Wednesday, October 24, 2007
I’ve my problems kicking. It was never one of my strengths even when I swam competitively as a child and subsequently my years of athletics developed the good, strong ankles of a runner: great for running cross country but a huge impediment for swimming as my feet stubbornly refuse to taper backwards and instead stick out like anchors. While there are specific exercises to increase ankle flexibility another more popular way is to use flippers. Fins, of course, also help move you through the water faster; an inestimable value to those of us who are already kick deficient in meeting those interval times. As a result their use can rapidly become habit forming, something I freely admit has happened to me. I’ve belatedly decided to follow Bill Sweetenham’s lead from his training guide “Championship Swim Training”, reading while he occasionally employs flippers in training normally he requires kick drills to be carried out without fins. So this last Saturday I steeled myself and went to my local pool with a workout of Coach Brad’s in hand but without fins in my bag to get me through. A rather courageous decision if I may say so as I’d modified the workout to add an extra three hundred kicking despite knowing it also contained a fly set, something which normally sends me reaching for my flippers without a second thought. My sole compromise – the workout was heavily into reps of 25s. If I had to bail I wanted to be sure the wall was somewhere close by. Imagine my chagrin when standing on the bulkhead I look out and, despite blinking several times, my eyes insisted on seeing a fifty meter pool where a twenty five meter pool was supposed to be. On this day of all days the second bulkhead was stuck in place with a broken motor – and there I stood without my fins! I managed to muddle through learning in the process my kicking has a long way to go: a long, long way. And wouldn’t you know it for Monday’s practice Brad decided to emphasize kicking without fins. His timing is eerie. Hopefully all this bother will result in some quick improvement.