Swimming, has to be the most frustrating thing I have ever done. The form, the not breathing, the breathing, for that matter, and let’s not even get started on the open water facts. Needless to say, I think swimming is one of those things that did not come naturally to me. Thus, to become good, I was going to have to dedicate some serious time to the water.
I value hard work, I believe that if you work hard, good things will happen. So when I say, I am going to do something, its typically an all in investment; that is, until I get frustrated. Once that happens, I begin to question what I am actually doing and then the why battles show up.
I didn’t really start swimming until 2013, I count this year as my first year in the sport. I had to start swimming, well
mainly because I wanted to race. I had dabbled with swimming in the past, although nothing really serious. I had some awesome neighbors growing up who were on the swim team and helped develop my stroke.
Swimming has always been my weakest of the three sports, so I always “dumped” the swims if push came to shove because I hated being in the water. I would get so mad because I was getting beat by the 11-year-old girl in the lane next to me, and let’s face it that was a really bad mental spot to be in. Two years into the sport, I wasn’t getting any faster, so I joined a master’s program to help motivate me to get in the water.
The master’s program was awesome, I made some really cool friends, had a coach on deck helping adjust my stroke and I ended up swimming roughly 4 days a week. Being in a master class was also beneficial because I could race every day.
To keep this long story short, I mention the above because I thought I was working hard. I mean I was working harder than I had before, but really I was just doing enough to get by. That brings us to this past December. December was a rough month, for a lot of personal reasons, but in December, I made a commitment with Brownie to swim more, and honestly the swimming helped with the personal issues.
In December, I started swimming 20K weeks at about 4 swims a week. If you read my blog Let’s Geaux, then you know I carried that all the way through Camp which was in mid-March. Those swims, came in all different distances from 5K all the way through 10K, and if you ever want to invest 3 hours into yourself then a 10k swim will do it. Personally though, my mindset had to change in order for me to be able to complete this. That mindset came from a simple argument made by a previous coach; that argument went a little something like this “you will run or ride 90 min to 2 hours but you refuse to swim that long”. Now I am paraphrasing something, but think about that mindset change. How many of us barely spend an hour in the pool and expect something to change? I was very guilty of this!
Fast forward through camp, I hit that low, and we pulled myself out if it with barely enough time to mess around and get in shape for Raleigh and Eagleman. Yet, I was frustrated, AGAIN, with my swimming. I had invested in
all that time into the water and nothing to show from it, so why was I swimming THAT much without improvement.
Insert the BFF, we were having one of our random talks about swimming and how we were both frustrated. During this conversation, somehow he convinced me to start swimming 5 times a week. I have no idea how or why, but I agreed and hence started my journey into Raleigh.
I swam 5 times a week for a month leading into those races. The goal: was to just swim and not worry about the overall weekly distances. That shift allowed me to start enjoying the water more. The enjoyment lead to being more relaxed in the water. Relaxation turned into more recovery, which then turned into faster times.
All in all, I am starting to fall in love with the water, key word, starting. The hatred is starting to slowly fade. Now, I am not the fastest person in the water, and I still have a
very long way to go, but hopefully my change of perspective will continue the success I am currently having. Whether that success is actual times, feeling fresher or just mentally not feeling drilled coming out of the water, is still up for debate, but I will be successful and I hopefully that 11-year-old girl will stop beating me.