Re: For Ogged

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Lessons are really worth it because even fairly experience swimmers have a lot of inefficient movements. There's a diminishing returns effect if you're not competiitive, but the first few lessons are tremendously helpful.

Your body does have to get used to it, but in my recollection improvement is quick on that front too.

My problem is that I always start out so fast that I'm lucky to finish two laps. A mental or nervous problem.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 7:00 PM
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even fairly experience swimmers have a lot of inefficient movements.

E.g., that sequence of movements where you head over to the pool to swim a few laps.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 7:24 PM
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My problem is that I always start out so fast that I'm lucky to finish two laps.

Pacing!


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 7:28 PM
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Swimming lessons for anyone who comes to Unfogged Richmond!


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 7:31 PM
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Well you should be starting with the double trudgen crawl of course.

Think propeller, not paddle wheel and the elbow never leads the way. My two simple but not necessarily obvious focus items.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 8:09 PM
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My problem is that I always start out so fast that I'm lucky to finish two laps. A mental or nervous problem.

Whenever that happens to me I always end up apologizing to the pool and it's really awkward.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 8:12 PM
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Is no fruit too low?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 8:49 PM
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Speaking of ogged, tonight is the night to jump over a bonfire and leave your old year in the ashes behind you. Hurry up! Don't miss the chance!

We just lit a bunch of newspapers on fire on the sidewalk outside, nervously looking out for cops the whole time. I had a shitty "free practice of religion!11!" argument worked out in my head but mercifully didn't need it.

I did, however, jump over the bonfire and into this kinda shed-like thing, so now my nose has a nice horizontal dent in it. I'm hoping that this is not a bad omen.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 8:50 PM
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6: he dog-paddled a lot as a kid.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 8:50 PM
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A "lap" is indeed a round trip. A "length" is a one-way trip from wall to wall. But it's easier to count yards/meters. I count "1 length, 2 lengths, 3 lengths, 100, 1 length, 2 lengths, 3 lengths, 200, ..."


Posted by: Chris Conway | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 8:52 PM
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Yes, yes, heebie, but were there any pertly be-buttocksed lifeguards?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 8:57 PM
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Think propeller, not paddle wheel and the elbow never leads the way.

What does this mean? To the extent that I understand it, it seems like bad advice.


Posted by: Chris Conway | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 8:57 PM
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When I graduated, UNC still had a swim test requirement. It involved having to tread water for five minutes while bored hotties stood around making sure one's toes weren't touching the bottom. I had to be pulled out, heaving, at 3 minutes. They all pretended I'd passed, though, because it was the last day for seniors to take the test and I'd just nearly died trying to graduate so they felt sorry for me. I fucking hate swimming.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 9:04 PM
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tonight is the night to jump over a bonfire and leave your old year in the ashes behind you. Hurry up! Don't miss the chance!

Seems like the date of this event is arbitrary. I understand, it's an assigned date, but still, it's not always the time.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 9:14 PM
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It's supposed to be the last Tuesday night of the year, when you count the new year as starting on the vernal equinox, which this year is the 20th of March. I bet it's easier to keep track of this sort of thing when everyone is lighting fires on the streets.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 9:22 PM
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A movable lunar-solar feast.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 9:30 PM
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I bet it's easier to keep track of this sort of thing when everyone is lighting fires on the streets.

Yeah, there's not much confusion about it in West L.A.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 9:36 PM
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||

I don't think I would have believed you could do this song with accordian -- http://www.archive.org/download/sci1999-04-27.shnf/sci99-04-27d1/sci99-04-27d1t03_vbr.mp3 -- and yet there it is.

|>


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:10 PM
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12: What does this mean? To the extent that I understand it, it seems like bad advice.

An attempt to combat two problems that I find often causes inefficiency in swimmers who are starting out:

1) Trying to push water straight back rather than letting the hand follow a more physiologically natural 3-d S-curve* through the water which results in the hand following a propeller motion when viewed from the frame of reference of the water. (*Not so natural at all in butterfly, which is why those best at it have preternaturally flexible shoulders, and in fact even for crawl and backstroke you need a pretty good level of flexibility to do this without excessive body roll.) One way to reinforce this is to think about how you move your hands when you tread water.

