Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Water Works

I have this debate with my Mom. She swears that I had swim lessons as a kid. One of us is having memory issues (likely me) as I thought my first lesson was last summer.  I told her that throwing me into the deep end of the King's Point neighborhood swimming pool as a five year old and say, "now swim" does not count. Up until my "first lesson," the extent of my water skills were limited to;

Marco Polo
Reenacting the opening shark attack scene from the movie "Jaws"
Fraternity Hot tub parties (sometimes reenacting the opening scene from "Jaws")
Body surfing in California
Drinking wine in my hot tub at home

As I embarked on my new sport of triathlons last July, I took my first lesson at Swim Labs in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Swim labs utilizes video taping in an endless indoor pool that "breaks down" the various aspects of a swim stroke. Much like a golf stroke where there's several things happening at once, the same thing happens with swimming. Last year, my stroke was "way off." It could be best described as a combination of a Mississippi paddleboat and throwing a gas lawn mower into the pool...with the lawn mower running.


Ty Swim Lesson Aug 2012 from Ty Godwin on Vimeo.

Last summer was a good start and my swim times dropped quite a bit. I still don't really know what a fast time is in the water, but I can now swim a mile under 30 minutes. I'm told that's some kind of milestone. More important is the fact that I can swim that distance without stopping, or throwing in some breast stroke. My previous breast stroke experience was in college.
After some work, my butt closer to the surface.

Given that, I realize there are swimmers in my age group that are faster than me, so I returned to Swim Labs this week for a repeat lesson. The instructor quickly saw two things that I needed to work on; 1) adjusting my upper body and arm position entering the water to allow my butt to float vs. dragging under the water, and 2) perhaps I "over-compensated" for the giant paddleboat stroke style I started with and had fallen into the habit of using too much hand, not enough forearm, not digging deep enough, and having the elbow exit in front of my hand/forearm.

All that sounds like a lot, but it made sense. Just like golf, I will have to probably work on one of those at a time and repeat them often. Odd that a year ago, I loathed the thought of swimming for exercise. Now, I can't wait for the next triathlon and my next time in the pool to apply what I've learned to try and shave some time off that swim leg.   Marco...Polo...

2 comments:

  1. Great job on the swimming imporvements! I need to take some swim classes as I would love to swim a mile without stopping!

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  2. I can't imagine being able to do the mile swim in under 30 minutes. One day hopefully. I really wish I could take a similar swim lesson so that I can have someone evaluate my stroke. I was on the swim team in high school but wasn't very good. I have spent this summer in the pool getting ready for my first 70.3 and while I am faster, I know there is lots of room for improvement.

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Average guy w/ an above average appetite for marathon racing and triathlons. Ran my 5th Boston in '15. 3:21, 1:29, 19:21 PR;full/half/5K Opinions & wit are mine