I went for a swim today as part of my cross-training and to catch the last few days (or weeks) of the warm weather. I like swimming laps because it's just like running. It helps clear my head and I get to think about a lot of things. I love the silence of being in the water. It is a meditation as much as it is an activity.
Within those 800 laps, I was able to recall when and how I started swimming. I was 6 years old when I thought that the kiddie pool was getting too lame for me already. I wanted to graduate and I remember trying to swim in the "big people" pool. I was hanging on to the sides for dear life, scared because my feet could no longer touch or feel the bottom of the 5 foot deep pool. And to think I was at the shallowest side of that pool. I looked hopelessly at the other end, which was 10 feet deep. So, what's a kid to do?
I taught myself how to swim! Seriously! Of course I didn't do the freestyle or breaststroke right away. It was more like the dog paddle (reminiscent of how dogs and other animals would swim). I practiced EVERYDAY. After school, I'd put on my bathing suit and head to our clubhouse pool. I swam until the sun would set. I didn't stop until I was able to swim across the deepest end of the pool.
MY FAVORITE STROKE
As I grew older, I did the "real" swimming strokes. I would see some athletes train in the pool and would try to mimic how they did the freestyle, breaststroke, and backstroke. The stroke I became accustomed to was the breaststroke. I can do this with my eyes closed! Haha! That's how comfortable I am with this stroke.
PAUSE AND PLAY
When I became a teenager, swimming took a back seat. I concentrated on school and my dancing. My swimming was reduced to doing it leisurely at friends' swimming parties, family summer outings or beach trips.
When I set my goal to be a triathlete before or by the time I hit 40, I knew I had to start swimming again. After years of no swimming, I gave up after just doing 3 laps on a 25 meter pool. I barely even finished it! I was out of breath and I got tired easily. FAIL!
But one thing I noticed is that I progress faster in swimming than in running. So in just a few month, I was able to participate (and finish) two aquathlons (Swim and Run event) and swam as far as 1,650 meters, which is also known as "a swimmer's mile".
When we moved to our new apartment, I was happy to know that we had a very nice 25 meter pool in our complex. Just a stone's throw away from us and it's right beside the gym. Hooray!
Let me make it clear that I am no Natalie Coughlin (though I aspire to be!) and I haven't had any formal swimming lessons. Everything I know is just self-taught or through coaching from other swimmer friends. Meaning, I still have a LOT of room for improvement. I still have at least 3 years until I join my first triathlon and I hope that I have progressed by then. My skills may not be perfect but I do love swimming! I really really have the desire to swim and improve, that's why I do it.
I'm thinking of getting free lessons at our local YMCA to improve my skills and to take advantage of the indoor pool when it gets cold. I'm open to suggestions or any tips readers have for a wanna-be swimmer like me . =)