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Aqua Fun Academy
Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: The Rolling Shoulders

Our front crawl Swimming Tip Tuesday of the week: Generate momentum by rotating your shoulders and your hips.

This week’s Swimming Tip Tuesday we’re going to look at backstroke or back crawl, and the importance of rolling the body as we swim. A common beginner mistake when learning this stroke involves our ability to relax and maintain flexibility and motion. Often new swimmers will be very rigid and robotic in their movement. As we grow as swimmers we develop the following. Relaxed breathing and body positioning, as instructors we have gotten to a point in our Natation Conseil Mardiswimming careers where breathing while in the pool is just as natural as breathing when walking. The confidence we have in our movements has been cultivated to this point, and as instructors we work on helping you find this confidence as well.

Todays tip for improving our back crawl is to generate momentum by rotating your shoulders and your hips.

How do we do this? Lets start with focusing on our back glide. Quick review: back glide is when the swimmer is on their back, arms along the sides of their body, their chin is tilted up towards the ceiling, and their main source of movement is to kick from the hips.

While performing back glide preferably with a kickboard (flutter board) overtop the chest the swimmer is to twist the hips so that one is lower then the other, every 3-4 kicks. This drill works on the rotation of the body. Remember when performing this it is natural to drop the shoulder as we twist the hips, this action is not something we want to separate, but rather incorporate. We are building upon a rolling motion.

To continue to improve upon this we will opt out of using a flutter board (kickboard) and perform back glide with an added shoulder roll. Rolling the shoulders back one at a time as we drop the hip into the water, again building on this motion.

As we add the full arm movements we increase the ease with which the swimmer moves through the water through rolling and thus the swimmer generates more momentum throughout the stroke.

That’s all for this week and we’ll see you again for our next Swimming Tip Tuesday! Happy Swimming!

Swimming Fit Friday Natation Forme Vendredi

Swimming Fit Friday: A Swimmer’s Self Care

This week’s Swimming Fit Friday we’re going to discuss a swimmers self care. What that means is we’re going to discuss ways to enhance your swims so that your body, mind, and swimwear are well taken care of. Because a happy swimmer is a great swimmer!


BODY TIP 1:

Swimming is wonderful because it is a full body activity. All the muscle groups can be focused on while being active in the water. To keep the swimmer’s body happy, warm up and cool down are important. When a swimmer does a warm up, it should be at a low intensity. If we start with sprints we can easily injure ourselves because the body is still stiff. As a warm up, we may do a few lengths of a stroke such as freestyle, or you can do drills which challenge the legs and arms independently. You can even walk or jog up and down the pool (but never on deck).

Similarly, lack of a cool down can leave the muscles tight from exercises done prior. The cool down should be low intensity like the warm up, during which the swimmer is stretching the legs, arms, and neck muscles. To stretch we want to mix in dynamic and static movements to keep the body temperature up. If the swimmer cools down very quickly, the body can become stiff and lead to injury.


BODY TIP 2:

Swimming Fit Friday

Swimming Fit Friday Tip: Use Triswim Shampoo and Body wash to deal with chlorine after swims.

Why is my skin itchy? Why does my hair feel like hay? Chlorine can be a harsh chemical on skin and hair. To alleviate the itch and rejuvenate hair there is a beautiful line of products by Triswim designed to remove chlorine from the skin and hair. They have a body wash, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. Ideally you want to use all 4 products but if you want a great introduction to the Triswim family, I recommend getting the body wash and shampoo for starters. Link is below:

TriSwim skin care by SwimCo


THE MIND:

Learning new skills can be challenging, and it is important to understand where we need to improve as well as recognize what we have mastered. Leaving with both constructive and positive feedback is important for instructors to give their swimmers.

As an independent swimmer one can use the warm down to do meditative practice. What I mean by that is focus on your breathing as you stretch, counting to 3 or 4 as you inhale and exhale. I find that by focusing on something as simple as breathing it will declutter the mind for a bit, allowing us to feel refreshed after a workout.


SWIMWEAR:

Why are my bathing suits falling apart after a month of swimming? Why is the bottom of my suit see-through? Why does my suit feel loose everywhere? There are many steps we can take as swimmers to improve the life and quality of our swimsuit.

1) Buy 100% polyester
Reason: polyester is a more durable material that holds up better in chemicals like chlorine and bromine. Spandex and Lycra break down faster, so avoid fashion suits when applicable.

2) Don’t machine wash or dry.
Reason: The spinning motion from the machine will stretch the material in the suit. When you next wear it in the water, the water continues to pull on the suit when it gets into the loose material and exacerbate the problem.
Fun Fact: Although swim trunks usually say they can be machine washed, the chlorine will affect the longevity of those suits too. It is best to hand wash.

Swimming Fit Friday

Swimming Fit Friday Tip: use swimwear cleaner to increase the longevity of your suit.

