Last night was a Bloomington pool session. When I started practicing the reverse sweep roll I was able to sustain a nice chest scull and recovery, I was able to to do a reverse sweep by setting up falling face first, but every time I went in backwards for the whole roll I was unable to cleanly finish the roll, each time I ended up having to scull up. This continues until Alex paddled over and pointed out that the reason I was failing was all to do with when I was engaging my knees. When falling in face forward I was engaging my knee immediately, drawing my head to my knee and thus the roll was working. When I fell in backwards I was not initially in contact with the masik and thus was loosing the knee contact and was not engaging it until I was nearly completely through the paddle sweep.
Based on Alex’s advice I set up for the roll with my knee engaged and as soon as I felt my paddle blade in the air I started “lifting” my knee. The effect was immediate and dramatic, from then on every roll was a success!
Buoyed on by the success Alex started talking to me about the storm roll. I explained that I had succeeded a few time but was not sure why it had worked, I demonstrated a failed attempt, and then Alex explained what he had found to be the magic behind the storm roll. Two factors, one was putting the blade on edge between my fingers and thumbs, as opposed to grabbing the blades edges. The second was to punch forward with my offside hand rather than sweeping with my onside arm. It worked like a charm, in fact as Alex predicted it felt rather magical as the roll just “happened”, the punch made a dramatic difference. Alex then explained that there were two basic ways to do the storm roll, a partial sweep stroke or a C-to-C, with the C-to-C you move the blade into a right angle position prior to using it as a lever, with the partial sweep you lever using the blade during the sweep and when it is in the right angle position. After Alex’s tutelage I was able to do both repeatedly.
It was an awesome evening of improvement thanks to the great help, I cant wait utill the next pool session.

Alex rolls again
Traditional Paddlers Gathering

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