Just over three weeks ago, I stopped working on any endurance in my swimming. My technique at that time just wasn’t cutting it. I felt like I was just trying to survive. And I could only survive for a continuous swim of 300 yards at the time. Needless to say, I was not comfortable in the water.
You’d Think I Could Swim
If you knew my past, you’d think this should not be the case. I grew up close to the Gulf of Mexico (3 miles to be exact). I surfed through high school and college. We had a pool in our backyard growing up. This, as I now know, does not count as swimming technique when it comes to a triathlon.
I am so grateful to the man I conversed with one day at the pool. He had done numerous triathlons and suggested Total Immersion swimming. I didn’t know if this was a class or a book or what? After another awful day of trying to swim, I looked it up and began to do the drills from the book. I watched YouTube videos to get a better visual idea as well.
Nothing But Drills
Over the past three weeks I have done nothing but drills in the water. Many times I was tempted to just get in a few “normal” laps to at least build some swimming fitness. But this would have just encouraged my old technique. I refrained.
Monday, I finally attempted a full freestyle stroke. It was not easy at first to get my breathing to sink up after the difference between the drills and perpetual motion. But after swimming a 200 yard continuous swim, I barely felt any sense of fatigue or lack of breath.
Comfortable In The Water
Today was the straw that broke the swimming camels back. I began with my newly learned drills. Then, I launched into a 200 yard continuous swim focusing entirely on my stoke and new technique. It was almost effortless. I did another 50 yards returning to basic drills. Then, I went for a 300 yard continuous swim. At about 250, I decided to make it 600 (the length of my first triathlon). At about 500, I decided to go for 1,000. I finished the 1,000 and had complete control over my breath and could only feel a slight sense of fatigue.
If other aspects of life did not need my attention, I might have done another 1,000. It was amazing! I know I was swimming pretty slow, but I swam long. That’s my goal for now. Maybe when I’ve got more distance with this technique I can think about speed. But for now, I’m feeling good about completing the swim portion of my first triathlon. By the way, I have not seen the fellow I ran into that day since. Thank you whoever you are!