Tag: water

How To Swim Breast Stroke

MASTER YOUR SWIMMING TECHNIQUE (1): BREAST STROKE

The breaststroke is also known as the “froggy” stroke among children learning to swim as it sounds more endearing. The movement also resembles that of a frog swimming in water hence the use of this term. It is the most popular recreational style because it is very stable and does not require a lot of effort if a good technique is applied.

It can be a tricky stroke to master but once you manage to coordinate it properly, it can become a very leisurely way to swim. Here are 5 steps to ensure you master the breaststroke.

Step 1: Body position

Keep your body flat and lie facing down in the water with your body kept in line with the water surface.

Step 2: Arm movement

There are three steps in arm movement – the Catch, Pull and Recovery. A fun way to learn this is to imagine scooping a gigantic bowl of ice-cream (Catch), pushing towards your mouth to eat (Pull) and then doing it again (Recovery).

1. Catch – With arms out straight and palms facing downwards, press down and out at the same time.

2. Pull – With elbows elevated above hands, pull hard towards your chest. The pull should have an accelerating hand movement pressing back and downward by the palm and forearms.

3. Recover – Join both palms together in a prayer like fashion in front of your chest and push out until your arms are straight again. This position helps reduce drag when pushing against the water.

Breaststroke arms

Step 3: Breathing Technique

Lift your head and neck above water at the end of the pulling movement for a breath. In the recovery phase, exhale bubbles in the water whilst your hands are pushed forward. Remember to use the praying position and the correct breathing techniques!Step 4: Leg Action

Starting with your legs straightened, bend your knees to bring your heel towards your bottom and make a circular motion outwards with your feet until they return to the starting position. When your knees are being bent, your feet should be below the water surface and shoulder width apart.

An important point to remember is keeping your feet in a dorsi-flexed position (flat-foot) whilst doing the breaststroke kick for more thrust.

breaststroke legs

Step 5: Learn to Glide

After executing the breaststroke kick, your body should be in a streamlined position with your arms and legs straightened. Stay in this position for one to two seconds as the forward propulsion by your legs should allow you to “glide” forward.

Notes on Coordination

  • When your breathing is finished, drop your head down in water and begin the kick.
  • When your kick is finished, hold out your arms straight in streamline position. (Gliding)
  • After 1-2 seconds, begin your arm movement again. (Step 2)

Helpful Tips

  • Do not rush through the gliding phase as it is actually the fastest part of the stroke.
  • Keep your feet in flat-footed position when performing the kick.

TOP 10 SWIMMING BEACHES IN SOUTH AFRICA

Warm days of jumping around in the rolling turquoise waves, skipping on white sands and licking ice-cold soft-serves are the secrets to getting the most out of South Africa as a holiday destination. This country’s coastline stretches for more than 2500 kilometres (or over 1500 miles).

Its beaches include trendy hotspots for the brownest babes, the exquisite Wild Coast, or simple stretches of unspoilt sand and sea.

THE TOP 10 SWIMMING BEACHES IN SOUTH AFRICA:

1. Port St John’s, Wild Coast

The sheer magnificence of the Wild Coast is breath-taking, and Port St John’s is the perfect place to immerse yourself in this beauty. This is a tropical beach that is famous for its awesome surfing waves, and is situated at the mouth of the Umzimvubu River. This area enjoys hot, humid summers that are best spent frolicking in the warm

2. Hobie Beach, Port Elizabeth

Although not the biggest beach in Port Elizabeth, this is certainly one of its prettiest and most popular. It lies at the foot of the iconic Shark Rock Pier that extends into the temperate waters of Algoa Bay. It is situated just next to Humewood Beach, which is the only Blue Flag beach in the city, and both are close to a host of restaurants and the popular Boardwalk.

3. Umhlanga Rocks, Durban

The tidal pools and rock pools of this beach make it ideal for families with little ones and school groups. Every year, Umhlanga Rocks attracts people from all over the country for swimming, surfing, body surfing and sunbathing. The holiday resort village of Umhlanga makes this a beach vacation to remember.

4. Camps Bay, Cape Town

If you’re in the mood for beautiful people on beaches lined with palm trees and trendy champagne bars, Camps Bay is the answer. This spectacular beach lies at the foot of Table Mountain, with the Twelve Apostles looming over it. Smoothed boulders and the broad beaches of pure white sands are unforgettable.

5. Llandudno, Cape Town

Llandudno is a small beach, acclaimed as one of Cape Town’s most beautiful. The homes that perch on the mountains around the beach are some of the most expensive in the country, and keep this beach completely isolated from the bustle of city life.

6. Clifton, Cape Town

Clifton’s beaches are popular filming sites for movies and adverts because of their picturesque white sands, grey boulders and azure waters. This means that days spent on Clifton are sure to yield some celebrity sightings. If not, you are assured of spending time in absolute beauty.

7. Noetzie, Knysna

Noetzie is, actually, just outside Knysna on the Garden Route, and is known for the three mysterious castles right on the beach. It is also known for its variety of wildlife and gorgeous flora. Forested hills and red rock faces make this beach truly special.

8. Plettenberg Bay

Plett, as this area is often known, is a popular tourist destination, particularly during summer. Its two beaches, Robberg and Lookout, are fabulous for swimming, surfing and whale watching, and the miles of sandy shores are ideal for little ones.

