"Hi ladies. How was your swim?" asked the nice lady (whose name I always forget) in the locker room.
"Hard" I replied. "She tied us to the side of the pool today...I can't believe we actually pay for this kind of treatment!".
Everybody laughed, including my two swimming buddies who were also tied to the side of the pool.
I knew something was up during our warmup when I spotted Christine carrying a pile of stretch cords. Then she started tying them together. Good lord, I thought, it's 5:30am. Be nice!
After the warm-up, she explained what we were going to be doing. She broke us into groups of 2. I got paired with Jamie. The other pairs were two girls and two boys (not that it really matters - I just like giving details like that). There were three activities to complete and we would rotate through them in pairs.
Activity one: swim 200m using a pull-buoy and breathing every 5th stroke and then swim 200m using the pull-buoy and breathing every 7th stroke.
Activity two: swim 5x100m. Each 100m was to be done on 2 minutes. This means that you check the clock when you start and check again when you finish. You have two minutes to complete 100m so, if it takes 1 minute and 30 seconds, you get 30 seconds rest. If it takes 1 minute and 55 seconds, you get 5 seconds rest.
Activity three: tie yourself to the side of the pool. Christine had hooked a waist belt thingie to a stretch cord. She then hooked the stretch cord to the side of the pool. "Tie this around your waist" she said. "I want you to swim out as far as you can. Once you stop moving forward, I want you to swim hard to stay in place for 30 seconds. Then swim back to the wall. Repeat 10 times. Each one on 1 minute.
Jamie and I started with the 200m pull buoy activity. The ladies started on the 100m swim and the boys started with the stretch cords. One of the boys is new (as of Wednesday) so I don't know him very well yet. The only thing I know is that he is built more like a bodybuilder than a swimmer.
I watched them both do their first pull. The first guy got about half-way across the pool before he stopped moving. Strongbad made it almost to the other side of the 25m pool. And then broke the cord.
Bloody hell. Seriously?
He swam back and Christine built him another, stronger, contraption.
He broke that one too.
She fixed him up again and then he managed to complete his 10 reps.
Jamie and I were next. We strapped ourselves in and started swimming. We both made it about half way across the pool before we stopped. I realized pretty quickly that you don't just stop and hang out. You stop and swim for dear life because the cord that is stretched now wants to contract and drag you back with it. Like water rushing up your nose drag back. I pulled and kicked like a madwoman, panting all the while. After 30 seconds Christine gave the signal to stop and I stopped with relief. Then I flashed a huge grin. With no more resistance, the cord contracted and I was flying through the water. Like Harry Potter on his broom. It was awesome. Totally worth the exertion.
We did ten of those. Swim like hell and then fly back. By the end, my arms were shaking with fatigue.
And no, I did not break a stretch cord.
(But thank you for asking)
After that workout, the last set of 5x100m was so hard it was ridiculous. Each one took 1 minute and 50 seconds so we had hardly any rest in between. And my arms were so weak that I could hardly push off the wall when I turned. I felt like I was swimming through mud with weights tied to my arms.
Apparently we're repeating the whole thing on Friday.