Tag: swim

TWO GREAT PEARLS FOR A FASTER BACKSTROKE

Courtesy of Gary Hall Sr., 10-time World Record Holder, 3-time Olympian, 1976 Olympic Games US Flagbearer and The Race Club co-founder.

The fundamentals of backstroke are the same as for freestyle. However, the priority of those fundamentals differ for backstroke and there are certain nuances of backstroke that differ from freestyle.

Of all four strokes, backstroke is not the fastest stroke, but it is the most efficient stroke. That means that there is less change of speed in backstroke than in any other stroke. There are two principal reasons for that. First, the coupling of the body rotation comes at the very end of the pulling motion, which is the weaker part of the pull, as opposed to the stronger middle of the pull in freestyle. The result is the propulsive force of the arm pull remains more constant in backstroke.

The second reason that the velocity of the backstroker is more uniform has to do with the kick. When a swimmer is on his or her stomach, the down kick is typically much more propulsive than the up kick. However, when on the back, the weaker down kick becomes very propulsive because the foot pushes down against a larger vortex and gravity helps assist in the downward motion of the foot. As a result, the propulsive forces of the down and up kicks become much more even and the resultant velocity is more constant.

When it comes to taking advantage of these two nuances of backstroke, here are two important pearls in your technique that will help.

1)      On the backstroke arm recovery, throw the arm and hand hard to the water. Accentuating the speed of the hand entry on the recovery also has the effect of accentuating the body rotation. This will help maintain the swimmer’s speed toward the end of the pulling motion.

2)      Work the down kick hard on backstroke. During both the underwater dolphin kick and the backstroke, it is very important to press downward vigorously with the sole or bottom of the foot to take advantage of the large vortex formed from the stronger up kick. If a swimmer does this, he or she can get more propulsion and speed from the weaker down kick than from the stronger up kick. This downward motion of the feet will also help keep the swimmer’s speed more constant.

This week our Race Club members in Lane 2 will get classroom instruction on how the fundamentals of backstroke differ from those of freestyle. Race Club members in lane 3 will see a great dryland technique from world champion Junya Koga on how to teach swimmers the proper backstroke pulling motion.

Top Tips For Winter Swimming

Welcome to the world of cold water swimming!

Winter swimming communities famously thrive in northern European countries where an icy dip can be followed by a toasty sauna. There are many theories on the benefits of cold water swimming, amongst these are that as well as being surprisingly addictive, it’s said to give the immune system a kick start and gives an amazing sense of well-being which can benefit your mental state of being. What are you waiting for?

Tips on becoming a cold water swimmer

1. Authentic cold water swimmers around the world wear a regular swimming costume, a silicone swim hat and goggles. No wetsuit is worn, as this defeats the concept and benefits of feeling the cold water on your body, although a lot of people find that training in neoprene socks and gloves can help the extremities manage the cold better.

2. Most people stop swimming outdoors when it gets to October, but a cold water swimmer keep swimming throughout the year and just reduce the distance and time in the water. Your body will continue to acclimatise as the temp drops.  A top tip is to keep a log book of when you swim, how long for, how you felt and what your recovery was like.

3. Find a safe place where you can swim, ideally somewhere where you can park nearby or can use a changing room or sheltered area for changing.  You also want to make sure that you have easy access in and out of the water.

4. Find some others to dip with you, to make sure you are safe during and after swimming, and stay within your depth on your first cold water dip.  There should be people around when you come out of your swim to assist with your recovery or hand you a warm drink etc.  Basically cold water swimmers look out for each other, its as important part of winter swimming as the swim itself.

5. Swim safe. Swimmers need to be easily seen by boats in open water so at the very least avoid swimming in busy areas for boats, jet skis and ferries. It is also a swimmer’s responsibility to make yourself as visible as possible to other open water users: always wear a brightly coloured swimhat; consider buying a coloured swim tow-float (available from swimsecure.co.uk online shop); in dull or foggy conditions, or at night, attach swim lights or light sticks to the back of your goggles or swim costume.  You also want to make sure that you can be easily seen by any support team on the water on standing on the shore side.

6. The trick with cold water  acclimatisation is that there is no trick!  It’s all about going in the water regularly, daily dips, even for a very short period prepares the body to cope with the ‘cold water shock’ and the recovery.  Don’t rush to be a ice mile hero, become a winter swimmer first, go through a winter swimming regularly, so you understand how your body copes with different water temps.  Once the water is under 10 degrees it will feel very cold when entering the water, but once its under 5 degrees, event drop of 1 degree C makes a big difference.  Also the wind and outside temp makes a difference, and some days you just feel better than others.  It’s only by spending time in cold water that you get to know you limits.  Don’t push too far to quickly and ENJOY IT!

