Monday, September 10, 2012

Too much buoyancy is not a good thing

It's 11:09 PM. Can I write a post and publish it by 11:30?

"I always though that my extra weight added to my buoyancy in the water and you would think that helps with swimming. At least I think so."

Izzy my friend, your comment from the Leisel Jones post made me laugh. Why? Because  swimming with too much buoyancy is not a good thing.

I've been swimming for so long that I don't remember what it is like to not have the ability to float. Swimmers need the flexibility to swim at any depth, on the surface, just under the surface or a few feet below. For most swimmers, this is easily achieved by regulating the amount of air in your lungs. Want to go to the bottom of the pool without any effort? Just blow all the air out of your lungs and you'll drop to the bottom. Rapidly.

I joined the local masters swim club in 2011 and I'm loving it. I'm a little self-conscious in a swim suit with my overweight physique - but I hold my head high and work as hard as I can. But there is one challenging issue that has come up since I started swimming again and it has to do with all the extra weight I'm currently carrying.

Holy moly, it is difficult to swim underwater. When our coach tells us to swim 25 m underwater, I find that I unintentionally pop to the surface at the 12-15 m mark. With practice, I've figured out that in order to swim underwater for the full length I must angle my body towards the bottom of the pool.

Another milestone to look forward too - the time when I will have full control over my ability to swim at any depth.

It's 11:30, time to go to bed! With editing, 11:36... Not bad...


  1. I admire anyone who can swim, no matter what their "buoyancy." :-) I enjoy being in water, but hate swimming!

  2. My oldest was a lifeguard, on campus, during his undergraduate years. When he took his first certification class, years ago, there were two girls who were excellent swimmers but could not get to and stay on the bottom of the deep end. Neither was able to be certified. It was body fat issue even though they were powerful swimmers. Oldest was the victim sitting on the bottom of the pool. They would get nearly to him, but not get a good enough hold before they popped back up.

    My husband was a swim team kid. He can still do two lengths of the pool, underwater, one breath. The teenage guards are envious.

    All three of my kids are fish. My youngest was swimming and diving in the big pool at age 3. She is a short kid (5' at age 14 and we think that is her full height). She was tiny at age three. People were shocked to see her climb the diving board, put her arms up in position and do a real dive. She learned diving thru a hula hoop off the side.

  3. That's right. You have to angle down the entire length. When SCUBA diving I always have to load down the weight belt (much to my embarrassment). I am CRAZY buoyant. My husband sinks like a stone. I would be a miserable free diver for pearls. Glad that is not my calling. On the bright side a shark would have to work harder to pull me under.


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