9. Cape Vidal, St Lucia

The stunning St Lucia Wetlands Park, now known as the Isimangaliso Wetland Park is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its abundance in flora and fauna. Cape Vidal is part of this area and is most beautiful for its being completely cut off from “the real world”.

10. Willard Beach, Ballito

One of the most popular and acclaimed beached of KwaZulu Natal, Willard Beach is particularly loved for the many attractions and accommodation providers nearby. The long sandy beaches and warm waters make this an ideal option for families and a romantic beach destination for couples.

This list is by no means exhaustive. There are hundreds more beaches that dot the coastline and invite families and outdoor-lovers from all over the world to sunbathe, swim and enjoy the natural splendour of South Africa.

10 of the best swimming holidays around the world

Whether it’s wild swimming in lakes and fjords, a sea ‘safari’ in Crete, or a 6km swim in the warm waters of Mexico’s Baja peninsula, this selection of swims (and stays) is a stroke of genius

Arch at Land’s End, on the tip of Baja penisula, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Arch at Land’s End, on the tip of Baja penisula, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Photograph: Alamy

Exploring the Baja peninsula, Mexico

With water temperatures of 27C, the Sea of Cortez is so warm that, as SwimTrek puts it, “you’ll feel like you’re swimming in the bath”. Expect to feel comfortable out of the water too, spending a week sleeping in glamping-style bell tents with solar-heated showers, and enjoying fresh local food and cocktails rustled up by your team chef. Each day the swim covers 6km, passing the cliff faces and beaches of this Unesco-protected area, with plenty of opportunity to borrow sea kayaks, paddleboards or snorkels and immerse yourself in the diverse marine life.
Seven days from £1,170, swimtrek.com

The Minoan Trail, Crete

Female swimmer jumps from a boat in the swim, as part of the Minoan Trail swimming trip, in Crete

The Big Blue Swim spent two years planning this series of swims that involves a six-day sea safari along the wild coastline of south Crete: a landscape that forms the backdrop to well-known myths and history. Starting in the village of Sfakia the journey is eastwards along rugged coastline, exploring caves and remote beaches and passing ancient ruins and churches – loading up on energy with delicious meals at local tavernas. There’s also the option of receiving filmed swimming analysis and coaching sessions, as well as the chance to hone your breathing technique with the help of a yoga specialist.
Six days, £660, thebigblueswim.com

Snorkelling in Sri Lanka

Nilaveli beach, Trincomalee, Sri Lanka
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Nilaveli beach, Trincomalee. Photograph: Alamy

Diveworld’s 10-day “liveaboard” tour offers the chance to swim in Sri Lanka’s tropical waters and get a close-up view of sea life, including whales and dolphins. The trips, which begin in September, use the newly built Sri Lanka Aggressor, a 44-metre yacht that has air-conditioned cabins, a dive-deck lounge, barbecue area and swim deck. The inaugural whale and dolphin snorkelling trip will set sail from the historic port of Trincomalee in eastern Sri Lanka and sea-life spotting will be under the watchful gaze of renowned naturalist Howard Martenstyn.
10 days from £2,455pp, including return flights from the UK, accommodation, transfers and diving, 01962, 302087, diveworldwide.com

Swim camp holiday, Poros Island, Greece

Fishing boat in the waters of Poros, Greece
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The waters off Poros. Photograph: Alamy

Casual dippers need not apply because one of the main rules of this swim camp is that it’s about putting in the hard lengths. Actually, this trip is aimed at those training for events and those new to open-water swimming who want try it in the warmer ripples of the Mediterranean. The seven-night break is based on the Saronic island of Poros, 50km south-west of Athens, and includes seven swims under the guidance of a professional trainer, as well as two video analysis sessions focusing on technique. Daily breakfasts are provided, as well as five lunches and four evening meals. Don’t worry about not enjoying the island’s scenic splendours as the sessions start from Askeli beach or, after a water taxi trip, from the uninhabited islands of Modi and Castle Island.
Seven nights from £950pp (excluding flights, transfers and ferry to Poros), 020-3750 2455, vidados.com

Weekend swim trip in Lago d’Orta, Italy

The island of Orta San Giulio, Lago d'Orta, northern Italy.
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The island of Orta San Giulio. Photograph: Alamy

The motto of this weekend break – based at the Locanda Riviere hotel on the shores of Lago d’Orta in northern Italy – is “good food, beautiful surroundings and glorious, relaxed swimming”. It sounds a perfect mix. The swimming aspect comes with one-to-one coaching, video analysis, plus guides (and a safety boat) on hand. Swimming distances are increased over the duration of the trip, from 800m up to 2km and the weekend finishes with a swim around the island of Orta San Giulio: the Basilica di San Giulio and the mid-19th century seminary on the island were transformed into a Benedictine monastery in 1976.
7-10 October 2016, £670pp including B&B accommodation, swimquest.uk.com

Swimming adventures in Oman fjords

Tourists onboard and around the dhow as part of the Oman fjords swimming holiday
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Tourists onboard, and around, the dhow used as part of the Oman fjords swimming break

The Musandam peninsula in the Persian Gulf is a glorious wilderness, with dramatic red rock formations and dark blue waters, and has earned the nickname “the Norway of Arabia”. This adventurous tour explores that wilderness, with its many sea inlets, where you’re more likely to run into a dolphin than a fellow tourist. And how many swim tours come with your own dhow to have lunch on?
Six days from £1,140, swimtrek.com

