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Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Face in the Water

On this week’s Swimming Tip Tuesday we’re going to go back to basics with a beginner tip on putting our face in the water and submerging our whole head in the water.

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: A young swimmer totally comfortable in the water.

For many new swimmers this is an area of concern. Like any skill the more you practice the easier it will be to perform. We swimming instructors don’t ask for submersion to become a new swimmer’s favorite skill. As a matter of fact, we look for indifference, we want to transition to aversion, to callousness that will eventually lead to comfort.

Let’s address that we interact with water very often in our everyday lives, taking baths, showers, washing our face. We often get our faces wet. So why the aversion to putting our face in a pool?

A common aversion to putting our face in water is the difference in visibility. This can be aided by wearing goggles, which also has a dual purpose. The dual purpose comes from the fact that for some swimmers, their aversion comes from eye sensitivity. Due to the chemical nature of the pool some swimmers experience a slight stinging sensation. Remember it is important to invest in a pair of goggles that suit your face and eye shape. If the goggles are to small or too big it defeats the purpose of using them.

Dependent on the age of the beginner we can use a variety of techniques. One that spans age groups are submersible plastic rings. Placing the rings in the pool at a depth one cannot reach with their hands encourages swimmers to take the plunge and fully submerge.

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: A swimmer exhaling in the water while while wearing goggles.

An difficulty instructors face with this might stem from the fact that the swimmer may not be performing “bubbles” properly. “Blowing bubbles,” as an instructor would call it, is a technique used to exhale when we submerge in the water until we come up above the surface to inhale our next breath.

We want to make the process of blowing bubbles to feel natural to us. Similarly when we breathe, it’s something we do without thinking. Pay attention to your breath and every time you have to breathe out make a fish face as you exhale. Do this over and over, then filling up a bowl, or the kitchen sink, or the bath. Do the same over the water and slowly, lower your face into the water as you do this. The key is to remember to continue to breathe out as long as you have your face in the water.

For more on this, check out our Swimming Tip Tuesday on Breathing.

 

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Bent Arm Workout

This week’s Swimming Tip Tuesday, we’ll talk front crawl and focus on the movement of the arms as we progress the skill. Specifically, we will talk about keeping your elbow slightly bent as you reach your hand in front of your body to enter the water. Front crawl is a skill we begin learning in the upper preschool levels and swim kids 1 and 2. Teaching us the basic movements of Front Crawl. To make coordination as simple as possible, beginners move their arms in a full circle. As we progress through the levels swimmers develop more strength through conditioning. It is when we enter swimmer 5 that bent elbows are introduced.

Why do we bend our elbows during the recovery phase of the stroke? For starters the recovery phase is when our arms are above the water. Bending the elbow reduces the recovery phase time and makes the stroke more efficient, so we no longer must full rotate at the shoulder blade. This also allows the swimmer to focus on generating more force during the push phase. The push phase occurs when we push the arm through the water and past our hips.

Beginners often bend at the wrist instead of the elbow. The reason this difference is important is because bending at the wrist does not reduce time spent in the recovery phase. Furthermore bending at the wrist creates drag, as the body is no longer streamline when entering the water.

Remembering to bend at the elbow slightly as you reach your hand in front of your body to enter the water is a key component in advancing one’s front crawl from a beginner stroke to an intermediate stroke. To help graduate your stroke from beginner to intermediate, check out the workout below.

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Cullen Jones from 2012 Team USA performing Freestyle.

Bent Arms workout for Front Crawl:

Swimming Tip Tuesday Workout 1:

Equipment: Flutter board

Use of Equipment: hold the Flutter board in both hands in front of the body

Action: Perform Bent arm Front Crawl

Emphasis: Focus on exaggerating the rotation of the body and having your armpit facing upwards as you recover the arm around.

Distance: Repeat for 100m, 30 seconds of rest in between each 50m.

Reason: The flutter board will provide extra buoyancy during exaggerated rotation. This motion will give us enough room to focus on bending the elbow high above the body.

For more workouts on how to improve your strokes, visit us again.

That’s a wrap for today’s Swimming Tip Tuesday!

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Back Crawl Workout

This weeks’ Swimming Tip Tuesday, we will discuss coordinated breathing during Back Crawl. This article will also include 1 basic workout you can use in your free time to help perfect this beautiful stroke!

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Swimmer breathing out as they break the surface during Back Crawl.

One of the fundamental skills of swimming comes from understanding rhythm, because every movement has a rhythm. These rhythms work together to move us along the water in the same way notes on a staff do for a song.

