Don's little "break-through" perhaps!

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Post by Don Wright on Thu Aug 29, 2019 10:32 am

It all started yesterday when I had a lot of chores to do in/outside the house before getting "brekki". As a result of "flapping around" in a bit of a hurry, I could feel pain in my chest starting - knowing it wasn't indigestion since had only just got up, I took a couple of puffs of my GTN spray (the "go-to" for post-heart surgery and former angina patients!).  When the discomfort eased, I got ready to go off for my usual Wednesday swim - but resolved to take things easy and not put my "ticker" under much stress!

Started off with 10 English back stroke lengths (no "pit-stops") - OK no trouble - so on to 2 lengths of back crawl, then 2 of breast stroke, and another 2 of 1-arm fly.   Feeling quite pleased, I decided to move on to a bit of relaxed FS.  "Fell into" what seemed to be a happy style, with a low'ish  limb "activity/rest" rate, sort of freestyle!  Basically I did the arm stroke on my "happy breathing side" inhaling as normal during that arm's up-sweep.  but when I recovered that arm, I did a glide in "superman style" - that "inhalation-side" arm outstretched, and the other arm resting by the hip for maybe a second, before starting it's arm recovery (so that was very similar to the "glide phase" of the old English backstroke, which I can manage to do "till the cows come home").  All the while I was really concentrating on a steady exhalation - it sounded to me, as if I was groaning into the water. Smile  The difference in swimming FS this way, (differing from my normal practice)  was that I was gliding a bit more perhaps,  making a better exhalation and delaying the recovery of the arm on my non-breathing side by a short instant (finishing it's stroke, but leaving it by the hip for a second). I just flapped my legs around gently (not really flutter kicking!) and because of that I took care to "press the buoy" (to get the legs up high) while doing my exhalations.  Result - I finished each length I tried without feeling breathless, or my heart pumping crazily needing a rest to ease off.  So I am very optimistic that I may have eventually found the right FS style (with a lot of "arm catch-up" action) that will permit me to swim FS continuously, without those awful "pit-stops"!


Last edited by Don Wright on Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:56 am; edited 1 time in total

Don Wright

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Post by cottmiler on Thu Aug 29, 2019 2:18 pm

That's good Don!

When I had my SwimSmooth 1-2-1 earlier this year, Sally had me humming "Ahhhhh.." into the water to try and improve my bilateral exhalation.

I'm nervous of doing it though in case the fellow swimmers think I'm cuckoo.

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Post by Mike A on Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:06 am

Sounds like progress Don! I often swim a few lengths in that style in my warm-downs (or are they called cool-downs? I'm never sure!). I concentrate on balance/technique and try to take as few strokes as possible with maximum distance per stroke and no focus on speed. It's a very relaxing way to swim. I think even my normal stroke has a bit of pause/glide, filled in by a 3-beat flutter kick at the back. Deadly sin according to SwimSmooth of course. ;-)
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Post by Don Wright on Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:13 am

Glum!!   Sad  Think I've got a repetition of an old right rotator cuff shoulder injury, so will have to take it easy for a while until it heals. It doesn't seem too troublesome if I swim gently, but get a lot of discomfort with that shoulder at night.

Have just remembered that SS used to say that "too much thinking" about ones's stroke was a characteristic of one of their "Swim Types" - think it was "The Overglider" type - what do they say, "If the cap fits - wear it!" Laughing Oh the sadness of it all! - I spent a lot of time years ago trying to cure my over-gliding tendency, finding that the answer for me was in using a more continuous arm action.  But now back to gliding a bit more - ah well, c'est la vie!


Last edited by Don Wright on Sun Sep 29, 2019 11:33 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Don Wright on Thu Sep 26, 2019 9:22 am

Think I've found something fundamental which has been holding me back for yonks.   To put it into fancy language it is this basic fact - one's breathing, inhalation and exhalation, needs to be commensurate with the energy currently being expended!  For years I suspect that when swimming FS, I have been skimping the inhalations. When the window of opportunity came around during a stroke cycle I have not taken in a deep breath - its been too shallow, just a little quick "sip" of air, for the effort being expended. Sub-consciously cautious of breathing in water instead of air perhaps?

Of course the need to sustain decent movement forwards and stroke "mechanics" determine the length of that "window of opportunity" for inhalation - and not much can be done about that without slowing things down - not an acceptable option!  So what can be done? Exactly what I stumbled upon towards the end of my swim session yesterday - I MUST inhale more strongly to take in a full lung-full of air - really sucking fresh-air in audibly. The result was that during the little time I had left, I found that I didn't need to have a little pit-stop to "recuperate", allow my breathing to become less laboured, and to "ease off" from my "ticker" pumping so vigorously.  It must have been a shortage of oxygen that put it under stress, and meant such muscle fatigue!


