I Swim Like I Bowl and Over-Chlorine Consumption

14 Apr

In trying to explain my swimming style to someone, I finally resorted to bowling.  I generally have plenty of strength, that’s not an issue.  But for every time I bowl well, I will bowl a gutter ball on my next attempt.  Or, if you put the bumpers up, my ball will bounce from side to side, paying no attention to boundaries and may even jump into someone else’s lane.  I don’t know my own strength and I can’t steer well.

That’s true for swimming.

The triathlon instructor told me that I swim too fast and I should consider doing some other cardio (even swimming) before swim class in order to tire myself out so I can stay with the rest of class.  It sounded just like all the women who clean their house before the housecleaner shows up. Or eat salad for the day before a doctor’s appointment, hoping that one dramatic effort over one whole day will change the number on the scale… I swim fast.  It is what it is.  I just really need to deal with the details now – like breathing, and stroking, and turning, and not hitting the wall, and staying in my lane.

If you were to ask me “what exactly are you bad at when it comes to swimming?” my answer would probably be “I get out of the breathing rhythm and take in some water and then that scares me and I can’t get back into the rhythm and my stroke gets choppy and I swim faster so I can be done sooner but that takes more oxygen and then at some point I realize I may just drown.”  It’s not quite that bad but it has its moments. I can “balance” in the water okay. I love swimming drills (I can kick superbly!). I’m not afraid to relax and look at the bottom (although I am paranoid of crushing my head on the side of the pool which, I realize, wouldn’t hurt so much if I swam slower).

But my biggest dislike of swimming is the before and after.

Before – putting a swimsuit on at some ungodly morning hour, finding goggles, making yourself take a cold shower, finding your swim cap, wishing you could shave your head without looking like a cancer patient, hoping you remembered to shave your legs, realizing that the pool water is cold, realizing that once you’re in the water no one can really see what shape you’re in (or out of) which makes you decide the water isn’t as cold and you get in.

After – dehydrated but not sure why, pretty sure the pool level dropped about 5 inches most likely due to a lot of drinking (chorine is full of electrolytes, right?), being too lazy to swim over to the ladder so having to hoist yourself out of the water in a very ungraceful manner (upper body strength, what’s that?), then realizing you are shivering uncontrollably and you have to shower again and then go to work for 9 hours and run at lunch and go to class for 3 hours and fall asleep in your dinner.

But then I imagine the stars on my imaginary gold star chart – Did not drown. “Reset” herself each lap so as not to let her poor stroke and breathe from the previous lap lead her to mess up the next lap. Managed to laugh at herself. Managed to forget about work/school/the trash that needs to be taken out for 45 minutes and worked on something that doesn’t come easy.

My imaginary gold star chart is filling up fast. I plan on completing it before I die of over-chlorine consumption.  So I’ve got about a week.



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