Top Tips: Learn how to tumble like a pro!

During a recent conversation with a friend who was doing a pool swim for charity, it came up that he could not do tumble turns. The challenge involved 4 length sprints and he was a little dismayed about the time he was losing by having to stop after every length to touch the wall, turn around and push off. So I thought it would be a great advantage for him to learn to tumble turn as not only will this give him a great advantage speed wise but will also help improve his feel for the water.

Here are 5 step by step practices that I put together for him to master his tumble turns in time for his next swim:

1. It’s all about the nose! Blowing out through the nose is the only way to prevent water getting up it without wearing a nose clip. Practice steady, rhythmical breathing, bobbing up to take a breath and then submerging to blow out through your nose.

Tip: If you struggle with blowing out through your nose practice your loudest humming underwater until it becomes second nature.

2. Get used to going upside down. Tumble turns can be a bit disorientating if you are not used to them so have some fun and practice handstands, tucking your chin in and bowing out through your nose. Once you’re confident enough let your legs flip over until you are floating on your back or standing.

Tip: Take a deep breath and remember to keep blowing out through your nose until you finish the movement.

3. Get some speed. Practice pushing off the wall into a handstand and flip over or if you’re feeling confident, a summersault.

Tip: Turn your palms to face forwards and use them to accelerate your upper body round, keep your chin tucked in and let your legs flip over your body.

4. The turning point. Determine the best distance from the wall for your turn. Try swimming up to the wall, rolling over and standing up; see how close to the wall you can actually get. Aim to finish horizontal after the roll over with your feet planted on the wall.

Tip: Experiment to find a comfortable distance.

5. The final push. Practice spending as little time as you can with your feet in contact with the wall. Once they are planted drive with your thighs as though you were jumping. Don’t waste time turning onto your front before pushing off, push off on you back if necessary in a streamlined shape and gradually roll over.

With practice you’ll soon be knocking seconds off your times and leading the field and once you are why not try a challenge or charity swim of your own?

Make the most out of your floating ability in swimming with these Top Tips!

Welcome to Swimming Nature’s first Blog of 2014!

After my first swim of the New Year I was approached by a club member who had been watching me and wondered if I could give him a few technique tips. His dilemma was that, due to a shoulder injury, he couldn’t do his usual weight sessions in the gym so he wanted to try to improve his swimming as part of his recovery and to maintain fitness. The main thing putting him off was that every time he tried to swim he sank like a lead weight!

Myth #3 The sinker

It takes time to adapt to the aquatic environment and learn to work with water, as opposed to thrashing your way through it. Swimmers often call this developing ‘feel’ for the water. Swimming is also a resistance exercise, similar to weight lifting, but places almost no stress on your joints and bones. So not only does swimming work your muscles but it doesn’t have some of the negative impacts that lifting weights can have.

Having worked with numerous Adult swimmers and multi sport athletes who struggle with this concept, one thought always enters my mind when people say they can’t float, Relax!
Don’t fight the water, learn to relax and let it do most of the work for you.

I explained to the guy that because body type has a lot to do with your buoyancy most world class swimmers could be classified as “sinkers” because they are leaner, muscly individuals, which makes them less buoyant. But it really doesn’t matter; anyone can be a good swimmer, or even just a floater.

Buoyancy is best achieved by relaxing, controlled breathing and adopting a body position that will allow you to take full advantage of the waters properties. Everyone can float but some people need more time and practice getting used to their natural position in the water and learning how to control it. Raising the arms closer to the head helps to redistribute the weight and is a better floating position than the common ‘T’ shape. Slow, gentle kicking will also help as it raises the legs closer to the surface of the water. So I advised him to try this on his own but also it’s worth looking into some lessons to help get him started.

What aspects of you swimming are you struggling to get to grips with in 2014?

Is your Swimming up to speed?

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?

Happy holidays!

Fact or fiction: Common swimming myths debunked

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!

Kick start your swimming!

 

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!

A pool full of swimming news, articles and tips.