Best aggressive swimming stroke? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 06-04-2011   #1
 
Cipherion's Avatar
 
Pueblo West, Colorado
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Best aggressive swimming stroke?

I was wondering what is the best aggressive swimming stroke that you use and and which ones you don't like. My crawl stroke seems slower than my side stroke with my gear on. It seems like the drag on my legs from my skirt really slows down my crawl stroke. Any thoughts ...comments?

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Old 06-04-2011   #2
 
Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Good Question! I was wanting to know the same thing last Sunday (my first day on a moving river) during a lesson at Paddlefest in BV but nobody in our group brought the subject up. I definitely felt bogged down by the gear and kept thinking, "They tell us to lay on our backs with our feet pointing downstream, so how the heck can I swim from that position?"

I found myself wishing I was Spiderman or had a crossbow so I could fire a line into the bank and pull myself ashore.

I also don't know if you should try to swim directly towards shore, or try to swim at a downstream angle towards shore, or upstream towards shore, etc.
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Old 06-04-2011   #3
 
Boulder, Colorado
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The lay on your back with feet pointing downstream will not get you out of the water. It will allow the raft guide to grab you though... This is a very passive position.

Self rescue is using an active swim and getting out of the water as fast as you can. Roll onto your side, front and swim like you mean it. Use the "feet pointing downstream" if you are heading through a section where you cannot reach shore, and there is a possibility of running into things, but even then you should try to angle your body in a fashion that you can ferry in the direction you want to go.

Don't discount using your equipment to aid you. But the priorities should be:

1 - yourself -- don't make the situation worse, screw the gear if you are in a situation where holding on to it is going to make it bad.
2 - try to hold onto your paddle -- you can use it to swim with. If you have problems swimming with it, try to throw it onto shore.. but make sure priority 1 is followed.
3 - you can use your boat as a boogie board, extra flotation, or as a buffer between you and a boulder... but make sure priority 1 is followed.

A useful skill is swimming through rapids.. try taking a swim through a play park (leave the boat on shore). Learn how to do a body roll over an eddy line, etc.

A good reference is William (not Bill) Nealy's book on kayaking. He has some wonderful advice on swimming.
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Old 06-04-2011   #4
 
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Bozeman, Montana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cipherion View Post
I was wondering what is the best aggressive swimming stroke that you use and and which ones you don't like. My crawl stroke seems slower than my side stroke with my gear on. It seems like the drag on my legs from my skirt really slows down my crawl stroke. Any thoughts ...comments?
practice swimming boss. thats my only recommendation.. i grew up swimming for 15 years or so. so its like riding a bike for me.. at times you dont need to be panicked and sometimes you cant swim fast enough.. sometimes you should grab your paddle and sometimes its a complete yardsale..swim fast on your belly towards shore dont swim against the current. dont ever stand up in the river cause this could lead to foot entrapment(even if you saw one of the top 25 kayakers in the world stand up multiple times during one of their WWGP clips) when you hit an eddyline roll into the eddy aggressively as you would if you were fighting for your life. if shits big and eddylines are actually eddy walls, hope you have a friend who can help get you accross the eddy.. or out of the grip of the eddy line.. practice swimming some easier rapids so you know what to expect when the shit hits the fan..
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Old 06-04-2011   #5
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Granby, Colorado
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Swimming with a boat (kayak or raft)

I would add to #3 by suggesting that if you are swimming with your boat, always keep it downstream of you. The only thing that sucks worse than bouncing off rocks is having your upstream boat bouncing off you. As for a raft, I damn sure don't think you want to be between it and the rock it wraps around. But as always, refer to #1. It's a trade off between using your boat for added assurance in the shit (and not wanting to lose it), or just getting your ass to shore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheyenne View Post
The lay on your back with feet pointing downstream will not get you out of the water. It will allow the raft guide to grab you though... This is a very passive position.

