You know what I love? Open water swimming. I like to look across a lake and say, I am going to swim over… there! Then after donning a wetsuit and jumping in, I get look around for cool stuff in the water, practice siting, get hit by waves (and boat wakes), make adjustments, look into the green dark water, and actually get to a location. Sign me up!
Ofcourse, right now that isn’t an option. The lakes are frozen, and if I want to say in swimming shape, I need to drive the 75 minutes to the closest pool. To be honest, the long drive is less of a problem for me than swimming in a pool is. I find swimming in a pool is kind of…well…boring. And chloriney. I am an explorer by nature, an outside girl. So a pool puts limits on me, keeps me all boxed in. And really, who wants to explore around a pool to find out what those mystery floaties are anyway?
All that said, I actually found myself really enjoying my swim in the pool today. Since I don’t get to swim too often in the winter, I try to focus the sessions I have on technique. I had read a couple of pretty good articles before I went, and thought I would share them here.
The first was from The Starting Block, I have found it to be a pretty good resource on all things pool swimming, although a lot of it is about competition. The article, Two Killer Secrets to a Smoother Freestyle suggested using two power words when you swim: LONG and RELAXED. This works for me, I often have some kind of mantra going on in my little pea brain when I am running or biking. If you can make yourself as long as possible, you will have much less resistance, and when you are relaxed, you are not fighting the water, you are working with it. Try it on your next lap swim for a few laps, repeat in your head, LONG and RELAXED. I think you might be surprised at the results, I know I was.
The other blog I read was Twenty Three Seconds which I stumbled on this morning before my swim. It talked about the importance of doing the fist drill to help take the emphasis in your swimming off of your hands and onto your arms. If you think about it, your arm is a bigger paddle than your hand anyway. Being more aware of your forearms also gives you more feel for the water, or at least that is what I felt. Once changed back to normal swimming to get some regular freestyle laps in, I think my catch improved.
It was nice to come away from the pool happily tired, and not bored. Until I can jump into Pleasant Pond or Wyman Lake for my first open water swim of the season (I am eagerly anticipating it!), I think I will keep trying to find ways to make my pool time more interesting and maybe improve my stroke at the same time.