Monday, January 14, 2013

Mermaid tales

I can swim. Of course I can, I talk about it regularly enough. I remember the horror stories my mother likes to regale me with, of lessons from my childhood.. 'You moaned so much that the sweet (A nutalls mintoes to be precise - do you remember these? I haven't had one probably since my last childhood swimming lesson) you had as bribery would fall out of your mouth' (She tells this story, shaking with laughter and I have no clue why its funny..?)

Anyway, I digress. I can swim well enough, breast stroke is my stroke of choice, hell I completed last years triathlon with breast stroke, I can't knock it. I can do breast stroke til the cows come home and not worry about breathing or tiring and I just keep going. Front crawl I have the basics down, but I really struggle to breathe correctly and so I have to stop every couple of lengths to catch my breath. Back stroke is just slow and dull. Butterfly..? Butter what?

So I booked myself a course of 6 lessons via the university (see here), on the intermediate level and hoped for the best. I figure that if I want to keep training, and keep heading towards a quicker triathlon time, then I need to work on all three disciplines rather than let a weakness slow me down.

Today was the the day. I HATE doing new things. I mean, I obviously don't, because I think I've been quite adventurous (for me!) over the last year, and if I hated new things then I wouldn't try them. What I mean is, I HATE the thought of it. The disruption, the hassle, you know? I don't hate it enough to stop me, but I hate it enough to worry endlessly about it! I am one of life's worriers - just as I am one of life's criers! Equally, Paul must just dread dealing with me sometimes. I spent all of this afternoon worrying about where I was going, where I was going to park, what time I should leave so I wasn't late, if I was going to be the biggest and slowest house wife in the pool.. all those irrelevant things annoy me.. so they must drive Paul barmy! He is very good though, particularly when we both know I'm nervous, and he 'handles' my insania calmly.

I left with oodles and oodles of time to spare and even though I had trouble parking, I still had 20 minutes to wait once I arrived at the pool. So I had plenty of time to watch the beginners group and wonder what the hell I was doing, yet again.

Once poolside, I quickly became aware that of the 12 of us in the intermediate class, I was the only English person, I was easily the oldest (damn these student types at a university!) and to add insult to injury, I was the tallest of everyone (male and female) by at least half a foot... sore thumb anyone..!? Because of this, I was the only name the instructors (there were 2 - both embarrassingly attractive) remembered immediately and so I was the guinea pig for everything.

But you know what? I didn't mind! I REALLY ENJOYED MYSELF. We did breadths, instead of lengths tonight. A couple of initial breadths in free style to see what we were all capable of. Then looked at each of the three main techniques briefly, breaking them down with a float to get a feel for how they should work.
As it turns out, I'm quite quick, despite having terrible technique and I can already see how I am going to be able to improve over the remaining 5 weeks. What really surprised me, and I know it shouldn't these days, is that I have good lung capacity, you know, fitness wise, and I was really capable in the pool.

So in a nutshell; I really enjoyed my lesson, I'm looking forward to next week, and at some point I need to start believing in myself a little!


  1. You will be a natural Sarah. Tall people (or rather, long limbed folks) have a natural advantage in the pool and are capable of longer glides and less strokes per length for a decent speed. You will rock. And very glad all the worrying was worth while :-)

  2. Hooray! Looking forward to more mermaid tales... you've probably not covered doggy paddle yet, I expect that's too advanced. Maybe you'll touch upon it in your last week. And if you need any tips, I can paddle like a goodun! xxx

  3. I'm a worrier too!

    I think it's awesome that you're working on learning new skills and trying to improve in certain disciplines. You're doing awesome! :)