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Post by NickyMorgan on Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:08 pm

Hello guys,
I recently join this forum. I found this forum very helpful to know many things about swimming. Recently i start learning how to swim. Still suffering from some issues. Sometime felt breathing problem and sometime I got scared if water get into my ear. Is there anybody can suggest some product or some way to protect my ear?
Thank you.

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Post by cottmiler on Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:47 am

The important thing is to shake out any water in your ears after a swim. If you leave water in there your ears can get an infection which is painful.

A good product to use is Earol which is a spray olive oil.

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Post by Don Wright on Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:22 am

I just don't like water swishing in/out of my ears when freestyling, rolling from one side to the other - so I always use earplugs now (occasional bouts of "swimmer's ear" in the past were not pleasant, and soggy ear wax swells, causing a bit of discomfort or ear ache). I prefer the Zoggs soft silicone type, that come in a little convenient plastic container.  They are quite effective - but watch out that vigorous head movement (e.g. in quick snatched inhalation) with the consequent rush of water when trying to go faster (What me do that!? Laughing ) doesn't dislodge them! Over the years I've lost several of them - swished out, so always keep spares handy in my wet bag by the poolside. The Zoggs ones are unique for left/right ears - so on the rare occasions I lose one - just forget the remaining one and start a new pair - they are inexpensive!

One of my FS "variants" in particular, is a prime source for ear plug displacement - and that is when I recover my arm on the inhalation side, throwing it towards water entry and simultaneously vigorously swivel the hip down a bit on that same side.  The water meets the ear plug on the arm's water entry side, quite strongly due to the quick hip action!

On the business of other swim accessories - NOSE CLIPS and GOGGLES : -

As a "newbie" if you don't mind having water up the nostrils then that's great - it can always be snorted out!  However, as one who used to suffer from a lot of trouble with sinusitis and rhinitis, I prefer to inhale/exhale through the mouth only and use a nose clip (Zoggs again - the curved bit, above the little silicone pads, goes upwards towards the brow - not hanging down above the lips as I saw one chap doing!  Smile ) - they are not 100% effective, but are reasonably so! When to switching from lengths of freestyle to swim a bit of backstroke, you may need to remove the clip to snort out any water that is in the nostrils, before replacing the clip!

 After many years of using different sorts of goggles I've settled on the "mask" type ones (you don't get "Panda eyes" when the googles are removed, and they feel more "comfy" around the eyes). They have a firm plastic portion connecting the contiguous lenses and a silicone "skirt" of perhaps 1/2"-3/4" around the lens/nose areas (press your fingers around that "skirt" to make sure it's a close fit before getting in the water). The silicone "skirt" covers the nose bridge, eyebrows and cheek bones (am currently using "Cressi" goggles - but that firm may have gone out of business now.) With those I've found it better not to pull the head strap tight on initial use, but reduce that if there is any leakage, to make the fit tighter.  

"Fog buster" for goggles?  I reckon "Hilco" spray is the best (can order from www.hilcovision.com), just wipe the lenses dry with soft tissue after a squirt of spray to the inner side of the lenses, prior to each swim. I do not recommend the Zoggs stuff that you apply as if painting it onto the lenses, with a sponge-tipped pen - there were chemical problems with that at one time, and it does not give a smooth dry finish, you can see the dried "sponge brush" marks!

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Post by Mike A on Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:47 pm

I always swim with noseclip and earplugs now, having had a lot of problems with sinus irritation and something called eustachian tube dysfunction. It took a few weeks to get used to - at first it felt very claustrophobic! But after that it became second nature.
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Post by ramakant2k on Fri Jul 12, 2019 8:42 pm

I am new to swimming too. Been doing it for exactly one month, an hour everyday.    Signed up for a training class but they were more focused on competitive swimmers and me being 40 there is little hope for me.

They didn't feel that breathing was important. Apparently they don't feel it's necessary to breathe for short distances in freestyle. So I am learning it on my own. Good thing is the trainers leave you alone if you don't bother then with questions.

I am forcing myself to breathe out the nose all the time. That way water won't get in. I thought about using a nose clip but then what if you lose it in the pool? So I feel that breathing out the nose is the best for me. Since I am new to this I might as well learn the nose thing.

