Thursday, February 6, 2014

Swimming with the World Champion!

I'll tell ya who at the bottom, its not Macca this time :p

Ok sports fans, its time to get serious!

I was told I'm too slow, to join a swim squad I was hoping to join to get faster.  Huh.  I don't like being told I'm not good enough, it wasn't a shock I know my swim is mediocre on a good day but doesn't mean I like hearing it.

So what am I going to do about it?  I'm going to grow gills, start sporting eau de chlorine, do what it takes to get faster in the water.  No more of this flailing up and down the pool lane just to get through the swim workouts so I can get on the bike or run.

Last year when I was doing 6 hour 70.3's I didn't think my swim really mattered much.  I had so much to gain on the bike and run it just seemed better to spend the time and effort taking an hour off the bike/run instead of 10 minutes off my swim.  Now it matters.  If I want to be a top Age Group athlete I can't come out of the water a half hour down on my competition, as much fun as it is endlessly passing people on the bike I need to be in the game a lot earlier.

So game plan.

FOCUS! We've all been guilty of this, you have a workout on the schedule you know you need to get it done but your head isn't really there.  You finish the workout, but just surviving it, not giving it 100%, knowing you could have done more.  That was pretty much every swim for me, I would get in the pool and survive, instead of thrive.  I've been getting better at staying mentally engaged, and really focussing on what I'm doing in the water.  Which lead me to the next step, I didn't know what I was doing wrong so I needed to find out what to focus on.

Swim Analysis.  I should have done this forever ago! I've never had swimming lessons so my teacher was YouTube videos.  When I would have people take a look at my stroke they would say they didn't see anything crazy wrong, even Siri told me the same so I assumed I just needed to get more fit.

Well I finally went to Swim Labs in Denver and got an analysis done.  It was so cool/bizarre.  They have a pretty slick set up with a room full of endless pools.  Then there is a mirror in front of you and one on the bottom of the pool, along with a camera in front of you and another one along side you.  So you get to see every angle.  Then they have you swim and take a short video, review the angles with you and then show you what it is supposed to look like side by side showing your video and olympic swimmers from the same angle.  Then have you do drills or try to imitate the stroke you just saw.  The crazy part is you feel you're doing something drastically different but you see it on the video and your arm has maybe moved an inch from what it was doing before!  I'm not sponsored by them or anything I just thought it was so cool the set up they have.

Which was good because my issue is below the water.  I'm giving up a ton of pulling power half way through my stroke to the end.  So now that I know what to work on, I can focus on it.  I tried swimming in a speed workout (I cringe when I see Speed swim on my schedule) using the recommended form and holy crap are my triceps sore!  It feels totally awkward, but I was able to go faster, although fatigued more quickly because I'm not used to using those muscles.  I'll be going back next week to Swim Labs to see if what I'm doing now more closely resembles swimming than my unique flailing stroke :)

I've been told I should embrace my swimming, see it as my friend, learn to love it.  I'm going a different direction.  I perform best when I'm fuelled by competition or have something to prove, so I'm going to own my swim, attack my weakness.

So who was the World Champion I got to swim with?  Mirinda Carfrae!  I swam with Siri and her crew of unbelievably talented Ironman women.  It was unreal to get to see these women in action in the pool, they are fast, but have a pretty cool team environment.  I would think that would be challenging come race day but Siri knows what she's doing, can't argue the results they get!  It was very cool I chatted afterwards with Mirinda and Amanda Stevens and they were great.  Definitely one of those surreal moments.  I can't believe some of the opportunities triathlon has opened up for me, you never know what is around the corner.

Carpe Diem

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