I’ve been watching the Commonwealth Games with a great deal of interest. I always watch large sporting occasions like that and it gives me a great buzz to see these athletes – the best in the world – at the top of their games. I love the track and field but, with my swimming background, I particularly enjoy watching the racing in the pool.
As usual, the mighty Ian Thorpe has been destroying all comers and as a former swimmer myself it’s easy to see why. It’s not about his big feet (as the press often obsess), it’s all about his technique. You have to try to be as streamlined as possible in the water, letting your body arrow in a straight line, and you need to cover as much distance as possible per stroke. He does this to perfection. In a 25m pool I would swim a length of front crawl doing about 14-16 strokes between turns and that’s pretty low, but Thorpe can do just 10 strokes – and that’s at race pace. His stroke efficiency is the best in the business and at over 6’4″ he can put that to good use. And the thing about watching people like that doing what they do best is that they make it look so easy, as if anybody could step into a pool and do exactly the same thing. By the way, you can’t. I’ve tried.
Nevertheless, with watching all this swimming I’ve finally decided it’s about time to put my trunks on, stretch the cap over my head, and get back in the pool myself. I haven’t trained in 3 years and, after going in for a swim this morning, I can see that my laziness has had a large effect. I do a fair bit of weights so I thought I’d be okay but alas you can only really stay in shape by actually swimming. My arms felt about ready to fall off after a few hundred metres (and I’d normally warm up over about 1000m). So it’s almost back to square one. The technique is still there or there abouts, it’s just the fitness and strength I need to get back. Ay karumba. It’s going to take a while but I like a challenge – and I need a good excuse to get up early in the morning.
I’m 28 soon so I know that within the next ten years or so I’m going to start to go down the slippery slope and never be able to be as fit as I’ve been before. So I might as well push myself while I’ve still got a chance of improving. I always loved trying to knife effortlessly through the water so that should be enough motivation for me to keep at it. The only problem is that the pool I’m going to use is 33m long, which confuses the hell out of me (being used to a 25m pool) so I’ll have to do some maths and work out what I should be doing.
Yep, I’m hoping to make August a much better month than the last two which for various reasons have been a bit on the lousy side. If the sun wants to start shining in Yorkshire for a while too I’d be delighted as well (fat chance of that).
Oh, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what blogs are (this site is a blog, for example), then this is an interesting read.