LTS - Free Float

Apr 15, 2005
LTS - Free Float

In swimming lingo, "LTS" means Learn To Swim. A lot of LTS teachers and students have been finding their way to the Go Swim website, so this week we are adding LTS as an official category within our Drill-of-the-Week feature. Every few weeks, we will post a drill that will help increase your comfort level and body awareness in the water. Even if you aren't an LTS teacher or student, we think you'll enjoy trying some of these basic moves and positions in the water. They're a lot of fun -- for kids and adults -- and you may be surprised at what they reveal.

Free floating

Why Do It:
Free Float is one of the very first skills that I teach to my adult LTS students -- that is, once they are comfortable putting their nose and face in the water and exhaling under water. Almost everyone can float "like a cork" when they tuck up like this, and mastering the drill can give you a lot of confidence that the water will indeed support you and hold you up. It's a confidence builder. It also relaxing and a lot of fun to feel your body kind of bob and shift, depending on the wave action in the pool. Little kids tend to like it when you actually "dribble" them like a basketball.

How To Do It:
1. Stand in shallow water and bend at the knees until just your head and shoulders are out of the water. Let your arms and hands simply rest or float on the surface in front of you. It's helpful to have a teacher or buddy stand beside you.

2. Take a nice deep, full breath and hold it.

3. As you hold your breath, bend and put your face in the water and use your hands or the insides of your wrists to gently clasp your legs just below the knees. You'll need to bring your feet off the bottom in order to get into this loosely tucked position.

4. Keep holding your breath, relax, and feel for your rounded back to pop up to the surface of the water. Your head may roll a little forward when you do this, or you may roll a little to one side, but just hang onto the breath and the loose tuck. You won't do a sommersault!

5. Just let the water hold you up. When you are about to run out of air, simply let go of your knees and straighten up. You'll return to a standing position.

How To Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
1. It may take you several tries to get the hang of this, and to learn that while you may roll around a bit when you're in free float, you won't tip over or flip over. Just relax and let the water and your body interact.

2. Once you can free float, have a teacher or buddy GENTLY move or roll or bounce your body. Then trade places, so that you can witness how well the body floats when tucked up like this, and so that you can feel and see what happens when you roll and bounce the body.

3. See how relaxed you can be when you let go of the tuck and straighten up.

Thanks to Christine and Nancy for the demo! And congratulations to Christine, who kicked all the way to the deep end on her back last night!

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