Apparently, when I swim, I have a very long elegant stroke. My arms extend languidly before me, my fingers dip gently into the water and I hardly disturb the water as I move. Even when I'm kicking as hard as I can, I don't break the water surface.
My love of peace and quiet extends to the pool and I try my best not to make a splash.
Apparently, this is not a good thing.
Friday was stroke correction day. Not for everyone, just for me. Because apparently the way I swim will only take me so far and, if my one pace wonder swim is any indication, I have maxed out my speed.
So Christine announced that she was going to retrain me how to swim.
There were three key issues to work on. My arms cross in front of me as they break the water and that is a big no no. My thumb goes into the water first when (who knew??) the baby finger should be the first one in. And I kick completely underwater instead of breaking the surface.
We did drills. Lots and lots of drills.
I had to swim back and forth with my arms going in at 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock which felt ridiculous but was supposed to help me learn to keep my arms from crossing. Then I had to swim head-up front crawl while keeping a ball between my arms as I moved. Again, ridiculous, but Christine promised it would help.
I had to use the flutter board and try to break the surface of the water as I kicked. My brain did not like that one. Splashing is just so...childish!
Then she tied my feet together with a rubber band thingie and told me to work on pulling while trying to keep my legs from hanging straight down. "You will need to really work your core and it will take you a while to figure out what muscles you need to use to get your legs up".
I never did get them parallel but at least they stopped dragging along the pool bottom by the end of the hour.
We did these exercises for an hour and, despite all the gadgets I had to use, I managed to get 2,000m of swimming in. And I still felt ridiculous. Everything about this new stroke felt foreign and, while she mercifully didn't time any of my lengths, I felt so much slower than before.
"You have to get slower before you get faster" she said.
"So I'm doing well then?" I asked.
"Does it feel weird and awkward?" she asked.
"Then you're doing well".
Saturday morning, I met Gabrielle, Janice and Klari in Welland for our open water swim. I debated explaining that I was working on my new technique in case they made fun of me for being so slow. But, when we started swimming, I started passing them. I felt like I was sailing through the water and Gabrielle commented that it looked like I was swimming on a skateboard.
Apparently it's working...