2) Losing the "reaching over a barrel" feeling of keeping your shoulder up. When folks drop their shoulder, they end up with their hand "slipping" though the water by "following" their elbow. At the end of the crawl stroke you *can* view the elbow as "leading" the way up and out, but I find this causes some people to cut their stroke too short.

Both really are things to reinforce the way I show something in a pool in response to specific stroke problems, probably not the best idea to simply give them as aphorisms on a blog.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:06 PM
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Speaking of water: paddling a skinny kayak in open ocean isn't quite so much like riding a bicycle as one might think. Getting back on the water for the first time since October or thereabout was ugly, ugly, ugly.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:41 AM
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Riding a bicycle turned not to be quite so much like riding a bicycle as I would have thought, given that my bicycle is all freaky maladjusted, a fact you would have suspected I'd have noticed riding it 4 miles a day. But 30 miles, this is a different number of miles. Eh, numb forearms, par for the course, right?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:44 AM
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Just cut back on masturbating commenting for a few days until the feeling returns.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:52 AM
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But what if I comment with my perineum? That'll be okay, won't it?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:55 AM
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Where did Geithner get this plan, from Goober and Gomer over at the filling station?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:58 AM
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Sure, but unlike dogs, on the Internet, everyone knows you're an asshole.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:00 AM
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Only if you're hiking in the Alps.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:01 AM
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Eh, numb forearms, par for the course, right?

Not uncommon. After my first bike trip (250 miles or so), I had to turn doorknobs with both hands for a couple of days while my hands and arms returned to normal.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:03 AM
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27: yeeeeah... I definitely need to adjust my brake position, though. Like, the one shouldn't be pointing all cockeyed like that.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:04 AM
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26: You see what happens Larry when you find a stranger in the Alps?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:05 AM
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In my freshman year of college I spent a brief, bizarre few months on the crew team, and one requirement was a swimming endurance test. This was basically like Robust describes in 13, except the length of time was probably shorter and we were fully clothed. I think I only made it on the second try.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 7:26 AM
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13. What did they do if you had some kind of disability which meant you couldn't swim - give you water wings so you could graduate?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 7:59 AM
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There were medical exemptions, I imagine, but I never worked up the nerve to ask if "lazy and overweight" would qualify me.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 8:01 AM
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Robust,

Was there some twist to this treading water test? Like arms-only or legs-only? Because the whole idea of treading water is an effort you could maintain for hours. Even an unfit person could tread water for 5 minutes, I would think.

Not trying to bag on you. Just seems odd.


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 8:13 AM
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Because the whole idea of treading water is an effort you could maintain for hours.

No way, jose. That's the Dead Man's Float that you're supposed to be able to do for hours. Treading water is a workout.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 8:20 AM
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Huh. I'm a very comfortable, albeit kind of incompetent, swimmer, and treading water doesn't seem effortless to me at all; I wouldn't be surprised that a poor swimmer couldn't keep it up for long. Are you a very good swimmer, or have you never tried to tread water?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 8:20 AM
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We had to do a treading-water test at high school. I think it was also 5 minutes, but it may have been longer [there was also a 20 lengths of the school pool test, done afterwards].*

* not that impressive, the school pool was small. Maybe 15-20 metres, max.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 8:23 AM
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LB, this made me think we would have been the belles of the balls 90 years ago.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 8:24 AM
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The reason people explain that water polo is such a tough sport is that the players have to tread water for hours. I think this sam k is showing off.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 8:27 AM
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Hmm...I distinctly remember being taught in swim lessons (circa 2nd grade) that proper technique would enable you to stay afloat for long periods of time, if you were, say, waiting to be rescued. Could be wrong.

I'm an above average swimmer now, been swimming 2-3 times per week for a year this month. Before that, I was an extremely poor swimmer, and I would have rated the effort exerted while treading water approximately equal with a brisk walk.


