Total Immersion Level 2, Week #2

With a temperature of -5, my car refused to start when I was out taking Xander to piano shortly before class. I had planned to drop him off after choir and head to do errands at Wegmans. He and I had 10 minutes to kill before piano, so we sat in the car with the auxiliary power on, and when I went to turn the car on it wouldn’t budge. Luckily, his teacher came out and jumped the car! I sat there with it running for the half hour not wanting to risk getting stranded at Wegmans. I called Scott and gave him the heads up. He was driving home from Bristol Mountain with Elizabeth, due to arrive home a bit before 7. My swim class starts at 7, 20 minutes away from home. I had a little internal temper fit thinking I would have to miss class, before we realized that I could be late (wait for him to arrive home and take the reliable car), or I could drive the car down and if it wouldn’t start after class he could come get me. We decided on late and I breathed a sigh of relief knowing I’d make class! He and Elizabeth hit no traffic, and I managed to arrive to class by 7:03 – not bad for a 7 p.m. start.

Class Time

The pool was crowded, and the 4 of us got re-connected with Shane talking about our swimming. Shane’s strategy is to do some dry land work before getting in the pool. Surprisingly, the lanes seem to clear out just when we need them to every time! We worked on our shoulder articulation before hopping into the pool. He set the stage, telling us that tonight we would start the kick! This meant we’d hit the warm pool about 45 minutes into our hour and a half class. I could hardly wait!!

The House of Cards

We had two lanes, and we worked through our standard progression, starting out with “lazy” swimming and moving into focused target points. Shane took video of our swimming, and we did our standard layering until things started to fall apart. He had us work with the tempo trainers at a tempo of our choosing. Here is my video.

So, as I watched this video, I couldn’t help but see my classmate zooming along through my video with much nicer form. I feel SO much more streamlined than when I started, but when I watch my video, it looks like I’m still moving like a snail. I also learned when we started to discuss the kick that I’m EXTREMELY right side focused, another fact that is obvious in my video.

The Kick

Shane asked us to talk about how we feel about our kick. Each person had a different answer prompting good discussion. Of course, Shane shared his observations, “right dominant” “constant kicking” and “not kicking at all” were some of the things we heard. This is ok, as we’re going to start to focus on the two beat kick. The news that I am extremely right dominant with the kick was a surprise. I have watched the video of the two beat kick, and in my head felt like I was two beat kicking. Once Shane called the right dominancy to my attention, I realized he is totally spot on. Off we head to the warm pool to learn drills for our kick.

Mind Blowing

First, I made a flippant comment that I should use the tempo trainer in a tri to stay on tempo. This led to a GREAT discussion about USATF rules (long story short, you can use them) and the value of a tempo trainer AND the fact that most deaths in triathlon swim are caused by asphyxiation which starts with panic and inability to get air, and not by heart attack. Shane shared that he uses his to  keep him calm and steady and he trusts the trainer. But, back to the kick. It was nice to get into the warm water, and I mistakenly thought, “we’ve learned so much that this will be easy to layer onto what we’ve  learned!” Famous last thoughts.

Work at the pool barre, followed by drills for kicking and soon I felt like a drowning hippo. It was entertaining and laughable. What made this SO much better for me than the first couple of weeks of Session 1 was that I felt safe and comfortable, and I totally trust Shane. I laughingly told him that the only thing he had going for him was that I trusted in his system now. After a mere 30 minutes of work, my brain was fried and my body was done. After weeks of layering, and getting more comfortable, we were adding something completely new!

The After

This week my practice was more interesting than usual. My first session, I hopped in and had a lane to myself. I started with shoulder work and then went through my standard progression. After a solid “house of card” building in the pool, it was off to the warm pool for kick work. When I finished the kick practice, I rewarded myself with time in the hot tub where I met another swimmer who had trained with Shane. He said, “are you taking Shane’s class?” and we promptly started talking about the kick. He shared that the kick had literally thrown him for a loop for WEEKS! He thought he’d never get it, and then one day it just clicked.

A few days later, I was back in the pool again, and this was when I discovered how far I’ve come. The pool was FULL. I nabbed the last spot, sharing a lane with a gentleman. He was my lane partner for about 20 minutes, during which time the deck filled up with 2 swimmers waiting for any spot in the pool. He left, and one of those swimmers joined my lane, and another spot opened in the pool for the 2nd swimmer. I continued to happily swim along with my tempo trainer set when a woman tapped me on the shoulder and said, “I’m going to join you guys, ok?” Circle swimming! This is the time that I’d normally just get out. I can’t keep up with other people, or swim around them. No way! But, this time I said, “sure” and happily kept swimming. It NEVER crossed my mind to leave the pool. I was only halfway through my practice. After a lap or two, we were both at the end of the pool and she said, “are you a Total Immersion swimmer?” Wow, twice in one week I was spotted! My form, though still very rough, is progressing to the point where it looks enough like TI to be recognized!!

I wasn’t able to practice the kick at this practice, as there was a class in the warm pool, and every time I tried to work from the hip and kick, I felt off balance. But, I did use the side wall to do some drills at the end of several of the lengths. I’m very excited to continue work during class #3!!

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