[013] To swim, or not to swim?

Swim: 1,525 m/5,800 m

Bike: 0/6.35 miles

Run: 0/18.7 miles

I enjoyed another good swim this weekend, a race-distance endeavor that took about 30 minutes. Again I used breast stroke for the entire effort, having grown comfortable with its breathing and rhythm.

This has led me to a conundrum – when should I consult the swim coach? Should I:

a) start immediately with a coach so I’m learning the proper stroke techniques from the very beginning, writing only the race technique that I will eventually use onto my clean slate of swimming?

b) spend time in the water, getting more comfortable with the environment, but use a stroke that I won’t employ during a race, so as not to start teaching myself bad habits that need to be broken later?

c) start trying to teach myself the race stroke and then use the coach to perfect it?

I can see advantages and disadvantages to each scenario. With the coach I plan to use, I would sign up for a block of six lessons, and I want the most bang for the buck. I don’t want to spend two or three lessons learning fundamentals that I could have taught myself beforehand. I’d like to be using a coach to learn advanced technique – that’s what she’s there for. But, like I mentioned above, I don’t want to start teaching myself bad habits and then have to relearn the basics when I meet with the coach.

I think I’ll continue to swim three or four times a week, like I have been, and I’ll still primarily use the breast stroke. But I’ll try to experiment more with freestyle, so it’s not completely foreign. And then, by the end of January, I’ll contact the swim coach to set up lessons.

This weekend, after 60 laps of breast stroke I swam a lap of freestyle, and it already felt more natural than it did a week ago. I’m at the point where, although I can’t perform it well now, I can at least envision how I will be able to do it eventually.

I call that progress.

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5 Responses to [013] To swim, or not to swim?

  1. Dad says:

    Did I mention that I think A!

  2. John Clarke says:

    Here’s a thought. You could sign up for email from these sites and/or go to the sites for swim technique videos and workouts. I’ve found them useful.

    USA Triathlon [communications@usatriathlon.org]

    Active Triathlete [triathlon@activenewsletters.com]

    Active.com [active_offers@news1-active.com]

    Also, Search for Natalie Coughlin. She’s an Olympic swimmer who has done a series of videos about technique.

  3. David H. says:

    I would lean toward getting a coach early in the process. Look at it this way … If you were playing golf and wanted to enter a tournament six months from now, wouldn’t you want to learn a correct stroke now and then continue to perfect it?

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