Friday 3 February 2012


I'm currently being un-taught to swim. I enjoy swimming. I've never had a lesson (discounting getting me from zero to my 10m ribbon when I was a mere sapling). I have swum regularly in the past, 3 or 4 times a week for a few months at a time, with these bursts coming every couple of years then dying away again. My self-optimised technique involved long lazy strokes, a minimum of splashing, and didn't really push my heart rate very high.

Using this method I've got through quite a few triathlons and a couple of 3.4km swims in the Thames. I thought I was doing OK, and I'd pretty much muddle through the Ironman swim with the usual minimum of fuss and hopefully no drowning.

And then last year I beat Mrs in one of those 3.4km swims. Swimming was her thing, it was to her what cycling was to me. Something she used to do an enormous amount of in "the old days", less in recent years, but still a good latent talent and strong muscle memory. Being beaten by hubby was not on. She sought assistance from a professional (coach, not shrink).

A few months after that we went on holiday. I got whipped to bits. Even swimming in the sea Mrs just took off - I couldn't hang on! And she hadn't even been taught to go fast yet! She's in the process of being taught to go fast and is probably putting in two lengths to my every one.

I gotta get me some of that.

So I did. I've had three coached swim sessions so far, and SwimCoach has very effectively untaught me to swim. My long lazy strokes? Wrong. The point at which I breath during a stroke? Wrong. My body position? Wrong. My catch? Wrong. My kick? We haven't discussed that yet, but I'm mentally prepared for it to be wrong.

I now feel like the least coordinated swimmer that ever graced the pool. I thrash and splash along, drinking water with every breath - it's a good job pools are constantly refilled otherwise me and my fellow swimmers would have ended up beached, me having drunk the pool dry.

I know there's a light at the end of the tunnel - but right now I can't swim at all. Mind over old-style has broken it, and I have no new-style proficiency yet. I know it'll come though. Practice, practice, practice. It will come in the end. I just hope it comes quickly enough so I can put in a good effort at the first Thames Turbo Triathlon, and then I need to get enough endurance in for a 2.25 miles swim when Wales finally comes round.

In any case, it's going to be a long time until I beat Mrs again.

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