Update on my swimming

A photo of me swimming at HOWSC

🙁 I’ve been away from my blog for a long time, without any valid reason. I fell behind and then couldn’t work out how to get back to it, so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to catch up a little this week. I’ve decided to kick this off with a post about my swimming.

I completed my first course of swimming lessons before Paris marathon and then signed straight up for another course. Apparently, there was someone else on the register, but so far I ended up having completely private lessons. They are an absolute steal at only £5 for 40 minutes! I’ve also got a new instructor, Anita, who seems really nice. I’ve been trying to pin down her accent, but haven’t managed to work out where she is from yet. If I get to the end of the course and haven’t worked it out, I’ll have to ask her!

A few weeks ago, Anita was away, so I had a different instructor. He decided that it might be fun to teach me to dive. I was also up for the challenge, so towards the end of my lesson we went to the deep end of the pool and he demonstrated what I should do. He also explained that there is no point in sitting on the end of the pool and ‘rolling’ in as it doesn’t help anyone to get the right technique. So, I listened carefully and positioned myself with one foot on the very edge of the pool… By I just couldn’t do it. I feel so nervous that I am going to go too deep and won’t be able to get back up to the surface in time to breathe.

If anyone can give me any tips, I would be really grateful. I can now jump in, but that’s hardly the same, is it?!

At the end of the last series of swimming lessons, Anita said that she thought I was ready to move on from classes to swimfit. However, I had already booked another series, I don’t feel confident enough to leave the class yet (I want to learn ‘fly, tumble turns and diving) and swimfit classes are on Wednesday and Friday nights. Also, it is imperative that I can do 200m crawl nonstop to take part – that’s 8 lengths. I’m not sure I’m good enough yet. Maybe I’ll be ready by the Autumn.

woman called Maggie. She is in the same position that I was – she had never done front crawl before joining the class. Kevin is much better than I expected, so I will have to train hard. I have incorporated some lunchtime swimming into my marathon training schedule, which should help me to improve and also get me out of the office.

I’ve also started open water swimming. The first time I tried, Katherine drove Liz, Stu and I to HOWSC. It was in the evening of a Bank Holiday that had been gloriously hot, so it was a nice introduction as the water was pleasantly warm. Katherine and Liz have booties and neoprene hats, so I was worried that I would find it too cold, but it was OK. It took me a long time to put my face in the murky water, and I had no idea how deep (or shallow) the water was, but I was pleased with myself for trying.

My first lap mostly consisted of old lady breaststroke, but after I’d fixed my leaking goggles, I had a go at front crawl. In the end, I managed two laps, which is somewhere between 700 and 800m. Katherine, Liz and Stu all did 3 or 4 laps, but they’re all much stronger swimmers than I am.

A photo that Ant took of me swimming at HOWSC during our triathlon training weekend
A photo that Ant took of me swimming at HOWSC during our triathlon training weekend

I’ve started swimming at Lakeside every Tuesday morning before work. This takes a lot of organisation. I need to have my usual work stuff (including lunch, iPad etc) and my yoga kit and mat, as well as various clothes, wetsuit, towels etc. I’ve tried driving there and then driving home before cycling to work. However, the traffic is hell, so I have to manage it all on my bike.

Teri came with me to Lakeside the first time. I felt much happier that there was someone I knew there and also it discouraged me from being lazy. I managed to embarrass myself by slipping over on the way in, but I don’t think anyone noticed. Usually, I do three laps, but I am aiming for four next time. The second time that I went, I was desperately trying to practise sighting. Clearly I failed as I swam into a jetty – doh!

On our triathlon training weekend, Stu and I had two swimming lessons with Ant. I struggled in the first one and was really annoyed with myself. In the second one, I felt much more relaxed. Ant told me not to try to kick too much, which made me more relaxed and meant that I didn’t get out of breath. I managed to do a lap of the lake, with much of it being front crawl, rather than dodgy breaststroke.

Katherine, Liz and Teri after completing Eastleigh aquathlon (May)
Katherine, Liz and Teri after completing Eastleigh aquathlon (May)

After cheering Teri, Liz, Katherine and Gemma on at an aquathlon, I think the time is right for me to enter one. The next ones at Lakeside (Eastleigh) are 27th June, 25th July, 29th August and 26th September. I’ll need to enter the novice distance (400m swim, 2.5k run) as I can’t swim 800m. Well, I can, but not before everyone else has finished swimming AND running! I expect some of the fast people will finish their 800m before I do 400 :-S

Apparently, it is possible to do triathlons on a budget, but I seem to be spending a lot at the moment. I have now bought two trisuits. The first one is blue, black and white and is by Sugoi. The second one is by Pearl Izumi and is red, black and white. It came with a crop top, so I’ll have to try running in that.

Sugoi Blast tri suit
Sugoi Blast tri suit
Pearl Izumi Elite In-R-Cool tri suit
Pearl Izumi Elite In-R-Cool tri suit

That’s pretty much everything on the swimming front, apart from sharing some information…

My husband’s physio recommended this YouTube video to him:

The body of international sports medicine literature confirms that injuries to the shoulder are the most common injury for athletes in all aquatic disciplines. These translate into critical time lost from training and competition, a widely acknowledged factor in our sports. The FINA Sports Medicine Committee (SMC) strongly endorses prevention as the key to this issue and proposes educational initiatives to assist athletes and their support staff to avoid shoulder injuries.

The following video is a tool that can be used by all aquatic athletes to decrease the incidence of shoulder injuries in aquatic sports. The target audience is athletes, coaches, team physicians and other members of the healthcare team in the athlete entourage.

The video illustrates exercises to strengthen the areas that stabilize the shoulder joint. These are the core muscles, the rotator cuff and the shoulder muscles. All are well illustrated in the video. The FINA Sports Medicine Committee hopes that this can be of use to athletes in the aquatic sports around the world.


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