Yesterday I had my second swimming lesson with Swimming Nature (If you missed my first lesson, you can read it here), and came out feeling so empowered and proud at the progress I’d made. I even mentioned it as a high of the week in our weekly team meeting at work!
This week Sam went through a bit of a recap with me, to get me used to being back in the pool and the feel of floating, and being under the water etc. – he was impressed that I’d practised at the weekend too! – before he continued to teach me how to do front crawl.
Obviously, practising at the weekend did help – the more you do it and the more you’re in the water the more you get used to it – but my leg motion had slipped a little. Whoops.
So we went back to legs, going over the motion and doing several lengths. It’s strange because I can get the hang of the motion and how my legs are supposed to move when doing it on my back, but something changes when I’m on my front.
It may sound like it could be boring, going over the legs again but it’s really not. Sam was giving me tips and trying to help me get the feel for it – it’s all about muscle memory – and I was trying my hardest to remember everything and put it all together. There were moments when my knee decided it wanted to kick out, or feet were too rigid, but I started showing signs of improvement after a few lengths.
Once I’d managed to get used to the leg kick (well kind of) we moved onto body rolls, doing several kicks on my front, and rolling my body in the water onto my back to do several kicks before rolling back again onto my front. This is all progression for learning how to turn your body for the breathing aspect of front crawl.
Honestly, it felt so weird. Even with Sam supporting, I still forgot to breathe at times as I was nervous and concentrating on other things – It’s so hard to remember everything! But I could see why it helps with turning for breathing, and tried to get used to it – this is definitely something I need to practise!
Here’s some tips for if you want to give this a whirl:
- Push your shoulder round first to help you turn
- Don’t stop kicking, you want to keep moving otherwise you’ll sink
- Always roll the same way – i.e. If you’re on your back and roll towards your right shoulder, use your right shoulder first when twisting again to be on your back
- If you roll onto your front and your legs drop, don’t raise your bum to try and lift them – this doesn’t work (trust me!). Just keep kicking, with larger kicks, and you’ll soon be back up
- Breathe out towards the end of the section on your front, and remember to breathe in before the end of being on your back
See I told you there were lots of things to remember!
We then moved on to just kicking whilst on my front, and learning the body movement for breathing whilst doing front crawl. I had to kick my legs, keeping one hand by my side and the other pointed out in front of me in the direction I was going, but not stretched out. After every three kicks I had to breathe out, and after the fourth kick I had to stretch the extended arm and twist the other shoulder back, bringing my head out the water to breathe, before starting again.
This was very uncomfortable at first, but I got a little more confident. It definitely helped having Sam stood in front of me, helping direct my hand and remind me of the movements.
This is a great way to learn how to move out of the water to breathe. Here’s some tips to think about:
- When moving your head, you’re only twisting – keep your ear on the extended arm so your face just comes out of the water. If you lift your head out the water, your body will go down
- Don’t stop kicking. You’ll need to do a little side kick when you come up for air – it’s not quite as strong but keeps you up in the water
- Make sure your extended arm isn’t too out-stretched at the beginning when just kicking, or your arm won’t have anywhere to move when you stretch and twist
- There’s a lot to think about, but don’t forget to breathe. Don’t breathe out too early when in the water or you’ll struggle towards the end and then panic (yes I did this!), breathe out after the third kick
- Make sure you keep your other arm right next to the side of your body, to help keep you streamlined
We did a bit of work on breathing whilst doing breast stroke too, and to finish we did a little seated dive into the pool. This was a little fun, but super scary! I didn’t mind as the pool wasn’t too deep, but it just shows how far I’m coming – I used to be so scared about swimming, being even a little out of my depth and would not put my head under the water to swim EVER – way too scary for me back then, I always thought I wouldn’t get enough air.
So overall, a fab second lesson. I’ve already learnt so much in the two lessons I’ve had, and have become more confident too.
Practising last weekend definitely helped, but it really couldn’t beat a swimming lesson with Sam – it’s just so valuable. Having a professional there to tell me what I’m doing wrong, how to improve, and physically moving my legs to show me how my legs should be moving (so that I actually move and don’t just stay in one place kicking like a maniac) is something you can’t replicate on your own.
If you’re serious about improving a stroke and getting more confident at swimming, whether you’re a total beginner or just someone who knows how to swim but think you could do with some guidance on improving, I couldn’t recommend Swimming Nature enough. They’re friendly, efficient and super helpful keeping your goals in mind whilst also helping you to develop areas you might not think need improving as much – they’re great!
Stay tuned for more swimming updates and tips.
Have you thought about doing swimming lessons?
*Swimming Nature has provided me with a couple of lessons to get me going on my mission to improve. All views my own.