Tag Archives: Monofin

Getting There

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Yesterday Sanne and I did a good freediving pool workout crawl style. While my inflamed tooth didn’t really cooperate during the first part of training where I tried to do 8×25 with 1:20 min countdown for each lap (and failed), the next part went much better.

I tried to do 50 meter laps with one minute rest in between doing crawls with 6 strokes, 1breath for 200 meters. Then upped it to 8 strokes, which still felt pretty good in a training sense of way (Ouch!). And then it was time to explore the limits somewhat and tried to do 10  strokes and 12 strokes with 1 breath each time.

It seems there is a certain technique in it. Because when I do my long distance swims (1k-2k) I use a very shallow breath, so when I’m preparing to breath I only need one stroke to exhale. This doesn’t work when you’re high on CO2 when you’re holding your breath, so in this second session I started to exhale fast in around 1,5 stroke, so that I get completely empty in between. All in all great CO2 work!

Today it was monofin testing time. Sanne brought his prototype weight that he will use on this Saturdays competition in Eindhoven. And I must say it already works great. I think he’s at 80% of solving all the problems now.

While Sanne was so nice to create a prototype that is adjustable so that it also could work with me, it still didn’t fit me 😉 So I had to do some other way of testing my streamlining. In the end it appears that 3 kilo’s is just a little bit to heavy for me, so next time I’m going to try for 2,5-2,8 kilos.

It’s really clear that the time of just playing around with a monofin without weights is over. The difference between my technique without weights and with weights is so  major, that if I wish to improve I have to use weights from now on. So time to create a streamlined weight for myself as well.

Specific CO2

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On Tuesday we went to the pool. Sanne for his schedule and I for my schedule. I’m pretty happy with it and how it went. It was hard for sure, but I really felt like I did a good Co2 workout. Just what I needed.

To be exact; at the end of each exercise it feels exactly the same as at the end of a static. Only here I know that if I do one more stroke I reach my goals, while at  static the end is open. Maybe it’s time again to start doing statics for certain times and do schedules with that again, now I think of it.

The 8 times 25 meter with 1:25 minute countdown cycle per lap where doable. number 3 and 4 were the hardest, but I managed to continue. The last ones felt pretty easy, so a clear example that a small warmingup for me works. Crawling with 6 and 8 strokes without breath went pretty well. I really needed the 1 minute rest period between each lap, but then again, the feeling was good and Co2 was trained.

On Thursday, as Sanne already mentioned, our new monofin arrived and it was play time. Wow, what a difference! The footpockets are so much better, and the kick so much easier. The one thing that will need a lot of practice again will be the turn. But then again, you need to enjoy the trip as much as the destination, so this will be a good challenge.

I’m wondering where this fin will bring me in the coming weeks and months! Let’s work hard, enjoy the water and get some results.

First impressions: Waterway Glide vs Leaderfins Flyer Pro

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Last night Jorg and I had the chance to test our new Waterway Glide fin from www.finswimworld.com and it’s hard to not like it instantly. Although I’ve already tested with Daan and Judith’s Glide fin, we now had the chance to properly train some more with it. Although the technique to use for both these fins differs, I’ll try and put down my findings for both monofins independent from the technique used.

Buoyancy

WaterWayGlideFinFreediving
Waterway Glide Fin - Freediving
The first difference I noticed between the Leaderfin Flyer Pro and the Waterway Glide is the difference in buoyancy. The Leaderfins monofin has been built with 5 kilograms of lead in the arch, which contributes to the motion by stimulating it by lagging the motion. The Glide fin on the other hand has a positive buoyancy, which stimulates the glide phase by leveling the monofin out horizontally. I experienced the difference in buoyancy by trying to stay balanced through a 25 meter lane run. Where the Flyer Pro tends to start whirling left and right, the Glide seemed to stay at course. I checked with Jorg runs if these findings were also happening to him in the runs, which they did. So either this means, that the Flyer Pro needs more getting used to or more specific strength put into the blade. But out of the box it seems that the Glide does a better job at being balanced.

Turning

Leaderfins - Flyer
Leaderfins - Flyer
After swimming with the Flyer Pro I got used to having the weight from the arch help me in swinging the fin around and planting it against the wall quite effortless. But when I tried the Glide for a turn, I noticed that I needed to help out with my arms to swing around and plant the fin on the wall. Now of course this just needs some getting used to turning with the Glide fin, but it was a point which both Jorg and me immediately pointed out after trying it. Next training sessions will have more focus on making proper turns with the Glide, if we want to use it properly and not loose too much energy by pretending to be a bird underwater.

