If you tri – you swim. How much depends on a lot of variables. I am typically swimming three times per week. In December, per the advice of Mary (my coach) I started swimming at an adult masters program. She said “I think you’ll like it.” Happily she is right.
Typically we are divided in to groups: swimmers and triathletes, and then sort lanes by speed within each group. The triathletes that can swim well go with the swimmers! I stay over with the triathletes and am doing well there. I have started learning names, chatting with people, and, in short, love being amongst a group of highly motivated triathletes. A lot of these people set pretty demanding goals for themselves. It is very eye-opening to hear about their training and what their times and expectations are. Although somewhat intimidating in a way, I love being there amongst that type of chatter and activity. It is giving me an extra kick in the pants to realizing my own goals…and even verbalizing them.
More than just being amongst highly motivated people, I am also getting (slowly) better at swim…so I believe. Last year when I swam I was so focused that I was barely aware of what was going on in my own lane, much less able to know what is going on in others, and even keeping track of things. Already I am aware of where my lanemates are and what they are doing. I can watch to my right or left and tell if I am matching or passing someone else’s speed. And, I can use the timing clocks (and not just my watch) to keep track of my swim times and intervals. All this without losing effort in my swim. I think this is pretty exciting.
I am slowly learning to do flip turns. I am starting to get the “flip from the core” so that my arms are in the right place after I flip. Some turns are OK, some are pretty laughable. I still have a hard time getting close enough to the wall. I only practice these during warm up as I am not confident enough yet when I am pushing or when I have someone on my toes. One time I tried it throughout swim and after about 45 minutes my core was tired and my flip turns were non-existent. So I went back to just turning. But, I am learning, and have the motivation that two people have told me they keep up with me at the turn (they can do a flip turn, and I just turn around).
And finally – I haven’t tested this yet, but I am feeling stronger in my swim. My form is far from perfect, but I am working on small details and trying to get that easy feeling when I swim. Some days I have it, some days I don’t.
I can say the days when I push are my favorite days. One woman and I are pretty closely matched and we push each other well. The days when we really push each other have been amongst some of my favorite swims….and also the hardest.
So, I still prefer running and biking, but I am enjoying swim a lot more, and do look more foward to getting in the pool at 5:45 a.m. for an hour plus of swimming. I am learning to push, when to push, and how to push. I am also learning more about those around me, and what they are doing….and really love it. It motivates me quite a bit.