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Big news (for me): I swam 100 lengths freestyle

Written by Fiona

January 22 2016

If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be able to swim 100 lengths of a 25m pool freestyle (crawl), I would have fallen off the edge of the pool laughing. I had only recently started learning how to do the crawl and I still preferred a slow meander up the lane doing breaststroke.

In fact, back then, my breaststroke was faster than my freestyle.

Dogged determination, some one-to-one coaching and a lot of coached sessions at Glasgow Triathlon Club have turned me into a reasonable freestyle swimmer. I am not in the same lane with the fasties but I have graduated from the beginners and improvers to the middle lane.

As well as trying to attend a weekly GTC coached session, I also swim for an hour most weeks at my local pool on my own. This session is all about keeping going. While the coached sessions with GTC focus on technique drills, speed, pacing and trying to keep up with the others, my own swim is aimed at seeing how far I can manage to swim before I lose the will/get chucked out because they are closing.

I always swim later in the evening, when the lanes are quieter, and I usually swim for about an hour.

I have been building up over the last year and I started with the aim of 60 lengths in one session. Last night I got into the pool and it went like this:

I said to myself: I’ll do 20 lengths as a warm up and then have a short break before doing sets of 10 until I reach 70 lengths.

But after the first 20 lengths I just kept on swimming. I had to take a wee break at 47 lengths to sort my goggles but I didn’t stop for long and I then found my self at 60 lengths.

I did 10 lengths with my arms only (using a pull buoy) and then swam 20 more lengths of normal swimming.

That took me to 90 and I thought: “Why the hell not make it 100 lengths.”

It wasn’t an easy session and I certainly wasn’t breaking any speed records but to find that I can fairly happily swim 100 lengths freestyle feels pretty amazing.

These days I much prefer freestyle to breaststroke. It feels far more natural.

I am still a scruffy swimmer and there is a huge amount I could do to improve my technique and therefore swim faster with less effort but I have been slowly but surely improving over the last decade and I hope to improve a little more as the years progress.

It’s amazing what you can achieve when you try.

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