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Beginner swimmers

Helpful tips on what beginner swimmers should focus on

Breathing:

Breathing in the water is no different from normal breathing outside of the water.
Make sure you are breathing relaxed. The key is synchronising all the movements together.
For example, in freestyle the actions are: stroke- body rotation- head rotation to side - exhale-inhale – back head to the water and keep swimming.

Key points during the breathing:

Focus on relaxed breathing. Avoid shallow breaths, stiff face muscles, exhaling with pressure or fast breathing.
After inhaling, lightly hold the breath for 1-2sec.
When swimming freestyle, breath in time with your shoulder rotation.
During long swims, practice breathing every third stroke or breathe every second stroke but change which side you breathe regularly

Kicking:

If you compare natural walking movement and kicking, you won’t find a big different.
The only difference is how far apart the feet get: the length of one step in an adult is approximately 60cm and in a freestyle kick it is around 30cm.
What we can learn from this is to: focus on having relaxed legs, slightly bend your knees during the kick (like in walking), and let your legs kick in one rhythm and at the start kick easy.

Here’s how to kick start your kick:

Keep your legs relaxed and allow your feet to move up and down with relaxed knees (not straight legs!).
If you find that you are not moving forward, it’s probably because you are too stiff and kicking with straight legs.
Try practice kick with different body positions – for example on your back or side.
Kick softly and focus on a 1-2-1-2-1-2 rhythm.

Stroke:

the stroke is the main means of propulsion. Similar to legs in kicking, arms and hands should be relaxed during the stroke.
Pressing fingers together to make a stiff hand paddle only increases the stiffness in your whole arm and thereby makes the stroke inefficient.
Simply feel the water in your hand during the pull and push backward. If your body is traveling through the water, your stroke is efficient and you are swimming forward.

During the stroke, remember to:

Have a relaxed hand and forearm.
Starts stroke with catch of the water and pull and push the water below shoulder.
Finish the underwater part of your stroke next your thigh.
Relax and make your stroke long (count stoke per lap).
Maintain a consistent rhythm.

Staying streamlined:

A streamlined body position reduces the amount of drag on a swimmer’s body whilst swimming.
Not every beginner swimmer understands the correct body position when swimming freestyle.
Remember Freestyle is a side stroke. This means the body rotates from side to side through the chest during the swim.
There are only two strokes we call chest strokes - Butterfly and Breaststroke.
By rotating the body from side to side in a pivot action you easily achieve a streamlined body position.

Achieving a streamlined position:

Relax your body! Stiff muscles during the swim make your body sink.
Relax your neck and let your head float on the surface.
Having a high head position means your hips and legs sink in the water.
Rotate your body from side to side by reaching the arm forward underneath the water.
Softly kick to keep your legs near the surface of the water.
Start swimming and then start controlling your body position: ACT and then THINK. Not the other way around

Vlad Swim Coach

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