3) Hand wash with Swimwear cleaner not detergent
Reason: Regular detergents will mostly mask the smell of chlorine and pull out dirt. However chlorine acts like a corrosive and will continue to eat at the swimsuit material if left active. Unfortunately no amount of rinsing your suit will remove all the chlorine. Swimwear cleaner however is designed to stabilize chlorine so it can’t corrode away at the swimsuit.

You can purchase Swimwear cleaner from Swimco, locations are: London, Hamilton, Mississauga, and there will soon be a new location in Barrie! Or purchase online from their website:

Swimco Swimwear Cleaner

Well those are all my tips for today! See you next Swimming Fit Friday!

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Avoiding Drag (Front Crawl)

Our front crawl Swimming Tip Tuesday of the week: While the most pressure should be on your feet, also move your whole legs in a small, steady motion.

On this week’s Swimming Tip Tuesday, we will discuss how to avoid ‘drag’ when performing flutter kick, specifically during front crawl.

Before we get right down to it, lets quickly review what drag is. Drag is the force that pulls the body backwards as we swim. It comes into effect when the body exits streamline position. Understanding that one does not swim only in streamline position, the swimmer learns to use the water to move forward.Natation Conseil Mardi

A common beginner mistake when kicking is to kick from the knees down. As a swimmer, you want to utilize the whole leg, focusing on the action and generating momentum at the hips. This allows use of the larger muscles in the leg to generate power.

Swimming Tip TuesdayFor those who cannot make it to a pool here is a way to practice generating force from this hip on land. To practice this one can stand on a stool or on the stairs so there is a handrail to assist for balance. Standing sideways with one hand on the rail, swing the one of the legs back and forth focusing on the movement of the hip initially keeping the whole leg straight. Still swinging back and forth, focus on the up swing, remembering that the swimmers body will be face down throughout the stroke. The swimmer will start by pushing down on the thigh and then flicking the ankle up. The emphasis is on the whole motion; the leg should look like a small controlled wave. While the most pressure should be on your feet, also move your whole legs in a small, steady motion.

Translate this action into the flutter kick, focusing on feeling a wave run down the leg from the hip to the toes. Another method of practice is to add flippers and focus on the same movement. The elongation of the leg due to the addition of the flippers forces the swimmer exaggerate the wave motion.

That’s all for this week! Until next Swimming Tip Tuesday!

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Back Crawl

Our back crawl Swimming Tip Tuesday of the week: Take a breath every time an arm completes a full cycle.

A breath is taken every time an arm completes a full cycle. Try breathing in as one arm passes your ear and exhale as the other arm passes.

Breathing, something we do every single day of our lives. Breathing in passion, and breathing out results! Breathing, given it is something we do involuntarily, Natation Conseil Mardishould be easy enough to do in the water! Integrating our movements to sync up with our breathing requires a little more thought than expected. Though while swimming on our back a swimmer has the added advantage that their face is out of the water for the duration of the stroke. So, when do we breathe? In any exercise, we want to exhale on the effort and inhale during the recovery phase.

In back crawl the effort is when the arm is re-entering the water, during the push phase. While the recovery phase is when the water enters the air, or exits the water, both of these elements are what compose a complete cycle of back crawl arms. Understanding the basic mechanics of the stroke it should be easy to break down when to breathe.

However, when back crawl is done both arms move juxtaposed. Meaning one arm is always in the opposite phase to the other. To get around this conundrum, the swimmer can focus on one arms cycle and co-ordinate their breathing in time with that arm. Our dominant arm can vary from sport to sport, so an easy way to find out which of the two is a swimmers’ dominant arm, is to take note of which arm the swimmer start their stroke with. When the swimmers dominant arm is out of the water they must remember to inhale, similarly when the swimmers dominant arm is in the water, they must remember to exhale.

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Minimizing Energy

Our Swimming Tip Tuesday of the week: Minimize how much energy you’re using by holding your glide as long as you can.

Swimming Tip Tuesday

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

Whether you are swimming competitively or for leisure, being in the water requires a bit more energy. This is simply due to the increased resistance one has to work in. It is also well understood among veteran swimmers that swimming is about efficiency and energy conservation. In simple words, swimming is about getting the most bang for you buck. The sport of swimming is to craft each movement to generate optimal levels of power and propulsion for the least amount of output, allowing us to fatigue at a much slower rate in comparison to many other sports.

For those of us progressing through the lifesaving program, mastery of our strokes helps us to minimize our energy expenditure. Here are some examples of how to do that for various life saving skills.


