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Old 24-09-2009, 23:37   #16
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My problem is that I used to cycle competitively for most of my young and some of my adult life. The problem now is that my legs are still solid and heavy as all hell. I love to swim but I sink like a brick and need a LOT of energy just to stay afloat.

I'm with the swim fins idea!!
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Old 24-09-2009, 23:58   #17
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I'm with the swim fins idea!!
Some for the Missus too
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Old 25-09-2009, 00:05   #18
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HAH! Where on earth did you find those high-heeled fins!

I'd like to buy a pair just for comic value!

Norm
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Old 25-09-2009, 00:18   #19
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Another Former Red Cross Lifeguard/Swimming Instructor Here

First of all, it's best to actually read the original post for the facts before posting your knowledge: there is no "rip tide" mentioned here, but a strong along-the-coast current, so swimming directly toward the beach and allowing the current to take you a bit down the shoreline is the correct strategy.

Although I agree that the crawl (commonly called the freestyle) is "most efficient" in theory, as David noted, it is often not the most efficient stroke for an individual of moderate ability/fitness level, typically because of improper breathing technique (lifting face out of water forward instead of rotating to the side, or attempting the crawl face up, never putting the face in the water). This high head position causes the hips and legs to travel low in the water, with increased drag, which in turn increases effort and the need to exchange even more air for a given distance.

Additionally, the side-breathing of the crawl is properly (most efficiently) done in a trough of air that is created when water flows around the head as it moves through the water. The actual breathing is done underneath the water line of the surrounding water, in that little air pocket. Nice technique in a flat pool, but in open water it's easy to get a mouthful of unbreathable wet when trying this in swells or mini-chop of any size at all, which in 5 strokes out of 10 doesn't let the air pocket develop. In open water either more head rotation is needed to get the mouth clear (and now you are likely to have some excessive shoulder/body roll), or one is temped to lift the head forward again to insure the inspiration of actual air (you're back to that sagging-leg, high-drag situation). The person of average ability and fitness level can tire himself out quite quickly in open water by employing what the textbook rightly describes as the most efficient stroke.

For these reasons, the sidestroke is the best choice for covering any medium-to-long distance, for most of us. It's advantages are almost tailor-made for this situation:
  • the head stays comfortably out of the water, allowing free breathing in swell and chop, and lets you see where you are, where you are headed, more of what is immediately around you, and communication with anyone you happen to spot.
  • because it includes a glide/rest phase (stroke, glide, recover) it is not as taxing as the crawl, so can be maintained for extended periods.
  • because of the above, the swimmer is more relaxed in a tense situation, and anxiety/panic is avoided.
  • it still allows for strong propulsion through the water.
In open water, in a non-competitive situation, the sidestroke wins on points.

Interesting notes (well, for me, anyway):
  1. The "freestyle" is technically the name of a competitive event, not a style. Because the fastest stroke is the American crawl, that's the only stroke anyone has used in a freestyle event since Johnny Weismuller perfected it in the early 20th C. People swimming "freestyle" are using the American crawl.
  2. The Australian crawl used a simplified version of the overhand arm stroke we are all familiar with, but with a scissors (sidestroke) kick. The American crawl superceded that by using the flutter kick (hat tip to Weismuller). Most improvements since then have centered around the kinesiology of the power phase of the arm movement (from when the hand enters the water to when it leaves the water): what hand position, what path the hand should take, etc. to maximize lift (propulsion). And yes, the flutter kick is more about counter-balancing the upper torso than it is about propulsion.

A shout-out to all my former lifeguard/swimming instructor comrades out there.

Pelagic & Norm, one trip to the Wedge, with one Duckfoot fin and half a kickboard, was quite enough for me. I could feel the ground shaking under my feet when I got out of my car 2 blocks away! Tropical storm in Baja made it crank. Standing on the shore, I almost turned back when I saw it. I have a cousin (a well-known body-surfer) who broke his back there three years ago. It's a miracle he's walking today.
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Old 25-09-2009, 01:55   #20
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Starbuck,

I've surfed the Banzai Pipeline at Ehukai Beach and I think the Wedge on a big day is more dangerous.

