Swimming - It’s Getting There
I had a great swim session this morning - mostly through concentrating on back to basics stuff. My problem has always been that I’m not a natural swimmer - although I’m fairly confident in the water, there’s still an edge of fear from when I almost drowned as a kid.
Breast stroke is fine for me, as it involves popping my head out of the water every couple of seconds . . . but my whole instinct is to fight against the water when swimming (OK, trying to swim) front crawl.
Like many triathletes (like, ZappoMan, IronManLife, the TriBlog, Grant’s Grunts, and Phil Barnes), I’ve been using the Total Immersion technique to try and get over this. But none of the drills felt really natural - there was always a sense of just going through the motions about it for me.
But after reading ZappoMan’s recent post about the basics, I thought perhaps I’d do better focusing on these, rather than the more ‘advanced’ stuff. In truth, I had such a poor swim session a couple of weeks ago that I’ve been avoiding the pool, so the only solution was to go back to what should have been easy.
What I concentrated on was Drill #4 (The Fish - ZappoMan says this is a fun drill, but I think it’s just because it reminds him of the SuperMan flying position ), trying to really work on breathing out fully, before rolling to breathe in. After a few lengths (alternating sides to breathe on), I found that I was at the point where I didn’t need to rest while breathing in - I could just roll, breathe in, and then roll straight back to the face down position. Not so easy on my ‘vanilla’ side (left arm up) as my ‘chocolate’ . . . but it felt natural and right - for the first time.
So I started doing some Zipper Skates and Switches. Not quite so comfortable, but certainly not as bad as before. And then I finished up with some full-stroke lengths - only a couple of hundred metres, but that’s more than I can usually manage in full front crawl, especially at the end of the session.
And it felt pretty good! I was only breathing on one side, and I can still see a tendency to start my left arm stroke too early . . . but it’s definitely getting there. My breathing felt right, and the almost whole stroke felt unhurried and efficient. Looking at the other guy who was in the lane with me, I think it was also markedly faster than my breast stroke had been.
Maybe I can unlearn my front crawl bad habits, and become a proper triathlon swimmer after all!