Photos by Tito Nicolau at FroginRedTie
During my third session with Keeley Bullock at Swim for Tri we ran through all the previous exercises and movements and moved onto a different floating exercise. Now that I never feel claustrophobic in the water anymore (which is amazing!), I was perfectly at ease. So there I was, floating at in the wonderful chlorine-free pool at Market Sports gym. There is other cleaning stuff they put in the pool apparently, so the water is always clean and Keeley is very good at putting a hygiene-obsessed clean-freak like me!
The floating devices were helpful of course, but this time I had to work on balance. It was a bit difficult at the start, but I gradually got the hang of it. Keeley advised me to go at my own pace. Her assistance helped of course. I did tumble a bit and even went underwater once. But surprisingly, there was no agitation whatsoever.
I still have a long way to go in terms of swimming properly, being able to breath properly without getting water in my nose, balance, float and so on. But I am getting close to the stage that I want to be in. My goal is to be able to swim like a merman, by summer, so I can dive into the azure blue waters of Polperro (the seaside town I have grown to love) and forget about everything else for at least an hour! (Continued…)
I chatted to Keeley after the lesson, as usual, to get more advice and tips. Ideally, how many times a week should one swim, even after getting to that stage when one can swim properly? It all depends on what one wants to achieve. For general fitness and wellbeing she suggests a couple of times per week. But if you are racing at an A squad level generally it would be a minimum of 7 x 2 hour sessions per week! Can you imagine that?
Did you know that most people who swim cannot float for long periods of time? We are all of different shapes and sizes. Fat floats better than a dense muscle. So people with more body fat find it easier to float. It also depends on the size of one’s lungs, as these help us to float.
Beginners should relax as much as we can, in order to become at ease with the water. Control your breathing by focusing on the outbreath. Swim for Tri also offer swim analysis for anyone wanting to improve their swimming style. They specialise in the “front crawl” technique also offer training in a variety of stokes. Their swimming fitness courses are also quite popular. These are work our sessions for swimmers. (Continued…)
When discussing claustrophobia, Keeley mentions that in her many years of teaching swimming, she has encountered several people who had a phobia of the water. She has helped clients with various stages of fear. “I find a warm, one depth (waist-height) and quiet pool the best learning environment for people with fears,” she says. “I would always start by getting the client comfortable in a standing position. Gentle walking, breathing.. and feeling what the body is feeling. Most importantly, controlled breathing! Confidence will soon grow as trust in the instructor grows.”