Staying afloat

30 Mar

Maybe I won’t drown at the Nation’s Tri after all.

One week after my friend and swimming coach Double D told me there was “nothing natural” about the way I swim, I dove back into the Marie Reed swimming pool again last night.

I swam about 1000 meters.  No huge shakes, I’m sure, to other triathletes and even other runners.  But to me, that distance might as well have been a marathon.

Maybe it was my cool new swim cap that I picked up at the SunTrust National Marathon expo.  Maybe it was because there were several cute girls watching.  Or maybe it was the numerous YouTube videos on how to swim that I watched this past week.

Either way, I felt some major improvements from last week.  I was able to multi-task better, concentrating on several aspects of my technique without getting overwhelmed by any one component.

I envisioned my spine as a metal pole keeping my body straight.  I extended my arms in slow, long motions, swiveling my shoulders back and forth in a more fluid motion, which forced me to “point” my belly button closer to a 90-degree angle.  I kept my face down and my hips up.  And instead of lifting my head each time to breathe, I focused on counting four strokes and then breathing with my cheek resting on the surface of the water.

I didn’t get it right each time.  I broke form a lot.  But when it worked, it worked big time.  I felt myself flow through the water more effortlessly and even with some natural speed.  I even timed myself, swimming one 50-meter interval in less than 63 seconds without “trying” to swim fast.

Double D kept coaching me during each lap and said I made several improvements.  More importantly, he said, I was able to tell what I was doing right and what I was doing wrong.

It’s still not natural.  It may never be.  But at least, this time, it was fun.

4 Responses to “Staying afloat”

  1. Liz March 30, 2011 at 10:21 am #

    How is that pool? I’ve been meaning to try it since it is closer to me than Tenley.
    I’m also not a natural swimmer so I think that distance is awesome. Any particularly helpful YouTube videos you want to share?

    • DC Runographer March 30, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

      Hey Liz. It’s a pretty good pool and free for DC residents, though it’s difficult to guess when lots of folks will be there so you’ll probably end up sharing swim lanes.

      I just Googled a few and found some good ones, like this one, which helped me with my breathing:

  2. Heather C March 30, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    What’s the actual distance you’ll have to swim for the race? And when are we going to get a YouTube video of YOU + Double D teaching us how to swim? Hmmm?

    • DC Runographer March 31, 2011 at 9:27 am #

      It’s be 1500 meters but without the luxury of stopping every two laps to catch my breath.

      Good question…good idea for another post.

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