When my alarm went off at 6am I was grumbling to myself...
Why did I sign up for this swim clinic?!? I don't go to sleep early enough to do 7am clinics in midtown!
Had thought I would ride my bike there, but in fact, though I had thought things through enough to bring the heavy chain lock back from the bike cage at Chelsea Piers, I had not FULLY thought it through - my nice bike does have lights, but the bike I can lock up on a public bike rack does NOT - so I took a taxi down and subway home...
IT WAS AN ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL CLINIC!!!!
WELL worth my while - that's an understatement.
TNYA offers a couple different kinds of clinics - I think the Saturday ones would have been invaluable for me when I was really learning the basics of the strokes, but for me now, they're not quite worth it - it's a big group, so not a lot of individual stroke feedback, and an hour travel time each way on Saturday afternoons adds up to not quite worth the trouble.
The smaller-group clinics that Stefan Bill does for the team, though, are a different story altogether. (He also coaches at SBR, but we are lucky that he has an affiliation with TNYA!) I went to the fly one in the spring, and it was fantastic. This one was a backstroke clinic for advanced beginners, and it was absolutely superb.
(In the lessons I just had with JB, back was the one stroke we didn't work on at all - it wasn't a priority, and it is relatively speaking stronger than my other non-free strokes - so I was especially pleased to have the chance.)
A lot of drill work - kicking on stomach with arms floating forward, then pulling one to side and kicking on side, concentrating on keeping one arm forward and extended and neck position neutral/relaxed. Successful of further kicking exercises on stomach, then switching to back; including a LOT of lengths with cup of water balancing on forehead and focusing on various cues! It was super-enjoyable; cues include thinking of arms extending along "railroad tracks" (my tendency is to be a bit narrow and also too close to the surface - legacy of flat 1970s-style swimming I learned as a kid!), rotating from hips, etc. It is surprising how easy it is to keep the cup balanced. Also, a useful concentration on keeping the stroke easy and flowing - don't let hand pause before recovery part of the stroke, keep the bottom arm moving and coming up.
Anyway, it was very good. Warmed up first with 200 free and 150 IM drill-swim by 25 (no free), prob. kicked and swam about 1200 more after that.
SB is possibly doing a fly or breast clinic next month, so I will certainly do whichever of those he is offering - hoping it will be breast, which is at this point really clearly my weakest stroke!
[ED. Put this up accidentally at the wrong blog! Now corrected. What I forgot to write before: SB has that gift which I think is the single most essential thing for a good swim coach, namely ability to see and assess instantly the particular weaknesses of a given swimmer's stroke and give a "fix" in terms of mental cues, drills, etc.; as each swimmer comes in he is giving verbal feedback of a quite specific sort, it is clearly second nature! The bigger-group clinics can't offer this kind of attention...]
1550 yards total