Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Going the full length

Last night I went swimming with the kids and husband. We hadn't been for a while and it was a nice night so the pool was quiet apart from the swimming club taking up half the big pool.

We started off in the little pool to warm up literally (its always a bit warmer than the big pool). I wanted to practice doing rolling over in the water so it didn't matter that its a bit shallow. So I started on my back and rolled onto my front which was fairly easy and then from my front to my back which was more difficult as it was harder to find my balance. I went through them all and practised them over and over again until I found them easier. I think the kids liked practising with me, although they just do it naturally, they don't have to think about it.

Then we went into the big pool and I did some practice breaststroke and swimming on my back. There were some quite serious swimmers in there who put me off a bit, but I just got on with what I had to do.

So all in all was a fairly successful nights practise.

Tonight was my lesson. I was working from home today so I felt a bit fresher getting to the pool. It was going to be a hard night as the lesson usually tires me out anyway but then I had to go home and do 5 k running with my son! Anyway I got myself changed and took about an hour (slight exaggeration) to get the swimming cap on.

I had my usual chat with the teacher about whats going on and told her that I had been swimming last night and what I had done. She then said to start off with breaststroke and I told her that I had still been struggling with the breathing in between strokes.

And off I went.  I don't know what was different tonight but I swam three strokes underwater then came up for air and kept that up and the next thing I could see the wall coming towards me....I had done a full length!!! Its only a 15 m pool but that was a huge accomplishment for me. Definitely worth the high five with the teacher.

Next I did some front crawl which was much better than before and practised just kicking and breaststroke legs with the kick board. I showed her that I had been practising the different rolls and I managed them all and tried a mushroom one. I need to practice this one on holiday!

I dived for the sharks and the only one I couldn't manage was the last one but I got so close! It was up at the 1.4 m point so that's the furthest I've dived for them.

Lastly I did a full length of swimming on my back. Given that not long ago I was terrified of floating on my back this felt like a major achievement too.

It was definitely a defining lesson for me. I was driving home thinking about the last 5 months and how far I've come and for the first time ever I think I can safely say....I can swim!

Tuesday, 14 June 2016


Post title is because tonight at the Hydro Barry Manilow was on!
So hadn't had a lesson for a few weeks and I was eager to get back on it. It was a really long day cause at the start I was dropping off my oldest son for a school trip to Geneva. Then a day of meetings at work so I was pretty shattered.
When I got to the pool it was quiet with just one other man in the pool apart from the lesson lane so I got in and did a bit of a warm up (cause the pool was cold). I did a mix of breaststroke, freestyle and backfloat.
Then when it was lesson time. I started with a couple of lengths of breaststroke. I tried to take a few breaths in between instead of standing up. I think I managed a few breaths which was good.
Then the teacher got me to do breaststroke legs with the float board and try to concentrate on putting my knees to the side and getting more propulsion with my legs.
Next, I did a couple of lengths of freestyle legs and arms which was good but really tiring and I practised trying to take a breath in between instead of stopping again. I seemed to stop and stand up by habit, so I need to practice that a bit more.
So, after a couple lengths of backfloat and bashing into the stairs. The teacher asked me how I felt about trying to float from back to front. I was up for the challenge....I really wanted to do it!
Starting off on my back, I turned my head and I sort of went to the side but it wasn't great. So I tried again, this time the teacher said try turning faster. This worked much better and after a couple more attempts I worked it out.  Again that is something I need to practice. After that I tried rolling from my back then forward and onto my front and that was great too.
Lastly diving for some sharks which I managed quite easily.
All in all a really great lesson, I need my bed!

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Deep thoughts

Bit of a non swimming post today. No lessons this week as I was at Coldplay on Tuesday which was awesome!
Was interviewed by a lovely journalist today and she asked me some questions which really made me think. (Takes a lot these days believe me!)
One of the questions was what would I say to people who were wanting to learn to swim and didn't know how to go about it?
This was me at one point. I couldn't just turn up at a pool and start teaching myself because:
1. I wouldn't go near the pool let alone get in it.
2. Not being able to swim was embarrassing to me and I'm not the most self confident person at the best of times so that was a no goer.
3. If I went with the family I wouldn't want them to see me scared cause you teach your kids they can achieve anything they want so I would be a fraud.

I also looked into council run lessons at one point but they tend to be for groups or people who can swim and want to improve and also the idea of bumping into someone I knew while having a lesson...embarrassing...a no goer.

I googled lessons in Glasgow but it wasn't easy to find anything suitable. Either odd times or too far away. I considered a weeks residential course somewhere in England but don't think I would have done it.

So when I found the website it was ideal. The lessons are in the Crowne Plaza next to the hydro (other locations too) and they are on most evenings and weekends so times to suit everyone. Also, I knew I needed one to one lessons, probably more expensive but worth every penny to me.

I didn't really find out about swimming associations like @theasa and @scottishswim until I started swimming but these websites have lots of info for people wanting to learn and other countries will have similar organisations.
 Learning to swim is a massive initiative at the moment with #thisgirlcan and #makeyourmove  hoping to inspire people to get in the pool and even if you are just bobbing's a start!

Turn the clock back 25 years and what would I have done differently?  I would have taken the setback of what happened at school and turned it into a positive and started swimming then. I would have asked my friends to help me. I wouldn't have given a toss what I looked like in a swimsuit and got in there anyway and by now I would be an Olympic swimmer!

Ok, a bit far fetched but one thing for certain I would go back and push that PE teacher in the pool, fully clothed maybe wearing something heavy like a pair of steel toe capped boots and see how she enjoys the struggle!

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Essential kit

I have had people asking me what I take with me in my swimming bag.
It's not that exciting but here we go!
Swimming costume.....obviously.  I have a new one which has the shorts style leg which I really like. It's a speedo monogram one and it fits really well.

My goggles, which are an absolute necessity for me. I've been through a few pairs as I've either lost them or they were rubbish cause they steam up too much. My current ones are called View and so far so good!. Nice and snug and don't let in water. I do have quite bad marks after but I don't really mind that.

I have a nose clip that lives in a wee case. To be honest I've never used it but it lives in my bag anyway.  It's a universal one and I got it in sainsburys.

My beloved swimming cap! I carried this about for 4 weeks before I got the courage to put it on. It looks a bit funny but I don't really care anymore. It makes swimming much easier and although it doesn't keep my hair totally dry, it's worth having on. Mines is a blue speedo one.

I also carry about a wee zoggs spray that helps defog your goggles. I don't need it at the moment but it's handy to have. I think I got it on eBay for about  £5.

I also have about 50 kirbys, a deodorant and a hairbrush in there. And my actual bag.. it's tiny. Cause I get a towel at the lesson I don't need a big bag. It's see through so I know if I'm missing anything!

So that's it, my swimming essentials 😀

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Practice makes perfect

Today I turned up for my lesson and found out my teacher wasn't going to be in so I decided to stay and get some practice in anyway.
The pool was so cooling after a blistering hot day spent at an away day with work in a conference room. This was also good for my sunburned shoulders!
So in I got with my swimming cap and new goggles and new speedo costume.
I did a few lengths of breast stroke and a few of front crawl. There was only two others in the pool but they were fast swimmers and causing waves which was really off putting but I kept going.
Lots of swimming on my back and front crawl arm practice, swimming under water and with face out water. Probably did equivalent of a lesson if not more.
By time I was finished I was shattered.....swimming makes me crave toast!