Sunday, November 4, 2007


I had a productive swimming lesson yesterday afternoon, though slightly disconcertingly there was another teacher doing a lesson with two kids in the other lane--usually we have the pool to ourselves.

(It wasn't the lesson that was distracting so much as the rather loud mothers--who kept on interrupting to ask I. things like "Our friend so-and-so is doing X swim--how long will it take her to swim a mile?" Most annoying...)

Hmmm, this butterfly is just going to take a while to figure out...

Yesterday's lesson was almost all me just doing the same thing again and again, it was most useful (and we didn't do any one-arm drills to speak of, because I. sensibly points out that we've got to put the pieces together sooner rather than later and one does not actually swim butterfly with only one arm stroking at a time...). Big fins for everything--some dolphin kicking to start--and then just doing breast pull down and butterfly stroke back, but dolphin kick in both cases.

This is to work on timing, and it sort of magically fixed my get-the-breathing-entirely-in-the-wrong-place problem; but then once the front part's working, I forget to keep my mind on, you know, undulating or whatever!

It was pretty funny, I. was running up and down along the side of pool shouting "UP! DOWN!" and I was wriggling around in the water trying to comply...

The whole thing pretty much just furrows my brow still, at one point I had to very seriously ask her, "I., don't you think it's possible that I just really don't know HOW to do the dolphin kick, and that's why I'm not going up and down in the right way?!?" But she was most certain that I do know how to do what she is often calling (is this a standard term, or just the phrase one uses with small children, i.e. the way that all swimming teachers seem to use the instruction "make a small pizza with your hands" for the breaststroke pull?!?) body dolphin and that quite simply it's one of these things where you have to do it in a way that feels monstrously exaggerated before you get it even moderately right.

(I remember this same thing on the freestyle stroke, I know that really it is quite true--it is natural to think that a very modest and ineffectual version of some gesture is outrageously exaggerated--all interesting tricks of the mind to work this stuff out.)

Resolved: I cannot afford to miss the lesson the week of the Philadelphia half-marathon, I need to get as many as possible in before I. goes on maternity leave and I am left to my own devices on stroke. I had thought of going down Friday, but really I must have my lesson on Saturday and then go down--if I. can give me an early-morning slot either by switching with someone else or just shuffling me to the top of the deck, then that is good, but in a worst-case scenario I will just bring all my stuff with me to the lesson and then go straight on from there to the train station.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Butterfly takes time, effort, and practice.

Trends in teaching change, and each instructor has their own preferences, but if I were you I would not completely rule out one arm fly. It can be a very useful drill.