Sooo… swimming. People make it look so easy, don’t they?! I’m lookin’ at you Nina!!! Swooshing gracefully up and down the lanes. Well, I’m here to call bullshit on it all (Name that movie?! Ha!)! It’s HARD! Last week I got in the pool for my first unofficial swimming lesson. Nina just wanted to see where I was at before we started on training properly.
As soon as I stepped my toe into the water I felt a quiet sense of dread rising up, by the time I was fully submerged it had turned into fully fledged panic. Things got even worse when it was time to attempt the whole front crawl, head under water, breathing out every three strokes thang. I breathed in when under water, swallowed what felt like whole lung-fulls of chlorinated water. I then forgot (or just froze, I’m not sure!) to breathe in when my head was out of water. I was a mess. Little kids were laughing. (Ok so I might be being a tad melodramatic here, just a tad though…)
When I finally got into some kind of rhythm I would approach the (seriously) deep end of the pool, see that hideous drop, go into panic mode and have to stop for a second before I swam over it. This was totally irrational. I mean, I can swim, I’m strong… worst case scenario I could have done the ‘head above water front crawl’ or breast stroke, or even the doggy paddle! Ha!
Anyway it was frustrating! I felt so far out of my comfort zone it was untrue and it had me seriously worrying about the whole triathlon thing.
But (and thankfully there is a HUGE but) I went again the next day on my own and just plugged away at it. I practised my breathing at one end of the pool. To do this I just held the side of the pool and kicked my legs back, keeping my back arched slightly to help keep me in the right position. Your feet should be splashing at water level (not completely underwater) and your whole face should be submerged. Then I just practiced breathing in over one shoulder, putting my face back underwater, breathing out for the count of 3 and then breathing in over the opposite shoulder. I did this for a while, just to get used to it. It really helped to calm me down. Then I tried some lengths… I was still hideous BUT much better than the day before.
After a couple of these sessions but in a smaller pool. I decided to pull on my big girl pants and revisit the dreaded
only slightly bigger huge pool. I used a pool buoy to really focus on building my arms and I did 20 x 33m with a 45 sec break in between each length. I know that probably doesn’t seem impressive at all to any confident swimmers out there but for me this was a huge improvement! By huge improvement I mean I felt like fist pumping when I finally finished! Haha!
I also managed to keep my cool when people swam past me going in the opposite direction, plus the pool was a MESS with people just fannying around! Last week they would have splashed me or got in my way and I would have broken my breathing pattern and stopped.
So all in all I’m made up! I just
desperately hope know that in 8 weeks (or so) I will be ready, whatever I have to do to get around that lake I will do it!
If you read the first part of this post and felt like I was writing it specifically about you then please just keep at it! You will get there! It’s all about the baby steps, just chip away at it and before you know it you will have made huge leaps and bounds!
If I could offer any tips to fellow beginners, they would be;
- Wear goggles (decreases panic from water in eyes / not knowing where you’re going etc)
- Wear a nose clip (decreases panic / the feeling that even though you’re not breathing in water through your mouth you might just breathe in through your schnozz by accident!)
- Use a pool buoy (they are sent from the heavens!)
- Aim to visit the pool at a quiet time, also look for ‘adults only’ on the timetable. The less that can put you off your stride (or stroke) the better!
- Finally… stick with it!!
Anyone out there got any tips for beginner swimmers? I would love to hear them!
I have heard from a couple of people about waterproof MP3 players?! Not sure if that would help or hinder me… I’m a bit of a liability as it is! Ha! Maybe some meditation music to keep me calm would go down a treat?!
Thanks for reading! 🙂
Lots of love, Hayley