

Think I've "taken on board" the idea that one needs to "kick down with the leg on the same side as the stroking arm" when at the catch and towards the end of the stroking arm's up-sweep.  The other leg is supposed to kick down with the opposite leg to the stroking arm, immediately after water entry, while extending that arm - and also at the transition from stroking arm's pull/push phases!  Mmm! that's great in theory - but muggins has great trouble putting it into practice - think I need to do it ultra-slow to imprint the ideas in my noddle! It is so much easier just doing it "randomly"  Twisted Evil , but then one may miss out on what Sheila T calls her "Triple P = the Power Packed Punch" of kicking effectively at the most important stages of the UW arm action - i.e. the start of the "pull", and augmenting the powerful arm up-sweep (memo to self - must remember that "passing the elbow" trick, to give the up-sweep more oomph). I have a chuckle when remembering SS Paul Newsome's old "Swim Types" - as a former over-glider (and now drifting back to that! Oh the relaxing joy of gliding a bit, my former more continuous arm action was energy-sapping  Rolling Eyes ) - supposedly doing too much analytical thinking - I guess that's me correctly categorized! Smile

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Re: An old "freak" wants to swim FS without any rests!

Post by Sprinter on Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:33 pm

Hi Don,

I believe that all your observation will lead you to hold your breath, involuntarily, which will create anxiety and disrupt your swimming.

Why don't you add to every session a few rounds of free-flowing swimming?! Just feeling your muscles and the water, moving as you feel like it. When the obsession with observation (control?) comes, just accept it, and observe the observation from a distance.

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Re: An old "freak" wants to swim FS without any rests!

Post by Don Wright on Sun Dec 09, 2018 10:41 am

Sprinter wrote:Hi Don,
I believe that all your observation will lead you to hold your breath, involuntarily, which will create anxiety and disrupt your swimming.
Why don't you add to every session a few rounds of free-flowing swimming?! Just feeling your muscles and the water, moving as you feel like it. When the obsession with observation (control?) comes, just accept it, and observe the observation from a distance.

Hi "Sprinter"!

Yes a lot of sense in what you say! After walking the length after pool entry to check I am not in anyone's way - I already do about 4 lengths of really relaxed (i.e. slow'ish Smile ) FS - to just enjoy the sensation of it - also at the end of my session (although after an hour in the pool, my waterworks dept is getting a bit desperate!) I do another couple of lengths of similar FS style.

Yet, despite that relaxed style, with almost languid arm/leg action, I can't say that I often feel able to continue without a couple of secs rest (Um maybe 15 or more  Embarassed  - with my ticker pumping furiously!).  

I keep on "harping back" to the rate of very low energy expenditure I experience when swimming old English backstroke (of which I usually do some continuous - i.e. no rests - 4-6 lengths/session). There are times when either the arms are active or the legs, but no simultaneous activity.  There is also the way in which the breathing is done - from the streamline position the arms are swept out in a semicircle to each side and psychologically that action is like squeezing a bellows (the FS equivalent might be thought of as the path the stroking arm travels under the body) - so that is the time for steady exhalation.  The inhalation is quite brief, taking place as the thighs are parted and the lower legs are dropped in preparation for the outward lower leg swirl, and recovery of the arms overhead (the air in the chest counteracting the downward weight of the recovering arms, passing directly overhead, back to the streamline position - so the head doesn't get pushed below the surface.

By adopting a hybrid FS style - closely similar to one of my FS "variants" that I posted on, a long time ago - of doing the inhalation arm stroke, and the non-breathing side's stroke, as I steadily exhale, then leaving that (now) rear arm by the hip for an instant's rest - and almost ceasing any light flutter kicking, pushing the head down below the level of the lead upper arm to help keep the legs up near the surface (i.e. "pressing the buoy") during the exhalation - all done in a "Superman Glide" attitude before starting the next cycle. I think this might help me to continue (despite the terrible "STOP-GO-STOP-GO-..." action), without the wretched "end of length" rests. That should ensure I get enough air, plenty of time for exhalation, and limb rest when there is no activity at all for an instant.  Rolling Eyes Will try this out at my next session tomorrow!

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Re: An old "freak" wants to swim FS without any rests!

Post by cottmiler on Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:14 am

You talk about low energy expenditure being necessary to avoid being too puffed.  You are needing to work too hard on arm action to lift your body horizontal and to rotate when on your front.

I do think  it would be a good idea to try the Aquaspere fins to lift the legs up owing to their strong floating action.  If your arms and shoulder are ok then it,s still worth trying them.

You,ve not mentioned swimming with a pull buoy....

Paul Newsome,s squads practise variously with pull buoys, ankle bands, fins and Agility paddles.

By the way, they are much quicker than me so I just have to accept my limitations now and practise my slow non stop swimming. I had a first session in the sea yesterday, doing 400m in total. I must remember to not stop and admire the scenery as I lose body heat fast in the 19.9 C water. It was nice and swelly and necessitated a different arm action.

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Re: An old "freak" wants to swim FS without any rests!

Post by Don Wright on Mon Dec 10, 2018 10:28 am

cottmiler wrote:You talk about low energy expenditure being necessary to avoid being too puffed.  You are needing to work too hard on arm action to lift your body horizontal and to rotate when on your front.

I do think  it would be a good idea to try the Aquaspere fins to lift the legs up owing to their strong floating action.  If your arms and shoulder are ok then it,s still worth trying them.

You,ve not mentioned swimming with a pull buoy....

