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Old 06-24-2013   #11
Favre's Avatar
Nampa, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 240
Another thing I would add is that I have found in swimming whitewater (deep, bigger water) a swimmer can turn on their stomach and face upstream and have a good position for breathing. So you can essentially "ferry" swim and be in a pretty optimal breathing position.

Also, in the biggest of whitewater, boat rescues are difficult to impossible and swimming your tail off is a better option than crawling on the back of a team member's boat. Most of the time.

I agree that Class 5 swimming for practice is generally not "smart swimming practice." Too dangerous.

I guess the point of my previous post is that in really big and continuous whitewater, it seems that most of the time, the best option is to use the energy you have to swim to shore as soon as you can.

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Old 06-25-2013   #12
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 329
Favre, I am guilty of not knowing/thinking about the type of water he was talking about. I was kind of referring to class 3, maybe class 4 swims. Sorry!

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Old 06-25-2013   #13
Favre's Avatar
Nampa, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 240
No big deal.

i think my first post may have come across as a bit of a "know-it-all" but you bring up a good point - different whitewater requires different techniques for swimming.

I have worked for a rafting outfitter for most of my life and while we teach people to lay flat on their back and point their feet downstream, this is not the technique I would choose during most swims.

Swimming whitewater is a combination of defensive positions (feet downstream when you need to protect your body and limbs) and proactive, aggressive Michael Phelps'ing.. (swimming your butt towards the shore.)

And I agree that swimming with a paddle is probably good practice. But in the most dire of swimming situations, I think we should abandon the paddle and focus on ourselves.
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Old 06-25-2013   #14
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 505
This brings up a much more complicated point about swimming in dangerous Class V...

We all know the golden rule of Class V is to avoid swimming at all costs / stay in your boat. You can also say that, even better, don't flip.

It seems that many of the tragic incidents on the NFP were head injuries that arguably were sustained while the boater was upside down (and I might be speculating a bit here, so I certainly don't want to assume anything or aggravate any feelings by pointing this out on such a sensitive issue)... but at what point is being upside down trying to set up and nail a roll more of a liability than just bailing and swimming?

I'm not a class V boater... not even close... so I don't know. I guess I'm more just wondering out loud.

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