Saturday, 7 April 2012

The Triathlon Challenge - Swimming Lesson 1: Sink or Swim

I've mentioned before that as I child I was part fish, right? Well, take it from me, when I hit the pool up to around the age of 13 I could coast through the water like a pal of Nemo's and no mistake.

Like most kids in the UK however, when I hit my teens I became of obsessed with trying to appear older and swapped pools for fields with shelters where we could drink cheap booze which we'd waited hours to pluck up the courage to attempt to very mature we were!

In my ambitions thus far to ready myself for The Triathlon Challenge I'd focused mainly on gaining time back in the saddle, and more recently I'd bolted running onto the end of this cycling session at a ratio a quarter run per cycle; the equivalent to the Olympic Triathlon quota. I'd shied away from tackling my now weak Freestyle stroke by opting for the 'easy' legs of the Tri task.

Knowing that I'd lost all confidence in my front crawl, I sought help from my mate Mr Glen Passingham, a chap whom I may have mentioned before looks like telly's Louis Spence, the gay world's latest champion.

The real Louis Spence
We arrived at the rather inappropriately named LA Fitness in Thorpe Bay before noon and on entering the pool Glen fetched 2 floats and 2 long foam tubes called Noodles which we tied knots into, these items would act as buoyancy aids for the lesson. Well they would have until a rather selfish member of the staff come and reclaimed her precious floats because they were hers and she didn't want us to use them; clearly we had the look of float thieves and two chaps who'd come to the pool to swim, despite our best efforts (I have to mention that the rest of the staff were as friendly as you could hope for, compete with smiles and all).

Floatless, my instructor began the lesson with a four-stroke warm-up; I opted for two breast, one poor crawl and one backstroke, on the latter I crashed into my pal.

Glen had recently started swimming lesson himself on the back of accepting my request for some company for The Triathlon Challenge, and generously offered to pass on his new found knowledge to me as I'd struggled to arrange lessons myself. He set exercises where I use a noodle in front of me while I focused on kicking, breathing and using alternate arms.

Fitness-wise I felt fine, though I kept taking in too much water and because of poor timing I'd regularly have to force myself up for air mid-stroke, though by the end of the lesson I felt I had a better grasp of the basics of Freestyle and for the final quarter I was free to put all of my fresh learning's into practise while Coach Passingham clocked up some lengths in the lane beside me.

After the swim we chatted in the sauna for a while before chilling pool side after cooling off, and then used the shower facilities back in the changing rooms, it was only when emerging from separate cubicles to the sound of The Communards 'Don't Leave Me This Way' over the club's internal sound system that I realised what a very Louis Spence afternoon we'd had.

Coach Passingham outside LA Thorpe Bay (Please note: this is NOT Louis Spence).
My advice kids is stay in the pool, age will come to you soon enough.

Keep paddling,

The Everyman Olympian

1 comment:

  1. Very funny. I'll be at the first tri to support you both.