The Scribbler

10 October 2011

1km swim

Filed under: swim,training — The Scribbler @ 20:58

I don’t blog much about swimming. I think it’s because there’s no story. I go to the pool, get in, swim a bit, then get out. And apart from a couple of incidents and my long dealt with swim panic, there’s not much to say really.

But, like everything else, I really feel like I’ve made progress with my swimming this year. At the beginning of the year I made more of an effort to get a couple of swims in per week so that I’d feel confident about swimming 400m for my triathlons. But actually I think the improvement came through later, when I stopped concentrating on my swimming and just used it as a useful cross training tool.

My first breakthrough came when I went up to visit Lesley in North Berwick on the ladies tri day with Ann and Lucy. The lovely light and airy pool, and being happy to be around such good friends spurred me on to swim my first ever 750m set. And even when I did it, I felt like I could have gone on.

I’ve started to feel a lot more relaxed and smooth through the water. And I noticed that I’d stopped counting 1,2,3, breathe and as a result found that I could kick a bit harder and propel myself a bit faster. A couple of week’s ago, I timed myself over 500m – my next race distance for the aquathlon at the beginning of November. Without trying too hard I did it in 11:30, after predicting a time of over 12 minutes on my race entry.

I was back in the pool again last Thursday night and the smooth gliding sensation was eluding me. As a result, I began to rush through the strokes and was getting a bit fretful about the session. The lane was busier than usual and I guess I was conscious of the other swimmers, although we never got in each other’s way.

After a bit of a warm up, not exactly getting in the flow, I intended to swim a 500m set. And even part way through, I’d half convinced myself to make it 400. But I kept going. And then there were only two of us in the lane, so I thought I’d try and make it 760m (20m pool) and actually, by the time I was approaching 600m, I thought I could happily do 1,000m. So I did. It took me 23:30.

It’s the first time I’ve done that continuously and it felt like quite an achievement. Two years ago, I celebrated exhausted after just 100m of front crawl. I’m sure there’s a lot I could improve with my stroke, but now I know I have the endurance, I guess I can start playing around with things to help me get faster. It should be a great base to build on next year.


  1. This is so good to read. While I can swim, over the years I became a holiday swimmer, just happy to cruise along doing breaststroke. I’ve been working on my swim over the summer with aim of making the move from Duathlon into Triathlon. I’ve progressed from seeing struggling to the end of 25m of freestyle as an achievement to now being able to get through 200m in one piece. The trouble I am having is how to progress beyond this.

    Its so frustrating when you can churn out the miles on foot or on the bike but find doing more than 200m in the pool exhausting. There are times when I think I will never be able to get it up to 1500m but reading things like this make me realise I need to just get my head down and keep plugging away. Any other top tips you can share?


    Comment by Giles Thurston (@gilesthurston) — 11 October 2011 @ 10:34 | Reply

  2. Hi Giles, thanks for your comment. I agree that it does seem harder to be able to maintain and build distance in the swim compared to running or cycling. I guess my top tips are to keep persevering and to slow down and get the breathing right. I took lessons to learn bilateral breathing a couple of years ago, but since then it’s just been regular visits to the pool.
    I still tend to rush and rely on my muscle strength to power through a swim, but it’s actually more efficient to slow down and give myself time to breathe (a bit like pacing myself round a half marathon rather than a 5k). I’ve also found the swim smooth website www. very helpful.
    Good luck with your move to triathlon and keep swimming.


    Comment by The Scribbler — 12 October 2011 @ 09:11 | Reply

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