Saturday, 14 April 2012

Time, time, time...

The good news is that after my recent swimming slump, my oomph is back and I'm itching to get outside and into the open water. I had another session with Keith at the Swim Shed yesterday, and there are some hopeful signs of progress. My left arm is no longer flailing wildly into the air, and I have managed to tame the downward and outward drift of my right arm into something approximating a catchy-looking catch. My two new points of focus are: (1) the tendency for my leading arm to move inwards towards the centre line when I breathe, which I then have to correct with a little outward sweep before catching, creating a little stopping point; and (2) my stiff little hands, which seem to be rigid with tension most of the time, rather than relaxed on recovery and entry, then gaining some tone into the catch and pull. Hard habits to break, but it's good to have something to work on.

But in the mean time, there has been a slight blow to my best laid, and rather over-optimistic longer term plans. Ideally, I have been hoping to do the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim and another English Channel swim in 2013 (all assuming that I can get into MIMS, of course). However, this plan was also somewhat dependent on me getting one of the fellowships that I had applied for, which would have given me a year out of teaching to write my swimming book. Sadly, I just found that I failed to get either of them - missing by a mile for one fellowship and not even making the first cut, and missing by a whisker on the second, making the final shortlist but not the final cut. I'm disappointed because a year to work on the book would have been wonderful, but it would also have given me the flexibility in my working time to train for a summer of swims. Instead, I'm going to have a full teaching load, plus the book to write, and I'm just not sure that I can do the swim training as well, and still do everything to the standard that I would like. I don't have to decide yet, but it's definitely something that I need to think about very carefully.

This is a wonderful sport, but it's very time-hungry, especially when you live as far from the sea as I do.


  1. How do you know what you are doing wrong while you swim? Do you have a trainer helping you and if you would not mind please have a look at my blog as well.
    Would be really appreciated!

  2. Hi Leon
    Thanks for visiting the blog - I've added yours to my research website.

    I have training sessions in an endless pool with a coach who videos me swimming from different angles. We then review the footage, and focus in on various weak points. For the last 6 months, I've really been doing nothing but working on my stroke - it's a very long job, but definitely worth it. I do the drills that he sets me for at least 30 mins, 4-5 times a week; it's a bit tedious, but time well spent. Given that you've got plenty of time before your Channel swim, I strongly recommend that you set aside some time for this kind of stroke work. It will make you a better, more efficient swimmer, and more importantly, protect you from injuries as training intensifies.
    Good luck with your training.
    Best wishes

  3. Sorry to hear about the fellowships Karen. Are you still thinking about going ahead with MIMS though next year? (Please say yes)


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