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I had a coaching session with Aboudi today to practice the flip turn.

I was successful in getting over the fear of doing the flip turn. I also figured out the correct technique that I can work on improving next time now that the fear is gone:

  • Tuck my neck in my chest
  • Open the palms and push the water over my head
  • Once I'm upside down, I do a dolphin kick in that position (with hands stretched while squeezing my head)
  • After pushing into my dolphin position I use my hips to rotate my body back in position to continue swimming

I did several flip turns (stationary and while moving) but I wasn't able to time it correctly to also push off the wall after it was done so that is something I #plan on working on in a couple of days.

Another #recurring_problem that I #plan to fix is water getting deep in my nose which isn't a good feeling. I know the conventional advice is to constantly exhale but I found it difficult to do once I'm upside down. I will give it another shot and see if it gets better with practice. One other piece of advice I got from a Youtube video is to 'trickle breath out' to avoid running out of air too quickly so will definitely give that a shot. I really don't want to end up with nose clips!

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I had another 1 mile swimming session but my #1mile_time was also 36 minutes. Unlike last time though, I was able to bilaterally breath and I wasn't dizzy or too tired after the swim. I also felt stronger towards the end of the swim which might indicate that I wasn't going as fast as I should in the beginning so there is potential to improve my time. My streamline was also feeling more effortless and my neck wasn't sore. Seems like my previous #plan to avoid over-tucking my head forward has solved that problem so I will keep that up.

I have signed up for 2 extra sessions with coach Aboudi as I want to work on the 2 most pressing issues:

  • I want to learn that damn flip turn!!
  • I want to improve my underwater pull. It's the part of my swimming that doesn't feel right and natural as I would hope.

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Today I swam my first continuous (no rest) 1 mile (in a 25yard pool) swim. My #1mile_time was 36 minutes.

A good #goal to aspire for meanwhile is 25 minutes as long as I keep a good form throughout.

I felt a bit dizzy after getting from the water and I feel like my neck hurts a bit during the streamline as my head is tucked in forward between the stretched arms. #lesson learned here is to keep the head more neutral as it rests between the arms.

I should also try harder for bilateral breathing which I was forcing. I feel like on one side I over rotate to breath so I end up avoiding breathing on that side which is not good. #recurring_problem

I was able to incorporate the dolphin streamline that I learned last week but I still didn't do my flip turns which is still my major #recurring_problem

Earlier this week I gave a go on stationary flipping just to get over the fear of flipping in water. It worked so that's the positive thing; however, I got a bit dizzy and I had a bad feeling in my sinuses kind of like after you vomit so I didn't attempt a second turn unfortunately. I read a few tips about continuously exhaling from your nose during the flip to avoid inhaling water but I found it hard to perform during the turn (when it's most important).

I will attempt a bunch of more flip turns in the next session and if I still struggle with it I will bring back coach Aboudi for help #plan

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In today's swim session I was finally able to swim for 30 pool lengths (750 yards) non stop and without tiring out! #milestone

This is huge as I used to get tired after the 4 pool length. The #lesson that got solidified is to be mindful of my breathing patterns and allow enough time to inhale every 3 or 4th stroke. I also noticed that after doing 4 laps I got into a flow state that made the swim much more effortless.

I would say though that the main #recurring_problems that I need to address very soon is improving my streamlining and learn the tumble turn. The streamlining that I'm doing right now is semi-OK but I noticed that my head would hurt as if I'm headbutting the water so my #plan is to watch a few videos on that. Also I'm beginning to see the importance of learning the tumble turn as that would make for a less abrupt and faster transition in between laps (will watch videos on that as well).

My medium term #plan is to build up for a 70 pool length swim (i.e. 1 mile) but only after I refine the techniques a bit more

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Had another coaching session with coach Aboudi today at Dearborn's civic center.

The biggest #lesson I learned today from my coach is to spend an extra half a second breathing when turning my head out of the water. This allows me to fully inhale and stay relaxed as I'm swimming. Once I tried it today I noticed that I wasn't tiring as quickly as I used to and my coach mentioned that I even got faster when I did that.

Another thing I worked on is improving my body rotation as I'm swimming. I found that performing the rotation drill on one side, then swimming regularly for a lap then practicing the drill on the other side followed by a regular swim helped solidify the concept a bit more. #lesson

My current #sprint_timing is 42seconds per 50 yards.

Currently I'm doing the following #drills in the beginning of my swim session:

  • Kick Drill: Hands to sides. No rotation. Kicking constantly.
  • Rotation Drill: Hands to sides. With rotation. Kicking. Bilateral breathing.
  • Zipper drill: (hand trace armpit before catching forward). To improve recovery and lead with elbow.
  • Swim with swim paddle to avoid hitting the breaks on entering water.
  • Pull Drill: One arm stroke. Same arm through the rest of the length.
  • Catch Pause Drill: Pause before catch.
  • Exit Drill: Focus on hand gliding past the hip and into the thigh
  • High elbow catch (catch kick drill) (swim with elbow bent, hands point down)

This is my first #progress_video that my coach shot today:

The biggest #recurring_problems that I see here are:

  • I'm overextending during the catch phase
  • I need to adopt a dolphin kick streamline instead of kicking off the wall as you see here. I can clearly see how this is slowing down in this clip.
  • I need to learn the tumble turn, not only because it looks cooler (hah!), but it allows for a faster swim.

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I've been recently getting exhausted when swimming even though I'm sure my cardio capacity is pretty solid.

I have learned to constantly exhale under the water as I swim but according to this video, I might be overdoing it. My #plan is to follow their advice and slowly exhale during my stroke and only speed up to empty my lungs right before turning for a breath. Curious to see if that helps my endurance.

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For the sake of completeness, I have pasted this snippet from last week's Jan 20 2019 Mindcrumb from my other health journey:

I had a swimming coach today to critique my freestyle front crawl technique. Overall my form is good but can use some improvements in a few areas. I also bought a swim lap counter and timer device so I can better track my swimming progression (I might start a separate journey for just my swimming actually). The main #lessons are:

  • Kick harder and faster (practice the kicking drill with the kick board)
  • Extend the arm further during the recovery phase
  • Practice the body rotation more (do the body rotation drills)

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I've talked a bit about my swimming journey in my other health journey. Since I'm now 100% certain it's an activity that I want to commit to long term I decided to start a separate journey.

The #goals for the medium term are the following:

  • Improve the technique for my front crawl smooth style swimming in a 25 yard pool
  • Comfortably swim 1 mile non stop in a swimming pool

I will worry about speed, sprints and open water swimming at a later stage. But right now it's very important to perfect the technique to avoid injuries (I've had a shoulder surgery 4 years ago) and to set a solid foundation.