Last week I got back in the pool for the first time in a long time. A loooooong time. I actually couldn't think when the last time I went swimming for exercise was, rather than just a paddle around.
It's a bit weird that it had been so long. If you had asked me five years ago what my favourite sport or activity was I definitely would have said swimming, with running and/or yoga close behind. I grew up with a backyard pool and have always considered myself a water baby, so it was just natural for me and I enjoyed it although as an adult I'd never had any formal coaching in it.
It also was high on my list of activities for post-op return-to-fitness, given that it's low impact, so great for knees, but a variety of issues had prevented me from getting back to the pool.
Anyway, Fitness First Hammersmith was running a swim coaching session with Richard Stannard, a world-champion triathlete, last week and invited a few of us to go along--and I jumped at the opportunity.
The Fitness First at Hammersmith is VERY nice. I think they said it had been re-done in the last two years, but it was pretty much spanking-new and had all you could want in a gym... including, obviously, a pool. Pardon the colour in the photos, the lighting in the pool wasn't actually like some weird blue-light rave as it might appear!!
Once everyone had arrived, it was a full-on hour session of swimming using different techniques that Richard explained and demonstrated to get our swimming either more comfortable, for the newbies, or more efficient, for those who had a bit more experience. As I was pretty comfortable in the water, I was really excited to learn more about good form and how to get faster, which we got plenty of training in and was really (really) hard! We spent time alternating between focussing on our legs or our arms. As Richard put it, it's like learning to drive a car -- getting everything moving together with the right technique takes lots of practice, and luckily with swimming (unlike a car) you can break it down into the component parts to master each one before you put it all together.
My two biggest learnings were just how straight my legs needed to be (very hard on the glutes!) and how to properly pull my arms through the water to use my lats more, not just my arms, for movement. I was actually surprised that by the end of the session I could feel the difference in how fast I was moving so kudos to Richard for a great job! Now I just have to remember it all for next time...
Richard explaining kicking technique.
Happy me, post swim!
If you're interested in getting some advice, Richard runs clinics across the country for all levels and Fitness First has put together a great post on all the benefits of swimming, just to get you motivated -- so what are you waiting for?
Disclaimer: Occasionally I am offered opportunities to review classes. The opinions expressed in the reviews are my unbiased opinion and are not affected by or paid for by the companies mentioned.