Swimming Progress

While I was at BGOUG I went for swim each morning before the conference. That got me to thinking, perhaps I should start swimming again…

It’s been 4 weeks since I got back from the conference and I’ve been swimming very morning. It was a bit of a struggle at first. I think it took me 2-3 days to work up to a mile (1600M – about 9M short of a real mile). Since then I’ve been doing a mile each day and it’s going pretty well.

I’m pretty much an upper body swimmer it the moment. I kick my legs just enough to keep them from sinking, but don’t really generate any forward thrust with them. At this point I’m concentrating on my upper body form. When I think about it, my form is pretty good. When I get distracted, like when I am having to pass people, it breaks down a little. I guess you could say I am in state of “concious competence“. Over the next few weeks this should set in a bit and I can start working on some other stuff. It’s pointless to care too  much about speed at this point because if my form breaks down I end up having a faster arm turnover, but use more effort and actually swim slower. The mantra is form, form, form!

Breathing is surprisingly good. I spent years as a left side breather (every 4th stroke). During my last bout of swimming (2003-2008) I forced myself to switch to bilateral breathing, but still felt the left side was more natural. Having had a 6 year break, I’ve come back and both sides feel about the same. If anything, I would say my right side technique is slightly better than my left. Occasionally I will throw in a length of left-only or right-only (every 4th stroke) breathing for the hell of it, but at the moment every 3rd stroke is about the best option for me. As I get fitter I will start playing with things like every 5th stroke and lengths of no breathing just to add a bit of variety.

Turns are generally going pretty well. Most of the time I’m fine. About 1 in 20 I judge the distance wrong and end up having a really flimsy push off. I’m sure my judgement will improve over time.

At this point I’m taking about 33 minutes to complete a mile. The world record for 1500M short course (25M pool) is 14:10. My first goal is to get my 1600M time down to double the 1500M world record. Taking 5 minutes off my time seems like quite a big challenge, but I’m sure as I bring my legs into play and my technique improves my speed will increase significantly.

As I get more into the swing of things I will probably incorporate a bit of interval training, like a sprint length, followed by 2-3 at a more sedate pace. That should improve my fitness quite a lot and hopefully improve my speed.

For a bit of fun I’ve added a couple of lengths of butterfly after I finish my main swim. I used to be quite good at butterfly, but at the moment I’m guessing the life guards think I’m having a fit. It would be nice to be able to bang out a few lengths of that and not feel like I was dying. :)

I don’t do breaststroke any more, as it’s not good for my hips. Doing backstroke in a pool with other people in the lane sucks, so I can’t be bothered with that. Maybe on days when the pool is quieter I will work on it a bit, but for now the main focus is crawl.



PS. I reserve the right to get bored, give up and eat cake instead at any time… :)