Self rescue is using an active swim and getting out of the water as fast as you can. Roll onto your side, front and swim like you mean it. Use the "feet pointing downstream" if you are heading through a section where you cannot reach shore, and there is a possibility of running into things, but even then you should try to angle your body in a fashion that you can ferry in the direction you want to go.

Don't discount using your equipment to aid you. But the priorities should be:

1 - yourself -- don't make the situation worse, screw the gear if you are in a situation where holding on to it is going to make it bad.
2 - try to hold onto your paddle -- you can use it to swim with. If you have problems swimming with it, try to throw it onto shore.. but make sure priority 1 is followed.
3 - you can use your boat as a boogie board, extra flotation, or as a buffer between you and a boulder... but make sure priority 1 is followed.

A useful skill is swimming through rapids.. try taking a swim through a play park (leave the boat on shore). Learn how to do a body roll over an eddy line, etc.

A good reference is William (not Bill) Nealy's book on kayaking. He has some wonderful advice on swimming.
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Old 06-04-2011   #6
 
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bc, CA
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I agree with Caspermike...practice...practise. If you are dressed properly swimming is not a big deal if you pick a safe place to do your practice swims (and please make sure it is OK with your companions). I rarely swim because my roll is pretty good but I decided this year I would practice because I don't want it to be foreign when I do (and I say when - because we all will at some point). So far I have swam intentionally 4 times this season and I'm off to the river right now for #5. To make it fun, pull your skirt and try to stand up in your boat and see how long you can balance. I can't for very long...so then comes my swim.
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Old 06-04-2011   #7
 
denver, Colorado
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Try on your back, using your kayak paddle for strokes instead of your arms.
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Old 06-04-2011   #8
 
Woodland Park, Colorado
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The number one thing you need to do when swimming is Don't Panic! Stay as calm as possible and assess the danger level for whatever situation you find yourself in.
Then.....
I agree with Cheyenne. Learn to use your paddle to help you swim. Use the paddle as if your body was the boat and your belly was the hull. The paddle technique is extremely powerful in fairly slow to moderate moving water; in water with powerful, larger waves, it can be difficult to clear the water with the blade for your next stroke. Angle slightly downstream and let the current help you swim towards shore. If you don't have your paddle, the front crawl stroke is your best bet assuming rocks are not an issue. If rocks are an issue and the water is too shallow for a full-on crawl stroke, then a side stroke similar to a lifeguard's rescue stroke is your next choice. Just don't stand up until you're in rather placid water so the current can't entrap you against a rock or tree root/limb. I'm a former lifeguard and competitive swimmer/diver with 36 years of kayaking experience (including some years as an instructor) and a few swims under my belt (in both small and large rivers) in case you're wondering where these suggestions are coming from.
Assuming your situation is not overly dangerous, and you can't get the hang of swimming by using your paddle, then throw the paddle in the direction you are heading like it was a javelin, swim to it, throw again, and repeat. If the danger factor is higher, then forget about your paddle and worry about yourself first.

As caspermike says, practice in a safe area like a whitewater playpark. It's extremely important to remain calm and think clearly, and practice will help you to do that.
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Old 06-04-2011   #9
 
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The Bitterroot, Montana
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Most of the time in a big rapid I like to swim passive on my back. In a river it is usually safer to take a longer swim to the next pool then try to get out in the rapid where entrapment in bank debris is more likely. Swim aggresive to stay out of the holes then go back to lounge chair position. Creeking is a different story, claw, kick, scrape and do whatever the hell you can to get out before you get totally destroyed.
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Old 06-04-2011   #10
 
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vancouver, Washington
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I prefer the sidestroke. I can do this for hours in calm water and I generate about as much movement in the water as any other stroke.

Seems like my preserver (or the cold?) makes any swimming stroke almost impossible or at least not very productive --- would be nice to have a preserver that inflates but only after its in the water for 4 seconds without your pressing a button telling it not to.


Not sure how much force I could generate in a hole, probably not enough. I'm guessing the best bet there is to ball up, try and sink, and let the current push you out. Wouldn't want to have to try it though ...
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