Well, if you had told me a year ago I'd be posting a picture on my blog of myself in a bathing suit, I would have been very dubious--but anything in the aid of triaspirationalism!
It has just been a super-illuminating and enjoyable day, really fascinating...
We went to the Swimming Technology Research clinic and it was rather fabulously good--the funniest parts were when the real live swim guru (he cited his teacher "Doc" Counsilmann, my favorite!--and it must also be noted that a fellow in the next lane commented upon his resemblance to Clint Eastwood--"that fellow in the westerns"--but I would have said Nick Nolte...) very solemnly talked about why it is better to learn from looking at MONA than from a Human Swimmer, even an Olympian--but the drills in the pool were excellent, and the combination of video and data analysis really useful.
(I've got the disk, I'm going to ponder it... I think I can't be bothered right now to upload the file and paste an image or two onto the blog, maybe I'll save that for some day when I can't swim and need something mildly interesting and swimming-related to blog about here!)
The main things I learned I knew already, but it is remarkably effectual to hear and see them so effectively confirmed from the outside--it gives me a very clear sense of what to work on.
First of all, and this has been true every time I've seen even a tiny little non-underwater clip of myself swimming, my arm entry is absurdly far outside my shoulders, this is incredibly inefficient!
(But in other respects I can see a great deal of improvement since the last freestyle video I looked at, maybe in June--my body position and rotation is definitely better.)
Second of all, and as a consequence of the first thing, I think I'm correct in my intuition that I am more urgently in need of a technique breakthrough than improved conditioning. I often have the feeling that based on my current level of strength and conditioning, and on the amount of time each week I spend swimming, I should be able to swim considerably faster than I do at the same effort levels.
(Maybe a better way to describe it is that I swim at perfectly reasonable speeds, given that I'm quite new to the sport, but with considerably higher effort levels than the more experienced swimmers around me--I am pretty strong, my aerobic conditioning both swimming-specific and non-is quite good, I am capable of working very hard, but really I'm working excessively hard to make up for weaknesses in technique. Which sort of describes my approach to life more generally, I always think that dumping huge amounts of excess energy and work into a situation will make things better, it often does but it is a spendthrift approach, it would serve me well to become more parsimonious!)
So this is the one big technique thing to work on. I should have a couple lessons with I. once she's back teaching again (or with Jim Bolster in the meantime, I bet he could fit me in for a couple later this month) where I just concentrate on freestyle stuff again--it wasn't bad that I spent all my lesson time working on the other strokes, I made considerable progress with those, but now it's time to start really paying attention to freestyle technique. I can't say I am convinced it is going to come in the next month or two, but I do feel that perhaps over the next four or five months I will finally make some technique stuff happen that should make me able to swim quite a lot faster...
And finally, the view from the condo balcony--quite lovely...
(Updated to reflect appropriate photo credit--all pictures courtesy of Brent--because I am far too lazy to take any myself! He also points out that the balcony one may not reflect the current state of the foliage...)