I am so proud of myself today!  I did two consecutive laps in the lap pool without taking a break!  What?  That’s not a big deal?  Well it is to me.

Less than a month ago I couldn’t finish a single lap. Three weeks ago I celebrated my very first length.  Lastly, this past Sunday was the first time that I was able to complete an entire lap without a break.  So, what did I do differently?  Well, a number of things actually.

The first thing I did was to work on my turns.  Up until yesterday I would stand up at the end of a length and then just bound back into the water.  I focused on an open turn as opposed to flip turns.  I feel like I still need the extra air that an open turn provides me, so I don’t think I will get the full benefit of a flip turn until my endurance and breathing get better.  Without the benefit, I figure why do the extra work involved in flip turns?  The real help I get in doing the proper turns is that I get a free 7 yards out of it.  When I do the turns and push off the wall, I glide nearly a third of the way across the pool before coming up for air.  That is a long way to go without stroking, so it helps me go farther on the same amount of energy.

The other thing that I changed was to slow down my strokes.  I slowed them down in two ways.  Fewer strokes, and slower, more controlled recovery.  The fewer the strokes the less tired I get.  As I slowed down the stroke rate, it allowed me to slow down my recovery.  That allowed me to make sure that I get my recovery hand (this is the hand that is coming back over my body and is about to reenter the water) in front of my face before I start my pull stroke.  This gives me two important advantages.  The first is that I can create a clean entry and a more streamlined body position as I pull which  allows me to go farther with the same effort, and it allows me to engage my core and multiply the force of rotation which in turn gets my body fully rotated in the water.  So changing two little things gives me more energy at each stroke, and puts my body in a more streamlined position to take full advantage of my stroke.

Now, I didn’t break any records (well my own I suppose) but I managed to get two laps done in 2 minutes.  If I can keep that pace up for all 9 laps, I will achieve my goal of halving my first triathlon swim time!  I’m so excited about that!  I’ll have to enjoy this week though, because starting next week I am going into full training mode.