An update on my swimming progress
Interested in an update on my swimming progress? A few weeks ago I wrote a post on how I was trying a new form of exercise: swimming. I bet you’re wondering if I stuck with it.
Last Thursday was my first day back in the pool since early August. That was over three weeks with no swimming. Not because I gave up on it, though–the Y pool was closed for something called “replastering.” I was surprised to note that I actually missed my pool time. So I was happy to get back to it.
Don’t ever take three weeks off. It was discouraging. All the progress I made towards my nemesis pose—freestyle—had been wiped out. My arms felt weak when I swam breast stroke. The only thing that felt good was water jogging with the buoyancy belt.
So that’s what I did. Two laps of water jogging, then one breast stroke. Two more water jogging, then side stroke. I feel silly doing the water jogging, mainly because it looks like I’m dog paddling. But it keeps my heart rate up, and I’m moving through the water.
My friend Jen gave me a good suggestion for learning freestyle: use the bouyancy belt. I tried this, too. It helps, but after three weeks off I can’t swim as far (or as easily) as I used to.
My problem with freestyle is the breath. I start to panic that I can’t take a breath when I need to. Then I don’t exhale fully, because I want to “save” some breath, so when I do come up for air, I have to exhale then inhale, and it’s never enough.
Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? Does everyone analyze their breath pattern like this? Probably not.
Here’s how I’m working on it. I’m practice what I call “water plank.” It uses the kick board (but not the bouyancy belt). Hold the kick board in both hands, with arms straight, come to a plank position (hands under shoulders) and start kicking. Put your face in the water and practice the freestyle breath. I always count to myself, exhaling for five counts, then turn and take a breath.
I feel like I have to start all over with swimming, and that’s rough. But I promise to keep to a regular swimming schedule, now that the pool is open again. What about you? How is your freestyle? Do you have any tips and tricks to share?
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