Back to it.

IMG_0218So the blog is back but this time, my intention is to swim everyday but not blog about it everyday which was a major headache!

So I have had a nearly a year off swimming, but I have entered back into it with what felt like a daring dash to the coast to swim in the English Channel on a chilly January morning.

its been complicated, but other things have taken over. So I am out of shape, but after a dip in the sea at New Year I am determined to get back to swimming, to get back to my Total Immersion practice (with a view to even becoming a coach one day!) and to enjoy the one sport that i am able to enjoy on an even playing field with everyone else. Despite my Feldenkrais training, my arthritic feet are still a barrier to running, golf or tennis at decent level, but in the water, all things are equal and although I have little competitive drive I am keen to improve and aspire to do some long sea, river and lake swims eventually.

But this post is really about the wonderful community of open water swimmers in the UK.

After having been back in the pool for 3 days I became ill and had to stop for a few days but as I lay in my sick bed i developed the idea that rather than waiting for next year to do some cold water training, I would get going this year, but the problem is that the rivers and lakes and lidos are TOO cold at the moment for me to go in without a wetsuit.

I went on to the brilliant swimmer’s Facebook group, Did You Swim Today and was contacted by and enthusiastic swimmer called Deborah Herridge  from a group called the Shark Sharks in Hampshire, who simply got wind of another wildwater nut on the site and asked where I swam, and I told her, Oxford. I asked her; Lee on Solent she said, and they were swimming the next day.

I made my mind up  there and then whilst still suffering from the lurgy. I cranked up the heating in my bedroom, put socks and hat on, my thick hooded dressing gown and several layers of bedclothes.I popped several paracetamol and sweated myself silly. I was going to drive the hour and half to Lee on Solent the next day, a freezing Saturday morning, and swim in the sea at about 7 degrees with a bunch of people I had never met before. That is the fun of it and the power of Facebook. I’m often down about the internet (especially as the father of two teenage boys) but this is one of those places where it really comes into its own! I posted on the group’s site and Deborah welcomed me with typically swim open arms and even suggested that a cake should be cracked out for the arrival of a a newbie! With that sort of generosity, I couldn’t really wriggle out of it now.

I got up at 6.30 feeling pretty much better-that’s adrenaline for you, and set off for the coast without any of the rest of the family knowing!

There were some moments on the journey when it was snowing particularly that I thought it might be better to turn back, but I kept on saying to myself that it might be cold out but the water will feel warm in contrast. I was lead to my new destination nicely by the sat nav on my phone and got out of the car when I saw a man in a Dryrobe-the standard issue cosy coat of the hardcore cold water swimmer. As ever with the outdoor swimming community, I was greeted with friendliness and a whiff of geekiness. There is something of the obsessive about most swimmers it seems to me- and I speak as someone who is very new to swimming- every group has its stats man, its nutter and a gaggle of generally good natured and fearless ladies.

Deborah who seems to be the guiding spirit of the group was late and then failed to make it due to a flat tyre and the weather was getting worse. So, no “leader” and no cake, but the swimming still had to be done. One of the group had a camper van whose awning served as a cover while we waited to be assembled. It had started to rain now and I again felt tempted to get back into the snugness of the car. The last thing I want to do is have a horrible time and be put off for another  year! But I literally gritted my teeth and told myself to get a grip!

The time came to go in and there was a certain amount of faffing around with where we would leave keys and towels etc because with cold water swimming you have to be organised because you don’t have long when you get out before you start shaking so much to be able to change!

I also needed to negotiate how long people wanted to stay in and I made a bee-line for a couple of women who were, like me, going in “skins” or with no wetsuit and without knowing the other blokes in the group I wanted to guarantee that I was with people who were not feeling that ambitious (these girls had only been going in “skins” since New Year and so were determined not to go too far-fine by me) so that I wouldn’t get sucked into a longer swim than I was ready for. As it turned out and, again, this is why I like this community so much, everyone was really thoughtful and welcoming in the water, making sure that I had a good time and was not too much out of my comfort zone.