Wild swimming, north Wales

Lake Cregennen, Wales
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Lake Cregennen. Photograph: Alamy

Anglesey, the lakes of Snowdon, or “anywhere in north Wales” might be the location for your time with Gone Swimming, a small company with big ambitions for tailoring its outdoor swimming holidays and day trips to your ability level and interests. Spaces are still available on its Wet Weekend three-day swimming break from 19-21 August (£250pp including expert guides, accommodation and food) but the company also offers group days out and private booking options. The first of these, open to anyone and branded Adventure Together, is aimed at groups of no more than seven, and the £60pp covers transport, a guided swim, changing robe, wetsuit hire, lunch, snacks and hot drinks. The Just Us private booking allows you to decide as much or as little of the excursion and costs £275 for up to four, then £65 per additional person.
07547 652821, goneswimming.co.uk

Fjord and cove swimming, Montenegro

Fjord and cove swimming, Montenegro
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The coastline of Montenegro is stunning and this tour takes in the Unesco-protected Gulf of Kotor, the clear waters of the Blue Grotto cave and Mamula island, known as the Montenegrin Alcatraz. There are also visits to picturesque towns found among the mountains on this week-long trip, which offers 4km of swimming a day and accommodation in a four-star hotel. Non-swimmers can join in a kayak, and beginners can combine shorter swims with walking and sightseeing. With this in mind, it’s a great compromise if you or your partner is less keen to commit to a holiday that’s completely swim-focused.
Seven days from £786, strel-swimming.com

Lake swims and relaxing stays, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk

Fritton Lake Outdoor Centre, Norfolk
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Fritton Lake

Plunge into Fritton Lake and the choice is yours: have a fun dip or challenge yourself to put in proper distances, like some of the swimmers who use it to prepare for triathlons or swimming the Channel. Fritton Lake Outdoor Centreis in the grounds of Fritton Lake country park, itself part of the 5,000-acre Somerleyton Hall estate, and hosts weekly swim sessions – year-round, for those who want a winter swim. Pay-as-you-go swim sessions cost £6 once you’ve paid a £10 registration fee (which includes one free swim), but pre-pay for multiple sessions and the price drops. Effort expended, it may be a tempting book into the Fritton Arms at the lakeside (doubles from £130 B&B). The hotel has nine bedrooms, is surrounded by parkland, and holds out the promise of an Italian wood-fired oven, which the kitchen says can roast anything from fresh pizza to Porterhouse steaks.

Glacial lake challenge, Annecy, France

Lake Annecy, France
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Swimquest has a range of indulgent swimming holidays, including six days swimming around islets in Thailand and a swim tour around the coral reefs of the Maldives with a 32-metre yacht as a base. A bit more accessible, with perhaps a chance to meet more like-minded people, is its trip to Lake Annecy in France, where on this four-day trip you’ll take on the 14.6km swim across the huge glacial lake, either as a solo swimmer or in a relay, depending on your ability. And there’s time to relax in the tranquil Alpine surroundings either side of the marathon swim.

Sunburns: Why You Should Use Sunblock

What comes to mind when you think of summer?
The beach? The warm sand and cool water? Activities with friends? Hiking, swimming, rock climbing, etc? Vacations?

Those are the things I think of, plus one big one. Sunburns.
Being a redhead, I tend to get sunburns a lot, even though I make sure to put on sunblock before outdoor activities. I just always forget to reapply it in time.

I’m sure many of you have had sunburns before and know the itching, burning, and peeling that comes along with it. However, I’m also sure there are some of you that don’t get sunburned as easily, some who don’t really care if you get sunburned, or some who just forget to put on sunblock before an activity in the sun.
It can be hard to remember to reapply, and frustrating to need to reapply it in the middle of your activity, so you may ask, ‘Do I really need it? Does it really do anything in the long run besides preventing peeling or blisters?’

The answer is a resounding YES. And anyways, who wants blisters or peeling? Not me.

Besides the uncomfortable burning and itching of a sunburn, here are some very convincing reasons why you should care what happens to your skin in the sun, and why you should always remember to use sunblock!

Damaged Skin

Your time in the sun without sunblock is damaging to your skin. Wouldn’t you like to have smooth, soft, spotless skin well into your old age? Well, the first step to accomplishing that goal is putting on sunblock. Here is a list from the Cleveland Clinic that shows what you may be getting from the sun, and it’s not good:


(Fact Source)

Nobody wants their skin to age before they do!
It’s much easier to prevent these things from happening than it is to try and reverse them later on down the road.

The Real Danger

The most important reason you should always put on sunblock is the danger of cancer. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the US, but it could be a lot less prevalent if people always remembered to use sunblock before spending hours in the sun.
So next time you go out in the sun without sunblock – think about how your decision might affect your life a couple years down the road, and what consequences you may have to live with.

Don’t Burn Often?

It doesn’t matter if you don’t burn when you go outside. Your skin could still be getting damaged. Damage from the sun occurs over a lifetime, and the sun doesn’t care who you are. Whatever your skin type or color, sunblock should be a part of your life.
If you are trying to get a tan, put on sunblock. It will do you no good to spend hours upon hours outside in the sun without sunblock.


