At the start of the year, my gung-ho swimming plan was to jump in the pool and swim for longer and longer periods of time each week. I was regularly swimming for 1h30m and covering 4500m. It was tough, it was good and I was about to push for 2 hours and 6000m.

But with some shoulder twinges, and being told that shoulder injuries are all too common when training to swim the Channel, I thought I should perhaps go and get my technique checked out.

Probably 20 years after my last swimming lesson, I booked some swim coaching with Andy @ SeaLanes in Brighton. Each session has involved me swimming in the endless pool, trying not to get distracted by the mirrors on the floor of the pool and in front of me, getting observed and filmed by Andy and then getting verbal and video feedback on what’s good and what’s not.

The lessons have been brilliant and I have laughed a lot! But I’d be pulling a fast one if I said I haven’t felt disheartened at times. Andy has been very encouraging – phew! – but there is a whole world of swimming technique out there that I didn’t know about and I have had to work on EVERY part of my stroke! Hand entry, catch, rotation, recovery, front quadrant swimming (??!!), the list goes on…

Over the last few months I have definitely made progress with my technique but alas I have also lost a lot of stamina. So after a metaphorical kick up the butt from the lovely Rob Starr (more on him later!) I got in the pool again this week and swam for an hour. 1 whole hour. And.I.was.blowing. I may have even got laughed at by the husband for my seriously red face when I got home!

To be honest, it has felt a bit like 1 step forward, 2 steps back. Impatient much?! Probably 🙂 Wanting everything yesterday?! Always! I know there is no point training for hours with a duff technique, I’ll get injured and I’ll never make it but it still surprises me how hard it is to slow down. I need to ask for help, I need people better than me to teach me, I need to go back to basics, I need to be content with being slow. There is time to build stamina and get faster but I have to get my foundations right first! Pretty much like my life… Marriage, parenting, friendships… Got to get the foundations right if I want to build right. I might learn it one day 🙂

And in the words of St Augustine…

‘Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.’

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