Swimming Lesson #20

Today we videoed my freestyle, so for the first time I can see what I’ve been doing. I regret that we didn’t record what I looked like on my first lesson, but then I’m not sure watching me freak out at the idea of submerging my face would have been so enjoyable. Well, enjoyable for me, anyway.

So today we focussed on improving my freestyle. Two things:

  • When I bring my arm forwards after each stroke, I lead with my elbow and pull it up high, because I thought that was what you were meant to do. But it’s more efficient to scythe your arm forwards over the surface of the water in a horizontal arc, than some huge yank up in the air.
  • I bring my head out of the water to breathe. This is because of my general prejudice against drinking water, but it’s inefficient because as my head goes up, the test of me sinks and I lose momentum. What I should be doing is pulling harder with one arm, resting my head on the other, outstretched arm, and turning my face to the side so it’s marginally above water and I can breathe.

I get this, in principle at least. When it comes to doing this and remembering to kick hard as well, and pull back hard enough that your face has time to be out of the water to breathe, I begin to struggle. But still, it’s much better than I used to be.

We didn’t do anything with my backstroke, which made me sad, because I fancied a lie-down, but made me proud that I’d mastered this enough not to need remedial work. So instead we did breaststroke.

I still have problems, but it’s gradually getting easier. There are a lot of cues to remember: knees need to be higher up(in line at least with, and perhaps higher than, your waist), the kick needs to be wife but then your feet need to clap together at the end, and you really need to concentrate on getting your head up, breathing and then kicking as soon as your head is under water again.

Oh, and relax while you’re doing this, which as a raging mass of tension is never easy for me. My arms are sore (a combination of today’s swim plus yesterday’s hard strength training) so it certainly feels like I’ve had a good going over, but I’m glad I didn’t skip this because of my injured finger.

I treated myself with backstroke to warm down. It’s nice to have something you know you can do.

And so home to bed. Or at least spending 90 minutes persuading the girls to go to sleep.

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