Pockets
Having a tight fit into the foot pockets is essential with both monofins, to keep the efficiency of the throughput of power into the fin optimal. Both fins go at this a different way and of course in that way it’s not fair to compare these versions. But as we’re giving our first impressions on the difference in these fins, we’ll do it anyway ;).

The Flyer Pro doesn’t really feature an internal profile of a foot, but just a pocket with a tight band around the heel. Where as the glide does feature a more profiled inside pocket, which genuinely has advantages over just having a tight fit like the Flyer Pro. Even though both fins do have a proper tight fit and do not loose a lot of energy that way, the profile in the Glide fin makes it overall more comfortable to swim with.

Overall performance
If I compare the first thing I noticed between the two fins, it’s the fact that I need far less kick cycles to reach 25 meters. Where I use 3 kick cycles or more to reach the 25 meters with the Flyer Pro, I now seemed to be able to reach the other side by only using 2 kick cycles and one arm stroke. This is due to the fact that one fin is a glide fin and the other fin for a continuous motion, but I did want to point it out. As I believe it felt less of a hard performance to reach 50 meters if I compare both fins. Which in the end matters most, because with less energy wasted it will leave you with more distance in the end.

I believe that the Flyer Pro is a very good fin, but it doesn’t work out good the way I seem to be able to utilize it. (Also the reason to put the fin up for sale.) So for the time ahead we will try and optimize the use of the new Waterway Glide fin and I will write a more detailed impression about the experience with the fin when I have been training with the fin for an extended period of time.

The Gliding Freediver

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WaterWayGlideFinFreedivingAs a result of our monofin training of the last couple of months Sanne and I have decided to get really serious with monofin training again. So we decided to order a Waterway Glide monofin.

After some tests in the last couple of weeks with the fins of Daan, Judith and Eric, the only option left to be sure for a good fin for the coming months was to get the Glide fin.

It should arrive around the first week of the new year, so hopefully our first pool training on January 9 will include the new fin already. Can’t wait to do some turns with it!

Minor tweaking and getting some distance

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Tonight the freediving training consisted of a small introduction to freediving for a few new divers and the last part we focussed on minor tweaking details and getting some distance with the monofin. So the first 30 minutes we spent learning a few new guys from Scubacity the few basic steps into the world of freediving. They were both highly motivated and looking forward to their next session. Both performed well and will learn a lot in the time to come.

20091203-MonofinFor our own training I had made a few adjustments on the alignment and now things are getting somewhere. Also I had brought along some soap, to make the wearing of the monofin a lot better. Putting it on and getting your feet out of the pockets was so much easier now. Never the less I still think it’s a bit of a strange fin for me to work with. So for today I just wanted to see if the alignment tweak was working, and so far I’m liking it a lot.

Next up was some distance, where I agreed with Jorg just to take it slowly and do somewhere between 3-4 laps. First two laps were focussed and without a problem in technique, but yet again in the 50 – 75 I felt myself speeding up. After the turn into the 4th lap it almost felt like sprinting and the relax-ness was gone, so I surfaced and called it a day at around 95 meters. Very happy with it though, as small steps will get me forward!

Jorg tweaked his alignment a little further as well and did a few good test runs with the monofin. Although everything looked good on the outside, he told me he was not all that relaxed and a little bit too tense… But hey that’s what you get when you go out to the gym and workout your arms just before the freediving session ;). Good job training anyway! Respect, I know how it feels.

Next week I’ll make some adjustements to the aligning again and hopefully I’m able to get it right this time. Stay tuned for more on that topic.

Improving to 108m PB with monofin

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20091127-Pim-Special-GogglesLast Friday I joined up with Daan, Judith and Pim for another freediving session at the Tongelreep. The pool was still swarming with swimmers doing laps after their performance in the Swim Cup, so we had to wait about 15 minutes. Of course we could easily use this time for some catching up ;), also Pim brought along the special underwater lensed goggles from Kerian Hibbs. Strange how your depth perception can be confused, when you’re not used to these goggles.

WaterWayGlideFinFreedivingAfter the catching up it was time to do some dynamic’s. I got to borrow the Waterway Glide Fin from Judith again, who swam a fantastic 150 meters with it last week. So from that point of view it was no excuse to not try and at least do a 100 meter dynamic with that monofin. They also made me promise to add a turn when I reached 100m…good thing!

