Sunday, January 18, 2009

It's called "breath control" not "breath stupidity!" - Coach challenges his team to a breath control contest!

I get really freaked out about drowning stories. I read them just about every day when searching for content for the blog. Form
"...Freshman Hannah Fuller, 15, said Saturday her coach, Chas Grimm, offered a challenge to the swim team Wednesday toward the end of practice: Anyone who could swim farther than he could underwater without surfacing would be allowed to leave practice early. ..."
Okay, can you see where this is going?

"... But after a few seconds, Hannah said, she became convinced Grimm was in trouble. She swam to him, pulled one of his arms around her shoulder and hauled him to the side of the pool.

"I lifted up his head, and his face was blue and turning purple," she said. "He was stiff and cold."

Others helped pull the coach out of the water, and a lifeguard performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation...."


Three laps in a 25-yard pool is longer than what the Navy SEALS would require for a "hotshot" demolition diver. Also, what if it had been one of his 15-year-old swimmers that nearly drowned; can you imagined the consequences?

Also, I too have have my fair share of taking too few breaths during a race so subsequently I err towards the side of "breath-stupidity" as well. I will revise that!


Ahelee said...

So much for breath control sets at swim practice again until all this dies down...

Its' funny because I haven't been given a breath control set in practice for months. All of the sudden this past week, we had 3 of them.

The benefits must have been discussed at some coaches clinic or blog.

Happy for the quick thinking swimmer and that the coach is ok.

Wendy said...

He is a very lucky person.

eduard said...

Tony, I completely agree with you. I think coaches like this should not be allowed to coach kids.

Tony Austin said...

Ahelee, what were doing up at 4:07 AM?

Tony Austin said...

Wendy and Eduard, I think breath control is important but if you watch the swimmers in the Olympics, they are breathing ALL the time, even after the turns and even going into the wall.

There are those swimmers like Dara Torres who DON'T breathe during a SCY 50-sprint but contrast that to Alexandre Popov who took something like 6-breaths when he swam a world record in Atlanta and Gary Hall took something like 4.

one has to question whether breath control is a cheap trick to obfuscate poor technique or a smart tactic in a sprint?

Richard Clifford said...

It is a situation either of "the road to hell is paved with good intentions" (Karl Marx) or the road to hell is paved with bad assumptions. (me)

Doesn't really matter because the situation is widely known and easily found. Google "shallow water drowning."
You quickly find shallow water blackout. A couple of links to consider (if you don't look):

Charlie said...

I used to swim with a guy who could do 75m under water, but would then promptly throw up the second him came out the water. What an idiot.

NewportGeek said...

I think there is another side to this, that has not yet been discussed:

How will you learn what the minimum amount of oxygen you can handle is without pushing your limits? Developing a feeling for how much oxygen you have left is very imporant for sprinting.

I have also seen young swimmers pass out / vomit from underwater swims, and I agree this is a bad thing.

in HS we had to do 10x25 no breath on the 0:30. if anyone took a breath, the whole thing started over... We were trying for almost 2 hours. never made it.

I don't the coach who passed out didn't do anything wrong... except perhaps set a (slightly extreme) example of the will to win, at any cost.

tony: to answer your question. Watch collegiate SCY sprinters in the 50. They will usually take 1 breath... And olympic swimmers don't breath 'all the time' in a 50... or even a 100. in a 100 They take 5-7 strokes out from their start, which usually consisted of a dive and 8 or so dolphin kicks. this is a 15-18 second breath hold. Then they do it again off the wall 6-8 kicks and ~5 strokes.

Tony Austin said...

2 hours of breath control? That is abuse. I will watch.

I have made it a policy to take at least one breath during a 50. Popov took something like 6 during his 50m WR.