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Eugene R. Allen 05-17-2005 09:01 AM

There has been some talk of late about workouts in the pool and they have all centered around surface swimming activities. Breathing is for sissies...let's get hypoxic.

Your objective is to see how long it takes you to kick, with fins, underwater for 20 lengths of a 25 yard pool. You must stay underwater from wall to wall for the length to count and you can stop to breathe at each end for as long as you want to but of course the clock is ticking and you will lose a lot of time with all that breathing nonsense. I suggest you have a counter or some items on the deck to pile up to count your laps, as you are likely to lose your place.

If you have not done this before you should have someone ready to rescue you from your shallow water black out. If you start to get tunnel vision and little sparkles show up in front of you, surface immediately as you are about to go unconscious. Do not undertake this lightly and take safety precautions.

Though certainly a test of your ability to fin quickly and efficiently, as well as a check on your ability to utilize O2 captured in your lungs, it is also a test of will. The desire to breathe is a rather pressing and demanding drive and it will be very difficult to overcome the fear that you are about to expire right there in the pool. Get over it. You have the whole rest of the day to breathe.

I did it in 11:58 this morning. Matt...some of you other swimmers out there, push me for a better time.

Bob Long 05-18-2005 04:24 AM

Don't do this alone.

Don Woodson 05-18-2005 07:36 AM

Now I wish I had access to an olympic pool. For my first C card (12years old), I had to swim under water with fins and mask a full lap (164ft X 2) without coming up. I was actually able to swim that lap plus almost another length. Blew away the adults in the class. Huge lungs and skinny as a rail. Not much muscle to support. I could only do it once though. Doing it twenty times with minimal rest would be a biotch.
I did learn to see those stars and to come up quickly.
Now I only see the stars when I get bashed in the face. :proud:.
One thing though. I also found that using my arms for forward strokes only wasted my air and caused me to lose momentum. Keeping my arms at my sides and using wide fin strokes was the way to go.
Eugene, did you ever experiment with moving your chest muscles around in an attempt to swirl the air around in your lungs in hopes of finding a few more O2 molecules? I did. Couldn't say whether it helped or not though.

Veronica Carpenter 05-18-2005 01:52 PM

Ooh,ooh,fun! I'm in! Gotta see if our gym rents out fins...

Eugene R. Allen 05-18-2005 02:51 PM

Don - So that's what I'm doing, looking for more air. I thought I was having seizures. I do this funny mouth and chest pumping thing which does move the air around, but I doubt it does much more than occupy my oxygen starved brain.

Bob is correct...don't do this alone, certainly not when you first start. The sparklies are a very important signal of an oncoming nap. If you're grappling your opponent will let go and allow you to revive. If you are in the pool your survival will depend on an alert life guard or swim buddy. I only see stars toward the end of my last few laps when I am closing in on a PR.

Don't use your arms. The forward movement even with the most carefully hydrodynamic breast stroke recovery will create way more drag than the thrust you'll get from the stroke. So, stiff body, legs extended and fin from the hips. Arms tight to the sides and pressed against your thighs fingers extended. An alternative is to extend your arms out in front of you to lengthen your boat...I find this more difficult but I have tight shoulders.

Way to step up Veronica. Tough gig. You may find that in addition to the lung searing effect that you will have some burning thighs too.

Happy fining


Carrie Klumpar 05-18-2005 02:53 PM

Hey Eugene,

You got a pool tucked in that garage too?! :wink:

Veronica Carpenter 05-18-2005 03:01 PM

Oh, I'm sure the lungs and quads will be burning! Laps of breath holding used to be easy back in the day. Will see how this goes...

Dan Silver 05-18-2005 08:33 PM

I did a hypoxic WOD when I was in Florida. It sucked.


Eric Moffit 05-18-2005 09:01 PM

hmm...sounds interesting. i might have to give it a shot in the next couple of days. im used to doing underwater no-breathers w/o fins...we'll see how it goes doing 20 of them with fins for time...the dreaded 'for time' changes everything.

