Critique My Form

>> Monday, July 25, 2011

In my last post, I showed some photos from when I was teaching a photography workshop on a little island in WI. Well, one of my students snapped some photos of me taking a quick swim between some buoys one afternoon after class.

I didn't know anyone was taking photos, so I was just swimming "normally." I mention that because I wonder if anyone can look at my form in these photos and give me any swim pointers!

In that first photo, I feel like maybe I'm not using my full stroke - I think my hand needs to be farther back before I'm lifting it out of the water. And in the 2 photos after that, I wonder if my hand is entering the water too far out in front of me. Any thoughts on those photos above? I'm open for feedback!!

My student (Byron is his name) also got a funny shot of me taking a breath:

HEY! I'm actually "twisting" my mouth to find the air!! I didn't know I did that, even though Andrea was trying to get me to do that when I met with her last year. I'm glad to see I'm kinda doing it without even thinking about it! (And it leads to a goofy looking photo, so THAT'S a bonus too....) But again, I don't think I'm using my full stroke in that photo above. I need to work on having my hand exit the water down by my hip. (I think.)

And finally, Byron got a shot of me "sighting" to my next buoy:

Not bad. But I don't need to lift my head that high. (I think.)

Anyway, check out the last post for photos of my time teaching this photo class on Stouts Island. And PLEASE let me know if you notice something about my swimming and how I can improve my form! Thanks!

p.s. Have you entered my recent H2O Audio giveaway? You can enter up through Wednesday. Click here to go to the giveaway post to leave your comment!


Carla @ I Run, You Run 6:33 AM, July 25, 2011  

You totally need underwater shots for a complete critique! (But you know, you have to swim normally as if you're not being watched.)

I *think* your hand does need to leave the water further back. But what do I know? I've been swimming since I was 2, and haven't put much thought into form, much easier to do it, then to tell others how to get it done. (But I'm keeping an eye out here for people's tips as well.)

ozarktri 7:01 AM, July 25, 2011  

Looks to me like you're knifing through the water pretty well. Work on not rotating your head as much on your breath strokes, taking advantage or your twisted or cigar smoking mouth. The bottom goggle doesn't need to be out of the water. Kind of difficult to assess your stroke without video.

Jen 7:31 AM, July 25, 2011  

First, I am no expert... but I do think your stroke is entering the water too much in front of your head. Think shoulder with a part... but as your arm enters the water, you twist the body.

Breathing, twist more and you will have more "time" to get air.

Hmmm... now do I have to send you pics so you can tear me apart? Do as I say, not as I do, right? LOL

Awesome pics, seriously!

trimybest 11:57 AM, July 25, 2011  

Ozark said it. Both eyes should not be out of the water when ypu breathe. There is a slight wake in front of your head that creates a valley in the water for you to breathe in. its hard to visuzlize so google "mr swim smooth" and chek out the animation. Its really fantastic!

Katie 12:02 PM, July 25, 2011  

Ok, I'll share what I learned in the Masters swim class (take it or leave it--I'm a newbie, so I'm in the learning stages and wouldn't presume to have advice to give someone with your skill level and achievement)...the coaches were big on your hand leaving the water down at your waist--so when your thumb brushes against your leg, then let it flip out and come up and around. We had several drills were we did the exaggerated stroke where we'd do the stroke extra slow (and kick normally) and be very conscious of only lifting our hand out of the water after we intentionally brushed our thumbs on our legs. Doing this will help with your breathing (not having to twist your mouth to find air) because it rotates your body side to side if you allow yourself to rotate to take a breath (like, pretend your body has an axis straight down from top to bottom--you would then gently tip on one side if you're balanced--so having your hand exit the water further back will help you keep your balance to easily breathe on the side)--it'll protect your shoulders to be doing the stroke in the full intention (instead of cutting it short on either side) and protect from injury. Also, your leg placement affects this--are your legs floating at the top of the water--and not sinking down--are you aligned with the water line?

We were told to "reach-touch"--reach forward (for water entrance--not crossing our body--but straight ahead) and pull back to touch your leg (in actuality, you don't stroke to touch your leg when you're swimming for real--that'd be annoying, but that's the exit place--so having a mental picture of the "touch" will help get the stroke long and complete)

I can't tell about your water entrance--do you feel like you're reaching? Do you feel like you're straight and not crossing your body?

Those are the tips I picked up in Masters...take 'em or leave 'em! :)

I HUSTLE AND OTHER THINGS 1:17 PM, July 25, 2011  

Your "subconscious exaggerated" breathing and also that you suspect you might be placing your hand too far out in front could be a symptom of rushing your stroke or the timing of the catch. You should be able to swim slowly but still feel "powerful" as if you where paddling a canoe - your body being perfectly balanced and your arms being paddles. Try that "fingertip drag" drill but exaggerate keep your wrist and forearm vertical "high elbows" stay PERPENDICULAR high elbows, it will almost feel like your way-out-to-the-side, slowly enter your fingertips, writst, forearm...that bit of "delay" helps to time the catch on the other side - you'll have the sensation of LEVERAGE which is because you've allowed yourself to line up flat so its easier to fully rotate stay in alignment and catch that breath with your head down. Do this slowly and then you can confidentially start extending that stroke etc. HAHAHA you probably swim faster then i do but i've been so focused on bettering my technique for more then a year now - i've made so many mistakes i know i got to be doing it right now ;)W.

SSB 2:35 PM, July 25, 2011  

Only one eye should be out of the water when you turn your head to breathe. If there are two, you're lifting your head, which puts a kink in your body line. I was taught to practice swimming with the eye that will be out of water closed, when you breathe if you see anything above water it's wrong. Only took me a couple workouts to fix it. And now whenever I breathe I always close my eye (it's just a reflex now) and I get instant feedback on my head/body position. Once you fix head/body position it's a lot easier to fix other things.

Rachel Elizabeth 3:57 PM, July 25, 2011  

from a swim coach-
Yes, it looks like your hand is coming out too close to your waist when it should be just past your hip, at your thigh. It's hard to really tell without video/being there.

Your hand is not too far in front of you on your entry. It should be pretty far extended when it enters. In the first entry picture it looks almost too close to your body to me. There's less resistance when your hand is in the air than in the water! You might need some more rotation in your body with your stroke, based on how much your shoulder is bent up in the first entry shot, if that makes sense.

Nikki,  9:06 AM, July 26, 2011  

based on pics 1 & 2 you are too flat. More shoulder roll. Think of being skewered like a chicken on a spit, your whole body can rotate around the skewer, with your head/center of hips holding your center line. With more roll your hand will naturally finish your stroke longer and reach further, making each stroke more efficient. Your head shouldn't move as much to breath, but it is tougher in open water because of fear of inhaling a wave.

Doesn't look bad though!

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