Challenge Completed

25 10 2011

A few days ago, I set myself the challenge of completing a 750m swim non-stop. When I set the challenge (6 days ago), the furthest I’d ever swum non-stop was 200m.

When I started swimming in October last year, I could barely swim 50m without feeling exhausted. After a few sporadic swims, I gave up for a while. In August this year I started again, and the situation was the same. I was unable to complete two laps of the 25m pool without stopping, and when I did, I was exhausted. My lungs were burning. It literally hurt to breathe. In short, I was crap. So I engaged a swim coach, and he set about correcting all the things I was doing wrong. The first few lessons were painfully slow and repetitive – change was slow. It was a slow two months, but I finally started to make some progress. From that point onwards, I’ve improved in leaps and bounds. First it was 4 laps straight, then 6, then 8. 5 days ago, I did 10 laps straight for the first time ever, and yesterday, I did 16.

Sixteen was a bit of a milestone, because at 400m, I’d covered the swim portion of this weekends triathlon. The local tri club has a “training” day at the end of every month and for the first time since winter, there is a swim component. So, I should be able to complete all three legs now without too much difficulty.

The next step was obvious – 750m non-stop. The distance of the swim in the Elite Energy triwagga Sprint Tri at the end of November. I’ve blogged a couple of times that I could do further than the distances I’ve been doing, but have been limited by time and circumstance. Today, I had no such limitations. I literally had the entire pool to myself. So I decided it was time to see what I could do.

And I did. I completed the distance, non stop. In 18m30s. For good measure, I added another 10 laps, bringing my total to 40 laps (or 1km) non stop. To say I am happy is somewhat of an understatement. I’m ecstatic. I’m almost bouncing off the walls. I had the tiniest of pauses at the end of the 750m to stop the timer on my watch, but the pause was literally a couple of seconds.

Challenge Completed!

So what now? Other than practice practice practice, I need to continue to work on my stroke. I don’t kick much when I swim, which is the polar opposite of what I did when I started. So I need to continue to work on my kick, although there are obvious benefits to having somewhat fresh legs at the end of the swim.

The other thing I’ve noticed, is that I’ve never done more than four laps straight from the outset. I get in the water, I do a couple of warm up laps, have a break, do another 4 laps, have another break and then I swim properly (because of this, my actual distance today was 1150m) It takes me those first few laps to feel like I’ve got my “rhythm”. So I need to be able to just jump in and go.

And finally, my swims to date have almost all been in the 25m pool. I feel a lot more comfortable in that pool because I can touch the bottom along the entire length. If I get into trouble, I can just stand up. That’s not the case in the 50m pool and it makes me feel less comfortable, less relaxed in the water.

Which leaves me with the following minor goals over the next 4 weeks:

1. More leg work. Stronger kicking will help me get my time down to closer to 15min over the next month.

2. Swim 750m non-stop, from the first lap. No warm up-laps.

3. No more 25m pool. From here on in, it’s the 50m pool only. Except if it’s raining. Or it’s a coaching session and the coach says so.

1km non-stop. Oh yeah!

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