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Johnathon
November 2nd, 2004, 05:04 PM
Hello everyone - I am new to this group. I have been swimming freestyle for several years now and really enjoy it. I have worked hard at perfecting my stroke. I know what I should be doing and try hard to put it into practice. I have definitely become a stronger swimmer. I have a condition called "pectus excavatum". It makes my chest look a bit goofy with a depression in the centre and oversised lower ribs (called flared ribs). Some of you may have noticed that Peter van den hoogenband has it. I have read some articles that it can reduce your lung capacity. When swimming freestyle I have to stop for several minutes every 50 metres and was wondering whether this could be caused by my condition. Has anyone had any experience with this?

Regards Johnathon:confused:

scyfreestyler
November 2nd, 2004, 07:26 PM
I have a somewhat minor case of PE, meaning that some don't notice it and others do. I have never seen a picture of Hoogie so I can't compare mine to his.

Johnathon
November 2nd, 2004, 07:49 PM
Thanks for your reply 330man. There is a picture of Hoogie at the following link http://www.geocities.com/pietervdh2000/pose35.jpg
I would say my p.e. is more severe than his.
As your pectus escavatum is minor I guess you dont' consider it has any impact on your swimming ability?
Regards - Johnathnon

scyfreestyler
November 2nd, 2004, 09:51 PM
When I started swimming back in August I could not travel more than 50 yards in a 25 yard pool without feeling winded. After that first 50 I would need a breather after every 25. My heartrate was up around 160 after swimmng over 100 yards so I saw my cardiologist. He said more than likely I was just out of shape and that I should keep pumping along and watching my heartrate. 220 minus your age is the maximum, 190 is my max. Since then I have worked my way up to swimming 800 yards in 18-20 minutes and 1750 in under an hour. I suggest that you keep plugging along and you will probably surprise yourself with you capability. I have seen writeups from people online that have had PE reversal surgery and the majority do not notice any newfound athletic ability. Give it some time would be my guess. I think the reason most people have the procedure is for cosmetic reasons. I figure that if I can swim and swim well with PE that is better than somebody who can swim well without PE. Be proud of the body you have and don't let others opinions affect you. I know I have gone off in left field here but I think you catch my drift. BTW, I would say that my PE is similar to Hoogie's but it is difficult to tell with a 2 dimensional picture from the front. Not much worse and not much better.

scyfreestyler
November 2nd, 2004, 09:55 PM
I just noticed that you have been swimming for "years". Assuming that your breathing technique is good and you swim a few times a week I can't think of why you would not be able to swim more than 50 Meters. How often do you breathe? I breathe on every left recovery and am working on becoming more bilaterral. As far as frequency of swimming, I usually swim about 5 to 6 times a week for about an hour each time. On weekends I will stay at least an hour and swim a mile or more.

Johnathon
November 2nd, 2004, 10:22 PM
Thank you again for taking to the time to provide your advice, 330man. You touched on the psychological and the physical.

To respond on the psychological: -

I donít let my PE prevent me from doing anything. I have read many articles by men explaining that they avoid sports which require them to be shirtless. I can understand this and while I donít willingly parade my chest around, I accept they way I look and am really proud and pleased with what I have achieved in the pool.

To respond on the physical: -

In the Summer I swim every second to third day as I have a pool at home. Admittedly it is only 10 metres but I figure that is better than nothing. I swim in the 50 metre public pool once a week summer and winter. I usually swim for about one hour.
I commence swimming breathing every four strokes, then bring it back to a bilateral three and then two once I become fatigued. I normally swim a kilometre.
I have focused on freestyle but am now trying to swim backstroke so I can I can mix things up a bit and reduce the strain on my shoulders. Iíll be happy when I can stay straight.
Keep fit - Johnathon

scyfreestyler
November 2nd, 2004, 10:28 PM
I am far from a pro but you might try breathing every other stroke from the start to avoid getting so fatigued in the first place. Once your muscles become deprived of oxygen it will take some time for them to recover. Don't let them get there is what I am saying. I think any pro will tell you that you should breathe as often as is neccesary. Most coaches I have heard say that you should breathe every other stroke while flying, Phelps breathes every stroke because he feels he need the oxygen. Now what coach is going to go tell him he does not know how to fly? Moral of the story: Breathe when your body needs you to breathe.

Johnathon
November 2nd, 2004, 10:40 PM
Will do. You may be far from a pro but it is good to get your feedback. Regards - Johnathon.

scyfreestyler
November 2nd, 2004, 10:48 PM
No problem. Glad I could help.