There's a sweet spot you need to be in to catch the backwash off the breakwater at just the right moment that shoots you through the bowl that'll launch you out of the water to your waist at such a speed you think it'll rip your trunks off. Get it wrong and you're in serious trouble.

The trouble is the sweet spot takeoff is different on every wave. I got lucky a few times and quit while I was ahead.

As far as feeling the ground shake from waves. In 1974 I was at Waimea Bay when it was completely closed out across the bay at 40 ft. Nobody was in the water. Each wave felt like a small earthquake and even if someone wanted to go out they could never have gotten through the shorebreak.

It was so spectacular that it was standing room only on the beach and all the public service agencies were there in full force. It wasn't that they thought they'd have to rescue somebody, they were just enjoying the show like everybody else.

As an aside, several of my best friends were Lifeguards at Huntingon City Beach. I wasn't allowed to compete for the job because I didn't meet the height requirements at the time. I think it's now based more on ability.

Excuse me if I've taken this off thread. Just the musings of an old man.

Wear fins when you swim in the ocean!

Norm
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Old 25-09-2009, 02:18   #21
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How's the water? I am headed for SD on Sunday.
Getting cooler now but last weekend I was able to surf for an hour or so and body surf for another hour without resorting to neoprene...
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Old 25-09-2009, 03:04   #22
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Before going in the water...

Assuming you've a choice the best time to make decisions about water safety is before you go into the water.

Asking locals, checking tide tables, judging the weather (temperature, wind), assessing waves - all this and more should be done before entering the water in a new location. Doesn't hurt to do it if you know the area well either.
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Old 25-09-2009, 07:02   #23
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Getting cooler now but last weekend I was able to surf for an hour or so and body surf for another hour without resorting to neoprene...
Thanks headed to work on the boat next week. I like to either surf or swim in the morning. My boat is about a five minute walk from Silverstrand State Beach --maybe not the best surfing; but the convience can't be beat. Today surfig in full neoprene in half moon bay.
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Old 25-09-2009, 07:31   #24
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All this analysis is amazing - I dont remember not being able to swim. Literally - I just dont remember a stage of my life where I couldn't swim. When I lived in Canada for a while I was amazed at the amount of people who couldn't swim. Then I spent a winter in Ottawa and worked out that there isnt much water worth swimming in and its frozen half the year.

As for fins, only ever were them when I am actively seeking to do some body surfing and even then not so much. (obviously I wear them diving).
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Old 25-09-2009, 09:15   #25
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Originally Posted by Starbuck View Post
First of all, it's best to actually read the original post for the facts before posting your knowledge: there is no "rip tide" mentioned here, but a strong along-the-coast current, so swimming directly toward the beach and allowing the current to take you a bit down the shoreline is the correct strategy.

Although I agree that the crawl (commonly called the freestyle) is "most efficient" in theory, as David noted, it is often not the most efficient stroke for an individual of moderate ability/fitness level, typically because of improper breathing technique (lifting face out of water forward instead of rotating to the side, or attempting the crawl face up, never putting the face in the water). This high head position causes the hips and legs to travel low in the water, with increased drag, which in turn increases effort and the need to exchange even more air for a given distance.

Additionally, the side-breathing of the crawl is properly (most efficiently) done in a trough of air that is created when water flows around the head as it moves through the water. The actual breathing is done underneath the water line of the surrounding water, in that little air pocket. Nice technique in a flat pool, but in open water it's easy to get a mouthful of unbreathable wet when trying this in swells or mini-chop of any size at all, which in 5 strokes out of 10 doesn't let the air pocket develop. In open water either more head rotation is needed to get the mouth clear (and now you are likely to have some excessive shoulder/body roll), or one is temped to lift the head forward again to insure the inspiration of actual air (you're back to that sagging-leg, high-drag situation). The person of average ability and fitness level can tire himself out quite quickly in open water by employing what the textbook rightly describes as the most efficient stroke.

