Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?

4 years 11 months ago #26398 by Karl85
Karl85 created the topic: Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?
A friend of mine is waiting to start his PADI course and I suggested he try to improve his swimming as it's not his strongest point. This got us started on a discussion about how important it is to be able to swim well when diving, as well as having a good all round fitness.
How different would you say swimming on the surface is from swimming underwater?
I swim a lot, I used to do triathlons a lot and got myself a swim spa, one of these http://www.fastlanepools.com.au/swim-spa.php that lets you swim against a current, to train in and I'm trying to get him to get in with fins, mask and a snorkel and then try getting out again to show him that diving isn't just about being in the water but he's not interested and says it doesn't matter.
Who's right?

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4 years 11 months ago #296130 by spiro
spiro replied the topic: Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?
While most dives are relatively easy going and the average person can do it, I'd have to say that physical fitness is important as is an ability to swim. You don't need to be Ian Thorpe, but you do need to be able to swim in a moderate current should the circumstance arise. Is your friends lack of interest in getting better at swimming perhaps a fear of the water? I have met a few people who'd never admit a fear but will always shy away from anything slightly challenging in the water. It's a hard thing to get them out of their comfort zone.

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4 years 11 months ago #296134 by almity1
almity1 replied the topic: Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?
Its NOT a matter of wrong or right, its a matter of fact and experience...
Those who have issues with the swim and float, are the ones who that will have issues in the pool, and if they are not right in the pool they will not be right in the ocean..

I have advised many to come back after they learnt to float and be fit enough to make the distance..

As an Instructor and through Experience....

If they cannot swim the 200m comfortably in Freestyle properly, I will advise them to come back until they do...

By properly I mean the HEAD is to be in water and not out of the water.. Breast Stroke is out totally, those who do Breast Stroke or do freestyle with their heads out of water, you will find hate to get their heads wet, and they will have issues

AND/OR

If they cannot tread water or float for 10 minutes and be comfortable about it, I will advise them to come back...

By comfortable I mean to be able to do the exercise without stress and complete the exercise with minimum exertion

I am quite hard nosed about it without exception...

I have been teaching for 14 years, and I learnt all of the above early on...

Especially when I had a student who totally struggled with the Float and the facility I was working with at the time convinced me to take the student into water against my advise..

The upshot was he never finished the course with me, and during the time he was on course he received most of the attention due to his stress, which wasn't fair to the other students
..

I believe he did finish but only after he learnt to tread water

My advise to your friend will be to learn to swim the 200m in comfort along with the treading water..

I can assure you, if I am the Instructor and things are not right, I will advised him to come back..

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4 years 11 months ago #296139 by Rick
Rick replied the topic: Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?
quote:

Originally posted by almity1

Its NOT a matter of wrong or right, its a matter of fact and experience...
Those who have issues with the swim and float, are the ones who that will have issues in the pool, and if they are not right in the pool they will not be right in the ocean..
I have advised many to come back after they learnt to float and be fit enough to make the distance..
As an Instructor and through Experience....

If they cannot swim the 200m comfortably in Freestyle properly, I will advise them to come back until they do...

By properly I mean the HEAD is to be in water and not out of the water.. Breast Stroke is out totally, those who do Breast Stroke or do freestyle with their heads out of water, you will find hate to get their heads wet, and they will have issues
AND/OR
If they cannot tread water or float for 10 minutes and be comfortable about it, I will advise them to come back...
By comfortable I mean to be able to do the exercise without stress and complete the exercise with minimum exertion
I am quite hard nosed about it without exception...
I have been teaching for 14 years, and I learnt all of the above early on...
Especially when I had a student who totally struggled with the Float and the facility I was working with at the time convinced me to take the student into water against my advise..
The upshot was he never finished the course with me, and during the time he was on course he received most of the attention due to his stress, which wasn't fair to the other students
..
I believe he did finish but only after he learnt to tread water
My advise to your friend will be to learn to swim the 200m in comfort along with the treading water..
I can assure you, if I am the Instructor and things are not right, I will advised him to come back..



Is there a time frame the 200m is to be done in or is it more that they can do it & in comfort/not stressed?

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4 years 11 months ago #296142 by pgcarter
pgcarter replied the topic: Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?
Even the GUE swim test is pretty easy.....it's only about 300m in 10 or 12 min
They used to talk about watermanship......comfy in the water makes diving much easier to cope with
regards Phill

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4 years 11 months ago #296151 by almity1
almity1 replied the topic: Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?
quote:

Originally posted by Rick

Originally posted by almity1


Is there a time frame the 200m is to be done in or is it more that they can do it & in comfort/not stressed?




