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Help with identifying my type please.

Posted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 7:34 pm
by rsilvers
I am trying to learn the Front Crawl. I bought the Swim Smooth book, and think it is great.

Background: I had swimming lessons as a kid, never liked swimming, and never liked putting my face in water. It didn't help that no one gave me goggles during my childhood lessons, but now I am trying to redo everything properly.

I have been a diver and did 16-20 logged ocean dives down to 99 feet, so I am ok with water now to some degree. Still, up until two weeks ago, the most I ever swam at once was 650 yards, and that was a lot for me - and that was side and back stroke. When I do the front crawl, I get exhausted on each 25 yard length. I think some of it is failure to exhale all the way, so I am not always taking in complete new breaths. Also I somewhat kick from the knee, and am trying to kick from the hip - but I have to consciously try. I know that I am supposed to do a high-elbow, but it is not natural to me, and I also have to remember to do it.

To try to solve this, I signed up for a Master's swimming session for 12 weeks (two hours a week). So far I have swam 3650 yards of practice in the last two. That may be about the same as my total life's swimming experience up until now. And I swam 1300 yards today, so my distance is going up.

I am not sure if I am an Arnie, bambino, or something else. I made a "before" video to document my current state of badness. ...

Re: Help with identifying my type please.

Posted: Tue Feb 16, 2016 4:09 pm
by smootharnie
Arnie/bambino/kicktastic?( I am no expert in the swim types classification.)
Whats interesting that you seem to keep momentum while there is no armpulling taking place.
Heavy kick going on there.
Try to get more weight to the front of your body. (high elbow stuff, extension, shoulder flexibility)
The high elbow above or under water is a strange movement. Practice it a lot on dryland to stretch the shoulder and get some muscle memory for it.
Ever tried leaving the kick alone for 20% of you session (=no kick, point toes) and focus only on supple arm extension and rest of arm mechanics with a pull buoy?
Your shoulder roll is to small compared to the stiffness of your shoulder. Your arm gets stuck halfway your recovery, moving the elbow a bit behind the backplane.
Try to sweep the elbow a bit wider over the water.
LIsten what he has to say about the recovery (7 min 45)
Dont start to overrotate either ,when trying this. to make it easy ;)

Re: Help with identifying my type please.

Posted: Tue Feb 16, 2016 6:42 pm
by rsilvers
It is interesting in that even though I knew I kick too hard and not from the hips, it didn't trigger in my brain that I am a kicktastic. I just watched the video, and I need to solve that. I will work on it tomorrow.

I did 550 yards of a pull-bouy yesterday and got a taste of what it means to pull hard. So yes, what you say makes sense.

Thank you.

Re: Help with identifying my type please.

Posted: Tue Feb 16, 2016 10:31 pm
by smootharnie
try to stretch out and align everything with your pull buoy. If this happens rotation becomes very easy.
Find some sort of rhythm if you achieve alignment.

Re: Help with identifying my type please.

Posted: Wed Feb 17, 2016 5:32 pm
by rsilvers
I had a big breakthrough today. For most of my swim, I could tell I was getting my propulsion from kicking, and my hands were just doing the motions but not really adding much. I was trying to kick less but it was not really working. I decided to stop thinking about that, and just work on pulling more.

About 3/4 the way through my swim session, I felt what must be a proper high-elbow underwater position, as I was surging on each stroke. What was interesting is that I was not gasping for air and was able to keep up the 4-count breathing. I felt like I was going so fast. I noticed that I was not easily passing a skilled woman in the next lane, but then I saw she was swimming with fins on. So fine.

I did get tired though, and this stroke fell apart when I was not rested. But I experienced it, and I can't forget what the feeling is like. I have a new kind of tired: Not gasping for air as before, but from using my upper body. So I have to inch through that and build a new kind of endurance.

Re: Help with identifying my type please.