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 8:30 AM
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37: Nah, I do better 20 years earlier still; I'm not flatchested enough to make it as a flapper, but I can pass for a Gibson Girl on a good day.

38: Oh, showing off is harsh; he's probably just confused somehow.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 8:30 AM
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Before that, I was an extremely poor swimmer, and I would have rated the effort exerted while treading water approximately equal with a brisk walk.

This is weird, IME. Either your sense of 'extremely poor' is unusual, or even while being a bad swimmer generally, you had a freakishly efficient treading technique. My kids have been in swimming lessons for ages, and teaching a kid to be able to tread for more than thirty seconds or so takes a while.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 8:33 AM
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The reason people explain that water polo is such a tough sport is that the players have to tread water for hours.

With legs only, interspersed with darting back and forth across the pool at near Olympic pace.


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 8:34 AM
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Sorry, I didn't know it was so much harder with legs only.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 8:36 AM
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No need for apologies. It seems I very well could be wrong about the effort involved in treading water for 5 mins.


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 8:39 AM
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I don't think I'd be able to tread water for 5 minuts. Maybe it would be possible to learn some sort of technique for doing it efficiently. Does UNC's swimming requirement come in the absence of any actual required swimming classes?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 8:43 AM
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I'm not sure the swimming requirement still exists (if you failed it, you were required to take a swimming course as one of your PEs), but it was there when I graduated in 92, and I still got a diploma despite never showing up to take the swim test. So I have doubts about how closely they actually monitored that requirement.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 8:45 AM
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45: Should you find yourself needing to, tilting your head back and settling low in the water, so you're mostly submerged, cuts way down on the energy required.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 8:49 AM
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I'm with sam k. I'd always learned (and found) that treading water, if you did it efficiently, was relatively low energy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 8:50 AM
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According to a website (first hit on Google), calories burned per hour treading water is precisely the same as that of a 4mph ("very brisk") walk: 281.

I'd imagine that these are generalized beyond usefulness, and that the actual effort exerted varies widely from person to person.


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 8:52 AM
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I think the point of contention is that doing it efficiently is fairly skilled, or at least there's a knack to it. Joe Random not-particularly-a-swimmer is usually going to find it quite effortful.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 8:52 AM
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49: Oops, I was looking in the column for someone weighing 130lbs. Efforts remain equal for each activity, but more calories are required the heavier you are, obviously.


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 8:55 AM
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50: no disagreement here.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:00 AM
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but more calories are required the heavier you are, obviously.

Not really obviously in the swimming case, no? It's going to be more a function of buoyancy, which will have more to do with body-fat percentage than weight.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:01 AM
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So what would be surprising is if someone had gone through UNC's required swimming class without being able to do the treading-water requirement. But it seems that there is no required swimming class, so your typical person attempts the treading-water requirement with no preparation at all, because neither the students nor the college take it seriously.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:03 AM
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You might be right. I just meant in reference to the chart linked. Which I understand isn't all that convincing.


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:04 AM
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55 to 53


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:04 AM
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Will no one mention that being extremely pregnant might be a factor in heebie's swimming experience?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:17 AM
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57: probably not Robust's, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:23 AM
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57: Yeah, seriously, with the wee one kicking too, that shit should've been wicked easy.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:23 AM
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57: To the original post, Heebie's experience seems fairly congruent with mine. I started swimming last year in training for a local triathlon.

I choked and sputtered my way through the first length and would backstroke on the return to catch my breath. I would also throw in a few laps on the kickboard. My goal was to keep this going for 500-600 yards.


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:26 AM
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1. Water polo is a tough sport because it involves vicious assault under the water and above the water if your hand is on the ball.

2. Never use the word lap to mean up and back. Very few people use the old Lap and length distinction. Just say length.

3. If you want to swim well, keep your eyes down and your head virtually under the water.

4. Get your power from your core, not by pulling your hand through the water.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:35 AM
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Never use the word lap to mean up and back. Very few people use the old Lap and length distinction. Just say length.

Always learning here at Unfogged.

