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New to Dynamic w/o fins!

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Aug 19, 2004
Hello, I am another newbie to the board and to apnea, and I have a couple of questions about my dynamic without fins technique :)

I am a competent, strong swimmer; I practice in a 25m pool and have been swimming on averiage 80-100 laps a day for the last five months to get fit. My preferred stroke is breastroke. A couple of months ago, I met a swimmer who told me about apnea, and inspired me to try some underwater swimming (I always loved swimming underwater). Since then, I have been practising hard and now I can do 10 or more 25m dynamic w/o fins a day, with rests in between. However, I have been swimming these on my back, as my mentor showed me (breastroke on my back with my head over so I can see in front). For this I need a nose clip as well as my goggles. I can swim this way faster than on myfront (which takes about 25sec). In this method, I have completely out-timed several swimmers on the surface doing freestyle/front crawl. With a good kick off the wall, I can do 25m in 18 sec. Now I am looking to go faster. I have also done a 33m diagonal length in the same style, and two 15m widths. Having read some of the skilled swimmers personal techniques on here, I'm confident that I am missing something obvious which would make me go faster with fewer strokes.

Is there anyone here who might be able to shed some light on this favoured technique and how to improve it? Thanks :)
It takes me about 30 seconds to swim 25 yards. I've been told that 25 seconds for 25 yards is good. So it sounds like you're going quite fast.

How about swimming slower and more relaxed, but going further ? (With a buddy of course)

That upsidedown breast stroke has me curious now, and I gotta try it next time I hit the lanes. That's some fast swimming, too.

I agree with Smellsfishy, though.

Try going slower and further now. And try not to jolt or strain yourself on those push-offs. See how much further you can go utilizing your oxygen sparingly. Ease up on the power of the stroke and try to be efficient as you can. I bet you can go a lot further when you take the load off your lungs.

A good clean glide is important as well.

Then maybe go back to the speed-upside-down-backstroke...or as I would like to dub it, the Drunken Frog...and see if you are more efficient while going as fast.

A buddy is a good idea. But make sure just one of you is doing the Drunken Frog at a time. When one person's doing it, he just looks odd. If TWO people do it, it might be mistaken for a cult. And if you're also in the UK, it might be mistaken for a new political party.

Keep us posted (literally) if you try going slower, or if you just keep getting better and faster. I'm interested either way.

Not much help out of me today. I just thought Smellsfishy brought up a good point, and I like to hear what other people are doing, or what they're becoming good at.
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Lol, the drunken frog! I finally have a name for it! :)

Thank you both for your advice. I eventually aim to get some footage taken of me doing it - I've never seen anyone else do it where I swim, and it does turn more than a few heads! The guy who taught me to swim on my back underwater cited buoyancy; as I am a big build, I'm fighting against my buoyancy when swimming face down underwater. On my back I can exhale bursts of air to stay underwater in much the same way a fish does with a swim bladder, I can glide better too as I'm outstretched with my head over, thus my neck is in a position where I don't need to move it at all.

I tried slower today but the pool was busy. I shall come back with any progress from your tips, which again, are greatly appreciated :)

BTW, the guy who taught me swam on his back underwater differently to me, he clung to the very bottom of the pool at all times and used a sidewinder type stroke (just swerving his hips whilst kicking) with arms at his side. I've never seen anything like it. He did a comfortable 50m, and one time I saw him do 75m. Everyone else in the pool was oblivious to him as they are mainly older folk and such who barely look underwater! I just modified what he did to suit a more powerful stroke - I keep around 3ft under the surface although I have done it on the bottom too. 18sec is unofficially my best (I was time from the surface), but my average is never over 25sec in a given day.

How far have you been able to swim underwater?
Or have you just been trying for single length?
Hi, I can do 33 or 35 m as that is the diagonal length of my pool. But that dimension is the longest I can do in one go without hitting some sort of wall. As I am still learning how to master an underwater turn (from lying on my back position) in shallow water after 25m on one breath, I am slightly limited. I don't have a 50m in my area so as yet I have not really tested myself. I can do 25m very comfortably.

Does anyone else know of, or have tried this technique of swimming underwater? :p I have tried streamlining myself more and using my legs less. I got a smooth 19sec today for 25m. But its the summer holidays and there are always kids around! Not a fun time to be doing dynamic w/o fins!
Are you going to go for distance or keep going for speed or are you going to go for distance?

