Swimming 101

Swimming 101

Freestyle (Front Crawl)

I have a pretty long, smooth stroke.  It is not for everyone but I’m pretty relaxed and quite efficient when I swim.  I’ve read quite a number of books on the subject and watched videos of people with different philosophies on the correct way to do things. 

Like pretty much everything else in life, not everyone is the same or equal and not everything works for everyone. 

I often see triathletes trying to up their game on swimming.    A lot of times, swimming is the weakest third of their race.  I’m not a triathlete but I do know how to help someone not be exhausted after the swimming part of the triathlon.  That’s the kicker.  Trying to get through the swim part without using up all your energy and still not coming last. 

I watch friends and family trying to give pointers.  “Put your arm in this way.”  “Breathe like this.”  Etc, etc. 

It all comes from the core really.  If you are not rotating your body properly, you won’t be able to breathe properly.  If you are not rotating properly, you will over stress your shoulders and not have a proper stroke. 

This is all assuming that someone is comfortable with putting their face in the water.  


First item to get is a decent pair of goggles.






Secondly, a pair of fins.Not the diving kind that are really long but those designed for lap swimming.  They are shorter.

Something like these:

You will need them for the main rotation drill.

Drill, Drill, Drill. 

Think of a tugboat vs a sailboat going through the water.  Tugboat is flat and pushes through the water.  That's you swimming flat.  Then there is a sailboat, narrow, cutting through the water.  That's you with your hips in a 45°. 

Most videos that I’ve seen suggest doing this drill completely on the side when practicing.  I disagree.  I think one should practice how they would do it in the stroke and also to help get the feel of the position.  You want to be at a 45° in the water and rock back and forth so each time you are sort of skating on that bone that you can feel on the front of your hip. 

Check out the images below first for the angle and then for the point you are ‘skating’ on. 

Put your fins and goggles on.  Push off from the side and cruise along on your left or right side to begin.  Take a good breath before you start or as you start to cruise then make sure your face is in the water. Make sure you are at a 45° and continue a long slow kick.  Go as long as you can on one side, take three strokes to switch sides.   Breath a couple of times as you are doing that.  Then stay there at the 45° angle again.  

As you are cruising and just kicking, you leave your lower arm in the water ahead of you a few inches in the water.  Your higher arm, hold along your hip that is higher or above the water. 

When you are ready to switch sides again, just start the stroke with the arm that is in front, one, two, three and you are on the other side.  Do a length and take a minute or two rest if you need it. 

More Drill

Swimming: I'm a big proponent of drilling.  Drilling parts of the whole stroke.  It would best if I could watch your stroke then coach you from there but...

In this video link, you can watch up to about 3:50 - 

Rotate hips

In that video he says to drill at 90°.  I disagree. As I said, I think you should drill the way you should swim.  Around 45°.  The more you do that the more you will get the feel for how your body should be in the water

Here is another video on this rotation drill.  Watch from the beginning but at 3 minutes you get a second drill.  I would suggest you do all these drills with fins.  I never drill any sort of kick without fins.  

If you are going to buy some fins, get a leg buoy and some sort of pull paddles at the same time.  The paddles/leg buoy work together and help lengthen your stroke.  

You are welcome to send me feedback and questions.  

Some great drills in this book by Blythe Lucero:


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Quad Blade Razor

Quad Blade Razor

Best Razor I've Ever Used

I’ve always disliked wobbly (swivel) razors.  Pretty much impossible to find fixed heads on razors anymore unless one uses an old style single blade safety razor. 

I bought one of those a few years ago.  It was a single blade - two sides, so actually called a double.  But you are shaving with one blade.  Was a fairly smooth shave but I nicked myself a few times each shave and it was very slow.  I shave my head as well, so it took much longer than with one of those wobbly aloe razors. 

The other thing I dislike about the Gillette and Schick and such razors is the little moisture strip alongside the blade.  It is supposed to help to make a smoother shave and is promoted as ‘aloe vera’ on most.  Do some research and you might find that some of the ingredients in these moisture or aloe strips you really should not be putting on your skin.

Toxic Moisture (Aloe) Strips

I finally got around to doing some more searching and research to see if I could find a razor that had at least two blades and no moisture strip.  Took me quite some time.  At first I didn’t want to look at the older style razor where you pop the blade in.  As I mentioned, it hadn’t worked out so well for me the first go. 

As it was, all I could find was this Wilkinson Sword Quad blade.  After reading a bunch of reviews, I decided to try it.  For me the only way was to purchase on Amazon.  I was away visiting my grandkids and ordered to my home as I was going to be there within a week or so. 

