Total Immersion Level 3 Week 3

Practice in a pool with a DEEP end!

Before I talk about week 3, I must tell about my practice this week! I only managed to get into the pool once, and it wasn’t in my home gym at Island Health and Fitness. Elizabeth had dance workshops in Syracuse from 5-10:30 p.m. on a Friday night. I had to pick up my packet for the Syracuse Half Marathon at Fleet Feet Sports between 5 and 7, but after that my options were limited to shopping, eating, or hanging out in the hotel lobby with the other parents. In the middle of the afternoon, I had the brilliant idea to look for gyms. I found Pacific Health Club in Liverpool. For a $10 day pass, I could use the entire facility which included an indoor track and a lap pool.

Upon arrival, I received a tour of the two ladies locker rooms, indoor track, tons of weights, all the pools and more. The pool was open until 9 and it was just shy of half past 7 when I arrived. I grabbed a 2 mile shake out run on the track and then headed to the pool. The pool had a deep end (my first struggle with lake swimming is the depth, so this was good practice for me). I went through Shane’s standard progression, starting with a 400 and working through poise point drills and later finishing with a 400. It felt really great, and I wasn’t scared of the depth of the water. I actually wished it had been crowded so that I would have had to share a lane (reality for the Tri for the Y practice) but it was more pleasant to have my own.

The trouble started AFTER my swim. The woman who gave me my tour told me the pool closed at 9, and I hadn’t checked the facility hours. The ENTIRE place closed at 9. So when I hopped out of the pool at 8:55 I wandered into the sauna and enjoyed 10 lovely minutes of heat followed by a shower. At Island the pool closes 1/2 hour before the locker rooms, so I planned to be ready to leave right at 9:30 and then dawdle my way back to pick up Elizabeth downtown at 10:30. At 9:15 a woman peeked into the locker room to ask me if I was almost done. Yikes! Here I was with my $10 day pass causing her to have to work late. I quickly finished up and headed out!

If I Drowned in a Former Life, I’m doing GREAT

Recently NBC news aired a story about a young boy who remembers amazing details about his former life as a Hollywood Star. As we listened to this story in the car on the way home from skiing, I said “I truly must have drowned in a former life.” This prompted an entire conversation about reincarnation, God, and more.

But seriously speaking, the time has come to solely measure myself against myself. My classmates are faster than me, and they are getting things more quickly than I am. This was becoming clear midway through level 2, but our class was small so it wasn’t quite as “in your face” obvious.

I am proud that I have practiced weekly, come to class every week, and despite some occasional lapses into really negative self talk I stay pretty optimistic.

Body Matters

After class, I was chatting with Shane about my progress. He is super sweet and was saying that he sees improvement. I think it must be really hard for the coach to look at a group of 10-12 and find positive things to point out for each person. I laughed and said I had a pretty steep learning curve. He commented that I really don’t have an ideal swimmer’s body. SO TRUE! I have really tiny shoulders and odd shoulder mobility issues, and I’m bottom heavy. He also said that my breathing is derailing the process for me. I wasn’t aware of that, so here emerges another value of having a coach!

Swapping Goggles

Aqua Sphere Vista Lady Goggles

Shortly before class I received an email from a classmate. She had purchased new goggles and they weren’t going to work for her face. She would love to give them to me if they work for me. I have been struggling with leaking goggles. I don’t think my goggles are flawed, just that they aren’t fitting my face perfectly.  This wasn’t much of a problem in earlier sessions when most of our swimming was 25s or 50s. Now that we are swimming longer distances, if my goggles leak it is more challenging. I’ve almost lost a contact a few times this session! I was excited to try hers, and since she’s also been struggling with leaking goggles I had her try mine out.

What a difference! I noticed right away that I could swim without much worry of leaking. Even with taking them on and off every time we checked in after swimming they sealed right back up. After class, I took hers and gave her my goggles. Mine worked pretty well for her and hers were amazing for me.

Weekly Practice

This week when I went for my first weekly practice, I started with a 400. It went well, with no panic or worry, but my stroke count is way high which is moderately to highly frustrating. Then, I moved into working with focal points and went back to finishing with a 400. The thing that stood out for this session was the breathing. After Shane pointed out that my breathing was stalling things, I was able to see it. EVERY time I breathe I can see the ceiling. He talks to us about getting just a “nip” of air and rotating our head so we can see underwater with one eye and just above the water with the other eye. I am looking at the ceiling with BOTH eyes. I worked on the nip of air thing, splitting vision, and just trying not to look at the ceiling. This is when and where depth starts to play a role with me. I choked several times, or got enough water down my throat to be a little freaked. Because the pool is only 4 feet deep, I could just pop my feet down and re-group, but in a lake or pool with a deep end this option is not something I can avail myself of.

Final Thoughts

Almost halfway through Session 3 I feel happy that I did sign up to continue this Total Immersion swim journey. Even though my progress next to my peers is slower, a moment in late September pops to mind. I was “swimming” in the warm pool when the life guard told me that you aren’t allowed to actually swim there. I was merely working on 2-4 stroke lengths at a time. I couldn’t fathom the idea of having to move to the cold pool to do that. I remember telling her, “but it is SO cold over there.” and “what if I just do 2 strokes?” It is March and I now comfortably swim continuously for quite some time and can easily fill an hour in the pool with practice. It is a journey of continual baby steps.


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