To be Fair and Reasonable to the student.. and at the same time being considerate to the other students in the class by not taking all day...

10 - 20 minutes... and being comfortable about it...

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4 years 11 months ago #296152 by The Phantom Wreck Rat
The Phantom Wreck Rat replied the topic: Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?
Yeah i can't count the number of times ive had to do freestyle when diving :p

I know a very competent diver who was also a commercial diver and cant swim to save himself. I guess there's not much call for swimming in surface supplied rig when jackhammering underwater. Like wise when diving. Maybe if the boat anchor pulls and you have to swim after it but thats the only scenario i could think of. Its quite awkward to swim in a 7mm wetsuit with booties. Even harder in a drysuit. [;)]

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4 years 11 months ago #296167 by Andy Del
Andy Del replied the topic: Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?
I don't freestyle while diving - doggie paddle is MUCH more efficient! And breast stroke comes in a close second...

:p

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4 years 11 months ago #296169 by rachel
rachel replied the topic: Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?
i thought a good bicycle kick with breastroke arms was the way to go? [^|^]

honestly i've seen people who are quite comfortable and competent underwater who couldn't swim 200m freestyle because they had never learnt, or rather been taught, how to coordinate breathing, stroke and kicking. but they 'got' how to scuba easily. they were motivated people so went off and did some LTS lessons then came back and passed their course.

rachel

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4 years 11 months ago #296172 by Rick
Rick replied the topic: Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?
quote:

Originally posted by Andy Del

I don't freestyle while diving - doggie paddle is MUCH more efficient! And breast stroke comes in a close second... :p


Doggie Stile is always a Winner[^(=)^]

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4 years 11 months ago #296187 by Otacker
Otacker replied the topic: Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?
I wouldn't say you need to be a strong swimmer, but competent at least. Yes we are diving which means we are going under the surface and styles change underwater, but, in many situations, we find ourselves on the surface, and having good leg movements is important for both surface and being submerged.
I think it is a great idea you have offered your swim machine.
There are times when you will have to use a little leg power to get through the white water during a shore dive, or back against a current (under and on top), surfacing away from an anchor line and so on. And swimming uses different leg muscles to walking or running. So non swimmers can tire quickly in times of even medium resistance.
And, if there is an emergency, where the diver can help themselves, they should as it is very tiring for a rescuer as it is let alone having to do all their swimming because they didn't want to learn before getting a diving certification.
From what I have witnessed so far (a lot of DSD) and having grown up on the beaches in Newcastle (NSW not the UK!), if you can't swim, you shouldn't be in the water.

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4 years 11 months ago #296199 by Karl85
Karl85 replied the topic: Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?
All good advice. I tend to think that if you have trouble on the surface, you'll have trouble under the water.
It seems common sense to me that you need to be fairly confident in the water, you never know when you might need that ability.

Cheers.

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4 years 11 months ago #296204 by AB
AB replied the topic: Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?
I also think that the ability to swim makes people more confident in the water and less likely to panic if a problem arises. It's more likely that panic will kill you than whatever problem arises. Also, especially in this day of the ageing diver, a basic level of fitness should be established, and for water based activities, what better than swimming?

If you can't swim the 200 metres most require, you should be concerned about your own fitness to participate in what, at times, can be a strenuous activity. As an increasing number of dive fatalities involve heart attacks, I would think a level of fitness should be both required and maintained.

Alan

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4 years 11 months ago #296211 by Dave
Dave replied the topic: Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?
Being able to swim 200m on the surface does indicate some degree of fitness and being comfortable in the water. However it is quite possible to be a very competent diver and yet be a hopeless swimmer.

In reality a snorkeling swim test would translate better to diving as swimming is quite different in terms of arm and leg action and muscles used to swimming. It is unlikely that a diver (unless thrown out of a boat) is going to be without fins and a mask, and many will have a snorkel as well. As such an ability to swim with fins (either with snorkel or on your back) would be far more useful in a survival situation than an ability to swim freestyle.

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4 years 11 months ago #296214 by Mike
Mike replied the topic: Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?
quote:

Originally posted by Dave
In reality a snorkeling swim test would translate better to diving as swimming is quite different in terms of arm and leg action and muscles used to swimming.



I think this is a very valid point, and should actually be considered from a couple of angles.
First, if you have an ordinary swimmer who is very comfortable with fins, that should be good enough for them to be able to dive.

