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Music to Swim By
CREATED: 12/09/09 by philotri REPLIES: 15
philotri's ravatar philotri    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 253
Music to Swim By
POSTED: 12/09/09 7:16 PM

I will start by saying that I know all of you real swimmers are cringing, shaking your heads in disgust, commenting on how I will never be a real swimmer, etc. I know. I sympathize. I do the same thing when I see people running with iPods. However, I went and did it anyway. I bought a waterproof system so that I could swim with music.

The reason that I did this isn't because I get bored swimming or that I can't swim without music. And I know that I need to continue focusing on my form, improving my pull, and gaining that elusive feel for the water. I've discovered that I simply have one pace in the water so strong and build and fast and easy are all pretty much the same thing. But sometimes, if I get a song stuck in my head, I can actually move a little more quickly.

So my goal is to find music that has a good cadence to swim by, listen to it while swimming, and maybe, just maybe, get faster. Then, I can stop listening to the music and keep that gain in speed. This is where I need the help of the real swimmers who can get over their sadness at this development. Can you suggest songs that you think would be good to swim to? Or those that you get stuck in your head? I'm going to set up my shuffle for swimming and I could use your suggestions for a swim song list.

Special bonus: It's swim month and this might actually make me get in the water.

ncrcoach's ravatar ncrcoach    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 1028
RE: Music to Swim By
POSTED: 12/09/09 10:35 PM

I highly doubt what I am going to say will please you.

I've been a swimmer, runner, triathlete for many years. To me, it is my peace, my escape from the world. The exercise gives me time to think, time to concentrate and time for my mind to wonder. There is such an isolation from everyone else that I truly enjoy when I am riding my bike and running. Swimming is a bit different. It's a different type of isolation. I think it helps for swimmers to have a designed workout to get the full effect.

philotri's ravatar philotri    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 253
RE: Music to Swim By
POSTED: 12/09/09 11:02 PM

I understand. I've always found my workouts, whatever the sport, a great way to find that free time to think that I can't get elsewhere. You won't believe how many philosophy papers I wrote while on long runs. In fact, I may find that I hate this but I figured it was worth a try.

And I do always have a workout when I go to the pool, as infrequently as that is. And I even do the workouts. I'm just hoping that adding a new tool might help.

nomisdc's ravatar nomisdc    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 611
RE: Music to Swim By
POSTED: 12/10/09 7:10 AM

What system did you get? I'm interested in swimming with podcasts so I can catch up on them. So little time to get everything in.
Cadence would have to be slow so you'd either be looking at several song beats per stroke, or some pretty slow songs. The goal of improving swimming is less strokes per pool length instead of lots of rpms. Stretch your body instead of compacting it like other endurance sports. It's like golf - lower your strokes. So you'd want to get slower and slower music - kind of tough IMO.

philotri's ravatar philotri    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 253
RE: Music to Swim By
POSTED: 12/10/09 8:00 AM

I got the H2OAudio Interval system for the Shuffle 2nd Generation. They have a lots of other versions but this one was small and clips onto goggles which I liked. Plus, I got a good discount. BTW, if you decide to get one of their products and don't find a discount code, let me know as I have at least one that I can share and they send frequent offers in their newsletters.

As for cadence, that's sort of what I was afraid of. I have the slow, length thing down. And I'm working on going further with each stroke. I was just hoping that I could also go the distance I'm going per stroke a little more quickly, if that makes sense.

But I do know I couldn't use podcasts. I'm not good enough and I'd probably end up paying attention to them and not my swimming. I also know no music if I'm sharing a lane. I think that would just be rude.

bcfrank's ravatar bcfrank    JOINED: 3/23/09    POSTS: 898
RE: Music to Swim By
POSTED: 12/10/09 9:35 AM

Being a swimmer, yes this makes me cringe. :) But I can understand being that I use an iPod for training runs (not during races: triathlons or strict running races) because I need something to take my mind off the tedium and boredom that sets in during long runs (long runs being like 5 miles or more for me :) ).

