I did it, I did it! That great feeling again!
This week after my lesson with Beth I went to the pool every day to practice except one day when my arms were just too sore and I thought it best to rest up before my next lesson.
At my last lesson Beth asked if I had made it across the pool yet and that got me thinking. I hadn’t, and I wanted to. I made getting across the pool, on my back, in breathing position, rotating from side to side without changing my head position my goal. So I went into the pool, day after day, practice after practice, nose full of water over and over.
At Thursday’s practice I got into the pool and, right away, I completed my first lap across the pool on my back. I was so excited, but then couldn’t do it again. I was able to complete four or five strokes, staring up at the ceiling, trying so hard, and then I began to sink, my nose full of water, so far off balance I had to stand up. But I kept trying, over and over again. What is wrong? I think it is everything, keeping my body in balance, keeping my head correctly positioned – and my arms, they are throwing everything out of whack. The harder I try the less relaxed I become, the harder it is.
At Friday’s practice again immediately after I entered the pool I went across on my back feeling relaxed and happy the whole way. I wanted to shout with joy, wanted to say to someone, “Did you see that?” But then I lost it — my sense of relaxation, my balance, and could only get in four—five—six strokes in a row before falling apart and having to stand up. Still, every couple of times I started the length I was able to complete it, eventually doing five lengths – not in a row, but still — I did it. Ecstasy!
On Saturday I completed a length and then another – two in a row. I had the whole pool to myself and I loved the quiet seclusion. It was snowing outside and the pool room was dark because the windows had fogged up. I tried to complete another length, failed repeatedly, and then just before I got out of the pool I did it — once, twice, three times, then four times in a row without sinking, without getting a nose full of water, without stopping and standing up for breath.
When I finally got out of the pool, my arms and shoulders ached. I was thrilled and sore and excited about the much-needed breakthrough after some tough weeks.
Dear Shoney: I am so glad you are starting to figure out that “less is more” in water. As a swimmer one has to find the right balance between tone/tension and relaxation in the body. The core needs to be in a constant state of engagement, the forearms are toned only during the “catch phase of the pull” yet relaxed in the recovery phase. Just remember as you move back and forth across the pool that the effort comes from the pull, otherwise you are just riding the wave of momentum and rhythm. ~Beth