I suck at swimming…i’d say it’s on par with my other nemesis exercise running. So when fellow TrueSapien and friend, and a triathlete, challenged me to a simple swim I was already cautious. The challenge:
Swim 250m in under 7 minutes, front crawl/freestyle only and no stopping.
It doesn’t seem difficult to many but I haven’t swam at all for nearly a year and haven’t had swimming part of a exercise routine for about 2 to 3 years and even at my peak I was terrible at front crawl and always opted for breast stroke. I’ve known my challenger Steve for a while and he is well aware of this so; thanks for the challenge Steve!
First session in the pool. Been so long such I’ve had a dip it was nice to just swim about for a bit. But enough of gliding around in breast stroke and underwater sneaking up to my girlfriend (which is thoroughly enjoyable even just for the scare factor) I was there for business and see just how good is my front crawl?! It was a 20m pool and first few lengths drained the hell out of me. “It’s all in the breathing” I’m told so I focused I gasping for more air. It paid off. Managed to knock out 4 lengths, which was a struggle, but it seemed that ensuring I got a full gasp of air would allow me to go for that bit longer…no brainer, right?! This was a small victory, but much more work on breathing technique is required. Off to YouTube we go for advice on improving my technique: How to side breath when Swimming Freestyle and Top Tips for Dealing with Breathing Problems in Swimming
Training day 2
This time I fancied trying a bit bigger pool. Found a local city pool, not quite the 50m pool I wanted but 25m means its a bit bigger and better suited. The breathing techniques i’d learned from research after training day 1 were put into practice and 4 lengths of the pool (now 100m instead of 80m) wasn’t too difficult on the breathing side of things. I still fatigued quickly, still felt myself gasping towards the end but I felt a whole lot more comfortable and a few tweaks I could knock out at least one more length. This time round was the muscle fatigue was letting me down. I had quite a hard going body workout the day before which wasn’t noticeable till I hit the pool. Post workoutr muscle stiffness and aching hit me after just a couple of warm up lengths. I continued and muscles started to cramp which made continuing for any duration quite difficult. It was obvious I had misjudged the post workout effects although I felt a more efficient and improved swimming technique would help me push out more strokes, even with tired muscles. I’d be faster and smoother in the pool, conserving energy, air and power. So next thing to look at is how to improve my front crawl / freestyle swimming technique: I found Swimming.org a useful resource, particularly Improving your Front Crawl technique and a video form Speedo called Freestyle Swimming Technique | stroke