Yesterday was my first official swimming workout, and it sucked. Allow me to explain:
For the past two weeks, I’ve tested the waters at the Y and completed a few swimming workouts; however, these workouts did not involve the free stroke (the triathlon stroke of champions):
- I have contacts; therefore, I don’t like to open my eyes underwater.
- I don’t like to open my eyes underwater; therefore, I don’t like to put my face in the water.
- I don’t like to put my face in the water; therefore, free stroking is difficult.
- Free stroking is difficult; therefore, I breast and side stroke.
But I bought a set of Speedo goggles and a swim cap this weekend, and I gave the free stroke another chance yesterday morning. It was painful. It was so painful, in fact, that I could only make it 3/4 of a lap before nearly passing out. And then when I reached the pool wall, I panted for about 30 seconds before taking a recovery lap of breast or side stroke.
Believe it or not, this is good news. I can only improve! The Y pool is 25 yards/meters in length, and the Republic pool is 50 yards/meters in length, so I have to swim 6 laps at the Y to equal the 3 laps at the Republic pool. To measure my improvement this summer, here are some benchmarks I’ve made for myself (all laps are 50 yards/meters in length):
- 1 lap nonstop: breast/side stroke
- 1 lap nonstop: free stroke
- 2 laps nonstop: 1 breast/side + 1 free
- 2 laps nonstop: 2 free
- 3 laps nonstop: 1 breast/side + 2 free
- 3 laps nonstop: 3 free
- 4 laps nonstop: 2 breast/side + 2 free
- 4 laps nonstop: 1 breast/side + 3 free
- 4 laps nonstop: 4 free
- 5 laps nonstop: 2 breast/side + 3 free
- 5 laps nonstop: 1 breast/side + 4 free
- 5 laps nonstop: 5 free
- 6 laps nonstop: 3 breast/side + 3 free
- 6 laps nonstop: 2 breast/side + 4 free
- 6 laps nonstop: 1 breast/side + 5 free
- 6 laps nonstop: 6 free
These benchmarks gradually increase in the number and combination of free stroke and breast/side strokes I’m working toward. Once I can complete 300 yards/meters (6 laps) without stopping, I’ll concentrate on improving speed. Ugh.
Right now, I can do 300 yards/meters of breast/side stroke in about 15 minutes. Since the free stroke moves through the water faster, I plan to be quicker than that on race day. My goals for the swimming portion of the race are as follows:
- Pie In the Sky Goal: Free stroke 300 yards in less than 10 minutes.
- Cookie In the Sky Goal: Complete 300 yards in less than 10 minutes.
- Feet on the Ground, Head in the Clouds Goal: Complete 300 yards in less than 12 minutes.
- Looks Like Rain Goal: Complete 300 yards in less than 15 minutes.
I’ll keep you posted on any benchmarks I reach in my weekly training report. And I have some stories to tell you about childhood swimming lessons and middle school swim team in upcoming posts. Stay tuned!