> I learned to swim last term to compliment my running. I can
>now do 30 laps of 25m each time for 3 times a week. However, my speed
>haven't improved much. My problems are:
> 1. Only know free style. I've tried other styles but they are
> less efficient and more tiring.
As a competitive swimmer and coach, I think I can help you out.
First of all, the other styles ARE less efficient. That's their
point- make you try like hell to make them as efficient as possible.
If you want to learn other strokes, I'd say start with Backstroke.
It's the closest thing to freestyle, and it shouldn't wreak havoc
with your breathing (If you're still having trouble after a few
months, pounding out four or five laps of Butterfly isn't the best
idea). Once you've stopped having to "throw up" air, give butterfly
a shot. Save *** 'til last, as it requires the greatest amount of
in-water coordination. When learning backstroke, remember to keep
your arms straight and your rear end up (God, it's hard to teach
strokes over a computer). Roll your shoulders, too. Number one
thing to do- find a friend who's willing to train with you and
critique your stroke periodically. It will really make a difference
(Especially in backstroke, where the water makes your arms feel like
they're coming in straight when they're really throwing your body
in all directions).
> 2. I haven't noticed any problem with breathing technique, but
> I have to "throw-up" the air trapped in my stomach every 3 to 4
> laps. I don't think that's normal; does anybody no what I do
> wrong? The frequency of this breathing problem seems to be
You're probably not separating the breathing out underwater with
the breathing in above the surface (This is jst a guess...feel free
to flame me...). Try breathing out, pausing while your head turns
to the side, and then breathing in. That little "stopper" might
alleviate the problem.
> 3. What are the good way to learn to do the flip-turn? I tried
The way I teach the flip turn is to learn how to do an underwater
somersault accompanied by a blasting out of air through the nose.
Once you can flip over and not get the chlorine water burning the
hell out of your nares, you'll be pretty much set to move it to a
wall and push off. Practice flipping for five minutes each of the
three days a week you practice, driving your head into your chest
and pushingyour hands from your sides to behind the ears for added
propusion in the flip, and inside of two weeks, you'll be set.
Once again, I can't overemphasize the importance of having a friend
to help. Suggestions can save days of work on a skill all by your lonesome.
> 4. Are things like kick-board and that-thing-u-put-between-your-thighs
> helpful? I tend to sink or move frustratings slow with these
For building strength, yes. For isolating parts of the stroke
so they are used more in the actual completed product, yes. For a
whole practice, no. When you're strong enough in the water to use
them effectively, go to it. The pull buoys can really straighten out
the inefficiencies in your stroke.
> 5. Finally. Is it ok to swim with an empty or starving stomach?
Actually, empty to "haven't eaten in about three or four hours" is
best for me, especially when I start to pound out thousands under
ten minutes for an hour or two. I wind up heaving up Mr. Lunch
because my body's so worked up. Starving...no. I wind up getting
the same breathingstitches I'd get if I just ate.
Glad to help...