How to Learn Freestyle Swimming?

It has 18 days since been I joined a swimming course on August 6, 2009. It has been a great experience till date. Based on my learning experience so far, I have come up with an algorithm that can be followed to learn swimming. The view and the method presented below is purely based on my personal opinion and experience. It does not comply to any standards. Please read the disclaimer section at the end of this post for further clarification.

Step 1: Practice holding your breath and learn to float in Water.

  • Anything that has air trapped inside can float. A cork floats in water since it has air trapped in it. Similarly, humans can float if they hold their breath.
  • The trainer should illustrate a simple demonstration of the face-down float and float by wrapping the arms around the knees and holding the breath for five seconds.
  • Demonstration of the “dead man’s float” with the arms out like an airplane and the face down in the water can be an added advantage.
  • The learner is expected to imitate the trainer after the demonstrations.

Example of the dead mans float method

Example of the dead man's float method (Image source: P.Gordon's photostream on Flickr)

Another image illustrating the dead mans float (Image source: garlinggauge.com)

Another image illustrating the dead man's float (Image source: garlinggauge.com)

Please note, the learner should never be left unattended at the swimming pool.

The video listed below by Peter Elizondo provides an elaborated view of step 1.

(more…)

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Types of Swim Strokes

Objective

The objective of this blog is to describe the different types of swim strokes that exist today. The information presented here is collected from several sources. The reference section at the bottom of this page lists the sources that were taken into account while scanning for information.

What is a Swimming Stroke?

A swimming stroke is a process of moving the arms and legs of a human body such that the swimmer is propelled forward by pushing the water backward.

Types of Swimming Strokes

  • Freestyle stroke
  • Involves alternate overarm strokes and flutter kick. The swimmer’s head has to be completely immersed in water, and the face alternating from side to side.

  • Butterfly stroke
  • This is considered as the most exhausting and difficult stroke. It involves windmill like arm movement (both arms in unison) and dolphin kick. The swimmer should not swim underwater.

  • Breast stroke
  • Involves arm movement on the front side from the swimmer’s head to shoulder level with frog kick. It is important that the swimmer’s head should always be positioned above the water surface.

  • Side stroke
  • Is a forward underwater stroke with body on one side along with scissor kick.

  • Back stroke
  • Involves alternate over-the-head arm stroke and a flutter kick in a supine position. The swimmer is expected not to swim underwater.

  • Dog paddle
  • This stroke is considered as one of the few easiest swim strokes. It involves reaching forward with the swimmers arms underwater and using a modified version of the flutter kick.

    Resources

    An interesting 1 minute 26 second video on the subject – Improving Swimming Turns by the Olympic Bronze medallist, Steve Parry is available here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/olympic_games/7552672.stm

    References

    1. Human swimming: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_swimming
    2. Types of Swimming Stokes: http://www.iloveindia.com/fitness/swimming/different-kinds-of-strokes.html
    3. Swimming strokes: http://www.mamashealth.com/swim/strokes.asp
    4. Aquatic locomotion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquatic_locomotion
    5. Swimming (sport): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swimming_(sport)
    6. List of swimming styles: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_swimming_styles
    Disclaimer
    All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. sks8.wordpress.comnor skumar.co.nr makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The trademarks, if at all used on this blog belong to their respective owners.
    Note
    The information presented here is collected from several sources. The reference section above lists the sources that were taken into account while scanning for information.

    Disclaimer

    All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. sks8.wordpress.com nor skumar.co.nr makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The trademarks, if at all used on this blog belong to their respective owners.

    Note

    The information presented here is collected from several sources. The reference section above lists the sources that were taken into account while scanning for information.

    What are ‘Swim Caps’ and why do we need to use them?

    I am learning swimming. It’s a revitalizing experience!

    On the first day of the swimming course, though I had purchased the ‘Swim suite’ as a precautionary measure, the coach asked me to purchase a ‘Swim Cap‘.

