The Scribbler

19 January 2010

400m front crawl in the bag

Filed under: swim — The Scribbler @ 22:17
Tags: , ,

Regular readers will know that I’ve been trying to improve my swimming. I took some lessons in November to learn how to breathe properly when swimming front crawl, with a view to completing a sprint triathlon this year.

It’s been incredibly frustrating at times, unlearning my bad habits and trying to get my body to learn new ones. I also had to fight a panic instinct about breathing out under water, but I had a very patient teacher.

Since my lessons I’ve just been practising and practising. But progress has felt incredibly slow. I could barely string two lengths of a 20m pool together swimming properly, whereas if I stuck my head out of the water, I could pootle up and down all day. Back in November I managed 5 lengths in one go – a whole 100m. And then never managed to do that again…until last night.

Last night I got in the pool and had about 15 minutes before my aqua aerobics class. So I challenged myself to swim 200m – which I did with a set of 4 and 2×3 lengths. Then I did a 45 min class, splashing around in the pool.

After the class, the pool was clear, so I thought I’d have another go. This time I wanted to see if I could swim 200m in one go.

Now here’s the thing… I actually swim better when I’m a bit tired. It means I slow down and don’t thrash my arms so much trying desperately to get to the side of the pool.

So I started nice and slow, giving myself plenty of time for the in-breath. And I just kept going. I did 10 lengths easy and I said to myself, ‘Just see how many more you can do.’ And I kept going, and going until I reached 20 lengths. That’s 400m or the distance I’ll have to swim in a sprint triathlon. And I did it in 10mins 30 secs.

Woohoo! I can’t tell you how fantastic I felt. It was like the day I ran to the roundabout and back without stopping last year. Something just clicked and I’d got it.

And now I’ve done it, I know I can do it again. And maybe I can get a bit faster, a bit smoother through the water too.

There are still challenges to face with my triathlon goal – like getting on a bike for one and then stringing all these separate disciplines together for another. But it’s coming together and I’m starting to have faith in myself that I can do this.

Now all I need to do is pick my event and enter it.

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