7. A thermometer is not essential, but can be helpful in knowing how you body copes and recovers in different temps, some people like to know before they go in the water and other just want to get in and swim and find out what it is when they get out. Keep a check on how long you swim for as the temperature drops and starts to rise again approaching the summer. You soon learn your limits and how much you should do each time.

8. Don’t try to be a hero in cold water, know your limitations, and get out as soon as you feel your body moving more slowly or if your hands start to become stiff. Try just a few minutes the first time. Breath slowly and calmly. Keep your head above water until you are comfortable putting your face in. If you begin to feel warm in cold water, you are experiencing the dangerous first stage of hypothermia so get out of the water immediately (see link below for a full definition).

9. When you exit the water, put on a hat, and get fully dressed immediately. Your body temperature will continue to drop for a few minutes after getting out of the water, so don’t delay! Set all your kit out ready before you go in the water, have it stacked in the order you will put it back on in. As soon as you are out, your only focus is getting out of your wet kit and into your clothes ASAP.  There’s plenty of time to chat afterwards with your friends whilst having a warm drink. Do not warm up the body suddenly with a hot shower or bath, gradual warmth with layers and a warm drink is much safer and more effective.

10. Hypothermia can be fatal, please see links below for more information:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypothermia

5 Health benefits Of Swimming In Winter

Overweight, lethargic, bad skin, thin hair. These are not adjectives often associated with those crazy freezing water enthusiasts. Try: athletic, youthful and toned with good complexions and lots of energy. So, what’s their secret? What are the real beneficial health outcomes of regular exposure to cold water and are they available to normal people without masochistic tendencies?

 

1. Boosts your immune system

For your body, a sudden and drastic change in temperature constitutes an attack – as anyone who’s ever fallen overboard in British waters will concur. And, whilst “attacking” your own body may not sound like a good thing, there is no harm in keeping it on its toes. In fact, quite the opposite.

Scientists from the Czech Republic immersed witting subjects in cold water for one hour, three times a week and monitored their physiology. They found significant increases in white blood cell counts and several other factors relating to the immune system. This was attributed to the cold water being a mild stressor which activates the immune system and gives it some practice.

2. For an all-natural high

Winter swimmers talk a lot about the ‘high’ they get from cold water – a feeling of wellbeing that’s so encompassing that it becomes quite addictive (who doesn’t want to feel truly good, at least once a day?) The cause? Endorphins.

Endorphins are the body’s natural pain killers and, in the case of a cold dip, it uses them to take the sting away from your skin. So, to get high on your own supply, all you need to do is jump in a river.

And if you think that sounds dangerously close to the pleasure/pain barrier then you’re probably right. The two other primary causes for endorphin release are pain and orgasm.

The cold will also stimulate your parasympathetic system, which is responsible for rest and repair, and this can trigger the release of dopamine and serotonin. These neurotransmitters are a vital part of keeping us happy and low levels of them are linked with depression. Couple this effect with the endorphin rush as you take the plunge and it should make for a warm glow and a wide smile when you re-emerge.

3. Gets your blood pumping

Being hot brings blood to surface. Being cold sends it to your organs. Both extremes work your heart like a pump. That’s why the whole sit in the sauna, roll in the snow, sit in the sauna thing makes people glow. But why is increased blood flow good for you?

Well, it helps flush your circulation for starters, pushing blood through all your capillaries, veins and arteries. It will exfoliate your skin and flush impurities from it, thus helping your complexion (firm-bodied women of all ages around pool sides say it stops cellulite). Evidence also demonstrates that your body adapts to the cold with repeated exposure and this may improve your circulation, particularly to your extremities – no bad thing in the winter months.

You could get these benefits by switching between the hot and cold taps in your shower (or the sauna, snow, sauna thing) but that doesn’t sound nearly as fun as quick dip in your local pond followed by wrapping up warm afterwards.

 

4. Improves your sex life

The suggestion of a cold shower might bring forth images of hot-headed young men trying to quell wanton urges but research paints a different picture.

In a study with a similar format to the one described above, participants took daily cold baths and were monitored for changes. In addition to some similar results to their Czech counterparts, these researchers also found increased production of testosterone and oestrogen in men and women respectively.

In addition to enhancing libido in both sexes, these hormones also play an important role in fertility. In fact, one technique recommended for men looking to fatherhood is to bathe their testicles in cold water every day.  Whatever your procreative desires, a dip of a different sort certainly could add an edge to your sex life.

5. Burns calories

We all know that swimming is great exercise but there are some extra benefits from doing it in the North Sea that you just won’t get from a warm wade in the Med.

