Swimming Smarter, Not Harder

Back in college I was more into rock climbing than anything else (even caving, which was something I did a handful of times back then). I had read a couple of books on how to be a better climber, which one mentioned cross-training with something like running, swimming, or cycling. Since I only run when chased or late for a flight and didn’t really know anything about cycling, I picked swimming since I at least knew how to do that given my background. Somehow I came across this book:

Now I was a backstroker all the time, but this book had some good ideas even though it was based on freestyle. I was able to adapt the freestyle techniques to my backstroke back then.

Frustrated with my slowness lately, I bought another copy of this book and read it over Thanksgiving weekend. Now that I’m doing freestyle for the first time in uh, 17+ years, I need to re-learn how to swim freestyle and efficiently this time. I can relate to the author of the book’s background where in high school, we learned that to swim faster, move your arms and feet faster. We learned nothing about technique back then and sure as hell didn’t do any drills except time drills. It’s why I hated intervals since I’m not a sprinter.

Yesterday I moved into a slower lane at Masters practice to work on my stroke. I got the best workout in a very long time as my muscles were re-learning how to properly swim freestyle and focusing on what my pelvis is doing. I’ve mentally taken a pledge suggested in the book to never ever take a bad stroke again. I’m not worried about time or keeping up with anyone or moving into a faster lane right now as I just want to be a more efficient swimmer and use less energy. As Jamie said, don’t worry about speed as that’ll come later.

With some other crap going on in my life, I am very thankful that I have this swimming training going on as it’s giving me a positive outlet that I can focus on and (no pun intended) totally immerse myself into. I’m also overwhelmed with the love and support people have shown me already for deciding to go for my first open water swim. It means the world to me.

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