Can I just start this blog post with a sigh of pleasure. My swim this morning was so lovely that I’m still basking in it’s glow at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
I grab my goggles off the study table to throw them in my bag. The kittens look at me with innocent little eyes. Their black and white heads cocked to one side. I am sure they are wondering whether I’ll notice their mischief before I throw my goggles in my bag or not. Of course I noticed! The little monsters have chewed straight through my goggle straps. And not just in one spot. No, they have shredded the straps so they are little more than five short lengths or rubber instead of one nice long strap.
Expletives escape my mouth in the early morning grey as I realise I will have to buy yet another pair of goggles. This will be my fourth pair in six months. Not only that, but now I will have to go to Cleveland pool instead of Springwood. Well, I can buy goggles from either pool but Springwood only carry Vorgee brand and I find they leak and totally fall off when I do butterfly. However, Cleveland pool sell Speedo brand, which are cheaper and more reliable for me.
It’s funny how I prefer one pool over another. They are both 50m lap pools and both are of similar quality. But I grew up swimming at Springwood and it has a certain atmosphere to it for me. I wonder whether it’s the depth of the pool affects me. Cleveland is a shallow pool that is only waist deep at each end but Springwood is shallow at one end and too deep to stand at the other. I also like that it’s closer to work than Cleveland so I can either train longer or spend more time eating breakfast, depending on how I feel.
Anyway, despite my disappointment at going to my second choice pool I still enjoy the most divine morning moving through the water.
I start my swim with a 500m continuous set alternating between 50m freestyle and 50m breast stroke. I focus on three-stroke breathing for freestyle and technique for both strokes.
Breast stroke is my off-stroke for racing so I like to give it attention during training. My breast stroke is so strong that I can still exit the water near the top of the field even though I do at least one-third of my swim leg in breast stroke during races. It must be so frustrating for the guys thrashing away to see me slide by in the stroke more commonly associated with non-swimmers and those having a rest. But there’s something incredibly powerful about using two arms at once to propel your body forward through the water.
After my first set I do a 500m set of butterfly and Biondi fly drill. I do each lap separately as 25m butterfly followed by 25m Biondi fly. It’s a tough set – equivalent to running hill sprints. I feel strong so I do a few laps using two-stroke breathing for the butterfly part of my swim.
After the butterfly I am quite tired so I do 200m each of freestyle and breast stroke followed by 200m of freestyle to round out my 1,600m swim session.
I get bored easily so 1,500m – 2,000m is about my limit for swimming training but the sunlight bouncing through the water is always pretty. It’s one of the many seemingly insignificant joys that I get from my training. When I feel tired in the pool I focus on the little dancing rays of light and think about what a gift it is to be able to enjoy them.
Total session: 1,600m of freestyle, breast stroke and butterfly.