I've been concentrating on drilling, drilling, drilling, with no sustained swimming. Even when I am doing full stroke, at the beginning of each length I select what I'm going to focus on, then stop at the end, choose the next thing to focus on, and off I go again, working my way through the different elements of the stroke (right breathing, right arm catch; right breathing, left arm catch....and so on). This has been going on for two months now, and it's starting to come together, sort of, although at the same time, my swimming fitness has gone through the floor because of the absence of sustained effort. Anyway, feeling a bit frustrated with all the drilling, and desperate to burn off some energy after a difficult day at work, I finally cracked last night and decided to have a bit of a swim, up and down, up and down, just to see whether I could sustain my new work-in-progress stroke. Not too bad, though I say it myself.
And then, right at the end, I decided to try a 100m sprint, just to see. Previously, I have always struggled to break 1.30, and have certainly struggled to do so consistently. Plus, on the occasions when I have dipped just below 1.30, it has been at full-welly, pass-me-a-bucket, spots-behind-the-eyes effort. So, how did I do? Well...I was amazed to hit the wall at 1.25....and that was without being anywhere near max effort. I realise that breaking 1.30 is hardly going to shake the swimming world and there's probably no need to alert the swimming authorities, but for me, this is a big moment - to break it so clearly, at a much lower intensity than previously, and at such a low level of swimming fitness surely bodes well for what I might be able to do after more drilling, rebuilding my swimming fitness and working at full effort.
I'm starting to think there's something to this technique business.