Monday, September 20, 2010

I cannot change.

I have been trying ever so hard - like a diligent student, to listen to everything my swim squad teachers say. And I always try - like a diligent student, to implement the changes to my stroke. I am a firm believer that there is always room for improvement. But it seems the more I try the worse my stroke gets. My head just cannot cater for so much information during the swim. I like the whole concept of nice high elbows (out of the water) as it gives me a nice clean catch but everything inbetween just seems to make me lose form. I guess after 30 yrs of swimming the saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks", must ring true for the most part.

I think they could see my dilemma and have since just told me to swim. To forget about what it is I heard and just swim, because essentially however I swim I still move water, which is good, and I can hold about a 1min 30sec/100m. When I was trying to do as they were instructing my head was in constant dialogue with my arms
  • nice high elbow on exit
  • place hand directly in front of shoulder, don't cross over
  • clean entry
  • don't dip shoulder to get good catch
  • but then forget what the rest of my body was doing
And then in an instant my mind would have to refocus on the other arm. Physically it was challenging but mentally it was exhausting as I just couldn't enjoy swimming. So I was glad when he told me to just have fun and swim. Here was Saturday's session:
  • 400m Fr/s Warm up
  • 400m - 25m front entry scull, 25m Fr/s, 25m middle entry scull, 25m Fr/s
  • 100m recovery Fr/s hands were cramping from the scull
  • 8 x 50m Fr/s counting stroke for 50m
  • 300m - 50m Finger trailing, 50m Fr/s
  • 4 x 200m Fr/s on a 1:40 per 100m then 50m active recovery breastroke between 200m
  • 8 x 25m open water swim sprints
  • 100m nice easy Fr/s sighting every 4 strokes
I absolutely love and detest the open water swim starts. Love it because it's fast, furious and fun and hate it because I really can't see where I am going and I am grabbing at body parts in a blind panic (sorry boys). I guess that's half the fun but it's not something I am used to, so the more we practice these the better I will get at getting tougher and using my sighting techniques to see over the whitewash.

Yesterday was supposed to be the day where I would head into the city to see my friends do their Half and Full Marathon but after checking the website, the road closures were just too vast to even attempt getting in there in the morning. So we gave it a miss but I have since found out that they did really well. Congrats to you all, you are all totally inspirational.


  1. This post made me smile. I have only been "swimming" for three years. I have been to a couple of coaches that have actually really helped me improve my confidence and comfortability in the water. Swimming is something—unlike running and biking—that I believe you have to do EVERY day... even a little bit. Get in there, and get the feel of the water. I find that i make terraced improvements, plateau for a while and feel like I am going nowhere. But—you can and will improve! That 1:30/100 time is solid. Keep swimming!

  2. I remember the swim video you posted a couple weeks ago. I was thinking, arm is kinda straight, but man she is flying through the water.

    1:30 for 100m would be smokin for me. You know the saying, If it ain't broke.

  3. Barbie, you are a fantastic swimmer! I know running coaches that look at elite runners winning races and critique their form, but they are still winning races...

  4. I wish I could be as fast as you! One thing that my coach always told me is to just focus on 1 thing that I want to fix at a time. That way I don't get mentally exhausted. It's hard not to think of all the things I need to do, but it does help to just focus on one thing at a time!

  5. Mark: Thanks so much. I will continue to keep trying but some things I think are just so ingrained they are too hard to change.

    Flatout Jim: Yeah, that's my right arm, but I am pleased to say it is getting better. I think the other things are probably okay to stay as is.

    Eoin: So true, I guess that's their job. I have learnt to keep my elbows high and i really have benefited from that.

    Aimee: I think it's the high elbows. Will continue with that for a while and see if maybe I can incorporate the others slowly.

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