George Park Swimdownhill
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Races are won or lost on dives and turns. The body should go through the water with the least amount of resistance. Hands are extended one palm on the back of the other hand, head down not looking forward, shoulders touching the ears.

I practiced my starts every time I raced or trained. When I did repeats instead of push offs, I would hop out of the pool and enter with a dive (great for the arms).

The pool I trained in was 15 yards wide, so by swimming widths I could get lots of streamlined turns in.

I would jump off the bottom in the shallow end, get my whole body out of the water like a porpoise, re-enter trying to make the smallest hole in the water possible and glide through the water.

I always came out of my dives and turns leading.


My brother Thurlow and I used to go to the Municipal Swimming Pool to train. The pool was a little over two and a half miles from our house.

Thurlow and I would get street car fare from our mother to get us to and from the pool.

When we would get to the street car stop, we put the cash in our pockets and would wait for the street car to load up.

As soon as it started to move, we would start to run, and kept going for fifteen blocks. We had a pact...If we beat the street car to Sherman Ave. we could walk the next seven blocks to the pool. But, if the street car beat us to Sherman, we had to run all the rest of the way to the pool.

As it turned out, we did a lot of running. The reward... great conditioning and the french fries or milkshakes that we bought with the street car money which was burning a hole in our pockets.

When Thurlow and I were a little older we would pack a lunch, ride our bikes from the city of Hamilton Ontario to Freelton stone quarry - a 12 mile ride each way. In the summer we would leave home in the morning and stay at the quarry all day. We did this two or three times a week.

The quarry was filled with water, we called it Emerald lake. It was surrounded by limestone cliffs. We would play tag, running all over the place, diving off the 25 to 35 ft. cliffs, and racing each other across the lake.

After the day at Emerald lake was over, we headed home. We had never heard of cross training but I think this was CROSS TRAINING.


Breathe in through the mouth, breathe out through the nose and mouth.  Do not exhale all of your air. 

Many people just try to breathe in, if you were a balloon you would soon explode.  If you force your breath out of your mouth only, water syphons up your nose and you are in trouble, choking and sputtering. 

Relax and stretch out, the water will actuaully keep you on the surface without a lot of effort if you just let it happen.

The first time I heard of Swimming Down Hill was in 1952 when I was training for the '52 Olympics. Olympic story now on home page.

Matt Mann, one of the top swim coaches of that time who coached the 1952 USA Olympic Team, called me aside and told me that my stroke looked terrific, but I should start to swim down hill.

He said that it is necessary to think of water displacement when you swim. He explained that the water moves forward in front of you and sets up a bow wave. It forms a "V" in front similar to that of a boat when it is under power.

As you move forward, the water you have displaced creates a bow wave. The void that is created with the body passing through the water in this manner, then fills in. (This also explains how you can draft off another swimmer by swimming close and just behind their shoulder).

The ideal way to swim is to get on top of that bow wave....then you will be able to swim down hill. Like body surfing, you can ride down the front of the wave.

Swim Tips

1...Did you know many shoulder injuries for swimmers come from stretching exercises before they are warmed up? Some experts say you should not stretch at all, and do longer warm up and cool down swims.

2...What I've noticed, is that any movement which causes stress or pain should be eliminated from your stroke.

3...Races are won or lost on dives and turns. The body should go through the water with the least amount of resistance. Hands are extended, head down not looking forward, shoulders touching the ears.

4...If you slap the water, the water will slap you back with equal force. Remember Newton's third law... "Every action has an equal and opposite reaction"

5...If you drop your elbow, you will push yourself backwards.

6...If you press your thumb against your index finger, it causes tension in the forearm. Swim relaxed.

7...If you cup your hand you actually press less water when it's cupped, don't cup your hands.

8...If you force your fingers together, this also creates tention in the forearm. Swim relaxed.

9...Always finish your stroke, touching your thigh as far down the thigh as possible but keeping the body streamlined.

How the hand enters the water.

It really doesn't matter.

I found it easier to place my hand in the water with the thumb and all of the fingers entering the water at the same time. The elbow is at 90 degrees away from your little finger with a slight bend in your arm. As your hand enters the water and drops down we press the hand and forearm (down about 3 to 5 lbs pressure per sq inch) very gently. Then gradually increase (to 9 to 12 lbs pressure per sq inch) not applying full pressure and take it to the catch point of your stroke.

When you get to the catch point max it (about 25 lbs per sq inch) keep the hand as close to the body as practical and press down to your thigh.

New article by George.

When I was young, I swam every event and was considered a middle distance swimmer. In 1952, at age 19, I was sick (had mono). I was bed ridden for 6 weeks. I was out of bed for a couple of weeks and swam in the Olympic trials. The first event I was entered in was the 440. At 200 yards, I went unconcious and was pulled out of the pool,  that was it for the 1952 Olympics and no more distance swimming for a long time. My work outs after that comprised of 500 yards twice a day plus waterpolo practice & games and swim meets on weekends.

I represented Canada in the 1954 Commonwealth games and swam the 110 yards placing 4th, and second in three relays. After the 54 games I retired from competition and only played water polo.

In Feb 1955 my coach called me and told me I was selected to represent Canada in the Pan Am Games in Mexico, the selection was made on past performances. I started training but was swimming very badly, I could not get my time below one min. for 100 yards(stinko). I decided not to go but the next day at a time trial I did a 51 second 100 yards, so I changed my mind and went. It worked out fine I came second in the Pan Am games, just touched out in the 100 meters free by Clarke Scholes of the USA, the 1952 Olympic Champion.

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