Sunday, March 11, 2012

Into the Deep

Posted by Amy Baranski

***Update: read Out of the Deep for a summary of my first lap swim!***

Since there's no water aerobics class offered on Fridays at my local pool I considered trying lap swim this past week.

Lap swim intimidates me. 

It makes me think of really strong and long people with amazing bodies (not just to look at but in the cardiovascular sense).

Swimming seems easier to me now that I'm older, but I'll never forget the Herculean effort it took during middle school swim class to finish laps. Maybe I was doing it wrong? Or maybe the other students were counting their laps incorrectly, which I repeated to myself in class often enough to remember that mantra 20 years later. Just thinking about lap swim takes me out of my comfort zone.

That's exactly why I'm going to try it.

I skipped the pool on Friday, but on Saturday I bused there for the 10:00 a.m. water exercise class. I showed up early. So early that I got to take a snapshot of the locker room without looking like a total creep. It was empty.

Obligatory locker room shot.
The Saturday morning class is not Hydrofit nor Aqua Jog. It takes place in the shallow end and constitutes a lot of undignified jumping up and down. You have moderate impact with the bottom of the pool. If you don't feel it at the time you certainly do the next day. It was an interesting class with a 50-65+ year-old set. But I did not like the jumping up and down so much; it did not feel so great on my belly.

The entire time I kept staring at the lap swimmers, like they were the cool seniors while I was just starting freshman year.

They were at the other end of the pool and my whole water aerobics class experience morphed into this mental obsession, needing to know if you had to be able to execute a flip turn in order to swim in the lanes. I saw many of the swimmers somersaulting underwater and emerging towards the opposite end of the pool from whence they came. I saw several lanes designated by the words fast, medium, easy, very easy. I was relieved to see the last label, but when I studied that lane it did not look very easy. I have no idea if I'll be able to make it one length of the pool and back, but I really want to try. I actually only want to try in a completely private setting so no one can see me.

It would be OK if a lifeguard were on duty. 

Other than that I'd prefer no one with better athletic ability to be around. Even though those are the exact people you want in the pool with you. It's silly but it makes me uncomfortable to even think about it. So I'm going to do it. There's even a session tomorrow morning at 6:30...


Marcia said...

I just started lap swimming a few months ago. I'd suggest starting with this 0 to 700 plan:

If you start to love it, there's a 0 to 1650 plan that is easy to follow. By the end, you're swimming a mile! Good luck!

Amy Baranski said...

Fantastic info. I bookmarked that link and will take the advice with me into the pool. Out of curiosity, Marcia, how far are you swimming now that you are a few months in?

Marcia said...

Well, I'll have to admit that my first couple of months were really about doing drills, learning technique, and especially figuring out the breathing. Breathing in through the mouth and out through the nose is very different than running breathing (in through the nose and out through the mouth) and yoga breathing (nose only), so it took me a bit to get rid of the nose clip and master the art of breathing at the shoulder.

Once I started the 0 to 1650 program, I was swimming a mile in less than 6 weeks because I already had a base. Now I'm swimming a mile 2-3 times per week, but am going to switch my weekly workouts to one speed, one drills and one distance. I also went to a coaching session a couple of weeks ago to get feedback on my form and to learn to do a flip turn. I didn't enjoy swimming back in October, but I really love it now!

Cassandra said...

Amy, have you tried the lap swim yet?

Amy Baranski said...

I tried lap swim! Read Out of the Deep for the summary.