Friday morning at the pool was all about resistance.
We were told to bring pants, a shirt AND socks. So we did. I didn't think adding a pair of socks to the now familiar pants and a shirt routine would be that big of a deal. Little did I know...
Christine went over the plan.
We were going to break up into two groups. One group had to put all of their clothes on. They had to swim 200m four times. The goal was not to go fast - the goal was to swim it well. Elbows high, proper entry, legs kicking etc.
The other group had to head to the deep end where the stretch cords were set up. Ten pulls had to be done. Each one involved pushing off the wall as fast as possible and swimming as far as possible. Once the cord was stretched as far as it would go, Christine would start timing. You had to hold your position for 10 seconds. She would gradually add time and, by the tenth one, we would have to hold it for 30 seconds.
I chose the clothing option first. It's a long, slow slog through the water and I figured it would be easier to do it while I still had the energy. As Leslie and I swam, I watched the boys who were working hard on the stretch cords. Sasha, our monstrously strong swimmer, was able to stretch the cord more than halfway across the pool. It doesn't look that impressive until you try it. I can get just past 1/4 of the way and it's a lot of work.
The 200m swims with clothing went ok, once I stopping fighting it. At first, you want to swim as fast and as elegantly as possible. You can't do either of those things well so it takes a while to settle into a rhythm. It's like running into the wind. It isn't until you accept the fact that you can't run your regular pace that you can find a grove. The extra weight that the socks added was surprising. My feet felt like there were weights tied to them. They kicked halfheartedly and it was easier to drag them behind than it was to kick them.
After Leslie and I finished our 800m we pulled off our wet clothes and headed across the pool to the stretch cords. The boys pulled on their cotton(!?!) shirts and pants and started swimming. It was hard not to feel sorry for them as they struggled through the water - they could hardly lift their elbows up.
I love the stretch cords. I love the short burst of energy that we had to do. I love working as hard as I possibly can knowing that we only have to do it for 10 seconds. I'm guessing it's sort of like power lifting in the Olympics. Focus all of your energy for a few seconds and then you're done.
After we finished our pulling and the boys finished their swim, Christine had us do a final four sprints on the stretch cord. Then she told us we had to sprint 100m. Just once, with no clothes or cords to hold us back. Having just completed an hour and a half of pulling and dragging, we were all pretty tired.
When she yelled "go!", I pushed off the wall. My arms immediately felt weak and my breathing was laboured. I was exhausted. I pushed as hard as I could but everything felt like it was going in slow motion. I was the last one to hit the wall and I expected Christine to yell out some awful time like 2:00 minutes. Instead she yelled "1:40!!" which is about the fastest I have ever swum 100m.
George and Leslie did it in about 1:35 and Sasha did it in 1:15. As Christine put it, it's like we were all springs - bouncing off the wall and flying through the water. I may have felt slow and tired at the end but apparently didn't look it.
Strong like bulls we were. As fast as fishies.