Skull and Crossed-Arms

12 Apr

I hate swimming.

I know that on Tuesday I was all “ra ra swimming!” but today is Thursday. And on Thursdays, I guess, I hate it.

And I don’t think I’m the only one. Several of my teammates seemed just slightly over the pool this morning. Everyone was tired or bored or sore. When I arrived, the whole group was just sort of milling around by the side of the pool, their towels draped over their heads or shoulders, waiting for instruction.

“It’s too cold,” I heard someone say.

Someone else chimed in: “I don’t know why but I feel excessively tired.”

Finally, the coach came over and explained that he was going to use one section of the pool for open water simulation and leave a couple of lanes open for anyone who wanted to do their scheduled workout. We’ve got an open water swim on Saturday so I figured I’d stick with my workout and make today really count. Fatigue be damned!

After a 200 meter warm up, one of my teammates, who is an insanely strong swimmer, pointed out that my arms were crossing. She was being totally helpful but ever since the chicken wing revelation, I’ve made a concerted effort to correct my form, straighten my arms and lengthen through the water. I feel like nothing is taking and so I’m sensitive about this. My teammate made a simple, clearly stated observation but all I heard was, “You are bio mechanically flawed!” So I was a little less than gracious in my response to her. (I apologized after the workout.)

So that was just the warm up! Already in a great mood. Two of my male teammates are on the same plan as I am and our workout today involved, among other things, several 25 meter lengths of skulling. Until this morning, I had no idea what skulling even was and I certainly didn’t like the sound of it. The word conjures up some very aggressive, sexual images in my already aggressively sexual mind and sounds like something I really wouldn’t want done to my face.

In actuality, skulling is probably the gentlest thing you could do in the water aside from say, oh I dunno, just giving up and sinking to the bottom (which I sometimes consider). It’s another one of those bizarre pool drill that seems utterly absurd while you’re doing it but apparently yields amazing results down the line. When you skull, you basically use your forearms and hands to just, like, move the water around as you glide forward. You’re not supposed to kick–forward propulsion comes exclusively from this tiny little arm/hand movement–and apparently, it helps you to better feel the water.

But it was taking me FOREVER to skull from one end of the pool to the other. My two male lane partners were having similar issues and feeling just as frustrated. This created a lovely sense of bonding and camaraderie. How nice? But we got in the pool just after 6AM and by 6:30AM, we’d managed to swim about 350 meters. That’s not good when your scheduled workout calls for 2,700. That’s when we decided to ditch the laps and move over to the open water course.

This wasn’t a mistake, per see. Let’s call it a “semi-misguided decision.” After 3 laps around the approximately 100 meter loop, the coach had us all line up along the wall. Kind of like we were all about to be executed. Which we sort of were. We then had to sprint over to the other side (about 20 meters), and back before immediately launching into another 100 meter loop.

Coach gave us the option to wear our fins. What did my ego have to say to that suggestion? Fins?!? Puh! Can’t wear fins in the race, can you? Why wear them during training? Off we went and wouldn’t you know it, I blew my load on the sprints and then felt like I was going to have a heart attack for the first leg of the loop. I managed to pull myself together somewhere in the middle but only by slowing down considerably.

After that, we did three sprints and 1.5 loops. I started to feel OK by the end but at that point the workout was over and we had to vacate the pool. All I managed to get in was like 875 meters. And that just makes me feel like I have catching up to do.

So my good vibes and positive revelations on Tuesday have been trumped by exhaustion, frustration and disappointment on Thursday. Ladies and gents, it appears I got skulled.


5 Responses to “Skull and Crossed-Arms”

  1. iwanttobeatriathlete April 12, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

    You need to show me what skulling is in real life. Good thing I don’t have it on my TP. I couldn’t make it this morning. I was exhausted both physically and emotionally. I’m putting my swim in tonight at KB. LMK if you want to join me if you haven’t finished your workout.

  2. bgddyjim April 12, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    SKULLING ROCKS!!! Cheat and use your whole arm – you’ll FLY. I can skull almost as fast as breast stroke… In fact I did a couple of Olympics with my buddy Pete, who swims more like a rock would, and I had to stay with him for the first one to make sure he didn’t drown – I skulled darn near 1/2 a mile.

    • mymultipersonality April 12, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

      i’ll keep at it. everyone says it totally changes your freestyle stroke. but right now it’s just annoying.

      • bgddyjim April 12, 2012 at 4:41 pm #


        I laughed out loud at what you imagined skulling was – that was hilarious.


  1. Totally Immersed « mymultipersonality - April 13, 2012

    […] whole experience yesterday left me super frustrated and when I get frustrated, it’s hard for me to just sit back, relax […]

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