Friday 19th April - Second Thoughts on Freestyle
After watching Arsenal get through to the semi-finals of Football’s Europa Cup last night with a few beers for company I didn’t get to bed until well gone midnight. (We are two hours in front of Italy where the match was played.) Waking up this morning with a couple of toilet trips made during the night it was a slightly tired individual who reluctantly swiveled around to land his feet on his slippers by the side of the bed. Ten minutes later and after a good healthy oat-based breakfast and a cup of ginger and lemon tea some form of resolute kicked in when I remembered the last session on Wednesday. Why shouldn’t that progress continue? At least until the school closes (and the swimming pool) for the summer holidays and another venue needs to be hunted out.
The car park ticket machine showed 09:48 today, purposely arriving late as I wasn’t allowed entry until 10:00 on the last visit. No hiccups entering, all was ready and another swimming in before me.
Into the swimming gear and shower then straight into the pool forgetting to do the warm-up stretching before getting into the pool. Trying to do those stretching exercised in the water is very difficult, especially trying to touch your toes so I just got on with the swimming. Couldn’t be bothered getting out of the pool to get this done.
25 minutes of breaststroke working on technique seen on a few online YouTube videos. This included bobbing up and breathing after every stroke. Having given this a go it didn‘t feel right at all and if I had carried on I would have hyperventilated. I think this style is more for sprinting. That certainly does not apply with me so I gave up on that.
The kicking recommended was a straight kick rather than a frog leg style with a slightly splayed leg recovering after the kick out. This was tried and although a little strange seems to work more efficiently, but needs to be focussed upon as it doesn’t come naturally. I tried to focus on this throughout the session and will continue until it becomes second nature.
The reason I did only 25 minutes breaststroke, (and it was easy) was that there was a curiosity running in my head thinking about the previous session where I did 4 lengths freestyle with breath to spare. Could this happen today again or was it going to be a one-off? My impatience got the better of me and I ended the breaststroke marathon early.
Into the freestyle working really hard to focus on being relaxed and not rush the strokes. The target of 4 lengths helped physiologically knowing that I would have to pace myself. Usual on one length freestyle there is a rush at the end of that length because it is the end. This seemed to work as I rolled over four lengths with breath to spare. However, as each length is completed more and more tension is felt and with this more effort needed to keep going. It is therefore unsustainable over longer distances as fatigue sets in. If only all lengths could be done in the style of the first length then I think this stroke could be cracked!
Freestyle is still something I am not comfortable with even though the distance managed without stopping has increased. It was only a short time ago I was going to give this stroke up entirely, but there was a ray of hope that set in. Hope is something that niggles and that niggle has seemingly won me over to preserve with the freestyle.
The session involved three more attempts at four length durations, all completed. I guess I could have done five lengths but didn’t want to go through beyond the motions of tension that had built up over the 4 lengths. Better to concentrate just on the relaxing more over 4 lengths for now.
The session was finished with a couple of breaststroke lengths which now feels like coming home. Something I wouldn’t have associated with a few weeks ago.
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