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Travails of a Non-Swimmer

Using a Pull Buoy the Wrong Way

Speedo Elite Pull Buoy Right now I’m nursing a right calf cramp. It cramped in the pool two days ago but even now it’s still sort of painful.

Last night I applied a cold compress but this morning the pain was still there.

It’s all my fault, using a pull buoy the wrong way. I purchased the SPEEDO Elite Pullbuoy as I wanted to work on my stroke and this buoy had good reviews. It doesn’t slip easily and the unique shape makes it easy to clamp between the thighs.

The other day I asked my individual swimming lessons instructor how to use it, and he did a demo. I thought it would be great to use so that I could concentrate on stroking and rotating to breath instead of worrying about my sinky legs.

On Tuesday after doing the rounds at the gym I went to the pool and tried to work with the buoy. Unfortunately, I failed on my breathing stroke (under-rotation it seems) so instead of taking in air I drank a cupful of pool water. I should have flipped on my back to breath but I panicked and tried to stand, with the buoy between my legs.

Ouuuuchhh!!! This was where I strained my right calf. It cramped up hard and if my husband wasn’t there to massage my calf I would have been grimacing and wincing in the pool for a while.

I still believe the buoy is a useful piece of equipment, unlike the kickboard. It’s got a great grip and I know it will be effective when used properly.

Now if only I would stop under-rotating on my breathing stroke! Or learn to flip quickly instead of standing between a set of strokes. Sigh.



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  • slf

    Ouch. Hope your cramp gets better soon.

    • beverlyclaire

      Thanks! I applied another cold compress. I think I’ll buy hot compress tonight…

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  • Ted

    IF you are going to commit to the Total Immersion technique, it would be wise to learn not to use the pull buoy. It will get in the way of using your core. I used to use a pull buoy but have quit since adopting the TI techniques.

    • beverlyclaire

      Thanks for the thoughts, Ted. One of the main reasons I chose TI over the other “schools” I found when doing research on swimming for adults was that it was not gear-centric. I’ll put the pull buoy in a box and work on my core!