Thursday, November 14, 2013

Well... I didn't drown

And my arms didn't fall off either - even if, after 30 minutes, they felt like they might.

I learned a lot during my swim session last night.  First, I'm glad I signed up for "group lessons" as opposed to "private lessons."  I guess several people didn't show, so I basically got a private lesson.  Very cool - and not cool at the same time.  Good thing was all the individual attention - bad thing was... all the individual attention!  No rest for the weary.

Here's how it went...

I met the instructor - a junior in college - and after a bit of small talk she asked "what do you want to get out of these lessons?"  I told her my goals were to learn how to breathe correctly, good stroke and eventually swim laps.  I didn't mention the triathlon training just yet - didn't want to overwhelm her with my craziness before we even get started!

So she had me swim a length to see where I was as far as technique and such.

She said it wasn't too bad.  (That's good news)

After that first length, she had me use this barbell type floaty thing and just kick one length.  She said my kicking looks fine. (Sweeet)

"Barbell Floaty Thing"
Another pic of a Barbell Floaty Thing

Then she says, "Ok now I want you kick AND hold this (the floaty thing) out in front of you with one arm, and with the other, drop it down and push the water back along your side, bring your elbow up high out of the water and grab the bar again.  Switch arms and do the same thing on the other side.  Then when you need to breathe, just put your ear on your shoulder (which ever side you want), roll your head to the side, take a breath and put your head back in the water.  Oh and breathe out through your nose, it really helps."

I'm like, "Uhhh... say that again...?"

I got the kick part ok, and the part with the floaty thing, but I guess I figured the rest would be added one at a time instead of BAM!!  But hey, if this is the way it's done, ok.  I will do it.

All I can say is that I'm very sure it was not pretty.  I kicked.  I did the requested strokes.  But when I tried breathing, it was... awkward at best.  By the time I decided I needed to take a breath, I struggled to remember just how she said to do it.

"Ok," I think to myself, "I want to breathe on my right side, so I'll put my left ear on my left shoulder and turn my head to the right and... CRAP!!!  I'm already done with that stroke.  Ok the other side then, put right ear on right shoulder and... need.... air.... now...." And I turn my head, out of sync with the correct stroke, and as I go to inhale, I realize, I never breathed out!!  So now, I'm automatically rolling with the next stroke and I haven't even inhaled yet.  Fail.  I just faced forward and caught my breath, then stuck my face in the water.  Better luck next breath, right?

Nope, pretty much the same thing.  How the heck am I supposed to focus on all that at once?

By the time we get to the other side, I'm more winded than when I kept my head out of the water.  Felt like I'd just ran around the block instead of swimming a few feet.  I was able to rest a minute before she said "Ok, do it again and this time really focus on your breathing."

Uh, ok.  On this length, I didn't really pay a lot of attention to what my arms and legs were doing and I didn't wait until it was too late before deciding to breathe.  I did much better, but I still forgot to breathe out through my nose.

It makes total sense in hindsight, but I guess I just felt the need to hold my breath - which caused me to be out of breath faster and actually take longer to get a breath because I had to exhale first.  Definitely gotta work on that one.

Well, I won't bore you with anymore details other than to say that I improved quite a bit over the half hour and I certainly know what I need to practice.

The instructor complimented me a lot on how fast I picked it up and how great I was doing, but I'm thinking they're told to say stuff like that.  I personally felt like those first few lengths were a mess!

Anyway, after a month of these sessions, I should be good.  I know I have a ways to go, but this was an excellent first step.  I'm glad I signed up.


  1. Very interesting! Maybe I will try that a little on my own. But my shoulders are so stiff all the time, it makes it difficult.

    1. Hi Sheryl! I feel the same about my knees. Ice then heat, ice then heat - at least that's what one of my docs told me a long time ago. The ice reduces swelling and the heat makes it feel good.


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