Slowly but surely
Swimming is a tricky and frustrating business. I don’t mean the leisurely kind of swimming that I used to quite enjoy but the swimming that is supposed to give me a great start at the beginning of a triathlon event. So many of the people who do triathlon appear to have been swimming like dolphins since they were aged two. Not me. I have come to swimming via basic lessons as a child, followed by almost three decades of imagining that I could swim proficiently. Sadly, I have realised latterly that my swimming is woeful.
But I have been determined to improve and for the past couple of years I’ve been attending the Glasgow Tri Club swim sessions on an on-and-off basis (to be truthful, on average, more off than on). In recent months, however, I’ve made a concerted effort to make one session per week and finally, oh-so-finally, the effort is paying off. I am now making some slow but sure progress on my technique.
You see, while I might be quite fit in general it makes hardly a jot of difference when i get in the pool. Most of what makes you a good swimmer is technique. And I do not have any. When I first joined the club I was described by one coach as “resembling a sweater in a washing machine”. I flailed and splashed that much!
But I’ve listened and I’ve learned and I’ve swam in the novice lane for ages and ages and now I am starting to see some changes. The coaches at the club have each offered their advice on various aspects, including leg kick, head position, body position, hip flex, hands, arms, elbows, pull etc etc. There is so much to get right. But I think some of it might be coming right now.
Last night I really felt, in the final 10 minutes of the session, that things might be coming together. For the first time I could actually feel myself glide quite speedily though the water. I can’t imagine keeping the technique flowing for any more than minutes, however, but things are starting to click into place.
And I do have a very good reason for trying so hard at swimming. It is the only sport at which I have ever beaten Mr Outdoors. In the only Sprint triahtlon we have done together, the Bishopbriggs Triathlon last May, I was out the pool a few precious seconds ahead of him. This year we plan to do the Peebles Triathlon together and I want to be minutes ahead. Competitive? Moi?