Wow! Free masters swim coaching for all-comers. And the classes take place twice a week. All you pay is the $5 pool entry and then the coach will tailor a session specifically to your goals. How wonderful!
This morning I attended the Redlands Masters Swimming session at Cleveland Aquatic Centre. It was wonderful. Coach Alan tailored sessions for each of his groups of swimmers of varying ages, abilities and goals. Those who were learning to swim also had access to a separate coach in the shallower 25m pool who could give them private instruction while more advanced swimmers completed their sets. If I hadn’t been there to experience this fantastic community initiative, I wouldn’t have believed it.
My friends are training for their first sprint distance triathlon next weekend so I fit in with them. I told Coach Alan about my sacroiliac joint injury and that I’m just this week returning to exercise after a lengthy break. At his suggestion, I used a pull buoy for my 300m warm up to reduce the pressure on my back caused by kicking. It worked and I felt strong as I glided through the water.
After our warm up, Coach Alan gave us all some tips rolling from the hips when we breath. Everyone in our little group of five swimmers was at a different stage of technique development but even for those of us a bit more experienced, the tips were wonderful. We then did some navigation swimming where we swam six strokes without breathing then six strokes with our heads above water. The Coach told us to shorten our stroke when swimming with our heads up and it helped a lot. I found this exercise comfortable.
We then did some drafting and pack swimming exercises. This was a load of fun and we probably did 500m of drafting in a V before doing four 25m pack sprints where we experienced the kicking, hitting and thrashing that is normal at the start of a triathlon.
We finished with some bilateral breathing exercises in which I focused on gliding and taking my breathing roll from the hips. My friends were then sent off to tread water for a while to learn some techniques that will help them conserve energy while waiting for the deep water start to their race. The Coach suggested I sit the exercise out because it would likely set my back off. It showed his professionalism, experience and interest in his swimmers that he would remember that I was injured out of the whole 20-odd swimmers he was looking after.
We swam for an hour and probably covered 1,000 – 1,200m (I lost count). While the distance wasn’t great, the quality was excellent. I think I got more out of this morning’s session than any of the long swims I did alone last triathlon season. I will be back.
Total: 1hour swim