View Full Version : Beginner Q's - Distance and Relaxing

October 13th, 2008, 11:11 PM
Quick intro - I just turned 40 and decided to finally learn how to swim. I took lessons when I was 10 but never got comfortable (being the slowest learner in class didn't help!). I got frustrated and have spent little time near the water since then. I have taken 8 group lessons at the local natatorium and have been making what seems to be sporadic progress. My biggest struggle on the freestyle has been my breathing and sucking in water (see my other post) - slowly (and I mean SLOWLY) improving on that.

I want to set high but realistic goals for progress...So I'm curious what is typical for other beginners.

Can most people swim a length of the pool shortly after beginning? I can swim about 3/4 of a length freestyle (I assume it is 25 yd pool) and then I feel gassed (either tired or sucked in too much water). I can swim a complete lap doing backstroke (breathing doesn't enter in). My athletic ability varies greatly - I can barely run 0.5 mile but I can hop on a bike and ride 30+ mi at 15mph or get on an elliptical for 30-45min at a pretty good pace.

The second part to my question - I know that a lot of my problem is relaxing and feeling comfortable in the water. My instructor was laughing at me the other day - I look like I'm in a sprint! Are there techniques or tips that others have used to force themselves to SLOW down and to relax in the pool? Or will this all come with time and practice?


October 14th, 2008, 07:50 PM
When I teach, I have the students start with bobs. Up and down slowly in the shallow end. This helps to calm people down and get them used to aquatic breathing.
after bobbing, we do gliding. Then we go to kicking, and so on, slowly. Windmilling arms and thrashing legs while trying to figure out when to breathe is tiring. This is what many beginners do.
I suggest:
Slow everything down. Swim shorter distances. start at the halfway mark and swim to the shallow end. Break your stroke down.