A breath is taken every time an arm completes a full cycle. Try breathing in as one arm passes your ear and exhale as the other arm passes. When beginning Back Crawl, the arms start in opposition to each other. With one above the head, and the other by the hip the swimmer is going to breathe in as the arm that was closest to the hip passes by the ear.

As a beginner, syncing up our breathing with our movement will be difficult, in particular with the inclusion of the arms. The following drill is going to simplify our movement keep us within streamline position and provide the swimmer with an opportunity to sync their breathing.

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Back Crawl Workout:

  • Progression 1 will focus on body timing.
Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Swimmers in streamline position, before rotating onto their backs.

The swimmer will breathe normally and start by performing back glide. Ever six kicks, the swimmer will roll their body so one shoulder has popped out of the water. Alternating the shoulder every six kicks. Perform for a distance 25m-50m

  • Progression 2 will sync our breathing.

Performing Back Glide still alternating the shoulders every six kicks, the swimmer will inhale slowly for six kicks as the first shoulder rises, and exhale slowly for six kicks as the first shoulder falls and the second shoulder rises. Perform for a distance of 200m-300m

A follow up to these progressions is listed below as extra, be aware that it will utilize the arms, and challenge the swimmer to maintain streamline position.

  • Extra progression 3 will add the arms.

Instead of rolling the shoulders the swimmer will move rotate the arms, ever six kicks. Maintaining the same breathing pattern listed in progression 2. Perform for a distance of 200-300m

Keep in mind these progressions are used to help us develop rhythm, to produce a smoother and more controlled stroke.

Well that’s all for this weeks’ Swimming Tip Tuesday!Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday Front Crawl Speed and Power

This weeks Swimming Tip Tuesday will dive a little deeper into building our power as we do Front Crawl which will ultimately assist with our overall speed of the stroke. Despite swimming being a full body exercise, an area often neglected by swimmers is developing upper body strength. Fortunately for most swimmers, when sharpening our technique we can also enhance our upper body strength, with that said, let’s dive in.

Swimming Fit FridayWhat we want to remember: that the swimmer should not start pulling their arm back until they give themselves enough room to reach forward under the water. Here’s why, extending the arm as far forward as the swimmer can allows for a longer opportunity to generate power. The longer pull builds musculature within the biceps and triceps.

When performing Front Crawl the step before recovery (when the arm exits the water) is to pull the hand past the hip to propel the body forward. If the distance between reaching forward and pulling back is shorter, the swimmer will generate less power.

Less power generated from the arms will force the swimmer to rely heavily on strength from their legs. This is only optimal if the swimmer is performing a Front Glide. Movement of the arms out of the water brings the body out of a streamline position. When the arms are misused, or used incorrectly this slows the swimmer down. The purpose of utilizing the arms during a stroke like Front Crawl is meant to assist rather than burden the lower body. It creates a more effective opportunity to generate power, and propulsion as well as opportunities for breathing.Swimming Tip Tuesday

As a swimmer becomes more advance the addition of ‘S’ pull will allow the swimmer to generate much more power. As the swimmer is performing Front Crawl, there will be a longer and longer moment of forward movement in between each pull phase, due to the propulsion.

To Summarize, reach for the stars, or this case as far forward as you can before each and every pull!

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Don’t Start pulling your arm back until you give yourself room to reach forward under the water.

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: The Pull

This week’s Swimming Tip Tuesday focuses on “The Pull” in the sequence “Pull, breath, whip, glide” during the breaststroke sequence!

The pull phase of the stroke, despite being a simple action, gives rise to opportunities for many little mistakes. Potential mistakes include: a false recovery period, stalling as well as sinking. However, mastery of this movement improves the following:

  • Forward propulsion power.
  • Optimized breathing opportunity.

To accomplish this, the swimmer must be aware of how to move different segments of the arms. Starting with the hands: for positioning of the hands, one wants to keep their fingers together. Continue with flat palms that push through the water during this phase. This emphasizes forward propulsion.

The next point of focus is the elbow. Swimmers should bend their arms so that their fingertips are pointed towards the pool floor. Beginners will bend at roughly a 90 degree angle. As a swimmer develops proper shoulder movement it will alter how far the hands and arms are from the trunk of the body.

As mentioned above, the next point of focus is the shoulder. One wants to lift the shoulder to bring their face out of the water. In other words, the swimmer should shrug as they pull their arms in towards the sides of the trunk of the body, bringing them in close. This provides a quick, optimal breathing opportunity.

The shoulder lift or shrug is also very important because it keeps the head close to the water. It negates the risk of sinking and stalling, so long as the swimmer aims the arms out from the chest in one full swift motion.

