Author Topic: Learning to swim/improving swimming  (Read 44189 times)

iakobski

Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #25 on: August 28, 2008, 04:07:20 pm »
Strong swimmers take risks - we went out for a sea-swim last year and got caught by the tide at Elie, in Fife.  For about ten minutes we were both swimming as hard as we could and got *nowhere*, then had a little revelation that if we didn't swim harder NOW, before we got tired, our wetsuited bodies would wash up in Norway.

Or worse, we'd end up as those idiots on the telly being rescued. 

We swam harder.  Afterwards, it was exhilerating.  But mostly, it was just stupid.   :-[

For future reference, if you are swimming towards the beach and not getting any closer (or even further away), swim parallel to the shore for a bit (or diagonally towards it) until you find you start getting closer.

What you were in was a rip tide, it's localised: if the water is coming away from the shore at the point you're at, there has to be other water going towards the shore to replace it.

Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #26 on: August 28, 2008, 04:09:33 pm »
Strong swimmers are statistically far more likely to drown than non-swimmers.

That is indeed true, but to give confidence to the OP, people who are not strong swimmers and end up drowning usually do so through stupidity or just plain naivety.

An adult wishing to learn/improve their swimming at a public pool is going to be in safe hands. An adult full of beer and a total lack of fear going down the beach/lake etc is asking for trouble.

Same with kids - I rescued a couple of (I'm guessing) 12 year old girls at Bude a few years ago who had got themselves into all sorts of problems. Where on Earth their parents were, I have no idea. A couple of lifeguards were starting to strip off getting ready to come in - they were very grateful for me bunging the kids on my surf board as the dudes didn't really want to get wet - the weather was awful!

Public swimming pool + common sense = remaining alive
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Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #27 on: August 28, 2008, 04:22:26 pm »
Oh yes the goggles, I'd forgotten how important they were. I also used a nose clip which reduced the panic caused by breathing water through my nose. (But made me look like a prat.  ;D )

+1 to the nose clip, it helps a lot until you learn to breath out all the time you're underwater.

Singing helps too.  "Those magnificent men in their flying machines" was my learning-to-keep-breathing-out song.   :thumbsup:
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Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #28 on: August 28, 2008, 04:37:44 pm »
I was looking into this a while back. At that time none of the local classes suited me time-wise so I abandoned, but I'd like to revisit the issue. I might even consider a residential course - have you thought about that, Lynx? Get it done in one hit?

My problem with swimming is that I just sink, no matter what I do. Each attempt to swim involves at least one near-drowning  ;D. Are there certain body types that just can't do it?

Look out for sites that have 'shallow' swimming pools. Isleworth Pools and The Fountain at Brentford both have regulation 25m pools that happen to be 1m deep. Its very hard to drown yourself when you can reach out and touch the bottom or stand up any time you chose!

I first went to Isleworth when I joined an Adult improver program to sort out my front crawl. I hated swimming in shallow pools at first because they emphasised how poor my body position was in the water (my feet kept hitting the bottom!). After a while though I learnt to swim with my body level and high in the water which makes a BIG difference.

Maladict

Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #29 on: August 28, 2008, 06:20:03 pm »
If you can't swim, you can be a danger to others as well as yourself, if you end up in the water and start panicking and trying to use your mate as a floatation device.  >:(

We lived to tell the tale though.

Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #30 on: August 28, 2008, 07:23:58 pm »
I hope you can get the hang of it. I absolutely love swimming.
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Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #31 on: August 28, 2008, 07:57:19 pm »
Quote
Well I've decided that I really should learn to swim or should I say improve my lack of swimming.

I learnt when I was younger and was a poor swimmer.  I could get my head under the water.  Well after a few water incidents I have decided that I should learn to swim.

Can anyone recomend a course that guarantees you being able to swim?

I'm think of some one on one tuition just to give me the confidence to swim.  Is this a good idea or better if its in a small group?

Any hints and tips to get the head immersion thing sorted would be really good for me.

Thanks

When I was about 5, my slightly younger cousin fell into a river in Africa (where she was living at the time).  Neither of her parents could swim and they only just managed to pull her out.  My mother, who would have been in her mid-twenties at the time, immediately signed up for swimming lessons, just in case something happened to one of us.

Over the next few years, my siblings and I learned to swim.  We're all good at it.  Most of us have swum for our schools.  My little brother ended up at county level and went to the national trials once.  Mother, in the mean time, was swimming a very sedate breast stroke, hating every second, and shouting at us if we splashed so much as a drop on her.

Eventually, she decided that, as the only one of the seven of us who didn't enjoy swimming, she had to be the one out of step, so did something about it.  I don't know if she started off with lessons, or just gritted her teeth!  Either way she ended up holding her Honours Personal Survival Award, and being a qualified swimming teacher, able to teach able bodied and disabled swimmers and other swimming teachers.  She went from totally terrified to totally dedicated.