But to answer your question, I would go for something more upbeat and fast tempo than a slow beat. While it's true you want fewer strokes per length of the pool, if you're swimming in time to the music, slow music is just gonna slow your cadence down. It won't make your strokes longer and more powerful. That's what drills are for.

As tough (and embarrassing) as it is for me to write this, I would say go with boy-band music. They tend to be very upbeat songs (except their crappy love ballads). If you can't hack their music, then something I'm not embarrassed to mention is electronic/dance/trance music. Something like Crystal Method, Overseer, Oakenfold, Absolum, Growling Mad Scientists (one of my faves), etc. They'll get you moving.

I personally would go with music that doesn't have words because I know I'll start singing along. And trying to sing underwater.... NOT a good idea. :)

philotri's ravatar philotri    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 253
RE: Music to Swim By
POSTED: 12/10/09 10:12 AM

Thanks! While I probably won't be able to suffer through the boy band option, I could definitely do the electronic/dance/trance music. I'm not sure that Lawrence has any of those bands for me to use but considering how much I need to improve my swimming, an investment in new cds would be worthwhile. Plus, electronic music is highly unlikely to have lyrics ;-)

BTW, I hope you don't get too much teasing for the boy-band admission. Or at least no more than I get for the music while swimming admission.

asovonick's ravatar asovonick    JOINED: 6/3/09    POSTS: 197
RE: Music to Swim By
POSTED: 12/10/09 12:29 PM

Perhaps it's a rare ability of mine, but I can just as easily sing a song in my head as listen to music through an ipod. Listen to a song before you get in the water, and keep it in your head for the duration of the workout. I've found that to be helpful, both in training and races, where I've been known to breathe out songs. It keeps me focused, but without the burden of an object strapped to my head, arm or hands.

Or it could mean that I have voices in my head and I'm nuts.

philotri's ravatar philotri    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 253
RE: Music to Swim By
POSTED: 12/10/09 1:48 PM

Yes, but what song should I get stuck in my head? I need to move beyond just quoting Finding Nemo.

And we're triathletes. I think by definition we are nuts.

nomisdc's ravatar nomisdc    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 611
RE: Music to Swim By
POSTED: 12/10/09 2:15 PM

Def Leppard keeps coming to mind. The intro to Photograph. Must have featured prominently somewhere in my swimming youth.

morunner66's ravatar morunner66    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 686
RE: Music to Swim By
POSTED: 12/10/09 4:02 PM

What... the music played during water aerobics does not keep you amused. Personally, I can never get enough of Neil Diamond at water aerobics. The instructor at Chinquapin has not changed her music EVER. I usually get to listen to the whole song list 2xs as there are back-to-back classes (no pun intended). She is teaching tonight (every Tues & Thurs) if you want to get her playlist. You would think I would have it memorized by now.

philotri's ravatar philotri    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 253
RE: Music to Swim By
POSTED: 12/10/09 4:25 PM

I was a little worried about the Def Leppard suggestion until I saw the Neil Diamond one.

You might suggest a switch to 40s big band music. The water aerobics classes that I swim near often choose that as the sound track. Reflects the population of the water aerobics participants.

wombat's ravatar wombat    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 266
RE: Music to Swim By
POSTED: 12/10/09 4:25 PM

I always listened to Dr. Feelgood before a race to get me pumped up. But if you want a slower song for drill and stroke work, try Human Nature by Michael Jackson. I have memories of that playing on the PA system while doing an indoor marathon swim.

karlaj's ravatar karlaj    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 201
RE: Music to Swim By
POSTED: 12/10/09 4:32 PM

80s pop. Anything you would roller skate to should translate well to the pool.
-JK

dsgrunning's ravatar dsgrunning    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 1269
RE: Music to Swim By
POSTED: 12/10/09 9:49 PM

The official song of the Vertical Swimmers of America Unite! is "I will survive" by Gloria Gaynor. This song has not only kept me from going sterile while swimming but has also made me more visible to kayakers during open water races. It's a song that keeps on giving.

I WIll Survive

philotri's ravatar philotri    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 253
RE: Music to Swim By
POSTED: 12/10/09 10:44 PM

With the added benefit that it's a roller skating song!

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