Friday, July 8, 2016

Improving my swim, part 2

In my previous post -- part one of what I plan on being a series -- I presented a video of me swimming with fins. The above water stuff was useless so I decided to do it again last Wednesday, and for this iteration I decided to see how much worse I was with bare feet. Much to my amazement I was not worse. If anything I was better! This is counter-intuitive, because the fins are supposed to help lift the feet, mimicking the bouncy of salt water. In any case I was surprised to see how high my hips are, most of the time.

This video consists of over fifteen short clips. (I rushed to get it done last night and got one out of order -- oh well.) I made notes on each clip, but to present them here would be really boring so I have boiled them down to a few comments.The overall sequence is


  1. Full length whole stroke
  2. Half length freeze action drill with snorkel
  3. Full length whole stroke with snorkel

Above Water

  1. Full length whole stroke
  2. Pool side - out of sequence
  3. Same freeze motion drill seen from above
  4. Pool side, not very useful
  5. Dramatic finish
About the drill, this is based on something I learned last March in Kona from Celeste St. Clair, embellished by the "Hook, Line and Sinker" video by Suzanne Atkinson. (Please do not hold them accountable for what you see here. I take full responsibility!) My goal is hold a straight line from my spearing hand to my same side toes. This part of her video demonstrates the desired position, straight as an arrow where mine looks like a bent wire coat hangar. 


  • Overall my hips are closer to the surface than I thought. This is good.
  • My knees want to be lower than my hips (thighs angle down). This is to some extent a flexibility issue. Even when I do a quad stretch I have a hard time getting my stretching side knee even with or behind my standing side knee. A result of years of cycling.
  • In an attempt to raise my foot I bend my knee instead of lifting the whole leg. (This and the previous bullet are conjoined twins.)
  • Underwater, swimming away, hips drop as left leg lifts in preparation for kick. Not so bad on right side. At the same time right foot should be low and steady, but mine flicks up and down as if reacting to left leg trying to lift and kick.
  • As my hands enter they go too low.
  • Neither arm is straight enough.
  • Right arm too far in towards center, even crosses.
  • During recovery, right upper arm goes vertical trying to make breathing easier. Arm should be at 45 degrees, rotate head enough to get air.
  • Overall, I need to have a bit more quickness during the spear, get that lead hand forward, then hold the long, straight line longer to extend the glide. Being so crooked there isn't much glide to enjoy, leading to too much activity. The lack of smoothness snowballs.
For the next phase of swimming I am going to focus on arm position. I think correcting my legs will be easier when my arms are moving correctly.

Here is this week's video:

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