So I swam 3500 yards this morning!
I know I've techinally done that before...but not in a VERY long time. Like, probably sometime in the first Bush Administration. So I'm pretty pumped. It was nice because the way I had my interval sets structured, it really didn't even "feel" like it was longer than I'm used to. I just kept pluggin' away, and trying to accomplish the goal of each set. Pulls, steady swims, 400 repeats--but everything had a purpose, you know? The 400s had their own special little purpose. The first one was easy/hard by 100, the 2nd was building speed each 100, the third was a negative split, and the 4th was race pace. Now, this came at the very end of the workout, so I was definitely fatigued. But I was pleasantly surprised to see my race pace 400 wasn't too far off what I'd like to do in, say, a sprint tri. I tried to visualize the beginning of a sprint tri as I started that one, and I guess it worked.
Funny how things just work better if everything has a purpose. You don't even realize how hard it might be--you just focus on the task at hand, and when that's done, you move onto the next one.
I should remember that.
Anyway, I've decided that swimming is much like pitching. See, I gave up swimming year round when I was 15 so I could focus on fastpitch softball. I played slow-pitch since I was about 10, but our town didn't have fastpitch leagues available so I had to "crash course" learn how to be a pitcher for high school. Since our H.S. didn't have a pool, being on the swim team meant long treks to the downtown college pool, and less time to pitch...so I gave it up. But I really loved pitching and playing fastpitch. It's a great game.
Basically, as a pitcher, you can be strong and have all the power in the world...but that won't make you the best pitcher. You have to have the technique DOWN, and any variation in that will dramatically affect the outcome. If your hand is in a slightly different position, or you grip the ball a little too tight, or let it go just 1/100th of a second too late, you could have a wild pitch.
Swimming seems like this, too. When I'm really focused on glide and form, it's amazing to me how low my stroke count can get. But when I'm a little tired, or just not thinking about it, sometime I can tell that my form is off--with dramatic results. It will take an extra few strokes to get down that pool. This is OK for a 25, but can really make a HUGE different in my 2.4 mile swim in September.
When I first started pitching I was extremely fast! This was great...except I did not have my form down. What does that mean?
LOTS of hit batters.
Yeah, they called me "Wild Thing."
Let's just say that our freshman year JV team was 0-16-2. (Yes, we managed to TIE 2 games. Who does that????)
So I quit swimming. Pitched year round. Pitched before and after school. Ended up becoming a closer/late inning reliever, which I loved. Put me in when there's a tough situation, and I'll get her out or die trying. :)
And sooner or later, the form was down--and the accuracy followed.
My softball coach, Coach C, is an amazing guy. One of his 4 daughters was an All-American pitcher for Toledo. She was freaking awesome. He told me that she could LITERALLY strike someone out with her eyes closed. One time in a GAME he told her to do it--and she did.
Good pitchers can pitch a strike with their eyes closed. You just feel the motion and let it go at the right time, and it will be there.
I think good swimming is similar. FORM is everything. Strength plays a role, but without good form, even a muscular-ly strong swimmer won't get any faster.
OK--time to go run some 400 repeats...and then to get a much needed and deserved MASSAGE! :)