The 15 meter underwater swim

Pro tips:Swimming Tip Tuesday

  • Utilize the wall; in doing this, one should become spring like bending at the knees and pushing hard off the wall until ones legs are straight.
  • Furthermore we want to keep our hands forward in front of us as if we were doing a superman/ front glide. The longer we can keep our body streamlined the less drag we experience the faster and further we move through the water allows us to minimize the stress of holding our breathe.
  • Breathing techniques; for some the stress on the cardiovascular system while holding our breathe can hinder us. A useful trick, to increase the length of our breath, is to blow our bubbles out of the nose. This can be accomplished by humming – forcing the air out of our nose at a much slower rate.

Any Timed Swim

Pro tips:

  • 1 – Tip one also applies here (please see above). To elaborate on how this helps us during a time swim, we save energy and allow the initial force to do most of the work for us.
  • 1a- Flip turns allow us to utilize the wall explained in tip one (please see above).
  • Emphasis on how we kick is important. The further apart our legs separate as we flutter kick, the more drag we create, which ultimately slow us down. Keep your kicks small and steady. By doing this we minimize how much energy we waste in recovery between kicks and instead perform more like a continuous motor boat.

Overall minimize how much energy you’re using by holding your glide as long as you can. As well as being a more efficient technique, this is a good way to establish some rhythm and control in your swimming.

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Butterfly Arms

Our Swimming Tip Tuesday of the week: The arms extend forward and kept shoulder width apart. The palms should face downwards.

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:

https://www.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.

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Ice Safety – Clear Blue Water

Our Swimming Tip Tuesday of the week: Clear blue ice is the strongest and safest form of ice.

It’s very important to consider the colour of ice. Clear blue ice is the strongest and safest. It forms when the temperature has been at least -8ºC for three consecutive weeks. The colder it gets, the faster blue ice will form. At a minimum thickness of 12 inches, blue ice will even support a large vehicle such as a mid-size pick-up. According to the Lifesaving Society, clear blue ice needs to be at least four inches thick to support a person and at least 12 inches for a mid-size pick-up. And of course, stay clear of grey ice.

Blue ice occurs when snow falls on a glacier, is compressed, and becomes part of the glacier. Air bubbles are squeezed out and ice crystals enlarge, making the ice appear blue. Small amounts of regular ice appear to be white because of air bubbles inside them and also because small quantities of water appear to be colourless. In glaciers, the pressure causes the air bubbles to be squeezed out increasing the density of the created ice. Large quantities of water appear to be blue, as it absorbs other colours more efficiently than blue. Therefore, a large piece of compressed ice, or a glacier, would appear blue.

Blue ice is exposed in areas of the Antarctic where there is no net addition or subtraction of snow. That is, any snow that falls in that area is counteracted by sublimation or other losses. These areas have been used as runways (e.g.Wilkins Runway, Novolazarevskaya, Patriot Hills Base Camp) due to their hard surface which is suitable for aircraft fitted with wheels rather than skis.

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?? Lire en Français: http://ow.ly/87X4308LYRF

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Using a Kick Board

Our Swimming Tip Tuesday of the week: Don’t lean the weight of your body on the board. If you’re comfortable in the water, leaning slows you down.

On this week’s Swimming Tip Tuesday, we’re going to discuss the use of a flutter board (also known as a kick board) during our swim practices. A kick board is often used during kicking drills, hence the name. A common beginner habit is to put the upper half of their body over-top of the kick board. Why is this problematic? First of all, it does not allow the swimmer to build their upper body strength. It also does the swimmer a great disservice by altering the their body position. By propping the upper body onto the kick board, the swimmer has created an arch in the back that would normally be smooth. Thus slowing them down when they perform the skill without the aid of a kick board.

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Streamlined position

To correct this the swimmer wants to hold the base of the kick board, keeping the hands inline with the shoulders, or maintaining that the arms are straight as possible. This challenges the swimmer to maintain a horizontal body position from the tip of the head, through the back, and down to the toes. The swimmers kick should happen just under the surface of the water, creating a ripple effect as the swimmer kicks rhythmically. Whether the swimmer practices their kicks on their front (stomach) or on their back, the swimmer needs to maintain a streamline body position.

Another common beginner mistake is to lean into the kick board. How do we spot a swimmer who is leaning into the board? Assuming the swimmer is holding the base of the kick board you will notice one of two scenarios. In scenario one the swimmer will have propped the kick board on an angle either pointed upwards towards the ceiling or down towards the pool floor. In scenario two, the swimmer is holding the top of the kick board, with the majority of their upper body resting on the kick board the body will be arched at the hips which is also incorrect. If the swimmer is holding the kick board correctly, you will notice that the kick board is parallel with the surface of the water, regardless is the swimmer is holding at the base or the sides of the kick board.

Note: the kick board is held at the sides most often when practicing dolphin kick, or whip kick rather than flutter kick.

To develop this skill correctly practice in distance increments, allowing the swimmer to perform the skill correctly over a small distance and then building on that distance and giving feedback when they begin to lean. By doing so you will strength the swimmers body and muscle memory. Knowing what it feels like to perform a skill properly is half the battle.