The time came to get in and off we went; I find it so much easier to get into cold water when there is a gang doing it with me. Sure, it was cold, but then again I knew that, and I have trained before in colder water; I have a thought process now which accompanies every cold entry and a plan to carry out the counting to 90 which I read about in the incredibly inspiring Wild Swim by Kate Rew of the Outdoor Swimming Society.

It was great fairly quickly and as ever the counting stops after about 20 or so. The cold swirly grip that the water holds you with and tosses you about in is truly awesome. It was so nice to be back in the cold sea, but this time with a group of like minded nutters. Nobody was going to have a long swim, although one did go off at a tangent I think (but then again, everybody knew he would)  but in the main the idea was to pootle down the beach (and although I say “pootle” there are some good swimmers in the group doing some serious head down front crawl, the stroke that I am attempting to master) staying quite close to shore for obvious reasons of cold management and back again. Me and my lady guides came out after 10 minutes and the other “pod” carried on for about the same again. IMG_0220

The aftermath of the swim was pretty brief. I had a shivery chat with one of the lady “skins” swimmers who encouraged me to think about coming to swim in events in the Solent in the summer and then we were off.

I didn’t shake as much as I have done in the past and was actually safe to drive from the off. If I had been in for 20 minutes it would have been a different story. So I was back in the hands of the Sat Nav and into the nearest petrol station for a coffee and muffin to accompany the beginning of an elated and ever so slightly smug drive back home.

I got back as the family was having a late breakfast! As ever I couldn’t resist crowing about what felt like a real achievement to me to what is a fairly concerted amount of indifference towards my intrepidness! I however felt great for the rest of the day and knew that I was back in the swing of things. As I write, in fact, I am already mentally preparing for a visit to the same group’s swim tomorrow; this time at sunset, with a promise of meeting the fabled Deborah, and cake or no cake I am seriously looking forward to it.

S

Fear

The first half of this blog was about a vicious fight that broke out between my two sons. I cant find it though. As I remember I was on the loo while it flared and this explains the “bog” reference. The ensuing bit in the reservoir is quite good though.  

…..Because of my compromised position on the bog when it did come to stopping the argument between the boys I was a lot more vehement and shouted a way lot more aggressively than I needed to. 
As, whenever this happens, I feel full of remorse and resolutions to try and find a new way of dealing with boys who fight.
After a while having entered the Southern Electric compound next to where we live, the one that has yellow signs saying BEWARE DEATH everywhere, to rescue an item that had been flung over our fence in the dispute, things calmed down. But as a result of the fracas I no longer wanted to do drills at the municipal pool, no. The weather has brightened up into a beautiful evening and I wanted to throw myself into some ‘wild’ water. 
This was an interesting opportunity to establish what is my ‘go to’ bit of water if I actually want to swim nearby in the open stuff. I would like it to be the Reservoir. It’s the easiest to get to and potentially the best swim and, despite the two main roads on either side it is peaceful. Mention of it piqued the calming family’s interest. The Ex became animated in the respect of the possible dangers of Reservoir swimming. I pooh-poohed them dismissively. ” But what about the big hole where they suck out the water? ” pointed out the Younger son. Again I said there is no such thing. So he asked how they get the water out. I fumbled. They don’t. “But it’s a reservoir- not a lake.. He pointed out shrewdly”. “But its more like a lake” I said without any science or logic. I just wanted a bloody swim and to be nowhere near any if them for a while. ” Be careful” they said.” Of what, there’s nothi…” Oh why bother I thought and got on my push bike for a very leisurely ride to the Reservoir. 
I got in. It’s almost actually warm now; completely deserted save for the ducks, and off I went. Soon I found myself swimming straight towards the bank. I rectified my course and then with head down again in the prescribed Total Immersion way found myself soon again swimming towards the same bank. It must be the currents. ” What currents?”; it’s as still as sleeping dog, and they are not draining it because if they were there would be men in flourescant coats all around. I will radically change direction even it means swimming towards the swan, ( I had scanned the place for camouflaged fisherman with weapons and felt safe at least from that threat). It was incredibly warm so I swam straight across the middle. I got to the middle and then felt even stronger currents, possibly pulling in different directions. I didn’t like it. I wasn’t planning on a long swim. I needed to get back and carry on negotiating a peace with the family, but now I really wanted to get out quick. I turned and swam to my departure point. It suddenly seemed a long way off. I felt as though I was being pulled. “Stay calm, don’t panic. You will drown if you panic”, I told myself in the calmest way I could muster. I put my head down and started to swim. Always interested of course to see if my developing stroke will hold up under pressure. But as my head was down I started to hear the mechanical churning of whatever the mechanism that is draining the water and causing the currents. I lifted my head. The sounds of the roads was quite loud. I was stuck in the deep water between a fantasy of the reservoir being drained and the reality of the traffic. “Ah. It’s the roads that are making the mechanical churning sound”. I went back to swimming with no great pleasure although;

