Cr@p Swimmers R Us

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  • ..I don't think I will attempt tumble turns yet, it could get nasty...

  • Can I join this thread?

    Had my first swimming lesson last night. Told the coach I wanted to learn front crawl with a view to having a go at triathlons.

    Can't believe how crap I was. Couldn't get the leg action right at all. Left at the end feeling very frustrated.

    I've no intention of giving up but IMCH in 2005 is looking like a pipe dream at this point.

    They had me holding a float out in front of me and moving accross the pool using my legs. I wasn't moving at all. Then they had me holding a float in my left hand while doing the crawl action with my right. Lost control totally.

    Should the technique be so difficult to acquire?
  • it does take a lot of work and effort Pudsey - keep going
  • Hello, this is my first time on this site, so bear with me! I am training for my first tri, from a background of an occasional runner, unable to do front crawl 2 years ago(apart from one length, before getting out of breath!) and not cycling since biking to school (I'm 34 now) As far as the swimming goes, up until last week I considered myself a cr@p swimmer, when I managed to complete 70 lengths (25m pool) front crawl. The main problems I suffered with initially were having to concentrate on too many things at once, and everything going wrong, and using up too much energy trying to kick my legs too hard/fast.
    The turning point came when I used a pull bouy for my legs, enabling me to just concentrate on my arms and breathing, this made me realise how little you need to do with your legs, and therefore I could go for longer. Sounds simple I know, and I'm far from a fast swimmer now, but those 70 lengths last week were supposed to be 32 initially, then decided to do 40, then 50 etc. To my amazement I could just keep going! (And I'm sure it wasn't just down to my new Maru trunks!)Anyway, hope this helps, give the pull buoy a try!
  • where did you get it from, Ian?
  • XFR, I actually borrowed it off my wife, but you can get them most places now. Try looking at this web site, www.swimstop.co.uk There's two types there, but I imagine one is as good as the other. They are kind of figure 8 profile to fit between your legs, and you can adjust where you put them to change your boyancy, i.e the further away from your body - say held between the ankles - is harder work than closer - ie between your thighs.

    Some pools have them to borrow, as they use them for classes.

    Good luck!
  • XFR,

    I got mine from Decathlon.
  • Dear Pudsey
    I have to say first off - I'm not a swimming coach neither am I particularly quick - even now I can only manage about 1.35 for a 100m and 26 - 27 mins for 1500m in a triathlon.

    However I am much more efficient than I was a few years ago when I was totally f@@cked after 6 lengths :-). My stroke count is now down to 14-15 strokes per length from about 25.

    IMHO that is the way forward - becoming more efficient first. To do this you need to be balanced in the water i.e. long and flat and you don't really need much of a leg kick. Just enough for balance.

    Holding floats and pull-bouys will not help to teach you to get balanced and streamlined. However pull bouys are ok for working on your arm stroke occasionally.

    For leg kicking the best way is float horizontally on your side and extend your bottom arm (depending on which side you are facing) then kick up the pool. It mimics what you do when you swim and gets you balanced.

    Terry Laughlins book Total Immersion has the full details - I found it very useful.
    regards

    Dave F.
  • I'm a newbie swimmer. In the summer I could only swim 25m before my lungs were bursting. I've spent the last 3 months swimming twice sometimes three times a week working on my technique. I even joined a local group class where we were all, without exception, pathetic.

    And after all that hard work I can now swim 30m.

    No, seriously my technique gradually improved and I managed to do 2 then 3 lengths. I was breathing every 3 (bilateral) at this stage and was running out of breath. This is what I had been taught to do.

    Then in August I watched quite a few Olympic swimming events and saw that most swimmers were breathing every 2 strokes. I started doing the same and found I could keep going for 10 lengths without stopping.
    I'm now up to 30 lengths and can average 30 seconds for each 25m for this distance. Which means that whilst I am not remotely quick I can overtake breaststrokers quite well and more importantly I can keep up with most of the crawlers. I have also managed to do 50m in 44 seconds which feels quite fast to me - although I have seem times for the 7 year old squad swimmers who can beat that!

    I have read LOADS of swimming books - 'cause thats the sort of saddo I am. And I have to say that if I was helping someone who could only manage 1 length before their lungs were caving in - I would tell them to get a bog-standard swimming book with pictures and try and do everything it tells you (in stages of course). I have read Total Immersion and I would say this is the wrong book for novices. Its a book for those who have mastered the bog-standard book and can do something that passes for a decent crawl. Total Immersion is more about feel for the water and feel for a body position. This is completely wasted on novices who don't have many other thoughts in their head when they are swimming other than shit I've just gulped in a bucket load of water or shit I can't gulp enough air in between strokes, or shit I'm in the deep end and I don't think I'm going to last for more than a few more strokes.

