Aqua Fun Academy
Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday “The Pull”

This weeks Swimming Tip Tuesday focuses on “The Pull” in the sequence “Pull, breath, whip, glide” during the stroke none other than Breaststroke!

The Pull phase of the stroke, despite being a simple action gives rise to an opportunity for many little mistakes. Such as, 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 wary 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. As well as 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 90degree angle. As a swimmer develops proper shoulder movement 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. An negates an opportunity for 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. Though the method of drawing a narrow box is often used as a progression, 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 our of the water to breathe

That’s it for this weeks’ Swimming Tip Tuesday, until next!Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Butterfly Arms

 

Today’s Swimming Tip Tuesday is an Advanced Tip! As we progress throughout swimming, we challenge ourselves to learn more complicated strokes, and more competitive and competition oriented strokes. If this is where your interest lies, look more into Aqua Fun Academy’s ASAC program. The Link is provided below:

http://aquafunacademy.ca/asac/

Butterfly is one of the most co-ordination heavy strokes, similar to Breaststroke. However Butterfly also requires well-conditioned upper body strength, and flexible shoulder mobility. This stroke can be learned in steps, for today’s Swimming Tip Tuesday we will focus on the arm movements associated with the Butterfly.

When beginning the Butterfly, the arms should move forward in a circular motion forward. Rotating at the shoulder and reaching the hand in front of the body as far as possible, and then pushing the arms down along the sides of the body. This is done to condition and build flexibility within the shoulders. When the stroke is performed both arms will move in unison, however to practice the sweeping motion, swimmers can use a flutter board and practice one arm at a time.

To begin generating more explosive power through the stroke, the swimmer will adjust the movement of the hands through the water. With the palms facing down the swimmer will draw one half of a keyhole through the water, swiftly pulling the arm up and out of the water. Similarly to the first movement this can also be practiced one arm at a time with the use of a flutter board. Once the swimmer is comfortable begin to practice the move in unison, remembering to breathe once the arms exit the water and enter the recovery phase.

Now that we’ve analyzed circular motion, and how to generate power, we can move into the recovery phase of Butterfly. The recovery phase of a stroke is usually when the arms exit the water. As the arms come up out of the water, we want the backs of the hands to face each other, extending the arms forward and keeping them should width apart. At this point in the stroke, we want to take advantage of our time out of the water, and take a deep breathe in. To see Butterfly in motion by none other than Michael Phelphs himself, refer to the link below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jd67PMryIT0

Tip Summary:

The arms extend forward and kept shoulder width apart. The palms should face downwards. 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, 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: Breaststroke and head position.

This weeks’ Swimming Tip Tuesday we will discuss Breaststroke and head positioning. When performing Breaststroke head positioning is important as it helps the swimmer align their body in such a way that allows for them to recover and breath easily. A common beginner mistake is too keep ones head down almost pointed towards the floor. As a result of this head positioning the swimmer often dips far underneath the surface of the water, causing them to exert more effort pull themselves back up to the top when the time comes to breathe. This down and upward motion can also throw off the timing and coordination of the stroke. While the swimmer is maneuvering their body to bring their head up and out of the water, from a deep below the surface, the swimmer can stall, as a result of late whip.

When executing Breaststroke it is important to keep your head angled so that you are looking forwards and downwards – not just forwards. Imagine that you are holding a tennis ball between your chin and chest all the way through this process. This allows the swimmer to maintain a streamline body position without causing the swimmer to dip down far underneath the surface of the water.

Another way to think about our head positioning is that we should aim to keep our head at the surface of the water. As if we want the top of our head to be dry throughout the stroke. Remembering this has often also helped beginner swimmers who are striving to look more like intermediate swimmers to correct their head position.

As a point of reference as too what that looks like, refer to the picture of todays’ Swimming Tip Tuesday. In which the swimmer is holding their head at an angle, instead of looking straight down.

That’s all for this week! Keep Swimming!Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Butterfly and Chest Position

Today’s Swimming Tip Tuesday our key point is to ‘avoid going too deep down in the water when pressing down the chest. It should only move about 5 inches up and down.’

Butterfly is an advanced stroke that requires a lot of coordination, and well-developed strength in both the arms and legs. As a result of this, Butterfly is a skill taught after one has mastered Breaststroke; which is a coordination heavy stroke.

