Thursday, February 23, 2006

Breathing Should Be Easy - Anywhere?

Why is it true, that most people on dry land can hold their breath for 30 seconds or more, but put their heads under water in a pool for the first time and they get out of breath within a matter seconds? The quick answer, I believe, is comfort and habit. I aim to show you that there really is little difference between dry land and the depths of the pool. It's just a matter of psychology. Just think about that for a while and I'll get into it more in my next post.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Why Flounder?

In my last post, I wrote about how learning to swim for adults is entirely different than it is for kids. Some will argue that this is not the case. After all, many adults have learned to swim using the same age-old techniques used for everyone for countless years. That's true. What I posit is that there are easier ways. Ways that use the intellect and reason adults have, that children do not. These techniques I believe, will start the adult-swimming novice off on the right track immediately. There will be the step-arrangement, as in any learning process, but we will skip past some of the more useless embarassing steps that the old-school uses. Think about learning to swim. Chances are, you might have avoided lessons because of embarassment. The steps that will be provided in this blog can be practiced in a pool with dignity. I don 't want you to learn like a flounder. I want you to learn like a dolphin! Hold tight. We'll be starting soon.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Learn Like an Adult, Not Like a Kid

If you've ever watched a kid taking a swimming lesson, you see some pretty common things. They get the kids wet, make sure they aren't afraid of the water, show them how to kick using some sort of floatation device, and eventually break them of the float. What isn't so obvious is what is going on inside the kids' heads - all the brain wiring that is taking place. It's automatic for them. For adults, that automatic processing just doesn't happen. The work around means we must incorporate some very deliberate, very adult steps, to learn. Forthcoming entries will focus on some very odd, albeit important steps in learning to swim as an adult. Like the kids, we will learn to get wet, breathe, float, glide, stroke. The difference is, during the lessons we will learn why we must do certain things. Swimming seems so obvious - because kids can do it - but putting all the pieces together just doesn't happen for adults - the wiring isn't as fast. We will teach ourselves through physical understanding what is going on and why. This way, the student (you, perhaps), won't just jump ahead and learn to swim the wrong way. The worst thing you can do as an adult is learn the wrong way. If you do, you'll end up like all those adults you see in the pools who say they know how to swim, but quite frankly, look like they are almost drowning.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Barrel that Swims Like a Dolphin

Now the title of this blog is "Swimming is Easy" and so far my examples seem to indicate that the only those who can swim easy, are thin people. Fear not my friend. Today I'm going to the other extreme with another fine example witnessed during my morning ritual. Back some years ago, when I was just catching the daily swim bug and still lacking the knowhow to pull any distance without hanging on the wall for a while, I witnessed a fellow lap-swimmer who was not as wall-challenged as I. He was what I would call a machine. He could swim for an hour without so much as lifting both ears out of the water at the same time - a goal I wished for but had no idea how to achieve. Anyhow, this isn't about time in pool - I'll save that for another day. This is about size. I concluded after watching his stamina that there were any number of lessons I could take away. The first was body type didn't matter. This guy was what some might call the short, fat variety of man-dom. He was shaped like a barrel - thick at the top of his chest as he was at the base of his torso, with legs like short logs, yet he moved through the water with grace and style. There was a clear sense of timing and flow. He was in control. I plan to address all these in future posts. So I leave you with this. Anyone can learn to swim. We just need to learn what works for us. This blog will focus on those skills as we go forward. Until next time - being all wet isn't bad at all! - Splashdog

Friday, February 03, 2006

Fluid Dynamics and Body Shape

Last post I mentioned a small, dark skinned girl that I saw swimming several years ago. She was as fast and effortless a swimmer as I have ever seen. As luck would have it, today I saw her when I was coming in to the pool for my workout. She was on "dry land" as some of us call the pool deck - not swimming as she was last time I saw her. She was polite and said hello. I noted she seemed to be of Indian (Asian) descent, was small boned and lanky - not tall, but not short either. She was very thin, had almost no chest in the feminine sense and little in the way of hips. Her shoulders were small as well. In fact, the distance from neck to the tip of her shoulders was much smaller than your average woman. I don't mention this out of derision. No, I believe it may be part of her swimming secret. Despite her lack of muscle and fat (for floating), she made up for it with something else - minimal fluid friction. She was almost shaped like a spear or a dart. Throw a spear into water straight on and watch what happens. Initially it speeds through the water like a rocket, going further than you might expect with minimal applied force. It slows most apparently, only when side forces start influencing the trajectory. In future posts I am going to discuss further about this facet - what I am discovering about fluid dynamics and swimming - with other examples. This is but one real-life example of how shape can influence outcomes. It is but one exciting discovery I have found.