    I was perplexed! I had a series of unanswered questions zipping through my brain – Why on earth should I purchase a Swim Cap? What advantage does it have? Is it one of those marketing strategy to augment the sales of Swim Caps?

    This post is meant to answer few of the above listed questions and provide insight into why a swim cap plays a noticeable role in swimming.

    What are Swim Caps?

    The Free Dictionary – Encyclopedia defines the term ‘Swim Cap’ as – “A swim cap, or bathing cap, is a silicone, latex or lycra cap worn on the head by recreational and competitive swimmers.”

    The basic advantage of a ‘Swim Cap’ is to relatively keep the human hair dry and ears free from chlorinated water and avoid filters in swimming pool being clogged with human hair.

    Swim caps were invented in late 1900s and the initial ones were made out of rubber. By 1920, latex based caps appeared followed by silicone ones.

    In India, the typical cost of  a swim cap varies between INR 60/- and INR 130/- depending on the quality of the cap and the material it’s made out of.

    Types of Swim Caps

    There are roughly four types of swim caps:

    • The usual silicone swim cap
    Image source: Amazon.com

    Image source: Amazon.com

    • Long hair swim cap
    Image source: Amazon.com

    Image source: Amazon.com

    • Neoprene swim cap
    Image source: Amazon.com

    Image source: Amazon.com

    • Flower swim cap
    Image source: Headcovers.com

    Image source: Headcovers.com

    Advantages of Swim Caps

    1. Swim caps protect the hair from chlorine which is known to cause decoloration or damage to human hair over a period of time.
    2. Wearing a cap provides what is know as ‘Hydro dynamic effect‘, meaning the swimmer will be able to move through the water more rapidly with less resistance.
    3. Swim caps tend to reduce drag that is usually caused by free-flowing hair.
    4. Long hair also results in visibility problems when in the pool. Swim caps help avoid such a situation.
    5. For swimmers with closely cropped hair, a swim cap can help maintain body warmth.

    Tips on usage and maintaining Swim Caps

    The below listed tips will be useful when using swim caps (borrowed from Swim-Caps.net)

    Always rinse and hang dry after use. Otherwise the swimming cap will wear down much more quickly.
    Put it on carefully. No matter what the material, swim caps can tear if handled roughly.
    The fit should be snug and comfortable.
    You may want to wet your hair before putting the swim cap on if possible. This makes sure no air is trapped between the cap and your head. Otherwise the cap could come off in the pool.
    • It is better to rinse and hang dry after every use, else swim caps are prone to wear down quickly.
    • Make sure that your nails do not damage the swim caps when you wear them.
    • Always be sure that the cap fits comfortably.
    • Wearing the cap on wet hair ascertains that no air is trapped inside and makes sure that the cap sticks to it’s location during it’s usage.

    References

    1. The Free Dictionary Encyclopedia: http://encyclopedia.tfd.com/Swim+cap
    2. Headcovers.com (Men->Swimming caps): http://www.headcovers.com/t/men/swimming-caps/196/187/
    3. Swim Cap.net: http://www.swim-cap.net/
    4. Swim Cap (Wikipedia): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swim_cap
    5. Human Swimming (Wikipedia): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_swimming
    6. Why people use swim caps to keep their hair dry: http://www.helium.com/items/1107413-why-people-use-swim-caps-to-keep-their-hair-dry
    7. Advantage of Swim Cap by Chris Josephhttp://www.ehow.com/about_5180634_advantages-swim-caps.html
    8. Advantage of Swim Caps: http://www.answerbag.com/articles/The-Advantages-of-Swim-Caps/5550e7f8-e7d4-e2f5-eb31-8e7d47248894
    9. Advantage of Swim Caps by L. Maloney: http://www.trails.com/list_3304_advantages-swim-caps.html

    Disclaimer

    All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. sks8.wordpress.com norskumar.co.nr makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The trademarks, if at all used on this blog belong to their respective owners.

    Note

    The information presented here is collected from several sources. The reference section above lists the sources that were taken into account while scanning for information.