Lets look at Breathing and Timing for Butterfly. When breathing the positioning of our chest in the water dictates how effectively we will be able to come up for air. Furthermore, the positioning of our chest also allows the swimmer to develop a natural rhythm.

A common mistake amongst beginners is to bring the head and chest too low into the water at the beginning of the stroke. What we are striving for is, to keep the head just under the surface of the water, and the chest almost level. As we go into the stroke the chest drops with the downbeat of the hips, and returns to just under the surface of the water on the second downbeat of the legs. Making a wave or ‘s’ motion with the body.

By returning the chest to just under the surface of the water, we decrease the amount of work required to pull the head up to breath. For those of you who have been swimming for some time, swimming is all about efficiency! By focusing on bringing the chest back up on the second down beat of the legs, we decrease the amount of energy used to bring our head up. This provides the swimmer with more energy to complete longer distances. As Butterfly can be a more physically taxing stroke in comparison to simple strokes like Front Crawl or Back Crawl.

That’s a wrap for this Swimming Tip Tuesday, until next week!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
Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Breathing FC

Today’s Swimming Tip Tuesday we will look at Front Crawl, specifically breathing and how to correct common mistakes.

Front Crawl, as we progress through the levels, becomes more and more about positioning and coordination. Timing is just one small element of getting this stroke in motion; especially in regards to breathing throughout a stroke.

Through my own teaching experience I have seen a multitude of interesting ways to breathe incorrectly. It is common for swimmers at all stages to develop habits that do not aid us in perfecting the stroke.

In order to retrieve a full breathe while doing Front Crawl, the swimmer must keep various things in mind.

  • When pulling the arms around to whether we are doing big circles or Front Crawl with bent arm, we want to be in the beginnings of side glide position as we take the breath. A common mistake occurs when we breathe as we are exiting the recovery phase. Simply put, breathe as you bring the arm out of the water, and not while you are putting your arm back into the water.
  • Head positioning is crucial, we want to keep about half our face within the water. Angling our chin towards the ceiling to bring in more air. As ones stroke increases in speed, you will want to stretch your mouth to the top side to keep it clear above the water.
  • Another way to bring our face to the correct position when first beginning to learn Front Crawl, is to bring our ear down shoulder during the side glide phase of the stroke.

Another thing to keep in mind, while performing Front Crawl is that breathing during swimming shares the same principles as breathing during other physical activities we exhale on the effort (in the water), and inhale during the recovery (while we bring our arms out).

Until Next Weeks Swimming Tip Tuesday!Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday – Streamline Breastroke

Todays’ Swimming Tip Tuesday we will talk about staying streamline while doing Breaststroke.

In previous Swimming Tip Tuesdays’ we have isolated various movements that help simplify this complicated stroke that is Breaststroke. We’ve also discussed maintaining streamline body position during other strokes. Today we are going to look at the body from the top of the torso to the knees when performing Breaststroke.

In Breast Stroke the body moves through a sequence of steps: pull, breathe, whip, and glide for three seconds. During the glide phase the body is in perfect streamline position, as seen in the photo below.

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: An example of a swimmer in full glide potion.

When a swimmer executes the pull and breathe phase we partially break streamline position. However these motions are to help us generate forward momentum. As we whip, the arms are returning to streamline position. In order to prevent drag as we whip the swimmer must try to keep their thighs at the same level as their torso.

There are a few ways to create drag during the whip phase that many beginners do while learning the stroke.

  • The swimmer drops their knees towards the ground as the initiate the bend phase.
  • The swimmer bends at the hips while they initiate the bend phase.
  • The swimmer bends so their ankles exit the water.

Now that we understand the mistakes that can be made how do we correct these?

  • The Swimmer aims their knees towards the wall directly behind us, keeping our thighs inline with our torso.
  • The swimmer bends their heels back towards our buttocks without bending at the hips.
  • During the whip phase the swimmer keeps their ankles under the water.

If the swimmer accomplishes all three of these corrections, they will improve speed efficiency and technique during Breaststroke, as a result of creating less drag.

Well that’s a wrap for this Swimming Tip Tuesday, until next time!Swimming Tip Tuesday