Thursday 21st March – Back in the Local Pool
7:00 alarm didn’t get a chance to sound as I woke up at 06:35 with intentions of today in my mind throughout the night. Back into the local pool again!
The parking ticket machine showed 09:45 today so without any pause, it was into the school swimming block and pay the 3 leva fee to the woman attendant, who I am sure thought I had given up swimming having not seen me for 6 days. It was a lonely moment changing into my swimming gear being the only one there. Through to the shower room with a cool rinse and into the pool where the still and empty waters greeted me.
Somehow it felt quite nervy getting into the water and a sense of tensing up giving thought as to the drills I was to practice today. As always bobbing is the start of the warm-up, this didn’t feel natural even though I ran it into extra time because of this. I still wasn’t relaxed when I went into the warm-up session of breaststroke lengths. With the head under every two strokes, again, there was not a sense of calm or relax as my first gulp of water and a stop took place on the second length! This was not normal in recent times as I tried to figure out why this was. I couldn’t but persevered with more lengths. The record was 12 lengths non-stop but on this occasion, I actually lost count but was sure it was more than 12, possibly 14 or 16.
Losing count of length done was something that I did wonder about before. Counting up to maybe 15 or twenty is feasible but when it get to beyond these numbers and into three figure numbers, how can you keep track? I am sure there are hi-tech watches that can count laps, not too keen on watches and these things and my thought on solving the problem was to roughly count how long it takes to do a length and time the swim dividing it by that time. There is a clock in the pool area so no need for a watch. That’s my answer, but not needed just yet with only the number of lengths in their teens.
My drill with the float kick board leading the way was next. Only left side arm strokes with left side breathing with took place next. To my amazement, this went very well and it was comfortable doing this. It felt more natural, relaxed and automatic, which is the objective. It just needs to be more consistent in terms of breathing more easily rather than trying to gasp before my head goes under again and feel relieved after each time. With this there is this clear message of thought after each breath, essentially thinking, Wow! I got away with it this time! Throughout this drill, there was that reoccurring thought. Still within the bounds of time spent practicing this is a vast difference from that first attempt a few weeks ago.
Reading up on advice with breathing it now it quite apparent that breathing on one side alone with freestyle is not good for your health and puts you at a disadvantage on open water. The plan was to master breathing on one side then build up the opposite side with a view of getting a bilateral breathing system at the end. This with the option of switching sides whenever the need arises. So, armed with a float kick board it was now an attempt to use the same left side drill but with the right side.
It all went pear-shaped after only two strokes with water taken in, panic stations and an abrupt stop with feet firmly on the ground. I tried again and again and yet again, eventually managing an uncomfortable length and totally exhausted. This drill needs to be worked upon in future sessions and I am determined to get it off and feel just like the left side. I knew it would harder on the right not my natural side, but the consequences of not eventually having an option to use the right side breathing technique scares me.
Back with the kickboard again and a few lengths using left and right alternative breathing, okay on the left and of course panic again experienced on the right; no surprise there then. It felt like a repeating homecoming each time I returned to the breath on the left side!
Finishing with a couple of warm down breaststrokes lengths I felt this session was constructive albeit with many ups and downs with confidence. The way to think about this was looking back as to how it was and how it is now, that is a great antidote to feeling down.
Looking at other swimmers that had now joined me in the pool, it was quite easy to spot mistakes they had with their seemingly faultless gliding through the water manner when I first saw them. Still miles better than anything that I can muster up it has to be said. Nevertheless, it is so easy to diagnose technical issues looking in, but very difficult with self-diagnosis. Maybe I’ll get Galia to video me one day and I can take myself apart with criticism. This won’t happen until the freestyle breathing is sorted, which, hopefully, won’t take a lifetime!
Due to dive into another swim tomorrow.
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