One of her best attributes was getting others who lacked confidence to swim.  I'd recommend her to you, but I think that, at 69, she's probably stopped teaching!

If she can do it, I'm sure you can

Steve
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Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #32 on: August 28, 2008, 08:04:06 pm »
Any hints and tips to get the head immersion thing sorted would be really good for me.

Some specific advice on this!  (Although you'll feel a bit of an idiot at your age -- find a time when the pool is quiet)
Stand at the edge, holding onto the side, somewhere where your head is at about water level (so not at the shallow end).
Take a big breath, put your face under water (eyes open or closed, doesn't matter), and blow bubbles.  When the bubbles stop, take your face out of the water.  When you're happy with that, you can try floating, still holding onto the side, and doing the same. 

And, if you're thin, you will have problems just floating.  Once you work out how to move, that won't be an issue.  The human body is approximately the same density as water.

Hope some of that helps -- I'm with hairyhippy -- I love swimming as well and want everyone else to!

Steve
"No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everybody on the couch."

Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #33 on: August 28, 2008, 09:54:24 pm »
I joined a beginners and improvers class 3 months ago.

I'm not afraid of the water, I go snorkelling when I'm on holiday. But I was unable to float, tread water or 'breathe' whilst attempting to swim.
The swimming group that I attend weekly at a local school pool has a dozen members of various ages and abilities. From.....'I can't put my face in the water', to...''I can just manage to do a length of the pool'.

Currently, I can float on my back for 10 minutes , tread water for 5 minutes and breathe a bit whilst swimming .Can also nearly swim a length. But I can't understand why I'm left gasping for breathe, with my heart rate WAY up after swimming a width. My technique is very bad, but at least I won't drown  ;D

Learning to swim is one of the things that I wanted to do before I get to 60. Got a year or so to get it nailed.

Good luck with your classes, I'm sure that you'll enjoy them.

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Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #34 on: August 29, 2008, 09:50:31 am »
Can also nearly swim a length. But I can't understand why I'm left gasping for breathe, with my heart rate WAY up after swimming a width. My technique is very bad, but at least I won't drown  ;D

I went through this. I forced myself to swim more slowly - use long slow strokes, concentrating on technique (I don't know much, but it all helps!).

This worked fine with breast stroke, but it's harder with crawl for some reason - probably just need more practice.

Of course with breaststroke you always have the 'old lady' fallback of keeping your face and hair dry, but I think in the long term this is bad for your back!
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toekneep

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Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #35 on: August 29, 2008, 09:55:27 am »
Can also nearly swim a length. But I can't understand why I'm left gasping for breathe, with my heart rate WAY up after swimming a width. My technique is very bad, but at least I won't drown  ;D

I went through this. I forced myself to swim more slowly - use long slow strokes, concentrating on technique (I don't know much, but it all helps!).

This worked fine with breast stroke, but it's harder with crawl for some reason - probably just need more practice.

Of course with breaststroke you always have the 'old lady' fallback of keeping your face and hair dry, but I think in the long term this is bad for your back!
This makes me smile. When I was managing my lengths I was thrashing from one end to the other, totally exhausted each time when one of the life guards pointed out that I was taking 32 strokes when I should be taking about 20. So I went for another length and concentrated really really hard on being relaxed and taking long slow strokes. I got to the other end feeling quite pleased with myself and looked up at the life guard. "how was that" I enquired. "Not bad", he said, "31 strokes that time".  ;D ;D

Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #36 on: August 29, 2008, 11:25:34 am »
All of the above (very good) comments reiterate the point of being confident.

Any good swimmer can go up and down a pool all night without shagging themselves out. They're relaxed and that's the key.

I remember going to a swimming gala hosted by David Wilkie when I was a kid. He did a length of a 33 metre pool with just 4 strokes! It certainly wasn't his quickest ever length, but he proved the point that you really don't need to put that much effort in if you're chilled and relaxed.

Also (slightly OT but still swimming!) on a scuba diving holiday, I got buddied up with this guy who was fit, healthy and young - but he caned his air on every dive. It was slightly annoying to have to come up with half a tank full when his was almost empty. The reason? He wasn't relaxed. He was a bit panicky and just sucked that air down.

We all have fears or nerves about certain things, but I'm convinced they can be overcome. If a human being is determined to learn to swim - they will be able to....
Those wonderful norks are never far from my thoughts, oh yeah!

LEE

Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #37 on: August 31, 2008, 09:56:17 pm »
Any hints and tips to get the head immersion thing sorted would be really good for me.

Firstly, the fear of putting your head under water is a natural reflex.  It's stronger in some than others but it's nothing to worry about.

Secondly, I taught both my kids to swim by firstly getting them over this fear.

My tip is to buy some decent goggles (Speedo are good) then go to the pool (even your own bath will do).

Hold your nose, take a few deep breaths and put your heard under.  Do it in the shallow end so there's no fear.

You should notice that you don't immediately drown.
I did this with my kids long before they actually swam and they really started to enjoy the head under water experience.

