Total Immersion Week #5


Shane talked about flow last week, and reminded us that swimming is something our body needs to learn to do. You can’t think your way to better swimming. I practiced a lot this week, and felt really positive about my practice. I swam next to Shane for one session and next to another gentleman using Total Immersion swim technique for another.

Building Neural Endurance

The pool was CROWDED at our last class, and Shane had us hop right into the water to claim our lanes. Tonight he would video one of our laps across the pool. We worked on the same set of exercises, building our “house of cards” until things started to fall apart (or maybe stayed up a little longer)!

I felt really confident. My practice had gone well, and I thought I was getting it. This thought should have been my first hint that things were going to go awry. I believe there is a disconnect between my brain and my body with swimming. So many times,  I really think I am doing what is asked or taught, but often it is COMPLETELY wrong!

The Video

And a video speaks the truth. I’m not there yet; not even close! I cried all the way home from my lesson. The next morning I was supposed to get up for my Wednesday morning 6 a.m. BodyPump class and actually said aloud,  “perhaps I should just give up exercise in general and watch TV and eat.” Luckily I remembered Dr. Getzin’s comment when I had an injured knee “an object in motion tends to stay in motion” and pretty soon I was off to class! My video is below, along with a link for what perfect form should look like.

The Morning After

I made it to BodyPump and Spinning. Usually I practice swimming as well, but I purposely left my bathing suit home because I wasn’t ready to practice with a full heart. I’m not sure what is worse; knowing you can’t swim or thinking you are getting it only to discover you are nowhere near understanding. I gave myself until December to sort out my swimming because the Cayuga Lake Tri registration opens in December. But, in addition to having already paid for and committed to taking the class, two other things conspired today to make sure I won’t give up on swimming just yet.

Fellow teammate from Finger Lakes Running and Triathlon Company, Emily was next to me in BodyPump that morning. She recently did the Wisconsin Ironman. I shared a lane with her this summer on one of my first training swims and she’s an outstanding swimmer. We were chatting about swimming. I told her about my video. She said she had taken Shane’s class last year and things really clicked in Level 2. Suddenly I had hope. A little lightbulb went off in my head, My brain thought, “You have taken 5 classes, practiced about 15 times, and you expect to have great form already?” Later that day, Shane sent my video. I was afraid to open it, but reluctantly clicked play. In isolation it suddenly didn’t seem just SO awful. Scott watched it with me and candidly said, “you do look A LOT better than you did this summer.” Again, I had hope. He knows how much I struggle with swimming and saw some improvement.

Realistic Goals

I am slowly resetting my expectations. Maybe someone who has never enjoyed swimming and has always struggled with shoulder mobility is crazy unrealistic to expect to get things in 5 lessons? It has been 4 days since that session, and I’m still not ready to enter the pool with a full heart and open mind. I’m choosing to wait until after the Wineglass Half Marathon this Sunday to get back into the pool. We don’t have class this week, so I will have several opportunities to practice, and look forward to them. And next time we get videotaped, I’ll hopefully find at least one little improvement in my form. After all, now I have a baseline video!!

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