Arrived home late last night and the razor had arrived.  I was grubby from the trip and needed a shower so thought it would be a good time to try out the blade. 

I love this razor.  Wasn’t quite as fast as the Gillette, Schick et al but not slow either.  A nice smooth shave and no nicks.  I actually got a better shave than with the triple, wobbly-headed, swivel blades.

Just go slowly and keep the angle of the blade correct per the image in the directions.

I highly recommend this razor for shaving.  Here is a link to the Amazon Canada page.

And if you want to to Schick’s website you can read up a bit more on the product.

Wilkinson Quad Blade Safety Razor


Etsy Store

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Convert HEIC to JPEG

Convert HEIC to JPEG

A little while back I purchased an iPhone 13 Pro.  I got it largely for the quality of the camera.  I edit my photos with Lightroom.  Lightroom does not handle HEIC images very well at all.  I did some searching for ways to convert.  I have MacOS Catalina.  I was looking around then remembered that I have WaltR Pro.  This company has great products. I searched and found the same company has a free App for converting HEIC to Jpegs.  And it takes only seconds.  

You can get it here: WALTR HEIC Converter

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iTunes and Catalina OS

iTunes and Catalina OS

Here is a great Youtube video on getting iTunes onto MacOS with Catalina.  If something like that interests or concerns you…

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Dr Gerald Glyn Jones

Dr Gerald Glyn Jones

Your grandfather was an interesting man. Troubled for sure but he had in many ways a morale compass.  And like most British of his time, very well educated.

When we were children, he would read to us.  Tom Sawyer, Gulliver’s Travels and other classics.  There was a period of time when he would read to my brothers in their room and then come to mine and make up stories.  He would tell a bit each night continuing the story.  I did this with all of you at one point as well.

Our next door neighbours told me something very cool.  Two teenage girls, Beth and Shirley. Their bedroom window was two car widths away from my brothers’ bedroom window.  They would watch from their room while dad read the stories.  He acted out a lot of the actions in the books, poling down the river with Huck Finn for example or painting the wall with Tom Sawyer.  They said they could pretty much follow and understand what story he was reading.

I guess he felt that he really didn’t fit in anywhere in life.  He got involved with the Vedanta Society in the 1950s.  Vedanta is a very old form of Hinduism.  LRH speaks a lot in different places of the Vedic hymns.

Your grandfather had boxes of books of philosophy and religion.  I would sift through these and likely read the Vedic hymns when I was about 17 years old.

In the late 50s, I think it was, he was troubled and, living in Canada, called his psychiatrist in England, who ended up getting on a ship and coming to see dad.  Stayed for a couple of weeks.  A couple of years later dad was having trouble again.  Called the psychiatrist.  The man said he could not make another house call like that but suggested that dad try and new drug on the market for depression.  It was an amphetamine.  That was pretty much the end of dad.

He got quite addicted to the stuff.  Huge amounts.  He told me why he left the family.   He said that he either was going to die of the drugs or he needed to give his all to his religion.  So, he went to India.  Lived and worked at the hospital run by the Vedanta religious order for 30 plus years.

It was in a place called Vrindaban in India.  Vrindaban is a holy place for Hindus.  It is like Meca or Jerusalem.  A very holy place.

I got a lot of stories of my father from Dick Gill.  They were both doctors and best friends.  They both got involved with the Vedanta Society at the same time.

Here are a couple of stories that Dick told me.

In the Second World War, dad was in the army and posted in West Africa.  One day he was sent one of the bearers (one of the local blacks they used for carting stuff around) to get a physical check up.  Dad was somewhat unfamiliar with the routine and said he needed to know why the man needed a physical.

“A beating.” was the reply. Apparently the local had misbehaved or disobeyed orders or some such and was to be whipped.  My father, your grandfather, refused to give this man medical OK to be whipped.  They tried to order him to do it, he still refused.  It went all the way up to the top General presiding over West Africa at the time.  Your grandfather still refused.  They could not discipline him because of the Hippocratic Oath.

When his stint in West Africa was done your grandfather was sent home instead of them keeping him.

Later, in Ajax in the 1950s a bunch of the men in the town set up the Lions Club.  Or Rotary Club, something like that.  Anyway, they all sat around and elected a President and a Secretary and such.  Dad was there and once all the voting rigamarole was all said and done with, someone asked, “Well, now that we have an organization, what should we do?”

After some discussion, one person suggested that maybe they should help some crippled children in the area.  Not knowing even if there were any, your grandfather was asked, “Dr. Jones, do we have any crippled children in town?”

“No”, my father replied, “but we could make some.”

He was not invited back to the next meeting.

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