LGN 130: Swimming 3 – Everybody Poops

Well, that was an unceremonious end to Swimming III.

October 23, 2017

I start Swimming III a third time next week. Two nights a week for five weeks.

Swimming IV happens in the deep end and I can’t quite get across the pool consistently so I’m not ready. And backstroke — forget about it. It’s mainly my endurance holding me back. Well, inefficiency means I’m expending a lot more energy than I should be. A LOT. I’m awful. Even when I do reach the other side of the pool, if it were 26 yards instead of 25 I wouldn’t make it. I’m trying to muscle it and continuous pumping of the legs uses so much oxygen and energy. I have to fix that.  Look at this.

That’s what I get for not hiking, cycling or doing any kind of steady state exercise. It shows. Every class is like 55 minutes of HIIT for me.

It’s weird because I can float. A li’l bit. It’s still not effortless. To the contrary, but intellectually I know that if I get into trouble I can float. I haven’t practiced treading water much but I hear that’s a thing, too. In praxis, once I get fatigued and miss a breath or two in the rotation — I haven’t been able to recover. I stand up. But you know. That move has limited applications: shallow end of the pool, bathtub, shower, sauna, calm stream, unfortunate puddle. That’s it.

I’m still waiting for that magical “all of a sudden” moment that people talk about when their body decides it’s a swimming machine. Frankly, I don’t see it. I can’t see myself passing the PADI Open Water Certification swim test any time soon. Maybe not even by next Spring/Summer at this rate. Either way, I need the exercise and the interaction. Something to do during the cold, dark evenings that gets the blood flowing.

I did get sick a few weeks ago and there may be some lingering effects. I’ve been generally fatigued lately and I never know the correct balance between resting, recovering and moving. I just haven’t been able to recharge. Let’s put it that way.

Naught to do but keep moving.


The finale of swimming 3 the other night was fittin’ to be a good one. I’ve been trying to warm up beforehand. The elliptical at the rec center doesn’t cut it as a warm up for swimming. It doesn’t hit all those swiming muscles. So now I roll out, do some kettlebell half get-ups, swings, one arm swings, presses, and static lunges to stretch.

Tonight I thought I was more ready than usual. Debateable. I did make it across the pool on the first freestyle warm up length. We did a bunch of drills working on side breathing and other things that the group needed to work on.

Then there were a lot of lifeguard whistles and people telling us to get out of the pool. Now. “What’s going on?”

Someone pooped in the beach area. My favorite quote of the night, by the way:

“How long does it take to clean up?”

“Well, it depends on whether it’s mostly solid or mostly liquid…”

Poop in the pool. Poolp. Poopl. At Oak Marr all of the pool areas are connected. It’s one big body of water with substantial partitions. From the diving area all the way over to the beach area. Apparently, after removing any visible, um, particles they have to flush the pool with chlorine. So I went to the spa and watched the proceedings for a while.

I want to know who did it. That’s just human nature. But pooping in a pool is also just human nature, apparently. What can you do.

Since all the classes ended abruptly there were a lot of naked people in the locker room and a lot of locker room shenanigans. People are weird. Can I say that? It’s okay that people are weird (within a certain tolerance), but still.

Maybe the next session will be the one.

October 26, 2017


For all you stout swimmers out there, I finally found some good swimming trunks. As usual, the key word for me is “stretch”. They don’t have inner mesh but I wear athletic briefs under, which is actually more comfortable.

Volcom Men’s Macaw Mod Stretch 20″ Boardshort


Switching gears, I saw my first glimmer of hope for backstroke. Whatever stroke I’m doing, I know I’m doing something right when I rise to the surface and it kind of feels like cruising. I briefly cruised for the first time ever during backstroke. I think my shoulder mobility is improving. Maybe. After I get warmed up. I still didn’t make it across the pool but it’s a good start.

By the way, I’d swear on a stack of kick boards that there’s a current in the pool. In the lane next to the wall that separates 5′ from 7′. Right in the middle. People think it’s ridiculous but it’s true. There’s a Bermuda Triangle or Rectangle you have to push through. A spot where you stall out and have to work harder. The Oak Marr Triangle.

By the way, having a cold bottle of water and electrolytes at the pool’s edge makes a huge difference. I mean, in addition to the copious mouthfuls of gross pool water that I swallow. Nothing like a band-aid or two floating by to remind you that bodies of water are kind of gross.

November 2, 2017


I bought a Total Immersion book over ten years ago. (Unfortunately, the founder, Terry Laughlin, recently passed away.) I review it every now and then. I watched swimming videos before class the other day. Oak Marr flipped the script, though, with a substitute instructor so I didn’t get to practice a lot of freestyle. We mainly worked on breaststroke, which is interesting. My frog kick — not very productive yet.

My goal was to focus on lengthening out, being hydrodynamic, the catch, and kicking less or maybe less frantically. If you watch those Total Immersion style swimmers they barely kick. A far cry from the churning and thrashing I’ve been doing.

At the end I practiced freestyle for a bit and my catch was suddenly much more effective, focusing on pushing water instead of pulling it. I could feel it. Feel the resistance and drive forward. Too much to think about at once, though, and not enough time to experiment. Maybe I’ll go in tomorrow and practice.

I really need a video of myself. I need to see what I’m doing. I’m not sure how to do that yet.

Tim Ferris has an interesting blog entry and YouTube video about his experience dramatically improving his swimming in just a few sessions.

Here’s his blog entry.

I purchased the episode of the Tim Ferris Experiment where Terry Laughlin and Tim Ferris teach a woman to swim in open water. If anyone is struggling to learn I’ll gift the iTunes video to you. A few of you. A very few.

I’m frustrated right now but I’m determined. I’m gonna do this. I’m gonna get it.

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