The last day of swim practice

He looked over at me, gently shook his head and shrugged his shoulders.

Swim Master Greg and nothing left to say.

It’s not that he gives up, it’s just that he doesn’t understand why I’m not moving faster through the water.

This, believe it or not, is music to my ears.

Because sometimes NOT having an answer is the most encouraging news out there. For me, it meant that months of work on form had not been wasted — that I had indeed improved my form. That I was getting better, even if I was still moving through the water at a crawl’s pace.

So, we moved on to different tactics. The first — counting how many strokes it takes to get to the end of the pool. It’s a measure of an efficient stroke. The fewer strokes you use, the more efficient your stroke is.

“Think about really reaching out. About making yourself tall,” Swim Master Greg said. “Think about making your wingspan big.”

“I”m a smurf, so my wingspan is pretty small,” I replied. “But I’ll imagine myself as Michael Phelps. He has a huge wingspan.”

“It takes him five strokes to go 25 yards,” Swim Master Greg replied.

“Well, it will take me slightly more than that,” I deadpanned.

In the water, I focused solely on my stroke, on reaching forward and on pulling myself forward. I used a new analogy, one of pulling myself forward, over the water, almost as if I was pulling myself through mud. (This is not so far fetched considering my penchant for falling while trail running. Who knew that could be useful cross training for swim technique?)

I felt like I was moving slower. Forget about turnover or trying to swim fast. I needed to swim strong. My times were just about the same during the workout as they had been when I thought about speed as opposed to strength. And while my arms and shoulders burned, I wasn’t desperately out of breath.

This is a good sign.

Too bad master’s swim practices have come to an end for the semester.

It was an evening of mixed emotions for me. Swim practice still conjures up some anxiety, some fear, some frustration at just wanting to be able to swim a tad bit faster to keep up with all these other people please! Practice also is late, putting me in bed around 11 p.m. which means groggy, grumpy Amy shows up for those early morning workouts the next day.

But it was sad. Kinda like the last day of school. You know you will see these people again, but not sure exactly when or where. They have become part of my circle. Some have become good friends, others friendly faces at races and other places. I’ll miss the camaraderie of the pool, when we’re all in the same workout together.

Luckily for me, Swim Master Greg will continue to work with me. I’ve just really started to learn how to glide.

And I don’t want to stop now.

P.S. Check out GoTRIbal.com where I’m one of the featured bloggers!

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~ by amymoritz on June 10, 2010.

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