Saturday, June 23, 2007

Small Pool Distance Swim Solution?

I've got an uncle in-law who used to swim laps in his back-yard pool. It was bigger than most back yard pools, but still much smaller than I'd ever want to try to swim laps in. Still, he got by and swore by it. I think I'd swear too. Anyhoo, today I stumbled across this post (pics too!) which describes a rather cool tether which you can attach to the edge of a pool (of any size), and attach to your waist. Off you go ... well about two feet. I haven't quite figured out how this works with gliding - I guess you hit the wall behind you? I want to try one! Will give a fair critique if anyone wants to send me one to test. Send me a comment to arrange.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Swimming Pools on the Radio!

National Public Radio's program "On Point" had a show this morning which caught my ear. It was about swimming pools - a refreshing change from politics and war. The guest was Jeff Wiltse, a professor from the University of Montana who has written a book titled, "Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America". At this link you can see a pretty good description of the the program. It also includes links to a podcast of the program (I recommend it), and some pretty cool photos from the book.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Perfect Swim Day

I love light! Summer solstice is today and everything was perfect and then some. With the sun up as early as it will be all year, and high in the sky by the time my dawn routine was underway, the pool shimmered under the most direct light we'll see all year. Water was perfect, air was cool, and I had my own lane in a fifty meter pool for nearly an hour. What could be better?! :)

Monday, June 18, 2007

He said, "Get Out of My Lane!"

This morning I went in a little later because there was a lightening storm during my typical hour, so when I finally got to the pool, there was a whole different group of people than I typically see. Things were a little busier than at sunrise - and I ended up sharing the lane with some guy I'd never seen before. We got along fine and neither really impeded the other's routine, both of us swimming parallel. After he was done, a middle-aged lady got in, followed shortly thereafter by some young guy wearing a heart monitor. I never trust these gadget guys (always busy with the gadget, etc. and not with the swimming), and he showed his colors, complaining about the woman who was doing what he called an adapted version of the dog-paddle. Sure she was going slow, but she was staying out of my way, so I had no complaints. I figured complainer guy for some uber-athlete since he had the bling (heart monitor thingy) and looked in good shape. Anyhow, when he got going, he was hardly Michael Phelps. The guy was really no better at free-style than your average guy who swims twice a year. Would I have felt different if he had been a better swimmer? I doubt it. The slow-lady had as much right to be there as either of us did. So where does he get off complaining about her using the lane? His bling? I think not!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Arm Positioning for Strongest Stroke

I've been experimenting with arm positioning, trying to find what gives me the strongest stroke with the least fatigue. I've tried everything from the straight arm stroke to an L-shaped stroke, where my fore-arm is perpendicular to the pool bottom and my upper arm is pulling back horizontally, like the arm on an old train wheel. This latter position intrigues me the most and was shown to me by a high-school swim coach. I'm thinking the long arm may be the strongest if the shoulder muscles are built up sufficiently, but I've got to work with what I have. Will keep posting as I find what's working best.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

10,000 Pool Lengths and Counting

WARNING - Self indulgent post: Should I be dizzy by now? I hit a personal milestone a couple days ago with 5,000 laps since Jan 2, 2007 or 10,000 lengths of 25 meters. I love it! What first started this goal kick I've been doing (see profile) was when I was doing some of my mental math - I often try to do mental math during my cool down on the kickboard to see how much I've done, how fast, etc., but it comes all too hard since the blood is in my legs and arms and not in my brain - and realized that my daily routine had the potential to hit some big numbers if I just stuck with it. So here is one of those numbers. I like all those 0's!

Friday, June 08, 2007

More Goals Added

You might have noted some rather crazy goals I've set for myself to give me some idea of how far I swim (laps in a pool). I noted that I've got some good short term goals (swim English Channel, swim width Lake Michigan, etc.), but there are places where there are big gaps and hitting the goals takes much longer - thus the mental rewards aren't there. So today I've added a couple. One is a swim from Havana, Cuba to Miami, FL (224 miles), which I should be able to complete by Thanksgiving, God willing. A second I've added is a New York City to Hamilton, Bermuda (775 miles) swim - which looks like two years out at my pace. I suppose a neat lifetime goal might be to circumnavigate the globe, but that is a little too far out there, even for me, but you never know. I imagine some Olympic athletes over the span of their lives may have done this already. If you know, let me know and I'll post it. In the meantime, I'll keep looking for more goals. Any suggestions?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Secret to Better Flip Turns

I've always thought I had a pretty good flip turn and yesterday I got confirmation, almost. A former NCAA swim team coach was doing a favor for the guy in the lane next to me, evaluating the guy's stroke, when I stopped at the wall. Standing high above me on the pool deck, the coach said, "You've got a good flip turn there". I thanked him. Then he said, "You could do better with it if you just tightened up more on your kick-off". Not knowing exactly what he meant, I asked, "Tighten what up?" And he put his arms out front of him, grabbed his two hands together in a fist and forced his arms out dead straight. Relaxing, he said, "Your elbows are relaxed. You have a kink in your elbows". I tried what he suggested and instantly added almost two meters to my push off distance. I guess my elbows were impeding the slipstream.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Amazon Dolphins

You may recall from Martin Strel's Amazon Swim (see some posts and comments about dolphins that accompanied him from time to time. Unless you went to the part of the site which showed the pictures, you might have had your typical Flipper (dolphin hero from the 1960's TV show) in mind. Here are some pictures of the endangered Amazon dolphins. You'll note they don't quite match the TV version.