    I'not dissing Total Immersion - its got a few very good points not all of which I probably appreciate given my standard - but no way is it a book for freestyle newcomer.





  • Thanks for the advice people,

    I'll give it a go.
  • Hi Folks

    It's nice to find a thread for cr@pswimmers like me. Did my first Tri in september, Ilkley Tri, and although I do a bit of running, FLM for the last 4 years , I found the swimmer a real pain. Took 13.15 to swim 500 m and was whacked, was going to do crawl but ended up doing 3 crawl, 1 breaststroke all the way with gasp breaks inbetween. I've read the TI book and have tried the drills but tend to find it's just an easier way of drowning for me, I'm probably doing it wrong, although I have managed to get my stroke count down to 19 for 25 m which is a bit better even if i still get out of breath. The book pushes the point that it's pointless practicing cr@p technique , you just get better at cr@p swimming, so I've given up until the 4th Nov when I've booked in a TI coaching session. This is in manchester as the nearest coach to Leeds where I live, does anyone know any coaches nearer ? Also has anyone had some TI coaching and benefited from it ? would like to hear some encouragement to keep me going, at the moment swimming front crawl for 1.5 km for an olympic distance tri is like the far side of the moon to me.

    Anyway that's my first swimming rant/moan out of the way, I'm off for a nice 6 mile run through the woods and over the moors in Ilkley where i work to cheer me up. Wonder if I'll ever get the same buzz and good feeling from swimming that I get from running ??
  • Just back from the pool - another 2km and it's getting easier - did it in chunks of 200m (6 lengths) today rather than 4 lengths. I'mworking up to doing it without a break.
  • Do you know if there is a gadget that can help you to keep count of lengths completed?

    I find a great deal of trouble keeping count as my mind wanders so much.

    Well swimming up and down a pool is not the most mind stimulating activity is it?

    Oh well done that Bear!

    I had a swimming lesson a few weeks ago - could not do half a length front crawl without drowning. Last Tuesday I did 32!
  • Wish I'd read these posts about pull buoys before I'd been to Decathlon but ya live & learn.

    Had another swim Fri eve but only did 350m before my calf started to hurt. Pool was a bit busy (I'd take about 4 people out, including myself if I tried a tumble turn) & there's no chance I'm going in 1/2 term week. Lessons start in Jan.

    I know my limits - I'm only looking to be confident enough to do sprint tris next year. No metallic tri stuff for me.

    As for counting lengths, I do groups of 4 (25m pool, even I can work that out), take a breather and then just know how many series I've done. I usually aim for about 400 - 500 before my legs start to cramp.
  • Yeah, I think my mind'll wander as soon as I stop doing short groups.

    Haven't heard of a gadget, I'm going to decathlon this week so I'll have a look.

    Gavo - if you want me to pick you one up just let me know which one and I can bring it to the social on the Friday :o) Since we're back at Doggett's you could even have a practice with it ;o)
  • There is a gadget , devilishly hard to get hold of though.Try speedo america for it.
  • Bear, can I give you a challenge? End of March is the Swimathon.Give the 5km one a try.Its really challenging but just soooooo satisfying when you can do it.

    From everything I have heard, you are ready for it!
  • Dan Dan,

    I haven't posted on this thread for some time now.

    But just to update you; my learning to swim efforts are beginning to show some reward now. I can now swim 2 lengths (40 metres) non-stop. Things have really moved on for me since your advice (01/09/04 on Page 3) that,

    " Its ironic though: the more effort you make, the slower you'll go, perversely.
    Dont try too hard!"

    it's something that I've taken a lot of notice of during each lesson, & it's really helped. Thank you.

    I still haven't mastered "treading water" yet though!
    So, I'm still reluctant to go into a deep pool, especially as I almost drowned in the deep end of a pool as a child.

    Is there an easy way to practise "treading water" without going out of my depth.

    TTT.
  • Congratulations TTT!

    Am glad I was of some help! Take the deep water slowly: sounds a nightmare for you.As I can remember only too well myself, its an overwhelming feeling.Once you master it though, you'll never look back.There's not much of a way around it, just go to where you are JUST out of your depth, so you can always get back to safety if need be.

    You can also take two floats, one in each arm, held out to your sides, down to the deep end and practice your legs.Try both normal cycling legs and also frog legs/breast stroke legs to see which you prefer.Once you can stay there and not feel too worried, then use just one float, pressed to your chest whilst doing the legs.

