The Precise Art of Swimming

The sunny lane by the windows is my favorite.
The sunny lane by the windows is my favorite.

“Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh. One. Woosh. Woosh. Woosh. Two. Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh.”

I love to count when I’m swimming. Allowing myself to get lost in the rhythm of counting while swinging my arms and kicking my legs through the water sends me into a sort of trance.   Counting my sets is an exercise in escapism as I glide along.

The challenge of keeping my mind focused on the workout in front of me while blocking out all my other senses is incredibly satisfying. I tend to be a highly distractable person so eliminating all stimuli in the water is a welcome and surprising relief.

For the last 2 years I have occupied myself in the water counting laps and listening to the “whoosh” sound in my ears. Then I started to notice my times. I wasn’t getting any faster. In fact I was slowing down. Honestly that wouldn’t be a BIG deal except that now I am racing longer races and setting bigger goals for myself. Now I want to progress in the pool, not just count my laps and mentally check out.

Joining a Master’s Swim Group isn’t really an option for me yet because I need to be home in the morning to get the kids up and ready for school. Also I am not totally ready to pay the group fees. Focused swim workouts were in my future I just wasn’t completely sure how I was going to plan them out. Waiting until I was about to jump in wasn’t working out that well anymore.

Workout Example
Workout Example

Last week I found the app called, My Tri Swim Coach and it was just what I was looking for to improve my swim technique and time. I really needed to add some structure to my swim workouts and the same old ladder distances I was doing were actually beginning to bore me a little. I feared that swimming with a planned workout would be complicated and therefore rob me of the opportunity to tune out and listening to the “whoosh” in my ears.

To my surprise I am finding the addition of Drills to my workouts to be excessively fun.  I get to play with toys in the water! And the Workout section is definitely a challenge without being too complicated. I even discovered that I had been holding my head too slack in the water and I when I pick it up slightly my times have dropped giving me the feeling of gliding.

When I open the My Tri Swim Coach app, I can create a new workout by selecting the level (beginner, intermediate or advanced), then the race distance (spring, oly, half-ironman and ironman), season (off, base, build or peak), pool length (25 yd, 25 m or 50 m) and then my time for per 100 yds.  So far I have tried out 4 of the intermediate, half-ironman, base, 25 yd swim workouts and I have enjoyed them all. I usually use the workout 2 times before moving to a new one. The only modification I have made is to switch out the kick sets for pull sets because I swim after a bike or run so I don’t think I’d get much out of just kicking.

Swimming is a funny balance between precision and oblivion.  I’m still trying to find the right spot in that continuum for me.  I’ll let you know how it works out…


2 thoughts on “The Precise Art of Swimming

  1. I’m the same way about swimming, it’s mindless for me, very relaxing! Last year I had a coach and did more structured workouts but that coach in particular made me slower. After ditching the coach I used some of the ideas from those structured workouts and did get a bit faster! It takes a lot of time in the pool, make the laps count!

    Liked by 1 person

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