And remember, the sun still comes out in the winter. Even if it’s really cold outside and your arms and legs are covered up, don’t forget to put sunblock on your face!
Also, If your activity has to do with water or snow, it’s especially important to put on sunblock, because you get twice the amount of sun exposure. You have Ultraviolet light coming from the sun itself, and then from what is reflected from off the surface of the water/snow.

So, What Should You Do?

The good news about sun damage to your skin, is that you can prevent it. Here are some tips to help you avoid the negative effects of sun-damaged skin:

  • The time of day when the sun’s UV rays are the harshest is 10am to 3pm. So avoid being out in the sun during these hours, if possible.
  • When you go outside, use sunblock! Always, always, always use sunblock! Even if you don’t think that you will be going out in the sun, bring some with you just in case. I have a tube of sunblock that is small enough to fit in whatever purse or bag I have, so I am always prepared.
  • The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using sunblock with a SPF of 30 or greater.
  • Most sunscreen says to apply it 15-30 minutes before going out in the sun. You should reapply around every two hours. If you are in the water or sweating a lot, you should reapply more frequently than every two hours.
  • Make sure you get all your bare skin! Make sure to get your ears, behind your neck, the tops of your feet, and your hair part.
  • Wear protective clothing when possible; a hat with a brim, a swimsuit cover, UV light filtering sunglasses, etc. can do a lot to protect your skin!

Sensitive Skin?

There are sunblocks that are made for those with sensitive skin. Two examples are:

Badger SPF-30


(Image Source)

This sunblock is simple, with only five ingredients! It is unscented and all natural, and won’t irritate your sensitive skin.

La Roche-Posay Ultra Light Sunscreen


(Image Source)

This sunblock is SPF 60. It is also fragrance-free. It is suitable to use under makeup, includes antioxidants, and has a matte finish.

You can check out this link, or this link, for more suggestions of sunblock for sensitive skin.

Overcoming Fear of Water and Swimming

Lots of people experience fear of water (aquaphobia). This article discusses this fear and proposes a few basic exercises in the water to help you overcome this fear.

ear of Water – Causes

Fear of water can have lots of different causes:

  • It often exists as an instinctive fear related to the fear of drowning.
  • It can be caused by the fear of the unknown, of what might be lurking below the water surface in deep, cloudy or muddy waters.
  • It may be related to a bad experience that occurred in childhood.
  • It may have been transmitted to a child by parents that were themselves afraid of water.
  • It may have been ingrained by swim instructors that used inadequate or stressful methods to teach swimming.

Putting Things Into Perspective

You don’t need to feel bad if you are subject to fear of water because everyone has a different level of water confidence and this level of water confidence can change depending on circumstances.

For example, I acquired basic swimming skills as a child, and those skills have evolved with practice over the last few years since I took up swimming again. Nowadays I’m not afraid of swimming in a pool or in small to medium ponds. However, if I do swim in a lake or the ocean, I still have a certain level of anxiety before starting, and especially so if it’s in an unfamiliar location.

The point I want to make is that even experienced swimmers can sometimes experience fear of water or at least have a certain level of anxiety.

Basic Exercises – Instructions

Let’s now try to address your fear of water by doing a few basic exercises in the water. To give you the maximum level of comfort while doing these exercises, I suggest the following:

  1. All the exercises can and should be done in shallow water. There is no need for the water to go higher than your chest, so you can always feel safe.
  2. Doing the exercises in a swimming pool with clean water is best because you can see what is (or more precisely isn’t) in the water and so you will be more relaxed than if you did the exercises in opaque water.
  3. For the same reason, it’s advisable to wear swimming goggles while doing the exercises. This way water won’t get into your eyes, and you will be able to keep them open all the time, which will help you to relax.
  4. A supportive person being at your side while doing the exercises can be of great help, and especially so if he/she is an experienced swimmer that is comfortable in the water.
  5. If you can’t get the help of a supportive person, I recommend that you do the exercises in a swimming pool supervised by a lifeguard which knows what you are trying to accomplish and can keep an eye on you.
  6. Ideally, you should do the exercises when the swimming pool isn’t crowded, to avoid getting stressed out by people that splash or trash water around you.

There is no need to rush through the exercises. The primary goal is always to stay comfortable. Even if you only manage to do one exercise per session at the pool, it doesn’t matter as long as you are comfortable. Slow down if you start stressing. Even if it takes several weeks or months for you to get through all the exercises and overcome your fear of water, so be it. Think baby steps.

Acclimating To Water

To get started, we will do a few exercises for you to get comfortable being in contact with water and then to enter the water:

  1. At the shallow end of the pool, sit across the pool edge and let your legs dangle in the water, sweeping back and forth. Take your time to enjoy the sensation of the water flowing around your legs.
  2. Scoop up water with your hands and apply it to your face, as if to wash it. This is to get used to having your face being in contact with water.
  3. Scoop up water with your hands again, hold your breath and then splash the water into your face. As you are wearing swim goggles, your eyes are protected, and you can try to keep them open. As you are holding your breath and sitting upright, you should notice that the water can’t get into your nose and mouth. Enjoy the refreshing sensation of the water on your face.
  4. Slowly get into the water via the steps or ladder in the shallow area of the pool. Make sure that the water doesn’t get above your chest. Walk around for some time, staying in the shallow area of the pool. Enjoy the sensation of the water flowing around your body.

