I forgot how to swim

I wrote this three years ago when I was training for my first triathlon and I’m finally publishing it. I’ve come a long way in my swimming since then.

Jordanelle Reservoir

This is where I wish I were swimming, not where I actually swam.

 

My big breakthrough finally happened in mid March when Coach Christine told me to try to swim without my kick board. I did it and I haven’t used it since. For some strange reason I needed her to tell me to do that; I was not going to do it on my own. It wasn’t a scary moment for me when I swam without it because I’m not afraid of the water. I just needed someone to tell me stop using it because it was becoming a crutch for me and I was never going to progress as long as I kept using it. I am so glad that I am not using the kick board anymore because now I’m really swimming.

In hindsight using it in the first place was a mistake. As a kid I grew up near a lake and I swam all the time, but I stopped swimming when I was about 9 years old because we moved away from the lake and I never really loved to swim in the first place. I have always heard people say that you never forget how to swim so in the back of my mind I thought that I must still know how to swim. When I got to swim practice I remember feeling very confused because I didn’t know how to even begin to swim. I grabbed my kick board because I saw other people grab theirs and I just practiced kicking. As time went on I practiced breathing using the kick board. I loved going to swim practice and I hated it all at the same time. The coaches helped me and encouraged me as much as they could but I knew no real progress was ever going to happen unless I learned how to relax in the water. You really can’t learn anything when you are tense.

Losing the kick board was a huge confidence boost; now when I go to swim practice I see great progress. Swimming in a pool is one thing but swimming in open water is quite another.

We had our first open water swim at about 3 weeks ago and I had a very interesting experience. We swam in the Comal River in New Braunfels which has a pretty strong current at times. I was surprised by how difficult it was for me to swim in it. Swimming in open water is very different than swimming in a pool so it’s very important to practice in it before your first triathlon. Coach Carrie assured me that my reaction was very normal. It made me feel a little bit better but I was still worried that I would not progress as quickly as I needed to before the race.

Even though I left most of my swim practices feeling like I wasn’t getting anywhere and feeling really down, I still went. Even small progress adds up and a bad practice is better than no practice. Overtime I did start to relax as I got more comfortable putting my face in the water again and my confidence was building.

There’s no stopping me now!

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