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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Swim. One lap at a time.

Today I overcame an obstacle--It may sound funny to many of you (especially seasoned swimmers in the mix), but I finally swam a lap of freestyle without stopping to catch my breath. Rewind to a year and a half ago when I was prepping for my first triathlon. I had significant fear of the deep end and would go into minor panic attacks swimming over it. My short term goal was to make it one length of freestyle without any breathing difficulties (i.e.drowning) and my long term goal was to swim 1/2 mile in the open ocean (any which way...doggie paddle, sidestroke, etc..) during the triathlon.

Lately I'm over my deep end fears and have been able to comfortably do a LENGTH of freestyle without difficulty. In the past month, however, I"ve hit a wall with wanting to do a LAP of freestyle and being too out of breath to complete it after 1 length.

And thats where Cortney comes in.

Cortney D. moved here almost 2 years ago from Florida with her husband who is in the Coast Guard. Cortney was on a NCAA winning swimming team in college and she gives lessons. She also helped with the morning Masters swimming group before she had her child. When I was triathlon training, I took 2 lessons with her to help me with my freestyle stroke. She was able to stand on the side of the pool and see what I was doing wrong and give me good cues to correct the errors. My big mistakes at that time was kicking from my knees instead of my hips.
Today I had my 3rd ever lesson with her. And for the first time, I swam a lap--in 52 seconds. Nothing at all fast about it, but we timed it so I know where I"m starting from. Cortney was so excited for me. She said, "so thats the first time you've ever swam a lap without stopping for rest?" Yes, it was.

I went back to our blog from winter of 2009 when I was training for the triathlon in California...and its fun to read about the things I was working on at that time with my stroke. At that time I was working on how much air to exhale, and turning my body side to side in the water.
Today Cortney got into the water with me and was able to critique what I was doing with my form under the water. I watched her swim several times, above and under the water which was helpful. Watching her helped me see the rhythm and momentum she used with her strokes...very similar to cross country skiing, actually. Reach, pull, reach, pull... Swimming and cross country swimming are very similar in that they both involve arms and legs, which is great in that it is a full body workout. But hard in the sense that if you are thinking about the form with your arms, you are forgetting about the form with your legs, and vice versa.

Next on the agenda with swimming will be increasing my endurance to do 2 or 4 laps without stopping and at that point, learning flip turns. YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There is something about doing a flip turn that will make swimming feel more official...


Photo: While I swam...Nora and Stuey went on a drive to Pillar Mt. with Sara. Gorgeous weather we've been having.

1 comment:

Molly Odell said...

Good for you Zoya! You will never regret taking the time to learn how to swim freestyle efficiently! It's such a great skill and it's not only nice for regular conditioning, but it's something you can turn to if you have pain caused by high-impact activities. I have knee and hip pain so I have to keep swimming in the mix of my workouts.
When I learned how to do flip turns, it was a huge breakthrough. I'm sure it will be for you too!