Swimming types and tips

In my last post, I started to highlight some of the great swimming resources that I had been able to find on the internet, courtesy of my fellow bloggers. This post continues on the same theme, as I aim to find the right swimming training for me.

Having already picked up several good tips and swimming drills to practice from the Water Blogged Triathlete, I continued my search of other blogs. Stumbling across Mike’s blog I was pleased to find someone who was making great progress in their own swimming training. Mike had also done some of the hard work for me, scouring the internet for training resources and in his post 10k Challenge – brain training, he highlights two websites: Swim Smooth and Swim Types.

On the first site, I found a wealth of useful information (more than I have had the opportunity to take in yet, if truth be told) and, whilst my swimming type was inconclusive (I think that I’m somewhere between an Arnie and a Male Bambino, in technique if not in physique), I am certainly not Mr Smooth. I highly recommend checking these sites out, even if it’s just to work out your own swim type.

The other thing that caught my eye on Mike’s blog was a system called SwimTag, which works by placing sensors around the pool to monitor you as you swim, tracking you via a wristband. As a shortsighted swimmer, I spend an uncomfortable amount of time squinting in vain at the clock on the wall of the swimming pool. As awkward as this is for me, it must be just as disconcerting for my fellow swimmers, who are forced to swim up and down under the evil-eyed glare of yours truly as I peer over their heads in the general direction of the clock. Therefore, a system like this would be of benefit, not least in saving me the trouble of having to stop to work out what time it is and how long I have been swimming for.

My regular pool is probably not set up to use a system like SwimTag, but I am looking around at other local pools to see if any are aware of the system and, perhaps, looking to install it.

After posting my last blog, ultraswimfast (from the Water Blogged Triathlete) pointed me in the direction of a fellow blogger, Chatter, who has been using the Total Immersion training method. This is a training programme that has cropped up a couple of times now on my trawl through the internet. In particular, one of Chatter’s posts has links to several videos, including one from Total Immersion, with different drills to improve swimming technique.

These videos gave me several good things to practice the next time I was in the pool. The only downside? I haven’t quite managed to both concentrate on the technique and remember to breathe. It was at the end of my one such breathless, spluttering length of the pool that I was accosted by the lady hosing down the poolside, who was both a qualified swimming teacher and an advocate of the Total Immersion training technique.

After checking that I was okay and asking if, perhaps, I would like some sort of floatation aid, she explained a bit more about the Total Immersion method. The traditional method by which I, and many of you, learned to swim is to try to stay as flat as possible in the water. Total Immersion, she explained, encourages the swimmer onto their side as much as possible, presenting a smaller profile as you cut through the water and improving your swimming efficiency.

I was given a couple of techniques to practice and noticed an immediate improvement: I was taking less strokes to cover the same distance. I’m sure that there is a lot more to it than that, but the fact that I had noticed an immediate improvement, that was encouraging. This is something that I would like to explore more.

Overall, what I have discovered is that there is actually a wealth of useful information out there, once you know where to look. What I really need though, is some structure to follow. Once I have a good basic technique then I can add to it using the variety of information available from the resources that I have found on the internet.

So I will be giving myself over to the Total Immersion method, supported ably by the excellent blogs, bloggers and websites that I have found. Sink or swim? We’ll find out.

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