Posted: Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:51 pm
by smootharnie
You seem to have enough muscles in your arms and back.. Now try to use them as efficiently as possible, and thats totally different as doing things with weights on dryland.
When I hear surge I am imagining a swimmer shooting forward and falling back in speed between surges.
You do want that catlike continuous flexible movement in your stroke and not short heavy pulses. Too violent moves will slip water. When your catch and pull arm shape is perfect you can apply force without slipping , but before that chances of slipping increase by simply pulling harder.
If your stroke count doesnt change much if you swim faster, thats mostly a sign of good mechanics.
And compared to land bases exercise you always have to be aware of a certain core tone to keep your body aligned under the disturbing actions from arms and legs, and to keep gemeral balance.
But its good to quit the legs down a bit and get as good of a balance as possible without an oxygen burning kick.
Well enough examples to be found on youtube on proper swimming.
I think you cant go wrong with the arnie guide.
Working on alignment, rhythm and armmechanics with a pull buoy is fun for Arnies and can bring you a long way if you build swimfitness this way.. Try to not forget working on your balance too.

How fast can you kick a 25 m?
Its not very typical for a guy like you to be very propulsive with kicking.

here a dryland drill you can practice everywhere. Rotate the elbow up while keeping the hand relaxed and horixontal.
Thats a muscle action that has to become automatic (in an ideal world)
combining that high elbow rotation with this feeling
and you have enough to work for the coming month.

Re: Help with identifying my type please.

Posted: Wed Feb 17, 2016 10:29 pm
by rsilvers
I think I am propulsive with kicking as that is the only way I knew how to swim. I learned as a kid, but never did front crawl, as I hated my eyes being in the water, and no one ever bought me goggles. My swimming lessons were in a cold lake with no goggles and of course no wet suit. I dreaded it.

Thank you for the videos. I do believe I succeeded today doing that, but the videos will help me refine it to the limited degree I have that ability to rotate my elbow like that.

Unfortunately the pools here are all 25 yards. Drives me nuts. Someone build a pool in yards only six years ago. I have never just timed 25, but I will.

Re: Help with identifying my type please.

Posted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 12:26 am
by Swimcoach
I would love to see another video if there is any improvement. I i was going to suggest anything I would say try doing side kick where you have a kick board out in front and with an out stretched arm, your other arm by your side, and kick on your side making sure your ear is against your shoulder (deltoid) for a full lap and the swap arm on the way back. Try to do a flutter kick on your side, you could try with with fins also. But the arm is to build your kick in the side position and help you start the rotation of your whole body not just you torso.

The best way to do some thing is to break it down in to its basic comments and practice the basics then put them together, like a kid learning to walk. First the roll on to there tummy, then they start to kick there arms and legs around, then they crawl, then there start to pull themselves up in thing. then they walk assisted by mum and dad and then they take their first steps and before you know it they are running. It these basic moments that builds to the entire motion.

If you ever find you have problems go back to basic.

Hope this helps :D

Re: Help with identifying my type please.

Posted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 1:19 am
by rsilvers
I just want to take some time to cement in what I think I just figured out. When I reach a new plateau, I can make a new video and get more tips.

My plan now is to time myself for 25 yards tomorrow. I wish I had a time from 2-3 weeks ago when I first started. Since then I have spent 15 hours in the pool doing 9500 yards (5.5 miles) and only after that did I get the feeling that I think means the beginnings of a somewhat properish catch and pull.

Re: Help with identifying my type please.

Posted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 7:39 pm
by rsilvers
I tried some 25 yard times today. I pushed off from the end, and used a stop watch, which made it hard to stop the timer quickly.

1: 21.7 seconds
2: Fastest. Probably under 20, but pop-up notification on smartwatch kept me from stopping timer.
3: 20.3 seconds.
4: 20.5 seconds.
5: 20.7 seconds.

We can call that 22 seconds for 25 meters.

I am glad that you made me think to record some times at this point in my development (after 15 sessions). I wish I had some from three weeks ago when I was even less experienced so I knew how much I have improved. I assume I have improved tremendously already.

My V02 max is about 44 L/min/kg (around 2.9 L/min), so just average. I saw a chart that said, based on my V02 max, if I am a Triathlete-skill level then I should be able to do a 100 meter TT in just over 100 seconds, and if I am a skilled swimmer, about 80 seconds. So I have something to work towards.

Next step - get a 100 yard time on record.

Re: Help with identifying my type please.

Posted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 1:33 am
by smootharnie
Dont expect to swim to your potential in a few months, but you are getting pretty fast already.
Do you feel propulsion from arms is improving now?
Still curious about your 25 yard kick time.

