Posted: August 1, 2011 in 2011, General

For various reasons – not least to see if the Great East Swim is a possibility, I have headed back into the pool after a ten year lay off. Saturday afternoon (recovered from the morning ride) saw me signing up for the Culford Sports Centre where they have a very nice 25 metre pool. Apart from a mother and child (more of a tiny tot), Sam and I had the pool to ourselves. While he concentrated on widths I was interested to see what had become of my technique, strength and (swim) fitness. Aware that my usual instinct is to bash the first 25 metres off as if I was in an Olympic trial, I held back. Technique….sloppy, entry was a bit slappy/splashy and forward motion not as fast as I remembered. Fitness…yes, there is some but not very much! Then I remembered the issue of negative buoyancy, I can’t float any more. If I lie in the water, totally relaxed, I just sink. My legs go first (after a couple of seconds) and I quickly do an impression of the Titanic. I can remain relaxed until I hit the bottom so it isn’t a case of panic, I just need to maintain perpetual motion to stay afloat. My arms and shoulders are not strong enough to drag me along so I needed a bit of a kick to help me along. (I never was a big kicker so nothing has really changed there then.) Anyway, I was making 50 metres then I’d have to stop, my heart racing and I was panting as if I was hyperventilating.

Anyway, Sam came to the rescue. I had done 20 lengths or so when he declared himself absolutely knackered so I got out and we left. Anticipating sore shoulders in the morning I did no stretching or anything that would prevent the forthcoming pain – I was too pooped!

And so we come to Sunday. The public sessions didn’t start until 4.00pm so I had plenty of chance to recover from the morning ride, east, sleep, drink etc. Strangely, my shoulders were not sore or stiff in the morning which was all good! Conscious that I needed to start work on my upper body strength rather than my legs, I took a pull buoy along this time. These wonderful little floats give you a tiny bit of extra buoyancy and let you work on your arms/technique.

The pool was quite busy with several length swimmers and a clutch of kids playing. OK for me, it proved tougher for Sam who took longer to complete his allotted 16 widths. This allowed me to bash of 30+ lengths. Arm strength was good, technique improved significantly over Saturday and I got into a rhythm with my breathing…two to three breaths a length. Any fewer and it hurt, any more and ironically, I began to get breathless!

Anyway…swimming has begun. Apparently I’m going to be at it Saturdays and Sundays forever! Well, that is the plan anyway….as I’ll be trying to turn Sam from a bedroom bound computer geek into Mark Spitz!


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