‘It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it’ isn’t always true!..
“ Sighting in front crawl inevitably involves pulling your head back against your spine, hunching your shoulders and shortening your lower back. Being an established technique doesn’t make it a good thing to do.”
Swimming long distances of front crawl in the sea is increasingly popular at the moment. There’s an established technique called sighting where you lift your head to look where you’re going, to keep yourself on track for your destination, every couple of strokes. It’s something every open water front crawl swimmer does and nobody seems to question.
There’ll be lots of videos and tips on how to get it right. You can probably do it using the principles of the Alexander Technique, at least in theory.
‘It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it’ is a commonly used phrase to market the Alexander Technique. But sometimes it is what you do that causes trouble, it doesn’t matter how you do it. Sighting in front crawl inevitably involves pulling your head back against your spine, hunching your shoulders and shortening your lower back. Being an established technique doesn’t make it a good thing to do.
I saw a video on Instagram today of someone swimming in the most exquisite of locations, the canyons of the American wild west. With his bright swimming cap and tinted Aqua Sphere Kayenne goggles, he had the right gear and looked assured in his technique. But how could he really enjoy the splendid view in that half-second window every 2 seconds, a moment of neck tension?’Bliss’ somebody commented.
I’d suggest that if he was pootling around with his head under water and coming up less frequently, to take his time both to breathe and to enjoy the view, without any other agenda, he’d be more able to absorb the magic of his surroundings.
But from what I could see, the most significant thing that was happening in that video, whether or not he was aware of it, was a bloke straining his neck and shoulders, and shortening his back. Being in beautiful surroundings doesn’t change what we do.
If you really want a view, it’s no use blindly following everybody else with their established techniques. You have to find your own way.