Getting serious about swimming

My new training plan has me serious about swimming. While I only swam a few times during December, January and February, under my new plan I’m swimming 2-3 times a week. And I’m not just pottering up and down the pool alternating between freestyle and breast stroke with the odd few laps of butterfly thrown in. No, I’m working hard doing 1,500m – 2,000m of freestyle as proper sets. That’s further than I was training in the few sessions I was doing and I’m now swimming those metres much faster.

My body is responding well to the new swimming regime. My arms, chest and back feel stronger, and if truth be told, I think my buttocks are also getting even firmer from kicking during the fast sets. Who knows, maybe I’ll blow all the other 30-34 year olds out of the water at Byron Bay if I keep swimming like this for the next 10 weeks.

Today I swam out at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre in the Sleeman Sports Complex. It’s the most divine pool to swim in. The water is crystal clear, the lane ropes are bright yellow with red markings and the ends of the pool are covered in those yellow electronic timing mats you see at the Olympics and Commonwealth Games. The pool is indoors and has stadium seating around it, making me feel like a champion even though I’m certainly not. The great thing about feeling like a champion is that it makes you want to work the session and swim like one.

The only bad thing about swimming at Sleeman is that we used to have our regional swimming carnivals there when I was a school child and walking past the marshalling room made me relive the anxiety I used to get before races. I used to be so anxious that I’d want to vomit. I’m sure it affected my performance because I swim so much better these days but am never nervous before a race anymore. There used to be so much pressure to perform for the sake of our school’s pride and, for me at least, much of my self-image was bound up in whether I won or lost a race (not that I ever won a regional swimming race – I was always just there to make up the numbers).

I felt fantastic as I dropped my body into the pool. Next time I go to this pool I’ll probably start at the shallow end because it was difficult to do my post warm-up stretch trying to balance on the narrow ledge at the end of the deep end of the pool. But the nice thing about starting from the deep end is that I really felt like a swimmer (we always used to start from the deep end when I trained with a squad).

Today’s session was:

Warm up: 400m freestyle

Main set: 5 x 200m freestyle flat out with 20 seconds rest

Cool down: 100m breast stroke

Total: 1,500m

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3 responses to “Getting serious about swimming

  1. I have been tracking back through your swimming posts, very inspiring and encouraging for a novice like me.
    I would really love to do a triathlon but the idea of open water swimming scares me silly, I’m such a coward when it comes to deep, dark water. One of my targets for this year is to get over my phobia, with a view to doing a tri next year.

    • It constantly surprises me how much my swimming has improved this past year. And how relatively easy it was to improve.

      Open water swimming is an acquired art. I have to admit to being afraid of open water swimming when I’m alone. I never swim more than knee deep in the ocean and rarely even venture into lakes or rivers. But for some reason I have no difficulty jumping in when there’s a whole pack of swimmers with me. But then, I’m a Virgo born in the Chinese year of the sheep so following is in my nature 😉 .

      I don’t know how to get over the phobia either. For me, I just tell myself that if everyone else can do something then I can do it too. So, for example, at the weekend when I was in Dampier I really wanted a swim. There were two lovely beaches next to each other. One had people swimming and one didn’t so I sat in the shallow water near the shore of the beach that had people at it. For some reason doing the same at the other beach scared me – even though the risk of shark attack was equally miniscule at both beaches (miniscule at the depth I was sitting at anyway). Even before my triathlons I only do a warm up swim in the middle of other swimmers.

      Tragic I know but I’m happy to share in the spirit of being a fellow open water coward 😉

      • thank you for sharing, I’m so glad that I’m not the only one!
        I think you have justified fears though, if I lived where you do then I don’t think I would ever get in the water. I hear the Jaws theme playing in my head when I swim in open water here in the UK, even if it’s impossible for there to be any form of sealife. For some reason I think lakes are scarier, I’ve seen What Lies Beneath! 😉

        Back in 2009 I went on holiday to Indonesia and visited Komodo & one of the best dive sites in the world, I screwed up all my courage to literally take the plunge and go scuba diving. I nearly died of fright when I had to jump off the boat and I almost crushed my poor instructor’s hand when we were bobbi g on the surface, but as soon as I put my face in the water and realised that I wasn’t going to drown (or be eaten!) I was able to relax and enjoy the dive. It makes me wonder if my phobia is actually a fear of drowning or being eaten, rather than being COMPLETELY irrational … at least that’s what I tell myself until I a next have to leave the beach in Devon to stop Jaws getting me 😉

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