View Full Version : Newbie - back after 30years out of the pool

August 14th, 2013, 02:13 PM
I’m an ex-swimmer returning to the water after more than 30 years out of the pool. I stopped swimming in 1982 at 17 years of age and never went back to it until just 10 weeks ago. I’m currently an expat in Lima, Peru and swimming in a Masters club close to where I live.
Why did I return? Well a number of reasons but predominantly to try and rehab an injured shoulder that was giving me grief. The shoulder was damaged in a moment of over-exuberance shortly after having bought my son his first skateboard and wanting to impress him with my abilities. One hospital visit and 2 operations later, I have officially retired from skateboarding …. but come out of retirement in swimming!!

Having been away for so long I have noticed several things have changed since I was swimming last and I’m not just talking about the obvious things like my “love-handles”, “man-boobs” or “one-pack”. Here’s a list of things I’ve noticed:

There’s so many more gadgets now. When I was swimming last we had kick boards, pull buoys, paddles and stretch chords if you were “elite”. Now there are various types of paddles and flippers, gadgets to aid hand position, snorkles, pointy kickboards. It’s all very exciting for a gadget person like me.
Backstroke turns, you can now flip to your front and tumble turn – a change for the better IMO. Although I was a backstroker and have found keeping the water out of my nose impossible in these new turns. I cannot wear a nose plug as I’m more than a little claustrophobic and it makes me panic if I feel I can’t breathe freely.
The focus on body rotation is something new for me. (I get this from youtube – not so much my coach here in Peru). Especially in freestyle. It has taken some getting used to although I think most people do it naturally when swimming relaxed – for me the tendency was to “square-up” when all tensed up trying to sprint.
Swim costumes – I have a couple of black speedo briefs that I wear that are more than 10 years old but still in good condition as I never used them. BUT everyone seems to be using jammers here in Peru for training and some use technical suits for competitions. I’ve taken the plunge and ordered some online and hope to use them only in a competition (given the price they’re not exactly everyday attire). Not sure if I should try these in training before the competition or not. Any advice?
Athletics like starts off the now enormous starting blocks. After some adjusting I like these. The first few times I ended up twisting in mid air because the one foot take off was torqueing my body around but this is all sorted now. The old method with toes of both feet curled over the edge of the block and weight balanced precariously over the edge was much more prone to false starts. This is definitely another improvement.

I’m still enjoying the swimming and the improvement over the 10 weeks has been great (as you’d expect coming off a low base). Any help on the claustrophobia thing would be appreciated. It’s hindering my training a bit as I get a little anxious when in oxygen debit so pushing in training has been difficult.
Thanks All :banana:


August 14th, 2013, 05:48 PM
I will agree with you that jammers are the suit of choice. Technically, no one should be using any other type "tech suit" in competition now...beyond fancy jammers. So don't feel out of place...I am 29 but still feel most at home in a "brief" suit.

As far as breathing I don't have any real great ideas. The more your conditioning improved the less starved for oxygen you will feel in normal practices I am certain. If nothing else, get as many breaths and oxygen in as you feel you need. It is, after all, a pretty essential element :)

August 15th, 2013, 11:05 AM
It is best to not to wear your competition jammer at practice as they have a limited life. Some people don't even warm down after their race in them, they change first. In Canada most masters I have seen train with the briefs but wear jammers for meets.

August 15th, 2013, 12:21 PM
I haven't been able to master the noseclip (I don't think I have an abnormally shaped nose but darned if I can get one to fit) but I have managed to keep water out of my sinuses on backstroke turns with a combination of exhaling out my nose and scrunching my upper lip up in what I am sure is a most attractive position to block my nose. I found that my ability to do this increased as my cardiovascular endurance did, as well as with practice.

August 15th, 2013, 01:00 PM
Welcome back !!!! You will adjust soon to all the "new" stuff. Just have fun in coming back!

August 15th, 2013, 02:38 PM
Thanks everyone.
Arthur, the jammer I have bought is a high end job so you're spot on - no training session for this baby, but I'm a little worried about using anything for the first time in a race. Maybe trying it on at home in the bedroom will give me more confidence about it.
ekw - thanks for the suggestion. I will try the face scrunch. I assume it means you don't have to exhale as fast and therefore can stay underwater longer. I'll let you know how it goes.