Patience in Swimming


Most of you know that I’m training for this seasons triathlons and that i swim three times a week. I do this with a group from EXCEL AQUATICS. We have two coaches that work us over. Ashley Whitney, who I’ve mentioned before, and Dee Davis. Both coaches are tough, but good. As we were doing these drills and they told us that by opting out of breathing with every stroke we could save more time by creating less resistance in the water…basically, move your head less to streamline more. Take a breath when you need it, not because it’s every stroke. Once I fell into a pattern with breathing every third stroke, we took off the pull buoys and just swam…at this point, I had my breathing down to taking a breath every fourth stroke. It really felt good, but getting there took some patience. You take a breath, keep your head down and breath out for, in my case, four strokes. On the fourth stroke you feel like you are out of breath and you think “OH MY GOSH I’M IN WATER!!!!” I mean no one really wants to be taking water into their lungs because they are out of breath right? As I was working up to this, the only thing that kept running through my head was this, “just be patient…you’ll get there.” In this situation, the natural thing for your body to do is want to speed up just to get the air. When your mind goes into this survival mode, your breathing gets quicker, heart rate goes up and basically you are pushing yourself to hard to make it work right when what you are really doing is swimming sloppy…so you have to ENDURE the anxiety a bit and stretch your lungs as Dee would say.

I wonder, how many times in life do we try to rush to the end and make things a little sloppy on the way there? What would happen if you took a deep breath, and exhaled it patiently through a stressful time?

With anything physical, when it comes to training, the first thing you learn about is correct form.  Why? because you want to use your muscles the way they were meant to be used and so you dont get hurt in the process.  If you stick to the form, (for you non athletic types, you could call this your plan) you will be more effecient and better at the skill…so, Dee would say, As your taking fewer breaths, think about form, do the form right and the breathing will come easier…

So I swam and thought…Just be patient…you’re doing ok.


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