Saturday, September 4, 2010

My first swimming lesson!

I've broken the 'I can't swim barrier' and managed to swim a full length of the pool without stopping.  Okay, so it was only once out of about 10 or so attempts, but I did it!

So I rocked up at the sports center 20mins early after scoffing down some oats and strawberries.  No-one was there!  10mins later Monika turns up on her bike (so wish I had a bike - no excuse, I am on the same block as the uni for pete's sake!) and we introduce ourselves while we sit and wait for campus security to unlock the gate.  They turn up right on 8.30am to let us in!
So we both stripped off down to our swimmers, discussing swimming caps and goggles - I decided to pass on wearing my new cap as it makes my face look constipated, but decide to try the goggles (I keep going to type googles so if I miss one in the edit feel free to laugh at me!).
The pool is nicely heated - its not cold but its not warm either (I hate pools that feel like pee temperature!) and we are all alone - Yey!  No-one to watch me flounder around!
First task of the day was 4 laps on the kickboard to 'warm up'.  Holy shit!  Who needs to swim when just kicking down the pool with a kickboard is such a work-out!  My thighs were burning half way up the first length and my lovely friendly swim instructor turned in my evil swimming coach!  Apparently I can't learn to breath properly while swimming if I am puffing and panting because I am so unfit!  So much for my nice 'easy' swimming lesson!
Now to be fair, Monika gave me lots of positive encouragement - my kicking is lovely, she says she gets lots of adult learners who tend to cycle their legs.  Yey for me!  I mentioned how I 'stagnated' at the lessons at school because I was too short to touch in the 3ft depth of the 'big pool' and fear meant I wouldn't let anyone let go of me.  I got lots of instruction on kicking, stroke, floating, etc but nothing could get me to breath!
Next step was 'lets see your freestyle' - ahhh.. I can't swim a whole length... that's fine, just go as far as you can.  So I swam three strokes, took a breath, swam three strokes and floundered.  I have a good technique with my arms for a beginner!  Yey! 

So we went back to the kickboard for a few laps to practice breathing.  Once I made it a full 25m without trying to drown myself, I went minus the kickboard.  First go off the bat.... I made it the whole way up without stopping!  Of course the next few laps I tried I ended up stopping.  I figured out what I was doing wrong technique wise and would try again... but I just seem to have this huge mental block.  I go along fine, make one small mistake, and bammo - my headspace goes and I stop.

I listened to myself the last run - 'I'm not doing it right' 'I'm out of breathe' 'I'm not going to make it'

It's all in my head!

Now just as an after thought - my stomach muscles are killing me.  I know I have them now at least, but only shit, I feel like I am going to die from the agony!
I need to get visine - the googles didn't work out too well and put me off.

And just on a funny note - I had forgotten how much I burp in the pool! lol


  1. Way to go girl. You hve inspired me to get back into the pool and try again. I need to swim due to slipped disks and dislocated knee so I will hve to be brave like you and give it another shot,

  2. Good for you! Definitely go the goggles. Get yourself a decent pair (yeah, I know, yet another investment - but it's the usual 'quality' thing - you get what you pay for.) Have just bought a pair of Zoggs 'predator's, which a lot of people have recommended. Nothing worse than leaking goggles.

    If you wear a cap the goggles can tend to leak less if you wear them under the cap. (Just a pain to take on and off - I have short hair, so I don't wear a cap anymore - not since the time when the pool temp was a bit up, and we were swimming hard, and I thought my head was going to explode!)
    And with the goggles, it's getting them the right tightness - takes time to adjust them right.

    Women tend to be able to kick better than guys! In my squad, mostly the girls 'kick butt' over the guys when we do the kicking!

    A tip with the breathing - you don't need to take in as much as you think. It's when you take in a lot, then you have to expel so much, then take in a lot, etc etc, that ends up making you feel puffed - like hyperventilating. It takes time to train yourself to take in less - don't expect to get it straight away (or even after you 'get it', to inadvertently go back to it after a break...)

    Fins can also be a good idea to do some warm up laps so you can concentrate on your arms/style... but don't get tempted to use them all the time! (I can't, I get cramp..)