Maybe this post title conjures up images of a girl losing her bikini bottoms or an adolescent boy being made fun of for his man boobs. But this is about a 29 year old female who apparently can't swim.
I went swimming the other night, feeling good in my skin, thinking I'd try to swim fast. Things seemed to be going well until, about 3/4 of the way into my swim, a guy joined me in my lane. After a couple laps, he started laughing when I brought my head out the water and asked if anyone had ever showed me how to swim. I said "no" a bit surprised and worried. (I've basically taught myself over the last two years. I started out with this vague idea of a few different types of strokes. It took me about a year to get my head under water while I swam.) Had I been making a big fool out of myself this whole time?
"Why don't you kick when you swim?" He said. I figured that was a fair question. I'd always wanted swimming to improve my arm strength, so I had taught myself to swim without my legs. Now that I was training for a triathlon, I suddenly realized that didn't make too much sense. He continued: "Oh, and you never breath. Breathing more will help you turn your body as you swim, which you also don't do." I admitted I took breaths every 10 strokes and that I was pretty proud of that. Why was I proud of that again????
What had people been thinking all this time as they watched me swim???? Oh well, I wasn't going to let this advice pass me by. He went and got a kick board (which I had previously seen as a device designed for people who didn't know how to use their arms... Boy am I a RUBE!). I did two laps with just the kick board. Wow is that HARD! I thought being a runner would make that easy, but you use an almost completely different set of muscles. Then he had me kicking and rotating my body by breathing every two strokes and getting my hands up above my head. He said it was "like a dance underwater." This seemed hokey, but it has stuck with me. He swam along side of me and yelled things like "Keep kicking!" and I cut my time across the pool almost in half. It is amazing how much more efficient his suggestions made me!
I'm writing this in case there are any other rubes out there like me who don't know why they are not getting faster at swimming. For me it boiled down to three things:
2. Breathing every two strokes
3. Rotating my body every stroke
Turns out the guy was a fellow doctor at the hospital I work at. I am so glad he had the guts to say something. I convinced SR we could benefit from signing up for a personal lesson or two.
As I write, The Bois (who turns six months tomorrow!) is crawling his way right across the floor. He's not quite as receptive to my advice that "crawling is a dance" but he's getting along alright.
Have a great weekend!
Running Song of the Day: Go Go by Alphabeat