Paul Newsome,s squads practise variously with pull buoys,  ankle bands, fins and Agility paddles.  

By the way, they are much quicker than me so I just have to accept my limitations now and practise my slow non stop swimming.  I had a first session in the sea yesterday, doing 400m in total.  I must remember to not stop and admire the scenery as I lose body heat fast in the 19.9 C water.  It was nice and swelly and necessitated a different arm action.


Hi "cott..."!

On the first point you posted: -

You talk about low energy expenditure being necessary to avoid being too puffed.  You are needing to work too hard on arm action to lift your body horizontal and to rotate when on your front.

It's all a very complex situation this business of the rate of breathing and its extent - if it's insufficient, the muscles quickly tire (and this was evident when "Sprinter" encouraged me years ago, to do more, by the end of my 3rd length, the arm muscles were getting very fatigued and the breathing was getting too fraught to continue).  Don't forget, I wear BS for all my sessions now, so that lifts my middle.  I wrote in an earlier post about my little buoyancy experiments; first with the arms outstretched in streamline position - floated  horizontally without trouble, then brought one arm back to hip - floatability not so good when I looked down/back could see my legs were no longer up by the surface, finally both arm by hips - could look down/back and see feet sinking towards the floor.  So, I don't think your comment about "You are needing to work too hard on arm action to lift your body horizontal and to rotate" is entirely right!

On your 2nd point viz "You,ve not mentioned swimming with a pull buoy...." - One of the old SS coaching members gave me a stroke analysis yonks ago - and after my awful performance, got me to use a PB - an awful experience I would not wish to repeat , because it lifted my middle/upper legs but pitched my head deeper into the water making inhalation more difficult. (That was before me taking to wearing BS - and also before my sometime current practice of deliberately pushing the head down "pressing the buoy" to raise the legs nearer the surface! So I've got used to the business of pressing the head down a few inches below the surface, at the right times now)

What are the undersides of the Aquasphere fins like - do you reckon it would be slippery if standing on a glazed-tile pool floor Question


On your point about water temperature ("I must remember to not stop and admire the scenery as I lose body heat fast in the 19.9 C water.").  To think I have the cheek to grumble when my pool water is below the 25C!  Smile  There are times when I do a little shiver when I first get in, if the temp is below what they say it should be. I've become "softer" with the passing years - in my mid 20s I swam (briefly  Smile )  in water that was beginning to freeze over. My problem now is that my kidneys seem to pump so much, that after swimming for some 60-70 mins, am getting quite desperate for relief.

----------------------------------------------------------------

On a "hybrid FS" style to help me eliminate (or reduce) those "end-of-length" rests.  I suppose another possible style. might be for me to try a full "arm-catch-up" style, but leave both arms outstretched in front for a few seconds rest, before starting the UW action of the hitherto "waiting" arm.  By introducing that delay, it might be necessary for me to breathe bilaterally on each arm stroke!  Ideas!!!

Although when swimming on the tum, we were told to "always be exhaling when your face is in the water" - am beginning to wonder if it might in fact be better to retain the inhaled breath for a short instant before starting exhalation particularlly if swimming on one's back (there is quite a time gap between my inhalation time, and the start of exhalation when I swim E.B.S. - because air is needed in the chest for buoyancy during overhead arm recovery (to the gliding streamline position) - and the semi-circular arm action of "squeezing the bellows" isn't started until the arms are approx at 10:30 & 13:30 positions (head at 12:00 position) so as not to be pushing water sideways initially - allowing time for the "catch".

Don Wright

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Re: An old "freak" wants to swim FS without any rests!

Post by cottmiler on Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:58 pm

Images of Aquasphere fins removed for personal reasons.


Last edited by cottmiler on Tue Dec 11, 2018 12:10 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: An old "freak" wants to swim FS without any rests!

Post by Don Wright on Tue Dec 11, 2018 11:52 am

Thank you "cott...".  So they are the open-heel sort - and I should be able to stand OK on the glazed mini-tiles, as long as my heels are in contact with the floor!

My pool was quite busy when I went yesterday, so I didn't relax enough to properly "try-out" ideas for an FS variant that might help my breathing difficulty.   My prelim efforts were rather disappointing - but won't give up (yet! Smile ).

There has to be some solution to this silly business of being able to swim the old English back stroke continuously, without breathing problems - yet when "on the tum" swimming FS it's difficult to "push-on" beyond 2 lengths.  I know it's more difficult to exhale into water compared with air - but am not exactly a "newbie" now, and I do exhale apparently sufficiently.  I did think about whether making a really forcible exhalation would help matters - really squeezing in the diaphragm in the exhalation process - instead of using a more relaxed/steady exhalation.  The only idea I'm still pondering is if it's "beneficial" in my case, to inhale, then retain the breath for a short instant, before starting the steady exhale!? It might take a non-negligible instant for the alveoli in the lungs to re-act to the fresh inhalation and do their necessary work of re-oxygenating the blood - and of course - for the ticker to respond and pump that re-oxygenated blood around the body .  It's a bit too abstruse physiologically for me!  Rolling Eyes  I've just got to "scratch around" trying different things!


Afterthought! - I've just realized that the time for me to execute an "old English back stroke" cycle is probably a couple of seconds longer than my relaxed FS stroke cycle.  So I need to try to swim even slower with FS - then maybe the need for rests will be diminished! Am "working on" making the most of the FS glide (before momentum noticeably dies! Smile , also making slower arm recoveries, and UW pulls.

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