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Swimming - progressing from doggy-paddle to face under, without a teacher

(13 Posts)
sycamore54321 Tue 13-Sep-16 01:46:29

I've known how to swim for years - sort-of. I can do front crawl arms and legs, same for breaststroke, can dive in from the edge, I feel confident in the water but there is a big but. I never learned to breathe properly and so can't swim with my face under the water apart from the first strokes where I dive under and do a few strokes before emerging.

I've recently resolved to try to rectify this. I'd tried a couple of times before and what is really making the difference this time is using a nose clip. I'm sure it probably doesn't count as real swimming but today after several interrogations of swimming friends, lots of you tube videos, a few weeks of practice, I managed several (separate) full length of front crawl with proper face-in, side-breathing every third stroke.

I am just delighted with myself and want to keep it up and progress a little. The swimming felt much more natural and easy than my decades-old neck-up approach. I really have no specific goals for swimming and so don't really plan in any formal lessons but I'd be interested to hear if anyone has done the same self-taught progression after years of bad habits, and any tips how to consolidate my learning.

Also, do people use nose-clips long term or should I be thinking of weaning myself off my new little wonder device?

lamprey42 Tue 13-Sep-16 02:15:59

I had this recommended to me but never got around to actually watching the DVD I bought blush. Is ten lessons that you watch then do in pool I will dig it out soon..... I also taught myself to swim crawl as an adult - swimming lessons at school were rubbish. I started with this book - old so you should be able to get cheap on a ebooks or similar. Good luck.

sycamore54321 Tue 13-Sep-16 02:21:28

I actually saw that first book in the library last week! I must check it ou. Thanks for the recommendations.

How is your swimming now? Lovely to hear I'm not the only one plodding through by myself! I have no idea why I am reluctant to involve a teacher or to invest in lessons but I just am.

MyFriendsCallMeOh Tue 13-Sep-16 02:53:31

Congratulations on your swimming breakthrough! I'm a teacher and strongly feel that swimming should be enjoyable so if a noseclip helps you to enjoy swimming and feel more comfortable, then that's fine, even long term.

If you want to start swimming without in the future, you can begin by practicing in the shower. Try breathing out when your face is under the stream of water and breathing in when you're not under the water. As you work with your nose clip, you will gain confidence in your own ability and it will feel increasingly natural and you'll start to try swimming without.

Look how far you've come... The rest is just practice.

yeOldeTrout Tue 13-Sep-16 20:41:57

i never learnt to swim a stroke when I was a kid because no one had goggles in the 1970s. So taught myself as an adult (after discovering goggles).

You can practise this now, even in the bath.
Deep breath, put face in water, and blow out bubbles S L O W L Y.
The trick to keeping your face down comfortably, for strokes or diving, is the blowing out slowly.

It's mindbogglingly obvious, but I didn't figure it out until I heard swim teacher telling the kids to blow out slowly.

All breathing has to be thru the mouth, too, because you can't breath thru nose & keep water out. But this is more a case of practise then technique, I suspect.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Tue 13-Sep-16 20:44:35

Another vote for total immersion...

BikeRunSki Tue 13-Sep-16 20:48:24

Speedo are running some free swimming technique sessions in various locations this summer. There are some left to run, maybe see if there are any near you.

nueday8 Tue 13-Sep-16 20:53:03

I too am trying to teach myself to breath correctly, keep getting into a stupid panic though. 😞

ErrolTheDragon Tue 13-Sep-16 20:54:15

I taught myself face-in crawl - first thing of course was to get goggles, and then I did a bit of ducking under and watching other people. I think I'd already figured out the trick of breathing out while head was in when doing head-in breaststroke. While inbreaths are through the mouth, I think I breath out at least partially through the nose as that keeps it clear ( does that make sense? Not sure if it 'correct' but works for me)

Anyway - well done OP, it feels good doesn't it!

BeingALandlord Tue 13-Sep-16 21:08:27

Really interested in the slow breathing out. I'm a child of the 70's where no one was taught properly in school, and meet got around to sorting it as an adult. I'm sill scared to go it of my depth and would love that to change. About a decade ago I enrolled on a group swimming course but got stuck at the homework part where you have to stick your head down in the bath and blow bubbles. Now I realise I must have blown too hard as it certainly wasn't slowly! This thread is making me want to try again. Thanks OP!

CMOTDibbler Tue 13-Sep-16 23:07:33

Humming as you breathe out helps you slow down and make it more continuous. Breathing out to get rid of the carbon dioxide is really important as thats what makes you feel desperate to breath

sycamore54321 Tue 13-Sep-16 23:25:07

How nice to see others in the same situation as me, and great to hear stories of progress. I'm half-embarrassed to admit that despite not swimming with my face in, I've used goggles for swimming for years, because I am desperately short-sighted and otherwise would struggle to find my way back to the changing room! I can heartily recommend prescription goggles from if anyone needs them.

I'm excited now to try out the various tips and recommendations, and to continue hopefully to progress. Proper-ish swimming feels like a real goal.

MrsMook Thu 15-Sep-16 07:36:12

I went to adult classes at 16. I'd only had school lessons at junior school, and they'd failed to teach me to slow down and how to breathe. I can't swim with my head out at all as it makes my lower half go down, then the rest of me goes.

I breathe out through my nose and in through my mouth. The tricky bit is learning the rhythm against the arm stroke for front crawl. I have finally cracked breast stroke by transferring the technique and keeping my head in for two strokes and bobbing up to breathe on the third.

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