Yes that’s exactly what I thought until I saw it online myself. Swimming is by far the healthiest exercise of them all, by that I mean the benefits it brings totally outweigh the downsides.
Downsides ? Yes any exercise will have its downsides. Cycling is terrifically beneficial but can be poor for your posture as it puts pressure on your lower back especially if you are on the bike for hours on end. Running can for some people be bad for their joints, especially the knees, then there’s tennis elbow, in tennis etc So practically all sports have the potential to wear you or parts of you down physically, it just comes with the territory.
Swimming however rarely produces such problems unless you are talking about swimmers shoulder which can manifest itself through a combination of poor technique and or due to repetitive strain. Comparatively speaking swimming takes very little toll on the body and so is embraced by medical and sports experts everywhere.
I taught myself the basics of swimming from watching YouTube videos over the last 4 years and was particularly chuffed when I mastered bi-lateral breathing which completely daunted me as a child learning how to swim. As I detailed a couple of months back I received a swim lesson from Orla Walsh a former Liffey Swim winner which is astonishing to me as she only sat her leaving cert this year. Orla gave me great advice and a couple of things to work on. I then remembered I had seen people on youtube having a swim analysis doe so I decided to have one also.
The analysis in my case took place in a huge bath tub essentially, the only differences were there was a camera following my every move from a variety of angles both above and below the water. The water is also pumped at you from one direction at varying speeds which was a tad disconcerting at first and there are two mirrors below you so you can monitor your stroke. as you swim.
To all intents and purposes the pool ore endless pool as its called is a treadmill for swimmers, where you put in 1000s of strokes and go absolutely nowhere , can I have one please?!?!?
The benefit of my swim analysis in this context was that my instructor could give me directions, film me following his guidelines and then we could watch it back on the big screen. The immediacy with which your technique could be broken down forensically enables you to almost make those new neuromuscular connections necessary to adopt demanding new sporting behaviours. Seeing yourself on the big screen seconds after performing an exercise certainly makes your hyper aware of your positioning in each phase of swim drill which ultimately is the goal of a swim analysis.
Swim lessons have their place but a swim analysis is in y opinion vital to really give you the knowledge to advance beyond whatever training plateau you currently occupy.
While you can check out the details and the amazing endless pool in the video, the take home for me after my 90 minute session, was as encouraging as it was invaluable. I wouldnt be the fastest swimmer by any stretch and have remained static at 2 mins per kilometer indoors for a while now. What I discovered was that I need to work on my pull phase during the stroke, keeping my head low, and my body flat, theres also a need for me to work on my rotation which is impeding me going faster as are the other issues. What does encourage me is that in spite of these basic flaws in my stroke I have been quite competitive in my first season as a triathlete gaining 3 top places in my last there triathlons. So if I am able to make even a modest improvement in my stroke and swim speed then I should be even more competitive next season.