Has anyone asked H-G if the Old Guy said anything funny?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:38 AM
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I'd always learned (and found) that treading water, if you did it efficiently, was relatively low energy.

Relative to doing it inefficiently, sure.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:40 AM
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63: relative to swimming or other physical activity. I'd go along with sam k's "brisk walk" characterization.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:43 AM
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Will no one mention that being extremely pregnant might be a factor in heebie's swimming experience?

She doesnt deserve any slack for being pregnant. I outweigh her and my belly is easily her size.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:44 AM
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Has anyone asked H-G if the Old Guy said anything funny?

The lifeguards switched while I was swimming, and I don't think the new one realized how pregnant I am until I got out of the pool and she almost leapt up to help me in surprise. She said something like, "Good grief, you can't have much time left!" when I passed her.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:48 AM
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Actually, in the last day or two, the baby has definitely started to head south. Since December if Jammies rested his arm on me, I've been like "GET IT OFF! GET IT OFF!" and clawing at my neck like I can't breathe. But in the last two days, he can sling his arm over me in bed and I can still breathe fine.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:50 AM
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UNC did not have a required swim class and no longer has the swim test requirement. It was available as a PE, but I (a) hate swimming and (b) am an idiot, so I said a big fuck that and took bowling, the only PE class in which I could smoke. It's worth noting that, at that time, I was a pack-a-day smoker in addition to being overweight in addition to being tremendously lazy in addition to not having been in a pool since, oh, jr. high.

The test itself was fairly strict - arms and legs had to be moving at all times, no floating, no bouncing a toe on the bottom or touching the edge of the pool with a hand. Should I have been able to do it? Yes. I don't - and didn't - consider it onerous. I consider/ed it shameful. I still fucking hate swimming.

I should have skipped it. It turned out I knew several people who did skip it with no problem. The day I went, I went with several other people from my fraternity, all of us big fat chain-smoking drunks except for one muscle-bound stud, and we all failed the first test. I didn't bother to take it again, but got a little blue card anyway out of pity. The rest of my siblings took it a second time, twenty minutes later, and passed - except for the stud, whose third time was the charm. Then we all went outside and beached ourselves on the sidewalk.

I later commented that I knew how the extras from Titanic must have felt.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:54 AM
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68: Heh. I've got Sally in swim classes because she's half seal, and we've got to do something with her to get her underwater until we can figure out the logistics of putting her on a swim team. I have Newt in swim classes, OTOH, because he kind of hates it and I want to forcibly get him to the point where he can swim competently so that stuff like that doesn't happen to him in college (and, you know, the whole not-drowning thing).


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:00 AM
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because she's half seal

And half-lion? There could be civil war.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:02 AM
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She is rather leonine as little girls go.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:03 AM
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I dunno, RMMP. Not to argue that you weren't lazy or out-of-shape -- I'll take your word on that -- but if you don't know how to tread water you're probably going to thrash around a lot more, and use a lot more energy, than if you do.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:06 AM
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Treading water in a 'stay alive' fashion is a FUCK of a lot easier than doing it eggbeater style to play water polo (or synchro). I could tread water (ina warm pool, in a swimsuit) for about as long as needed, but I can only manage eggbeater for about a minute (perhaps a little more, I am improving slowly).

Also, some people are a lot more buoyant than others. My #2 has plenty of natural buoyancy, which is good because although she's a fairly strong and confident swimmer, she used to kind of do it in slow motion.

My eldest 2 are currently doing a rookie lifeguard class, which involves swimming about in clothes, saving each other, for half an hour. They're so tired when they get out, it's hilarious.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:16 AM
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Robust;

In swimming, our worse enemy/rival has always been UNC. They used to crush us. Now, we dominate them. One of the earliest things that I tried to teach my children was how to say "Go to Hell, Carolina."


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:19 AM
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I could tread water (ina warm pool, in a swimsuit) for about as long as needed, but I can only manage eggbeater for about a minute (perhaps a little more, I am improving slowly).

