Swim Lessons with Swimming Nature- Week 1

Monday, June 26, 2017

In my home state of New York, everyone has to pass the Red Cross level 5 swim lessons in order to graduate from high school. Every since I was little, I have always loved the water (maybe because I am an Aquarius?).  It just feels relaxing and soothing to me.  When my Achilles tendinitis began to persist in my late 20s, I decided to do triathlon to ease off the pressure on my joints.  I am an OK swimmer. I get around in open water or in the pool but can't do flip turns. I can breathe on both sides but always swallow lots of water.  My last summer in Michigan, I signed up for masters classes at the suggestion of a friend to help improve my technique.  Instead, I found myself suffering through the drills as I was the only non-competitive swimmer and hence the slowest.

The first few years we lived in London, we signed up for a few triathlons.  With these events in the diary, we spent one night a week at the local pool doing laps. I knew my technique still wasn't great but I was able to get quicker yet no more efficient.  I tried to find lessons for adults who wanted to improve but didn't have much luck.  Until now.

My chance finally came when Swimming Nature contacted me to try out four complimentary 30 minute lessons.  The lesson would be 1-on-1 tuition with one of their accredited instructors.  My coach is Sam and he and I will be meeting for the next 3 weeks in a follow up to last week's lesson.

First First Baker Street pool
I arrived a little early at Fitness First Baker Street to make sure I knew where I was going and in case I needed to fill in any paperwork. The front desk staff were very friendly and lent me a padlock as I didn't know I needed to bring one. I brought my own towel or could have hired one for £1.  The women's locker room is pretty big with lots of showers and lockers. The pool is 18 meters with 3 lanes. One lane is dedicated to lessons and the others are for members to use.  Sam and I shared the lane with another 1-2-1 lesson but it didn't really any impact us or our drills.

To start with, Sam had already watched me during my warm up laps across the pool, so he had me kick without using my arms to see my technique up close.  He said it looks like I have tight glutes because the range of motion from my hips isn't that great. I quickly let him know that I am a runner and that could be way the glutes are tight.  (Note: I now need yoga lessons).  He also observed that I don't pivot too much at my hips while most people would a bit more.

Homework #1 Kick like you mean it from the hips.

Next we worked on 8-10 kicks on my back, rolling onto my front for 8-10 kicks and then back to my back (without getting water up my nose)- all without using my arms.  I start sinking before I can get on my back again which doesn't always end well for my nose.

Homework #2 Practice this drill

Finally, we started to talk about arm positioning on the 'catch' of the front crawl, which is when  your hand first enters the water and then pulls you along. Of course, my technique of an S shape and "zip the dress" are old school. We worked a lot on proper arm positioning for the catch and started to build it into one stroke but ran out of time.

Homework #3 Work on my catch and follow through of the stroke.

This week we will add in breathing but I have a lot to work on between now and then. Sam said it was a good idea to meet every week but that I should try to practice at least once between sessions. The Olympic pool is near enough to home but between the Salomon Sunet Series and riding to Brighton, I ran out of time for a swim.

Have you ever taken swim lessons?  How did you fare?

Thanks to Swimming Nature for these lessons.  All opinions and experiences are honest and my own.

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