    Submerging Your Head

    The next few exercises will let you progressively lower your head into the water until you are comfortable having your head under water. We are still (and stay) in shallow water.

    1. Hold your breath. Slowly crouch down until your lips are just above the water surface. How does it feel? See if you can get comfortable with having the water so close to your lips. Then stand up.
    2. Hold your breath. Slowly crouch down (with mouth closed) and see if you can get your mouth underwater, having the water surface being between your mouth and your nose. Notice that water can’t get into your mouth.
    3. After a while, notice that your nose is still above the water surface. If the water is calm and there are no waves, try to breathe through your nose while still having your mouth under water. Notice that you can breathe through your nose even though your mouth is under water. Then stand up. Repeat this often to get comfortable breathing with your nose being so close to the water surface.
    4. Hold your breath. Slowly crouch down until your mouth touches the water surface, then goes under water. Crouch some more until your nostrils touch the water surface. If possible, hold this position for a few seconds, then stand up to breathe.

    What you need to know at this point is that it is entirely ok to have water touching your nostrils or even having some water getting into your nostrils, as long as you are holding your breath and your head is upright. Because of the way the nose connects with the head, water can’t rise high enough in your nose to get into sinuses in that position. It’s only when the water gets into the sinuses that it becomes unpleasant. In fact, once you’ll have become an experienced swimmer, you will have water flowing into and out of your nostrils each stroke cycle, without ever having water getting into your sinuses and with you barely noticing.

    Now let’s get back to our exercises:

    1. Again hold your breath, then crouch down until your nose is under water, the water surface being between your nose and your eyes. Your ears should not be underwater, so slightly tilt your head forward. Again, notice how some water gets into your nostrils, but at the same time notice that it doesn’t rise very high in your nose and that because of this it doesn’t hurt. Try to hold this position a few seconds, then stand up to breathe.
    2. Hold your breath. Slowly crouch down as before. Now tilt your head slightly backward. Slowly move down until your nose, and your ears are below the water surface, but your eyes are still above the water surface. Because you are holding your breath no water can get into your mouth and only a little bit of water gets into your nose. Notice how water gets into your ears, and your hearing becomes muffled. Again try to hold this position a few seconds before standing up.
    3. Now what you need to know at this point is that some water will get into your ears. But this is also ok because the water will be prevented from going further by the eardrum and will flow out of the ear as soon as you leave the water. So you can’t get hurt.
    4. Hold your breath. Now slowly crouch down and let the water cover your mouth, nose, ears and move further down up to the point where your eyes move below the water surface. As you are wearing swim goggles (hopefully good ones), water can’t get into your eyes. Try to hold this position a few seconds, then stand up again and breathe. Once you are comfortable with your eyes below the water surface and can keep your eyes open, take the time to observe this strange world below the water surface that opens up to you.
    5. Once you are comfortable doing the previous exercise, you can add up the ante a little bit and make a bobbing motion, where you rhythmically submerge and emerge your head. This will get you used to have your head being regularly submerged, which will be useful later on when learning how to swimthe popular swimming strokes.

      Blowing Bubbles

      Once you are comfortable having your head under water, the next step to overcome your fear of water is to learn that it is possible to exhale in the water without getting water into your nose and mouth. The best exercise for this is to learn how to blow bubbles.

      1. Breathe in while standing in the shallow area of the pool and hold your breath. Then crouch down so that your mouth is below the water surface, but your nose is still above the water surface. Slowly exhale through your mouth, blowing bubbles in the water. You will realize that as long as you do exhale, water can’t get into your mouth. The same is true if you do hold your breath. Stand up again to breathe in.
      2. Repeat the previous exercise but now crouch down so far that only your eyes are above the water surface while your nose and mouth are below the water surface. Keep your mouth shut and now slowly blow bubbles through your nose. Again you will notice that water can’t get into your nose as long as you hold your breath or exhale. Stand up to breathe.
      3. Repeat the previous exercise but now blow bubbles in the water through both your nose and mouth.
      4. Finally, repeat the previous exercise but with your head completely under water.

      The Human Body Floats Well

      So far, we have practiced a few basic exercises to overcome the fear of water and to get used to being in the water. Now we will see that it is, in fact, easy to float in the water without much effort.

      If you get anxious around bodies of water, you may believe that in the water you would sink to the ground like a stone. If this is the case, it may come as a surprise to you that water, in fact, supports the human body very well. In most cases, people can float effortlessly without using their limbs as long as their lungs are filled with air.

      This is because your body, being made of 60% of water, is slightly less dense than water provided that your lungs are filled with air.

The dive watch – a history

The oceans have always held a powerful fascination for mankind, accounting for the fact that the history of diving may have started as early as 5,000 B.C., making it as old as human civilization itself. Even today, the sea holds so many secrets and it is doubtful that we will ever fully understand it.

“More people have walked on the moon than have been to the deepest place in the ocean.”

This statement by explorer Don Walsh describes perfectly how little we know about the sea – but as is the spirit of mankind, humans always try to satisfy their curiosity. In order to further explore the marvellous beauty of the sea, all those people who are brave enough to do so, share the need for reliable devices as without them, there would be no diving as we know it today. One of these devices is the diving watch.

Confronted with today’s overwhelming choice of dive watches, we might sometimes forget about the progress this special timepiece had to go through before it arrived at the point where it is today.