How long when naked?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:20 AM
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How long when wearing an itty-bitty, teeny-weeny, yellow polka-dot bikini?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:25 AM
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My #2 has plenty of natural buoyancy

Leaving floaters in the pool is deprecated.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:27 AM
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37: It's very odd to look through photos of your ancestors and see your aunts and great aunts and great-great aunts and what they were wearing. Sometimes they look sort of odd but often they look completely classic.

This is the independent of the layers of strangeness involved in noting that a great-great-aunt who's been dead for 70 years is really quite attractive. Fortunately they dressed very chastely in those days.

My German and Dutch ancestor ladies past age 50 or so all look Jewish to me.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:28 AM
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57 Will no one mention that being extremely pregnant might be a factor in heebie's swimming experience?

Most of us are not sexists, Kraab.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:31 AM
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I don't think the new one realized how pregnant I am until I got out of the pool and she almost leapt up to help me in surprise.

You should have told her that it was that very swimming pool that had made you pregnant. She would have been even more alarmed.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:34 AM
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77 - ha! One day I should use that preview button.

75 - you know, I have *never* gone skinny dipping. I really should remedy that sometime.

Can't wait until it is warm enough to swim in the sea again. Or perhaps until I stop being a wuss and join the mad people who swim all year round.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:39 AM
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Theoretically, two sealions should make one seal molecule.

The kind of treading water people are taught is sort of an artifact of training methods, or maybe purely a fitness test. Drownproofing is completely different. You don't try to stay vertical and only take your face out to breathe.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:42 AM
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I love skinny-dipping. But I'm super humorless about participating in any situation with a whiff of Girls Gone Wild Titillation, which means in practice I'll only jump in in very small groups, or with hippies.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:01 AM
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To me skinny dipping only counts if you're about 16-20, it's at night (preferably moonlit), it's at an unauthorized location, you're slightly drunk, and it's a coed group. I turned down an offer of that once, and forever will I rue the day.

Hippy skinny dipping is just generic hippy flummingness.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:11 AM
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Skinny dipping in a river or pool at night is fun girls gone wild style or not.

Actually, swimming at night is fun, naked or not.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:14 AM
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Skinny dipping in the Med at night: fun. Realizing that you can't find your clothes and may a long naked walk ahead of you: not fun (the clothes were eventually found).


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:36 AM
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Treading water in a 'stay alive' fashion

In lifeguard school we were taught not to tread water in "stay alive" situations -- uses too much energy -- but rather to practice some technique with a name like "drown proofing" or somesuch, which involved floating motionless with our faces in the water and once every minute or so making some tiny subtle hand gesture that brought our mouths just enough above the water to breathe. Of course, if you're one of those can't-float folks than you're fucked for this one.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:38 AM
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87 meets 82, shakes hand.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:40 AM
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84: Here I thought "flummingness" was a typo (although I wasn't sure for what), but apparently there's good authority that it means "things a typical hippie does."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:40 AM
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I was taught that one too, but when I've been in situations where drowning was an actual possibility, the last thing I wanted to do was lie face down in the water. I wonder if that technique is still taught or was just one of those things that became popular because it seemed to make sense in theory and then died out because it was nuts in practice.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:42 AM
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90 to 87, 82.2.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:43 AM
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The key point on treading water is that most folks have specific gravities just less than 1* (although some low fat and/or heavily boned people can get as high as 1.1) and if suspended vertically in water will float with some portion of the top of their head out of the water** (I taught swimming with a women who floated vertically at about chin height, treading water was simple for her) even when their breath is exhaled. The trick (easy to say, hard to do for those not comfortable in the water) is to relax and realize all you need to do is to generate enough downward force in the water to raise your body to where your chin is above water. The easiest way is with the hands moving almost completely horizontally and acting as airfoils and the kick mostly just stabilizing the body position.

*Most ocean water is about 1.03, a small difference, but since most humans are so close to 1 as well, it makes a small but noticeable difference in "floatability".

