View Full Version : Help needed please!!

January 31st, 2011, 08:05 PM
I didn't know where to post this..sorry.
I'm 18yrs old and have been told my body type is dense in water. I have great genetics besides the fact that I'm 5'4, I use to play football up until i started to wrestle in 10th and 11th grades, body build, and now I just run and do calisthenics so I have great endurance.
I'm training for AirForce CCT and I need to be a proficient swimmer before this September. I can't even swim 150m. I do 50m and am out of breathe and my muscles fatigue quickly. I have good technique I think and its most likely the breathing that does me in.
I start off breathing every 5 strokes than tire out to every 3 strokes. I read online that I might take in to much oxygen and not expell all of it which causes a Carbon Dioxide build up over time. After my breath is taken I hold it until after the count of strokes is take then on my turn I exhale all at once like a burst. Am I suppose to exhale immediately, slowly after taking a breath and not inhale more than necesarry?
I need help and my goal is to be able to 1000-2000m nonstop freestyle. I need to be able to do at least 1000m before I can leave for CCT training as Combat Diver and SCUBA school is intense.
Also in the amount of time from now until September, will I be able top go from where I am at to swimming 1000-2000m nonstop?

January 31st, 2011, 08:23 PM
here's a thread about a similar swimmer


you need to learn to swim with ease and get in swim shape
my guess is you're swimming too hard and getting too tired

to swim 2000, you need to swim at about 70% effort

January 31st, 2011, 09:01 PM
Based on your description, it sounds like you hit the nail on the head regarding breathing issues. First, breathe every 2 or 3 strokes. There is no reason to breathe every 5. Most elite swimmers breathe 2 or 3. When you run, you always have access to air. So why limit yourself to every 5 when you are swimming? It just serves to tire you out. Also, you should be exhaling while your head is submerged and inhaling when your head is turned to the side. If you exhale in the same burst that you try to inhale, you won't have enough time to inhale, your rhythm will be off, and you will get tired more quickly.

January 31st, 2011, 09:13 PM
May I ask where you're training? Being a big 'Air Force town', I've encountered a few folks prepping for their various tests in San Antonio.

Seeing as how I am far from being the most skilled swimmer out there, I hesitate to offer much advice other than suggesting that you may want to look into a local swimming club. The help and guidance of a patient coach can do wonders.

FWIW, I went from complete beginner to swimming a 10k in a little over a year (a slow 10k:blush: ). You have plenty of time and I'm sure you'll do fine.

Best of luck!

January 31st, 2011, 10:02 PM
Swimming conditioning is unlike any other form of conditioning. Like Apollo tells Rocky -- you'll be using muscles you never knew you had. I trained as a bodybuilder for a couple of years after an injury booted me from swimming. They are pretty much opposites (short, focused bursts vs. long, smooth, coordinated bursts). Also, even really good runners often struggle in the pool without a lot of swim training.

Most important, I think, is to learn to fully relax. Look up 'streamline' and learn to do it. Take small steps. Once your body learns to relax and swim, you will make gains quickly.

They do the combat controller test where I swim. The instructors try and get the candidates to swim slowly and use all of the time they have instead of going hard. They have to make time and then run afterwards. Most of the kids are not very good swimmers, but they all end up passing eventually. If they could glide off the walls, they'd have an easier time.

As far as breathing, I would try and breathe every other stroke (each right side, for example). Slow your stroke down so that you are swimming to your natural breathing rhythm and not adapting breathing to an unnatural swimming rhythm. Once you get the rhythm, you can play with other combinations.

Being in good shape already, I'd think you could easily train to make the distance by September. Good luck.

January 31st, 2011, 10:20 PM
You need to find a coach. If you don't know where to start, check your local college, the swim coach there can point you in the direction of a good swimmer or coach who would be willing to give you private lessons. I have a friend who has so dramatically changed her stroke with a coach, it is unbelievable. In 6 weeks. And, she was not a poor swimmer to begin with, she completed the Iron Man in Hawaii in October - placed 3rd in her agegroup, I believe. So, go. Get a coach - someone who knows what you're doing & can give good constructive criticism. It's worth it.

January 31st, 2011, 10:26 PM
slowly after taking a breath and not inhale more than necesarry?

This. Exhaling should be a gradual process. You are also correct in the second thought...inhaling should not fill your lungs to max capacity, it should mimic breathing in other strenuous activities. Are you side-breathing?

January 31st, 2011, 11:28 PM
Remember to kick. Kicking is very important to swimming, even distance swimming. It's doesn't need to be extremely hard kicking, but enough of a rythem to keep your body balanced in the water. Try kicking just with a kickboard alone for a while to work on the technique. Your kick should also come from your hips rather than the knees. There is some knee bend, but the entire action is more of a whip-like movement starting at the hips. Flexibility in your ankles helps a lot too.