Found this out while doing inhalations on every 4th arm stroke - which seems to be my favourite style in FS now.  Just a steady "trickle" exhalation during the first 2 arm strokes, then a fuller exhalation during the next 2 of the stroke cycle.  Plus "pressing the buoy" to help keep the legs up a bit higher - hopefully not dragging them! And most importantly, making that better inhalation - so that I "suck-in" air quickly/audibly.  If there's little sound to the "suck-in" action, then am just not getting a decent lungful! I can't expect to breathe while swimming FS at the same rate as if I were just strolling along, or reclining reading a book Smile - but reckon that's not much different from what I had been doing! Twisted Evil

You active bods just do this correct breathing naturally - but as an "oldie" with swimming now the only "real exercise" I can now undertake - breathing rapidly/strongly during strenuous exercise is quite "foreign" to me now! Rolling Eyes


AN ADDITTION AFTER NEXT SWIM SESSION 2 DAYS LATER!  A BIT DISAPPOINTED! - COULDN'T REPLICATE LAST SESSION'S APPARENT IMPROVEMENT.

Old bad habits die hard - it's going to take me a long while to eradicate them! The "window of opportunity" for inhalation in FS is quite small if one is really "trying to get a move on" - it would be easier to momentarily roll onto one's back for a deep inhalation - but that's just "not on"! Laughing

============================= Going "off-piste" again - as is my usual wont!   ...

Currently, when I get to the start of my "to-do" list's fly bit - I start off with a "broken-up" length" of "body dolphin" - first on the back with arms at the sides, then on the side but with one-arm outstretched.   Think I'll try leaving one arm outstretched all the time, for the whole length leaving the other at the side.  I seem to get better forward movement when I roll almost onto the tum, i.e. facing down to the bottom and looking ahead a bit, through the water, exhaling trickle-flow style at every dolphin kick until needing more air, then turning to the side with with mouth above the water line - keeping the undulation going all the time, "snaking" through the water! I.E. a continuous drill, instead of my customary standing-up before starting the next part of the drill!

I haven't - and don't think I ever will now  Sad  (due to a permanent forward stoop at the hips, the relic of a spinal lumbar injury when younger - old injuries come back in later years to "haunt"   us) managed to get my mouth above the water line for an inhalation, when doing a proper fly stroke cycle - my head pops up, and my arms come out well clear of the surface during recovery, but the water level seems to be at mid-nose level when I really want to inhale!  So I'm stuck now with doing a sequence of a "non-breathing" fly stroke followed by a one-arm fly stroke with inhalation to the side, as when swimming FS.

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Post by Don Wright on Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:36 am

Next "discovery"!

I tried bigger inhalations, sucking air in quickly/audibly - while doing casual FS swimming inhaling on every second arm stroke - result : I was getting "blown up with stale air", due to not enough time to exhale properly (if I take more air in, its clear I've got to expel the stale air quicker or longer) - so methinks I'll concentrate on doing bigger inhalations on every 4th arm stroke (which is my favourite  pattern anyway) - to give me more time (3 and a bit arm strokes) for a thorough exhalation.

On my little fly experiments - I can feel enormous "lift" as the up-sweeping arms pass under the hips during the "head-down" non-breathing strokes - so I'll try waiting till I feel that "lift", keeping the head in line with body until that upward surge - then lift the head, to see if my mouth will clear the water for an inhalation. Perhaps I've been lifting the head too early in the stroke cycle, with forearms out front beneath the head ready to press down/back - possibly too near the start of the arms up-sweep!? It may all be a matter of getting the up-sweep timing right!

I remember back in the days when we used to post on the SS forum, one chap moaned that he "hated the sound of the feet breaking the surface during the fly major kick upbeat" - an action best initiated by a quick head nod downwards below the level of the outstretched arms after recovery.  But IMO that little "grumble" was foolish!  The feet need to break the surface as an indication that the legs are sufficiently "high up near the surface" - so that as the heels are drawn up a bit nearer the butt, rather like preparing for a breast stroke kick, (or the thighs are "thrown forwards" - a different point of view but having the same effect) - the legs then doing the major kick downbeat, should give a sufficiently strong thrust down to get the arms completely clear of the water in recovery. Those that omit this action, usually scrape/drag their arms in the water during the arm recovery.  On the few occasions I see someone bravely "having a go at fly"  Wink , this appears to be the main problem!

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