Saturday, November 17, 2007

Fight Your Instinct toTwist

This morning I was reading the newspaper and a photo of a swimmer caught my eye. The caption said the person pictured was in a Masters swim program. Figuring the swimmer would have good form I studied the picture and was surprised to see she had her head turned to catch a breath of air, but her upper torso (waist up) was twisted so she could pick her head up (to breathe). Picking her head up???!!! A Masters swimmer should know better! She must be new to the program or doesn't listen well (we all know some of those). Well versed swimmers know to roll their bodies when they do freestyle and to allow their head to turn along with their bodies - as one (like you might turn a pencil when holding the eraser). For the less experienced, it's perfectly natural to attempt to roll and end up with an awful twist like the photo I described. It's got to hurt your back and cause undue strain and unnecessary "efforting". Follow my advice and use the straight pencil analogy. This will take some practice, particularly with keeping your head down while you breathe. You only want your mouth to come out of the water. Surprisingly, there is a small pocket of air that forms right below your forehead where you need to breathe (thank fluid dynamics for that or we'd all be twisting). Keep one eye under the water and the top of your head pointed at the wall ahead of you - and open your mouth in that pocket. This will eliminate the twist and I promise, your whole body will be happier for it.

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