Daan asked me if I liked a 2 minute countdown, but for now I j ust wanted to do it. So I got into the water and took a few deep breath’s and went for it. Coming up to 50 meters my technique was still constant and I had my first contraction at 45meters. I Made the turn and tried to get back into the rythem of kick-kick-glide, but in a strange way I couldn’t really focus on the rythem. So I think I was alternating between kick-glide & kick-kick-glide ;). Never the less, I reached 100 meters fairly easy and reminded myself to the promise I made, turn at 100m! I made the the turn, did a small kick and glided to 108 meters. Did my surface protocol and recovered fast, I quote Daan on my dynamic: “in speedo’s, without packing and not enough neckweight, coming up like he just did 75. The kid’s got talent” really flatters me and makes me confident again.

We had a great time training at the Tongelreep, atmosphere was good. We were also very eager to see Pim do some freediving training again, he managed his own prediction of 7 meters DNF and superseded it with at least another 40 meters 😉 Well done!

Daan broke his Big Fat Bastard 2 and when I write this already made a Big Fat Bastard 3, what a massive thing ;). Judith did a training of easy 50’s, as she already proved to be able to swim quite the distance, quoting Pim: “a distance Sanne and me can only dream of”.

Finding Differences

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IMG_3970Sanne and I had another good training in the pool. Our normal training schedule is starting to get shape again. First half is static, second is monofin. Easy does it.

We started with static again. The hot tub was filled with people from the previous diving (jump in the water type of diving) class and we  put ourselves in as well. Normally I don’t want to do static if somebody is watching my back. Crazy defect in my head just doesn’t like it when people are watching me doing freediving.

Today was different. Besides the fact that I don’t use goggles and a clock anymore for static already meant a big difference. But the fact that I started my statics with so many people in the hot tub is completly new for me. In the end I didn’t really mind doing it.

Static times are still at around 2 minutes, but it feels easier and easier and I’m doing them without goggles, which is already a big win for me. Never thought I could do it like this and stay (pretty much) comfortable.

Sanne did his required no-warmup static and managed to get to the minimum time he had to do, but there wasn’t much inspiration during his attempt and he stopped way before what he could do.

Next was monofin time. After doing a few 25 meter laps, it’s time for 25+. Legs are full with lactic acid after a few laps, so I switch to high speed, low speed, kick kick glide, etc. I do a very easy 50 meter. Sanne does a 75+ meter in a busy and unorganized pool.

Between the different laps I also do some 25 meter dynamic without fins, which feel great as well. Time for a dedicated lane during club-evening. Got the feeling that personal bests aren’t that far away anymore! Would be interesting to see a new freediving personal because the last one I did was almost 7 years ago.

100 a new PB with monofin

There I was at my weekly training with Jorg, who had just been doing some serious improvements on his monofin training. Only a few days ago we went to the competition in Liege and there I made my first steps into the monofin world”with a 75 meter personal best (PB). The feeling I kept from the competition, was eagerness for more training and perhaps even distance ;).

Sanne swimming with the Leaderfins Hyper mono-fin
Sanne swimming with the Leaderfins Flyer Pro mono-fin

After Jorg had just done a nice 50+ meters with the monofin, I took over the tight-foot-pocketet-momofin and sat down on the side of the pool. No preparation and just went for a 50 meter dynamic with new kick-kick-glide technique from last Sunday. At 50 meters everything was very OK and I decided to see what 75 meters would feel like with this more relaxing technique. At 75 meters, everything still seemed to be very OK and the turn was made before I could even think of resurfacing. It was at 95 meters that I first felt a little urge to resurface, which I did, just to be safe. Recuperation was easy like I did a 60-75m dynamic and I remember Jorg noting, that this was the most relaxed he’d ever seen me swim with a monofin.

As opposed to Saturday this was a huge difference, altough I was not totally doing the kick-kick-glide all the time, it payed off and leaving me with a brand new PB of 100 meters with a monofin in dynamic (DYN).

Last time I did a 100 meter dynamic actually also was more than over a year ago, 26th of january 2008 to be exact… Overall this leaves me with a good feeling and motivation for the time ahead. Clearly the facts are pointing out to myself that doing a step back to take a break can really refresh you.

