Is your swimming up to speed? Find out how to swim like a pro as the 2nd of our myth busting blogs tackles the S shaped pull.
Today I went off to enjoy my regular swim at the local pool and quickly clocked a second common swimming myth that has been passed down by swimmers and even some teachers over the decades. The dreaded ‘S-shaped Pull’!
Myth #2 Frontcrawl pull should be an S shape
It all started in the 1970s when ex-Olympian and US coach JE Counsilman, an innovator in the sport conceived the ‘S-pull’. The technique is typically characterised by a thumb first entry at the front of their stroke, sweeping outwards, back in and then finally sweeping out again by the thigh and was thought to be the optimum path for the hand to follow in front crawl to produce propulsion.
I have to admit I was slightly mesmerised whilst watching this strange ineffectual technique and wondering why it was still in use and more shockingly, why it was still being taught! You may well have heard of this technique and even be trying to follow it yourself. If so, the main issue here is that the effectiveness of the S-shaped pull was disproved in the 1980s as it was only based on limited analysis of front crawl technique. It’s fundamentally flawed because it didn’t take account the roll of the body when swimming the stroke. So unless you have the physique of Sponge Bob Square Pants this technique and thinking are totally defunct. Not only can it lead to other technique errors developing but can increase the chances of shoulder injury too. So if you feel like you’re putting in a lot of effort into your front crawl pull and not getting very far it’s probably down to incorrect technique.
These days all great swimmers enter with a flat, relaxed hand, catch and pull the water straight back behind them as they rotate. It’s faster and has a much reduced risk of shoulder injury. I enjoy watching the swims of top swimmers like Mark Foster or Michael Phelps on youtube to see how they do it… purely for technique purposes of course!
Get in touch and tell us what aspect of swimming or stroke technique you struggle with?
Myth #1 “Swimming is not good for people with asthma”
Whilst recently talking to one of our team member’s about why she doesn’t swim very often I realised that like many people she was put off by the various ‘swimming myths’ that are still around today. In an attempt to help her overcome these hurdles and realise the benefits of a regular dip I set out to see what common myths were out there and do some myth busting.
The first common myth that popped up this week when I asked some of our team members if they fancied joining me for a swim was asthma. Of course it could have just been an excuse but that only made me more determined to debunk this particular swimming myth. So if like them you thought that having Asthma was a reason not to go swimming you might want to think again!
According to the NHS, 5.4 million people in the UK are currently receiving treatment for asthma. That is 1 in 12 adults and 1 in 11 children. Although physical exercise such as swimming can be a trigger for many people with asthma, being fit can actually reduce the frequency of exercise induced asthma.
The fact is that a healthy lifestyle and keeping fit are important factors in managing asthma effectively. Swimming can be one of the best forms of exercise to help keep your asthma under control because whist in the pool environment you are breathing in warm, moist air rather than the cold, dry air that can lead to symptoms. Make sure you do a good warm up at the beginning of your session as this will also help prevent asthma symptoms during your swim. Regular swimming training can also increase the volume of the lungs and help you to develop better breathing techniques, as well as improved muscle tone and general fitness.
Swimming is still one of the best forms of exercise for people with asthma but as with any medical condition it’s always worth speaking to your Dr. if have not swum regularly before or suffer from symptoms during exercise.
Expectations are then that more Swimming Nature team members will be joining me on my next swim albeit with inhalers to hand should they need it.
I know that there are many more myths out there so get in touch and let us know what’s stopping you from taking the plunge or taking the fun out of your swim session. Keep an eye on the Swimming Nature Blog and we’ll help to bust your swimming myth!
With Christmas fast approaching nipping down to your local pool for a dip is probably the last thing on your mind but Autumn and Winter are an ideal time to start training for that summer Triathlon or getting a head start on your New Year’s fitness resolutions.
I am always pleasantly surprised to find my local pool much quieter at this time of year giving me the freedom to cruise along without any collisions or near misses with fellow swimmers. It also means that if you’re a bit more nervous about trying to make a start or improving your swimming you’ll have a more peaceful environment to practice in.
For many who are contemplating learning to swim the biggest step is the first one, just ask Johanna Derry from the Guardian who decided to take a lesson with Swimming Nature’s MD, Eduardo Ferré.
So, whether you only know head up breaststroke or like Johanna are always getting water up your nose and end up drinking the contents of the pool, lessons can help to give you the confidence boost you need to get your swimming under way. It is never too late to learn to swim so take the plunge!
As part of our exciting re-launch of our website, we have also created our very own blog.
Stay tuned for new articles, including tips and tricks on how to improve your swimming ability.
The Swimming Nature Team