Swimming Lesson #32

Things went much better than expected. The last time I swam was almost two weeks ago. Since then I’ve had a kidney stone, been to the hospital three times, stayed up too late last night and then got up at six this morning to put myself through a tough set of bodyweight exercises. On the positive side, I’ve also not had a coffee in weeks, so I has that going for me. But I was figuring out this would be a hard return to the water.

Also, I forgot to pack a towel, so I had to dry off using my shirt and wear my rashguard home instead to preserve my dignity.

I was having a class on my own today, and for a warm up I had to swim one length of the pool, just kicking. This seemed to take forever. There was a point a third of the way in when I seemed to just grind to a halt and not make any progress at all. Getting to the far end, quads burning (they haven’t recovered from Tuesday and Wednesday’s climbing sessions) I felt I was going to have a bad time.

Then I managed to swim a length in 30 seconds. And after a minute’s rest, I took two seconds off. I got equipped with hand paddles, which make it harder to pull through the water, as well as making poor hand entry much more apparent, and did another 28 second length, and finished off with a 30.

Throughout, a few things helped. I concentrated on bigger, slower kicks. I kept my arms moving faster, wiyt a slightly more contact stroke. And I managed to keep my head underwater for longer – four to six strokes between breaths, rather than two strokes. The longer I stayed down, the longer I was gliding and not dragging (I’m not going to claim to be hydrodynamic yet) so having to breathe less actually made me less tired, which meant I needed to breathe less

With the paddles removed, I had one last Sprint and took it down to 27s. That’s substantially faster than where I started today, and the best I was doing in a 25 metre pool was in the 40s, so a week in bed, a fistful of painkillers and lots of games of Blood Bowl appears to be good for something at least. I finished off with two lengths without a break (1:10 to do 40 metres) and then floated for a bit before heading home. What a nice way to finish off the day.

4 thoughts on “Swimming Lesson #32

  1. Six seems a long time to go without a breath, although I think if you break it down scientifically, it’s not at all. Just the thought of it would be panic inducing in me which would be counterproductive. That’s why breast stroke is so good! Breathe every time and I can see where I’m going.

    1. I think one thing that made it easier was reducing the length of my stroke slightly, so I could increase the frequency. Oh, and because I can’t get the actions coordinated, my breaststroke is a floundering mess so I often end up inhaling water and getting in a right flap.

      But it’s fascinating how different body types do better or worse with different approaches to freestyle – I started off being trained to swim like my daughters – kicking much faster, when if you’re heavier like me, slower kicking is actually really beneficial. I guess it must be the same for breaststroke, but I don’t know what the appropriate tweaks are

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