Compared to the time span that comprises the history of diving, the history of the diver’s watch seems ridiculously short. But being a mere hundred years in the making, the dive watch underwent an astonishing development, bringing it from a fragile novelty to a robust and reliable companion.

The very first diving watch

Nowadays, several big names of the watch industry claim to have been the first to develop a dive watch and so far no agreement has been reached. Rolex insists on having invented “the first waterproof and dustproof wristwatch [which] marked a major step forward” while Blancpain declares the year 1953 the “creation of the first modern diver’s watch” thanks to its Fifty Fathoms and Omega boasts about having “created the first true dive watch.

But let us have a look at the facts:
Although the first efforts to waterproof watches were already made in the 17th century, no real progress was made until three centuries later. In the beginning of the 20th century, water was still one of the biggest enemies of the watch (together with dust, shock, magnetic fields, and general abrasion).

Then Hans Wilsdorf appeared on the scene of the watch industry – the founder of Rolex, who would play a remarkable role in the development of the dive watch – and changed the course of history – it could be called the genesis of the modern diving watch. In 1926, the ambitious genius developed a wristwatch that was waterproof as well as dustproof thanks to its winding crown, bezel, and case back that could be screwed down against the middle case, heralding a new era: a century of unstoppable development that finally lead to the wide range of watches that accompany divers to the most spectacular and mysterious parts of the oceans.

This watch named Oyster – the forefather of today’s famous Rolex Oyster collection – was put to the test on 7 October 1927 when British endurance swimmer Mercedes Gleitze who attempted to cross the English Channel. During this daring swim, she wore the Rolex Oyster on a chain around her neck. The public was certainly surprised when the watch not only survived more than 10 hours in the freezing water, but still worked with a precision and accuracy that was astonishing, making it the first water-resistant watch in history.

Great minds think alike: Omega, Panerai, and Blancpain

Omega SA was the first company to industrially produce and commercially distribute a diving watch in 1932. Being the predecessor of today’s successful Seamaster collection, the Omega Marine was tested on the wrist of Charles William Beebe, a famous naturalist and explorer, and survived a water depth of 14 metres.

In 1935, at request of the Royal Italian Navy, Officine Panerai joins the ranks of those who dedicated themselves to creating the perfect dive watch and starts developing its own waterproof watch – the Panerai Radiomir. Its name derives from the radium-based powder that gives the numerals and markers of this watch its luminosity. Back then, only ten prototypes of the watch were made – all of them equipped with a Rolex movement that was protected from water with a case back and winding crown that could be both screwed down.

Two years after equipping the Royal Italian Navy with this water-resistant watch, Officine Panerai started mass-producing the Panerai Radiomir, which is today considered to be the first underwater military watch worldwide.

The well-established watch manufacturer Blancpain was not one to be left out in this race for the best water-resistant watch. In 1953, a watch was launched at the request of the French Navy: the Fifty Fathoms. This watch – one of the first timepieces waterproof up to 100 metres – can also be seen on the wrists of Jacques Cousteau and his team in the famous underwater film “Le monde du silence” (“The Silent World”).

The success story continues: Rolex dive watches in the 20th century

Rolex took another step forward when the Rolex Submariner was presented in 1953 – the first watch impressing with a water-resistance of up to 100 metres. This number would later increase to 200 metres and finally to 300 metres. Additionally, the Submariner is equipped with a uni-directional rotatable bezel, making it ideal and safe for measuring diving time.

The Rolex Submariner collection rose to fame, when it was featured in a number of James Bond movies, e.g. on the wrist of Sean Connery in “Dr. No”, the very first film about the British Secret Service agent. Ian Fleming, the author of the James Bond book series, stated about the spy: “He could not just wear a watch. It had to be a Rolex.”

The French company COMEX (Compagnie Maritime d’Expertises) – a pioneer in saturation diving – let Rolex equip its divers with the Rolex Submariner. From 1963 onwards, the Rolex Sea-Dweller was the company’s dive watch of choice because of its innovative case with the imperative helium escape valve and its waterproofness of up to 610 metres – or 2,000 feet, earning the watch the name Sea-Dweller 2000.

From this point, the development continues with an unprecedented speed:
In 1978, Rolex develops the Sea-Dweller 4000 with a water-resistance of 4,000 feet (1,220 metres). 30 years later, the Rolex Deepsea is created: a watch that can survive 3,900 metres (12,800 feet) under the surface – 100 deeper than the human body.

Rolex’ diving adventures

Only seven years after the launch of the Submariner, Rolex entered unknown territory. Aboard the submersible bathyscaphe “Trieste”, the aforementioned Don Walsh and the oceanographer Jacques Piccard set out in 1960 with the intention of exploring uncharted waters: they traveled to the deepest point of the ocean, the Challenger Deep at the southern end of the Mariana Trench. On their way to the ocean floor – to a terrifying depth of 10,916 metres (35,800 feet) – the two pioneers were accompanied by the Rolex Deep Sea Special strapped to the outside of the bathyscaphe. Having successfully completed the adventure, Jacques Piccard sent a telegram to the Rolex headquarters that read: “Happy to announce that your watch works as well at 11,000 metres as it does on the surface.”