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Post by cottmiler on Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:09 am

It is great to hear from you both, NickyMorgan and ramakant2k!

We look forward to hearing your progress and hope we can help.

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Post by Don Wright on Sun Jul 14, 2019 10:44 am

ramakant2k wrote:I am new to swimming too. Been doing it for exactly one month, an hour everyday.    Signed up for a training class but they were more focused on competitive swimmers and me being 40 there is little hope for me. [if you are still breathing - then there is still hope! Smile ]
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They didn't feel that breathing was important [ Oh my giddy aunt!!!  Rolling Eyes ]. Apparently they don't feel it's necessary to breathe for short distances in freestyle. So I am learning it on my own. Good thing is the trainers leave you alone if you don't bother then with questions.

I am forcing myself to breathe out the nose all the time. That way water won't get in. I thought about using a nose clip but then what if you lose it in the pool? [a rare occurrence - just keep a spare one handy!] So I feel that breathing out the nose is the best for me. Since I am new to this I might as well learn the nose thing.


I learnt to swim "almost by accident" (some 60 years ago) after being left by "friends" (who had "given up" on me as a hopeless case, and gone off to swim around properly) - but they had left me floating on my back in shallow water.  Eureka! - I discovered that moving my arms and legs produced propulsion - then I was "off" to learning properly!  IMO learning to float is a vital confidence booster for any beginner!

 But as the ability to float depends on one's buoyancy, IMO that should be checked first, by hanging on to the pool wall in water at least 12" deeper than one's height, and by trying a "do-nothing" vertical float with lungs full, bringing the arms to the sides, with the head looking up towards the pool ceiling, legs just hanging downwards inactive. For bods with normal buoyancy, the face should just break the surface allowing for a quick snatched inhalation! (Muggins is unfortunate in not having sufficient buoyancy for that test, there are a few inches of water above my head when looking upwards.).  Older "newbies" are likely to have lower buoyancy than younger bods - the lungs are not so effective as one ages! So that means they will probably have the "sinky legs syndrome" (dragging the legs along) when swimming front crawl (aka freestyle or just "FS" on this forum) - but happily there are ways to counteract that, to ensure one can inhale OK and get the legs up near the surface for the major part of each stroke cycle.  This requires the swimmer to "press the buoy", or push down  (nod!) the head for an instant, at the start of each "inhalation arm stroke". That has the effect of pushing one's centre-of-buoyancy a bit lower and getting a buoyant reaction (like that of pushing a balloon down in the water - it bobs up quickly!

It is good IMO to initially test one's ability to float with lungs full  : -

(1) doing a Mushroom float in a "bent-over" attitude with head, arms, legs inactive hanging down to the bottom, and the back breaking the surface - giving the appearance of a mushroom!

(2) On the back with arms outstretched and leaning back in shallow water, and feet possibly on pool bottom.  By bending the wrists so that the hands break the surface, they should act as a counter-balance for the legs (IMO any part of the body not immersed has a preponderant effect on balance!), and the legs should (normally!) rise slowly upwards to the surface.

(3)  On the tum arms outstretched (with head under water for a few secs), arms outstretched and wrists bent back so the fingers poke out of the water - acting as a little counter-balance for the legs.

 When young school kids had instruction classes at the pool - I used to watch in amazement how the teachers just expected the "newbie" kids to "take to the water" by immediately thrashing their arms and legs around. No! - floating first gives beginners confidence that they wont sink to the bottom!

There are thankfully very, very few bods who have negative buoyancy, and flutter to the bottom like an autumn leaf unless they make propulsive movements with arms/legs! I have only ever read of one such person, and despite such a drawback, he did manage to enjoy swimming FS!

Personally for a "newbie" FS swimmer, I would recommend doing an inhalation on every 4th arm stroke, exhaling slowly until one is about to start the 4th inhalation arm stroke.  One can really "press the buoy" during the 3 slow exhalation arm strokes - and consequently benefit from a better horizontal attitude, and moreover, concentrate on doing the arm action properly!