Maryyyyyy
November 3rd, 2004, 04:45 AM
Hi Jonathan,

Just want to say I agree with 330man. Breath when you need to breath, and don't push it. No need to.
Especially at the beginning of your workout, breath regularly in order to oxygenate your body for the rest of the workout. In the middle set, if you want to, you might work your breathing harder with alternate (every 3-stroke) breathing.
I'd like to suggest you do some breathing exersizes before swimming. If you don't already know these, you'll have to get instruction. I'm talking about yoga or relaxation type breathing which will help you use your lungs to their fullest capacity. Just be careful not to hyperventilate!
Have fun!
Mary

Johnathon
November 3rd, 2004, 04:28 PM
Thanks Mary - I really appreciate your suggestions. This e-community offers great encouragement and support. Regards Johnathon.

jim thornton
November 6th, 2004, 10:00 PM
Jonathan,

I interviewed various exercise physiologists several years ago for an article on getting in the best shape of your life. One of my questions was how you could increase your so-called "vital capacity"--i.e., how much oxygen your lungs can take in. To my surprise, the consensus answer I got was A) there's not much you can do--your lung capacity is your lung capacity, and you can't grow it any greater, and B) even so, this doesn't really matter--because the limiting factor is almost always not how much oxygen your lungs take in, but how much oxygen your muscles uptake from the blood stream. Training can make a huge difference in the latter; there have been Olympians and other elite atheltes with only one lung who have performed superby.

My advice: forget about your chest concavity; in all likelihood, your lungs are taking in more than enough oxygen. With progressively greater work, your muscles, capillaries, hemoglobin, blood volume, etc. will all gradually adapt so that your system will be able to better use the oxygen you are taking in.

Bottom line: I am virtually positive the p.e. business is a red herring here, so to speak. Just keep working out and give your physiology a chance to adapt. I have a teammate with p.e., and it hasn't affected his swimming negatively at all. Evidentally, the same can be said for the Dutchman.

Johnathon
November 7th, 2004, 04:51 PM
Thanks Jim Ė It has taken me a long time to find anyone who can offer some informed advice on swimming with p.e. I am pleased that the advice I am getting is positive. I will forget about the condition and focus on technique. It is also great to hear from swimmers with p.e. or who have friends who have it and that it has not affected their swimming ability. My enthusiasm is renewed.
Regards Johnathon.

The Arm
November 9th, 2004, 09:29 AM
I have P.E. and it is a more severe case but has never limited me in any way other than keeping my vanity in check. One thing that I would advise you do is check with your physician about a specific heart risk called Mitral Valve Prolapse that is common in people with P.E. I had heard of this condition in the past but shrugged it off due to my being in fairly good condition. My sister recently talked with a close friend who lost a friend to this condition. Apparently it is treatable but doctors need to look for it specifically. Check the link I posted below, it is very enlightening and I think you will find it most helpful. Please share it with others.

The Arm
http://www.ctds.info/pectus_excavatum_faq.html

scyfreestyler
November 9th, 2004, 11:58 AM
Originally posted by The Arm
I have P.E. and it is a more severe case but has never limited me in any way other than keeping my vanity in check. One thing that I would advise you do is check with your physician about a specific heart risk called Mitral Valve Prolapse that is common in people with P.E. I had heard of this condition in the past but shrugged it off due to my being in fairly good condition. My sister recently talked with a close friend who lost a friend to this condition. Apparently it is treatable but doctors need to look for it specifically. Check the link I posted below, it is very enlightening and I think you will find it most helpful. Please share it with others.

The Arm
http://www.ctds.info/pectus_excavatum_faq.html My cardiologist tells me I have the symptoms of MVP. Pectus, heart palpitations, shortness of breath. However, he does not feel that anything needs to be done at this time. My palpitations have reduced in frequency since I started swimming but it has only been three months so it could be a fluke. The real danger with MVP lies in the heart getting infected. The mitral valve does not seal correctly and could allow contaminated blood to enter the heart and cause an infection. If you go to the dentist and tell them you have MVP they will freak out, trust me on this one!! Diagnosed MVP patients typically have a standing scrip of antibiotics for dental visits. Bleeding in the mouth can allow bacteria into the bloodstream possibly allowing an infection to occur in the heart. This thread is starting to resemble something from JAMA and not Masters swimming!!

The Arm
November 9th, 2004, 11:03 PM
So what if this resembles a JAMA thread? I think that this is a great thread and it is nice to hear from other people with P.E. I know that when I competed in high school I was the only one I ever saw with this cndition and I got a lot of teasing in the early years of HS. I was so excited when I discovered that Hoagie had this condition, he's one of the "Hydrodynamically" designed swimmers like the rest of us. How about T-shirts and bumper stickers, "Hydrodynamics, it's all in the chest!"
Maybe this thread is resembling a JAMA thread, but the original question was how this condition affected his swimming and breathing. I simply tried to supply some helpful info relative to this question and feel that I did just that.

Johnathon
November 9th, 2004, 11:12 PM
To The Arm - I have had a look at the web link you posted and it has a lot of good information on pectus excavatum. Thanks - I will share it around. Other than the odd bone structure I donít have any other side effects.
To The Arm & 330man - I am just pleased to hear of other swimmers who have not allowed the condition to prevent them from swimming either on a psychological or physical level. I once read an article on Hoogenband which suggested it may have actually allowed him to swim better. I have just finished reading Total Immersion by Terry Laughlin and was encouraged to learn that he attributes some 70% of swimming ability to technique and 30% to fitness. I plan to start the drills he suggests tonight. Thanks swimmers for your input.
Regards John.

scyfreestyler
November 9th, 2004, 11:30 PM
Don't get me wrong, I think this "JAMA" type thread is great!! I was just making a joke. The more these things are discussed the better for everybody. It has obviously helped Johnathan so it was certainly worthwhile to spend time at the keyboard posting.