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Are there classes or more advanced techniques for white water swimming. I took a swim two weeks back in Shoshone rapids and think there is probably a lot more to it than "toes up layback/swim for your life Charlie Brown." Learning active skills like crossing eddy lines going over a drop, tips for a sticky hole etc. Any thoughts on how to get this skill higher other than the sink or swim technique?
 

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Personally I would put alittle focus on staying in the boat rather then what happens when you come out, If your finding yourself swimming alot maybe you should step down the difficulty abit until your skill level improves to a point where you dont have to swim, not to say that there isnt some benifit to knowing how to swim in whitewater, but it all kinda comes.so what Im saying is I guess I would be looking for advanced technics for whitewater boating rather then swimming. For me and I think alot of others the goal is to stay in the craft that you choose. If you plan on not using a craft then disregard everything I have said and I don't know of any advanced whitewater swimming classes, but I know some guys that have alot of experience in that field. Good luck with your search
 

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Are there classes or more advanced techniques for white water swimming. I took a swim two weeks back in Shoshone rapids and think there is probably a lot more to it than "toes up layback/swim for your life Charlie Brown." Learning active skills like crossing eddy lines going over a drop, tips for a sticky hole etc. Any thoughts on how to get this skill higher other than the sink or swim technique?
Depending on the water being swam, I typically prefer the theory that says get your a** out of the water ASAP, which means flipping over and swimming for shore. While being on your back is great for your immediate protection, it will also prolong your time in the water.

My guess is that most SWR classes cover swimming. I took an intermediate class a couple months ago, and an hour or two was dedicated to swimming techniques, i.e., eddies, rocks, holes, etc. Not sure if the beginner class spends more or less time on swimming, but the rest of the information is definately worth your while.
 

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Personally I would put alittle focus on staying in the boat rather then what happens when you come out, If your finding yourself swimming alot maybe you should step down the difficulty abit until your skill level improves to a point where you dont have to swim, not to say that there isnt some benifit to knowing how to swim in whitewater, but it all kinda comes.so what Im saying is I guess I would be looking for advanced technics for whitewater boating rather then swimming. For me and I think alot of others the goal is to stay in the craft that you choose. If you plan on not using a craft then disregard everything I have said and I don't know of any advanced whitewater swimming classes, but I know some guys that have alot of experience in that field. Good luck with your search
This is hilarious. After years of boating, I've learned it's quite the opposite. Always be leary of somone who says they are a class 5 boater (usually it means their balls are bigger than their brain). However, if they say they are a class 5 swimmer, then they will end up being an old grey-haired boater. Take a swiftwater rescue class and if you see rdrouse stuck on a rock in the middle of the river and scared to swim, you can lend him a hand.
 

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Depending on the water being swam, I typically prefer the theory that says get your a** out of the water ASAP, which means flipping over and swimming for shore. While being on your back is great for your immediate protection, it will also prolong your time in the water.
This is great advice! Swim like your life depended on it, which means, get off your back.
 

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I've taken a couple SWR classes with Mike Mather and he spends a couple hours on swimming, including catching eddies, getting out of holes, swimming over strainers, and when to float vs. when to swim your ass off. Very good stuff and no matter how good a boater you are, we're ALL between swims.
 

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i second the comment about Mike Mather, his instruction on this topic is right on. and Mather is not afraid to demonstrate either - he told our class that he was once challenged by some of the "big ball" types in his class to swim dowd chute with them, and he was the only one to actually swim tyson while all the others were on the tracks after only a couple of the big waves in the top.

there is a fine balance between boat vs. swim IMO. my wife took a bad swim a few years ago in Mish Falls, and now she won't allow herself to kayak a lot of CL III because she is afraid of swimming. i know her boating skills are better than her swimming skills, but that swim is now in her head bad. my personal mindset is "i know i can swim anything i choose to boat" so if i am scouting a rapid and am scared to swim it, i might choose to walk that day even though my boating skills are much stronger than my swimming skills. just my 2c on this part.

find a class with Mike Mather and ask lots of questions. some may disagree, but i would say get some practice swimming rapids too. have your buds set safety on tombstone or superstition and take turns swimming those on a hot august day to get a feel for bigger waves and avoiding holes. later.
 

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A few basic but important things are:

When you cross an eddyline while swimming simultaneously flip your body over. If you are swimming on your back, flip over to your stomache and vice versa. Makes it a ton easier to cross the eddyline.

If you are being recirced in a hole, as you come up to the surface and are about to go back down again, hold your arms out like you are carrying a pile of wood infront of you. You want to grab as much water as possible. This will take you down deeper in the hole and you may have a chance to swim out when you are down deep. This will also take you further downstream where the force of the recirc is less.

Another option if you are stuck in a hole is to start forming the alphabet with your entire body (think YMCA dancers). The idea here is that maybe something will catch and change the hydraulics enough that you will get free.

Also remember that when you are in a hole, the sides are typically not as strong as the center - so head for the sides.

Hope this helps.
 