    -Santhosh.

    Day 4 – Swimming Course…

    The fourth day of the training (Sunday, August 9, 2009). I am regular to the morning batch now. I arrived at the pool at 5:00 AM. Was supposed to be there by 4:45 AM.

    The other students of the batch had just arrived. It has always been a delightful experience to drive at those early hours where the city is blessed by Nyx (the goddess of night). I put off my cloths for the swimming suit. Well, I termed myself to be late on that day, hence, no jogging around the pool and mild exercise sessions. I had a shower and jumped into the pool.

    I felt that nobody noticed me being late. All of a sudden, my counterpart, a software professional, questioned me regarding the reason for being late. I had to say something. I told him the truth that I woke up late.

    Out of the two instructors, one of them was absent on that day. Perhaps, he took a day off since it was a Sunday. The other instructor who usually used to watch the students and make sure that no body was hurt was temporarily promoted to the main instructor designation for a day. That should have been a memorable day for him! (more…)

    Published in: on August 11, 2009 at 2:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    Day 3 – Swimming course continues….

    Today is Saturday, August 8, 2009. The best part of today is that, I did not miss the morning class!

    The morning batch was less crowded in contract to the evening one. There were around eight students in the morning batch, where as the count was 25+ for the evening batch. In summary, the amount of time the instructor dedicated per candidate in the morning batch was substantially huge in comparison with the evening one.

    The instructor for the morning class was not the one who use to train us in the evening class. I was there at the swimming pool by 4:45 AM. Wow! that’s quite early!

    It was chilling. I took a shower. The water was so cold that I started shivering after the shower. Next, I jumped into the swimming pool. The water felt a bit warmer since the shower water was colder than the water in the pool.

    We had to walk along the width of the pool for five minutes, followed by some dips in the water. Next, we were asked to try floating our body on the surface utilizing the 0.5 inch diameter pipe fixed to one end of the swimming pool.

    We were still in 5 feet area of the swimming pool. The max depth of the pool in which we are being trained is 15 feet. By the end of 21 days, we are supposed to swim across the pool starting from the shallow region (four feet) onto the other end of the pool (15 feet) and back. (more…)

    Published in: on August 11, 2009 at 1:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    Day 2 – Swimming Course…

    I missed the morning batch again on the second day of the swimming course. It was Friday, August 07, 2009. I woke up at 6:15 AM. Well, I have yet to adapt to the Benjamin Franklin’s statement – ‘Early to bed and early from bed‘.

    As usual, to compensate for the missed morning batch, I had to attended the evening batch at 7:45 PM.

    Day 2:

    Zeus had blessed this day. It was drizzling every now and then. So was the temperature which went below usual. It was cold, chilling drive to the swimming pool located almost 5ooo meters(3.1 miles) away from my home.

    I was late by five minutes when I reached the swimming pool. I had to put my cloths and put on the swim suit. Take a shower and then jump into the pool. Well, all this process consumed just above another five minutes.

    I revised some of the body movements that the instructor had trained us the day before. The best part was that I wasn’t sinking anymore. Though, I would go down when I inhaled fresh air :).

    Day 2 was more of learning the floating technique. A pipe with 1/2 inch diameter is fixed at one end of the swimming pool – near the shallow region. We had to hold that pipe and try floating on the water upside down. “The head of the candidate should be immersed in water to float successfully”, was the instruction put forth by the instructor.

    Well, it worked! We were able to float only when our head was immersed in water. As soon as we inhaled fresh air, we started sinking.

    The next technique was to move to the 5 feet zone and try to float towards the shallow region. To some extent it worked.

    By now, it was almost 8:45 PM. The instructor asked us to take a few dips, breathe-in and breathe-out air as appropriate and climb out of the swimming pool.

    Later, I took a shower and headed for dinner… This was our second day of training.

    -Santhosh.

    Published in: on August 11, 2009 at 11:07 am  Comments (2)  
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