This morning I had a great swim at the Vaughn Center pool where we’ve signed up for membership. The facility is just three miles from our house. The pool is ten lanes and has high skylight windows that bring in the sun during an early morning workout.
I was doing a workout consisting of 10 X 100m after a 500M warmup consisting of kicks with flippers, shoulder warmups with a float between the legs and some 50 meter sprints.
Between the warmup and the 100s, I paused to set my watch and heard the familiar strains of Christmas music playing over the pool sound system. “Silver bells, silver bells…It’s Christmas time in the city…”
And so it went the entire workout. I’d catch a breather for 30 seconds between 100s and hear some more Christmas music. For some reason, it seemed strange to be swimming in that nice pool with Christmas tunes playing. It gave me the sensation of living in Florida or some other Sunshine State where the weather is warm during the Christmas season.
Perhaps it was apropos, because my interval times without straining to swim faster were 10 full seconds faster than I’ve ever swum. Granted, I’m still not that fast a swimmer, but each 100-yard interval was under 2:00.
I even tried to consciously slow down the first 50 meters in order to swim under control. And still, I finished with better times. This was a gift I did not expect. It felt a lot like Christmas to me in that respect.
There is still a lot of work today toward those days next summer when I want to compete over the mile courses in Olympic triathlons. But my confidence and assurance in the water is growing. Swim stroke efficiency will be key to that.
One of my triathlon associates, Daryl Tyndorf, Ph.D, who runs E2 (Endurance Evolution) Multisport, had joined Sue and I at the pool after their work this morning with some of their coached triathletes. Daryl was a competitive swimmer in college, a sprinter mostly, and a gymnast as well. Now he’s a strong triathlete that has begun a company aimed at helping athletes improve the quality of their training and competition.
So it made me feel relieved, quite frankly, that he took a look at my swim stroke on his own volition and said it looks pretty good. That’s two weeks in a row that an experienced swim coach has told me I’m on the right track, so to speak.
And so it went that I swam all 10 of my 100 intervals feeling a lot more like a swimmer than even six months ago. It has taken two solid years of effort to get to this point, so let’s not get carried away. I won’t be leaving anyone in the dust when I’m in the water. But my kick’s a lot stronger and I’ll be working on stroke rate next.
Well, if Santa wants to deliver a set of clear goggles in my stocking, I’m not going to argue. The mirrored dark lenses I’ve been wearing in the pool make it hard to read my watch. We all know how important it is to actually see that chronometer read 1:58 rather than 2:00. We’re so vain and so protective of our little bits of progress.
Now I’m only hoping that some sort of injury Grinch or sneaky Christmas illness doesn’t creep up behind and steal my little stockingful of joy at being able to swim just a bit better. For now, I’ll just enjoy swimming in the Jingle Bells pool. And an early Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays or Have a Helluva December to all of you.