January 31st, 2011, 11:49 PM
I'm swimming in Miami in a 25m pool. It's empty during the mornings lol so I take advantage. And its kind of depressing cause I can run +6miles in 7-8min. and do an endless amount of calisthenics and weight lifting workouts but when it comes to swimming I go from a stud on land to a dud in the water. I think I have good technique in the water cause I have watched a few TI videos and have practiced techniques. The calmer and more relaxed I am as I swim the length the less strokes and faster I get across but even without working hard I fatigue and feel like I'm not getting the oxygen I need. I have to swim tomorrow for my workout program so I'll see if thats the case. I can ask a local highschool swim coach for help cause swim coaches charge alot per lesson and I don't work since I train all day long (literally) and study afterwards and school at night or do research on swimming and running techniques. But thanks for all these great answers. I rotate my body when taking my breathe. I believe I fatigue due to breathing incorrectly as I'm swim breast stroke and the military's Combat Side Stroke and both those are fairly easy but I lose oxygen quickly as well. And I kick without bending the knees, I glide easily through the water and yes my ankles are flexible as I run great distances and also swim with the military's rocket fins and those are very streneous on the ankles.

Also I can't float...I have relaxed and tried every single thing, going on a full/empty stomaches, taking in oxygen, releasing oxygen, relaxing, tensing up. I sink, quickly. I need to tread water also doing the egg beater kick but it's really hard and it doesn't keep anything afloat even with hands. I know how to rotate each leg and its also like riding a bike backwards but it's extremely difficult. I can stay above water with flutter kicks but I need to learn the egg beater. Any tips on that? I'm a short guy 5'4 weighing 135-145lbs varying often and rock solid, literally. I hear having a certain percent of body fat allows people float and I'm sure I'm below that. Please help again lol. Thank you all by the way.

February 1st, 2011, 07:47 AM
Floating is mostly learning to balance in the water. It's harder if you have very little body fat, but doable. I think you'd be surprised how much a coach could teach you about proper technique and relaxation.

February 1st, 2011, 09:04 AM
Relaxing is definitely key. I'm still amazed at how much easier and stronger my stroke is (and how much more distance I cover expending the same amount of energy) when I can stay relaxed and keep my shoulders loose. I agree with the majority opinion that a good coach can work wonders, but, in the meantime, focus on relaxing and maximizing your distance per stroke - with even, regular breathing. Don't hold your breath, but exhale slowly while you're swimming. That way, when you turn to breathe, you can use the entire time to take IN air - and don't have to exhale first. Good luck, hang in there, and let us know how you're doing!

February 1st, 2011, 10:40 AM
Alright but any help with the egg beater kick? It gets really tiring and no matter how hard I kick I sick. I'm obviously using the wrong technique so are there any tips? I'm going to see if I get help fro a swim coach in about 2weeks but until then can you give tips on the egg beater? I can't do it and need to be able to without my hands.

Also today my workout required me to swim 1mile with fins in less than 30min. I swam for 30 minutes stopping about every 200m and treaded water after words also with the fins for about 2 sets of 1:30min. I tried inhaling less oxygen and breathing out slowly while stroking but every time I rolled to breathe in the bow I took water in and started choking. Also breathing out slowly while swimming is difficult. The pressure is nothing compared to running or any other physical activity and throws me off. But doing it did help a great amount. Although I just need to better the technique and get use to the breathing....I think.

February 1st, 2011, 04:30 PM
It sounds like you are expelling too much air and having to gulp your air in. You should also increase your body roll to ease your air in take. Anyone can swim a mile in 25 minutes at a relaxed pace if your technique is good. I call it easy swimming. Let the forces of the water push you to the surface, don't try to swim above the water. While easy swimming you can finish lower on your thigh than when you are sprinting. Just let it happen. When swimming distance you do not have to overkick this can also be very tiring.

February 1st, 2011, 05:57 PM
When I was learning to swim, I had a breakthrough day when all the pieces came together. I went from struggling to survive 25 yards to being able to swim as far as I wanted.

* Breathe every 2 or 3 armpulls. You can breathe on the left on odd laps, on the right on even laps to learn bilateral breathing but get enough air while beginning. If you focus on exhaling your air underwater, the inhale will take care of itself.
* Relaxing means that you must not tense up body parts that are not assisting in propulsion or body alignment. (Sitting in a chair is tiring if you tense up all your muscles.) The muscles used in recovery aren't the same as those used in propulsion. Relax one set while you use the other.
* Slowing down. You aren't training to see how fast you can go 25 meters. Kicking hard is really tiring.

You have good cardiovascular endurance, but this is all new to your swim muscles. Give them some time.

And floating - yes, having body fat helps a lot. Having big lungs helps a lot. And having good technique to learn how to leverage your natural abilities helps a lot.

Eggbeater kick - I learned that in a synchro swim intramural club in high school. Maybe there are some synchro websites with tips.

February 1st, 2011, 06:18 PM
Thats exactly what I do, gulp in air. Wow you are on good and pretty on point lol.

My next swim workout is Thursday, I'm not going to even bother trying tomorrow (Today I did 3mile run-tried 1mile swim-and another 3mile run....all back to back and the runs were bother under 23mins each) lol.