Techical Bit: I felt my hands plunging  a little deeper, properly reaching over the bumper of the VW Beetle (a classic TI instruction) and made the connection for the first time properly that my hand and arm need not grip the water until vertical because if you ” pull” before that, you are “pulling” down and not forward. There is no point in a force going down if you are well balanced in the water.
I will ask my reacher about this tomorrow.

The swimming got easier and my mini-panic subsided as I got closer to the shore and turned over and glided for a bit takng in the evening sunshine and the clearest the water in the Reservoir has been.
Out I got and toddled off home. I stopped at the garage in the way back to pick up some peace offerings to the family, who had got a little shaken up by my shouting.
It scares me a little how my children can make me erupt and I am surprised at how scared and ignorant I can allow myself to be around this reservoir.
So, I might be becoming a better swimmer, but am I becoming a better person? Are the two linked?

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Quick dash to Bathers

Packing the tent up, the one son I am taking with me to the Green Man festival has gone “bridge-jumping” somewhere. He was due back hours ago!
Actually I am just checking whether I can blog from the iPhone. I have made a commitment to swim AND blog everyday for a year and it will be much easier if I can do it from this nifty little portable computer !
So running out of time with the camping preparations and so I am looking forward to a night time dash to the nearest easily accessible part of the Thames so I can dunk to at least say I have been in.
Will post the last two weeks blogs at some point and will try and blog from the Black Mountains. Hoping for falls and pools and such like. Not much serious swimming at the moment!

Ironmongers Row

I am in London today, on my own without a huge amount to do. I am seeing a great friend in a play tonight and I thought I would take the opportunity to stay over, after having had a few meetings in town yesterday. 

 

I went Borough Marketand installed myself at Monmouth Coffee; had a cappuccino and some of their excellent baguette and jam, in what must still be one of the most civilised places to have breakfast.  There is a shared farmhouse-type table and the thing I like best, big pats of butter, on slates, to be tucked into by all those who are loosely assembled around the table. The cappuccino is made with the richest of milks and the baguette chewy, as a result of being made with a slightly “sour” dough. The room has wonderful natural light in it and is a great place to chat with friends or just read the paper.

It was a bit of a trip ‘down memory lane’, because I used to meet some good friends there shortly after my marriage collapsed. I used to attend this event with truculent children and, nearly always, a monstrous hangover. It was intriguing to go back years later in a much calmer, more sober state of mind. 

 

All of the above, lounging and Guardian-reading set me up nicely for a swim. 

 

I was nearby to Ironmonger Row Baths, which must be pretty much London’s nicest indoor pool. Run by an outfit called BETTER, it was all so new and clean. It’s niceness reminded me of why, for years, I did not attend pools. I just didn’t like the grizzly lighting, wet and grubby floors and the hassle of managing all the swimming accoutrements. 

This pool has great natural light and walls with a very recent, smooth, plaster-job. The pool is 33 metres long, which, again, despite being mathematically awkward, is a really nice length; enough to get a rhythm going. 

 

I was doing ‘drills’ this morning, and there is nothing much to report except that I reckon I took a good whole stroke off the total as the session progressed. Fewer strokes better technique is the principle I am working on.