I am going to give your technique a try tonite so i'll tell you what i think of it
I am going for distance and for speed, but realise that if I go crazy I could use all my energy and not make the distance I want. I am somewhat limited to testing myself because of the size of my local pool.

Did you try it? Has anybody tried this yet, or has known of this technique? It's great fun to do and although it looks a bit strange, is very efficient as a swimming stroke. It's always good for those of you who like to wow people at the swimming pool (though obviously you must be responsible too :). I have had a lot of kids try and immitate what I'm doing and I've had to explain to them the dangers of being so small and trying to swim underwater, not to mention having a bit of consideration for older people. Telling them to wait until they are physically able, but in the meantime strengthen themselves into competent swimmers the normal way. The rest will happen in time with experience and skill. I hate spoiling these kids fun, but as a former kid myself (!), I'm glad I got to make it to where I am swimming wise by being patient, and not getting out of my depth (pun intended!).
I did you try it but unfortunately i didn't have a nose clip which made it a bit harder. I found that it was hard to stay going straight i found myself going to high or too low
Yesterday was the first time ive been swimming in a while but i managed to swim 45m which i was happy with. Next week i hope to do three lengths and i also hope to have a nose clip so i can try out your technique a bit more.
Have you seen the videos from Kars and Stig yet? You'll find them on my 'held breath swimming' link, a bit in the past. I mention that, since you see them wearing these 'sausages' - like bike inner tubes with lead shot/sand in them, that counter-balance your body's natural buoyancy. With something like that, it must be the same upside down or normal way up, I guess.

Still, the 18 seconds sounds prettyfast to me! Having looked at the above-mentioned videos, I see they are doing 25M in around 20-28 seconds or so.

But I think you may find that going fast will really limit your range. On this forum I got the real important tip of making sure the glide is good, and for this, you need to not look ahead, like you said, but to look down (or in your case up).

Looking forward to a vidclip of the upside down swimming!
Thanks :) I'm glad to see this technique is being tried by other people.

Seagull, thanks for your reply :) I have tried to access the Stig video but I think my windows media and real players are poor, as they won't display it. I have read and looked at pics on the net of his incredible 166m dynamic without fins. It's simply jawdropping that anyone could manage 5 1/2 lengths of a 25m pool on one breath! I heard that he does yoga and all sorts of other things. You'd need to reach a very special place in your mind indeed in order to control your body that well.

I have been practicisng my glide over the last week or two, and have perfected a better stroke with less speed, but with more endurance and reserving my energy to go further. Today, for the first time ever, I managed to do the 'drunken frog' (lol) from the shallow end to the deep end (before I could only do it the other way round for some reason) I can now turn around around from leaning over straight into back roll and kick off back towards the other end without coming up for air on the turn. I am some way off doing 2 lengths in one go, but today I managed 40m, a new record for me! I also did the same doing two 15m widths on one breath, going on my back one way, and on my front on the bottom the other. Very tiring, but now the kids are back at school, my local pool is quiet again first thing in the morning! However, I still need to keep my head over whilst I swim (until I can master otherwise) as I can't see where I'm going and don't want to hit anyone! Plus, I can't follow the ceiling (as you would when doing backstroke) as I'm looking up through several feet of water and its all blurry! :) I will have a go when its quiet and see if it helps. Thanks for the tip.

I am extremely pleased with my 18sec, I hope to get one of my friends or family to film it soon!
Upside down swimming?
Sounds intresting! I'm going to try Sunday's :)

I need to pick it up again, I left the no-fins too long on the shelf :)

Good luck!

Ooh one tip, the pushoff is very important, practice the turning points. Turn compact, be streamlined (arms over your head) then Push off and glide... A good pushoff gives 10-12m, that's half the pool :D

I've made many mistakes during the 100m dynamic no fins, like being to close to the bottom, forcing me to make a broad stroke. To wide spreading an to much bending of the knees etc. The story with the video can be found way down on the news-section of my site: www.freeapnea.nl
And the recovery breaths are on purpose extaggerd, just for the camera.

Have a nice time practicing! let us know!

Wow! Thanks Kars, I shall follow the link and have a look! :) Bending the knees is a bad habit for me because of the arch of my back when my head is over. The knees also weaken when I've done six or seven lengths underwater (over the course of my morning swim). I really push myself after that, but it's very rewarding. I don't have a buddy to monitor me, but I have practiced so much now I am confident in my ability and know my limits. Still, failing that, all the lifeguards watch me anyway as I've asked them too! Thanks for the advice:)
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