I’m walking the length of a pool, face in the water blowing bubbles, with one arm outstretched in front of me and the other hooked behind me, like some kind of demented water-bound impression of ‘I’m a little teapot’. Intermittently, I pull my shoulder back, pulling my face out of the water and taking a deep breath in, and each time I do I feel ridiculous.
It’s week two of my Learn to Front Crawl program with Swim For Tri, at the swanky Market Sports gym in Shoreditch, north London, and I’m still finding some of the drills a bit silly. While week one saw us caressing our own butt cheeks in the shallow end of a pool, in the quest for a better leg kick, this week we’re mimicking chinaware in an attempt to master body rotation.
It might be tickling my sense of the ridiculous, but the funniest thing about it is it’s working. Breaking a movement down into drills helps you to concentrate on just the one movement, and to make sure you’re doing things properly.
So far, these are the things I’ve learned: breathe out under water and in when you go to take your breath (don’t huff and puff above the water like an asthmatic turtle), kick from the hip in a small, restrained movement (not the crazed, bent-knee flapping I’ve been doing), and rotate through the shoulders as you breathe so it’s a natural movement (don’t just throw your head back and out as if it’s your last breath). These might all seem like common sense to constant crawlers, but to a lifelong breaststroker they seem like the magical keys to the kingdom.
So, who cares if I feel a little bit of an idiot. It’s all working. In the first two weeks… in just two hours… I am an estimated 37 per cent better at crawl. And we haven’t even got to arms yet.
See part 1 here.