Swimming Progress

Okay, it’s been a few weeks since I first talked about swimming and my abilities (or lack of). So let’s discuss progress. At the very start of this journey just a few months ago, I swam with my head above water the entire time too afraid to have it be in the water. Now, half the time I’m too afraid to lift it out of the water because my stroke is going so well and I don’t want to break my rhythm! Trust me, this is a much better problem to have. My kicking is also, according to my coach, looking really good. I’m kicking from the hip and not from the knee, which is exactly what you want as a swimmer. Then we have the dreaded (at least in my case) stroke. I’ve thought about what my arms are doing once they enter the water and if they are doing the correct movement, but I have yet to really focus on that. I have bigger problems. Like the fact that my left shoulder does the perfect shoulder shrug movement that it should be doing. My right shoulder, has a mind of it’s own and is causing too much, what I like to call “shoulder action.” I’d also like to interject here that I was told my swimming is too graceful. I’m not sure if I mentioned this before, but I did gymnastics all of my life until I graduated high school. My swim coach made a point of telling me “swimming is not graceful.” My toes, hands, and fingers, however, have a mind of their own and think otherwise. They have been hardwired to do graceful movements. So now I’m focused on my shoulders and trying to shrug them as often as possible (in the car, at home, working, anywhere I don’t look too ridiculous, although I seem to have the urge to do it at the grocery store too…) to train my brain to override what my right shoulder insists on doing.

I’ve also noticed other improvements in my swimming in regards to my stamina. In the very beginning we (my husband and I) lasted only 30 minutes in the pool. Keep in mind our 30 minutes involved resting about 1-2 minutes after every pool length. Now, I can go for an hour and not feel completely exhausted by the end. I still need a 30-second to 1-minute break after my down and back lap and often need to take about 3 breathes at the far end of the pool before I swim back to the start. Is this psychological? Do I know that I’m at the end of the pool so I stop? Does my mind think I’ve accomplished a victory and now I can rest before trying it again? Or maybe I just don’t know how to do the under-water-fancy-turn-around-and-kick-off-the-wall move yet. I’ve got things like shoulder shrugging and not kicking anyone in the near vicinity to worry about before I conquer that feat.

Overall, I’m really pleased with how things are progressing in my swimming. Do I wish I was a swimming goddess already? Of course! But, that will come in time. I’ve also starting dreaming about triathlons, which I think is great. The more I can visualize myself competing in the race the better. Let’s just hope in real life I don’t have to crawl through someone’s attic as one of the race stages…

2 thoughts on “Swimming Progress

  1. Keep it up! Swimming only gets more rewarding the more time you put into it. As for breathing at the end of every lap, I went through a similar phase, until I introduced a tumble turn into my swimming. I started from pretty much where you are now and yet here I am almost breaking the sub 30 boundary for 50m free – not bragging, because pure swimmers do much better – but tumbles definitely helped. Although I did go through the inevitable ‘roly poly water up nose drowning whale’ phase. They’re a hassle to learn, but it makes the turn a lot easier, quicker, and efficient, and it rules out the option to stop which is great.

    Anyway, keep up the good work, really enjoyed reading your blog! I’ve just started mine but swimming is a big focus in my life, so if you’d like to know more check it out. I’m not out spamming bloggers to visit my page, I just think you might find it genuinely helpful/interesting when I upload my latest piece on swimming.

    You’re an inspiration, I’m setting my sights on an ironman 70.3, but I just can’t run!

    • Ella, thank you so much for your comment! I love soaking in as much information as I can from a variety of sources. Most often the technique that is used (for swimming, or anything else) is the same, but how it’s explained from person to person is different. So it might not “click” for me the way one person explains it, but explained slightly different it does.

      Good luck in your 70.3! I look forward to reading about it on your blog some day 🙂

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