You could also compare your pullbuoy time with your normal swim time to get a very rough idea of your balance and kick power
If you have a heavy propulsive kick your normal swim time could be faster than your pull buoy time.
Your normal swim time, but without a kick is probably way lower.
This is a good drill for you to build balance and arm propulsion.
Try this for a few lenghts with lot of rest in between. See if you can find a way to make this work.

Re: Help with identifying my type please.

Posted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 2:04 am
by rsilvers
I didn't realize that when you wanted to know how fast I could kick a 25 you mean to literally just kick. I thought kick was slang for swim.

I can do that tomorrow. Good idea, though even more useful now that I have a speed with pulling and kicking.

As for my arms - yes, I feel strong propulsion now.

Re: Help with identifying my type please.

Posted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 9:09 pm
by rsilvers
On Saturday I went to swim, expecting to just be able to do 500 yards non-stop in 10-12 minutes. It was a disaster. I was gasping and gave up after 400 yards with resting almost every length.

On Sunday I just decided to swim as slow as possible and manage my air. It took me about 35 seconds per length, but I did fine, and did 200 yards non-stop.

Today I was back in my Master's class, and did 2000 yards in sets of 200 yards non-stop, mostly with a pull buoy and fins. And at a decent speed. That is a breakthrough - I have never gone that far in one day. I kept up with the class and didn't rest except between sets. I even did flip turns 100% of the time, over 60 of them. That is a first also, and I did maybe twice as many today as in my entire life combined.

Conclusion: I am about 7% bodyfat and need some extra buoyancy at this stage of my experience. I am going to try neoprene shorts.

Re: Help with identifying my type please.

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 12:52 am
by smootharnie
If you dont kick air with a pullbuoy and fins you probably have sinky legs.
Giving fins to a kicktastic is like giving a junky an extra shot of heroin :? Just like giviing a pull buoy to an Arnie.
If you want to swim without a wetsuit eventually, you are going to have a hard time when you take these toys away, but If you build a lot of swimpower, that will take you further anyway, Having some fun while building swimpower has its advantages.
Only downside is that normal swimming will feel like swimming with a dragsuit.

Re: Help with identifying my type please.

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 1:30 am
by rsilvers
My kick-tastic is driven by my sensation of my legs sinking. The Aqua Sphere AlphaFins are made from EVA and float. I tried just floating with them and they provided a perfect amount of buoyancy to my legs - not too much but just right. I don't feel like I am sinking when they are on so I don't need to kick.

Re: Help with identifying my type please.

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 9:59 am
by smootharnie
Yeah, I know them.<
I could not swim with them because I was kiciking air. Only tried them a few lenghts though.
If you have reasonable balance you can swim with them floating at the surface without any kick.
So you can use them as a pull buoy also.
You seem a pretty straight forward common sense guy , so I guess you will figure out how much use is good and what is too much.
There are enough coaches who dont see a problem with 100% pullbuoy use, and built a straigth tracking vessel with good arm mechanics and swimpower first before getting more core and kick in the stroke so If you think its working for you, go ahead.
Anyway, relying less on your kcik to get the legs up is a big thing in your stroke development.

Re: Help with identifying my type please.

Posted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 5:10 pm
by rsilvers
New milestone. I have not been able to sustain laps, but today I did 3100 yards (62 laps) and 123 flip turns. True I had fins, and also just got blueseventy Core Shorts, but getting past the mental barrier of swimming non-stop with no resting for over an hour was *huge* for me. Next time I will not use fins and go for a much shorter distance. These shorts are good for me though.

Re: Help with identifying my type please.

Posted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 5:15 pm
by smootharnie
You are making rapid progress man!

Re: Help with identifying my type please.

Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 6:47 pm
by rsilvers
I am still having issues with sinking legs. This is from today: ...

I am not worried about solving it ultimately, it is just that it is going to take some time. I think I should focus on the legs for a while. But at least I can do that now. Last week I was too panicked about breathing to even be able to do a session thinking about my legs. So there is progress happening even though it looks bad.

Re: Help with identifying my type please.

Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:49 pm
by smootharnie
You must be pretty fitt to keep swimming with that stroke. Damn, that takes a lot of corective work.
If you already swim 21 sec for 25 m you are going to improve a lot if you improve your technique.
A lot of room for improvement!
Mayor need for serioyus stretching.
Very tight shoulders and hips. Upper legs are pointing down, there is no streamline with the arms.
Timing is also off, but maybe better to forget that for a while.
First thing is to get you straightened out more.