So I will "easy swim" and calmly work my way across the pool and practice breathing the air not gulping it in.

I found a website strokedocswim.com and the 1-1 private single lesson is $90, is that worth the price? I can't find anything else online.

February 1st, 2011, 07:10 PM
A short video, side view, front view, back view, and or underwater views. I can just imagine what you are doing it would be good to see what you are doing.

I really do not mind TI instruction but I would ask for a guarantee. When I operated my swimming school I had a quarantee on my results. I always gave a free consultation and then guarantee the results of what I could do. If no result free lessons until result was attained.

February 2nd, 2011, 05:18 AM
Giodamus, send me an IM. I used to swim with some CCTs and PJs and can give you insight into the entire process.

February 2nd, 2011, 06:07 AM
Giodamus, I would recommend an in-water coach for a few sessions. People who can help you might be all around you. Park district lifeguards, Y's -- all sorts of places and people. Exhaling comfortably in water and a comfortable floating position will probably be top of the list. Or try www.totalimmersion.net (http://www.totalimmersion.net) for a Total Immersion coach or group lesson in your area.
I think your goal is highly achievable. All types of bodies learn to swim.

February 2nd, 2011, 02:23 PM
I'm planning on getting help from a Total Immersion coach in my area for a one hour lesson at the price of $90. Expensive but it seems worth it since its TI and 1-1 coaching.

A free lesson?! WHAT?! I should mention this to this TI coach.

February 2nd, 2011, 02:36 PM
$90 seems rather expensive. Maybe you should ask the lifeguard where you swim if they ever give lessons or know anyone who does. Or contact some of the masters coaches in the area for private lessons or referrals.

February 2nd, 2011, 03:32 PM
Your local recreation dept probably offers lessons 10 lessons for $100. I prefer group lessons because a 1 hr private lesson it is hard to learn everything during one visit. I used to teach individual lessons by the half hour so the client does not become overloaded.

February 2nd, 2011, 04:05 PM
I think that to be able to swim that far, starting with zero experience, you need to realize that strength is only part of it. Technique will be important so you maximize your efficiency and psychology is part of it.

While you seem to be in good shape now you'll still have to develop muscles that have not been conditioned. I suggest you google some youtube videos and maybe watch some proficient swimmers at your pool to learn how to swim correctly. The biggest mistakes you might be making are
1) Not kicking (believe it or not people focus too much on their arms and forget to kick)
2) Not swimming in a hydrodynamic fashion (keep your head down, facing the bottom of the pool, both your hands should enter the water in front of you, not way off to the sides, strokes should maximize surface area pulling on the water)
3) Swimming flat (your body should rotate on an axis going down the middle of your body)

Mentally, you also just need to be comfortable in the water. A lot of people get in the water and swim as hard and fast as they can and are stressed out. You need to relax, go easy, and work your way up from there. If you can feel relaxed when you swim you'll go further.

Best of Luck!!

This might help you on getting your distance up(0-1650 yards training)

February 3rd, 2011, 10:51 AM
1) Not kicking (believe it or not people focus too much on their arms and forget to kick)
2) Not swimming in a hydrodynamic fashion (keep your head down, facing the bottom of the pool, both your hands should enter the water in front of you, not way off to the sides, strokes should maximize surface area pulling on the water)
3) Swimming flat (your body should rotate on an axis going down the middle of your body)

I do kick and and then streamline a little so I don't use much energy. And actually doing this rather than kicking nonstop gets me across the water a little quicker (timed) and I'm not as tired.

I look at the bottom of the pool. I've hit my head the first couple of times lol.

Swimming flat? Idk what that feels like. I mean I'm pretty comfortable but like I mentioned I tire out quickly. And yes I'm still taking this all into consideration so thanks again for the replies.

February 3rd, 2011, 03:07 PM
Ignore my post right before this. Today I had an intense lower body workout and afterwords swimming.

My swimming workout was:
200m warmup
500m combat sidestroke (CSS)
500m CSS w/fins
200m cooldown

I completed every single swim without pausing once during one of those swims. The break time I took in between the sets was 20-30secs. And this is not a lie. I promise you that. I am very excited and being optimistic when it came to the water wasn't on my list but I'm pretty sure with much practice the goal will be achieved.

I need to thank all of you who have given me tips and replied to my posts. I felt at home in the water for the first time. Not only did I do the 500CSS without fins but I did it in less than 8min and yes I timed it. I felt like a Mako Shark moving through the water. It felt as though my body was made to streamline and move through the water with no drag.
On my last 25m in the cooldown my muscles started to fatigue, but barely.

Thank you all. After practicing by myself for a whiule and doing the research and you all giving me tips I was able to bring my pieces together.

From the swimming I was able to do today, by September I hope to do much more than what my previous goal was. Now I have Running, PT, and Swimming.

I will continue to practice and continue looking through these forums for more tips.

February 6th, 2011, 05:57 AM
Congrats! Sounds like you're on your way. Good luck!