Friday, April 1, 2011

How far can YOU go ?

Its almost been a year now I haven't blogged about swimming. Had a changing event . I have moved to Singapore from Canada. Its pretty disruptive to your daily routine I would say and lifestyle here in Singapore is completely different from that of Canada. Needless to say, I have gained a whole lot of weight, nevertheless,I still try to swim as much as I can :)

So how far can one go ? I recently had a chance to attend a talk by an inspirational/motivational speaker organised by my company I worked for. His name is Chris Moon. One thing that strikes me the most is when he said that the greatest limitation is the one that you imposed on yourself.
How true is that. Time and time again, when we want to set a target and want to fulfill a dream, there will be something at the back of your mind that says "No, that wouldn't work, I wouldn't be able to do it, I don't think I can swim that distance" etc etc. These are the limitation you set on yourself !

Chris Moon did set an example . He is not just talking about it , He did it. He is an ultra marathon finisher ( badwater ultra marathon distance is 135 miles , yes you read it right) and he completed this a few times. That is just not yet, he is challenged ( Lost one arm and one leg due to his work at clearing land minds at Mozambique, also survived the Khmer Rouge kidnap , now that is really a life changing event ! ) .

This is a video about him.

So, if he , doesn't have an arm and a leg ( pardon me ) can do it, why cant we do it ? This prove one point, its all in the mind.

So , in swimming context , what was the furthest you have ever swum ? For me, it was 10 years ago when I did a 10 km swim . Did it in 3 hours and it was pretty tiring but rewarding. I remembered I slept for 10 hours straight after that swim.

A week before attending his talk, I actually did a 3 km swim . It's been a long time I haven't done that and I should challenge myself to do a 4km swim .

So I challenge you to go beyond your comfort zone and do something extra! Be it start a business, take up a new interest or add some distances ( 100,200, 1000m) to your daily swim routine ! Let me know ! and we never swim alone !

Remember, just keep swimming, just keep swimming !

Cheers to Hui Lay for adding 200m to your daily routine !

Friday, May 21, 2010

Swimming Paddles Review

Hi Folks,

Recently I bought some swimming toys since I got rewarded a gift card valued at about 200 bucks :) . Everyone thinks I am crazy. I could have spent it on an expensive dinner, some electronic gadgets or just buy some nice fashionable shirts. Instead I went to buy some worhtless piece of plastics ? :) Yeah I am crazy about swimming! After swimming and testing with all of the paddles, I decided to do a review. Note that these are just my personal opinion/views and I am not endorsed by any company.

So the test objects are:

From left to right :

Strokemaker, TYR Catalyst, Speedo Training Paddles and Finis finger paddles.

Test subject :)

Results :

StrokeMaker paddles:

Opinion : This paddles are extremely light , which I think it is good because during the recovery , it doesn't strain so much of your shoulders, and also I can have a better feel of my arms and better control. It is like using a thinner glove compare to a thicker glove during dishwashing ( sigh, i hate dishwashing) . The many tiny holes in the paddles also let you "feel" the water through the palms. The design(shape) of the paddles allows you to 'grab' the water for an early vertical forearm(EVF) catch. I can totally feel my forearm straining which is good!

Pros : Light weight, good feel of water , assist in vertical forearm , emphasize catch phase if properly done.

Cons : Tubes easily come off

Notes: Center tube holds 1 finger.

TYR Catalyst Paddles:

Opinion : Stylish looking paddles but this is a heavy paddles which in my opinion is not very good the recovery. Recovery phase of the freestlye is supposed to be relaxed but because of the weight of the paddles, i have to use a little bit more to lift the paddles. Since it is heavier, during the pull phase, it is harder to feel the water as well ( as if you are holding some paper weights ) One good thing is the tubes fits nicely to your hands and it doesn't come out.

Pros : Stylish looking , hands fits nicely and the tubes make sure your hands doesnt slip out of the paddles

Cons : Heavy , lack of water feel , the pinky finger out of the way when fitting to hands

Notes: Center tube holds 3 fingers.

Speedo Paddles

Opinions: These are classic Speedo paddles, probably the first paddles I have used since 20 years ago. They are light weight and the design is simple( A square shape). Feels a little bit rigid though during the catch and pull phase but I would recommend this for beginners who are first timers in trying paddles. It doesn't strain as much as the TYR and Strokemaker paddles cause the paddles is smaller and it is good for beginners to try out.

Pros : Right size for beginners. They are smaller Speedo paddles than this one shown in this blog

Cons : No holes in the paddles, water feel is less.

Notes: Center tube holds 1 finger

Finis Sculling Finger Paddles

Opinions : For a start , this is a different category of paddles, it is called finger paddles and for sculling purposes and also you can use it to swim in all four strokes ! It is one of the breakthrough me thinks. It heighten your senses/feel of the water when it comes to the catch and pull phase. It is extremely light so you won't feel like there are paddles sticking to your hands. Recommended for all levels of swimmers (from beginners to season swimmers )Try it with all of the strokes and you can really feel your arm 'catching' the water right at the beginning of the entry phase to the catch and pull phase. For me , this really improves my back stroke arm entry

Backstroke with Finis Finger Paddles

Butterfly with Finis Finger Paddles ( My fly is my worst stroke :( )

Breaststroke with Finis Finger Paddles
(Extremely good training for the underwater pull out ! )

Pros : Light weight, good for sculling and all strokes. Improves catch phase.

