Wednesday, March 2, 2011


I can't say enough good things about the swim program I'm currently in. I am learning so much and can really feel the difference in my technique.

I can't say that I always enjoy it. I think I complain (at least in my head) pretty much every time Angie makes us do kick sets. Even if I feel like I actually know how to kick now, I still hate just kicking. I move so slowly I feel like I'm going backwards. But, I do them, and I even do them when I swim on my own because I'm convinced that it is good for me.

Another thing I don't like much: skulling. It was taught to me in my last adult swim class and I had an even more negative attitude to it then kicking. Not only do I feel like I'm not moving, but from my perspective, it was a completely unnecessary skill to learn in order to swim in triathlons.

The first thing I asked was "why?" What's the purpose of it? It's a question that made teachers in high school love or hate me. I always needed to know why and some teachers hated that. Others appreciated my curiosity. In this case, I wanted the why even moreso because I needed some motivation to actually do this activity. Fortunately, Angie is the type of coach that is happy to answer the why.

To get a feel for the water.

I started doing the skulling. Now, if a length of the pool seemed a long ways when kicking, it seemed that much longer while skulling. It's something I didn't really *get* when I took the last swimming lesson and so I never bothered to do again. I moved my hands back and forth in the figure eight like we were told to do. On the way back, Angie stopped by to give me feedback and encouragement. I told her it felt clumsy and awkward and she told me it looked that way too.

I swam a length and then back to the skulling. And something happened. Rather then just moving my hands in the motion described, I started actual feeling how my hands and arms interacted with the water. How changing the angle of my wrist made me move more; how having my hand one way created resistance and slowed me down...

Don't get me wrong; I still moved like a snail, but at least I was moving. Plus, I actually seemed to be getting the purpose of it. Because, I was feeling the water; I was feeling the effect that my motions had on it.

As I got close to the end of the pool, I vaguely (my head was underwater, so sound was rather muffled) heard Angie exclaim "she's got it!" When I got to the end of the pool, she stopped the conversation she was having briefly and told me that I was doing much better. I carried on with renewed purpose. I experimented a bit to see the affect I had on the water if I moved my hands slightly differently, changed the angle of my arms, went faster or slower...

When we finished the set, Angie talked briefly about the other purpose for it.

Relaxing in the water.

It's made me realize that relaxing is something that I still need to work on. When I started swimming, it was with a panic of water deeper then my neck. While I got past the acute panic, I'm not sure I've ever been truly relaxed. Part of that is the fact that I've always got my head full of what I need to do technique-wise. But, I think part of it is just the fact that it became habit to enter the water with a certain degree of tension.

Tense muscles sink. Relaxed muscles float.

I still don't like skulling much. I will spend some time doing it though; at least when I'm swimming on non-busy nights and I have a lane to myself. Like kicking, I've been convinced that it's good for me.



  1. I have never heard of skulling before. I would probably benefit from it.

  2. This is totally random, but I signed up for some adult swimming lessons last month! They start in April! I'm psyched. And pretty nervous. But I think it will be good.