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LUVLYLORELEI's Photo LUVLYLORELEI Posts: 587
4/22/14 9:20 P

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Yippee! I got my swimming gear in the mail yesterday! I'm planning my next swim!

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GREBJACK's Photo GREBJACK Posts: 8,480
4/17/14 5:11 P

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Ah, triathlons. Your goal makes me smile. I think the best thing about SparkPeople is the way it helps all of us see what we're actually capable of! Thanks, everyone.

Rebecca

He drew a circle that shut me out--
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in!
-Edwin Markham

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RUNNINGME's Photo RUNNINGME Posts: 163
4/13/14 5:56 P

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LMB-ESQ's Photo LMB-ESQ Posts: 12,222
4/13/14 5:01 P

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***** Laurie in Northeast Ohio *****

Fortunate are you if you love a dog, for that dog will surely love you.

Fly Free my friend.... for only in true freedom can we find our true selves

Treat stressful situations like a dog... If you can't eat it or play with it, just pee on it and walk away!

Neat Link: The Rules for Being Human rules4humans.com/


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LUVLYLORELEI's Photo LUVLYLORELEI Posts: 587
4/13/14 4:43 P

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Wow. Thank you everyone for the great advise. I have improved quite a bit since I wrote this, but still have a lot of improvement to go, so I will definitely be trying the things I've read here.

I have some swim gear on the way, some ear plugs, a nose clip and I'm picking out some Rx goggles too. I think I finally figured out what my diopter might be by looking at a box of my old contacts which I can't wear anymore because I can't get them in my eyes anymore.

It's funny, I struggled with certain aspects of the freestyle stroke for a while and the other day I all of a sudden was able to straighten my legs more, move my arms better and breath more rhythmically. I moved a lot faster in the water, and my heart rate was a lot higher.

Once I get my swim gear, I think I'll be able to get my head in the water more. I've been doing it some with my eyes closed in the water because I still need the goggles. And getting water in my ears has hindered even more improvement, but I found some Mack's water seals that were rated well for swimming, so that should help once they arrive at my doorstep.

I really appreciate how helpful everyone has been on this thread. What a great SparkTeam! I'm so glad I joined.

Soon I'll be working on adding other swimming strokes to my repertoire, but I'll wait at least until I can get that gear and get a better freestyle down.

It feels so good to be able to feel like I'm swimming like an actual swimmer would, albeit a learning one. It's nice being in the pool anyway, but now I feel like I'm in the process of beginning to build some skills and I just love the feeling. Once I lose the weight, maybe I can start considering doing some triathlons! That would be so cool!

I'll pop by with an update once I get my gear and shortly thereafter for more advise on other strokes. I'm so excited. Everyone here who's commented has just totally made my day! :)

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GORIANA's Photo GORIANA Posts: 4,420
4/10/14 7:01 P

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LUVLYLORELEI, I learned to swim in 2011 and I love it.

Just keep at it and the more you practice the better you'll get. It was taking me a long time with once a week lessons. When I made it 3x a week, things improved 'quickly'.

It takes a while to figure out how to coordinate everything. At first I focused on my arms and legs. Then once I got that I incorporated the breathing. The breathing was one of the hardest things for me because sticking my face in the water and coordinating that with all the other stuff was sometimes overwhelming.

Keep at it and as Dory ("Finding Nemo") says, "Just keep swimming." emoticon

Goriana, So Cal, USA
Tried going sweets free and only got to four days. Not ready yet.
Trying again.


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RUNNINGME's Photo RUNNINGME Posts: 163
4/10/14 5:44 P

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Hi. I'm new to Spark and the Swimming for Cardio team. This is a great thread. Will definitely check out the prescription goggles; I always thought that they would be quite expensive. I'd love to see more clearly in the water and also to keep track of landmarks on shore.

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GREBJACK's Photo GREBJACK Posts: 8,480
4/6/14 3:46 P

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What a great thread you've started! I wanna add a couple more breathing thoughts. Another way to figure out the breathing is to stand in the shallow end so you can bend at the waist and practice the arm movements and head turns while firmly anchored to the floor.

You tube videos is a great suggestion for knowing what you're SUPPOSED to look like in the water, but it can be very hard to tell what your body is actually doing. Is there another swimmer you often see at the pool when you're there? Maybe you can ask him/her to watch you swim a length and tell you what they see.

Someone here suggested rotating your whole body when you breathe - I very much don't do that. My childhood coaching was for speed and it's more efficient to just turn your head. I don't actually get my whole mouth clear of the water, but the crown of my skull creates a small wake where the water level is lower than the rest of the surface, so more than half of my mouth is above the water and that's plenty for me to get a good lungful. But if your purpose is not speed, efficiency may not be your goal - maybe you'd rather rotate fully onto your side, breathe more comfortably, and burn more calories.