A common beginner habit is to draw a wide rectangular box during the pull phase, which leads to stalling and ultimately sinking. The method of drawing a narrow box is often -and only- used as a progression, in order to allow beginners to build the arm strength required to execute this skill.

To finish the pull and enter into the glide phase, the swimmer will roll the shoulders and push the hands out from the centre of the chest forwards.

Remember: Lift your shoulder to bring your face out of the water to breathe.

Thanks for reading!

Onieka

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday Common beginner mistakes for Front Crawl

Today’s swimming Tip Tuesday will focus on a common beginner mistake for Front Crawl, regarding ones head position.

When doing Front Crawl the swimmers head position is important because it is one of the key points of rotation when breathing. If the swimmers head is miss-positioned the head can act like an anchor and cause the body to sink. The act of sinking causes the swimmer to exert unnecessary energy to complete the stroke for any desired distance.

A common beginner mistake is the swimmer will pull their head up, or forward facing when going to take a breath, rather than turn to the side. This creates unwanted strain on the neck, and throws the body out of a streamlined alignment.

To avoid this, read the following listed below:

  • The swimmer should breathe rhythmically, exhaling for a fixed period (3 seconds) of time and inhaling for a fixed period (three seconds) of time
  • The swimmer should focus on the location of the ear and nose while turning the head to the side
  • The swimmer should turn their head with the movement of their arm as they go into a side glide

Side glide: The swimmer extends one arm past the head leaning the ear down into the water bringing the swimmer onto their side. Keeping the other arm resting slightly behind the hip.

Another common beginner mistake is the swimmer will look forward, towards the wall ahead of them while blowing bubbles. Again putting unnecessary strain on the neck and throwing the body out of alignment.

While the swimmer is blowing bubbles into the water via the mouth or nose, the swimmer should aim to keep their head in the water with their eyes looking down. The swimmers head should be in line with the body and the water level should come between the eyebrows and hairline.

Indications of proper head position are as follows:

  • The swimmers neck is relaxed and not strained upwards
  • The swimmers ears are under water completely
  • The swimmers eyes are facing the floor beneath them
  • The swimmers chin is slightly tucked towards the chest

If all of the above are performed, the swimmer has successfully executed the proper head position for Front Crawl.

Tip: With eyes looking forward and down, your head should be in line with the body and the water level should come between your eyebrows and hairline.

Well That’s all for this weeks Swimming Tip Tuesday!

Until Next Time!Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Butterfly – Dolphin Kick

Today’s Swimming Tip Tuesday Butterfly – Dolphin Kick

Butterfly is a more advance stroke, for it requires controlled upper body strength and coordination of the arms and legs. Because of how advance this skill is we will revisit and discuss other components in future article, so keep your eyes pealed for some helpful pro tips.

Swimming is all about transferable skills, for those who have master Breaststroke an intermediate skill in which there is a large amount of coordination involved between the upper and lower body. The coordination of arms and legs during Butterfly will come more naturally in comparison to those who are still grasping Breaststroke. Another transferable skill is mastery of dolphin kick, as it is a direct building block for the overall mastery of Dolphin Kick.

In today’s Swimming Tip Tuesday we will focus on the how to execute the dolphin kick component of Butterfly.

When executing dolphin kick a large part of the movement comes from isolation of the hips. In a streamlined position along the water, the swimmer will push their pelvis downward to generate momentum that will move down the body from the hips, thighs, knees, calves, and then feet.

This downward push of the pelvis is done twice. The first wave to allows for mostly forward momentum, the second wave is used to generate upward momentum to bring the torso and head out of the water. Allowing the swimmer to breathe.

Pro tips:

  • Swimmers often use the imagery of a mermaid tail to describe how the legs push through the water, while keeping them close together.
  • The catch in between kicks is important, you want to pull the hips up higher on the second kick to help generate more downward momentum.
  • While doing the kick the first kick will always be smaller then the second. The size of the kicks refers to the amount of downward movement from the hips.
  • Powerful downbeats of the feet then propel the body forward. Try to keep your legs close together with your ankles relaxed.Swimming Tip Tuesday
Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday, Improving Front Crawl

Today’s Swimming Tip Tuesday will focus on Front Crawl. As a swimmer graduates from each respective level the stroke Front Crawl is refined to increase power, speed and overall efficiency. This is done slowly as it takes time to commit the basic movements to memory with the proper amount of co-ordination. A common beginner mistake when starting Front Crawl is the swimmers pulls their head up as if they are about to breathe facing forward. When the swimmer pulls their head up out of the water it takes the body out of the streamline position, the swimmers body acting like an anchor the body will start to sink due to the major shift in body position. The swimmer must then exert more effort and energy to pull them selves back to the surface of the water. To avoid sinking, one can focus on the positioning of the ear and nose when turning to breathe. The ear should smoothly enter the water as the swimmer turns their head to the side to breathe.

