Wednesday, November 28, 2012
I did not get as much swimming in as planned today, only about 1000 yards. But I learned something extremely important - we need lots of oxygen for swimming, duh! I bet this is something that seems obvious.
Here is what happened:
When I was swimming this morning there was a lady next to me in the pool who was significantly older than me, probably in her 60's and also significantly heavier. But she swam a LOT faster. I figured she must have been swimming for many years so finally decided to talk to her. It turned out that she was a recently retired swim instructor who is working out at the same time that I'm usually swimming. She was very willing to give me some tips on improving my freestyle and watched me for a while. Her input was very surprising in two ways. She complimented me on my "beautiful form" and after I had revovered from the shock I asked her what she thought the reason could be for my being so slow. I expected to hear something like lack of upper body strength, not enough training time, even lack of cardiovascular fitness (I'm also a runner, but fairly slow). Then she asked me if I exhale the whole time that I'm under water. I realized that I do, having been instructed by a previous instructor to do this (maybe only for breast stroke or only a specific situation, but that part must have gotten lost). She then explained that if I only exhale shortly before taking the next breath that my muscles will get oxygen the entire time, giving me much more energy. Sure enough, when I tried it I could tell that I swam much faster with a lot less effort. I can't wait to time myself tomorrow and see how much difference it makes. I also attempted to swim butterfly and that much better as well. Before today my fastest stroke was breast stroke where, as I learned today, it is correct to exhale the whole time while under water because you breathe with every stroke.
Another interesting fact is that 3 previous people who gave me swim lessons didn't figure this out because they never bothered to get in the water and watch me under water. This lady did.
I now also have the answer why I would run out of air any time I attempted to do flip turns, so that's the next thing on my list to try.