One thing about exhaling is that it takes longer than the inhale. If you both inhale and exhale really fast, you feel short of breath, like you're panting. My breathing rhythm out of the water is probably 50% of the time I'm exhaling, 25% of the time I'm inhaling, and there are pauses in between when I'm kind of holding my breath. Mimicking that in the water works for me, so most of the time I'm just smoothly blowing air out.

Finally, one way to get used to straightening your legs is to get a kickboard and hold it between your ankles to keep your legs up and out of the way. Your arms are doing almost all the work in freestyle anyway.

Happy swimming!

Rebecca

He drew a circle that shut me out--
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in!
-Edwin Markham

www.fitbit.com/user/24NZF7
Eastern Daylight Time


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JAHINTZY's Photo JAHINTZY SparkPoints: (22,279)
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4/5/14 9:04 P

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those were some pretty helpful descriptions for me to read, cool :) I only swim breast stroke at this point so if you decide to give that a try I might have more to pipe up about.

As for Carol's comment about hitting "the wall" that runners often talk about - I will definitely agree that it seems after 4 laps I feel like holy crap I'm working hard, and I take a short break at the end of the lane and keep going, it always gets better after that and I can go for a while. When I first started and on through probably several months I definitely maintained an elevated heart rate even if I wasn't actively swimming for the whole 30 minutes and needed to take more breaks. So try not to be discouraged by that :)

Jen

"For if that which you seek, you find not within yourself - you will never find it without."


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PEBBLE7's Photo PEBBLE7 Posts: 98
4/5/14 10:38 A

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Everyone is right about the swim goggles. I have terrible vision and I buy prescription goggles from Swimoutlet.com. I like Sporti but there are others. These are not any more expensive than regular goggles. You buy as close to your prescription as you can (kind of like buying cheap reading glasses) You might have to call your eye doctor for your prescription (you don't need one to buy the goggles, just need to know what to buy) My eye doctor suggested to round down instead of up. This simple thing has made my swim so much more enjoyable because now I can see! Good luck with your swimming!

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CALGALFOX's Photo CALGALFOX Posts: 7,350
4/5/14 10:09 A

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Lorelei - First, welcome to the team! When I was a swim instructor, one of the breathing/head techniques that I taught people is to practice breathing while holding onto the side of the pool. You can work correct body position and breathing at the same time. You'll need goggles and Laurie is right about swimoutlet, that where I buy mine. After you do what Laurie suggests about standing straight with your hands above your head, to this same thing, only hold on to the side of the pool, stretching out in the water. (Watch a youtube video on arm stroke positions) following the video, release one arm and stroke down. As you bring your arm out, turn your head and try to keep one eye under the water as you turn your head to breathe. Let your whole body rotate, keep your core tight. One of the hardest lessons in swimming is to understand that it's a core exercise and so a tighter core (engaged muscles) means a better body position. I found that people responded best to working one side of breathing that they were most comfortable with and waiting to do both sides until after they had gotten that down. The other thing to practice in this position is stretching your body all the way out so that it's flat in the water, then work on keeping your knees straight as you scissor your legs.

Consider that the more you have parts of your body out of alignment, the more you have to drag them through the water. I think youtube is one of the handiest things around for practice drills, being able to watch correct positions and such.

Swimming is awesome once you get it down, just remember that this is a long term project. The look back at swimming is phenomenal in that six months from now, if you stick with it, your level of fitness will be amazing.

The other thing about swimming is that it is a macho sport. It doesn't look like it, but it totally is. Eight minutes into a swim practice I "hit the wall" and once you're through that wall (just like in running) you can swim and swim. People that ask my advice when they first start swimming, I tell them that if/when they need to rest, always do it at the end of the lane, count to ten and start again. If you do that, you'll build your cardio pretty darn quickly.

Woo hoo for swimming!

Bigrentman - Awesome!

“Life is not a journey to the grave with intentions of arriving safely in a pretty well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming ... WOW! What a ride!”
~Author Unknown

LMB-ESQ's Photo LMB-ESQ Posts: 12,222
4/5/14 9:20 A

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BIGRENTMAN, that's quite a weight loss! emoticon emoticon

***** Laurie in Northeast Ohio *****

Fortunate are you if you love a dog, for that dog will surely love you.

Fly Free my friend.... for only in true freedom can we find our true selves

Treat stressful situations like a dog... If you can't eat it or play with it, just pee on it and walk away!

Neat Link: The Rules for Being Human rules4humans.com/


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LMB-ESQ's Photo LMB-ESQ Posts: 12,222
4/5/14 9:18 A

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Hi LUVLYLORELEI, glad you found your way to this forum!

The best way to correct your swimming is to find a coach to give you some lessons, preferably private, because it's tailored more personally to your needs than a group class. But you've said you haven't been able to find one, so the next best thing is to watch other people and ask questions. But that's sometimes hard to do also, so I would suggest you start with youtube. Just do a search for swimming instruction and you'll find many videos. I can't recommend any specific video, but choose a few and follow the ones that make the most sense to you.

