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Thread: No propulsion from kicking newbie

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    South Padre Island

    No propulsion from kicking newbie

    Hello I am a water rescue technician / paramedic / friefighter in South Padre island. I nned to pass a 1000 meter in 20 min test soon to continue as water rescue. I have been swimming around 4 years and my form is terrible.

    Can anyone give me advice for lessons or a place to start practicing my legs?

    I have been swimming 1000 meters every day and one problem is I feel so sick from the chlorine in the pool that I swim in. My choices for places to swim are extremely limited right now. Does anyone know how I can build my endurance outside of the pool and away from the chlorine?

    Can I practice running with an oxygen depervation mask to build my RBC or H&H for swimming and also avoid the chlorine?

    My best 1000 is 22 min but since I feel sick with my sinuses and nose burning from chlorine I am barely dchoking through 1000 in 25 min

  2. #2
    Very Active Member ForceDJ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Portsmouth, RI

    Re: No propulsion from kicking newbie

    jsmi -- First...the issue with the chlorine for the pool. If your description is sounds like something that needs to be taken up with the pool manager. A well-maintained pool shouldn't make swimmers ill. Unless, you have discovered that you have a hyper-sensitivity to chlorine. In some cases, an overbearing smell of chlorine can be the sign of a poorly maintained pool (water). I'd first talk to some of the other regular swimmers there and see if they can shed any light on if/why the chlorine is so intense. If it turns out that the pool water/chemicals are properly maintained, and you do have a hyper-sensitivity to chlorine...there may be some medicinal supplements that might help you.

    Regarding your kick...there are some swimmer who just don't get any forward propulsion from their crawl stroke ("freestyle") flutter kick. You may be one of those. I am. there are some who will disagree and say that you need to do 'this drill' or 'that drill' to improve your kick. In some cases that may work. It hasn't for me. As a swimmer for 40 years, trying for years at a time, I have never been successful at developing a kick that propels me. It takes me minutes to kick one length of the pool while others do it in a fraction of the time. I will kick like crazy, using a kickboard, and it's so ineffective that the water return jets will push me sideways. So, I quit trying. There are plenty of others with similar situations. Besides...I'm mostly a long-distance (open water) swimmer where kicking is less important. That is to say...I do kick, but only to keep a good, efficient, level body position in the water. So, if you're only swimming to get through the 1000m test you'll have to do, and don't plan on being a regular swimming after that, maybe concentrating on developing a kick is a waste of time. Instead, you may want to spend that time actually swimming, building your endurance, and working on kicking just enough for maintaining an efficient body position in the water. Good luck.


  3. #3
    Active Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Austin, TX

    Re: No propulsion from kicking newbie

    Agree with Dan on the Chlorine ...if pool is maintained properly you should not have any issue unless you are allergic to the chemical or something like that...but I am not a Dr so really no idea.

    To build your endurance for your 1000 Swim....I would suggest doing some interval training. For example swim 10 X 100's resting 5-10 seconds between each one. Then the next day do 20 x 50 rest 5 seconds between each 50. Another set would be 5 x 200's resting 10-15 seconds between each 200. Competitive swimmers do interval training to build up endurance for a long swim. The idea is to maintain your pace throughout the sets I mentioned and try to push the pace. This training is far more effective than just swimming a 1000 straight everyday.

    The other suggestion would be to try to find a masters program with a coach and swim 3-5 days a week if you can. Trying to build endurance for a non swimmer outside the pool is tough and will not likely help in your quest to swim 1000 in 20 minutes. Swimming is a weird funny sport in that way

    Best of Luck to you and thanks for a first responder!

  4. #4
    Participating Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009

    Re: No propulsion from kicking newbie

    I'll second what Dan said and add a couple of things:

    If the chemical issues at your pool aren't resolved, you could try a nose clip. My dad always reacted poorly to chlorine and a nose clip helped him.

    You don't necessarily have to develop a perfect kick, but a technically proficient kick that will help you maintain good body position is important and could help you shave off lots of time. Some swimmers kick is inhibited by range of motion issues. A set of fins can be good for working on improving that, just be careful not to use them so much that they become a crutch. That is all too common in masters swimming.

    As for dryland exercises. Sure, maintaining good general fitness will help you in the pool, but you have a very specific end goal. Personally, I think the best way for you to get where you need to be (20 minutes per 1000m) is to work on technical improvements. This is the "low hanging fruit" you can grab that would be far easier than coming up with an elaborate out of water regiment that may not even get you where you need to be. The only way to do that is with time spent in the water and getting some technical feedback from a friend or coach. You could always take a video and upload to the forums.

  5. #5
    Very Active Member pwb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Springwater, Ontario
    Blog Entries

    Re: No propulsion from kicking newbie

    Think about your kick as not being about propulsion per se, but about the 'spark' that kicks off the kinetic chain and starts the rotation around your axis. Think about a "2 beat kick" meaning one kick for each arm stroke, and that kick driving your rotation. Check out

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