Eugene R. Allen 05-19-2005 07:26 AM

Veronica - No pool. I had considered getting an Endless Pool, one of those small pools where you swim against an on-coming current, but they cost around $17,000 (before installation) and did not include the cost of the structure I would have to build around it. I go to the Y instead. I don't think it would be very fun to swim in place like that anyway and you are stuck with a single speed until you stop for a moment and change the flow on the water jet. Gimme a real pool any day.

Don Woodson 05-19-2005 08:28 AM

Eugene, question.
What kind of fins do you pro divers prefer?
All I have is the same old jet fins I bought when I was a kid. They were the hot ticket back then. I look at fins now and see all kinds of strange and multi-colored designs with slits and gills etc, all promising to make me swim like Flipper. Mine still work fine, aside from the chrome buckles that have long since turned to corroded brass.
Have you tried them really long ones the freedivers use? Would they be suitable for pool laps and hard river swimming?
I still like mine, but their black and ugly, and make people look at me funny on dive trips.

Eugene R. Allen 05-19-2005 01:18 PM

Don - are you talking about the very stiff, black US Divers fins with the 3 flow through slots? Yes, old school, still got mine from Army scuba training. Way, too stiff. The fins I use are the cheapo foot pocket type that the Y provides. I check to see that there are no cracks just forward of the foot pocket from wear because if they are cracked there you lose quite a bit of thrust.

I have some of the long, slender fins you are talking about and they are way too stiff as well. You want a fast, small kick that doesn't toast your legs.

For purposes of swim drills I use fins called Zoomers for my skill drills, and the foot pocket type for the hypoxic swims.

Don Woodson 05-20-2005 05:20 AM

Yeah Eugene, they have the three slots in them. I never thought of them as stiff though, but now that you mention it...
I looked up those Zoomers. Bizzare, yet interesting: im%20fins&OVKEY=fins%20zoomers&OVMTC=advanced
I guess if I relate to fins like a car's transmission, no fins would be 1st gear, Zoomers would be second gear, my fins would be fourth, and the long freediver fins would be overdrive, sorta. I was swimming the river last year and noticed I had a hard time getting my heart beat up without fatiguing my legs. Zoomers look like they're just what I need. Gotta get me some.
Also on the link above, they show what they call Seal Goggles. I like! I bought one for riding my waverunner, so I don't lose my contacts when I wipe out. It works. Took a spill and flopped all over the water at about sixty mph. Hurt like hell and got some great laughs, but the mask stayed on. Doesn't have a nose piece. Rather disconcerting the first time I snorkeled with it.
Site above also has a $130 snorkel. I'm trying to figure out the usefulness of a purge valve in a snorkel. Guess there's a sucker born every minute.
They have a waterproof electronic metronome too, which would be pretty neat for your drills.
But an underwater radio???
Thanks Eug.

Eugene R. Allen 05-20-2005 07:51 AM

The Zoomers are good if you are swimming with people faster than you and you can't hold the send off time and you want to keep up. They give you just enough boost to plane you out in the water better and improve your speed. They are also excellent for the Total Immersion drills if you have a poor kick.

The third gear in your little auto analogy would likely be reserved for the foot pocket fins. For the hypoxic drills Zoomers are too short and don't give enough thrust, the Rockets and the free diving fins are too stiff and long and are cumbersome in the pool and very taxing on the legs for fast swimming. I have found the fins with the foot pockets allow for a nice fast kick with a short arc that keeps you from ruining your hydrodynamic profile. If you fin too big your feet and fins will create a lot of drag.

I always swim with the Seal goggles, very comfortable and great vision. Now while I am all for the $25 Seal mask, paying $130 for a snorkle seems awully high. The purge valve in the snorkle allows you to clear the water inside it by blowing it out the bottom which is easier than blowing it out the top since gravity helps rather than hinders your effort. I use a Finis freestyle center mounted swim snorkle for my drills...much better than a regular scuba snorkle for swimming. The metronome might be useful for keeping a low stroke count but I think the sound would annoy me. I like the underwater radio but haven't bothered to get one. My swim workouts take from an hour and 10 minutes to an hour and 30 mimutes so it would be nice to listen to something for all that time. Always more toys.

