I didn’t learn to swim till I was 6 maybe 7 years old – I would love to be more accurate but my brain is like a small HDD: I have to keep deleting things to find space for new memories 🙂 Am I the only one?? Anyway back to the swimming….
So even after learning I never quite got the joy of being in the pool. I remember picking the brick up and having to dive into the pool in my unicorn pyjamas (they may not have been unicorn, but trying to paint a lovely image for you here), but I can’t remember ever enjoying swimming length after length, and I am not even sure I even managed a length!
In high school I use to write the sick note signed by my Mum – Gareth cannot attend swimming today as his asthma has been bad during the night. There were many more sick notes, over many more classes, and ultimately by the time I left high school my swimming had not advanced any further than breast stroke with my head above the water!
So what the hell was I thinking signing up for a long course triathlon! I had hit the enter button knowing I had no swimming experience or skills. I was naive, to say the least.
Since signing up to the triathlons I have had a lesson to teach me the basics. That first lesson was simply teaching me the breathing technique and the correct style to be working on. It was an hour session, and by the end of it I had a lot to take away.
Now this is where I made my first mistake, and that was by only going 2 times a week while trying to learn the technique. I should have gone many more times. However, I was enjoying my favourite element, which was cycling, so I was using my spare time on hitting the tarmac and trails. ERROR.
Second mistake was thinking I didn’t need another lesson. I had learnt the basic right. What more could they tell me. After all lessons are not cheap. ERROR. I should have spent the money on the lessons instead of that new jersey!
Luckily for me Nathan and his lovely wife Jade are qualified swim instructors. Unfortunately they lives 3 hours away so I have not been able to use and abuse them. However, the time I have had with them in the pool has been invaluable. They have been able to give plenty of advice on my technique, tweaks that I need to work on, as well as the much needed training advice. All things I wish I could have on tap on a daily basis.
Putting my head in the water was never a fear for me, so swimming was not a feared thing, it was just something I had never done. The hard part for me so far has been nailing the breathing technique and trying to keep my legs high in the water – they have a tendency to drop.
Nathan has spotted flaws in my technique that is probably causing this to happen – so I have things to work on. The only issue now is that I am only 15 weeks away from Roth and only 11 weeks away from Blenheim!
Every time I come back from swimming T asks how it went, and ultimately my usual response is “rubbish”. Maybe I am being hard on myself. After all it wasn’t that long ago that I couldn’t “swim” at all and now I am able to throw in sessions of 1000-2000m. On the other hand I know that my progress is slow, and the events are approaching fast.
A lot of my sessions still include Pull Buoy work to try to isolate and work on my arm stroke, as well as the fact they help my legs stay high in the water. Then there are my stiff ankles. They are acting as brakes and anchors. To give you an idea of how inflexible they are – when I try a kick session I end up going backwards!! I have been told this is not a good thing. To try to counter this I am still using the fins to help with the inflexible ankles – not all the time, but more than I want to be using them for.
And finally I am still wearing the buoyancy shorts – a short made of wetsuit material – to help keep my legs high in the water. These are staying on for the foreseeable future. I know I will be wearing the wetsuit for both events, so using these won’t be counter productive on the day.
I need to start dropping the “toys” and start increasing the distances – I am under no illusions on these 2 points. And this is why I feel like I am drowning and not swimming. The pressure is there!!
I am confident it will eventually come together, I am just going to have to work damn hard to make it happen in time.
Thanks again for reading. Join me next week for all the fun adventures of the Brixworth Velo’s day trip to the Peaks.