I am aware that my next lesson coming up on Monday and I would very much like to have improved since the last lesson. I realise that this is part of the point of lessons; to focus your practice not just to teach you something new.

 

This swim was no more expensive than much less nice pools all over the place. My two meals in the capital city, so far, last night in a Porchetta (a chain of North London Italians) and today’s lunch in a Turkish gaff called the Woody Grill (so called because everything of the decor is made of polished wood. The walls for instance are made of wooden tiles, unique in my book) have been reasonably priced and so generous I have had to “doggy bag” both- the Italian might even end up in my Eldest boy tomorrow- it’s the sort of dish he loves but he might, reasonably, take offense at it having travelled so far. I have bought some juggling clubs in Camden which are the same price as they are on the website and the play I am going to, with big names in it, is only £20. So I am just saying that London, although its one-way systems have played havoc with my nervous system, and its sheer size can induce a subconscious nausea,  needn’t be the money-swallowing hell hole that us provincials sometimes imagine it to be.

 

Till tomorrow. 

 

I am in London today, on my own without a huge amount to do. I am seeing a great friend in a play tonight and I thought I would take the opportunity to stay over, after having had a few meetings in town yesterday. 

 

I went Borough Marketand installed myself at Monmouth Coffee; had a cappuccino and some of their excellent baguette and jam, in what must still be one of the most civilised places to have breakfast.  There is a shared farmhouse-type table and the thing I like best, big pats of butter, on slates, to be tucked into by all those who are loosely assembled around the table. The cappuccino is made with the richest of milks and the baguette chewy, as a result of being made with a slightly “sour” dough. The room has wonderful natural light in it and is a great place to chat with friends or just read the paper.

It was a bit of a trip ‘down memory lane’, because I used to meet some good friends there shortly after my marriage collapsed. I used to attend this event with truculent children and, nearly always, a monstrous hangover. It was intriguing to go back years later in a much calmer, more sober state of mind. 

 

All of the above, lounging and Guardian-reading set me up nicely for a swim. 

 

I was nearby to Ironmonger Row Baths, which must be pretty much London’s nicest indoor pool. Run by an outfit called BETTER, it was all so new and clean. It’s niceness reminded me of why, for years, I did not attend pools. I just didn’t like the grizzly lighting, wet and grubby floors and the hassle of managing all the swimming accoutrements. 

This pool has great natural light and walls with a very recent, smooth, plaster-job. The pool is 33 metres long, which, again, despite being mathematically awkward, is a really nice length; enough to get a rhythm going. 

 

I was doing ‘drills’ this morning, and there is nothing much to report except that I reckon I took a good whole stroke off the total as the session progressed. Fewer strokes better technique is the principle I am working on.

I am aware that my next lesson coming up on Monday and I would very much like to have improved since the last lesson. I realise that this is part of the point of lessons; to focus your practice not just to teach you something new.

 

This swim was no more expensive than much less nice pools all over the place. My two meals in the capital city, so far, last night in a Porchetta (a chain of North London Italians) and today’s lunch in a Turkish gaff called the Woody Grill (so called because everything of the decor is made of polished wood. The walls for instance are made of wooden tiles, unique in my book) have been reasonably priced and so generous I have had to “doggy bag” both- the Italian might even end up in my Eldest boy tomorrow- it’s the sort of dish he loves but he might, reasonably, take offense at it having travelled so far. I have bought some juggling clubs in Camden which are the same price as they are on the website and the play I am going to, with big names in it, is only £20. So I am just saying that London, although its one-way systems have played havoc with my nervous system, and its sheer size can induce a subconscious nausea,  needn’t be the money-swallowing hell hole that us provincials sometimes imagine it to be.

 

Till tomorrow. 

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Stripping off at the South Bank

Today is the first day that I have not managed a swim. 

I got into my trunks, I got wet, I went to a couple of swimming venues, I talked technique with a friend but no, I didnt actually swim. 

