Monday, December 29, 2008

Lane 6 Kicked My Ass!

It was a whirlwind holiday week in San Diego, and I’ll blog all about it in the next few entries. First, let me just say that while I was once a middle-of-the-pack swimmer, I now officially and completely suck. I’ve been fooling myself for the past year and a half, since I moved away from the Masters program where I was accustomed to swimming, that my solo workouts were anywhere near the level at which I need to be challenging myself. I only get in the pool every so often these days, and when I do it’s usually for a nice relaxing recovery 2k. My limited time in the water has seriously reduced me to straggler status. Twice over the holiday week I accompanied MJ to San Diego’s North County Masters program and had my you-know-what handed to me in the slow lane.

I mean I could barely keep up. The coach during the first workout immediately and gently pointed out two of the major flaws in my stroke. First, I tend to cross my hands over in front, which certainly inhibits fast and smooth forward motion. Second, I seem to put my right hand up in a “halt” motion as it enters the water, rather than cupping it down and pulling the water back alongside my body. In effect, I am pushing the water away from myself, which is obviously a bit counter-productive. But even with a minor effort to correct, I found myself gliding much more smoothly, so I do believe there is hope for even the most aquatically impaired. Now the trick is to make the corrections stick, as well as to incorporate them with other key features of the freestyle stroke, such as proper body rotation and remembering to breathe. On the second workout I was asked to lead the lane as we churned out multiple sprints. I felt great through the first set of intervals and was energized to be leading my fellow slowpokes, but about halfway through the workout I literally thought my arms might fall off, dead weight hitting the bottom of the pool, never to be seen again. But despite a few toe-taps from the other Lane 6-ers, I held the starting position, and refused to give into fatigue until I saw MJ exit the pool (via Lane 1, of course) and knew it was time to stop. Lesson learned: I need to be in the pool a minimum of 3x a week, ideally at Masters, but at the very least putting myself through the paces of timed intervals and stroke drills. My goal, by April, will be to swim well enough to comfortably lead Lane 5!

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