    Then , progress onto holding it with one arm, whilst the other scoops water.Change arms regularly.

    Just make sure you dont 'overdo ' it, as you'll bob under and that'll freak you out.

    Nice and gently does it!!

    Sounds like you are doing brilliantly, so keep up the good work. I went from the two-length stage you are at to doing a kilometer non-stop fairly quickly.You've done all the hard work!!!

    Again: congratulations!

    Dan.




  • Dan,

    Many thanks for all your continued support. I shall try the two floats idea soon (once I've summoned up the courage)!

    I don't mean that to sound like some kind of cop out, but I want to be a little more competent in all I've learned so far first.

    You can be sure that there certainly won't be any turning back for me now, not since I've come this far.

    Thanks again,

    TTT.
  • Tell me more Dan - what's the swimathon and what do I have to do?
  • Its a charity swim(though you can do it without raising any money at all).Comes in all shapes and sizes.You can do a 1500m swim.Or a 2500m swim.Do the 'main event' 5000m and you get a medal!

    2 years ago I'd say I was at the same stage you are at now.Come March I did this main event.

    Was undoubtedly the proudest moment of my life, having gone from non-swimmer to that within about 9 months.

    Then things went crazy and I did the 'endurance' version earlier this year: 10km.

    Now that has supplanted the previous year's effort as my proudest moment.Only a few hundred people in UK did it(almost exclusively club swimmers, unsurprisingly), and I bet none of them had taught themselves to swim just 18 months before it!!

    I heartily recommend it to you, Bear.





  • So what do I have to do to enter? Are there events at local abths and stuff.

    It sounds interesting.

    Anyone else up for this?
  • Many local baths-but certainly not all- will have specified times and sessions. They dont advertise it till usually New Year time, as its in March.

    There are no restrictions as to style, cominations, or indeed how many times you can stop.

    Most people do the 1500 or 2500. Some great swimmers take part, as well as a whole mix of ages and abilities.Times for the main event(5km) range from an hour dead for near international class swimmers to 4 hours for the rest of civilisation.

    Thankfully you'll be put in a lane suitable for your estimated speed, so you dont feel overawed and so you enjoy it.

    www.swimathon.org is the usual address.

    All/any monies raised go to Macmillans cancer charity, you'll get a medal if you do the 5km one, and if you raise x amount of money you get prezzies like drinking bottles, t-shirts, wallets, bags etc.

    Its great and you'd feel a world beater if you took it on.

    Go for it Bear and everyone else!!
  • Hi there fellow cr@p swimmers

    I know the answer to your prayers - get a pair of fins. With hardly any effort at all you can power along like an Olympian!

    You can slow down the arms - feel the water (which we all know is very important even if we don't know what on earth it means) - and even better see that water rushing past your face when you turn to breath. Fantastic. Who cares you are still cr@p when you take them off - at least experienced what it feels like to be a fish.
  • I've done the swimathon a few times, first time was breast stroke, next time I'll be able to do it front crawl all the way! The good thing about it is you can do it as a team, and share the lengths as you want. One year the wife and I did it (she's an exellent swimmer) and came in the top 5% in our pool! The last time she did it she was about 8 months pregnant and still managed to beat most people there! She's a good example of swimming being all about technique.

    On the subject of keeping count of lengths, I find this difficult too. A friend who swims to a high standard was going on about counting leg kicks per length, I haven't got a clue how you would keep track of all this stuff!!

    Arm strokes per breath...leg kicks per length, number of lengths, impossible!!
  • XFR - cheers, but I get to Decathlon every few weeks so there's no probs. And I'm not going to the social anyway.
  • Wish I had found this thread earlier this year.

    I started from scratch in January so that I could compete in a Tri. Am now up to 400m in 10 mins, after which I can just about get out of the pool. Still can't do the whole thing front crawl or without stopping.

    Am hoping to do two open water Tri's next year: one in a river and one in the sea.


    Oh and hello XFR. I've seen you swim and you're not crap at all.
  • Hello peeps, I'm owning up to being a cr@p, but hopefully improving, swimmer :-)
    Going through that frustrating stage of adjusting from being able to go a long way very badly to going not very far but at least looking a little more graceful!

    Swimmathon sounds a good plan to aim for.

    Fruity - sounds like you are improving in leaps and bounds, well done mate.

    TTT - have you thought about going to a pool which has the deep end in the middle? In my pool there is only about 4m in the middle where the guys can't touch the bottom and the taller ones can bounce off the bottom quite easily.
  • Cheers FFM - still need to work at it. Reckon we're about the same speed.

    Thanks Lindi - you up for a swim this week?
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