 

Today’s main business was riding my motorbike into London and attending a number of meetings. 

 

Sadly, my early morning-rising-system let me down or, as I should say, I let it down. So, I was on the back foot right from the beginning of the day.

 

It was also a fantastically hot day. 30 degrees, I would say, which is very hot for us in the UK, especially if you are in full Kevlar biking gear!

 

I did, however, manage to strip off, on the South Bank, into my budgies (which were, as theatricals say, “pre-dressed” in anticipation of a swim) and cool myself off in a fountain, set up, I think, mainly, for children. I got a few funny looks as I transformed from biker into bather in public but much relished the cold chloriney water, after having utterly overheated on a ride through the mid afternoon back from Ealing, after which, in a shop I realised that I was actually spraying sweat out of every orifice like in the cartoons. 

I suggested, to a friend, who I met in a bar later, that that might suffice for a swim and he pointed out that I would have to, at least, get horizontal. I had to agree, so on the way back to the Ex’s flat in Camden, I popped to the Men’s Pond at Hampstead Heath. One of the few swimming places in the country to have a decent diving board. 

To be expected, there were a lot of very nicely tanned men in posing pouches getting a bit giddy after the sizeable amount of beers that had been consumed in these all too rare ‘al fresco’ conditions and inside the “compound” there was that slightly odd feel; the ‘secret’ bit where I think guys go nude and the outside changing room with its ever so slightly dysfunctional feel; I couldn’t figure out how to keep my valuables safe, in a place that makes no provision for them, and, finally, after looking at the board longingly and the water without much longing since, I have been spoilt recently, by so much much nicer ‘wild’ swimming venues, I decided to not bother. 

Of course this was a challenge to my ‘swim a day’ policy, so, I thought I would try Park Road Pool in Crouch End, which also has diving facilities. A spring board and a 5 metre. (I am generally a bit sad at the demise of diving boards in this country. Is it the insurance that  makes it prohibitive? When I was a kid, they seemed to be almost standard-issue in a public pool. (That might be a false memory because my local pool, at Stevenage, had all three, Spring  5 and 10 metres, but I do think there has been a great decline). I suppose people go out and get their kicks from bungee jumping and white water rafting nowadays but there is nothing better than the mixture of technique, fear and posing than the big board dive). Before I move on from Park Rd Pool, because I didn’t actually swim there; it was already closing, I will recall one of my favourite memories of my Younger son who at the age of 5 marched straight to the diving pool, (6 m at least) and clambered on to the spring board. I knew he could just about swim but had never seen him diving, especially off a board, but that was not going to distract him. There was a speedy negotiation with my self and him and myself and the lifeguard; I got in the pool ready to save him if he didn’t make it to the side,  then just the most wonderful little flippy dive into the water. He resurfaced and did a feisty doggy paddle to safety. I am pleased to say that he is still a brave and graceful diver and potentially a very good swimmer. 

 

So my first failure to actually swim. I promised myself two the next day but did not do it and  so I guess I will just have to accept that my mission is to swim everyday but occasionally it might not happen. I might have to impose sanctions. What level of encouragement or pressure do I need to do it? Why am I doing it? What do I hope to gain? 

Maybe I will know by the end. 

 

Till tomorrow. 

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Counting

I am not that good with numbers. At some point, however, if I’m to become more of a ‘serious’ swimmer, I’m going to have to get better. I’m going to have to get on top of how far I swim, in how many strokes and how long it takes me. There is even the prospect of having to calculate my “perceived effort” on a scale of one to ten at the same time as all of  the above!

Yesterday I reported that I had done a length in 14 strokes. I am not sure, now, that that was true, but I have confirmed, today, that I can do a length in 15 strokes, which is basically, good, especially for the technique that I am following. Actually, I can do several lengths in 15 strokes. Which, again, is good. But what I am really happy about is that I can count and swim at the same time! Until recently, in spite of being a half-decent swimmer and a generally physically and mentally able man, I would struggle to keep focused on the number of strokes, the type of stroke as well as remembering to  breathe. But now, since I am more relaxed in the water, I am starting to get a handle on the numbers.

