Sunday, July 17, 2011

Just Keep Swimming!

People always ask what’s my favorite/least favorite or best/worst event in triathlon.  Without a doubt, the swim always falls under worse and least favorite.  My swim experience before triathlon consisted of the week or two I lasted in swim lessons around the age of 4.  There’s also the time my mom tried to teach me how to swim freestyle correctly at the gym….and then gave up on me...ouch. 

The year before I started doing triathlons I figured it might be a good idea to learn how to swim.  I could stay afloat and splash around but there’s no way I was making ¼ mile much less the 2.4 miles I’ll be doing.  I enlisted my friend Steph who swam in high school and taught swim lessons at the Y for some help.  After some instruction I swam a length of the pool (holding my breath the entire time).  At the end I stopped, completely out of breath and ready to pass out.  The conversation then went down like this:

Me: “ok now what?”
Steph: “um…do that again and don’t stop.”

Ugh I knew it was going to be a while before I’d turn into Nemo and “just keep swimming”.  Swim training didn’t last much longer that year and it wasn’t until the following summer when I started with the B&S training program did I actually start to swim more consistently.  My first few swim practices with B&S consisted of learning to blow bubbles or as I liked to refer to it: remedial swim.  Over the next few weeks I’d swallowed several gallons of pool water.  I mean seriously I have no idea how there was any left in the pool.  After a few weeks I took my water guzzling to the ocean (sorry fishies!).  Salt water…yuck!  Although chlorinated water isn’t any better…especially when you’re allergic to it like me.

My first open water ocean swim was a train wreck.  A combination of swimming in the ocean and wearing the wetsuit for the first time freaked me out and I’m pretty sure I ended up backstroking.  Honestly, I’m surprised I didn’t drown that first year.  On top of that, swimming has always been incredibly frustrating for me.  Swimming, like hockey is one of those sports I wished I had learned when I was younger but I was too busy playing soccer, softball and basketball.

Here's a few pics from the swim my 1st season:

Smiling after my first 1/2 mile swim..progress!


Swimming post part 2 coming soon....

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