**Per Will's point on keeping the head down for swimmig (which is in fact probably the key point that most beginners violate to some extent), you don't want to "waste" any valuable buoyancy needed to help keep a horizontal body position on your stupid head.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:43 AM
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I always wondered about that drown-proofing advice (which I got in swimming class as well). Why aren't they telling you to float on your back? That I can do forever with no effort at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:45 AM
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drown proofing advice - don't panic


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:47 AM
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In fact I am one of the authorities. It traces back to a "Swedish jive" page which is no longer up, but also from a comment a Swede made on my site. She was apologizing for her own (delightful) over-enthusiasm about how wonderful spring and summer are in Sweden after the horrible (dark) Swedish winter.

By my guess, flummingness is pretty close to the "Have you ever looked at your hand? I mean, really looked at it" stereotype.

If I am not mistaken, Swedes are among the least ebullient peoples, and tend to apologize when they show a trace of ebullience, though in this regard they never quite succeed in matching the Finns.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:48 AM
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"Don't panic. If you panic you will drown, sink to the bottom, and be eaten by horrible crawling sea creatures. "


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:49 AM
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In fact I am one of the authorities.

That is a scary statement when Emerson says it.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:49 AM
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If you panic, the horrible sea creatures will come to the surface and pull you under.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:50 AM
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88: I just got off an airplane. Leave me alone, nosflow! I take back my mille basia!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:50 AM
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87, 90: I do wonder. My experience was that anyone not comfortable in water would never get the hang of the subtle hand motion/just bring mouth out of the water even if they could float. We also learned a lay back float (success very dependent on your specific gravity) in which you could at least see. But I'm with NPH, it would be the rare circumstance where situational awareness did not trump however much time you gained with the deadman's float.

On preview per LB's question; a problem with the back float is that you're prone to getting a mouthful with the slightest wave or turbulence. And once again, practically, most situations where you would need to go to "floating" have that element.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:51 AM
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98: They smell the fear on you.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:52 AM
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When you are floating on your back, you cannot see if the horrible sea creatures are circling around, trying to figure out who gets the first bite.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:55 AM
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Many people romanticize death at sea, imagining being torn apart by fierce sharks. But what really happens is more in the H.P. Lovecraft area.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:57 AM
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You can't just take a thing like that back, oud.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:57 AM
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What I like for resting in the water the sidestroke. Very little effort, mostly with the legs, and you can still see and keep making a little progress while you rest.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:58 AM
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This is a neat trick.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:59 AM
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But what really happens is more in the H.P. Lovecraft area.

you have to admit, slow violation by hagfish through every orifice somehow paints a less romantic picture than dismemberment by voracious sharks


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:00 PM
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But I'm with NPH, it would be the rare circumstance where situational awareness did not trump however much time you gained with the deadman's float.

And the water would have to be pretty fucking warm to even allow you enough time to make special techniques useful.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:01 PM
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People actually get in the water at the Jersey Shore, oudemia? A lifeguarding class? Didnt that just consist of picking up cig butts from the beach?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:04 PM
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There's some awfully nice parts of the Jersey shore. It's not all cigarette butts.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:05 PM
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It's not all cigarette butts.

There's also condoms and medical waste.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:06 PM
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Tha amazing thing is that "hagfish" is the PC name. The real name is "slime eel".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:09 PM
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Wildwood, New Jersey— one of the "doo wop" architecture meccas of the world.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:10 PM
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109: Pffft.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:16 PM
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Of course, I kid. Jersey Shore lifeguarding is really, really difficult work.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:18 PM
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115: It is for the folks who work the busy public beaches! I worked at a tony club. Elie Wiesel was a member. That was sort of odd. *Not* someone to have drown on your watch. He survived Hitler, but not oudemia!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:22 PM
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106: Immersing your baby is also a good way to keep it from overheating when you forget it in the car.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:37 PM
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106: Or do both at once. Efficiency!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:48 PM
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I somehow feel like no one is acknowledging the TOTAL PWNAGE that took place back in 34.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:03 PM
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Just acknowledge that she pwned you, folks. She's in the delicate condition. I tremble to think what unacknowledged pwnage would do to the unborn child.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:06 PM
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Will no one mention that being extremely pregnant might be a factor in heebie's swimming experience?

