Kelly the Culinarian: One Goal Off the List: My First Swim Lesson

Monday, March 26, 2012

One Goal Off the List: My First Swim Lesson

I'm sexy and I know it.
One of my 12 goals for 2012 was to take a swim class. The reason I wanted to tackle this goal is that I want to complete an Ironman one day by 2015, so swimming without wearing myself out is important to successfully completing triathlons. Except right now, that's exactly what I'm doing: exhausting myself in just a few laps.

I met with Coach Judie of Experience Triathlon, who Erin recommended and is related to Maggie. She was a fantastic teacher. In my first lap at the pool, she immediately identified one of my problems: my kick was rather "exuberant," meaning I was wasting energy just kicking. Rather than taking these large, sweeping kicks, Judie explained that I should focus on quick turn over in the kick, but smaller movements. She also showed me how to more effectively move my arms through the water to take advantage of the full range of movement. She showed me how to keep my elbows out and push through the whole stroke to use all my upper body muscles, which you don't need for the remaining triathlon sports.

Within a half an hour, I could tell the difference in my swim. She emphasized the idea of making yourself a long, skinny boat in the water, and I'm happy to be a long, skinny anything. Judie told me to think about trying to take up the least amount of space in a tube to glide through the water, rather than crashing about the surface. She showed me three drills to try to improve my stroke: the fingertip drill, the fist drill and a balance drill. While I watched the videos on YouTube and read about these before, it's so much easier when someone explains it to you.

After our lesson, I did a few laps and the difference between my laps before the lesson were noticeable. I can actually hear the difference in my stroke. Judie said some elite swimmers train to be as silent as possible. When my hands aren't entering the water correctly or I'm not rotating my body properly, I can hear my body striking the water with an unattractive "plopping" noise.

In my opinion, this was money well-spent. I wish I had done this sooner, because it makes swimming much more enjoyable now that I'm not completely wiped in just a few minutes. It's my hope that after this lesson and some time spent practicing, I'll be ready to join a masters swim class soon and get a six-pack like Dara Torres. Or just become a better swimmer. Either of those would be great.


Erin said...

Isn't Judi amazing???

KellytheCulinarian said...

I can't believe how much of a difference it made!

Unknown said...

This makes me so happy to read!!!!

Amanda - TooTallFritz said...

Yay! The swim lessons will pay off. Enjoy it! Love all the tips too, thanks! I'm off to the pool tonight.

Kim said...

Dara's six-pack scares me!!! Ha ha ha.

This sounds so so helpful. Erin told me a lot about her session and how she learned more during it than however many months of swim lessons. It sounds like Judie really knows her stuff!!!