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Patience teaches…dry land swimming

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Patience Osinaike loves water. She is a vibrant swimming instructor and lifeguard in training who took to swimming after a spell of chaperoning young children, her pupils, for a swimming session.
But, what prompted her interest to learn how to swim more effectively was when one day on a flight from Lagos to Abuja, as she sat beside a seemingly nervous co-passenger, she was asked if she was scared of flying or the eventuality of a plane crash. And, almost absent-mindedly, Patience replied, “So far as it would land on water, then I’m fine.” Then, it struck her. She needed to train not only to be an expert swimmer but to be able to save others. She went back to her swimming instructor and enrolled to be a certified swimming instructor who will be versatile with water safety skills. Today, she instructs children, old and young men, and women to swim while still doing what she loves most – teaching children.
During the lockdown as a result of the COVID19 crisis, Patience decided to share her thoughts on what swimmers need to do to keep in shape with some tips for beginners.

Patience Osinaike

There’s something called dry land swimming. Dry land swimming workout is a combo of swimming skills routines, where some of what you do in water, can also be done on dry land. So baring the fact that we have been in a lockdown and can’t have access to a swimming pool because we have to observe social distancing rules, these are some routines that can help us with movements we make in water right on dry land. There is a sequence of movements, then expectations, how to go about it, such that swimmers are able to keep up with their swimming techniques and body formation.

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A fundamental drill we can do is the SQUAT. The squat is a general body exercise routine. It is a recommended exercise before having breakfast. It is better to start gradually. One can start with 10 squats, then go up to 20, then 30, right up to 50, so far as one’s body can take it.

Another drill one can do is PUSHUPS. Pushups also help with swimming technique. You can try 10, 20, 30, as long as one can go. You need to do normal cardio exercises like skipping and jogging. Or take walks for a considerable length of time. You must tone your body because the body muscles tend to relax and these lead to muscle cramps especially around the stomach and the calves.

There are four core swimming strokes. One technique, for instance, is the FREESTYLE or front crawl. Practice this stroke at home – lie flat on the floor. Move your hands in a sequence as if you are in the water. As you move your hands, you also pull your legs in simultaneously while having your tummy tucked in with your body laid flat on the floor with your head out. The focus is on the hand and leg movement.

As for the BREASTSTROKE routine, the slowest form of swimming. Practicing at home – to start with, lie flat on the floor, keep your legs still. Work on your hands first. You have your hands stretched out, pull, bring them back, stretch out, pull. Do this a number of times, 10, 20, 30, even 40. As you continue to do this, increase your speed. You will feel the effect of the exercise in your shoulders, your arms, and your chest. When you are done with the arm routine, keep your arms together, click your legs together, then pull as in frog-style pulling – pull together, pull together. One can practice the arms movement while sitting on a chair also.

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For the BUTTERFLY, this demands a great deal of energy to try on land or in the house, so what I recommend is: sit on the chair, then you have hands pulled behind, then over your head together, then down. So you pull back and then you come in, repeating the routine. You can also do this while walking. So you walk you pull, over your head, then pull again, and go over your head again. You can set a timer for yourself. You can go 20 seconds, 30 seconds, one minute.

Patience teaches a female student swimmer
…and a male student swimmer

These are the exercises you can do on land that reflect what we do while swimming even though we can’t practice all the swimming techniques without the pool. But one needs to do all these exercises as much as 30mins per day.

I will also advise that swimmers have a well-balanced diet, a lot of fruits and vegetables, and stay hydrated always.

The key to success in swimming is relaxing the mind. When beginners usually start swimming, they are immediately frightened. They go, “Oh! I can’t do this. The water will be too heavy around me. The water will push me away.” This comes maybe from previous bad experience with water. I try to make them comfortable with the water as much as possible. Once you are able to relax in the water, you are able to relax your mind, you are able to wade in the water comfortably, that is the most important key to success in starting to learn swimming. If one doesn’t relax their mind in the water, they will not be able to venture into the other aspects of swimming – the strokes. So the most important thing is to relax the mind and be absolutely comfortable with the water.

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