Your specific questions are actually a little easier. As far as breathing, yes, you want to inhale with your face out of the water and exhale with your face in the water. And definitely buy a pair of goggles! Try www.swimoutlet.com You can open your eyes under water without them, but it can be painful and you will experience blurry vision for awhile afterward. But it's imperative that you be able to see where you're going so that you don't hit your head anymore!

If you really can't see at all without your glasses, you can buy prescription swim goggles (swimoutlet.com has them). Or someone here posted a long time ago that they took an old pair of glasses that still worked relatively well and shaved down the edges of the lenses to fit inside their goggles. I'm not sure how well that would work; I wear glasses too, but I've never tried that. I guess it depends on the shape and thickness of the lenses.

As far as knowing you're getting close to the wall, you have to experiment with marks on the floor or the ceiling and with the number of strokes from one end to the other. If there are no painted lines, I look for nicks or spots on the floor, or for a pattern in the tile. I look for the same thing on the ceiling for backstroke. My pool has decorative things hanging from the ceiling and I focus on those. Getting your face in the water will help because you'll be able to see where the floor stops and the wall starts.

As far as staying straight in freestyle, you are correct. The straighter your body, the better the stroke. Try this: stand up with your feet together, look straight ahead, and raise your arms as straight as you can above your head. Now turn your head from side to side. Don't raise or lower your chin while you're turning it. This is the posture you should concentrate on in the pool. I don't know what side you like to breathe on, but I breathe to the right, so that's how I'll explain it. If you like to breathe to the left, then do it the opposite. Now bring your right arm forward and down (elbow bent slightly), like you're doing a freestyle stroke. As your arm reaches your side, turn your head to the right. As you imagine your mouth and nose coming out of the water, inhale. Now bend your right elbow and bring it behind you, raise your right hand up your side and back over your head as you turn your head back to the front. As you're doing that, start repeating that stroke motion with your left arm, but keep your eyes to the front and exhale. Repeat. Now imagine doing that lying prone in the pool. The "forward" looking with your eyes means you're looking at the floor; the head turn to the right means you're looking at the right wall. You should have kept your body straight through this whole motion.

Yes, keeping your legs straight helps. Freestyle is pretty "stretchy" (all strokes are, really) and by that I mean you should think of your upstroke as stretching for the wall ahead of you, and your legs as stretching out behind you to the wall you just left. Your core is the center. Anything above your core stretches to the front, anything below your core stretches to the back.

Also think of your body as being on an axis that goes through the middle top of your head straight down through your pelvis. Your arms and legs are on either side of the axis. As you stroke and kick, your body will pivot around the axis. If you think of the axis as holding your head in place, you'll see how your chin should not lift or fall, but only turn front to side and back again.

That's probably a lot to digest, but if you watch a few instructional videos, I think you'll see it.

I hope this helps!

***** Laurie in Northeast Ohio *****

Fortunate are you if you love a dog, for that dog will surely love you.

Fly Free my friend.... for only in true freedom can we find our true selves

Treat stressful situations like a dog... If you can't eat it or play with it, just pee on it and walk away!

Neat Link: The Rules for Being Human rules4humans.com/


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LUVLYLORELEI's Photo LUVLYLORELEI Posts: 587
4/5/14 3:14 A

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Congrats on the awesome weight loss! Did you do that just through swimming and nutrition, or did you do other things?

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BIGRENTMAN's Photo BIGRENTMAN SparkPoints: (285,824)
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4/5/14 12:32 A

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I use a mask snorakl & flippers a kickboard I am up to 2000 m. An treading water start slow and work up when I started I was 427 lbs now that was 03/06/2013 now I'm at 248lbs 04/04/2014

wwwbigrentman@nerium.com


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LUVLYLORELEI's Photo LUVLYLORELEI Posts: 587
4/5/14 12:18 A

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Hi! I'm new to the Swimming for Cardio team. I have been swimming for a while now to burn calories and keep my joints limber.

The problem is that I have discovered that I need to make some changes to how I swim to swim properly, but I have no idea who to ask these questions, so I hope someone here will be able to help.

I am starting by trying to correct my freestyle stroke. I stink at it frankly because I can't get my head in the water. The only thing I have been able to figure out is that one inhales when one's head is outside the water (common sense of course) and beyond that, I don't know what to do.

When does one exhale? In the water? Outside the water? Is there a rhythm to it, and if so, which I am sure there is, what is it?

I know I have to straighten my legs too, and I figure that will be easier once my head is in the water. I imagine I ought to buy goggles to help that along too. Can one open one's eyes underwater without them? I can't imagine it would be a good idea to, but I don't have goggles, I wear glasses while I swim and I don't want to knock my noggin on the wall when I get to the other side. How do you know you're close to the other side if you are always looking down and there are no markings on the bottom of the pool? This is not a pool used for competitive swimming. I knocked my noggin on the pool wall the other day doing some backstroke-ish type thing - not even sure if it's a real stroke I was doing. I really need to learn what I'm doing. Wish there was a class I could go to - one for adults - but until I find one, it looks like I have to figure it out through other means.


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