Thursday, April 24, 2008

10K Swim to be an Olympic Event

So you think you're tough because you swim a mile or two in the lap pool while everyone else hangs on the wall after a couple laps? Check out Friday's Wall Street Journal article about the Olympic's newest swimming event (to be held this year for the first time), the 10K swim - that's about six and half miles for you 'mercans. The event is going to be held in flat, fresh water in the rowing venue.

It sure would be cool if they built a canal into the Olympic Stadium where the swimmers finish in front of the world! I can always dream.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Finally, a Computer that Heats a Pool

Ever notice how pool personnel seem to find it impossible to keep a pool heated properly? Ever wonder why they don't incorporate computer technology to do the job? Here's a pool facility which finally took the job on - unfortunately, this is NOT what I meant. Go to this link to see what I mean. Considering the aforementioned possibilities, I was somewhat appalled. How about you?

Friday, April 18, 2008

New Yorker Features Article about Swimming!!!

I suppose this post is a bit premature, but I'm excited. I just got the mail in and got my New Yorker subscription. I haven't read it yet, but the April 21, 2008 issue has a feature by my favorite cold water swimmer/author, Lynn Cox, entitled "A Dip in the Cold - Swimming in the Northwest Passage". Lynn wrote the book "Grayson", which is about a time in her youth when a baby whale decided she (Lynn) was its mother and she decided to help it find its real mother. She also is the same woman who was featured in a television documentary where she jumped into frigid Antarctic waters and swam to to shore - about a mile. She wrote about that too. See Lynn Cox in for more. This woman is nuts. I can't wait to read this New Yorker article!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Swimming and your Heart Rate

It's fairly common knowledge that swimming makes for a good cardio workout. Doing sprints is one way to keep the heart running faster. Pushing the distance can do it too as long as it's at some speed. Sounds analogous to the sport of running, right? Well, maybe not so fast.

Buried deep in an article in today's New York Times there is a mention about how one's heart works differently for swimmers than it does for runners. Runners' hearts, the article says, must fight gravity. It must pump the blood vertically up to the head. That's not the case for swimmers. The gravitational fight is not as much of an issue. You are already horizontal in the pool. I'm no medical type, but I'm having no trouble imagining that there's something to that.

OK, so what does this all mean? Does the heart rate for a swimmer working equivalently to the heart rate of a runner mean that the swimmer can put more energy into propulsion, while the runner is putting it just into surviving? I'll have to think on this some more. Thoughts from my readers are welcome.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

How to Swim Well - The Most Important Thing to Learn

I was planning this post before today anyhow, but when I ran into an old acquaintance who without solicitation offered me his opinion on the most important skill to have in order to swim well, I knew I had something - not that our opinions matched.

Anyhow, my friend said that he had learned from a "world class swimmer" (and his boss ... so he really HAD to listen to him) that the most important thing to know how to do well was to relax in the water. If you can relax, you aren't going to tire yourself out with every stroke and every attempt to breathe.

Now the above is not quite what I was going to write originally in this post, but I'm including it here because of the cred (the credibility).

My contention is (and if you've ever read more than a half dozen posts of mine, it should come as no surprise), that the most important thing to know how to do well in order to learn to swim well was to learn to keep a straight line. Your body should be linear from tip of your stretched out fingers at the end of your stretched out arms, all the way down to your stretched out tippy toes at the end of your stretched out legs - so you can streamline through the water. Once this position is learned, it must be applied during the stroke. If one breaks from the linear, the streamlining is lost and you encounter resistance from the water your are swimming through.

Do these two suggestions conflict with one another? I don't think so. If you can do the first you can learn to do the second. And if you can do the second, you can begin to do the first (to relax) since you won't have to fight the water so much.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Dogs in Heaven

Another title to this post might be "Why Pools Sometimes Smell Like Dog". Enjoy.