Once you realise you can survive under water for 30 seconds it should give you a certain amount of confidence later on.

Next, still in the shallow end.  Go to one side, put your head under water, put your hands out in front (fingers together, pointy-style) and push off the side with your legs.  Glide for 5-10 seconds and stand up (you know you won't drown in 5 seconds now so it shouldn't be too bad).  You ain't swimming yet but just do this until you are happy gliding about .

Once you can glide about and have overcome the underwater anxiety thing you may want to book a lesson because you'll be 80% there.  Swimming, especially Breast-Stroke, is gliding with the occasional bit of arm/leg flapping.
Summary, I'd try my best to get comfortable with my head under water as much as possible, in the comfort of my own company, before going for lessons.

PS, a nose-clip helps some people.


αdαmsκι

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Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #38 on: September 01, 2008, 11:27:09 am »
This was in the travel section of the observe yesterday.
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mattc

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Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #39 on: September 01, 2008, 11:43:25 am »

+1 for Lee's technique. That is a much better version of the approach I stumbled through.
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Gattopardo

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Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #40 on: September 01, 2008, 11:54:40 am »
Thank you all, you have made me feel better about my fear.

Lee, I have bought a pair of childrens latex sealed googles as they seem to fit better than the other adult ones and actually seal around my eyes without hurting but still feeling rather strange.  The strange feeling is because I'm not used to wearing anything that close on my face.

well have decided that on wednesday (probably around Lunchtime) I am going to go and scare myself in Clapham pool for half an hour by just immersing my head and doing nothing else.


Jaded

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Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #41 on: September 01, 2008, 12:41:31 pm »
I know it is pretty much irrelevant in the context of this thread, but it is much easier in the sea, on account of the extra buoyancy.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

LEE

Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #42 on: September 01, 2008, 12:45:26 pm »
I know it is pretty much irrelevant in the context of this thread, but it is much easier in the sea, on account of the extra buoyancy.

Stick to the shallow End of the local pool.
(The sea is full of Sharks and Turds)

LEE

Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #43 on: September 01, 2008, 12:52:16 pm »
Thank you all, you have made me feel better about my fear.

Lee, I have bought a pair of childrens latex sealed googles as they seem to fit better than the other adult ones and actually seal around my eyes without hurting but still feeling rather strange.  The strange feeling is because I'm not used to wearing anything that close on my face.

well have decided that on wednesday (probably around Lunchtime) I am going to go and scare myself in Clapham pool for half an hour by just immersing my head and doing nothing else.



My kids were both swimming confidently underwater before they could swim (if that makes sense). 

Maladict

Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #44 on: September 01, 2008, 03:10:47 pm »
I never had a problem swimming under water.  It was the staying on the surface I had trouble with.  But once I'd mastered that bit I went from 1 length to 100 lengths in just a few weeks - for me it's that initial hurdle of being able to comfortably swim a length and not get to halfway and think you're going to drown.

Gattopardo

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Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #45 on: September 01, 2008, 03:14:16 pm »
I know it is pretty much irrelevant in the context of this thread, but it is much easier in the sea, on account of the extra buoyancy.

Stick to the shallow End of the local pool.
(The sea is full of Sharks and Turds)

And the sea has current, swiming pools usually dont.

Jaded

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Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #46 on: September 01, 2008, 03:39:17 pm »
I know it is pretty much irrelevant in the context of this thread, but it is much easier in the sea, on account of the extra buoyancy.

Stick to the shallow End of the local pool.
(The sea is full of Sharks and Turds)

And the sea has current, swiming pools usually dont.

Not all the sea has current.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

LEE

Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #47 on: September 03, 2008, 06:06:27 pm »
I know it is pretty much irrelevant in the context of this thread, but it is much easier in the sea, on account of the extra buoyancy.

Stick to the shallow End of the local pool.
(The sea is full of Sharks and Turds)

And the sea has current, swiming pools usually dont.

Not all the sea has current.

In the sea, the deep-end is 6 miles.

Gattopardo

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Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #48 on: September 03, 2008, 06:10:49 pm »
I know it is pretty much irrelevant in the context of this thread, but it is much easier in the sea, on account of the extra buoyancy.

Stick to the shallow End of the local pool.
(The sea is full of Sharks and Turds)

And the sea has current, swiming pools usually dont.

Not all the sea has current.

Cool are there sultanas too ;)

Well I'm off to dip my head and panic in a pool for a few hours, after cycling 10 miles.

Wow this is supposed to be fun

Gattopardo

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Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #49 on: September 04, 2008, 10:10:00 am »
Ok did it for three quater of an hour on and off.

But found getting water up my nose really uncomfortable, so the choice is either nose clips or get used to it.  Found the googles annoying, maybe I need to get used to wearing goggles,  the fit is good but I don't like having then on.  They seem really unnatural but I suppose I'll get used to them.

Well try again on saturday or sunday.