Flip Turn

Exiting a lake swim!

Exiting a lake swim!

I decided to sign up for swim lessons.  Yes, I know how to swim and I could probably get by just fine if someone dumped me out of a boat into a lake, but I can definitely use some improvements in regards to swimming efficiently during a triathlon.  The cost of solo lessons were much too steep so I opted for a small group lesson at my YMCA.  I already knew the coach who taught the class because he is a regular visitor at the pool.  The coach had already watched me swim and provided me with tips for improvement.  He told me that I should join the advanced swim lesson group (at least that made me feel better).

So, there I was on Day 1.  The coach took the other newbie (another triathlete) and I aside and taught us all of the strokes.  What I really wanted to do was improve my freestyle, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to know a few tricks of the trade.  At least now I can resort to the back stroke or breast stroke if I need to take a break in the middle of the lake.  Actually, I learned that the back stroke won’t help me much in any situation unless I want to totally go in the wrong direction or bump my head and knock myself out.  However, my strong legs fair well on that breast stroke.  I just don’t really want to use my legs much while swimming in a triathlon…. gotta save them for later.

Regardless of whether or not Day 1 was useful, I went swimming on my own a couple of days later and I felt like I was queen of the pool.  I felt so great about my swimming form that I decided to do my timed half mile.  It just so happens that I was 4 minutes faster than last month’s timed trial… and in swim minutes that is quite a bit of time!

Then there came the flip turn lesson.  I always thought swimmers who did flip turns were the real swimmers of the pool.  As I started triathlon training I realized that was not a correct assumption.  It actually didn’t make sense for me to learn how to flip turn because I wouldn’t be doing that in a lake!  But still, it looked pretty cool and if I ever want to be a competitive swimmer (which I don’t) I should at least try to learn how to do a flip turn.  After two lessons on flip turns I realized that I probably will never become a cool swimmer who knows how to flip turn.  I am the most clumsy flip turner ever.  Sometimes my feet don’t even touch the wall.  Other times I hit my head on the bottom of the pool.  Most times I get water up my nose.  Oh, and that is only when I practice a flip turn without actually swimming laps.  The coordination of swimming and flip turning at the same time is just too much for me.  I mean, really, I can’t even run with proper coordination.

So, I am focused on the freestyle (and just touching the wall and turning my body).  I have learned that my left hand comes to far to the right.  Now I keep it in a straight line.  I have also learned that my hands flip up instead of down when entering the water.  I now have trained them to point down.  I have often brought my arms out of the water before they reach all the way back, but now I follow my pull all of the way through.  Not sure what is going on with my legs, but that will be the next step in the process.  I almost forgot how much I enjoyed learning.  And I am even becoming a better swimmer!

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