Blog guest: Boris Stojanović – Fins and swimming
As a member of the national swimming team, he swam under the Serbian flag for more than a decade. Boris Stojanović is a former Serbian national team member, a participant of many European and world 50m and 100m freestyle and 100m individual medley championships. Boris is a former Serbian record holder for 50m and 100m crawl in junior categories and a present absolute record holder for 100m individual medley short course. After his successful swimming career, he said goodbye to professional swimming in 2017. He is living and working as a swim coach in Dubai.
For Swimming Dad as our #Blog guest, Boris Stojanović is telling us how much the swimming fins have helped or hindered his swimming career, and when, according to him, is the best moment for children to put on the swimming fins and why.
When do the fins help and when do they hinder? As for those children who are still learning how to swim, I would definitely say no to the use of swimming fins. Children have to learn proper swimming techniques and become strong first. The props I would recommend at this point would be swim boards, noodles, and such types of things, and of course to play and have fun. As for those who already know how to swim, the fins are important to develop the stamina and swimming speed. In my opinion, I would recommend to all the swimmers to start using the fins, the sooner the better. By using the fins, the swimmers would be able to swim long distances during their trainings for a shorter period of time. I would definitely avoid the use of the fins all the time, unless when some sets or additional exercises are done.
When did the fins help and when did they hinder your swimming? As I was swimming I used to put on the fins in order to develop a higher speed and I found it easier to swim my sets. In this way I improved my skills a lot and swam faster and faster over the years. It happened to me quite often to feel exhausted, so I used the fins to make my trainings easier. Generally, in my own experience I can’t tell you the bad side of using the fins. But it doesn’t mean that other swimmers will get the same effect from using them. If a swimmer is not strong enough and he or she is using big fins, he or she will be doing the kick with a big amplitude which will slow down the work of his or her legs.
When is the right time for children to start using the fins and why? It all depends on the possibilities and abilities of the children. If the children have been swimming actively for 2-3 years and are good swimmers (know all four swimming techniques) I would go for the fins. The fins should be the “short” ones in order to make a higher frequency of the leg moves. The reason why we use the fins is to develop a higher speed, to swim longer distances for a shorter period of time and to use them for doing some more demanding exercises more easily, like in the dolphin technique.
Which fins are the best for those who are learning how to swim and which are those intended for top swimmers? In both cases I would recommend “short fins”. To those who are still learning how to swim I would recommend soft fins so that their kick could be easy and efficient enough. As the children are developing and becoming stronger, they should replace the soft fins with the stiff ones. As for the top swimmers, I would go for “short” and stiff fins. Top swimmers must have stamina in their legs and develop power for their leg moves.