Thursday, August 6, 2009

Swimming rhythms

Well, to be honest I am a bit disappointed with my swim time at Lake Placid. I had expected better. Although I was able to swim almost the entire distance freestyle, my time is stubbornly pegged at 1:22 plus or minus a few minutes. At LP it was 1:21:16. That, despite the fact that I know I can swim faster than a few years ago. And yet, my "best" time dates from 2005 in Florida at 1:20:23.

I went to the pool several times this week and it is clear I cannot get my breathing to where it needs to be. According to a friend I should be able to breathe at least every other stroke -he actually said every third stroke should work-. That way I should swim faster because I keep my forward momentum if I can keep my head still. While that is true I always run out of air after a lap or so. Even when I swim "easy" I run out of air. It is obvious that the timing is the issue. I can't seem to get it right.

I also fail miserably at breathing on the left. Not only does it mess up my stroke, I always run out of air in a few laps. Even when I breathe on every stroke. Left-breathing just doesn't work for me.

I want to keep trying on both counts for a while longer but it is getting to be quite frustrating. It appears the every-other stroke breathing may eventually work, because when I don't think about it, I am fine. It is just when I concentrate or focus on it that I run out of air because I screw up the timing. The left-breathing however, is more in doubt.

I noticed another thing. For the last two sessions there was a man in the pool who swims quite a bit faster than I do. I tried to stay with him but failed. Then I watched him and it occurred to me that he stroked faster than I did. I memorized his rhythm and tried it.

When I followed his rhythm the next time around I was able to keep up with him, without working too hard. It is just -you guessed it- that I ran out of breath, and this time clearly because I did not have enough time to breathe in between strokes. Or so it felt.

I know what you will say: one needs to exhale underwater so one only has to inhale when one's head is up. That way one has enough time to get all the air needed. I think I read that somewhere. In any case, when I try to follow this recipe, I always fail. I can't get it coordinated, and the more I think about it, the worse it gets. Either I forget to exhale on one stroke, or exhale too late or too long, or something else happens that messes everything up.

I guess you could say I am hopeless when it comes to swimming.

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