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No fin(s)

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2001
We were talking about no-fin freediving a while ago, and it inspired me to practice it. Now, every time I go to the pool to go swimming, the first thing I do is to do a little breath up routine, etc, then the no-fin laps. I am up to 57 metres now, in a 25 metre pool, and I'm going to start experimenting with the neck weight and weight belt to get perfect neutral buoyancy.
I find it really a wonderful feeling, surprisingly....I have been using fins (now a fin) for so many years, I did not think that I would like it, but it is truly......freediving!
I know that FREE has this (for depth) as a mandatory event at their upcoming competition (if it goes), which is kind of neat. They don't have a static event.
Anyone else practicing this?
Erik Y.
Fins have been around for less than a century. Imagine the thousands of years that coastal people have been freediving for food with no fins.

I've been swimming underwater breaststroke since I was a kid but what really hooked me to no-fins freediving was a vacation I took on Cozumel about eight years ago. With just my mask and snorkel in my backpack I could walk to any shore location and scout things out. Getting down to 30ft or so wasn't hard at all. I could comfortably get a good look at anything I would have seen with fins on.

The good thing was that I didn't have to lug fins, wetsuit or weights; just a mask and snorkel.

i have been doing no fins dynamic for some time now
most of my training is without fins (stupid pool rules),

i have a question (wow what a change, HA)

anyway, what speed and stroke do you use during dynamic?

i use a flutter kick because it seems to me that i have more air left at the end, i have tried both (flutter and dolphin) and here is what i have found,

by the way i do all my stuff in a 5 meter deep pool, for dynamic, i kick to the bottom and the start my dynamic,

1. flutter is slower but way more relaxed for me, i am able to stay under for 55s, with no contractions (no problems) and i usually do 25m in 55 seconds.

2.dolphin is a faster more involved stroke and im not as relaxed doing, i can usually do a 25 meters in 30-35 seconds and the last 5 seconds are pushing it, not the best way for me...

57meters is amazing erik
Vince, I take it you're not using your arms at all? My favourite stroke underwater used to be dolphin (my flutter kick for some reason has always been rubbish) but though I could do 25m OK I could never make 33 (the length of my local pool). Well I did once, but I raced for the end and something alarming happened which might have been the onset of losing consciousness (this was before I started reading about all this!)

But ever since I've tried dolphin with fins, I've found it frustrating doing without. Feels like I'm fighting against a bungee cord.

I've found a much better stroke now (for me anyway) which is like a modified breaststroke. The arms are pulled right back to the side, rather than just half way down like in a surface stroke, and the kick, rather than being the main source of propulsion, is just to stop the body stalling when the arms are pushed forwards. I find this stroke incredibly relaxing, and I can go a lot further, and more quickly. You get a really nice glide off the armstroke.

no fin freediving

I would say that no fins or any equipement (except your swimm suit, of course :)) is freediving in true sense of the word. I've been doing that kind of diving since I was a little boy, and did 20 meters depth dives very early in my life with no fins or mask or anything. That is why I started with the sport, since I wanted to go further.
Dynamic with no fins is a discipline that should be recognized more, and I would like to have a competition at least once a year doing the free stuff.
Keep it free!!!
i have tried the modified breast stroke exactly as you described it and it was efficient...except for the fact that my shoulder cracks (dislocates and pops back in) on every arm stroke, although it doesnt hurt it is very bad, i even have to do special exercises to increase the strenght in my shoulder cuffs(sp) so that it doesnt just fall out.. :D

no im not using my arms on any of my strokes, they are fully extended above my head for the dynamic part, and one is above my head if i have trouble equalizing.
Hey Bryan, I'm using the same stroke, but I get a pretty good glide from the kick too, with the arms locked in a triangle, biceps behind the ears. I'm really getting interested in the dynamic competitions, and it seems to me that hydrodynamic efficiency is one of the keys. I am currently moving VERY slow with and without a fin, but hearing of Sebastien Murat's very quick (1:51, I think) dynamic w/fin of 192 metres makes me think:confused:
That's about 30 seconds per 50 metre lap, which is very fast! He said he had a small samba, but still!
I think our individual physiologies will dictate which is better: fast or slow. As Eric F said, good static divers aren't necessarily good deep divers, which is true sometimes.
Erik Y.
Vince, I know what you mean about the popping shoulders, I get it sometimes with front crawl and though it's not as bad as yours and doesn't hurt, it still makes you wonder what you're doing to your body! I'd be interested to know what kind of exercises you do (if it's possible to describe them briefly).

I've never managed to do dolphin with my arms above my head. For some reason it makes my body act like a flatfish and hug the bottom of the pool so I keep banging my knees. No idea why. Do you keep the arms dead still or incorporate them into the "ripple"?

Eric, can you give us some typical times for your no-fin dynamic, just so we know what you mean by "slow"? Would you say you get as much glide with the legs as the arms? I think I must be doing something wrong (inefficient) as when I swim surface breaststroke I get a massive glide off the kick, but it doesn't seem to work as well underwater. This might be because I'm angled head slightly down all the time (according to a friend who watched me). But I guess this can't be helped in shallow water as you're always fighting your buoyancy?

I think you're right about some people being suited to fast and some slow. I've seen people swimming lengths no-fins underwater at a rate that would have had me gasping for air in about 10 metres.

