Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Simply Kicking Myself

I was in a yoga session doing a floor exercise and having some difficulty with a tight calf muscle as I tried to point a foot back up towards the ceiling. Since this foot position is the same one sought by every swimmer, a foot pointed back to create a straight continuation of the leg, I snuck a look back to see how well I was doing and discovered I wasn’t doing very well at all. In fact, instead of what I had thought was a decent ‘half-way’ back angle, my foot was barely past vertical. With flexibility like that it’s not surprising I still have real difficulties doing any kicking set over fifty meters without fins. I’m going to blame years of running for this problem. When I was a child I most definitely had an excellent swimming kick and running was where my problem lay. Not the running part directly, I was always a good runner – it was with the extraordinary number of ankle sprains I suffered. Only a few years back did I discover the flexibility so highly desired in swimming creates a highly unstable platform for running. With much of my life spent on rugby fields, roads, trails, and ovals the thousands of kilometers I’ve run has understandably given me ‘runner’s ankles’, stiff strong ankles almost impervious to sprain, but unfortunately ankles which don’t take being bent backwards well. If I want to swim my fastest it’s something I need to change, yet knowing this doesn’t displease me a bit. If I already had a perfect swimming technique then there would be no room for improvement, and as it stands now it seems I have a lot of improvement to look forward to.

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