Swim Please!

November 21, 2012

Streamline

Filed under: beginning, swim, swimming — Tags: , , , , , — maybe an idealist @ 5:14 am

Leaving the wall is a huge skill for beginning swimmers. It is a literal leap of faith into the unknown. It is also a challenge of coordination and balance. Below is the top and side view of a young swimmer pushing off from the wall. The swimmer starts with two hands and two feet on the wall, goes up, across the water chest first, submerges, frequently pauses to give a “just-in-case” tug to the swimsuit, then gets arms forwards, head down, and remembers to tighten the body into a streamline.

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In contrast, here is the top and side view of a swimmer going from standing to streamline. Note the consistent hand position.

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November 1, 2012

Hand paddles

Filed under: adult swim lessons, beginning, swim — Tags: , , , , — maybe an idealist @ 5:23 pm

Hand paddles are for the upper level lap swimmer, for the serious swimmer, right? What about for someone that needs to start using his or her hands as more than decoration? The cognitive leap from moving the body in a way that looks right, to moving the body by applying force to push or pull oneself through the water in an efficient way as possible is not always intuitive.
With our little ones, there is a time to get them to start using arms. A favorite trick is to put pairs of kids atop 4 or 5 noodles and let them only use arms to move. It helps if it’s enough noodles that they have a raft with feet sticking out and no chance of kicking. In that exercise, not only do they start using their arms to move forwards, but they also practice team work.
For adults, the noodle game doesn’t quite go as well. Instead, we use hand paddles, looped on only over the fingers, and crawl across the pool hands only. Many people struggle to feel the difference between sliding the hand through the water or pulling the hand to move water. A give away sign is when someone goes faster just kicking than kicking and using the arms. When someone can’t seem to figure out how to move the water, we use hand paddles before frustration kicks in and takes over.
A reason to practice sculling, as silly as it sometimes seems, is to develop more of a feel for hands in the water. To feel and know the angles to go through or to move the water can make the difference between decorative and useful arms.

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