Back to the pool tonight after a week of brilliant warm dry weather spent mountain-biking. I love it when I don't have to clean my bike :D

Bryan, my times for no-fin dynamic are about the same as with the fin: .6 metre/sec, although I'm still changing it with different trials. I think I'll do better at the slower paces.
The underwater breastroke works pretty well for me so far. I'm not an outstanding swimmer, and am really just starting to "feel" swimming at the surface. But underwater, it seems easy to feel the best hydrodynamic positioning. On the kick, the same thing happened to me (fighting to stay down)in a shallower pool, so I use a 4lb neck weight to achieve neutral buoyancy. I went to the pool last night, to fine tune the weight. I found that in a 1.3 metre deep pool, I needed 8lbs (4 on the belt) with 30 lung packs to be comfortable, either with or without fins. Once you achieve neutral buoyancy, then you can really glide with the arm stroke and the kick, just picking up the stroke when the momentum slows. I think that the extra weight actually helps overall: once you are moving, there is extra momentum.
It's been snowing like mad here, and I ride all year, so my bike is covered in crap:( as usual....what the hell happened to spring?
Erik Y.

"my times for no-fin dynamic are about the same as with the fin: .6 metre/sec"

Will you confirm this statement please? From observation, this seems to be 30-40% slower than most. I'm talking about with fins here. 2' 45" for 100 meter dynamic??

Not meant to criticize, only to learn.


I apologise for my crappy math...it takes me 120 seconds to do 100 metres. So that's .83 metres per second, not .6 . I forgot that there's a calculator on the computer....don't laugh, some are good at math, and me, well:yack
Erik Y.
Re: Doh!

Originally posted by Erik
I apologise for my crappy math...it takes me 120 seconds to do 100 metres. So that's .83 metres per second, not .6 . I forgot that there's a calculator on the computer....don't laugh, some are good at math, and me, well:yack
Erik Y.

That's about how fast John was going in the recent CAFA regional though -- I think he was moving faster during his static! Kirk (the judge) could have gone and had a coffee during the first length. Nonetheless he made 100m, and except for that minor Samba at the end he was fine. :) What was really funny to watch was how he touched the wall at the end (while submerged) three times with both hands as if making sure it was actually there.
LOL! yeah, I thought he was trying to decide if he was going to turn to do another 10 metres. I'm allowed to laugh, because Ive blacked out at a competition, plus had tons of sambas at home, in static training ;)
Cheers, and good effort John,
Erik Y.
Length times

I do an average of 25-26sec per 25meters. It usually a little slower on the first couple of lengths then I feel that I speed up a little for the last couple. So for 100m I managed to do it in 1min43.

Though I watched someone do 100m in just over 2mins, so I don't think that there is the ideal time just do what you feel comfortable with. Though around 25 to 35 sec seems to be the norm per 25meters.

Freediving without fins was a wonderful experiance for me, the only thing that you need to remember is you mask. So long as the water isn't too cold :)
Nice thread.

I've been practicing this a little, but at least nothing serious. Maybe now when I get well of this flu :)

I've done 50m with no contractions (no fins, that was), so I suppose I'm capable to do even some more. My speed when going for meters is something little less than 1m/s, otherwise everything what feels good on that dive. We're happy to have -5m deep pool, so buoyancy is not so big problem than shallower water if diving on the bottom. I think relaxing is big key to success, at least for me. And doing strokes smoothly, not explosively fast, even that might cost some loss of speed. I use breaststroke with mid-long glides, pushing hands under my body at the end of stroke (at the beginning of glide). But my technique is poor, I have no swimming background etc etc. Going to train on it.

Also happy to have team members capable to do well over 100m without fins, I think I might get some good tips.

Nice discipline (typing?) too, friend of mine did over 3' 25m dynamic with fins last week :)

Keep on training guys!

Today I hit 62.5 metres with no fins! 5 metres more than the last one, so I'm ecstatic. Of course then I remember what the world record is, and the road seems long.
I stretched for 10 minutes, including pack-stretches, did a 25 contraction breath hold static, breathed up for 2 minutes, 5 faster purge-breaths, 2 ten-second breath holds, 25 packs (half of my max 50), and wore the 4lb neck weight. I did not have a buddy this morning, but the lifeguard was aware of what I was doing, and I didn't push it too far....I think I could have managed 75 metres in the 25 metre pool today with a spotter.
I forgot to look at my timer when I came out.
One thing I noticed for the second time, after doing the swim with a pair of goggles but no nose-clip, was that I was choking on water when I started breathing when I came up. So, I wont do it again without the Minima mask, or I'll get a nose-clip.
Erik Y.
you did WHAT?

jeeeezus h. keeriiist!
You get a spear in your paws, I'm outta luck!

Great #'s pal!

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Leg jellification

I was doing a few underwater lengths in the pool last night (sadly with lots of breathing in-between) and I noticed something odd. When I do my normal underwater breastroke, by the time I get to the end (only 33m) my legs start feeling really drained, even though my arms are doing most of the work, and I don't yet feel anywhere near desperate to breathe.

I did a length dolphin, quite a fast kick, and it was even worse. I could hardly move my legs for the final kick, even though, again, I could have held my breath for a bit longer.

Why do my legs turn to jelly? They're quite strong, as I'm quite a keen cyclist (though maybe it uses different muscles)?

Anyone else had this?

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