Don Woodson 05-20-2005 10:11 AM

Man I'm learning a lot here Eugene! Love to learn from a pro! If you ever end up with an F-18 in your toy box, I'll fix it...(you buy the parts).
When you say "foot pocket fins", are you talking about these?

But I'm having a hard time figuring this one out:
I take it the lower protuberence is a purge valve, and the other end goes in my ear?
Or does the mouthpiece section extend down my chin, with the breather tube going up thru my mask strap? And you can crawl and butterfly with it?
Come a long way since my first snorkel with the ping-pong ball that tried to kill me.
Looks like I'm going to learn to swim all over again.

Eugene R. Allen 05-20-2005 01:03 PM

No F-18s in my future...but I did fly OH-58s in the Army. I was an gig.

When I say foot pocket fins I'm talking more about ones like this: &product_code=50_2XXX

They are not quite the same as the ones I use at the Y, the ones shown are much nicer. The ones shown in the first link are likely to be the updated Zoomer fins. My Zoomers are red and look like foot pocket fins cut off just forward of the toes. Great for swim drills but no enough thrust for the hypoxic swims.

The second link is for the Finis swimmer's snorkle for freestyle swimming. It is designed for freestyle swimming and works perfectly for that. The funny bend of the air tube runs over the top center of your head a bit and because of the shape is easier to clear. The mouthpiece is the thing on the bottom and it has no purge valve. That funny looking thing in the middle is the head strap. Weird picture.

I don't do the butterfly so I don't know how deeply you shove your head into the water during the stroke. If your head goes more than a few inches under the surface you will likely fill the snorkle and have to clear it each time you come back out. Probably easier to go without.

This is a great tool for practicing freestyle, more accurately the crawl, because it allows you to concentrate on the underwater components of your stroke and watch your hand entry and stroke path.

Eric Moffit 05-20-2005 09:36 PM

your head shouldnt be going to deep while doing fly. if you want to go fast, you stay pretty much on top of the water. i still wouldnt buy that snorkel, but i dont think fly would be too much of a problem. and im trying the 20x25s tomorrow morning...ill report back.

Eric Moffit 05-21-2005 01:03 PM

did it 11:01 but i know i can beat that time. started off with too slow a kick bc i thought it would be more efficient and require less oxygen. well, it might have been more efficient but it was also slower and the extra time under the water made its increased efficiency pointless. so around 12 i started kicking faster and did much better. never really had any trouble w/ blacking out. oh yeah, and my fins were like the foot pocket ones from the link above but a little shorter and w/o holes. i think sub-10:00 on this one is a good goal.

Matt Gagliardi 05-21-2005 01:09 PM

Fins are for pussies...:wink:

I'll do it both ways (fins and barefoot) this week and let you know how it turns out.

Eric Moffit 05-21-2005 01:39 PM

Mr Cool himself decides to join the party and then takes the damn thing over.

i would like to know how finless goes, though. i think my time would fall off dramatically due to the compound effect of taking more time underwater and requiring more time to recover from more time underwater. i dont really like being called a *****, though, so maybe ill just have to put up or shut up.

by the way, Matt, do you happen to know Randy Burgess from Coronado? my brother is on his polo team (both HS and club) and I know he has coached a few Olympians. (bump)

Matt Gagliardi 05-21-2005 02:12 PM

Oh come on, I'm hardly taking over...

Sorry, I don't know Randy, though I do know of him. I don't think that we had any of his guys at Pep when I was there. The only coach I really knew from the San Diego area was a guy by the name of Robin who was my goalie coach at OTC development camp...he coached at Valhalla HS in El Cajon. We didn't draw many guys from San Diego back in the day. I think Chris Hakim and his brothers from San Clemente were probably the guys from furthest south.

I'll definitely post up...I'll get to this early this week and let you know how it goes.

And all of y'all know I'm not calling you pussies (or you should know that)...I don't want to get my *** kicked. :wink:

Eugene R. Allen 05-21-2005 06:54 PM

Great, the first one to try this smokes me. Sub 10 would be great and would require sending off each wall every 30 seconds. It takes me about 20 seconds per length so that's 10 seconds rest per length. I can do that for up to 6 lengths but then I have to add several seconds before every send off. Doing it in 11 minutes is really fast...but I suppose that should be no surprise from this hornets nest of superhumans. Clearly I have me work cut out for me to try and keep up.

