Fitness|| Swimming masterclass with Richard Stannard, Great British Triathlete

OK, so let’s get it out there right away – I’m rubbish at swimming. I believe I don’t float, it’s so much harder than learning to drive no matter what people say, and yes I find water scary. There, the truth is out.

A while ago I had a private swimming lesson, which some of you might have read about (here), and I got into such a good routine of going to my local swimming pool to practice, but recently it’s really slipped  – weekends are so busy in the summer with being away, birthdays, people visiting, etc. What makes it worse, I’m off on holiday soon and really wanted to be a stronger swimmer before that.

So when I got invited along to a masterclass with Richard Stannard, Great British Triathlete and the current 2012 Biathle world champion, I couldn’t believe how good the timing was – great for giving me a kick up the bum to get going again!

The masterclass was being held at Fitness First in Hammersmith, and luckily I got to go along beforehand too for a one-to-one swimming session with the manager of the Hammersmith Branch, Jono. When I arrived, Jono gave me a quick tour of the centre before getting in the pool, and I think I pretty much fell in love with place – why does it have to be so far from my flat? 

My one-to-one was fab and I managed to build a little confidence before the masterclass with Richard.

On the night of the masterclass, me and 8 other bloggers all gathered at the side of the pool (all early – go us for time superb keeping!), and we had an intro from Richard, who told us all about his experience before asking us what kind of level we were all at when it came to swimming. There were a mixture of levels, from one blogger who goes swimming 4-5 times a week, to those of us who don’t swim often, which made me a little nervous.

DSC_0310Photo courtesy of Abbi from www.UpraisedLiving.com

We were soon in the pool, with Richard demonstrating and giving us tips for front crawl, the most efficient way to swim for speed. Richard started his way through the technique for body position, legs, arms and breathing, getting us to practice over a length or two of the pool after each section and demonstration.

Hammersmith Fitness First, SwimmingPhoto courtesy of Abbi from www.UpraisedLiving.com

swimming, fitness first, hammersmithThe floats ready for us to practice our legs!Swimming, fitness first, hammersmithWatching Richard demonstrate stroke. I’m on the far end.Swimming, Fitness First, HammersmithAll ready to go with our floatsSwimming, fitness first hammersmithI’m on the far right – see me?

Richard was SO fast, and I watched in awe – If only I could be that good!

I was so slow and struggled with front crawl so did resort to breast stroke for a lot of the session, but Richard even gave me some tips on that.

Some of Richards best tips:

  • When kicking, you need to kick from the hip, not the knee
  • If your legs are too wide when kicking, you won’t move forward fast enough, imagine your big toes knocking
  • On the last bit of your arm stroke, actually push back with your palm – you’ll move that extra bit further

Richard was great, making sure he gave everyone individual feedback.I’m definitely making sure I take his tips on board and will be using his front crawl tips in my own time too, to make myself stronger! It’s all about practice after all.

Hammersmith Fitness First, SwimmingA quick group shot before the end

Although I struggled, I did come away feeling I’d learnt a lot – a lot to take on board and put into practice during my own sessions. I wrote a few things down to remember on the way home, and ate my delicious salad courtesy of Nando’s in Hammersmith when I got in (I must have been hungry as it was gone before I had chance to snap it – whoops!).

Swimming is SO good for you too! I know it’s exercise, and all exercise is, but it has so many different benefits. Check this article out from Fitness First about the benefits of a good swim sesh: http://www.fitnessfirst.co.uk/inside-track/workouts/stay-cool-at-the-pool-this-summer/ 

I’m actually hoping to start going swimming in the mornings before work – I’ll let you all know how it goes.

Do you go swimming often? What are your best tips?

Chloe xx

*I was invited along to the masterclass and also provided a one-to-one swimming session beforehand. All views my own! 

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