Just remember to do the body roll properly as well - roll towards the stroking arm going down into the water, and roll away from that arm as it comes up to the surface.

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Post by Don Wright on Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:13 am

A bit more on that buoyancy issue I wrote about on the previous post : -

Don Wright wrote:...the ability to float depends on one's buoyancy, IMO that should be checked first, by hanging on to the pool wall in water at least 12" deeper than one's height, and by trying a "do-nothing" vertical float with lungs full, bringing the arms to the sides, with the head looking up towards the pool ceiling, legs just hanging downwards inactive. For bods with normal buoyancy, the face should just break the surface allowing for a quick snatched inhalation! (Muggins is unfortunate in not having sufficient buoyancy for that test, there are a few inches of water above my head when looking upwards.).  Older "newbies" are likely to have lower buoyancy than younger bods - the lungs are not so effective as one ages! So that means they will probably have the "sinky legs syndrome" (dragging the legs along) when swimming front crawl  

Was not feeling all that well during my swim yesterday, so do didn't do much - but used up some time in swimming without the buoyancy shorts I normally always wear (over my "Speedos") when swimming.  My worst surmises were realized! Twisted Evil OK so I didn't sink to the bottom (it's a just over 4ft uniform depth pool) - but for back crawl my heels soon struck the floor (sinky legs for sure!) - FS was a bit of a struggle - lying low in the water, so more difficult for inhalation, flutter-kicking more actively to prevent the toes touching the bottom  Embarassed , and much harder on the arms in pulling myself along, due to the drag caused by low-lying legs - an attempt at a non-breathing fly stroke was hopeless, couldn't get my arms out of the water for recovery - one-arm fly was still feasible though, making sure the feet broke the surface at the end of the major kick upbeat.

That experience showed up the demarcation that exists between enjoyment (when helped by wearing B.S.), and sheer disappointment (without the B.S. aiding the buoyancy)!

I mentioned this to an acquaintance in the pool at the time, referring to unfortunate bods who have negative buoyancy, and just sink to the bottom unless they make propulsive movements with arms and legs.  I had a chuckle when he said such bods have a large amount of muscle mass - definitely not so in my case! Laughing


I now get my B.S. (they show a lot of wear and split a bit at the crotch after a year or so of use) from the "MyTriathlon" website  ("Zone 3" brand, about £45 I think).  I did before that, get some slightly cheaper ones from "Wiggle" but was not impressed by the quality. Could they have been "cheaty look-alikes"? - they had little circular patches like those used in repairing cycle tyre punctures over the weak points of seam joins.  The ones I bought from "MyTriathlon" didn't have such dubious patches, and were obviously of better quality.

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Post by ramakant2k on Sun Jul 21, 2019 12:15 pm

I am able to do the 'lie on my back and breathe thing. Also can float on my side with one arm extended and mouth outside the water to get air as long as I flutter my legs like crazy. Actually that's the most comfortable way to cross the pool for me. As long as I can get the sweet air I am fine.

After struggling for a few days, I can breathe in my right side now. I am the only one who hums in this pool. Children turn to look when I struggle by. I breathe in every chance I get. I don't know how people breathe in on the fourth stroke. Must be super human. I find that my lungs are empty on the second stroke.
Still no bow wave though, I turn my head as the rest of the body swings right as I pull the water with my right hand. So I end up looking behind when breathing in. It's probably completely wrong but it gets me from one side of the pool to other.

But there is a distinct delay as I breathe in. The right arm pauses at the beginning of the recovery for just a small instant. No big deal though. I tried swimming across in very shallow water one day and my feet did not touch the floor, so I guess they stay up?

Pushing down the head at the start of the inhalation stroke sounds like a great idea. I will try that tomorrow.

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Post by Don Wright on Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:37 am

Hi! Please excuse my "on-the-spot" red highlighted additions in quoting your last post - just throwing in my little comments where relevant !

ramakant2k wrote:I am able to do the 'lie on my back and breathe thing. Also can float on my side with one arm extended and mouth outside the water to get air as long as I flutter my legs like crazy. Actually that's the most comfortable way to cross the pool for me. As long as I can get the sweet air I am fine.

