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I can't float

  1. Jun 28, 2004 #1
    When I go swimming (or rather walk in the water; I can't swim but I can pretend :redface: ), I like to try to swim under water and when I try, I can't. Why? Because I only stay under for a few seconds and float right back up again. I took a swimming class once, and the teacher couldn't figure out how to get me swimming under water (away from the surface and instead below). She told me to do the following:
    1.) blow through my nose
    2.) direct my head towards the bottom of the pool
    3.) While still above the surface, I should try stretching my arms above my head, and putting my palms together. Then, direct them in opposite directions quickly and with a lot of force to my hips.

    None of the above worked.
    The third one looked like it was going to work....but I came right back up again no matter my attempts to stay under.

    Now, I'm taking p.e. over the summer (5 hours a day!!) and we swim in our 5th hour. We also get free time on the last half hour. My friends try to teach my to swim. My weakness is swimming under water. you can guess why.

    So, does anyone have any suggestions of what I could try to keep me underwater?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 29, 2004 #2


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    I can't swim under water either. I will float even balled up and not moving, I can't sink. I can dive into the water, but I will immediately bob to the surface. So I understand what you mean. I just gave up learning to swim and content myself with floating.

    Maybe you could wear weights?
  4. Jun 29, 2004 #3
    Get rid of all the air in your lungs?

    Actually, I really don't like swimming. And I've [edit]*snip*[/edit], so I can barely even float, you lucky bums!

    Last edited: Jun 29, 2004
  5. Jun 29, 2004 #4
    Shackle an anvil to your feet.
  6. Jun 29, 2004 #5
    Y do u need to learn to swim when u can float? Surely if you can float there is no need to swim?
  7. Jun 29, 2004 #6

    jimmy p

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    It's easy to stay underwater with someone pushing your head down with their foot
  8. Jun 29, 2004 #7
    I can't float. You are supposed to be able to float just a little bit above the surface but I level out in heavily salted water about 2 ft down.
  9. Jun 30, 2004 #8
    Oh, how fun. My friends have a similar idea. They find it rather amusing (while I find it rather torturesome) to grab my feet and try to pull me down. They do this rather abruptly.
    Tsk, tsk, tsk....I can float and you can't! :wink: lol. just teasing. :tongue2:

    Good idea!! :surprise:
  10. Jun 30, 2004 #9
    Right on Evo! You're just like me! my mom is trying to sign me up for swimming classes. But the phone number of the school "accidentally" (hehe, imp's naughty sometimes.... :devil: ) disappears. Along with the address!! mwhahahaha!!!

    She got a hold of it though. :grumpy:

    you guys come up with the greatest ideas!! :yuck:
  11. Jun 30, 2004 #10
    There is clearly a problem with logic at work here. You name your thread "I can't float", when the truth is you can't sink. In other words, you tend to turn things around and get them backwards. So, your problem is probably that you are following the swimming teacher's instructions in reverse.
  12. Jun 30, 2004 #11


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    I can't float. Its all a matter of body fat. Most women float because they naturally have more body fat. Most guys (but not most kids) float too.

    Consider it a blessing - most swim tests include floating/treading water tests. They are easier for you than for me.

    For swimming underwater, you need to learn to swim on the surface first. Its the same force that propels you forward that you can use to pull yourself underwater.
  13. Jul 1, 2004 #12


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    If you just lie still, you'll float to the surface, you actually have to propel yourself downward to stay down. Try something sort of like the breast stroke, but instead of ending with your hands to your chest and pushing downward as you spread your arms out, turn your hands so that as you spread your arms outward, you are also pressing upward with your hands and end the stroke with your arms more at your side, near your hips.

    But then, I love swimming underwater. When I was a kid, my friend and I used to have contests of who could swim furthest underwater without taking a breath, or if we could reach the bottom of the deep end of the pool (no problem getting there, but it really makes your ears hurt!).
  14. Jul 1, 2004 #13
    Some people can float, others can sink...

    In either case; take a measure of pride and satisfaction in your accomplishment ! :biggrin:
  15. Jul 5, 2004 #14


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    Well, divers do use weight belts to help them sink and counter the buoyancy of the air tanks. The mafia prefers concrete shoes. If you completely exhale before going under, you'll have far less air left in your lungs, so that should get rid of some of that source of buoyancy.

    Though, I was just remembering my sister used to have the same problem...she'd think she was swimming underwater, but about all she accomplished was to get her head underwater while splashing us all as she swam right at the surface. Maybe that's what inspired me to spend more time at the bottom of the pool. :rolleyes: In third grade, I can't really remember why, but our teacher had us all hold our breath for as long as we could...I think we had just read a story about divers or something...she got a stopwatch out and told us people can't hold their breath a whole minute...she was sure I wasn't really holding my breath when I went over a minute (most of the class gave up around 30 seconds I think), but it really was just that I had gotten really good at it from spending so much of my summer underwater (though I did get nasty ear infections from the water in my ears...nothing worse than swimmers' ear!). So, maybe it's not so good to spend too much time underwater unless you're a dolphin.
  16. Jul 12, 2004 #15
    I'm jealous! I sink like a stone when I get in the water...try as I might, I cant tread water or float..or swim for that matter. :redface:
  17. Jul 12, 2004 #16


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    I started a scuba course this weekend. One thing we did was practice buoyancy control. You have weights, but you also have an inflatable "buoyancy compensator" vest. We got in a prone position on the bottom of the pool, inflated the BC until we were just barely off the bottm. The final buoyancy control is with your breathing: breathe shallow while adjusting the amount of air you keep in your lungs at all times and you can fairly precisely control your buoyancy. Difficult skill, but pretty neat.
  18. Jul 14, 2004 #17
    how do you breathe shallow?
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