A lot of swimmers get themselves quite confused about breath management when swimming. This article for the excellent Outdoor Swimmer magazine hopefully helps offer some clarity on the matter.
I teamed up with orthopaedic surgeon Jeremy Granville-Chapman to write this article on preventing shoulder injuries in swimmers.
Next workshop will be 18 Feb 2018 in Petersfield, Hampshire.
What a lovely Christmas present to give or receive.
From time to time clients come to me having looked at videos online and tried to teach themselves to swim "TI Style". I have to remind them that good swimming is good swimming and TI coaches are not trying to teach people to swim "differently". Nor we should not obsess with emulating videos of others we have seen swimming. We are all dfferent shapes and sizes.
Too steep an angle of entry or too early an entry for example can lead to either to deep and arm or a "ski jump" trajectory that can lead to dropping the elbow under the water. A nice natural relaxed arm recovery with mail slot entry facilitating the whole arm sliding into the water through the same whole is fine. That exact point of entry will be determined by your own biomechanics, but should be a straight line to the final hand position under the water at full extension. Nothing forced, everything relaxed and natural.
The two things that made the most immediate difference to how I felt in the water when I started with TI, were the relaxed neutral head and spearing the arms deeper to help get my hips up and achieve better body balance in the water - it was a epiphany to me..
Sometimes with TI, we encourage swimmers 'swing the pendulum' a bit too far to start with when making changeswhich is one of the causes of some people misunderstanding TI methodology - context is everything.
People who struggle with patient streamlined leading arms between the strokes I might encourage to be a little too patient to start with while learning to not think about simply "pulling" through the water and focus more on being streamlined.
The arm depth too is something some TI swimmers can 'overcook' a bit. Hand depth level with or just below the depth of the chest should be enough to give good neutral balance in the water and get the hips up if everything is nice and relaxed. Spearing too deep can make breathing a bit tricky sometimes and create a little too much drag.
After 18 months of fiddling with uncomfortable right-sided breathing, I went back to basics for a couple of months and today I was definitely very nearly just as comfortable breathing to the right as breathing to the left.
What's been good about rebuilding right sided breathing from scratch is that it's really helped me tune in to my clients who have various issues breathing. This was harder to do when I breathed mainly to my natural side as I did not have to think about it.
So ... my notes to myself for good breathing on the less natural side:
Head relaxed before, during an after the breath.
Focus on letting the water support the head when breathing and the head is on its side.
Arm depth: not too deep, not too shallow. Too deep pulls head down. Too shallow makes hips drop.
Arms parallel, don't let left arm be pulled across.
Don't think too hard or you end up breath holding.
The next session will be 23 July 2017. Numbers limited to three swimmers per lane to ensure the optimum possible swimming experience and give you the space to think about your stroke and not be worrying about keeping up with the swimmer in front, or ahead of the swimmer behind. You work at your own pace with liked-minded swimmers. These sessions are all about helpng you become a better swimmer.
Plese feel free to bring choclate cake if you wish!
It's always interesting to watch people train and go through their drills; lots of which are familiar to me from my days as masters club swimmer, however some of the drills do puzzle me a bit - it seems like they are just something else to do.
Watching one particular swimmer was interesting as she alternated between 'catchup' and her normal stroke. I quite like the catchup drill when it is purely used as a patient leading arm reminder, (just so long as we don't touch hands in the front of the head, which can lead to encouraging the arms to cross over). Anyhow when she was swimming catchup she was dropping 4 strokes in the 33m pool and was faster than her normal swim stroke (I timed her). But after each catchup lap, she reverted to her leading arm pulling back almost as soon as it reached full extension. So why did she not take on board anything from her catchup sets and lengthen her stroke for more speed? It's mystifying.
If we are not integrating elements from drills and focal points into our stroke to improve technically, then there's no point in doing them.
I am a certified level 3.0 Total Immersion Swim Coach.
© 2017 James Ewart