Swimming Lesson #52

I had an hour’s lesson today: we started off with four lengths of freestyle, then some dolphin kicks, before going on to the full butterfly stroke, which is incredibly hard. Then again, I used to find freestyle incredibly hard, so there’s always hope.

Key things today:

  • The arm movement in butterfly is a pull straight back, from arms in front of head to arms behind waist, and then sweeping back round to the front. I’ve been doing something which 2aa basically the opposite of that, like a bastardised breaststroke, flailing out wide then coning in straight at the end. Combining this and kicking is really hard.
  • To do the arm movement right, your shoulders need to be relaxed, not hunched, so your neck is flexible and you can tuck your chin in. Again, it’s hard to make yourself remember to relax…
  • And again, it’s all about timing – the whole thing needs to be quite quick – kick kick pull breathe kick kick pull – or else it all falls to bits quite fast

If that wasn’t exhausting enough, then we swam my parachutes to make things harder. A lap of butterfly with extra drag, then four laps, one of each stroke, each with the parachute. If you go slowly enough, the parachute doesn’t fully inflate, but then you’re just elongating the exertion… 

Finally we practiced tumble turns. I’ve neve done these before. To get used to the motion, you try to tuck your knees to your chest and then roll your head down and try to execute a kind of submarine somersault. It’s best to have your arms out to the sides, so they can scull and help you to turn yourself over, and it’s always fun inverting yourself underwater. 

I didn’t quite get the hang of this. Perhaps it was cowardliness. To begin with, as the pool is only 120 cm deep, I keep seeing the floor get much too close as I went under, and I didn’t want to brain myself on the tiled floor. Then, perhaps all those years of martial arts meant I’m much more used to rolling to one side of an axis rather than dead straight, so I kept executing something very sideways. But still, a lot of fun. 

Then, finally, with my hands wrinkled like raisins, the hour was up, and it was time to get home. I imagine I’ll sleep well tonight 

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