Let’s walk through the steps of Front Crawl to illustrate what to do for the stroke.

Please read the following steps:

  • The swimmer should start in the glide position
  • As the swimmer lowers one of arm down towards the hip
  • The swimmers’ body will rotate onto it’s side
  • As the swimmers body rotates, one will drop the shoulder down into the water
  • Rolling with the body of the swimmers head will turn as well
  • Stretching their mouth upwards to take in air
  • To ensure the swimmer doesn’t pull their head up upon enter:
  • The swimmer will focus on the position their nose
  • Turning the head so that the nose of the swimmer faces the floor.

Remember to avoid lifting your head too much out of the water. Well that’s all for this weeks Swimming Tip Tuesday.Swimming TIp Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Back Crawl, relax the neck.

This weeks Swimming Tip Tuesday will focus on Back Crawl and relaxation of the neck. A Common beginner mistake while doing Back Crawl is to tilt the head upwards, as if they are looking at their chest or their toes. This creates unnecessary strain on the neck and can lead soreness along the neck. Another disadvantage to this tilted position of the head and neck is, that it partially closes the airway. Thus inhibiting the free flow of the breathe in and out of the body. This tension adds more stress on the body, ultimately compromising our streamlined position.Swimming Tip Tuesday

When performing Back Crawl, the swimmer wants to relax their head back so that their ears are partially or fully submerged in the water. If either the swimmer or instructor notices that there is still a feeling of tension within the neck, or that the body position looks awkward. There is another way to set the body into streamlined position.

The swimmer while on their back, must focus on where their chin points:

  • If the swimmers chin is pointed towards the chest that indicates that the swimmer is looking at their chest/toes.
  • If the swimmer’s chin is pointed upwards towards the ceiling, this means that the swimmer is overcompensating and looking towards the wall behind them.

The swimmer wants the chin to be held within these two points (as mentioned above) so that the swimmer is looking directly at the ceiling above them while performing Back Crawl. Maintaining this position will remove all tension, and keep the swimmer in a streamlined position.

Once the swimmer as achieved the ideal body positioning for the head and neck, the swimmer will also increase their speed for their will be less drag acting on the body.

Expert Tip: In short your head should be still and your neck relaxed. Holding your head up too high will cause strain to the neck and slow you down in the water.

Until Next Swimming Tip Tuesday!

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Breaststroke arm movements

This weeks Swimming Tip Tuesday we will discuss Breaststroke and focus on the arm movements.

When instructing this skill, instructors tell their students to “pull, breathe, whip and glide” as a way to remember the steps for the entire stroke. For the purpose of this discussion we will focus on the “pull, breathe” portion of this little saying. Starting from the top of the stroke our body is streamline, hands together in front of the head, as well the legs are close together behind. This is our body positioning at the very beginning and end of the stroke, please refer to the photo below for a visual.Natation Conseil Mardi
The swimmer will then take their arms and part them outwards, creating a box shape, at the sides of the body, while keeping the elbows inline with the shoulders. It is at this point that the swimmer will lift their head up to breathe hence the steps “pull, breathe”.  Immediately afterwards to generate forward momentum the swimmer will pull the arms from that position at the sides of the body in towards the chest and push forward. A common beginner mistake involves sweeping the arms to wide, pulling the arms past the shoulders, creating a longer distance for the arms to travel to return to a streamlined glide position. Ideally beginners want to create a box shape with the upper portion of their body always stopping at the shoulders.
Dependent on if the swimmer is performing Breaststroke as a common swimmer, or a racing swimmer the arm movements will look slightly different. Racing strokes have an emphasis on maintaining speed, by focusing on reduction of drag. Drag in this context, is when the water acts against the swimmer slowing them down. This can also be understood as time spent out of streamline position in which the body is not working to generate forwards momentum effectively. To improve speed for this stroke and reduce drag, one wants to keep the arms close to the body as they pull around. This is accomplished by bringing keeping the arms in tight as they move down towards the sides of the swimmers torso, dropping the elbows just under the shoulders, before pushing forward.
If speed is something of interest to you as a swimmer, looking into Aqua Fun Academy’s ASAC program, in which we develop swimmer skills and enhance their overall stroke performance. http://aquafunacademy.ca/asac/ 
That’s all for this weeks Swimming Tip Tuesday, until next time! Swimming Tip Tuesday