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obviously you want to stay in your boat, but I think it is very important to do some class III swimming before you end up swimming class V. As someone who has done both one is much easier than the other. As said above take a swiftwater class, anyone worth the cost will make you swim a lot. Swimming is never "safe" but a swiftwater class will have lots of people around to minimize the risk and make whitewater swimming as controlled as possible. And when you have to swim actively swim to shore. When rivers get steeper and more continuous the whitewater swim position - toes and nose up - becomes a liability. Everybody ends up swimming sooner or later, some just swim more than others.
 

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Mental control is a huge benefit when you get forced into the meat grinder. Not a lot you can do when the river is dealing out the beating except maintain your cool. I have found counting to ten helps out with the mind thing cause I know I can hold my breath much longer than that and most holds are not much longer than that. Don't think a class can teach this part.
 

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Depending on the water being swam, I typically prefer the theory that says get your a** out of the water ASAP, which means flipping over and swimming for shore.
Well said and I agree. In hindsight taking this approach much earlier would have saved me some pain.
 

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Cipherion,Just wanted to say your dog is super cute.I have little advice about swimming except get to shore by aggressively swimming for it. If you're practicing anyway, might as well do some throw bag tosses, too.
 

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Being proactive and getting out of the water is the main objective. The "whitewater swim position" is not a submission to the force of the river, its a strategic part of the swim. Most SWR classes spend time on swimming, but the curriculum is conceptual. Take newbs learning their roll for example; often they drill the roll in the pool or on the flats, but when they get knocked down in an uncontrolled setting, the technique is second to the survival instinct. SWR curriculums help to control the instinct, so both are important.
Try
 

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Being proactive and getting out of the water is the main objective. The "whitewater swim position" is not a submission to the force of the river, its a strategic part of the swim. Most SWR classes spend time on swimming, but the curriculum is conceptual. Take newbs learning their roll for example; often they drill the roll in the pool or on the flats, but when they get knocked down in an uncontrolled setting, the technique is second to the survival instinct. SWR curriculums help to control the instinct, so both are important.
Try to swim your line, breathing in the troughs since the crests are where you get a face full of water. The first thing you should do is get you nose and toes up and scissor kick/backstroke (like seniors in swimming pools do) to try to set your line. Then when it is time to commit, roll over on your stomach and make like Michael Phelps for your eddy. Should you find yourself in a big keeper, there are a few techniques for finding the flushing green water below the haystack such as curling up in a ball or actively swimming down as some folks have pointed out, but having that spatial awareness is hard to teach, so this is an example of instinct relative to technique. Also, be aware of your gear. Don't be that guy who hosts regular yard sales, but also dont let it impede your swimming or strain yourself on a broached boat or paddle. If you are about to swim a drop you may consider trying to get your gear down before you and go feet first because having a boat full of water land on your head hurts as does your head landing on a boat. This subject is a real can of worms and this respose is getting wordy, so take SWR and consider the curriculum critically, know your limits, have a plan for getting to your eddy, and practice knowing that "we are all between swims."
 

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Mental control is a huge benefit when you get forced into the meat grinder. Not a lot you can do when the river is dealing out the beating except maintain your cool. I have found counting to ten helps out with the mind thing cause I know I can hold my breath much longer than that and most holds are not much longer than that. Don't think a class can teach this part.
I agree. Why take a class, when you can learn it on the internet!
 

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Are there classes or more advanced techniques for white water swimming. I took a swim two weeks back in Shoshone rapids and think there is probably a lot more to it than "toes up layback/swim for your life Charlie Brown." Learning active skills like crossing eddy lines going over a drop, tips for a sticky hole etc. Any thoughts on how to get this skill higher other than the sink or swim technique?
Cipherion,
Check out a video called Whitewater Self Defense by Kent Ford, I think. Our library has it. Maybe your's might too.

Cheers!
Ken
 

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Dude, I'm hella pro. Here's how I learned to swim like a fish: I swim shoshone sometimes.

Yeah, that's right. I'm a badass boater, so I don't swim often accidentally. Once or twice a season, I go to the shosho putin with my lifejacket and a helmet (and elbow pads) and I swim the whole run. It can be pretty fun. I don't think of it as swim practice, I think of it as having a good time. I crawl out on rocks midriver, try mystery moves, and scare the raft guides. It's awesome. Do that, and when you can snatch the pebble from my palm, you are ready.

p.s. here's some more swim practice that I did: http://www.mountainbuzz.com/forums/f11/video-big-south-sunday-26268.html
 

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i second the comment about Mike Mather, his instruction on this topic is right on. ....
I third the Mike Mather recommendation. I took his class and he had a good segment on swimming. We swam a class III rapid to practice catching eddies.

When you are swimming you want out ASAP. That usually means catching an eddy just like you would in a boat. I don't recommend getting out by splatting yourself on a rock... though I have done that in desperation. Ever since I saw my buddy get his skirt snagged on something sticking out from the side of a rock I stay the hell away from rocks when I am swimming. It almost killed him. I shudder when I see beginners swimming and going for every rock they see in the middle of the current.

I disagree with anyone who says just don't swim. Of course nobody wants to swim. It is the worst fucking thing about kayaking... but it is going to happen to everybody so you better get good at it. I am awesome at swimming class V.
 
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