December 2017

Swimming Nature: swimming and mastering technique

I’ve never been so hyperaware of a date as I am with Ironman UK (Sunday 15 July 2018, in case you forgot). There’s this constant worry in the back of my mind as to whether I’m making progress and whether I’m making progress at a pace  that will set me up for good stead on race day. Swimming and cycling are the real bugbears during this training and play a huge part in my confidence-build up for race day. My last two lessons with Swimming Nature gave me lots to think about with swimming and what I need to work on between now and race day.

My last two lessons with Sam really built up on what we had gone through in the previous two weeks – in these sessions we tried to put together what I had learnt to create a much more improved swimming technique.

I mentioned it before, but I struggle with processing instructions, particularly ones that involve using coordination, which is why I’m opting for a lot of one-to-one sessions for things like with swimming during my Ironman training. Group sessions, whether it’s for swimming or pilates, are generally about getting people to a general standard level – if you’re like me, then for something like swimming, achieving that standard level with your peers can be very hard and puts unnecessary stress on yourself if you aren’t able to achieve that same standard. That’s why I found the Swimming Nature sessions helpful: with just myself in the lesson, Sam could focus on my specific issues and tailor the session to my strengths and weaknesses.

Each session began with us going through a quick overview of what I’d done during the week before in my training- a great way to stay accountable. There’s no point lying to your coach or swimming instructor at these times: it’s going to be obvious. We’d discuss anything I had noticed I had struggled with during my swim sessions.

Something I really struggle with is bilateral breathing (breathing on your right side then breathing on your left side after a few strokes etc). I have mastered staying afloat, keeping my core tight and ass up rather than sinking low whilst swimming and learning to push and glide with my arms. But breathing – it’s something I struggle with. With Sam, I have been able to master being able to swim laps, while breathing on one side. I tend to breathe just on my right side when I swim as it’s my left side that I struggle with.

Now after Sam’s lessons, when I swim, I consciously think about how my body is working: How am I kicking with my legs? Am I kicking from my knees or my hips? What is the rhythm of my kicks like? Is my core tight and engaged while swimming? How are my arms moving while I’m swimming front crawl? How high is my head moving and at what angle is it at when I’m going up to breath? There is so much to take into account. It was a little overwhelming to think about so much when swimming, but the way Swimming Nature‘s Sam broke it all down bit by bit, it made things easier to focus on.

I’m far from swimming like Rebecca Adlington, but as with anything, improving my swimming technique is going to take more than four weeks. What these swimming lessons with Swimming Nature have done, is help to create a foundation of confidence in the water, which is very important for Ironman. The swim may be the shortest part of the event, but to swim 2.4 miles (3.86km) requires confidence, endurance, strength and good technique. Especially, if I want to complete it in a solid time within the cut off time of 2 hours 20 minutes. We Aquarians are meant to be water-babies and soon I think I finally may begin to relate to this.

Swimming Nature offer private swimming lessons for all abilities. – whether total beginner or seeking to improve your technique. For adults, they offer a number of different programmes, depending on what you are looking to achieve. There is something for you.

Have you had, or are you looking into having swimming lessons?