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View Full Version : Update on me - 16 months since stepping into a pool for the first time



Alphathree
January 30th, 2008, 10:46 AM
I started swimming about 16 months ago and a lot of you here gave me great advice.

Today I was swimming at a public pool and one of the lifeguards told me I was a good swimmer. I said, "Thanks, I just started swimming about a year ago."

His reply was, "Oh, you took a break for a while?"
Me, "No, as in, I stepped in a pool for the first time over a year ago."

He gave me this, "you have to be f*cking with me" look. It was great. Worth every hour I spent in the pool. :)

A year ago I gave a bullet-list update that everyone seemed to enjoy, so here's the new bullet-list update.

Things I've learned about swimming:

-- Total Immersion. A year ago I did TI drills all the time and I got absolutely nothing out of them, so I gave up. I understood the concepts intellectually but I couldn't apply them in the water.

I got various private coaches who taught me how to swim the "normal" way, splashing around, relatively flat. It felt horrible but I had no better method.

But during my splashing, something magical happened: I developed my own stroke. And as one part of my stroke become automatic, I could transfer my "conscious" brain to focus on another part of my stroke that needed development.

I started to notice that if I inserted my hand quietly into the water, I got a much better catch. I started to notice that when I pulled with my body rotated and one shoulder deep into the water, I got more power.

Then I looked at what I was doing in the water and thought, "wow, I'm doing TI, but I 'discovered' it through exploration rather than TI drills."

- Kicking. Flutter kick was a source of misery and disappointment for me for a long time. Should I kick slowly and effortlessly like in the TI videos, or fast and furious like a racer?

I tried slow-kicking for a long time and ended up swimming "uphill" all the time. I have absolutely no fat on me and I sink like a rock without a strong kick.

So I started doing 25s and 50s just kicking like mad across the pool, face in the water, no breathing. Man did that build up my lung capacity. :)

My stroke today is therefore a hybrid: it has a strong, energy-consuming kick coupled with an efficient TI-like pull. My kick keeps my body nice and streamlined so that my TI-like pull can have maximum effectiveness.

- Other swimmers. Man, swimmers are a weird bunch. They are always about 30% creepy old men, 30% creepy old women, 30% otherwise antisocial people, and 10% alpha-male/alpha-female jock/lifeguard/social leader types.

I'm a very extroverted guy and I like to socialize, but I'm also blind as a bat without my glasses so I'm left squiting aorund the pool. It's an awkawrd combination.

- Where to go from here? I'm still refining my strokes and working on things like dives and flip turns, but now that I can actually swim, I want to do something more than just lessons and public swims.

I'm interested in self improvement more than "racing" and I'd like some people to share that with. I don't want to swim lap after lap until I'm bored to death.

I'm also vaguely interested in pursuing some kind of lifeguard/lifesaving certification, although as far as I can tell, everyone does this when they're like 10 years old and if you missed the boat (the boat?? get it?? because it's lifeguard training???), you don't get a second chance.

My personality type is that of lifelong teacher/student moreso than competitor. I'm trying to figure out how those roles fit best into my new-found passion for swimming.

SwimStud
January 30th, 2008, 11:27 AM
Gratz on finding yourself. All learing is useful even if you figure out you can't use it. You've learnt from it.

Join USMS and compete. You say you don't want to race and that's good, take a "racing myself" mentality and have fun. You'll find you have a point to train for and you will improve.

If you can join a coached program you will improve and make friends.

Get certed for lifguard if it interests you...knowing CPR could be a life saving asset for someone, anytime, anywhere. I plan to do this too.

Point of reference.
I started in Nov 06. Had fun, lost weight, got faster and found an incentive to hit the pool during the winter months when chowing down on ice cream and watching American Idol seems more self comforting.

Keep going.

TRYM_Swimmer
January 30th, 2008, 11:28 AM
Congratulations! I can't get over what you've accomplished in a year.

Don't think for a minute you can't be a lifeguard/instructor. At my Y we have at least one guard over 65 and he hasn't done it all his life. Find a YMCA. They are always looking for people. I bet you can take whatever classes you want there. They might also have a Masters workout group that takes all kinds, as ours does. We have folks working out with us that are having the benefit of a coach's workout for wherever they are and the comments, without ever swimming in a meet. Although, after a year or so, most choose to do a postal, like the 3000 or one-hour, just to measure their progress.

Whatever path you take, keep us informed and best of luck!

abc
January 30th, 2008, 11:34 AM
- Other swimmers. Man, swimmers are a weird bunch. They are always about 30% creepy old men, 30% creepy old women, 30% otherwise antisocial people, and 10% alpha-male/alpha-female jock/lifeguard/social leader types.

This is too funny. But serioulsy, good job on improving your swimming. If you want to be a certified lifegaurd, I think you have to swim like 500 yards or something, and yes, you will probably be mistaken for the instructor if you're older. But this will be perfect for you, because all the kids will think you're prettty creepy, thus fulfilling your contribution to the 60% creepoid factor. You should look at joining a team if there's one available in your area. You can learn a lot about stroke improvements from them. Keep swimming and keep us updated.

LizGoldsmith
February 1st, 2008, 12:41 AM
Find a masters team . . . and buy a pair of prescription goggles (seriously, you can buy them for less than $20). Then you'll at least know what your team mates look like with swim caps and goggles on!

Ripple
February 1st, 2008, 08:19 AM
...Today I was swimming at a public pool and one of the lifeguards told me I was a good swimmer. I said, "Thanks, I just started swimming about a year ago."

His reply was, "Oh, you took a break for a while?"
Me, "No, as in, I stepped in a pool for the first time over a year ago."

He gave me this, "you have to be f*cking with me" look. It was great. Worth every hour I spent in the pool. :)
... - Total Immersion. A year ago I did TI drills all the time and I got absolutely nothing out of them, so I gave up. I understood the concepts intellectually but I couldn't apply them in the water.
...I got various private coaches who taught me how to swim the "normal" way, splashing around, relatively flat. It felt horrible but I had no better method...

If someone complimented you on your swimming just 16 months into it, you probably got more out of the T.I. drills than you realize. I had conventional swim lessons for years, both in childhood/adolescence and as and adult, but no-one would ever have told me I was a "good swimmer" prior to doing T.I.. Why not try them again, perhaps wearing short fins, and see if you get more out of them from your new perspective?