So today, I had my first front crawl swimming lesson at Clissold Leisure Centre with Caroline Dewsnap, who mostly teaches children but who will tak on an old bloke like me who never really learnt to swim.
She asked me to do a length front crawl and a length breast stroke to show her what I had.
I did the breast stroke the best way I know how (which is mostly head up and with wonky legs), then I thrashed and gulped my way back in a controlled drowning sort of a way that I have fondly come to know as my front crawl.
First Caroline got me to work on my legs.
To begin to fix my leg stroke she had me swimming on my back with a float under each arm. I was instructed to keep my legs close together, with my toes sightly pointng in, moving my whole leg, keeping the knee straight. As my face was pointing up, this felt easy, and as she screamed at me to go faster I was OK with this, though I thought I'd certainly drown if I had this breath rate face in the water.
Next up, yes you guessed it, same again but on my front. Even with my face out of the water I arrived at the other end of the pool knackered, and rather awash with chlorinated water (no doubt full of other peoples bogies - nice)
How can that be?
I'm pretty fit, I can run a bit, I can cycle OK, this swimming lark is exhusting.
After I had caught my breath, Caroline said she wanted to work on arm entry next. So she attached a hand paddle to one hand, gave me a float for the other arm and showed me how my hand should enter the water, and move down my body.
I love articial swimming aids.
Floats help stop me drowning, hand paddles get me to the other end faster.
Infact the hand paddle aside from making me faster, was helpful in making me aware where my had was and how it should move.
After 30 mins of this, mercifully the lesson was over, and I could not drink another drop.
- 10 mins of working my legs till they burn with a float (yes!)
- 10 mins of practicing my arm and hand position using a paddle (yes!)
Two times until next week.
Can I crawl? - no I can't.
Well not yet anyway, just 22 weeks till the Blenheim Tri, and I've got to start somewhere.