Finally got to my first swim lesson with the proper coach tonight.
Martin, Wendy’s workmate, (who has been going for a while) said the coach will ask your goal, assess your swim, then be brutally frank about your chances of achieving it. Martin has heard him tell people they just don’t have enough years left to achieve their ambitions.
I was all set for confrontation. You say I can’t do it, I’m going to prove you wrong if I have to go to a different coach to do it.
He told me to swim up and down while he walked besides me in the pool. After 2 lengths he stopped me, and asked what I wanted to achieve.
“I want to be able to knock 40 minutes off my 2.4 mile swim time within 3 years.”
No problem. 3 months.
Bugger me! Didn’t see that coming. I suspect he may have misheard me, but he was very positive about my chances.
He was happy with my stroke, my kicking and my rotation, said not to change it. He correctly identified my initial problem, not being able to breathe. He set me a task of swimming to the deep end, then dunking under and breathing out through my nose, surface, in through my mouth and repeat.
After a few goes of that he told me to breathe every second stroke on the swims.
It sounds stupid, but it was really working.
I had been keeping my head down for as long as possible because every time I breathed I had to roll right out of the water and stick my head up to get a huge lungful of air, which more or less stopped me dead. Then there was the panic of missing that huge breath, and the panic as I was running short of air before I took it.
By only breathing out through my nose it trains you to only breathe in through your mouth. You’re not wasting half of your breath seconds blowing out. By doing it every second stroke I was sipping regular air. Never running out, never panicking, not having to gasp huge amounts, which in turn let me relax and keep my head in the water as I breathed. That is my first ambition, to master the smooth, head in the water, breathing of the good swimmers.
He had another point as well. “The trouble with adult swimmers is they come here and tell me why they can’t do it before I’ve even had a chance to look at them.”
He didn’t think there was much wrong with my swim once I’ve got my breathing right. He really thought I could do it.
That is the best bit of tri news I’ve had in ages. As I say, I know I can batter the run, the bike is going to be incredibly hard but just a matter of constant training. The swim was what could have stopped me dead.