07 August 2009

Trying to swim with my daughter

I'm not talking about a leisurely let's go play at the pool "swim with my daughter", I'm talking about keeping up with her in a 25 or 50 yard race "swim with my daughter". I grew up in the heart of San Francisco, we didn't have a lot of warm days or access to a pool so my swim style was a modified doggy-paddle...proper arm movements with my head sticking straight out of the water (insert image of tongue hanging out for the doggy part of it). My daughter has something different, 4 days of swim practice per week and meets pretty much every other weekend. In short, she's a better swimmer than I am. And she's 8.

Because of her immersion into the sport, my obsessed personality got immersed into the sport in every way except the actual swimming part of it. And that is now going to change. She is going to teach me to swim properly and I'm going to put some effort into consistent training. The real goal is to actually be fit but to get there my concrete goal will be to have a 50 yard freestyle always equal to hers (currently 36.16 short course, 40.80 long course).

I have yet to time myself for comparison. And for good reason; last night I did my first "workout"...I researched a good beginner's workout and got a good recommendation for an 800 yard workout that included some easy warmup, some aerobic buildup, an aerobic core workout and a warmdown (thank you Swimplan). Umm, yeah. The first 25 of the warmup was great, the second 25 I realized halfway through that I wasn't breathing right so I just held my breath, the third 25 panic set in, the fourth 25 I had to go back to my modified doggy-paddle (keeping my head out of the water to breathe). I was a hot mess so I stopped.

Right then some Olympic-caliber super-swimmer jumped into the lane next to me so I couldn't just stop. I gathered myself and decided to try again and do everything in my power to breathe correctly. Halfway through the next 25 (keep in mind this is only my 5th lap), I panicked again...."aieeeaaaah, I can't breathe!"....and stopped in the middle of the pool. Back to the modified doggy-paddle, pride be damned. I finished up my second "set" of four laps looking pretty foolish.

During that interminable period, I had some time to think (in between near drowning incidents) and realized that I had a ready-made 8 year old swim coach who owed me (you know, she wouldn't exist or have anything to eat without me). I stopped at 1/4 of my planned session and scheduled CK (what I'll call her in this blog) for a Saturday morning freestyle breathing lesson. I'll also have her time my baseline 50 free time and really get started on my goal to "swim with my daughter."


  1. Please post video at your earliest convenience. I can't wait to see CK kicking your butt.

  2. Hadn't thought about that, will need a third person at our session on Saturday.

  3. I grew up a city boy, too, and found myself 20-years-old, unable to swim, and having to pass a swim test to graduate college (still don't know why that was a requirement).

    I'm sure your eight-year-old could still whip my butt, but learning to swim was one of the best things I was ever forced to do.

    I have that same thing with breathing. My out is to keep going, but to switch to the backstroke.

  4. Oh,
    I tried that but then got obsessed with brushing my ears on each stroke and keeping the cup on my forehead (like I've heard CK's coach talk about millions of times) and got so discombobulated that I ran into the lane line. My goal at that point was to minimize embarrassment with super-swimmer swimming in the next lane.