Saturday was my first adult swim lesson. I took lessons as a kid, but never really learned to how swim well. Last summer before my first triathlon, I read Triathlon Swimming Made Easy,practiced the drills to learn the basics, and started swimming laps. I never got to the point where I could swim long distances comfortably or easily. I would usually rest after completing a lap (50 meters) and my form got worse as I got more fatigued. However, I was able to complete a half mile swim during the triathlon without stopping to rest. There was some backstroke, side stoke, and a lot of doggy paddling though. This led me to my decision to take swim lessons before entering another triathlon. I have an idea of what to do, but I need someone watching me to improve my form.
We started the class by telling our goal. My goal is to develop efficiency and ease in the water. There are 2 people in the class that have never swam, so they worked with one of the instructors, while the other 4 of us that can swim, but want to get better worked with the other instructor, Mary. The first thing we did was swim freestyle the length of the pool. I was pleasantly surprised that I felt good doing that and was the fastest person in our group. After our first swim, Mary gave us kickboards and had us practice kicking. This is something I'm actually pretty good at. The key is keeping your leg straight and ankle loose. Next, we practiced arm circles. This is something I need improvement on. I don't lengthen my arm enough before pulling back. Then we practiced breathing. Mary told us to keep our cheek in the water as we turned to breathe. I can do that about 50% of the time, but then I swallow water and want to lift my whole head. Mary recommended breathing out until my mouth is all the way out of the water. When we practiced everything together, I felt ok about how I was doing. I asked Mary about getting tired and she told me that would get better the more I practiced. We finished up by treading water and floating, which are useful skills in open water swimming.
Overall, I think the first class went well. I already feel like I can do more than "not drown" and I look forward to continuing to improve over the next 5 weeks. I'm planning to practice Wednesday and we'll see how I do at keeping all the tips in my head when I'm by myself.