Swimming in cold water will make your body work twice as hard to keep you warm and burn more calories in the process. For this sort of exercise, fat is your body’s primary source of energy and the increased work rate will increase your metabolism in the long run.

Kids and swim ear plugs: What you need to know

For many families, splashing in the backyard or community pool or heading to the nearest beach to cool off in the water is a major part of summer fun. Before you get your pool passes for the season, find out about how to protect your children’s ears when they start enjoying time in the water. Swim ear plugs are often the best solution, but how do you know if your child needs them and what types are the best?

The case for swim ear plugs

For children with recurrent ear infections such as swimmer’s ear (otitis externa), infections of the middle ear (otitis media) or ear tubes, the best bet is often swim ear plugs. These custom plugs keep ears dry preventing water containing harmful bacteria to get trapped inside the ear.

swimmers ear and hearing loss
Swimmer’s ear can be extremely painful for
children. Ear plugs can be an excellent remedy
to avoid this condition. 

Many doctors recommend swim ear plugs for children that have ear tubes. Ear tubes are small cylinders that have been placed through the eardrum in the case of recurring middle ear infections in order to allow fluid to drain. Other doctors recommend regular use of swim ear plugs only when diving or swimming in untreated water, such as lakes, rivers and oceans.

The argument for limited use of plugs for children with ear tubes is predicated on the fact that surface tension of the water will prevent any water from entering the ear tubes, so unless a child is swimming 3 feet or more under water, they should be safe. To that end, children with ear tubes also should wear swim ear plugs whenever ears are submerged in soapy water in the bathtub. Soap acts as a surfactant, or lubricant, to reduce the surface tension and will allow the water to enter the tubes.

Even without ear tubes, swimming can pose risks for children with current ear infections or previous surgery. Although swimming doesn’t cause middle ear infections, swim ear plugs should be worn so any water pollutants don’t make an existing infection worse. Keep in mind also that underwater swimming can cause painful pressure changes for children with ear infections. And in the case of a ruptured acute otitis media, also known as an ear infection with a ruptured eardrum, swimming should be avoided completely until the infection has cleared up.

Purchase ear plugs now at www.spurt.co.za

Top Father’s Day Gifts for Swimmer Dads

Father’s Day is just around the corner! Here’s a couple gift ideas for Father’s Day, but specifically for those dads that are active swimmers:

Underwater Audio Waterproof iPod

Hydroharmony with silver iPod on woodUnderwater Audio Waterproof iPod – this is a great gift, because it allows you to listen to your favorite music while swimming laps, training, or even relaxing in the spa after a long day.
Bonus: the Waterproof iPod also functions as a regular iPod! It can be used while running, snowboarding, walking, or lounging around the house. It’s a must for all those active dads!

Swimbuds Sport Waterproof HeadphonesEarbud Headphones

Earbud Headphones – what would a Waterproof iPod be without headphones?!
You can purchase the newest and latest earbud sport headphones. You can also buy them in bundles, which gives you more for your money.

Family Swim Day

Floating Water Radio

Floating Water Radio – this is perfect for parties or family days at the pool. Everyone can enjoy their favorite music while splashing around the pool all day.

Waterproof Stop WatchWaterproof Stopwatch

Waterproof Stop Watch – a must have for all those professional or swim training dads. They can keep track of their time and speed each time.
Which allows them to push themselves harder and beat even their best time!

Water Joggers and Resistance Cuffs

Water Joggers and Resistance Cuffs – an amazing new way to train in the water. The joggers and resistance cuffs add the extra resistance to training, but without being too hard on your body.

10 REASONS WHY SWIM DADS ARE THE BEST DADS

Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham

10 Reasons Why Swim Dads Are The Best Dads – Father’s Day

Swim dads are the unsung heroes of swimming and without them, teams would have a tough time staying afloat. Some swim dads are responsible for the day-to-day responsibility of getting kids to and from practice, while others help with meets and fundraising. There are many things dads do to help their children, teams and swim family.

Here are 10 reasons to be thankful for swim dads:

ONE

Dads drive their kids to practice and meets and make the drive more fun by stopping for treats on the way home.

TWO

Dads do the heavy lifting to set up swim meets and carry pop-up tents at away meets. They’re the last ones on deck tearing down and putting meet equipment away.

THREE

At meets, dads are not shy about stepping up to help wherever they’re needed—whether it’s behind the hot grill, wearing the neon vest as a deck marshal or timing.

FOUR

A silly joke from a dad plus a big hug can end a swimmer’s tears after missing a cut for the big meet.

FIVE

Swim dads spend entire weekends at the pool without a complaint to watch their kids swim a few minutes.

SIX

They freely give advice and reach out to newer swim families.