Half a century later, the next expedition gets under way, making 26 March 2012 a historic day for the world of diving: James Cameron sets out for the world first solo dive to the Mariana Trench – the first manned dive since the adventure of Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard. All alone in the submersible Deepsea Challenger, the famous film director is only accompanied by the experimental watch Rolex Deepsea Challenge on the outside of the boat. Reaching an incredible depth of 12,000 metres, Cameron and the Rolex watch go down in the annals of history.

Dive computers: the future is now

Dive computers (personal decompression computers, decompression meters) first arose in 1957 and have since then partly replaced the separate equipment needed for dives.
In the development of this device, the Finnish company Suunto holds a special position: founded in 1936, it started its success story with the distribution of liquid-filled compasses and half a century later, the first dive computer was launched: the Suunto SME-ML. Merely a decade passed until these essential devices reached the size we know today.

However, the dive computer has not superseded the diving watch – nor will it in the foreseeable future. Today, the diver’s watch is as reliable and popular as never before and the innovative drive of the watch manufacturers is in full swing. Their accuracy and functionality as well as their elegance is ever increasing, making the diving watch the ideal companion both under water and on land.

Top 6 dive watches today

The Rolex Submariner is probably the best-known dive watch – and not only for being worn by James Bond. The iconic design combined with the extraordinary quality that made Rolex famous makes for a reliable wristwatch water-resistant to 300 metres.
But the “Sub” is not the only celebrated dive watch by Rolex: the Sea-Dweller and its more expensive sister model, the Rolex Deepsea, are every bit as reliable and precise as the Submariner.

Having created the first modern dive watch, Blancpain has outdone itself with every Fifty Fathoms watch it has launched since presenting the first model in 1953. This collection of dive watches features a wide range of different designs, offering the right watch for everyone.

Paying tribute to the original Breitling Superocean, the Superocean Héritage is a popular choice for divers. The choice of different models – all of them equipped with a COSC-certified movement – of this collections satisfies every taste.

Its angular case makes the legendary Panerai Radiomir collection easily recognisable. But Officine Panerai has another ace up its sleeve: the dive watch Panerai Luminor is younger than the Radiomir, but that does not take away from its continuous success – especially after being seen on Sylvester “Sly” Stallone’s wrist in the movie “The Expendables”.

Introduced in 1967, the IWC Aquatimer has been reinvented numerous times and several special editions have been launched. The innovative IWC SafeDive System as well as a separate internal and external bezel make diving even safer.

Finally, the Oris ProDiver must not be forgotten. The version Oris ProDiver Date outperforms all watches for amateurs and aims directly at professional divers. Equipped with the Oris Rotation Safety System, this dive watch will never let its wearer down.

An honorable mention goes to: Suunto. Even though the Finnish company does not technically produce dive watches, no such list would be complete without a word about Suunto – especially as there is a whole range of watch-sized dive computers.

5 MOTIVATIONAL SWIMMING POSTERS TO GET YOU FIRED UP

1. UNLEASH GREATNESS.

Whatever greatness in the pool means for you, whether it is making your first sectionals or provincials cut, this poster will remind you to unleash your inner greatness every single day.

Swimming Motivational Poster 02 - Copy

It is produced on glossy, high quality paper, and comes in at 2 feet by 3 feet, which means it can not only remind you to be great, but also cover up any unfortunate holes or otherwise unsightly portions of your wall.

“Be not afraid of greatness.” — William Shakespeare


2. I ONLY FEAR NOT TRYING.

It’s shocking how many swimmers are more afraid of the hardship of the journey than of the regret they would face if they don’t try at all.

Don’t be that swimmer.

Swimming Motivational Poster 03

Be the athlete who gives it their all, and who can walk away from the pool knowing that they gave it their absolute best, and can do so without regrets or fear.

“In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.”


3. CHALLENGES ARE THE DOORWAYS TO EXCELLENCE.

How often have you stopped cold after a setback? Or been demoralized by a defeat? If you are like me, more than a couple times.

This poster is designed to remind you that all too often success is just on the other side of the struggle and grind.

Swimming Motivational Poster 01

In other words, if you want excellence, you gotta be willing to punch through a few challenges on the way.

“We don’t grow when things are easy. We grow when we face challenges.”


4. DREAM BIGGER.

It can be hard to create big goals when we are surrounded by small-minded friends, family, and swimmers. For every athlete that accomplished something worthwhile there was someone who told them it couldn’t be done.

That they should think smaller, and dream smaller. This is your reminder to think big. To dream big. And to act big.

Swimming Motivational Poster 04

“…with hard work, with belief, with confidence and trust in yourself and those around you, there are no limits.” –Michael Phelps


5. DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT.

The most freeing moment is making a firm and unwavering decision to after a goal. To have the end goal specified, a plan to get there, and the determination to see it through.

After all, it all begins with a decision. Once made, everything else seems to fall into place.

Swimming Motivational Poster 05

This poster is designed to remind you to live up to your decision on a daily basis.

 “Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

How Can I Learn to Swim by Myself?

The shallow end of a swimming pool is a good place to learn to swim by yourself. Swimming involves breathing, kicking with your legs and stroking with your arms. These are things you can practice one at a time in shallow water. Possibly the simplest stroke for a beginner is the forward crawl. Once you understand how to propel yourself across the top of the water, you can practice and learn other strokes.

