Totally Immersed

13 Apr

Look, I don’t know what the hell is going on. On Tuesday, I loved swimming. On Thursday, I hated swimming. Today? I wasn’t even SUPPOSED to swim. I was supposed to bike. And I did. And then I swam. And I was back to loving it again. Or at least, feeling semi OK about myself in the water.

The whole experience yesterday left me super frustrated and when I get frustrated, it’s hard for me to just sit back, relax and let it pass. I have to DO something about whatever it is that’s frustrating me. I know that there’s probably a major life lesson to be learned on this one but I wasn’t about to learn it last night.

Nope. Last night, I stayed up watching You Tube videos of people swimming. I watched a couple of videos of people just swimming really well–like this one of Alexsander Popov who I recall having a “thing” for during the Olympics several years back–and then I watched this amazing video about the “Swim Arm Cycle.” It is amazing because of the amazing swim expert’s amazing hair and the amazing synth background music; and then I pulled up a few Total Immersion videos. Specifically, I watched several videos of Terry Laughlin giving TI Perpetual Motion Freestyle lectures.

Now, this was the first time I’d ever seen this guy and I only know about TI because one of my teammates is about to do a TI workshop. I’m sure that there are folks out there who are gonna have shit to say. Laughlin is obviously an ego maniac. Every example video he seems to show is of himself. He loves to make comments about how he’s passing people twenty years his junior in open water masters championships and how much “different” (read: better) his form is when compared to the guy swimming in the lane next to him BUT he said a couple of things that resonated with me. Actually, it wasn’t WHAT he said but rather HOW he communicated what he said.

He’s a little new agey. This should be a turn off but it wasn’t. Which means that I am getting old.

One of the Big Ideas of TI is to pierce the water on your forward stroke, thus “separating the water molecules” and creating a tunnel to swim through. I heard this and it immediately made me think of my Zone: the tunnel of endless light.

The other Big Idea is that you have to turn your body into a perpetual motion machine and instead of getting power from your pull or your kick, you get power from torso rotation. My teammate had mentioned yesterday that I wasn’t rotating at all in the water and as soon as I heard the term “perpetual motion,” I understood why I might need to. I’m already OK on the kicking. I really don’t kick very much at all.

The last little tid-bit that Terry mentioned was really dumb but so important. He just suggested that you relax your hand on the forward stroke instead of keeping it tensed into a little pointy claw for the duration of the swim. It takes more energy to be tense (which explains why I’ve been tired for the last decade), so it makes sense that you should relax everything that doesn’t contribute to power or momentum.

So, I had a free hour today and decided to hit the pool with absolutely no expectations. I really just wanted to try a few of the drills that Laughlin demonstrated and see what happened. I did. Then I put my fins on and did a couple easy 100s, really slowly, focusing on a few of the things the drills emphasized. Then I took my fins off and decided to put it all together and swim a few laps just to get a feel for it.

And then I swam 1,000 meters.

I have done this before. But this time was different because this time, I started and then it was over and then I woke up. Seriously. That’s what it felt like. It felt like surgery. Only without the bruising, and the weird smells and the men in face masks.

We could chalk this up to bad day/good day. We could also chalk this up to another lesson about what happens when you take the pressure to perform off of yourself. But I’d rather believe that I went further into the Zone today. As for TI, their workshops are way out of my budget so I’ll just keep playing with this Big Ideas and see how it all shakes out when I’m back in the pool with an audience.


One Response to “Totally Immersed”


  1. Chia Vet « mymultipersonality - April 17, 2012

    […] out without sufficient calories coming back in. If that makes sense. As I mentioned in my post Totally Immersed, Friday turned into a triple workout day purely by accident. Saturday, I had a 30 minute open water […]

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