SEVEN

At the end of a long weekend, after the sprint and IM families have gone home, you’ll find dads lap counting for their distance kids.

EIGHT

Dads often serve on parent boards and volunteer their expertise in making decisions.

NINE

Dads encourage their swimmers to be their best and cheer loudly for their kids and teammates.

TEN

Dads are a source of unconditional love. They love their children regardless if they get a personal best or DQ.

Swimming For Kids With Special Needs

Teaching kids with special needs to swim is not only a good idea, it’s essential.  Swimming lessons help kids with special needs in a number of key areas, including greater muscle strength and physical endurance, increased flexibility, more self-control, and, in many instances, improved behavioral outcomes.

Creating an effective swimming program for kids with special needs takes a patient understanding of each swimming student as well as a well-thought-out plan for how the lessons can be adapted to each child.  Here are some tips on teaching swimming lessons to kids with special needs:

  • Give each child individualized attention — Because swimming with be a new experience for most of these children, they may be hesitant or reluctant to “take the plunge” at first.  Be patient, and work with kids at their own speed to get them adapted to being in the water and moving in the water.  Additionally, children with epilepsy with need “spotters” at all times.
  • Utilize appropriate adaptive equipment — Some students may benefit from adaptive equipment that makes the water experience more positive for them.  Life jackets other flotation devices like floating mats may sometimes be used to help children with motor disorders enjoy swimming safely.  For children with tubes in the ears, specialized swim plugs or caps will need to be used to prevent the water from doing damage.
  • Limit distractions — Special needs children often do better in areas of the pool with no distractions.  Try to limit harsh lighting or background noises.
  • Be consistent — Since many special needs kids thrive with specific, predictable routines, it is essential that instructors be consistent in their teaching times and methods.  Any necessary deviations from normal schedules should be planned in advance.
  • Adapt to the needs of each child — Some children may benefit from visual cues (for instance, with flash cards or diagrams) as opposed to verbal instructions.  Other children may learn better with physical demonstrations.  It is important to adapt the lessons to match the ways in which each child learns best.
  • Emphasize basic water skills — Before attempting to teach swimming via traditional strokes, it’s important to make sure that each child masters basic water skills like breathing, maneuvering underwater, and flotation.  These skills will not come naturally for many children, which is why a patient, consistent teaching method is best.
  • Make it fun — Getting into the water for the first time can be a scary experience for many special needs children.  Try to reduce water anxiety by making their experience fun and giving them plenty of praise and encouragement.
  • Plan for safety — Make sure that safety is a top priority in your swimming program.  Safety measures include having a small class sizes, clean water, good leadership, qualified swim instructors, and a documented emergency plan.

Swimming is an important skill that can save the lives of special needs children.  Parents and educators can work with swimming instructors to create adapted swimming programs that fit the need of each child individually.

Written by: Teressa Dahl

Swim Schools in Roodepoort and Randpark Ridge

Image result for swim

Swimming Schools in the Randpark Ridge and Roodepoort Area

Name Address Area Contact
Aqualand SA Swimming School 18 Catalenti Road Randpark Ridge 0825212360
Splashmates Swim School 47 Medlar Road Randpark Ridge 0117935904
Happy Feet Swimming School 1834 Scott Avenue Randpark Ridge 0783709698
Aquarius  Aquatics Swim School 1083 Chateau Avenue Roodepoort 0114752313
Amanzi  Scuba and Swim Centre 21 Beverly Drive Roodepoort 0832689777
The Swim School 88 Alexandra Street Roodepoort 0116742530
I Can Swim – Swim Academy 1085 Kajuit Turn Allens nek 073594407
Mony Swim School 4 Rowan Place Constantia Kloof
Aquanauts Swim School 190 Wilgespruit Street Roodepoort 0832561774

 

Swimming Schools in the Morningside, Rivonia and Sandton area

Name Address Area Contact
Slipstream Swim School 25 Glenian Road Sandton 0828455355
Aqua turtles Swim School 21 Van Riebeeck Street Norscot Manor 0114655662
Lonehill Swim School 35 Morgenster Crescent Lonehill 0837937887
Active Academy Swim School 1 Centre Road Morningside 0840322157
Sandown Swim School 10 Etosha Crescent Sandown 0112622461
Wahoo Swim School 516 Maxwell Drive Sunninghill 0118075118
Little Seahorses Swimming School 13-15 Ashton Road Lonehill 0846901267
Little Lifeguards 43 Darter Avenue Norscot 0625094601
Goof Swimming School Corner of Rivonia Road and North Road Rivonia 0844109242
Sleek Swim 9 Sutherland Avenue Craighall Park 0117882548
Swim Tots Rivonia Sports Centre Morningside 0825724809