I went to bed last night and reread what I was meant to have done yesterday. Apparently I did some of it wrong so it was back to drill 2 today and if I mastered that I planned to move on to drill 3.
My venue for today was pools on the park in Richmond. A really good pool and there’s a 33m outdoor one too that opens in May so I will definitely be using it come summertime.
I started by doing 4 lengths on my back (Drill 1) to check my buoyancy and was encouraged to find that I was stable and able to breathe more regularly than yesterday. Then I moved to drill 2. The idea is to be on your back and roll to the side so that your body is exposed from the water from your shoulder to your knuckles and then swim consistently in this position with face pointing towards the ceiling allowing you to breathe naturally. Your kicks propel you along. Slowly it would seem.
For my first length I tried my rolling to my left first. This actually felt pretty natural and I was able to hold it and breathe for about half a length. Then I switched to roll to my right. My hips immediately sank and I got a nosefull of water.
According to Terry, people tend to have a chocolate(good) and vanilla(bad) side. If you ask me both chocolate and vanilla are pretty good but there you go. Clearly my rolling right is my weakness. This makes perfect sense, as when I have swum freestyle in the past, as soon as I get tired my default breathing position is from the right meaning I am more comfortable rolling left. Terry’s advice is to practice the vanilla side until it becomes as effortless as the chocolate. I tried this and found it very frustrating and couldn’t really get stable.
Being a good student, I thought I’d skip straight to the 3rd drill rather than mastering drill 2.
Drill 3 is an extension on drill 2 where you swim in the same position but outstretch the bottom arm to make yourself into a ‘needle’. The bottom arm should be about 2 inches below the surface which feel lower than you think. Having the arm extended seemed to offer me more stability and the extra weight kept my hips higher in the water. The drill became easier and I found that by the end I was traveling pretty smoothly up and down the lanes on either side.
The session was great and it’s so good to be focused on skillful movement rather than racing the guy who’s also swimming in the lane. This can only be a good thing as I think I was lapped by every pensioner at pools on the park today. I’ll also need to get a nose-clip though as due to how submerged your head is when doing these drills, a fair amount went straight up my nose.