For these reasons, the sidestroke is the best choice for covering any medium-to-long distance, for most of us. It's advantages are almost tailor-made for this situation:
  • the head stays comfortably out of the water, allowing free breathing in swell and chop, and lets you see where you are, where you are headed, more of what is immediately around you, and communication with anyone you happen to spot.
  • because it includes a glide/rest phase (stroke, glide, recover) it is not as taxing as the crawl, so can be maintained for extended periods.
  • because of the above, the swimmer is more relaxed in a tense situation, and anxiety/panic is avoided.
  • it still allows for strong propulsion through the water.
In open water, in a non-competitive situation, the sidestroke wins on points.

Interesting notes (well, for me, anyway):
  1. The "freestyle" is technically the name of a competitive event, not a style. Because the fastest stroke is the American crawl, that's the only stroke anyone has used in a freestyle event since Johnny Weismuller perfected it in the early 20th C. People swimming "freestyle" are using the American crawl.
  2. The Australian crawl used a simplified version of the overhand arm stroke we are all familiar with, but with a scissors (sidestroke) kick. The American crawl superceded that by using the flutter kick (hat tip to Weismuller). Most improvements since then have centered around the kinesiology of the power phase of the arm movement (from when the hand enters the water to when it leaves the water): what hand position, what path the hand should take, etc. to maximize lift (propulsion). And yes, the flutter kick is more about counter-balancing the upper torso than it is about propulsion.

A shout-out to all my former lifeguard/swimming instructor comrades out there.

Pelagic & Norm, one trip to the Wedge, with one Duckfoot fin and half a kickboard, was quite enough for me. I could feel the ground shaking under my feet when I got out of my car 2 blocks away! Tropical storm in Baja made it crank. Standing on the shore, I almost turned back when I saw it. I have a cousin (a well-known body-surfer) who broke his back there three years ago. It's a miracle he's walking today.
I grew up swimming in big surf and rip currents but for some reason, maybe I'm out of practice, yesterday just didn't really work out. Maybe I panicked a bit because I was alone. I think that is the biggest problem in the water is people's inability to not panic, they then sprint in towards the shore, wear themselves out, and drown.

After getting out of the water I actually went right to a pool and realized I had never been formally trained to swim, what a revelation! I tried the American crawl and found that after two breathing cycles I was sucking in a bowl full of water. My vote for slow and steady is with the side stroke.
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Old 25-09-2009, 10:04   #26
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Charlie,

Are you a block, or 2 south of the marina? I use to live at the top of that ridge for several years. Nicest place I ever lived!.........i2f
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Old 25-09-2009, 10:40   #27
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First of all, it's best to actually read the original post for the facts before posting your knowledge: there is no "rip tide" mentioned here,

Actually, I did read the original post. As a life guard with any experiance, the addition of rip tides would have been well understood.
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Old 25-09-2009, 17:15   #28
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wetsuits!

Ay - this item. Use them. I can swim longer, rest more, etc. and extra protection from jellies and rocks should the current take you to the part of the shore where you have to get across stones, etc..

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Old 25-09-2009, 23:44   #29
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woman i met is swimming 3 hours a day in weather

A few years back I snorkeled 3-4 hours a day 2 or 3 times a week but About 2 weeks ago I met a young woman(33 in italy she & I hit it off )so she hopped onboard and has been sailing with me since, she swims about 3 hours a day, & she does this year round! I have never seen anyone swim like her ,she swims in all weather and strong currents- choppy seas & really moves- just unbeleavabule! She used to compete and has won many metals/meets-a real athlete- after swimming about an hour or so one day I caught up with her (i was walking on the beach she was swimming) and she was moving through the water at a good walking speed! she must be swimming 4-6 miles a day or more!
Its nice just to see someone with this love for swimming and a body in perfect shape!
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Old 26-09-2009, 11:17   #30
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I was in a marine school where swimming was like a subject. We all believed we were great swimmers there. Then one year we were joined by a colleague from a 'normal' high school - he was a champ and used to swim 3-4 hours day in day out ever since he was a kid. Now, the first time we saw him at our pool ... we immediatelly knew - we were swimming morons ;-))))

You can't beat an athlete, you can just look in awe and follow in the wake (a good distance behind, in fact ...;-))))

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