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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Swimming - Three lessons in, sinking averted

I've come a long way in three weeks!

OK, it's only a 25m pool.

OK, I can't do more than 100m without stopping to gasp for air and catch my breath.

OK, so Ironman is 3800m.

I can stop to gasp 38 times, right? No? :)

The triathlon swimming lessons are from this guy from Iron Motivation, he's a really good instructor. Even without personal instruction I'm getting a lot out of it. If you're in Whitby, Ontario, I can't recommend him enough... and it's through the Rec Center, so it's really reasonably priced.

He breaks down the drills so you're focusing on one thing at a time - kicking, breathing, arm movement, floating, etc. It's helped a lot, each piece is coming a bit more naturally and I'm starting to get what I'm supposed to feel when it all comes together.

A few equipment notes.

I thought all I needed was a swimsuit and a positive attitude. Nope.

Swimsuit - I use my old floppy one, but a lot of people have tight fitting ones or these special triathlon ones that you can swim in AND run and bike. Once I'm convinced I can swim I'll invest in something like that.

Goggles are absolutely mandatory. Everyone's got them, and for me it made an enormous difference. Not having to concern yourself with searing pain in your eyes lets you concentrate more on important things.

Nose plugs are not as essential, but I plan to get them anyway. Water keeps going up my nose and into my sinuses, it's sucky. I smell chlorine when I sniffle for days after swimming, yuck.

Swimming Caps seem popular, but I don't think my hair is what is slowing me down at this point. Maybe I'll be lucky enough to go bald before I have to wear the head condom.

So that's it! I'll keep posting what I learn and hopefully I learn enough to pull off a give-it-a-tri without drowning. :)

2 comments:

halfpass said...

As a swimming instructor, lifeguard, former competitive swimmer, and daughter of an Ironman, I'm going to say DON'T DO THE NOSE PLUG. It is a crutch you don't want to make yourself dependant upon for some very important reasons.
1) You are just learning how to swim so it is very important for your safety that you do not become dependant on a piece of equipment that could fail at 3700m in Ironman and you will suck water up your nose, gag and put yourself at risk of secondary and primary drowning. (also if you fall in unexpectedly you will not have a noseplug)
2) The most effective way to breathe while swimming is to exhale through nose (and mouth) underwater and breathe in through mouth above water. As soon as you learn to blow "nose bubbles" all water up the nose issues will be resolved. Try humming underwater! It works.
3) They look silly.

Good luck and congrats on learning to swim.

jonovision_man said...

Thanks, I appreciate the advice!

I actually went swimming this week, and found exactly what you said to be true! I blew out my nose and mouth whenever I felt it getting nasty, and voila, no nose issues.

So I'll put the nose plug on hold, and will keep working at the proper breathing.