After struggling for a few days, I can breathe in my right side now. I am the only one who hums in this pool. Children turn to look when I struggle by. I breathe in every chance I get. I don't know how people breathe in on the fourth stroke. Must be super human. I find that my lungs are empty on the second stroke. [Maybe, you could try just a quite small "trickle" exhale through narrowed lips during the first 2 arm strokes if trying a 4th arm stroke inhalation, then a more definite open mouth stronger exhalation on the last but one - i.e. the 3rd arm stroke - before that 4th inhalation arm stroke. Another experiment that might be good to try is to push off from the wall and swim FS at a steady rate, without any inhalation at all (just very slow "trickle" exhalation), but keeping count of the number of arm strokes you do before the need for an inhalation becomes urgent.  I've found when doing this, that I can cover about 3/4 of the 20m pool length on one breath]
Still no bow wave though [Think one needs to get up a decent forward movement with very little water disturbance due to body roll etc, swimming FS "like an arrow" almost, before you notice a little "bow wave". Actually looking diagonally back a bit as you inhale IMO, means tucking the chin in towards the neck more, so that may cause a nice little "trough" in which inhalation is slightly easier!], I turn my head as the rest of the body swings right as I pull the water with my right hand. ]b][Aim to swim in a straight line![/b]So I end up looking behind when breathing in [I expect you mean looking to the side but diagonally back -  IMO it's not wrong, but might cause you to go "off-course" a bit]. It's probably completely wrong but it gets me from one side of the pool to other.  ["Nodding" the head down quickly at the start of the inhalation arm stroke, does lower your most buoyant part - the upper chest - as well, and there is bound to be a "buoyant reaction" - as in pushing a balloon down in the water - which will bring your mouth above the water line in time for a safe inhalation.]

But there is a distinct delay as I breathe in. The right arm pauses at the beginning of the recovery for just a small instant. No big deal though. I tried swimming across in very shallow water one day and my feet did not touch the floor, so I guess they stay up?[Hooray!]

Pushing down the head at the start of the inhalation stroke sounds like a great idea. I will try that tomorrow.


Good luck - keep experimenting!

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Post by ramakant2k on Tue Jul 23, 2019 5:34 am

I tried the nodding at the beginning of the breathing stroke. It did help a little. The stroke is slightly more smoother now, but my strokes are still quite slow. I guess breathing every 3 strokes requires more fitness? I think I am panting most of the time. Pulling water takes effort. Maybe I should not pull so hard?
Will try a more softer stroke and see what happens.

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Post by Don Wright on Tue Jul 23, 2019 1:12 pm

ramakant2k wrote:I tried the nodding at the beginning of the breathing stroke. It did help a little. The stroke is slightly more smoother now, but my strokes are still quite slow. I guess breathing every 3 strokes requires more fitness? I think I am panting most of the time. Pulling water takes effort. Maybe I should not pull so hard?
Will try a more softer stroke and see what happens.

When swimming FS, I find that quickly "nodding the head down" towards the bottom,  so that the back of the initially horizontal head, is just level with the underside of the  entered/outstretched upper arm for an instant - is sufficient to give me an upward buoyant reaction, allowing me to get in a safe inhalation - and that lasts me until the next inhalation time.  There is also the benefit, that the head action sends an upward "ripple" along the spine/rest of body, helping to keep the legs up high.


It seems on reading your post, that you may be  putting too much effort into things - take it slow/easy till you are a better swimmer perhaps!?  I think the elite FS-ers can do a complete stroke cycle in a matter of approx 1.5 secs! Forget about that for now, and be satisfied with something like 2 or 3 secs for a complete stroke cycle - i.e. the arms do not go as fast as "bees wings"! Smile

You mentioned that "Pulling water takes effort" and maybe rightly or wrongly, am concerned about the sort of "catch" you make at the start of an arm stroke, and what the rest of your "pull phase" might look like!  One thing for sure, is that it is next to useless to apply propulsive effort with an arm, until that arm (or the major part of it - i.e. hand and forearm) is backward-facing in the water.  So whether you start curling your fingers over as soon as your recovered arm enters the water, "to grab water quickly" with the hand -  or you use a different "catch" style is a matter of personal preference!  I passed through an early "instruction" phase when I started posting some 10 years ago on the (now locked down) SwimSmooth forum.  I took their ideas "on board" but then found something called the EVF (Early Vertical Forearm) at the start of each pull phase, and tried that, with very satisfying results.

