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March 24, 2009



1. it gets a LOT easier the more you do it. the breathing will come...
2. http://www.dctriclub.com/forum/messages.cfm?tid=0623CCEC-BC66-E0D3-1B4630F465503F62&page=1 has a mention of the american pool classes. don't know the exact details, but at the happy hour last week people were raving about it.
3. one of the online clubs i'm in has a swim ebook. i have one of the older generations on dvd. i could get it to you somehow.


It's all about finding a rhythm in your breath. The kick and stroke evolve from there.

Do some drills the next time, your coach should be able to show you -catch up drill, finger drag drill - use a bouy in your legs to let them float. Then grab a board and kick sets of 50s. Yardage is not where you should be focused at this point. Think technique.
check out youtube for basics.

Tom Bridge

Once upon a time, I was a competitive swimmer, doing middle distance freestyle events. Good freestyle is all about angles and entry. You want your hands to enter the water at, like, a 5-10° Down Angle. Push forward in front of you as you enter, with your hand locked together tight into a karate-chop-blade. You will feel as you reach your right hand all the way forward and extended, that your left hip will pivot upward to the surface.

Bring your hand down and then in toward your sternum, and then back along your torso to your hip. Let your hand exit the water right at the hip, and repeat.

If you want to work just on your upper body, grab something like this: Nike Swim Float.

If you need a stroke coach, or some basic swimming workouts, I can probably help out there, too.

Matt F

The best thing to do is to have someone watch you while you're swimming to see specifically what you're doing.

Aside from that, make sure you're keeping your legs straight while you're kicking (the power should come from your hips, not your knees), and try not to lift your head too high out of the water while you're breathing.

Also: Reach! As my old swim coach would yell over and over. You're supposed to be very stretched out, long and streamlined.

There are a bunch of drills that can help you with technique (catch-up, fingertip drag, closed-fist freestyle, etc.--there's a ton), just google around for them. Kickboard drills are also helpful: most of your power comes from your legs, after all.


Rhythm, rhythm, rhythm. Roll your body and scoop each arm under your stomach on each stroke.

A trick about water resistance: if you feel like you're going fast (you can feel the water 'rushing by'), that's drag. You are going slow and working too hard. Change it up.

Good luck!!!

Matt W.

I'd add: focus on efficiency. Your stroke (incorporating the advice from above) should require the least possible motion, and your exertion should come at set points in the stroke that really propel you through the water (the follow through, getting your hand all the way down through the hip, is crucial). Otherwise it's like jogging while waiving your hands above your head.

The same goes for your kick: there's an optimal timing to getting the most from your kick, as opposed to just trying to keep them motoring continuously. Hopefully one of those videos linked above explains the proper hip roll for this. When done properly, your body rolls from side to side with each stroke; your torso shouldn't stay parallel to the pool bottom.

Once those techniques are in place, they have the added bonus of giving you something to concentrate on instead of how tired you are. But some of us, like myself, also have to admit we're just not natural distance swimmers, so it's always going to be tough.


You need to get video-taped. That will jump start your improvement.


Look toward the wall and keep your head still unless you're breathing. Keep kicking.

I'm happy to help out by watching and/or swimming with you anytime. I'm terribly out of shape now but I think all the rules, technique and drills I learned swimming 10,000 plus yards daily for 10 years is still in my system.

I need your help (or someone's - it's BAD) learning to love running. Ugh!


Let me know if you come to Richmond, and I'll help.


All of these are great suggestions. From my own personal experience, I would recommend swimming a set amount of time rather than a certain number of laps, then concentrating on reducing the amount of time you spend idling on the wall.

And once you get into it, nothing is more Zen than lap swimming. It's practically sensory deprivation!

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