Tag: swimming


Back in ancient civilization there was always talk of various demons, monsters, dragons and other mythical beasts.  The names changed, but the ideas remained constant.  Some unknown beast lurking in the shadows patiently waiting to tear you to pieces.  I’ve often wondered where these ideas came from.  They were such a constant over time, and now a days they just seem to be Hollywood stories.  Good for a few scares and no more.

I was thinking this morning about demons, and I realized that they are still with us every day.  The ancients would give names to their fears, the things they didn’t understand.  These irrational fears or issues in their lives had to be caused by something, must be demons.

Well, our demons are our fears.  Fear of heights, public speaking, death, etc.  Like the demons of yore, our fears keep us from doing the things we want to do.  Fear of failure stops us from starting that business we always wanted to do.  Fear of flying stops us from seeing the world.

My current demon is the pool.  It taunts me and makes me lose my form.  It makes me anxious when the water gets too deep.  It lurks in the darkness and tries to make me give up.  But, like the knights of the middle ages, I will slay this demon, and I will swim.   No guts, no glory.

I wonder if  Speedo has an armor line?  Maybe one that floats?

Did I speak too soon?

Today I upgraded to the lap pool from the kiddie pool.  I made a rough measurement, and I think that the multi-purpose pool (a.k.a. kiddie pool) at the YMCA is about 15 yards long.  The lap pool is 25 yards long.  The lap pool is also 9′ deep on one end.  Standing on one end of the lap pool after being in the other pool reminded me of that scene from Poltergeist where the Mom (actress JoBeth William) is running down the hall and it gets progressively longer the more she tries to run.  I’ve seen shorter runways at airports.  I’m not sure if it was the length of the pool, or the fact that sections were so deep that my safety net was missing, but I lost my form.  I struggled a little with breathing compared to yesterday.

I did manage to pull it together and get full lengths out of my swim.  That is more than I could do last time I was in the lap pool.  Hopefully things will get easier as I get my brain over the fact that I am in a deep pool and can die any minute!  I think building endurance is going to be huge too.  It will be much easier for me when I’m not panting after going 25 yards.  Tomorrow is my swim clinic, I sure hope that I don’t make a fool of myself.

A swimming breakthrough?

Or perhaps a Festivus miracle.  I don’t know which, but I swam today with very few breathing issues.  A couple of nights ago I watched this video on youtube from Marc Evans.  Please ignore the disembodied head, Coach Evans, if you’re reading this don’t wear a shirt that matches the blue screen next time!

I also read through the comments to the video which were really good.  Coach Evans does a great job of answering all of the commentators’ questions.  The thing he said that struck me most was when he said you should breathe in swimming like you breathe on land.  Same in and out easy breathing.  At first I thought, yeah right, but later I kind of translated that to “stop thinking too much when you breathe.”  I took it easy, focused on my stroke, and let the breathing take care of itself.  It worked out really well!  I was even able to breath bilaterally (from either side every three strokes).  It felt amazing!

In my opinion, the key to breathing is rotating and positioning correctly.  I have heard two methods of positioning your head.  The first is to put your ear against the extended arm when you rotate, the other is to put your chin against the shoulder of your recovery arm (the one that is about to enter the water).  I use the chin on the shoulder technique.  Either way, the whole purpose seems to be to ground your head to something so that you aren’t so panicky.  It’s kind of like standing on a really high building.  You get less freaked out if you are holding the railing.  If you anchor your head to one of those spots, and you get the proper rotation, your mouth will come to the air on its own.

Another key is to not pull back your extended arm too early, and to not begin your recovery until the breath is done.  What I mean is, freeze your recovery arm on your hip and don’t move either arm until you have taken that breath.  Then you can rotate your head back and start your recovery.  It helps keep things smooth.  Once the pace picks up, it won’t look or feel like such a big pause, it will just flow.

So don’t freak out, think things through, have patient arms and mouth, get proper rotation, and anchor your head.  Seems like a lot, but take it one step at a time.


