First the good news. I didn’t drown!
I grew up swimming in many lakes and rivers. I can tell you that swimming in the pool is VERY different. I never learned how to free style (or crawl) properly. It’s proving to be a challenge for me. My form started out completely wrong!
My other issue is that I sink. Unlike the majority of people in the world, when I’m in water I don’t float. This causes my hips to be low in the water when swimming causing me to have to work harder to both move forward and stay on top of the water. I have trouble lifting my head out of the water to breathe. One effect of this is that I use to windmill my arms. This means that my arms were always 180 degrees opposite each other while swimming.
Proper form says you leave one arm in front of you until the other arm is 3/4 done with its stroke. I’ve been working on this and think I’m seeing some improvement. I’m hoping that as my stroke gets better I’ll be able to stay on top of the water better.
My other issue is that for a triathlon, you don’t really want to use your legs during the swim. You want to save them for the bike and run. But I tend to kick pretty hard trying to keep myself afloat.
My other arm issue is that I was keeping my arm pretty straight while doing the stroke. You actually want your elbow bent pretty far. Most of the stroke power is from the hand and forearm. They call it the crawl because you should feel like your crawling across the ground.
One way it was described to me is, imagine you on a surf board in Hawaii. Now, imagine that you look down into the water and see a bunch of coral about 1 foot below the surface. Now, lay down on the board and paddle yourself to shore without shredding your hands on the coral.
This should help with two things. You should have a wide stroke because your arms have to be off to the side of the board, and a shallow, bent elbow stroke because you don’t want to hurt your hands on the coral.
Coach Fred has been invaluable to me already with tips and techniques to use to help correct my swim form. I’ll try to post more tips as I receive them.
I thought I’d add a few good videos of swim techniques I just found on youtube.
I just noticed these are all “Swim Smooth” videos. Just to clarify, I am not in any way affiliated with Swim Smooth. For other videos, a quick search for “swimming form” can yield a ton of results.