I just realized the opportunity I missed for a fine "elephant in the room" joke. Dangnabit.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:31 PM
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Dead Man's Float is easier to sustain of you're dead. Also it's absurdly stupid. If you forgot your life jacket and you end up in a situation where you need to float for hours - sucks to be you, dumbass.

More seriously, the basic nose just above water position is sustainable for hours (I've done it for four straight in a pool). There's also a trick for improvising a float from a pair of pants that was a lot of fun to learn when I was ~10 or so.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:34 PM
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Wow. Kraab just called heebie fat.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:36 PM
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There's also a trick for improvising a float from a pair of pants that was a lot of fun to learn when I was ~10 or so.

Right, that's the one you learn in summer camp when you've been forced asked to swim and learn lifeguarding techniques every morning at 6 a.m. in a freezing cold pond that turns your hands and feet blue, until you've learned enough that by passing the test, including improvising a float from a pair of pants, you get to go swimming at 7 a.m. instead. I remember that!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:51 PM
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If you forgot your life jacket and you end up in a situation where you need to float for hours - sucks to be you, dumbass.

It's pretty hard to imagine a situation in which simply staying afloat for an extended period would improve your survival chances. If you're close enough to shore or something floaty to get there, that's the thing to do. If not, the chances that someone is going to spot you in time are pretty damn poor.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:54 PM
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My dad never learned to swim because if you fall into a lake in the Yukon, forget about survival techniques.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:59 PM
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125 - a friend of a friend was out in a boat with 4 friends - they managed to capsize it (by pissing about as I understand it), within sight of shore, but with horrendous currents. The strongest swimmer (national competition level) struck out for shore, but it took him so long that the other three drowned in front of the friend's friend.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 3:28 PM
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127 reminds me of a practice that was right in the middle of changing when I was getting trained. That was the undue emphasis on physical "carries" unaided by equipment or flotation devices. The ones I recall were the chin(?) carry (basically you and victim on backs, cradling their chin while doing a frog kick), the hair carry (per its name) and the most "heroic" one of all, the cross-chest carry, which mostly gave the opportunity for macho instructors and macho teenage students to release their inner frustrations on each other during the test. Also voted most likely to turn a single drowning into a double for many years running.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 8:32 PM
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Christ, heebie, didn't the doctor warn you away from strenuous pwnage activity?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 8:36 PM
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127 reminds me of a practice that was right in the middle of changing when I was getting trained. That was the undue emphasis on physical "carries" unaided by equipment or flotation devices.

I had a friend who could have very much used this training at one point. At a beach party in LA someplace, somebody had anchored their boat (relatively) near to shore, and all the high-ass ravers were swimming out there -- it was one of the few times of year the water is warm enough to swim comfortably without a wetsuit -- but since they were Californians, none of them actually had very much experience swimming in the ocean, and he ended up having to rescue a guy and haul him about half of the way to the boat. He said it was unbelievably exhausting, and he ended up nearly needing rescuing himself.

Why'd they stop teaching it to people?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 8:41 PM
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cross-chest carry, which mostly gave the opportunity for macho instructors and macho teenage students to release their inner frustrations on each other during the test.

We had to do that one while the person we were "rescuing" fought us. Good times.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 8:43 PM
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132: Why'd they stop teaching it to people?

I don't know what has happened since, but they did not stop teaching the techniques, just reduced their emphasis in relation to non-contact rescues and increased the focus on better provisioning of rescue aids. Changed the mindset to contact rescues only as a last resort. In large part because and he ended up nearly needing rescuing himself was very often written without the "nearly".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:33 PM
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The first thing, or just about the first, I learned in lifeguard training was that drowning people are dangerous and will take you down to the sleepy deep with them, so we learned to approach from below, grab the flailing person's hips and turn them around before locking them in the cross-chest carry. Seemed to work with pretend drowning people, but I never had a chance to try with the real thing.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:40 PM
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grab the flailing person's hips and turn them around before locking them in the cross-chest carry.

Is this why swimmers practice snapping their hips? To dislodge lifeguards?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:42 PM
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And kelp.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 6:00 AM
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