Total Immersion Level 2, Week #1

This class picks up where Level 1 ended, and the first night of class we spent the first 15 minutes working on dryland training much like each level 1 class started. Shane reminded us about the benefits of shoulder and scapular articulation. Dryland is a really great place to work on this because we have the “mirror” in the windows and we’re not challenged by the addition of being face down in the water. He reminded us that shoulder articulation is the fastest path to improvement.

Next we hopped into the pool. There are only 4 of us this time, all from the first class. Additionally, 3 of us practiced several times together between the sessions, getting into a comfortable rhythm of practicing Shane’s “House of Cards” progression. I found it really helpful to practice with people from my class over the break. It really increased my confidence in swimming near people and sharing lanes. It also helped me get more comfortable with feedback; both receiving and giving.

Moving forward with Goals

Shane, ready to bike home (12 degrees outside)

We started the session off by swimming, and working through Shane’s progression points. Now is a good time to mention that it was 12 degrees outdoors, windy, and it is January. Tuesday night is our craziest night of the week – Elizabeth has ski training at Bristol mountain, and Xander has piano and choir practice in Ithaca. I have to quickly drive him home from these things only to turn around and head back to Ithaca for my class. Meanwhile, Scott brings Elizabeth to and from from ski training, arriving home just in time to bring Xander to Boy Scouts. As this first class kicked off, I realized our entire Tuesday evening schedule depended on clear weather and people not driving 30 in a 55!! We’ll have 7 more times of this, and after last night (when people did drive slow, piano ran late and things still worked) I know we can do it. And, as Scott and I were overusing fossil fuels, my zen instructor was biking to and from class.

One of my goals for the year is to improve my swimming and step 1 was to take level 1, followed by level 2, and most likely level 3. After that I plan to get into the lake with the tri club clinics and be much more prepared for the Cayuga Lake Tri  this summer. I’m really thrilled that our family is making this work in winter!

1400 Yards

Two of my friends started level 1 on the same day that I started level 2. I wished them luck and thought back to my first day of level 1. We had a large class, and we started with introductions, hitting the warm pool after a big picture slide show presentation. It was during that first class that I realized it would be several weeks before I could ‘count class as exercise’ in my schedule. This is clearly not the case for level 2. Because I am a complete geek, I felt that I must count our distance; about 1400 yards give or take. This was awesome! First, by week 9 of the schedule we’re fully swimming and honing our skills AND we have the ability to do so. If someone had expected me to swim the entire class for day 1 of session 1, I couldn’t have done it. Shane has gradually worked with us to where we feel totally comfortable with this level of swimming. After the class in the locker room, a classmate and I talked about how far we would likely go by the end of this 8 week session – hoping to feel fishlike!

Glide Junkie

We did quite a few drills, but the big thing that stuck with me was that I’ve become a ‘glide junkie’ to use Shane’s words. We spent time working with tempo trainers, starting with a relatively quick speed and slowing down incrementally only to speed back up to faster than the speed we started at. I was very comfortable at the slower speeds. These speeds are when you refine your balance, so it is good that I like to work on balance.

However the faster speeds are tricky for me. My stroke feels really sloppy and I get panicked about keeping up with the beeping. I learned something from this though, not really related to swimming. When Shane asked us how we felt at the fastest speed, one of my classmates said she just couldn’t even keep up and didn’t bother with the beep. I was so stressed by keeping up with the beep that I just stopped breathing all together – my goal was to stay with the beep until it killed me. I had a similar learning experience recently in a spin class. The instructor was giving gear/watt numbers that for me couldn’t mesh up. I had to choose one to hit, but in doing so had such anxiety about it that I just wanted to leave class. When I shared this thought with my friend (who had been next to me in class), she laughed and said, “Oh I ignore that stuff. If I can’t do it, I can’t do it.” So, mellowing out is in my future, which will probably help me get better with these faster speeds. Accepting that maybe I can’t hit the speed right away, but eventually will be able to if I keep working at it is a good first step!

The Video

As with session 1, Shane shot video of us swimming. It was cool because with just 4 of us in class, Shane was able to talk with each of us individually about our video while the other 3 class members were swimming. I was a lot less nervous about being taped this time than the first time around – each time he has taken video it’s gotten a little easier!

This week I look forward to practicing at least once in the water (last session I was able to get 2 weekly sessions in but with ski season timing is much tricker), and working a lot on my dryland shoulder articulation – my biggest weakness!!



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