Step 1

Stand with your back against the end of the pool, take a breath and bend forward at the waist until your face is completely in the water. Your ears should be at the water line. Hold this position for two seconds, slowly turn your head to one side and exhale into the water as you do. Return to a standing position.

Step 2

Hold your arms out from your side, palms down with your fingers together. Take a breath and bend forward as before. With your face in the water, bring your right arm up and out of the water, and reach in front of yourself. When your hand contacts the water, pull your arm straight down and make a circular motion underwater until your hand is behind you and at your right side. Your palm should be up at this point. Turn your head to the right and draw a new breath through your mouth without lifting your head. Turn your head back and exhale with your face in the water.

Step 3

Repeat the stroke and breathing exercise until you are able to make a stroke with each arm and one complete breath without lifting your head out of the water. Looping or irregular strokes underwater will cause you to work harder in order to cover the same distance when your swimming. The arms propel the front of your body and kicking your legs will prevent your torso from sinking.

Step 4

Face the side of the pool and place both hands on the edge. Extend your arms, lift both legs together until your arms, body and legs are in a straight line away from the edge. Turn your head to one side and draw a breath through your mouth. Do not lift your head straight up. Hold your knees straight and kick your legs from the hip. Kick relatively fast and make the smallest splashes possible. Your feet should not come out of the water. Exhale underwater, turn your head and draw a new breath. Continue your kicks and breathing until you are comfortable breathing while kicking.

Step 5

Stand with your back to the side of the pool, facing across the shallow end to the opposite side. Bend at the knees, extend your left arm in front, take a breath and push away from the side with your legs. As you move away from the side, your face should go in the water and your legs should begin to kick as you take a forward stroke with your right arm.

Step 6

Continue kicking as you make concentrated strokes, bringing each hand back until the palm is at your side as you reach ahead to stroke with the other arm. Make two strokes with each arm, turn your head and draw a breath, return your head to straight and continue. Practice this until you feel comfortable with the breathing and you are able to swim the width of the pool without having to stop.

10 Ways to Improve Cold Water Tolerance

By: Tim Moss

Cold water swimming is something I’ve written about before, particularly with regards to its health benefits, but here are a few tips for acclimatising to cold water, adapting to the icy water and improving tolerance for those winter swims:

  1. Get regular swimming exposure in cool or cold water. The more you do it, even if only briefly, the more you’ll improve your tolerance.
  2. Wear a swimming cap or two, and/or a neoprene hat, as your head will suffer the most in the cold water.
  3. Gain some weight. Fatter people stay warmer for longer and have better tolerance as a result.
  4. Use a wetsuit if you want to do a longer winter swim (and don’t consider it “cheating”).
  5. Wetsuit gloves and socks are excellent additions, with or without the main suit, as hands and feet can get painfully cold.
  6. Use a bigger swimming mask rather than little goggles as they’ll cover more of your face when it goes under water.
  7. Try cold showers and baths at home to help with your body’s cold water adaptation.
  8. Build up your brown fat supplies. Not very practical but an interesting area of research
  9. Train to be a stronger swimmer. Muscles create heat so if you’re able to work hard in the water, you’ll stay warmer.
  10. Enter slowly and/or splash yourself a bit first. It’s argued that this gives your body a chance to react more than if you jump straight in (which Lewis Gordon Pugh advocates).

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.

Ledecky in sizzling 200m freestyle win

Los Angeles – Five-time Olympic champion Katie Ledecky clocked the fastest 200m freestyle time in the world this year on Friday, hours after announcing she’d inked her first professional sponsorship deal with TYR.

Ledecky has broken 14 world records and won six Olympic medals, but the 21-year-old didn’t turn professional until after the NCAA collegiate championships in March.

California swimwear manufacturer TYR said in a statement on Friday that their deal with Ledecky “represents the most lucrative partnership in the history of the swim industry,” although no terms were revealed.

In Friday’s Pro Swim meeting sponsored by TYR, Ledecky won the 200m free in 1:54.56.

That improved on the previous best of 2018, the 1:54.81 set by Canadian Taylor Ruck at the Commonwealth Games in April.

Melanie Margalis was a distant second in 1:57.99.

“That’s exactly where I was hoping to be,” Ledecky said.

“I felt like I could go a 1:54 tonight, after going a 55 this morning. I just wanted to put together a really great race and make some adjustments off of this morning’s swim.”

Ex-champion Magnini faces 8-year doping ban

Milan – Italy’s anti-doping prosecutors have requested an eight-year ban against former two-time world swimming champion Filippo Magnini, according to reports on Wednesday.

The Gazzetta dello Sport reported that NADO prosecutors requested an eight-year ban for Magnini and four years for his relay teammate Michele Santucci, who are being investigated for allegedly using banned substances.

Magnini, 36, who is retired, and Santucci, 29, were questioned last October over their relationship with nutritionist Guido Porcellini, who is being probed for allegedly distributing illegal drugs.

Four-time world medallist Magnini won the 100m freestyle at the 2005 and 2007 world championships and a relay bronze at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Both swimmers have protested their innocence, and a lawyer acting on their behalf would not comment.

“It is important to specify that this is a request, far from being a definitive judgement on the issue,” said Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) president Giovanni Malago.

“Commenting would be a mistake on my part, Nado Italia is independent of CONI. In reading this news I am a spectator, even if an interested one.”

 

Source: News24