Cons : Easily come off , It came off during my breaststroke swim (in the video)

Notes: Center tubes holds two fingers. Also, Since this is a different category of paddles, this paddles does not improve your strength but rather improve your 'catch' phase of the water in all strokes.


- Best paddle for strength : StrokeMakers
- Best paddle for strokes : Finis Sculling Finger Paddles
- Best paddle for beginners : Speedo ( Strengh ) , Finger Paddles (Feel)

One last point, please note that one shall not solely train with paddles all the time, you will lose your natural water feel of your arms , I think one should only use it maximum 30% of the time during your workout. Same goes with pull buoy. I seen many swimmers who runs a lot uses pull buoy all the time and they completely lose their kicking . They become very slow once they take out their pull buoy and this is not good, not good :)

Finally, have a great swim !

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Swim Race

I went to a swim meet in Okotoks a few days ago, it was the Alberta Provincial Masters. In order to be look professional and to make up for my lack of training , I did put on my jammers, well , did try. Haven't used it for a couple of years and I feared that I could not fit in. True enough, it took me awhile to fit in and the fish logo stiched on my jammers has expanded twice fold .

Well , I did get 2nd overall though with a time of 35.70 . Gosh , this was the time I clocked when I was 14 years old. My best was 32.1 when I was 17. I actually regressed. :)
Here is the video of my race.

and here is the video of current world record holder Cameron Van Der Burgh 50m short course race.

(sorry , user didnt allow me to show the video here , please click link)
50m Breaststroke World Record Race

Difference ?

Cameron Van Der Burgh : 25.25
Darren Lim : 35.70 ( freaking 10 seconds behind him)

Stroke Count
Cameron Van Der Burgh : 1st 25m ( 6 ) , last 25m (9) , total : 15
Darren Lim : 1st 25m ( 9 ) , last 25m (12) , total : 21

sigh , Cameron Van Der Burgh breaststroke is even faster than my freestlye !

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A boy from a secret tribe in Malaysia breaks swimming world record

1st April 2010 - A secret tribe in the deep forest of Malaysia has been discovered recently. Scientist in Malaysia were astonished to discover that their livelihood evolve around the waters and they have tiny gills on the back of their necks. Chief Scientist Mohammed Bakaria said, : " They basically lived in the water and thus day to day activities were done in the water. Naturally , they were good swimmers and come no surprise to me that they can naturally swim faster than anyone else on the planet. "
This has been proven true after a swimming community in Malaysia got curious and managed to convince a boy from the tribe to try a 50m swim in an Olympic pool . The result is an amazing 13.54 seconds , way ahead of the current world record by Brazilian Cesar Cielo of 20.91 seconds. Please watch the video below of a day of the tribe in the river.

Cesar Cielo 50m world record video

Finally, gotcha ! Happy April's Fools day ! :)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Why am I slower than the guy next to me ?

Don't you sometimes wonder when you push off the wall at the same time as the dude next to you , he/she is just way ahead of you ?

Pretty simple answer actually, STREAMLINING !!

Streamlining is the most basic when it comes to swimming but sometimes we tend to forget this important element ! It is the foundation/ building blocks of all the strokes . Regardless of whether you are swimming backstroke, breaststroke, free or fly , you will have to streamline !

So how to achieve streamlining ?
3 key phrases !

- Arms behind ears ( not beside )
- Stand as tall as you can ( Stretch )
- Imagine yourself squeezing through a small hole

Example 1 : Michael Phelps

Can you picture him going through a small hole ? :)

Example 2 : Ryan Lochte

Amazing streamlining and control , I think he is a fish .

Example 3 : Swimmer 1 negative example (During the kick off from the wall)

ie : didnt extend his body enough , arms not stretched far out and arms not behind the ears.

Example 4 : Swimmer 2 negative example (During the kick off from the wall)

premature first pull, again arms not stretch out and not behind the ears, head above the water , causing great deal of resistance , common beginners problem

So remember the 3 key phrases !
you can practise this everytime you kick off the wall . In order to see the diff:

- Push off once with your normal push off and see far you go,
- Now push off with the 3 key phrases in mind and see how far you go.

Notice the difference ?
You should be able to glide further now and faster . However , you might feel that you are losing balance ( body swaying left , right ) but thats OK , All you need to do is practise ..

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Kyoko Iwasaki youngest Olympian Swimmer to win Gold Medal


Kyoko Iwasaki (岩崎恭子) won the Olympic Gold medal 200m Breaststroke in 1992 Barcelona at the age of 14 years 6 days. OMG, that is a crazy feat. She looked so small and young compare to other competitors and the amazing thing is she only caught up at the final 50 meters to cling on to the gold !

The winning video

I think after that she got popular in Japan and has appeared in some videos and photoshoot. She is really cute.

Iwasaki teaching some old dude how to swim

Iwasaki at the beach, pheeeewit , I dont know what to say :)

Iwasaki travelling !

Olympic male swimmers pull a Britney Madonna

Hello ,

200m Olympic champ was kissed by swimmer next to him almost mouth to mouth after the race. WTF? The champion Evgueni Sadovyi just missed the world record by 0.01 seconds. Maybe that is how Pychnenko console his teammate , by giving him some love and affection :)

Pause at 6:28 to see the action

Madonna Britney Kiss