Swimming Lesson #54

For my last ever lesson in Singapore, I prepared by going climbing this afternoon, and then having a gin and tonic. This is not recommended because every time I dipped my head underwater I got a hefty and distracting whiff of juniper. Maybe I should have gone for vodka instead.
Anyway, we did four laps of freestyle to warm up. Previously, I might have done four laps of freestyle and called it a day, so that alone was progress. But since I wasn’t sure what else to do, we worked on my butterfly.

I learned there are roughly 3 things to concentrate on with butterfly:

1 Keep your head down
2 Breathe fast – it’s a gulp of air in when your face is out of the water, and then exhale quickly while underwater. This is the direct opposite of freestyle, where you exhale slowly
3 The rhythm is kick – kick and pull. Kick, kick and pull. There are some variations in this: kick, kick and pull and then glide, then kick, kick and pull – or what worked better for me: kick and pull, kick, then glide, kick and pull, kick, glide, and so on…

This was brutally tiring either way. I remember when I started swimming, everything was exhausting. Now I can cope with freestyle, but butterfly is a whole different thing. But it’s a fun stroke.

Other things to remember:

Kick from the hips, not the knees. When I was doing it badly, I was focusing on slapping my feet into the water. When I was doing it well, it was about driving my hips up and down like some demented aquatic twerker.

Keep your head down, not lookong forward. This was hard for me to get the hang of. If you don’t do it, you sink, and so when I was continuing to do my butterfly I was getting lower and lower in the water, until when I pulled to get myself up, I was still submerged. I doubt that’s good.

Pull your hands straight back. There’s so silly turning or shaping the water. Just yank them sgarigjy back, then swing them forwards. Do this without getting tired, and without one arm pulling harder than the other so you veer away from a straight line, and you’re good.

So after almost an hour of that, I warmed down with a length of freestyle and another of backstroke, and now I wish I’d learned to swim a decade ago. Still, I seem to have caught up at least a bit…

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