View Full Version : Allow myself to introduce... And a chat about fins

March 7th, 2011, 09:47 PM
Hello - I'm Mike. I've been here before a couple years ago when I thought I was on the track to getting in shape and picking up a new lifestyle of swimming. Until I dropped it (some injuries/discomfort, family and job changes, etc.).... Well I'm back and hoping to be more active here which in turn I hope is one more way to keep me more active in the pool... I'm 32, have a few kids 5 and under, and work slouched over a computer 10 hours a day which does wonders for my kyphotic back (bone deformity causes a forward rounding/barrel chest/bad posture already)... Oh that and the 30-40pounds I could always get rid of.

I have been blessed with "swimmer's ankles" so every time I try and pick up running I do a number on my flexible ankles or arches. Plus running is boring (no flip turns, floating, underwater dolphin kicking for fun, etc.) and spends too much time on that harsh dry ground.

I never swam competitively (though seeing how much I enjoy it I wish I had when I was a kid). I always was the last on out of the pool when a kid. No professional lessons but my masters coach tells me I have a good stroke and great kicks on the freestyle. Trying to get a better flat hand entry and all that good stuff with drills as my shoulders are prone to pains as a result of my posture and back issues.

So I've been back to swimming for a couple weeks or so now. That and eating better. Already dropped about five pounds and am able to stick with a masters workout (though a bit modified with a few more rests here or there) for the 1700-2200 range. More form and dumb determination than endurance, strength or cardiovascular conditioning so I get the crap kicked out of me each time (in a good way.) Just started trying to do the fly last week and feeling a bit of the rhythm but you'd still laugh at me, I think. Man is that a tiring stroke for me. After 100 I can barely recover the left arm at the same time and direction as the right! :-)

Anyway.. About the Fins... At the Masters workouts everyone has fins for the kick drills. Not me, never had a pair. I was keeping up with some and almost keeping up with the rest but the instructor mentioned fins can be good. She said she wishes folks wouldn't use them so much and may direct less fins on future workouts but said a pair would help with leg strengthening, cardiovascular workout and conditioning. I bought a pair of those speedo optimus fins (and a pair of non wal-mart goggles with a simple speedo vanquisher pair.. what a difference). Finally tried the fins tonight on a solo workout. My reaction to what it is like using fins?

Holy Crap! I kept the same rate (I'm a fast kicker on kick drills... At least a 6 count ;-) ) and intensity (as high a splash as I can on kick drills.. not sure if that is right but I am going for a workout and to challenge myself). The "wake" in front of me made me feel like I was lying on the bow of a boat instead of a kickboard. It is a SCY pool I swim at. I felt like I was cheating when I did my first 50 freestyle kick drill with fins. Unless I misread the clock I did the 50 in less than 40 seconds. That cheating feeling went away quick though... I realized my legs were burning "better" than they ever had during a kick drill and I was huffing away with my heart rate up a lot more than it had been. It is almost like the ease of propulsion tricked me into sprinting well into the aerobic, maybe anaerobic range and I had one of the best kick workouts I've had in a long time tonight playing with the new fins. Of course the kicks I did without them felt funny at first but all in all, I think they will make a great tool (though my breast stroke kicks were awkward and slower with the fins.. then again I need more work there also). The fins also helped me focus better on the stroke in the fly and I really felt like I had the right dolphin kick motions, undulation and stroke combined for the first time so maybe they'll help me (occasionally using them) get used to the right form.

My goal on this journey back into getting in shape isn't to just lose weight. It is to change my lifestyle and health and keep up with the kiddos. I always want to try some competitions this summer if I haven't started training too late. I'd even really like to try some distance swims late summer if I can build up enough endurance by then. For some sick reason I've always had my heart set on someday doing a multi mile swim, maybe we'll start smaller this year and see where I can go next summer.

March 8th, 2011, 01:53 PM
Hi Mike...you seem to fall into the category of swimmer that just can make magic happen with a pair of fins. My leg power and kicking are so inefficient that I avoid kick sets like a plague...

I will highly encourage you in your quest to stay in shape and swim regularly. As someone who has swam for many years, I can tell you that its hard to stick with workouts unless you just integrate swimming into your routine. There is no way out of it...swimming fast (and staying in shape) requires consistency.

I have what I consider to be the "1=3" rule...1 week off and you lose 3 weeks of gain. A couple months can quickly seem like you have been out a year; I have a 6 month old daughter right now and was pretty much out of the water for half a year (even as the dad, a baby can keep you on your toes). I will tell you its painful getting back at it...

March 8th, 2011, 02:18 PM
If I were sure I'd never compete again, I'd keep my fins on forever and do backstroke non-stop. My idea of heaven.

But....I love to compete so lately I have been doing MORE WITHOUT my fins than with them. (I had been feeling like my brain was forgetting what it felt like to swim without them. I was in slow-mo without them.) But am now fine after a month of limiting my fin use. And it is a TREAT to put them on now. (Plus you DO get a great leg workout with them.)

Allen Stark
March 13th, 2011, 06:53 PM
(though my breast stroke kicks were awkward and slower with the fins.. then again I need more work there also).

I'd recommend against BR kick with regular fins(fins especially made for BR are OK.) It is a good way to hurt your knees as well as mess up your timing.BR pull with dolphin kick with fins,on the other hand is a very good drill to work on timing and undulation.