Time for a change: Testing at Liège competition

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Since I made a good comeback last month in the Wiesbaden competition, I have been training with a few different things. Yesterday – Sunday 25th of october – I competed in the competition in Liège, Belgium, amongst a whole bunch of fellow Dutch freedivers. It was nice to meet up with all dutch freedivers again, met a few freshly trained freedivers as well. Good to know the dutch competition interest is still around!

It was the perfect time and place to give my change of training methods a better test, as in Wiesbaden I was more focussed on proving myself I was able to do solid performances.

Dynamic with Monofin

Getting ready for the turn
Getting ready for the turn

The major change in dynamic with fins for me was to go for monofin. I have been training with it, but never did a competition with it. In training, my technique has been far from good and that might have been a reason as well to never show it to anyone else in a competition ;). But as we’re trying to change some things over time, It was a “What the heck” moment which made me decide to just do it!

Preparing myself for a push off in a 1m 25cm deep pool at one side (2m 15cm at the other end), I was surprised to see that the push off was fairly good. I had trouble finding the rythm and balance, but after lane one I was up for a turn. I remembered Pim pointing out in the briefing that there was a ledge of 10cm’s, so reminded myself last minute “Ow yeah, touch above the ledge!”. So I swam up a bit and made proper turn, trying to find balance and rythm yet again. On to the ‘harder’ turn at the shallow part of the pool, all the way there I visualized how I would try and make a flat turn, which I managed to do fairly well. But after the push-off the wall, I drifted sideways and my balance was kinda not there anymore. On my way to the 75m, I decided to call it a day as my technique is still failing me to make it a relaxed and easy run. Although I wasn’t out of breath, I think it was a good thing to make 75 meter my first monofin personal best 😉

Dynamic without fins: 2 strokes or …
20091025-Liege-DNF-01My mission for DNF was to try and make it across the pool in 2 strokes, which I had been training in the Tongelreep last Thursday. After the start I felt that the somewhat shallow pool made it harder to be properly balanced and I felt my legs drifting upwards. At the 2 strokes mark, I did not make it far enough to just glide the last bit so had to make an arm stroke to get there. The way back to 50m’s was no different and after the turn at 50 it became more vital to pay attention to technique. Because I had been focussing on that quite a lot lately, I found that holding my hands flat on my legs after the arm stroke did help in gliding further. So on my way to 75m’s I usually feel myself getting a bit sloppy on technique, so I put in the extra effort to keep the technique on a good level. All the way to 75m’s my technique was proper and it all felt good. I decided to make a turn and push off the wall and resurface. Immediately after I surfaced, the safety guy gave me the resting board and I made a clean surface protocol. A training in a training to be honest, as the line wasn’t strong enough to support a freediver hanging on it, I decided to try the board for a change at the deeper part of the pool.

Concluding
All in all this was a super training session, I learned a lot from my efforts that day. Dynamic with monofin was far from perfect, but did taste like I could do more. Also on DNF I made progress, but need to have more neckweights to be able to work with different pools.

Another lesson I learned and put to practice really well was the fact I was happy with a 4 minute 20 seconds static. With most people whom I explain this to it’s an eye-brow raiser, but this is where I am at for the moment. I need to have fun in freediving and anything more the 3 minute 30 seconds was good for today, so I’m happy with it!

At the end of the day I borrowed Daan’s monofin for a quick test. Did 50 meters with it on my normal style, which already felt so much better than my own monofin. After that Daan and Jorg asked me to try the kick-kick-glide technique and that went surprisingly well. Made to the 25m’s in 3 kick-kick-glide’s which Daan explained was a good tempo. So to get back on a comment I got from Eric van Riet Paap on facebook, yes I will be switching to monofin for now and really would like to get a glide monofin.

20091025-Liege-FB-01

This all sure taste’s like more and gives me some new opbjectives and new energy to train hard! Most importantly I had a lot of fun at a freediving competition.

How to: choose a monofin (for the Pool)

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Sanne swimming with the Leaderfins Hyper mono-fin
Sanne swimming with the Leaderfins Flyer mono-fin.

…or actually how we think we should choose a mono-fin. As Jorg  and I were training last week, we tested a few different kinds of mono-fins. We wanted to see the difference between the fins in areas like;

  • if they were comfortable
  • how they performed
  • what the efficiency is
  • how the balance is using the mono-fin

The tested mono-fins were three kinds, two were from Leaderfins and one was from Special fins.

  1. Leaderfins Freediving Sport
  2. Special fins ‘Dolphin
  3. Leader fins Flyer

Continue reading How to: choose a monofin (for the Pool)