Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Learning To Swim As An Adult - Peter's Experience (Part 5)

Learning To Swim As An Adult (Part 5)

Continuing with Peter's Journey of learning to swim as an adult. Having begun to master backstroke, Peter now tries his hand at Breaststroke.

Soon as I tried to take a stroke from the torpedo position, I just nosedived, and got water up my nose. I was a submarine again. There was no way I was going to get my head up and above the water after the stroke to breathe, I was way down low.

This frustration continued for many weeks, but I just kept practicing and then eventually I found some timing with my stroke and my kick and to my surprise just one day my head bobbed up above the water and I could breathe go under and do it again. The most I could initially do was half a dozen strokes, and then eventually I got half way down the pool, but I was buggered ! I was putting in too much effort and was stressed.

“Try To Be Stay Relaxed”

Richard explained that the more effort I put in resulted in more stress, more fatigue and resulted in less endurance and less distance. “Try to be stay relaxed” he said, and “maximize your time gliding which will give you time to recover”. I did not understand this in the beginning as I was stressed all the time and could not relax even in the glide. But eventually I did, I got into a good rhythm, and in another month I finally completed my first lap of breaststroke and I was really enjoying this stroke, and I did find it relaxing. We were both high fiving in that lesson ! That was another great achievement.

A few weeks before my success with the breaststroke, Richard moved to another swim centre, and I immediately followed him across. Very different environment to the state of art new pool we used to have lessons in.


This one was an above ground Driclad type pool, 4 foot deep for the entire 25 mtrs, in an old converted factory shed. The water quality was excellent. I really liked it and the centre had a great feel about it. The owner Mark whom I met the first time I went in, was a very enthusiastic and proud of his centre.

The other big benefit for me was that I was now getting a private lesson with Richard, as there were no other adults in my class. Fantastic ! That was what I really wanted from the start. I also had one lesson with Mark when he was substituting for Richard.

Rotate My Shoulders More

Mark had a totally different style to Richard, and did different drills. He taught me to rotate my shoulders more during my backstroke, (both my shoulders were lying flat). The rotation helped to maximise the reach, length and depth of stroke and pull. He actually stood in front of me and rotated my shoulders as I was stroking so that I could get the feel of it. I do this rotation quite well now and have Mark to thank for that.

Learning to swim as an adult part 5: an Image of a mail swimmer doing cofident freestyle in the pool
From Adult Non Swimmer To Swimmer

I also traveled to Sydney and Brisbane during this period and I took the opportunity to go for a swim with my cousin Peter in Sydney. He’s been swimming forever, he loves the water and the surf and is very fit, and would put most people half his age to shame when it comes to health & fitness. (he won’t believe I wrote that but I know it’s true). He has always suffered from asthma so distance swimming was the go for him and he knocks up many k’s on most days.

It was great to go with him to the pool for the first time. He was just cruising up and down doing his 2 km of free style, while I practiced the few strokes I could do, then he would warm down with other strokes and watched what I was doing. We then had a bit of chat about what I should work on. We’ve done that a few times now.

The First 50 Mtr Outdoor Pool I Had Swum In

In Brisbane, I went for a swim with an old time business colleague, Greg Kelly, who is a well accomplished Tri-athlete. He took me to the Fortitude Valley pool. It was the first 50 mtr outdoor pool I had swum in. That 50 mtrs sure looked longer than that. Without too much thought, Greg and I jumped into the deep end, I was in lane 1 and he was in lane 2.

It was 8 foot deep at that end and that was 2 foot deeper than I was use to. This did not phase me, and I quickly got on my back, and started to backstroke to the other end. I thought no problem it will be 4 foot at that end and I will be able to stand up and rest. Meanwhile the view of the lovely crystal clear blue sky was great.

Besides the fact that the 50 mtrs took forever to complete and so I was pretty tired when I got to the other end. When I tried to stand up I quickly realized, shit, this is the shallow end and its still 6 foot deep, which I could now read on the side of the pool. I was exhausted and quickly grabbed the wall. (I think I left my imprints there also) I still enjoyed this experience and I continued to practice in bursts of less than 50 mtrs, and I would grab the side wall in lane 1 for a break, while Greg just went up and down. Since Greg was a tri-athlete, I was bit worried he might leave me stranded in this deep pool, by hopping out and going for 10 km bike ride following by a brisk run. Fortunately that did not happen, and it was another great experience for me. Thanks Greg.

Next it's time for Peter to star freestyle.

Enjoy
   Richard


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