Wednesday 10th April - Mixing it
09:43 at the car park ticket machine, two minutes before time. What the hell I’ll go in early today and see what happens. The receptionist refused to take my money saying that the pool wasn’t open yet I would have to wait with no guarantee that it would open. The two minutes early didn’t make any difference, they were sorting out the pool’s safety prior to opening today.
As I sat down with now two other swimmers joining the wait what always goes through the mind is whether there are going to be more swimmers than lanes. Sharing a lane would be another step to open swimming I guess with people hazards. This didn’t make it feel too bad having to share.
We finally got the go ahead and the now four swimmers ready to take to the water. As always I take the nearside lane not favoured by others due to the two pumping filters that stick out and narrow the lane. There is also a torrent of water rushing out on each of them forcing you away from the side into the lane separator (not sure what you call these). This again would give an open water experience with the hazard and currents that have to be dealt with albeit expected and on a small scale.
Today I did a few warm-up stretching exercises before entering the water. This was only because I saw someone else doing it on the far side of the pool. It did, however, make a difference once done and in the water only needed a few bobbing breathing drills before off with a breaststroke warm-up lengths.
The breaststroke is still very much slower than snail’s pace despite experimenting with all matters of technique from the depth of the head in the water to varying lengths of strokes with different hand positions. Then the kicking from the frog leg style to the straight push. Nothing seems to make any difference apart from going slightly faster when totally relaxed, so that is what I focus on.
Freestyle is now manageable breathing on the left side and doing two lengths nonstop is possible now without any length of time for recovery. Again what I find is the more relaxed and easy going on the strokes, the faster you go using less energy. What prevents the relaxing is a little tiredness which causes you to tense up. I am sure this is entirely down to lack of swimming fitness and will improve in time.
Still only left side breathing which I feel comfortable with although there is a sense of guilt not using the right side and I had to do something about it. So out with the kickboard and right side only stroke and breathing with is really easy and comfortable. It is when it is transferred to swimming without the kickboard that gives out panic signals.
After a while, I dared myself to do breathing every three strokes without aids. Before I attempted it I knew it was going to give me grief causing me to tense up and panic. I guess that’s why I dared it. Well, true to form the tension started straight away losing my count on breathing after only a couple of metres having to skip the breath on the right. Somehow the left side breath came to the rescue and some form of recovery took place from this. The length was completed, out of breath but it was another step forward having not stopped putting my feet on the floor. Another dare will be taken on, but not in this session.
With almost 45 minutes under my belt in the pool with many very small breaks of bobbing, (no more than 15 seconds) it was a good feeling knowing that the fear of attempting the drills are diminishing, bar the alternative breathing on freestyle. At no point did I stop today despite some intake of water on a few occasions.
The session finished with a few easy breaststroke lengths and a good feeling to be back into a three day a week swim routine.
There is however a dark period lurking up in June. When the school summer holidays are upon us the school closes. When the school is shut the swimming pool is shut. This means there are no swimming facilities in my town Yambol from June until September. Worrying thoughts on this right now.
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