What makes Joc #SwimHappy? The friendships, the conversations, escaping the kids and most of all the challenges! This week Joc shares how she challenged herself to conquer the ultimate stroke…Butterfly!
I learnt to swim as an adult. Five years ago I tackled my fear of the water once and for all and started swimming lessons. Not easy, not even fun at times, but very very rewarding. I've found an exercise that is both relaxing, yet taxing; hard work yet never a chore; and in my mind, I skip into class each week as I look forward to the latest session our teacher has planned.
This week, she had planned butterfly. (cue sinister music)
We touch on butterfly occasionally, normally as part of a week where we mix it up and do an IM (Individual Medley), which includes butterfly, as well as backstroke, breaststroke and front crawl.
I've made progress, albeit on the slow side, with butterfly over the years, but I'd probably score 1/10 for technique, and well, as for speed, let's just say, I can just about make it to the other end of the pool! Today's class was ALL about butterfly. Not the odd length here or there, ALL of it. Every drill, length and set was about butterfly. Eek!
Despite all of my reservations, it was an amazing class! And yes, whilst it is an extremely aerobic stroke (I guess you could call it the HIIT stroke of swimming), it really is all about the flow! By slowing the stroke down and getting a rhythm into the dolphin kick and arm strokes, it became a bit less like flailing and more like actual swimming.
"It’s become as much about the social side as it has the swimming itself – who ever said swimming was a lonely sport?!"
The kicking drills burned like I'd just done 50 squats with my three year old sat on my shoulders, and the arm drills were complicated to say the least, but I managed to keep going and it felt good! The variety of drills and different exercises meant that whilst it was hard work, there was enough of a mix that it was manageable and quite good fun. Over the years I’ve developed friendships with my fellow classmates, and we share the experience together, week in week out. Snatched conversations at the lane end in between sets; post class reflection as we enjoy a hot shower afterwards, enjoying some grown-up time before we go home to our kids / chores / normal daily life. It’s become as much about the social side as it has the swimming itself – who ever said swimming was a lonely sport?!
The highlight of the class? The challenge of taking on two 25m lengths full stroke (with fins I hasten to add)... Not one to turn down a challenge, I followed in my lane buddies' footsteps (and splashes) and made it there and back - two long slow, but reasonably flowing lengths of butterfly. Hurrah!