I had my very first swim class yesterday – Adult 2. It’s an intermediate class for people who supposedly know how to swim but want to improve their stroke/technique.
I was worried when I signed up for Adult 2 because I was always under the impression that I didn’t know how to swim at ALL, but I didn’t want to get stuck with a bunch of people who were afraid of the water in a beginner class. As it turns out, my instructor confirmed that I certainly can swim. And I’m the best one in my class.
I think my advantage at this point though is only because of my aerobic capacity, probably from running. We had to swim six laps and I was the only one who completed them. Then we had to swim four and I was the only one who wasn’t huffing and puffing at the end.
That said, I really think breathing is my biggest obstacle. I have no endurance for anything longer than six laps, and I have trouble keeping a steady breathing pace as my heart rate goes up. Plus I’m sure my stroke is inefficient.
My instructor is an Asian dude who has been teaching for 11 years. He seems like a great instructor. The other people in my class are mostly overweight women and only two men in a class of ten – both older.
I was nervous that there would be creepy guys around staring at me the entire time (I tend to think the world is full of creepy guys who want to stare at me), but there was this one tiny girl from the Philippines about two feet shorter than me. I have no idea how old she is but she looks like she just turned 12. She wore a bikini that looked like it was made for a five year old and whenever she got out of the pool her mini ass crack was hanging out. So thankfully I didn’t have to worry about anyone looking at me.
To my surprise I found two ladies who were there to improve their running. They didn’t look like runners, but one of them just completed her second half marathon at the Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon. Her time was really slow, but an accomplishment nonetheless. She knew all the running lingo (asked me if I was tapering yet) and it was nice to randomly meet a fellow runner.
About ten minutes before the end of class just as we were about to head to the deep end, some kid puked in the pool and we all had to get out. So we headed to the hot tub.
I’m much less confident in the deep end, but I’ll be facing that next week. I know I can swim it, but there’s something psychological about not being able to touch the bottom. It freaks me out a little and I forget to breathe. Then when I forget to breathe I swallow water and I feel like I’m drowning. So I’m going to try to get in the pool again before my next class to practice a little. I think I just need to concentrate and get used to it.
Another advantage I have is that until right now I have done all my swimming in lakes. A pool, I discovered, is about a gazillion times EASIER. Like running downhill vs running uphill. So pool swimming kind of felt like flying to me.
I also learned that the power of a swimming stroke really comes from the arms. I always sort of assumed that it was my legs, just like running. So I’d be kicking like crazy trying to propel myself forward. Then we did this drill where we couldn’t move our feet at all, just our arms. I thought I would sink like a rock until I noticed that there wasn’t much difference.
The hot tub after my class was something wonderful. The hot tubs at my pool are enormous, like big water hugs. You just sit there and watch all your troubles bubble away…
They have adult lane swims every evening until 10:15. I may be there right now.