View Full Version : new swimmner(sort of) need advice

October 23rd, 2007, 09:37 AM
Hello! This is my first post. I have started swimming more lately because I need a layoff from running to let some injuiries heal.

I swam as a kid and some as an adult but I am now interested in getting better and swimming longer as cross training.

Here are some questions:

1) Is my back hurting due to bad form or have I simply ramped up pool time too quickly? I have been swimming for about 3-4 weeks and now swim 45-60 minutes at a time.:dunno: I'm in good shape so I don't get tired that quickly but maybe my body needs to get accustomed to swimming?

2) are there any earplugs that really work? I've tried two pairs. One was a wax like thing that didn't stay in long. The other is a rubber thing with a long handle - it's better but doesn't keep all the water out

3) I try to beathe every 4 strokes. Is this good? It gets harder after about 15-20 laps and have to go to every 2 strokes occasionally

Thanks, I'd love any advice you can offer for newbies

October 23rd, 2007, 09:46 AM
With regards to breathing, every 4 strokes is a good interval. Are you exhaling while your head is underwater or are you exhaling while you are trying to take in air?


October 23rd, 2007, 09:50 AM
I exhale underwater most of the time. Is that best?

October 23rd, 2007, 10:01 AM
I can help out with the earplug advice. You want to get a plug that looks like the one in the attached pic. Not necessarily that brand but just something that approximates it. You might have to try one or two brands before you find the best one. Some are stiffer than others. You don't want rigid ones. The more pliable the better. Then you need to buy yourself a tub of Vaseline (Petroleum Jelly). Dip the plug into the Vaseline making sure to get some into the spaces between the ribs. Remove excess Vaseline from the very tip of the plug. You don't want this getting onto your eardrum. Insert into your ear with a twisting motion (like you were screwing it into your ear). Naturally you don't want it in that deep that it touches your eardrum. When it is in deep enough pull it out very gently until you can feel the suction in your ear. This will ensure it is watertight. (This last step is very important. Omit it and they won't work).

Trust me this works. I can't go into the water without a plug in my right ear without getting an infection. I have been using this method for the last six months or so and not even a hint of an infection.


October 23rd, 2007, 10:15 AM
Thanks, Those are actually the type of plugs I haev, I'll try your method tomorrow am!

October 23rd, 2007, 10:16 AM
You didn't say what part of your back hurt, so it's hard to tell what's going on, but I wonder if you're "twisting" more than "rotating" when you stroke. I'm relatively new to swimming as well, and one of the things I had to do to keep my upper back from hurting was to learn to breathe bilaterally, so ever 3 or 5 rather than 2 or 4. It was hard to learn but it did help even out my stroke. Search "bilateral breathing" for some suggestions to get started on this.

Exhaling under water is good. :-)

If Syd's earplug suggestion doesn't work out for you, you can try my trick, which is to take a swim cap and cut off the top to make a "head band". Pull that down over your ears and then pull your regular cap on top (of course, if your regular cap pulls down over your ears already, you're golden...I have a big head).

Good luck!

October 23rd, 2007, 10:19 AM
Any advice on back pain?

October 23rd, 2007, 10:32 AM
badnees. Just getting started, we will all mention technique. I will just mention a couple of things which may help. Breathing every 4 strokes ok for a short swim I breathe once every stroke cycle and on the left although at tmes I will swim as many as 8 strokes without a breath. Make sure you reach forward as the hand enters but don't twist the body. Let the hand drop to the catch then exert some pressure on the water. Don't let the elbow drop during the catch phase. Be sure and finish your stroke by toucing your thigh. Roll the hand out cleanly get the elbow high. Your shoulders must clear the water on each stroke. When you hand enters don't slap the water.

Ease off on the stroke and get in condition for swimming. You are using muscles that you have not used before.

October 23rd, 2007, 10:51 AM
Hey there

I started swimming Sept 7th and my left ear really bothered me. I tried all sorts of earplugs. I buught these ones and really like them. My ear still bugs me but 80% less than it did.


Maybe these will help you. You dont use an entire one in your ear. You kind of take of a chunk and get it the size you want.