You Have A Beautiful Stroke!

Deciding to do Thursday Masters practices with Tom has certainly paid off! I did Masters again last Thursday and we continued working on my freestyle stroke.  This time it was mainly getting this “weird thing with my legs” straightened out (literally) when I push off the wall and not doing a true “catch up” (drill) with my arms.  Those two were easy to fix, and I noticed instantly how I felt more fluid in the water and noticeably faster.  Tom said that he was watching me and that “[you] have a beautiful stroke now that is completely different from how [you] used to swim”! Yipee!!!  It feels different and is taking less effort with faster times.  Also since this was a Masters workout, I got to work on some speed also. Only did 2600 yards, but I’m also using these workouts to focus on technique, not endurance.  Tom said that now “we” need to work on increasing my power in the stroke.

I noticed an immediate difference in my times. My 50 yard time dropped to :50 and my 100 yard time dropped to 1:50.  As my power increases, those times will drop even more. 🙂

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to swim on Friday or Saturday due to other happenings in my life (yes, I do more than just swim! Hard to remember sometimes).  I was back in the pool yesterday afternoon for a short 3000 meter workout.  Mostly I wanted to do some exercise stuff. I need to work on alternating my breathing side which I like to do pulls for that.  Came up with a simple 2 x (500 swim, 500 kick, 500 pull) set.  The swim and pull sets were the easiest and felt really good. Still feeling fluid and swimming with little effort. 🙂 I don’t think I’m in that much better shape than just a couple of weeks ago (in fact probably in worse shape since I didn’t get as many swims in this past week), but that should definitely say something about “effortless swimming” being truly effortless.  The kick sets were hard though! Using my entire legs to kick starting from the hip…I can feel definitely in the hips and upper thighs.  Tom had said that it’ll hurt there until the muscles get stronger. I can feel it in my lower abs even.

I plan on continuing to do my OW training workouts as prescribed by Jamie but also the Thursdays Masters with Tom.  I think it’s beneficial to have a coach checking on your technique at least once a week in person for the immediate feedback. That’ll help also to make sure that I don’t start doing something silly and not realize it.

Oh, and 2 Sundays ago I did my first OW swim. A short swim around 200 or 300 yards. Jamie wasn’t looking for me to do a big workout, but just get used to being in the open water. I was in Long Beach for it (thank you SO much Amado for what was a longer drive than the time I actually spent in the water!). It was unusual to not be able to see the bottom of where I was swimming and tasting saltwater. I learned that I really need to learn how to sight while swimming. Luckily there’s an OW clinic coming up in Novato in a couple of weeks that I immediately signed up for. 🙂 I was also surprised that my arms and legs never really warmed up like they do in a pool where I don’t feel the temperature difference after about 150 – 200 yards. I wasn’t that cold actually as it was a tolerable cold. Curious though on how this will pan out on if I’m going to do my Tahoe swim with or without a wetsuit.

I was thinking of doing another short OW swim when I was in Sonoma this past weekend. It was 37 F on Saturday morning so the decision to NOT jump into the open water was an easy one. Next hopeful OW swim will probably be either the 14th or 21st of April. 🙂

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