Monday, February 9, 2009

Revamping the swim

While on hiatus from running, I'm determined to emerge a stronger swimmer and cyclist. I've been swimming nearly every other day, with a focus on form, rather than speed or distance. Form, though, is a pretty nebulous concept. For the moment, I give myself a million little reminders of things to pay attention to (kind of like a golf swing), concentrating mainly on maintaining a balanced position in the water.
After years of playing water polo, constantly swimming with my head up, I finally realized this year that I have terrible form (and that I have some significant potential for improvement (speed, efficiency) by addressing it). This realization should have come to me long before, such as when a pretty experienced fellow triathlete commented at an open-water swim last spring: "I've never seen anyone swim so fast with their head so high". Somehow my mental reaction to this was: "Yup, I'm pretty awesome" instead of: "Hmm. If my form is so unconventional, maybe I could improve it."
After swimming two Ironman swim legs a year and a half apart in virtually the same time, I was more than a little disappointed by the lack of improvement (over the same time period my bike and run times improved by 10%). The ensuing frustration forced me to the realization that if I'm going to improve my swim, it's not going to be by swimming harder, but by swimming better. I've always considered myself a strong swimmer, so admitting to myself that I need work was not an easy thing, but here I am- back at the drawing board.
I feel like a kid learning to swim for the first time, swimming 50 and 100m at a time instead of cranking out 500's, with a constant focus on swimming well rather than swimming hard. I'm much better at the latter than the former. Occasionally I get it right, and the feeling is fantastic. I'm excited just to have found an avenue to improvement, and am looking forward to seeing some results in the upcoming season.

1 comment:

  1. Well, you *are* pretty awesome...but good form is definitely a plus (as all well-behaved yoga students know).