Eric Moffit 05-21-2005 08:33 PM

i was just getting defensive, Matt...youd think id be used to you putting me to shame by now.

Eugene, dont feel bad...swimming is just my thing (swimming since age 2...every-summer-day-until-i-couldnt-open-my-eyes kind of thing).

oh, and if you thought that was good, just wait...i have a feeling Matt's going to smoke that time w/ a 20lb vest instead of fins and while dragging a 5gal bucket.

Don Woodson 05-23-2005 05:10 AM

Damn, I wish I had access to a pool! I'd love to get in on this one.
Thanks for clearing up my snorkel/fin issues Eugene. Now I know what I need.
Eric, same way here. I remember swimming until I was shivering, my lips were blue, and my fingers were wrinkled, and even then I'd only get out when my mom yelled at me.

Matt Gagliardi 05-23-2005 01:14 PM

Read it and weep...


After a 3000 yard workout. In a dragsuit.

Truth be told, this wasn't really pushing it. Sub-9 is reasonable...I think something in the 8:30 range or below is not out of the realm of possibility, even for my decidedly non-Olympian abilities.

OK...I did it with fins (it's rare that I use them). Now it's y'alls turn. Same challenge, but minus the help. I'll do that in the back half of the week. Let's see what you guys can do.

I know I'm not "all that". I strongly suspect there are some boys in green around here that would wave as they passed me on this one.

Eric Moffit 05-23-2005 01:29 PM

mine was with a drag suit to, so there.

seriously though, what was your technique like, Matt? as i stated above, i started off thinking it would be way harder than it was and went with a slow, strong kick. this wasnt as smart as i thought itd be. next time ill go w/ a faster kick throughout.

Matt Gagliardi 05-23-2005 01:49 PM

Well, right of the bat E I think I need a much smaller hole in the water than you do...that helps me right there. You weigh what...200? I'm only 170. I'm sure your cross section is bigger.

Kept a good streamlined shape w/hands leading. Strong kick, slower than it was fast (yeah I know...master of clarity). I was hitting walls at about :20, taking 2 breaths and going again.

Basically I was just trying to stay relaxed. I think I could get it down to :15-:17 wall-to-wall with a 2-3 breath rest. Without a swim buddy I was hesitant to push it...the lifeguards at my pool don't exactly inspire confidence.

Brendan Melville 05-24-2005 03:54 PM

Gosh, whats next Matt, no legs? How about try it with your snazzy weighted vest haha.

Matt Gagliardi 05-24-2005 04:14 PM

Honestly, I don't think adding weight would matter much. I sink like a freakin' rock as it is. Since you're underwater to begin with, it'd just keep you near the bottom...which isn't a big deal. At speed with the fins, just angling your hands a bit would keep you from scraping bottom...generating lift just like the wing of a plane.

Ditching the fins will make this a lot more difficult. I'm betting that times will come close to doubling, if not more. The other way to make it more difficult would be to insist on multiple laps (not coming up)...with the second/third/etc. lap only counting if you made it the whole way. If you bailed, you'd have to go back to the last wall.

Ron Nelson 05-26-2005 11:37 AM

As posted by 24hr fitness:
"For the benefit of our members and instructors: No lap swimming during all water-aerobics classes"

I always thought the pool at the gym was a place for the elderly to walk and talk without the fear of falling and breaking a hip. Now, I have a reason to go in and don my speedo!!

Matt Gagliardi 05-26-2005 12:37 PM

Oh God, water aerobics. Please don't get me started...

Matt Gagliardi 05-26-2005 02:47 PM

Oh come on...I know some of you guys have been in the water since Tuesday. I'll probably do the no-fin version tonight or tomorrow.

Matt Gagliardi 05-28-2005 07:44 AM

OK...part 2 of the challenge:
20 x 25y underwater, no fins

After a 3600y workout, wearing a drag suit. Started kinda slow on the first one, the next 9 were at :55 and the last 10 at :50. Maybe a little room to improve here, but not much. I say that only because I never really approached blackout.

