Monthly Archives: February 2011

Feeling wrong can be right.

Being open to change is an important part of learning anything.  If you change the way you swim in order to improve your stroke it often feels wrong.  That doesn’t mean it is wrong. 
At the pool today I noticed tension in my wrist while swimming crawl.  I made an effort to relax my wrist and felt a knock on effect through the whole of my body.  Because my whole body felt more relaxed, in my mind my stroke felt ragged and less controlled.  I didn’t really like the sensation. 
As I realised that my stroke was fine and it was my perception of my stroke that was inaccurate, I started to enjoy my swim more and more.
The initial ‘wrong’ feeling is actually the feeling that I should be aiming for all of the time.

Breathing tips

Here are a few useful tips for swimming breathing that apply to any stroke:

1. Use your mouth to breathe. (Inhaling through the nose increases the chance of swallowing water.)

2. Never hold your breath. ( Holding your breath inreases tension in your body and forces you into a
                                                pattern of breathing that is unsustainable)

3. Inhale gently when your mouth is out of the water, start exhaling as soon as you have taken your breath and continue to exhale steadily and gently as your mouth enters and stays in the water. (Remember
                                                you are only under water for a few seconds at a time, you do not need to take a 
                                                 huge breath each time you surface.)

4. Avoid feeling desperate for air. (As soon as you are desperate for air you are out of control. Don’t stay 
                                                                under too long or exhale too forcefully.)

5. Control your breathing. Don’t let it control you. (With reference to all of the above points. You have to take
                                                                                        conscious control of your breathing when swimming and 
                                                                                        therefore have to think about maintaining a comfortable 
                                                                                        pattern of inhalation an exhalation.)


We’re gonna have fun,fun,fun…

I know children learn better when they are enjoying themselves.  Adults tend to be a little more cynical about ‘fun’.  Last summer I went for a surfing  lesson for the first time and was happy to fall off my board countless times in  pursuit  of my goal of standing up for two seconds because it was fun.
It was fun because it was a beautiful day and a fairly calm sea, but also because the lesson was broken down into achievable stages which had been clearly explained.  Whenever you achieved a stage you got a feeling of exhilaration.
Learning to swim or improve you strokes can be exhilarating too.  You need to break down your goals into achievable stages and enjoy the process of learning how your body reacts to the water.
If for example you are working on breast stroke arms:  Practice the movement out of the water.  Practice in the water standing up.  Practice while gliding but try different speeds of movement.  Feel the water on you palms, fingers, forearms.
Fun is about enjoying what you are doing and not being fixated about the end result.