Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Swimming is like golf

In more ways than one! Both frustrate the crap out of me, take far too much practice time to improve at, and reward finesse (not the shampoo) with results. I'm really beginning to realize how clumsily I was swimming before. My friend and fellow triathlete Pam has been giving me lots of pointers with swimming technique, and even took me under her wing a couple of weeks ago for a lunch time swim drills session. It's become quite clear to me that I try to attack the pool as I would if I were riding or running, and wind up fighting the water using my upper body while my legs drift along.

Anyway, through drills with names like butt-tap, tarzan, catch up, 1 arm, and finger drag, I'm starting to get some style...and improvement. Today I hit the pool for drills, focusing on the glide and kick aspect. Drill days always wear me out, but they are almost immediately apparent in their worth. Friday, after riding to the gym as a warm up to start my mini-tri, I swam 500yds in 8:23 @ 1:41/100yds. Today, after 700yds of drills and reinforcement laps, I swam 500yds in 8:13 @ 1:38/100yds. 10 seconds faster, and I was less fatigued! And after the drills!!

The changes I'm making are just relaxing my upper body and using a smooth stroke while concentrating on a steady, rapid kick. Concentrating on my stroke has had me forgetting to kick and dragging my legs through the water, further slowing me, and making me work harder still with my arms. I'm stretching out fully, gently placing my hands in the water, and while turning my trunk I use the rotation to power the previous stroke arm. After getting this process in motion, I can forget about it and focus on head position and kick, gliding and streamlined.

I guess the difference is that if you wear spandex or a blue speedo to golf in, the old men will look at you funny. Oh, and you can't drink beer while swimming. Seriously, I've tried!

Tonight is our weekly pilgrimage to some delicious south o' the border treats. The week is going by slowly for me (as opposed to screaming by for Tiff and Jess, I'm sure), but this marks the downward slope. I just hope Grace is in a good mood. Mendy's always in a good mood, so I don't sweat that...



Wes said...

I was getting pretty routine there doing 500 meters in 8:15 (back when I was younger), and I hardly kick at all. At least I thought I didn't, but my ass muscles claimed otherwise. Point is, you only get 20% of your power from kicking. On shorter events, kick and go all out, but on longer events, I think the most important kick is to simply keep the legs flat and not drag.

I think you are a superb all around triathlete. When you nail your swimming form, you are going to be unstoppable :-)

Have some mexican and beer for me, will ya? I'm giving up all forms of adult beverages for a while... LOL. If I can make it through work tonight without a beer, I'll be doing pretty damn good!

J~mom said...

Sweet swim times...they just rock! I got kind of bored with the drills but they do help so much with form. Tomorrow I will be a good girl and do my drills.

Marcy said...

OK reason number #478392479243792 of why I can't swim. If you compare it to golf . . .FORGET IT! My brain is too spaztastic to really focus like that (LOL like this is a shock to anyone).

Who makes up those names?!? LMAO!

I don't know all that mumbo jumbo swimming stuff but I'd be willing to bet money that it's probably super fast ;-)

You know what's funny, is that my husband said the same thing (per your comments). "You're like a child. How bout I tell you TO run and you won't" Yeah I'm 10 :P

Paul said...

Swim does take a lot of focus. It's probably one reason I don't do it enough. I can't just show up and zone out...I find it helps if I focus on one aspect of my stoke at a time. Wait until you come to SD for some killer Mexican!

Bob Gentile said...

ahhhh I am a clumsy waste a lot of energy swimmer :-(

Need more focus on my swims, good post reminder and as far as golf goes all my golf balls are attracted to lumber -GRRRRR

Gotta Run said...

That Pam knows her stuff!!! I did all of these drills with her in class and they are right on target with what you need to polish up your already speedy swimming.

Soak up all that she knows and you will be like a bullet in the water!!!

I am always amazed at how much better I can become with the slightest adjustments.

Chad in the Arizona Desert said...

As someone who went to college on a golf scholarship of all things, I completely agree with your comparison. And just like golf, the people who are truely good at it do it through a combination of voodoo and witchcraft that even they can't explain to anyone.

Good luck. There is a reason that "golf" is a 4-letter word. Swim is too. ;-)