Eric Moffit 05-28-2005 08:40 AM

how much of the :55/:50 was spent swimming and how much was resting? and how does it compare to going w/ the fins? it seems that even though the fins are easier, you could push it a little harder with them and more closely approach your limits. i could be wrong, though.

Matt Gagliardi 05-28-2005 09:19 AM

I was hitting walls at ~:30. This is much more difficult than w/ time underwater was only an extra 33%, but my resting time was like 300% greater (there is some room to cut that down I think).

As far as "pushing limits"...remember that there's really an entirely different dynamic between w/fins and w/o fins. With fins is all legs...w/o fins brings upper body into play. You're not nearly as hydrodynamic w/o fins. I would say that you're pushing your limits a lot more w/o fins. Just ask yourself this...which is more difficult. OK then...that's where you're pushing your limits. Yes, you could "push you limits" either way...but where is the most room for improvement, and which method would give you the most crossover benefit?

Let's say you really tried to go fast with you think that would "transfer" to without fins? I don't. On the other hand, working the no-fin method and getting good at it, I think you'd end up smoking when you strapped on fins.

Hypoxics by their very nature are not supposed to be aerobic exercise. So speed, elevated HR, etc. are not really what you're after. What you're working on is ability to work with less O2, to stay calm and controlled, etc. I think those are better accomplished without the fins (where you're underwater longer and having to work harder).

The semi-sick thing is that my best 50 Free (short course yards) times are in the low 20s (best ever :20.1). Comparatively speaking, I'm already finished and out of the pool before finishing my first underwater.

OK step up and let me see what ya got.

Eric Moffit 05-28-2005 09:37 AM

oh man, i thought you were doing the no-fins in a streamlined kick-only version. almost forgot humans have arms, too.

you make some good points, too. obviously, you can push both pretty hard, but no-fins is more difficult and more translatable. i will 'step up' but i have to work today and my pool is closed tomorrow and monday so it wont be until tuesday that i get to 'ave a go. sub-17:43.80 will be mine...oh yes, it will be mine.

Matt Gagliardi 05-28-2005 09:49 AM

Fair enough. I may go again by Tuesday to try and drop this time. And if I'd tried to do this kick-only minus fins, I'd probably still be in the pool ;)

Eric Moffit 05-28-2005 07:40 PM

so youre too smart to fall for my assassination attempt...i mean, simple-minded suggestion...initiate plan B.

Matt Gagliardi 05-31-2005 02:49 PM

Alright E...where is it? How'd you do? I want to go again, but I seem to have picked up a sinus infection. Haven't really been able to breathe since Friday night, and when I swam today even going under like 6" sucked. I'm going to have to wait for this to clear before I can really do underwaters again.

Eric Moffit 05-31-2005 08:20 PM

sinus infections are for pussies...haha, just kidding. i know how much that sucks...the pressure at depth is just unbearable. results...

well, i didnt have time to complete the whole 20 (my pool is only open an hour at night and i got there late and needed to do some other practice, blah blah blah) but i got 10x25y w/o fins in 8 minutes. i would brag that i was on pace to beat you, but i didnt do the full 20 so i wont. i did notice that i got more comfortable as i went. i dont know if thats my body adjusting or what, but it was noticeable.

also, you said you were taking ~:30 from wall to wall...i was taking ~:20...what gives?? what is your style underwater? i was basically doing an underwater pullout (as in breaststroke) followed by successive 'first stroke' know...that first one you do completely underwater...and at the end of the kick i would add a bit of a dolphin kick. that put me at right around :20 per length. i guess it could be that i weigh more and carry more momentum underwater, but i just cant believe im :10 faster than you at a 25.

i think im gonna do the complete version on our next rest day, so you better watch out!! your record will be broken!!! THE FIGHT...WILL...CONTINUUUE!!!

EDIT: almost forgot...i tried one of my 10 25s as kick SUCKED. needless to say, i only did one kick only. also, i was swimming at a depth of about 3ft, which, i might add, is more difficult than if id done it at 6 or more feet deep like you...touche!

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