You all need to talk a lot more... The runner's talk like a bunch or chattering geese. Anyhow.
I'm up to a mile a day in the 25m pool (what a bunch of turnarounds!!!). Sundays I'm trying to go longer. Last Sunday was 2200m. My stroke is gradually improving. I get across the pool with 19 or 20 strokes now (down from 25). I've got a LONG way to go, though and I'm not fast AT ALL!
My question is about swallowing water and air. When I get out of the pool, I'm bloated because of all the air/water swallowed and it really is uncomfortable.
How do you all keep from doing this? Am I the only one?
Congratulations on your steady improvement. Everyone swallows water, but there are ways to lessen it. Here's how I approached it:
1. Core stabilization. This is the act of fixing your abdominals to stabilize your lumbar spine. It helps keep you from abdominal breathing like you see on a newborn. It also helps keep you long and lean in the water. In a simple setting, you can practice sitting in a chair, contracting your core, and twisting your upper torso by just moving your shoulders back and forth, or making large circles with your arms reaching across your body. I think Mike Boyle had some things on his site or youtube.com showing how to stabilize the lower body holding a stick attached to a cable pull. The sequence of the exercise ensures you are doing it right.
2. Spend time in what Terry from Total Immersion calls the "sweet spot". Its a position where your head is properly rotated, you are lean and long, and kicking. Learn to tuck your head in right and always rotate on your stroke to this position to get a water-free breath. I think he had some stuff on youtube also.
3. Focus on arm strength and eventually pliometrics. You want to have your arms strong so they can accelerate through the stroke. Then with each stroke you have some glide as you move into a more efficient position. You are then in your sweet spot where you are not as rushed to breath (and with your other practice on this position, you are comfortable breathing there.)
4. Improve your stroke. Notice in the swimming videos on Ironman sites how the front swimmers are almost throwing their arms up and over out of the water. You can learn how this super-efficient stroke is done by checking out Richard Quick's championship winning swimming.
This is just how I approach my swim. My best time was at Coeur d'Alene, a swim which was described by a lady who won her 30-35 age group, as "brutal". (That was the nicest thing I heard anyone say about the swim.) Some of the stuff I just wrote I have learned since because I have broken my shoulder twice (bike accidents), so I have had to get more efficient to do Arizona and Louisville. I know the DVDs can get expensive, but one good race makes them seem very worth while.
I at times also have the issue of swallowing air and getting a blotted stomach after swimming. I have found concentrating on exhaling eliminates the issue. Think about positively blowing out your nose between breaths. Really think about it for the first 200 - 300 meters and the rest of the swim should follow and go better. Hope that helps.