Happy swimming! Until our next Swimming Tip Tuesday!

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: The Whip

Our Aqua Speed beginner breaststroke #TipTuesday of the week: Concentrate on bringing your feet to your hips rather than your knees to your chest.

Breaststroke being the challenging and complex stroke that it is, here’s another Swimming Tip Tuesday to get you closer to perfecting it.

A common beginner mistake when doing breaststroke occurs during the whip phase. When doing the whip, beginners often bend in two places. Bending at the hips as well as at the knees. Bringing the knees under the abdominal and chest region. This is problematic because now the swimmers centre of buoyancy has shifted. They become an anchor and sink as they try to execute the whip. The whip is when the legs separate in a circular shape behind the swimmer to propel themselves forward. With their legs under the chest and adnominal region the whip phase happens awkwardly underneath the body, pushing the swimmer up rather than forward. This overall action slows the swimmer down significantly.

Another common beginner mistake once a beginner is told to bend their feet to their hips, is that they aim their knees down at the pool floor; yet again creating an anchor. This new body position causes the swimmer to sink and gives them no space to execute a complete circular whip. As a result of where the knees are in the water, and the need to create a circular motion, swimmers often change this and whip separating the knees before the ankles, which look like the way a frog swims.

In order to correct this, the swimmer must bend so their feet pull back towards their hips, as well as aiming their knees towards the wall their feet used to be facing.  It is in this new body position that we remain almost streamline, keep our centre of buoyancy so we do not sink. Furthermore this new body position allows the swimmer to execute a proper whip propelling them forwards through the water.

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See you again right here for another Swimming Tip Tuesday!

Swimming Fit Friday Natation Forme Vendredi

Swimming Fit Friday: Meal Prep

For this week’s Swimming Fit Friday I would like to share with you a personal fitness tip based on my life as a swimmer.

Swimming has been a significant part of my life for many years. Swimming has been many things for me, I have swum for recreation, I have swum to earn a living, and I have swum to stay physically active. Swimming has given me an opportunity to grow myself as a leader through various leadership courses, such as Bronze Cross, Bronze Star and many other lifesaving courses. It has challenged me to break down my craft and re-master it over and over.

My Fit Friday Tip for you is to: remember to fuel your body with good foods to maintain your energy throughout the day.

I think many of us, myself included, have had some painfully early mornings. Not enough time to eat, much less thinking of eating. We justify a drastic lack of preparation by equating it with simply not having enough time. Having no time before school, before work, before swim practice. For a while I accepted this as my truth. “I don’t have the time,” I would say. Until it dawned on me: it wasn’t a lack of time, it was a lack of preparation! My priorities were mixed up. You can’t be on the top of your game if your body doesn’t have the right tools to get it done. By skipping breakfast or that pre-workout meal, we have deprived our brain and body of nutrients; of energy! As a result, our practice routines get sloppy, we can’t kick faster to make that distance, to beat that time swim, to tread water for one more moment.

Meal preparation has become a big part of my life. It’s a priority in order to keep my life functional, because you do have enough time in the day. It’s just recognizing when that is for you. To help with your own journey, I’ve included some recipes I’ve used to make getting the right fuel for my body easier. Now this list isn’t the end all, be all of what YOU should eat. Everyone is different, and requires different things for their body. That being said, most people will agree that reducing junk food in your life is always a plus.

Leftovers for lunch. I tend to over cook for dinner to save on food labor. My favourite leftovers are lasagna, one pot chicken with potatoes, and…


Dad’s Sheppard pie:

  • Potatoes
  • Ground chicken, beef, or turkey
  • Veggies of choice
  • Cheese

After mashing the potatoes and cooking the meat of choice, layer the potatoes, meat, veggies, cheese, potatoes into a medium sized pan and bake until potatoes turn a golden brown. Add cheese on top if wanted.


I also like to have Stuffed Bell Peppers:

  • Cut a bell pepper in half
  • Stuffed with ground beef, chicken, or turkey
  • Add some egg whites to hold it all together.

As well as Egg muffins:

1 Cut up peppers (or whatever veggie you like!)

1 Cut up Mushrooms (optional)

1 cup of Shredded Cheese

6 eggs – you may use egg white, or the whole egg yolk included.

Butter of Margarine

Mix in a bowl pepper, mushrooms, shredded cheese and eggs into a bowl

Grease muffin pan with Butter or Margarine

Then pour into muffin pan

Let sit in oven for 15mins

Eat what you like and freeze the rest. Warm up in the microwave for an easy breakfast!


These are my quick picks, but nothing compared to the infinite options available to you out there. A quick Google search will get your meal prep plans going pretty quickly.

Until our next Swimming Fit Friday – Happy Eating!