Swimming Blasphemy That’ll Make Swimming More Fun

If you care about improving your stroke technique, body position, or sighting skills, quit reading now. What I am about to say won’t help you get faster or more efficient.

Are you ironmanny enough to take advice from me?

If you’d rather eat your goggles than spend another lap worrying about these things, congrats – you’re one of my peeps. This post is for you.

You see, I have decided to quit trying to be a better swimmer, because trying to become a better swimmer really just wasn’t floating my boat.

Sure, the freaks who can swim 100 metres in 44 seconds are right. To be really fast, heck even to get faster than you are now, it takes crap tons of time and effort. You have to put thoughtful, repetitive hours in the pool. You have to pay attention to your body and your idiosyncrasies, and work consistently to improve.

But it’s boring kicking on your side for two hours. And really, how good are you gonna get if you hate every second in the pool, because while you’re thinking so hard about your elbows, that old lady in the long sleeved swim shirt is still passing your hiney.

I know this because I spent the better part of a year trying to convince myself that such diligence pays off. Instead, I had the worst swim times I’ve raced in years. I’d do drill after drill, read all these “secrets” that would supposedly enlighten me as to why I suck at swimming and even got excellent advice. And I ended up frustrated, slower, and hating swimming more than I thought possible.

But quitting wasn’t an option, because switching to Duathlon and running twice? Um, no I’m not that desperate.

Which got me wondering. Since when did it become a rule that all triathletes should better their technique, above all else? I feel like the general assumption is this: if you’re not always working on your technique, you’re wasting your time.

Well I say that’s crap. Here’s why. If all this “keep your elbows high, rotate your hips, breathe bilaterally, head down, use your lats, expecto patronum, don’t cross over to the dark side” stuff is making swimming really suck to the point where A. it’s not really working (I’m sorry, but is 2 seconds off your 1,500 metre time really worth drinking mouthfuls of peed-in chlorine solution during those kick on side drills?) and/or B.you quit going to the pool because it feels so pointless, then are you really swimming better?

Probably not. No.

So here’s what I decided: ’tis far better to just swim with your less than awesome stroke rate and enjoy it than to feel like smacking old ladies with your kickboard because they’ll always be faster than you.

In other words, it’s okay to ignore the conventional tridorkery and not give two shifters about getting “better.” Even if you’re swimming without purpose, you’re at least actually swimming instead of shouting muffled profanity into the shallow end. That’s got to count for something.

I adopted this philosophy a few months ago, and it’s working splendidly. I’m actually enjoying my pool workouts, and I feel productive. You can’t deny that when you don’t bother measuring something, you can’t possibly prove it’s not working (which would be terrible for science, but is a quite convenient truth for a slackerathlete).

This isn’t to say that I just swim aimlessly. That would be dumb and boring. I still swim sets, hard and easy, kicky and drilly, but I just don’t bother timing splits or thinking too hard or wondering if my pinky is aligned with the third moon of Jupiter.

I get in about 2000 metres/yards, I feel good and all is right with the world. Want a few of my workouts? I thought so. Here goes.

Quicky & Kicky

400 free, 100 mix (warmup)
5×50 kick / 50 drill. Do whatever drill you want. I like sculling because you don’t have to breathe all awkwardly.
5×100 free hard, 100 free easy.Rest about 30 seconds in between each.
100 cooldown

Ass kicking mirror

500 free
100 backstroke
50 breaststroke
5×100 kick/100 pull
50 breaststroke
100 backstroke
500 free

Oh $hit, I only have 30 minutes

Set a watch timer for 30 minutes. Press go, swim until it beeps.*

*This also works well for an “Aw cheeseburgers! I only have 20 minutes ” workout. Adjust timer accordingly.

The beauty of these workouts is that they’re also very adaptable to actually fit into a real swim training program.

So there you have it. A way to make peace with the pool and still sport the goggle marks that make you look like you’ve been awake for 3 days straight. You may never be the first out of the water, but it’s not like you care anyway.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s