…now, on the back!

October 22, 2008

Lie back on the water.

If you do it correctly, it is relaxing, and you can zen out and float until your head bonks against the wall or lane line. Lengthen the back of your neck, feel like the water supports you, like you are on a bed, and look straight up at the moist dripping ceiling. Or, the underside of a seagull.

The trick is to push your hips up. Squeeze your buttocks slightly, and pop up the hips. Once you have the hips up, then worry about the legs rising up. If this is new for you, take a breath, hold your nose, and just go underwater, on your back, face and all. Push your hips up, and let it happen slowly, find your neutrally buoyant position slowly.

Don’t tilt your head so far back that you’re looking at the other side of the pool underwater! Water will go up your nose in a most unagreeable manner. Lay your head back as if you were resting it on a pillow, looking up at the ceiling. Touch chin to chest to lengthen the back of your neck.

You will sink if you let your hips drop. Keep the hips up! Put a goldfish cracker on your belly and stick it up for the seagull to pick up.

the strokes

October 20, 2008

In competitive swimming, there are four strokes, and in individual medley (IM), the order is: 1) butterfly, 2) backstroke, 3) breaststroke, and 4) freestyle. However, this is not the sequence I will teach them to you! Following, below, are the strokes in the order you will learn them, and some good drills…

free style

October 19, 2008

The Stroke

In recovery, keep your elbow high with your wrist and hand relaxed until it enters the water.
Enter thumbs first, pinkie up—do not smash down—and extend your hand in front of your shoulder, not in front of your head. (*Note: Igor says Thumbs first. I feel: do what feels natural, focusing on core pull.)
Keeping the elbow high under the water, use the full surface area from the fingertips and hand to the forearm to catch water and pull strongly back, under your body towards your hip. Keep your strokes even and smooth, do not pause. Do not drop your elbow to glide!! Gliding is not the same as slicing forward to grab water.

Head and Breathing
Look down towards the bottom of the pool. Don’t lift your head to breathe, but roll the head with your body to the side, thinking of clearing the chin out of the water to breathe, not the whole head. This is easier if you focus on keeping the top of your head in the water. Try to breathe so one goggle stays under the water. Very important: make sure you breathe air OUT. New air cannot come in if you don’t get rid of the old air to make room for it!

Tighten your abdominal muscles and arch back slightly to keep your legs high. Don’t stick your rump up. Lengthen out to streamline yourself. Rotate from the core – hips.

Kick small and quickly, in a driving rhythm. The power is from the hips, not knees. The ankles are flexible, and the kick is more like a whip, as if you had to shake off a shoe or sandal, or you are shaking a bug off your foot.

Hello, Swimmers!

October 16, 2008

This is a site for saturday morning NYU swimmers. And friends. And everyone.

Our first class for C quarter will be saturday, 31 january.

10 – 10:55 am advanced beginners

11- 11:55 am intermediate

You can contact me through this site with a comment, and leave a way for me to reach you if you’d like. See you in the pool! —christina

Spring 2009 schedule:


The classes are held at Coles, 181 mercer street, between bleecker and houston. Sorry, but you must have a valid NYU id to gain access to the pool.

rules for the flip turn

September 1, 2008

Do not look at the wall; look down. Don’t breathe as you get to the T (the black line on the pool floor) & into flip turn stage.

1. increase speed to the wall,
2. arms go to the sides (at the T),
3. lead the turn with the head,
4. as legs hit the wall, overlap the hands,
5. glide upside down, then turn to face down (if going into freestyle),
6. do not rest on the wall, take off immediately,
7. do not breathe until you take the first stroke.

the link is

“To learn to do flip turns, you must do 1,000 of them. To do them well, you must do 3,000.” —Igor

you are in good company

August 1, 2008

When you learn to swim, you will be in the non-marine company of: horses, moose, elk, and elephants, which are all strong swimmers.

Tigers, jaguars, lions, monkeys, some dogs, some cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, and snakes can swim. Even desert animals: dromdary and camels! —now, how did they find that out?!?