So, in order to prove my long term commitment to swimming and improving my health, I had a swimming lesson on Wednesday. Dan, ex NZ RAF, National Swimming Champion and all round double hard bastard, ran the rule over my stroke. After a general chat to set the parameters of what I wanted to achieve, I swam a couple of half lengths and Dan pronounced that my stroke had a “nice rhythm”. Which, I believe, is coach shorthand for “everything is pretty ropey except for your rhythm”. My number one priority, particularly as I’m going to be open water swimming, was to be able to breath ‘bilaterally’, ie to both sides, but I also had a feeling that my legs and they way I kicked wasn’t right. Dan quickly confirmed that I was pretty much using a side kick and that not only was that not helping my stroke overall but was likely to lose me a lot of friends on the day of THE BIG SWIM. There will be a lot of other swimmers around me when I do THE BIG SWIM and they don’t want some numpty thrashing around using a side kick and kicking the shit out of them under the water.
So the rest of the lesson was spent in the company of a kickboard (when did floats become kickboards, eh?) initially helping me just get the feeling of a proper flutter kick and latterly to be used in some drills helping me get the feeling of turning my head to the side to breath, rather than lifting my head out of the water. Those of you swimmers ‘in the know’ will understand that lifting your head to breath is a crime against smooth swimming and basically means that your legs lower in the water and you lose momentum. I won’t bore you with any more detail lest you all get the same glazed eyed expression Mrs Capital had yesterday when I talked her through my technical swimming woes. Let’s just say that the drills I have been given are designed to make me kick properly and be able to breath to both sides, and that I now have an intimate relationship with my very own float. It’s melancholy eyes (see photo below) have matched my mood as I’ve gone from being able to swim lengths seemingly at ease to feeling like my 12 year old self at Barracuda Swimming Club in Morden Baths.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. I’ve been following the plan from Dan, doing my drills every day until they become easier and more natural, and I even swam a whole length this morning trying to incorporate all the changes into my stroke. And you know what? It felt great, my body felt like it was working together much more and my whole stroke felt much, much smoother. Whether I’m actually swimming ‘better’ may have to wait until the next time I see Dan but I certainly feel things are heading in the right direction. You will notice that there is no spreadsheet in today’s post, mainly because for the short term at least my focus is on technique not fitness and churning out the lengths. Since I last blogged I have managed a 20 length swim in the Lido (in 11 degree water) so I’m fairly relaxed about that side of things for now, after all THE BIG SWIM is still over 3 months away. So tomorrow and at least the next week probably I’ll be developing my relationship with my float and working on my stroke, once I’m happy with that then I’ll concentrate on making sure I’ll be able to swim the full 3km. To sign off, here are the important numbers to date…..
Longest swim – 2000 yards (1828m)
Money Raised to date – £1,208.34 (£1,464.18 incl Gift Aid)
Money to raise to hit target – £1,791.66
Days until THE BIG SWIM – 110