Swimming in Terms I Can Understand

22 Mar

Another epiphany in the pool today! This one came courtesy of our swim guru, Aaron Ciarla, who is also an assistant swim coach here at the U. I met Aaron before he signed on to work with the Alien Endurance crew just as UM was starting to form a student boxing club. Aaron likes to hit the bag and knows that I used to box.

Today he happened to catch me flailing around in the pool during a set of 3 x 100s. I was resting between sets and Aaron came over to tell me that I was throwing hooks when I should be throwing jabs.

Ah ha.

It’s the same thing.


Over the last few months, I’ve improved my cardio capacity to the point that I can complete the 1000 yards or the 2000 yards or what have you. But in terms of mindset, I’ve been thinking that my body is just not built for this sport so the best I can hope for is to become nominally proficient in it. Not the most positive mindset.

After Aaron’s adjustment, I realized I’ve been thinking about this all wrong. It’s not body type–although yes, someone long and lean with narrow hips, great upper body strength and big feet has a natural advantage–but rather, it’s the movement through water. And that movement on the forward stroke, is the same basic movement one makes when throwing a jab or straight right correctly.

I’ve been thinking that the stroke comes from the shoulder but of course it doesn’t! In the same way that the punch doesn’t come from the shoulder. The punch, and more importantly the power of the punch, comes from the hips and the rotation of the torso. As soon as I applied that logic to my swimming and made a conscious effort to extend and rotate my body on the forward stroke, things got a helluva a lot more fun in the pool.

I still feel like I’m probably wasting a shiz ton of energy in there but I’m hoping that this adjustment and paying constant attention to extension and torso rotation will pay dividends. We shall see.


2 Responses to “Swimming in Terms I Can Understand”

  1. Mark March 22, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    I had the same experience when I figured out I should probably keep my back straight and my hips forward when running. Everything else kind of falls into place.

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