This is the first time I’ve been jealous of a piece of plastic. Ok, maybe the first time I’ve been jealous of a piece of plastic that isn’t battery operated.

One Step Forward, and Two steps back.

I have been practicing here and there, and I was feeling much better.  Other than the Tuesday swim clinics, I have been doing all of my training so far in a short pool that is only about 4′ deep.  Today I tried the lap pool, and I struggled to make it even one length without gasping for air.  I was there about an hour, and I never even made a single length without having to flip on my back, or break form to get air.

I spent a lot of time today watching other swimmers.  They looked like they were fish.  Even though a lot of them had what looked to me like inefficient strokes, they were swimming effortlessly.  Clearly I am doing a lot wrong.  It is so frustrating to not be able to do this.  I know that I will get it, and I can’t wait until the day that I look back at these entries and kind of snicker, but that just seems so far away after today.  I’ve decided I will keep going back to swim every day until I get this right.  Hopefully it won’t take long.  Practice makes perfect right?

Ugh sick again!

Went swimming with my sister-in-law. I was doing my Easy Freestyle drills, skating, and the life guard came up to me and said, “what are you doing?” I was taken a bit off guard, and I wasn’t sure if he was reprimanding me or what, so I just looked at him and said, “Um, I’m swimming.” Suddenly I realized he was just curious about my drills. I corrected myself and told him about the Total Immersion drills I was doing. He had heard about them but didn’t know much more than that. Anyway, I swam for about an hour and I started feeling really sick. I’m not sure if it was the bobbing in the pool, or the blur from the goggles, but I felt pretty sick by the time it was all done. The drive home was miserable. I need to figure out how to prevent this or my triathlon career is going to be cut really short.

The drills themselves didn’t go too bad, but I just want to be able to swim. Apparently I have very little patience for swimming, who knew?

Easy Freestyle is here!

My Easy Freestyle DVD arrived today. The drills seem more focused, I’m really excited to get out to the pool and put these drills to the test.

No progress, but not sick

I had another swim clinic session, I don’t feel like I got very far.  The people in the class are all at varying levels, all of which are above the cluelessness that I seem to be exhibiting.  It is tough to get enough attention so I tried to just do my thing.  It is so tough to think about all these things I have to do.  I can’t kick correctly, and I can’t move my arms right.  So all I have to do is figure out how to move my arms and legs correctly and I’m good to go.   I’m so screwed.

On a bright note, I didn’t get sick today!  Maybe it was a fluke.

Easy Freestyle Swimming

I found a series of videos of a conference speech by Terry Laughlin the developer of Total Immersion.  The video was great, and I’ve decided to buy the “Easy Freestyle Swimming” DVD which has newer techniques and hopefully will be easier to follow.

Here is the clip on YouTube, you can watch the rest of them by following the links that come up once this one ends.  There are 9 videos total.

Swim practice makes me sick…


I had a practice session today.  I tried doing some of the drills from the Swimming Made Easy Total Immersion book.  Things went ok, I guess.  I really don’t feel like I am making much progress because the drills seem to be baby steps.  They are also designed for a shallow pool.  As a result, I found myself struggling to breath at times when the water was too deep to stand in.  I did learn to roll on my back whenever things got too intense and I needed a breather.   I just roll over and float there.  I can even get some forward progress by doing a backstroke.  I’m thinking that this will be useful in a triathlon if I get into trouble.  I read recently in the USA Triathlon’s rules that you can rest while swimming (Rule 4.1) , however if you use anything like a boat or another person to give you forward momentum you will be disqualified(Rules 4.2 and 4.3).  What?  I’m a lawyer, let me geek out.

Now, about the sickness.  I am really, really, sensitive to motion sickness.  In fact, I am so sensitive, that I have periodically gotten motion sickness while driving my own car.  Today I got nauseous while swimming.   It really upset me.  I don’t want to have to take Dramamine every time I want to swim.  I felt terrible too, I barely made it home without throwing up.  In fact, I had to drive with the window down in freezing cold weather just to keep from losing it.  I am still feeling sick as I write this in fact.  Hopefully it was a one time thing. Ugh!

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