Total Immersion Swimming Practice

Today Tom and I went to the pool for our fourth practice session since I took the Total Immersion class last month. My drills went much better today than last Saturday. I’m more comfortable in the leading-arm Sweet Spot, which is important because it’s where you go to breathe while practicing all of the drills. Or if you get flustered or need to collect your thoughts before the next face-down drill, that’s the default “comfort” position.
Last week I had trouble relaxing enough to breathe comfortably in Sweet Spot. All I wanted to do was hold my breath. I would breathe shallowly, go on to the next drill, and be really breathless when I completed the length. Today I didn’t have that problem at all, and I never even put my noseplug on. This means I’m getting the hang of balancing well enough to breathe better, and of expelling a little air while rolling up to Sweet Spot without letting water run up my nose. And today when that did happen I calmly exhaled and didn’t let it bother me. I’m sure I’m still too uptight in the water, but I’m improving.
I practiced only the early drills: Sweet Spot, Skate, Under-Skate, Under-Switch, and lots of Double-Under-Switch. With Double-Under-Switch, I know I was getting better hip rotation and arm-reach on one side than the other. I don’t know if it was always one side, though, or if it was whichever side I did the second switch from. Other problems I was aware of: turning my head between switches; kicking too hard (a bit of a panic kick, although I wasn’t feeling panicked) on the roll to Sweet Spot; pausing between switches with my hand in the pocket; not actively reaching ahead with my lead hand. I didn’t have all these problems all the time. I tried to focus on eliminating one at a time, and I have a sense that it will all come together. I won’t move on until it does. In fact, next time I’ll spend more time on the single under-switch, focusing on neutral head, hip rotation, and reach, before I try the double switches again.
After I feel that the double-under-switches are really good, I’ll start on the set of drills that involve lifting the elbow from the water in preparation for the whole stroke. I know I’ll need tons of practice on those. And the whole stroke–I can’t even think about that now. I have faith that it also will, in spite of all the problems I expect, come together eventually just like the double-under-switch will in the next few sessions.
I’m very satisfied with just developing an ability to go the length of the pool with some sense of knowing what I’m doing and why, instead of the flail I used to use. Being as relaxed as I was today in the water, kicking more gently, and having a default position for breathing–those three things together make me feel like I’m really swimming. If I had to swim to save my life I’d probably be better off using today’s drills than using my old, exhausting, flailing crawl.

One thought on “Total Immersion Swimming Practice”

Comments are closed.