Secondly - and one which hasn't been raised here - is that you will have some good swimmers who are not particularly strong swimming with fins.
I'm one of them.
I'm still a pretty competant swimmer - I try to do a session of 2 to 3 kms every week or so. Mostly for core strength, but also because I enjoy it.
But I'm frankly crap with fins. I can potter about OK for hours, but if I try and get anywhere fast, I'm just as likely to cramp as not. I deliberately train with fins and kickboard in the pool for diving, and find that 500m with fins leaves me more sore than a km or so swimming.
This can lead to a bit of overconfidence from strong swimmers in diving scenarios with current etc. (or perhaps it's just me)

So - I think that a fin swimming / snorkling test is probably more appropriate for diving than a standard swimming test.

Mike

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4 years 11 months ago #296218 by AB
AB replied the topic: Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?
Actually, I think we are focusing too much in in water fitness, and ignoring the stresses getting to and from the water. A couple of the recent deaths in Vic involved people who were observed struggling (a) getting their gear on the boat, and (b) getting to the end of the pier. Their hearts gave out in the water, but it was the stress of getting to it that caused it.

So ideally you should be able to demonstrate you can carry your twins to the end of the pier (I still don't understand why so many dive manifolded twins when they mostly do simple dives) and climb down and up the ladder, but as that isn't going to happen, the 200 metre swim is what we have to prove firness. I would like people to be competent free divers before they took up scuba, but most would oppose that, and even some grumble at the 200 metre swim requirement, but after decades of proposals and compromises, thats what we've got. Not ideal, but generally accepted.

Alan

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4 years 11 months ago #296219 by furryboy80
furryboy80 replied the topic: Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?
quote:

Originally posted by AB

Actually, I think we are focusing too much in in water fitness, and ignoring the stresses getting to and from the water. A couple of the recent deaths in Vic involved people who were observed struggling (a) getting their gear on the boat, and (b) getting to the end of the pier. Their hearts gave out in the water, but it was the stress of getting to it that caused it.

So ideally you should be able to demonstrate you can carry your twins to the end of the pier (I still don't understand why so many dive manifolded twins when they mostly do simple dives) and climb down and up the ladder, but as that isn't going to happen, the 200 metre swim is what we have to prove firness. I would like people to be competent free divers before they took up scuba, but most would oppose that, and even some grumble at the 200 metre swim requirement, but after decades of proposals and compromises, thats what we've got. Not ideal, but generally accepted.

Alan





What would your definition of a competent freediver be? good enough to dive 5m? 10? be able to survive a game of underwater hockey?

I do agree on the being capable to carry the gear you want to dive and being able to get to and from the site.

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4 years 11 months ago #296221 by David Flew
David Flew replied the topic: Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?
Let's not get too prescriptive on the "testing" side of things.

I know a lot of people start down the SCUBA path having NO IDEA of the potential effort and physical stress levels involved - I know I did. The Dive Doctor looked at me and initially said no way ....... then relented and sent me off for a cardiac stress test. I was probably marginal on fitness, but very comfortable in the water. Couldn't free dive past 3 m. Scuba has been the motivator for me to improve my fitness, but it's still a limiting factor in the dives I commit to. Tried the twin set game, soon found out I was too old for that stuff. Free diving has improved; wish someone had shown me how to equalise properly 50 years ago ........

Think of the divers you know who have disabilities - and the diving they do. There are people out there who can't walk down the jetty ( let alone carry their tanks), need to be assisted into the water, and are much better divers than I will ever be.

Seems to me being comfortable in the water is critical, being fit enough to take on a new challenge and understanding SCUBA diving can be stressful is also critical. Knowing your limitations and planning so as not to exceed them is more important than any given benchmark or hurdle.

David

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4 years 11 months ago #296224 by AB
AB replied the topic: Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?
Furry,
I reckon a "competent" freediver should be able to shoot a fish at 10 metres...with a camera of course[;)] I have this other thing that you should carry redundant air any time you dive past twice your best freedive depth, so you can be sure of getting to the surface if it all goes wrong, but not too many on this forum agree. Sensors and algorithms have replaced human abilities in this respect, so I'm surprised nobody has objected to all physical requirements for scuba, as it's more about technology nowadays.

We build powerful computers and carry all sorts of gases believing it will keep us safer, and forget about the potential heart attack getting all the equipment to the water, so I for one am glad there is some fitness requirement in basic courses, even if we don't agree on exactly what it should be. I wonder how many current divers are still fit enough to swim 200 metres?

I haven't heard the coroners recommendations from the stress related deaths, but it wouldn't be a stretch to expect that regular medical and fitness tests are being considered, and that a 200 metre swim could be part of that!

