Swimming Lesson #29

Today I spent about an hour in the pool. Half of that was freestyle, and when I was exhausted from that, we went onto backstroke, and then breaststroke. I still don’t have much stamina, but I can now do a length and a half (30 metres) of freestyle before I forget when to breathe and come back up in the middle of the pool, looking daft.

Either I didn’t set my stopwatch correctly, or I got a rapid improvement. I did one length of breaststroke in about two minutes (that’s a minute for ten metres, or six seconds to travel a metre) but my second length was only 50 seconds, and the third was 49 seconds. So some progression there.

Then we tried modifying the arm movement. The shift is to keep the arms closer in (pulling elbows in toward the ribcage) and then plunging your arms forward as you drop back into the water. And forget to kick, because you’re so intent on what you’re doing with your arms. So then I was slower again. Oh well, gradual gains. This is better than when I started swimming and I didn’t move forward at all when I kicked, so even if it goes in a funny direction, no matter.

For the last few minutes, butterfly. That was fun: you dive down into the water, kick, and then try to get back up towards the surface, then dive down again, kick, and try to get back up to the surface again. This is… interesting but wasn’t great for getting my head above water so I could get some air into my face, so then I scull my arms wide, get my head up and gulp, and then dive down again.

Apart from the fact that I’m dreadfully stiff (and inflexible, which is an aggravating contradiction, but such is life) that was better than the last time I tried this and just… failed to do anything. So that’s an improvement.

What else did I learn today? Well, my crazed windmilling of my arms in backstroke isn’t quite right – when it comes to getting them in the water, you want to pull hard along your sides to get some more force. That made me go quicker, but (and here’s a strange thing) my left side is stronger than my right (the opposite of what happens with both climbing and freestyle) so again, I was veering all over the pool. So I guess that’s something to work on. Now I have a friend living nearby with a swimming pool, maybe I can take advantage of that and get more swimming in each week.

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