Learning to swim

Well, sort of…

I was taught to swim at primary school, but mostly in a “learn to survive if you fall in the canal” kind of way. If you could stay afloat and propel yourself around the pool that was pretty much good enough. Anything resembling a recognisable stroke had to be self-taught. I very much enjoyed swimming nonetheless. I just didn’t take it any further.

As I was spending a lot of time hanging around sports centres whilst my children trained with one of the local swimming clubs, I decided to get back in the pool myself and make better use of the time. That was back in April 2015. For the rest of that year I spent a couple of hours a week swimming whilst they were training, getting a little fitter, but not actually improving my swimming very much.

In January 2016 I set myself a target of learning all four strokes properly and learning to turn properly, as well as setting a distance target of 250km (or 10,000 lengths if you prefer) for the year which I felt was attainable, but far from easy. Initially I started swimming more regularly to further improve my fitness and then in April 2016 I decided I’d attempt to swim every weekday. Some private lessons followed where I picked up the basics of each stroke and one of the childrens’ coaches has helped me improve my front crawl further, working through a catalogue of faults that needed fixing 😀

By early August my swimming had improved sufficiently that I reached my target of 250km, so I revised it to 400km, which meant I was going to have to do some serious work on being able to swim further in less time (more of that later). Over the next couple of months I worked on building the distance I could swim eventually reaching 2km (80 lengths) of front crawl without stopping. Much to my surprise that meant I reached my 400km target on November 30th. Another revision was called for and this time I went for another 50km. That was really pushing things and as Christmas loomed I was starting to feel very tired towards the end of the week, but by 23rd December I’d hit 447.5km leaving me just 2.5km which I completed in a single session between Christmas and New Year.

So, where am I now?

I’m relatively happy with my front crawl. I do need to work on my front crawl turns though. If I can get those sorted then I think it should be possible to do both 1,500m in less than 30 minutes and 50m in less than 30 seconds.

Breaststroke I find quite difficult and often suffer from pain in my knees when I swim more than a few lengths, I believe due to the sideways stress on the joint when returning my legs to the streamlined position at the end of the kick.

Backstroke I have not swum very much, but the flags are now generally left in at the pool where I swim, so I’ll be working on that more from now on.

And butterfly. Hah 🙂 It’s tough. Really tough. I’m getting there, but it’s going to be a while before I can swim 100m IM 😀

Now I just need to set myself a plan for 2017…

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