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How to train for a competitive swimming event

Generic training for swimming characteristically involves yardages and meters. It is hard work, waking up in the mornings for long training sessions. The step that follows is centering every ounce of that energy for the competition that you are about to be a part of.

Here are some tips for preparing for a competitive meet:

  1. The gear must be proper

Figure out your gear and keep it in one place. It helps avoid the circumstances wherein one attempts to find it at the last minute. Make a list and cross check before leaving for the sports centre. Racing suit, goggles and caps are a must. You may choose to maintain a backup.

  • Check out the place

Get an overview of the dressing rooms, starting points and marshalling areas. This builds familiarity with the place and helps perform better. Do it before the event.

  • Be in time for the race

If you reach early, you can get a feel of the water and do warm up exercises. This improves the race performance. You also get a better idea of the pool setup.

  • Stay focused

Elite swimmers always keep their minds focused towards the event. Keep free from distractions. It prepares one better to meet up with any requirements that need to be met at the pool.

  • Have a routine in place

Michael Phelps used to have a routine in place prior to his competitive swims. This involved warm ups, arm swings and stretching. He used bent over arm swings as well. You can also create a routine for yourself. Conduct the same before every race you participate in. This helps stay focused and calm.

  • Keep a record of heat numbers

Maintain a notebook and jot down a record of your heat numbers. This helps avoid panic when your race is announced and you are not ready to show up. So gauge the events taking place a little time before your race. It helps you be ready and reach the spot on time.

  • Don’t be anxious

Sports are all about fun, so have a gala time at it. Anxiety takes away the performance.

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Swimming and World Records – the Top 5 Swimming World Records

What makes a great swimmer? He is disciplined and tough, and has a flawless technique. Let us take a look at five of the top swimming world records:

  1. Mark Spitz gets seven for seven (1972)

When Mark Spitz arrived for 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, he used to be a 17 year old prodigy and held 10 world records. He won 2 of 6 swimming gold medals, both in relay. In 1972 Munich Olympics, he not just won each of the 7 gold medals but set 7 world records in the process.

  • Eight for eight for Michael Phelps (2008)

Michael Phelps is also known as the Baltimore Bullet. Few countries’ overall performance is better than his individual, in terms of Olympic medals and swimming championships. In 2008 Beijing Olympics, Michael Phelps one-upped Mark Spitz, by winning eight gold medals in eight events. His program was tougher in than Spitz’, and he won the 400 individual medley as well.

  • Dawn Fraser, unbeatable in 100 m freestyle

Australian Dawn Fraser used to be unbeatable in 100 m freestyle, during 1956, 1960 and 1964 Olympics. Eight years is a long time to be at the top. Probably Australia’s all time greatest was the champion in Melbourne 56’, Rome 60’ and Tokyo 64’. In the last of aforementioned, she was recovering from an accident but managed to defend the title.

  • Gertrude Ederle crosses the English Channel in 1926

Ederle had a world record in 4 X 100 meter freestyle relay, along with two bronze medals in 1924 Paris Olympics. She then became the sixth person and the first woman to cross the English Channel, swimming. There were a few failed attempts by women then on the list, including Ederle’s first attempt in 1925. In 26’, she swam the channel in 14 hrs and 39 minutes, two hours quicker than the fastest male time.

  • Kristof Milak breaks Phelps 200 m Butterfly record

Let us put one of the latest records in perspective. Phelps record in 200 m butterfly stood for 18 years. Milak, a Hungarian swimmer was a year old when the record was created. On July 24, 2019, 19 year old Milak bettered the record by .78 seconds and clocked a time of 1:50.73.

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Is swimming pool chlorine bad for you? Just how much is too much?

In summers, when swimmers go for a swim, they look forward to warm sunshine and the sparkling water of the pool.

A chlorine smell, when very strong can make swimmers leave the pool early with a red eye. It is assumed that the cause of the effect is too much chlorine in the pool water.

In practice, when the swimming pool has a chemical smell and a higher than average number of red eyed swimmers, it goes to show that there is insufficient chlorine in the water. Here are some facts that simplify the matters:

Chlorine is added to swimming pools in order to safeguard the swimmers against waterborne germs. It kills those germs that make swimmers unwell. They may otherwise lead to disorders such as skin infections, swimmers ear and diarrhea. Each of the chlorine-bromine based sanitizers provides a good residual protection.

Pool managers try and make sure that free chlorine levels in a pool ideally stay at in between one and three ppm. This too is subject to a number of related factors. The pH of the water must be in between 7.2 and 7.8.

A higher number of swimmers add up to the requirement of chlorine in the pool, which is also known as chlorine demand. This is owing to the presence of lotions, body oils and perspiration levels in the water.

When these substances, added in the water by swimmers react with chlorine, the resultant is known as chloramines. Chloramines result in swimmer red eye.

In case the swimmers are unhygienic, the chlorine demand is higher. Chlorine is used up to react with the substances left behind by swimmers. There lesser chlorine left behind to kill the germs. This increases the odds of water borne diseases either way, through higher chloramines and through germs for which there is not enough chlorine in the pool.

One must do the calculations right for adding chlorine to a swimming pool, at home or a commercial swimming pool. It must not exceed 1 to 3 ppm else it may cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, red eyes and an itching sensation. It is best to consult a doctor as soon as these symptoms show up.

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Long Distance Swimming – Just how far can a human being swim?

Long distance swimming is a sport and the distance is a matter frequently up to a swimmer’s perspective. For most swimmers, 1500 meters is a long distance swim. 3k is good enough to be defined as a marathon. Anything above 10k is an ultra marathon.

A swimmer must first make sure he is comfortable with the water’s temperature and doesn’t find it to be too cold. He can then start swimming.

Long distance swimming is actually a team sport. One can go long distance swimming in open waters, or in a closed circuit pool. Having a support crew around will be helpful.

A number of risks come to be a part of long distance swimming, and a swimmer must stay wary of them. One has to prevent against hypothermia. So after the swim, wrap up in layers of warm clothing. Avoid hot showers. Lie down if required and have a warm drink.

Avoid Jellfish if you go swimming in the sea. If they bother you post the swim, have an antihistamine.

In order to avoid injuries, keep the shoulders strong by exercising them frequently. Dehydration is a risk that prevails, even while one does not feel the loss of fluids prominently while swimming. There is then a risk of sunburns over the exposed skin. When there are others around in the water, one must make oneself as visible as one can.

In an emergency situation, there are some ways to do it just right. In 2015, Miami Dolphins fullback Rob Konard was launched from a boat and saw it being motored away on autopilot. This was on a solo fishing trip to South Florida coast. He was 9 miles away from the coast in the Atlantic Ocean and had doubts over his odds of survival. He swam for 16 hours on the go, to safety.

Some cues help in such circumstances. Hope somebody finds you. The sun’s position gives a fair idea of the directions. Similarly, sea birds fly from land to sea at dawn and from sea to land at dusk.

A professional level fitness is not called for swimming 9 miles. Alternate your swimming between side-stroke, back-stroke, and breast-stroke. Never halt, it keeps the muscles warm.

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