Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How to Swim On Your Back in a Straight Line while Outside

I've been getting a number of comments at my outdoor pool about my ability to keep a straight line while swimming on my back, so I decided it might make for a worthy inclusion here.

We've all seen those swimmers who when on their backs weave back and forth across the lane. That's fine if you have the lane to yourself, but just imagine if you are sharing the lane with that swimmer! Until a couple of years ago, I was that weaving swimmer, but I've cracked the nut on how to deal with the problem.

Let's start with why swimming on one's back in an outdoors pool is harder than doing so in an indoor pool. The answer is pretty simple, outdoor swimming offers few cues to allow you to keep track of where you are.

My indoor pools (I visit several each year) have any number of ceiling features that generally line up with the lanes. At my pools there are ceiling panels, ventilation pipes, fire suppression piping (yes, in the pool room!!!), wood planking, etc. All it takes to keep a straight line is to keep yourself in line with the selected feature and you're good to go. If you see yourself going left or right of the feature, you're not swimming straight and you need to make a minor correction. Easy, right?

But outdoor pools, generally offer none of the above except blue sky, if you are so lucky, so what's one to do?

My technique is to swim as close to the lane line as I can without rubbing against it. Every few strokes, I'll allow an elbow or hip to gently brush the lane line, just so I'm certain that I am where I intend to be. That's it. Very simple. It will work in any pool that has lane markers.

A couple notes to keep in mind. Make sure you keep your leading fingertips pointed away from the lane marker - you don't want to jam a finger. Secondly, this technique is solely for training and recreation purposes. For obvious reasons of speed, you don't want to use this approach in competitive swimming as it may subtract from your time, even if it is only for a brief micro-second.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lebron James - 10 Meter Platform High Diver?

This is what you get when you put a basketball court next to a high-dive platform. Personally, If this had been me, I would have been tempted to jump to the side and splashed the DJ guy in the left side of the screen after he started yelling "jump, jump, jump".

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Diana Nyad Calls it a Day Before Dawn

At 12:45am, this AM, Diana called it quits. NYTimes has a good article describing the circumstances behind the decision to end the marathon swim. Apparently Diana developed asthma, shoulder pain, and was nauseated after 29 hours in the sea. Still, 29 hours in the water while 61 years old - no shark bites, too! - I call that lady, one tough broad. Good job, all the same.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Diana Nyad's Cuba to FL Swim has Begun

Diana began her swim last evening. Here is a link for a tracking map courtesy of CNN.

See my prior post for details about Diana's swim quest.

Edit: Here's the tweet feed from Matt Stone who is following along in a boat.