Alan

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4 years 11 months ago #296243 by Dave
Dave replied the topic: Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?
How about a test where we drop divers at Portsea Hole and get them to swim back to Portsea Pier! :D :D [:o)][:o)]

(I have actually done it).

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4 years 11 months ago #296250 by RodH
RodH replied the topic: Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?
quote:

Originally posted by Dave

How about a test where we drop divers at Portsea Hole and get them to swim back to Portsea Pier! :D :D [:o)][:o)]

(I have actually done it).






Ditto, 25 years ago, no chance now :(

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4 years 11 months ago #296251 by RodH
RodH replied the topic: Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?
quote:

Originally posted by Dave

How about a test where we drop divers at Portsea Hole and get them to swim back to Portsea Pier! :D :D [:o)][:o)]

(I have actually done it).






Ditto, 25 years ago, no chance now :(

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4 years 11 months ago #296340 by Alien
Alien replied the topic: Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?
The swim stroke can be any stroke and any time. There is also the option of snorkelling the test for 300m instead of 200m. Cna offer be tricky with many divers not born in Australia and not very familiar with water. They often need extra sessiosn or sent awya to learn to swim.
I am not a great freestyler but consider myself pretty fit and also strong. I could snorkel or breast stroke all day but struggle with freestyle due to poor technique.
I use twin manifolded tanks if I am doing 2 dives in one day and dont want to change over stuff, when I am teaching to carry spare air for my students and when I am doing anything over 30m or in an overhead environment. Walking dow the pier with twins on is part of the weekly workout. They are so much more comfortable and balanced underwater :)
I am terrified when I see the state of fitness of many divers struggling with their twins, gear poorly set up, dangling rubbish everywhere, poor trim and and therefore not streamlined.
I train with weights or spin or PT or circuit, etc 5 times a week to keep in shape for diving.
Helps your core,back. Very important esp. for women.

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4 years 2 months ago #298692 by Troy K
Troy K replied the topic: Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?
Sorry to dig up an old topic.....

I thought snorkelling was no longer accepted for the swim test and that it was now swim 200 meters, any stroke, no time limit?

I ask this as I am about to do my Open water, now I can tread water 15 minutes, no stress at all, I could backstroke or breaststroke 200mtrs, but I simply don't / can't swim freestyle. I have never learnt/been shown.

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4 years 2 months ago #298724 by Alien
Alien replied the topic: Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?
You can still do the snorkel of 300m most instructors like to see you can do the 200m swim. As I said on previous post it does not need to be freestyle it can be any stroke over any time so long as it is continuous.

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4 years 2 months ago #298733 by Troy K
Troy K replied the topic: Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?
happy to say after a few solo pool sessions, I discovered I can swim well enough to not be a burden on others. I wont be making the Olympic team any time soon but certainly would have no issue making my own way back to a boat or shore.

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3 years 2 weeks ago #300932 by Happy
Happy replied the topic: Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?
Where we did our training down at Port Fairy the pool wasn't deep enough to tread water with out touching the bottom with your feet at the deep end ! We did it anyway .

One young guy didn't pass as he couldn't get the water out of his mask with out a panic . Poor fellow .

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3 years 2 weeks ago #300935 by AB
AB replied the topic: Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?
Most agencies have a mandatory swim (usually 200 metres ) for OW and I believe it serves a purpose of establishing at least a certain level of fitness. For most diving, swimming isn't part of the activity, and even then it would usually be with fins and a suit. All divers should be fit enough to maintain the OW swim requirement, but sadly, many could not. Especially older divers should think about their fitness levels as a great proportion of fatalities lately have involved heart problems.

So, at least once a year, go to a pool and see if you can still make 200 metres non stop. If you can't, ask yourself if you really are fit to dive. Remember, your decision affects not only yourself, but your buddies, boat crews, rescuers, first aiders, and your family and friends.

Alan

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3 years 1 week ago #300940 by Happy
Happy replied the topic: Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?
How many people are unable to complete the OW dive course due to fitness or other reasons ?

I felt sorry for the kid in my group who paid his $600 and couldn't get it together . He was Swedish and a recent arrival who had not seen the water growing up .

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3 years 1 week ago #300942 by OTGav
OTGav replied the topic: Important to be a strong swimmer when diving?
Mask clearing is a pretty well known sticking point for OW students.
Have seen lots that started panicked but could be helped through skill by Dm/instructors - maybe they didn't love doing it by the end, but they could all do it safely.
Really tough that he couldn't make it through that one.

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