Thursday, June 29, 2006

Thoughts on Swimmers Pic

I was amazed when I first saw this picture (see previous post).  This shot was taken sometime in what I believe to be the nineteen thirties.  I believe, we found it in among some old heirlooms that had been stored away (I’ve had it a while, so I can’t be certain).  My first impression was the animation of the people.  They’re not staring blankly into the camera like so many old timey pictures do.  Must be having too much fun swimming.  Check out the swim suit designs.  The two-piece (left most) was a complete surprise - ahead of its time?  And the one-side moon shaped cut out on the woman’s suit is pretty radical.  Also those white swim goggles.  They are so cool!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Swim Suit Analytics

OK, this AM I wore the skimpy speed suit. I wanted to get a comparison to yesterday's horrible performance when I wore the drag suit. Today I dropped my time for the same distance by 104 seconds or 5.78 percent just by using a suit that slips through the water easier. Now I know why those swimmers shave their heads before a race! Sorry, I'm not planning an analysis of those low belly cut suits in this blog :0

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Swim Suit Choice Revisited

I want to revisit a topic which I am finding more important than I ever could have imagined - swim suit choice.  It really is one of the most important factors you can make for any swimmer, beginner to expert.  I’ll start with my main premise.  You want a suit that is hydrodynamic (like an airplane is aerodynamic), meaning it flows through the water with little encumbrance.  If you must fight through the water to get anywhere, you are going to where yourself out - unless that’s your goal (for fitness purposes).  My aha moment came this morning during my workout.  Generally I can complete the first part of my workout in less than 30 minutes.  Today, it took a full minute more to go the same distance.  Now that doesn’t sound like a lot, but let me add - I was pulling harder than ever (my lane was parallel to the swim team lane and I was “trying” to keep up - they were future Olympians I imagine. Ha ha).  To add to that, my foot which I hurt about a week ago was finally healed, so I could kick well for the first time since the injury. If anything, I should have shaved time off this part of my workout. So what’s with the extra time?  A loose fitting, hip length drag suit was the culprit.  I didn’t buy it for its intended purpose - I was just trying to find something that didn’t make me look like a model for some skin magazine.  It held the water and prevented me from getting any results from my efforts to glide.  Perhaps the drag suit helps me build strength, but it did nothing for my pride.  My suggestions?  If you want speed and distance, go for the streamlined thigh huggers or the tight briefs (if your ego can stand it).  Dump them in the waste basket as soon as they start poofing out from age and get a new pair.  You’ll get better swimming results, I promise.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Anyone Can Swim

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Pointing Elbows

I must apologize for my artwork (see previous post).  Also, please note this post is about freestyle arm movement - not kicking.  I realize the pictures have the legs in the same position throughout.  OK, I’m accused of not kicking much, so I suppose it’s accurate.  Anyhoo, the drawing isn’t of me either - yet it sort of looks like it might be.  Too weird.  
Well, I wanted to talk about pointing your elbows.  If you look at the top drawing and then at the picture (closely, maybe with a magnifying glass), you’ll see two demonstrations of pointing your elbow at the sky as you come out of your pull and go into your stretch.  Try to scratch the sky with your elbow, i.e. make your arm come out of the water in a vertical position (or rather perpendicular to the water’s surface) - sort of like a shark fin.

Elbows To Sky + Straight Arm Pull

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Saturday, June 10, 2006

My Favorite 50 Meters

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Arm Entry

How you put your arms in the water when you do the freestyle can be a big deal. Do it wrong and you impede your progress. Do it right and you can actually make yourself go faster. Watch different people do freestyle. Watch how some will put their arms in the water with their elbows sticking out to the side and their hands coming across the front of their heads. These people are in effect putting up a barrier in front of them each time each arm enters the water. Of course, this slows down waterever benefit they may have gotten from their previous pull and from their kick. Look for the people who are doing the stroke correctly. They put their hands in the water straight in front of them. Doing so creates no resistance to water flow and they get into position to pull the water just as fast. They even set themselves up for a longer pull - and a longer pull means you go futher with each stroke. Try it!