With the SwimSmooth  method (the most natural one) the arm is "almost dropped" down from an outstretched attitude, on a circular arc, with the elbow beginning to bend so that the hand moves in towards the body centre line.  When the forearm/hand are approx backward-facing the pull phase starts - by bending the wrist, the hand can be faced back a bit earlier than the forearm.

By contrast, the EVF method uses a much shallower arm insertion into the water (hand/forearm only).  As an arm is recovered, it is entered just outside the shoulder line, and the hand and forearm are "almost dropped" down to an approx vertical position, keeping the hand and forearm as a complete unit, while the upper arm is left up near the surface until the pull starts.  In this EVF method once the pull is started the hand is brought closer to the centre line (and the same elbow bend is maintained as in the other method)

When the hand points (approximately, if one is "passing the elbow" beneath the body) to the bottom - that is the transition point between the pull and push phases!

BTW, when your arm enters the water after recovery (especially as you extend it) - keep it "ram-rod" straight, and give a good kick with a leg, so as to offset the "pushing drag" caused by the entering arm. Don't let that arm sag as you drop it down to a catch - that fault is called having a "swan arm" 'cos some lazy swimmers leave the wrist higher than the hand and the elbow is dropped - all giving the appearance of a swan (hand is the swan's head, and forearm the neck).  Any departure from a straight arm at water entry spoils stream-lining and causes drag.


Last edited by Don Wright on Tue Jul 23, 2019 7:56 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Post by great09 on Tue Jul 23, 2019 3:40 pm

Hello Nickkymorgan, I had the same problem anytime i went to swim, i had problem with my ears that i had to stop swimming.

I recently stumbled on a great video that thought the techniques to overcome this problem.

Here is the video.

Enjoy
click here

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Post by cottmiler on Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:34 am

Hi great09,

I am reluctant to "click here" not knowing what might be at the other end.

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Post by Don Wright on Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:58 am

Prior to this last week - I had given breast stroke a "miss" (i.e. the leisure style - not the "wave" one, where the hands are recovered almost above the surface in what I call "the praying mantis" style!).  The reason for dropping breast stroke from my "to-do" list, was that I formerly thought the leg kick was not helping my grotty knee joints, and furthermore, due to being bent over a bit with age/arthritis - the "outsweep" of the arms to "bob" the head out of the water to make an inhalation, was not as "comfortable".   Needed a bit more pressure downwards of the arms due to spinal curvature forwards,  in order to clear the mouth above the water line.  It's a lot easier breathing to the side when swimming FS!   It's the same problem that occurs when I swim a full fly stroke - hence just doing the sequence of a non-breathing fly stroke (i.e. leaving the head down) followed by a 1-arm stroke with side inhalation, means that I can swim "something recognizably like" fly!  Smile  


However, "for a change" I've gone back to including breast stroke in my routine. (see the P.S.!) It did strike me that my old suggestion made yonks ago on the old SS forum, that the stroke worked best when angling the kick slightly down below the horizontal, then allowing the buoyant front end to rise back to a more horizontal attitude during the glide/exhalation phase - was in fact, nothing much more than the old familiar (to me at least) business of "pressing the buoy" (just pressing the head and top of chest down a bit by a "head nod"). I seem to be using that quite a lot now, mainly in 4-stroke inhalation FS, it really does help to get the legs up closer to the surface!

(P.S. For a long time now I've swum a couple of lengths of a hybrid US Navy Seals "Combat Side Stroke" at each session - which includes a breast stroke kick as the arms are recovered from way back by the hips, and the separate arm pulls (one at a time!) being accompanied by flutter kicking legs.  Realizing how slow it was  Rolling Eyes (since my flutter kicking is worse than pathetic!) - I thought  I would "ditch" my hybrid efforts and try doing a proper breast stroke for a change! )



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