Once upon a time, I couldn’t even swim a length (not a lap, but a length) of the pool without thinking I might die.
However, it’s taken some time & intentional practice, but today I did something that was a sign of progress due to being consistent and setting small goals. In the sprint triathlons I participate in they are usually about a 6-7 minute swim for me. Not a speed record but it’s something I can do. So, to do one next year in open water that’s 3x that length I need to be able to swim for a period of time not touching the wall-rope-floor-etc using the pool as a training space. My slowest & least physical stroke is the breaststroke – it’s my “survival” stroke. Even if I *had* to do the breaststroke for the entire event, I know I could finish. That’s my thought pattern there – what’s the bare minimum I need to survive?
Today I was able to swim 31 minutes straight doing the breaststroke without feeling very compromised. I don’t know how many laps as I lose track too easy. To try & simulate open water (no walls, no break, no floor, etc) I swam to the end of the lane where the “T” stops, turned around, then kept going – back & forth for 31 minutes nonstop.
For a real swimmer (or seasoned triathlete) this must sound funny to be described as a successful swim – I get it! But, if you see the top you’ll note that last summer I could not swim a length or even a lap without knowing for sure I was dying. I worked my way up to doing 5 laps for the previous triathlons, but it was a huge struggle. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, what do you do, you swim! (Finding Nemo)
Now I have something substantial to build on as I move forward. I even felt like I could go significantly farther than I did today – and THAT is a win. To not feel completely exhausted, overwhelmed, and depleted in the pool is a huge hi-5!