I Can't Swim (not literal) (Read 1976 times)


Husband and father of 4

    It's all about technique. Get the basics down from a book, video, friend or coach, and you'll be fine. Be sure to record your current efforts, because months from now you'll be amazed at how quickly you improved!
    So right. You may have had enough input so I will make it breif. Technique in swimming will always trump stamina or strength, but with technique they can enhance your race. Technically speaking, think what will make me go forward most efficiently? How can I breath most effeciently? You want to roll your body as a unit during your stroke to untilize your core muscules and save your sholders. The roll will take practice but will make it easier to breath too. An effective kick will help keep you horizontal and plane better. You will find the rythmn and speed that works for you. Occassionally I recommend some fins and a kick board to not just strengthen your legs, but it reminds you in the beginning to use your hip, knee and ankle muscules more efficiently by the way you feel resistance and thrust. It's not just about bending the knees. Well, that's more than I intended to say. You likely knew all this. I hope you stick with it and enjoy it.
    Find the fun.

    Running Dad

      There is hope. Last January I joined a local Tri club and I had to stop to grasp for air after 50m. I can now swim 1000m easily and probably can keep going for a while. I was going to the pool twice a week, 1 hour each, for 8 months. I suggest you take lessons or join a tri club with swim practices. Swimming as opposed to running is a lot about technique and having someone correct your stroke helps a lot. I suggest a tri club over a masters swim club because in tri clubs you usually focus on freestyle, the stroke you're going to end up using in the race. Also, I really suck at the other styles. - R
      Believe me I would love to join a club, they just don't exist. We don't even have a running club o a cycling club for that matter so I'm pretty much on my own. Ask my wife, I'm really reserved and quiet so asking someone at the pool to help is out of the question (long story) and I can't hire someone. I'm really determined but it's just frustrating I guess. I already have a hard enough time just trying to find time to run as it is and what little time I do have is taken up with the question, swim, bike, run, or sleep. but that's a whole nother topic I'd rather not bother anyone with. But thanks for the replies. I guess it's just alot of work and i'll be there eventually..
      Things to do this year:
      Not get an injury
      Things done this year:
      Bi-Lo 5k(Myrtle Beach) : 02.12.10 - 25:??
        I'm really reserved and quiet so asking someone at the pool to help is out of the question (long story) and I can't hire someone.
        There are technique videos available online. And as far as I know, the Total Immersion program has a book/video available for purchase (my video is at least ten years old). I've found that for swimming, a written description isn't nearly as useful as a visual example, so I think that finding some technique video examples could help you given the limitations of your situation. I'm not affiliated with TI, just a happy user, and I'm sure that there are similar products available from other sources. The reason that I have found the Total Immersion video helpful is that the drills are broken out into individual elements. So, you will have an individual drill for learning to roll your body. An individual drill for working on the timing of your arms, etc (and a visual example of what the drill looks like so that you can try it yourself and know what you should be doing). They basic idea is to break your freestyle stroke down into individual components, practice those components and then gradually put it back together again. I've found that just by doing ~30% iof the drills, I saw a huge improvement in my overall stroke efficiency. So, I get more out of my swimming workouts than I used to.
        ~ Mary ~

        "Workouts are like brushing my teeth; I don't think about them, I just do them. The decision has already been made." - Patti Sue Plumer
          Once upon a time I was a swimmer, a lifeguard, and an instructor. You've gotten a lot of great advice (technique) but here are some more things you might want to check. Speed - I've seen a lot of people that don't understand that it's possible to swim at different speeds. Just like you hear people talking about running slower, also focus on swimming slower. If you don't know how to slow down, just slow your kick, slow your turnover, and focus on extending your reach. Pay attention to what you're doing - Because technique is so important, you really need to pay attention to what your body is doing during training so you can improve your efficiency and make it second nature during racing.Focus on your breathing, your reach, your kick, proper flexing through you ankles, knees, and hips, your roll, your shoulders, your hands, etc. There's a lot going on and many people ignore it. Are you having some water-based anxiety? Lots of people are afraid of the water, lots of people are insecure about their swimming ability or their appearance, a surprising number of people will stress about having googles on their face or worry about swallowing water. Anxiety will increase your respiration and heart rate and can wear you out faster than you think. For a lot of the people I worked with, this was a much bigger factor than technique or form and I think most of their improvements came from being more relaxed in the water. Training aids - I think someone mentioned training fins and a kick board. You could also try webbed gloves. If your having problems breathing properly, you might want to consider using a snorkel at first so you get used to keeping your head properly positioned. If you're going to swim in open water then practice in open water - I realize that's not always possible but try. I would also recommend NOT doing a flip turn. There are no hard surfaces to push from in open water. On the other hand, if you are swimming your tri in a pool then master the flip turn. Having a flip over 2000m will save you from a lot of "swimming" that you'd have to do in open water. If you get serious about swimming there are lots of drills and workouts you can do. Good luck!
          2008 Goals Don't attack the guy that passes me like I'm standing still when I think I'm running fast...I can't catch him anyway and I'd just look silly

          Gotta TRI

            Ditto here. Technique is key. I floundered so much early on but am now much more comfortable with the swim. Also agree with the Total Immersion props.
            2010 Dec. California International Marathon 2011 Jan. Disney Marathon
              When my sister and I started triathlon, swimming was the worst part. In fact my sister even got rescued on her first triathlon. However it is the part that we now both enjoy the most, and improved the quickest on. Actually we have both since completed an Ironman, in fact my sister has since done 2. The organiser of IM came over and hugged her when she finished her first one and said to her she was so worth saving and could not believe how far she had come. So I agree, get the technique right and persevere. It will come.
                I think swimming can a lot harder on the body than most people think especially the stomach, so if you had too much to eat, or if the chlorine and warm temperature got to you it can make you a little nautious. Then restrict the airflow into your lungs and increase your physical activity. I would take it easy. I did a sprint tri and all I can recommend is do lots and lots of open water swimming, becuase its different than that lovely warm and clear pool water. good luck
                  The same advice that helped me through C25K helped me in swimming....SLOW DOWN. Figure out proper breathing technique and swimming technique slowly, then gradually add more speed. You also might check if your gym offers a personal trainer that knows swimming. A lot of people have recommended Masters programs but ours meets twice a day, twice a week (6 am and 6 pm, Tues and Thurs) which is too much for me, I just want someone to check me out and give me pointers once in awhile.
                  2009 Goals:
                  PR 5K (Ha, current 43:10)
                  Run a 10K
                  Meet Seasonal Weight Loss Challenges
                  Complete my first Sprint Tri