At some point, I suspect, I am going to want a watch that tells me the time, measures how far I swim and all the things that involve numbers that I cannot possibly calculate, and when I go “wild” swimming, I can see what sort of a swim I have done.

All this talk of calculating brings me round to the realisation that today’s main task still awaits me; my tax; the yearly angst-fest that is my book-keeping. Ever since April 6th, I have been attempting to set aside enough time to gather my receipts and put together my payslips and remittance advice slips. It is the same every year, like with so many self employed people; I try to get efficient with it and I set myself targets and goals and still am usually fretting about it shortly before the January deadline!

I used to hate doing it because I would have to come face to face with what I had done with my year; literally, bringing myself “to account”, but I am more at peace with myself nowadays and am calm about how I have earnt and spent  but now my frustration comes, more simply from the business of getting all the paperwork to hand and also my slight inability to fully understand the relationships between NI, tax, and the peculiar way that it is all documented. I have, finally, after years, got rid of my very nice, very good, but very expensive West End show biz accountant, and am facing doing it myself or finding a local accountant to help. Accountants seem obsessed with getting me to pay to as LITTLE tax as possible, and my London ‘bean-counter’ certainly went into maximum detail to make sure that happened, but that only helped to heighten my anxiety about it all and so I am hoping to find someone who is legal but, perhaps, not quite as forensic as my previous guy. In the end, I would rather have less anxiety and pay a bit more tax. There seems to be a general obsession with paying as little tax as possible, across the board, and not that I want to get political, but perhaps some of our woes, as a nation, would be alleviated if we re-adjusted our psyches on what the point of tax is. It is not a punishment; but a way of caring for one another. Naive; possibly, but it is something I shall contemplate as I go on longer and longer swims.

Now, a slightly tenuous link, but Terry Laughlin’s method of increasing speed and power through the water is a system of “swimming golf”, whereby you repeat your stroke count and over longer distances you attempt to keep the stoke count as low as possible even as you get more tired, as you do in golf, and this morning is the beginning of this year’s Open Golf Championship. This is an event I love and if I could, I would watch the whole thing! The  TV is, dangerously, already on, and today is going to be a test of my will power as I attempt to do my tax and not watch the golf too closely, but I shall certainly be watching at 9 am when it starts, because, particularly one of my heroes, Nick Faldo, is teeing off then. An odd hero you might say, and not a very fashionable one, but I  have always been in awe of what Faldo did in the 1980s. He was a top golfer, but he knew, that if he did not make some big changes he would never make it at the highest level, so he teamed up with a “swing guru”, David Leadbetter, and asked him to “throw the book at him”. He did. Faldo had to completely start over and fundamentally change his swing. He slumped in form for 2 years (which is a very long time in a young golf professional’s life) and then the reward came; the Open Championship win he craved, at Muirfield, where he is going to tee off at the age of 56 after no competitive golf for years! I will be glued!

The reason for this golfing aside is to remind myself that, in swimming, I am going to play a long game and trust that real success in swimming is going to come from a re-building, a re-imagining of my my stroke. Fitness and strength will play their part but fundamentally I am interested in how swimming with awareness  is the thing that is going to lead to increased skill and pleasure and even..success.

Till tommorrow.

Morning Glory

The morning is something I want to see more of to which end over the weekend I trained myself in the getting-up-when-your-alarm-goes-off-straight-away-and-not-hitting-snooze method that I learnt from Steve Pavlina (the excellent on-line motivation guru) and have decided, this time, (I have done it quite a few times already) to keep training and so, will do more today and tomorrow, I hope, which will provide some relief from preparing my accounts for the tax-man. 

The good news is that the morning after I had trained for about an hour the alarm went off I was half way through the getting up routine before I even realised that I was doing it, which, I think, is the idea, that you start to do it automatically. David Allen who had written and excellent book called Getting Things Done, is clear about his recommendation to try and get some things in your life put on to automatic ( for him it is the collecting and processing of tasks to be done) so that we can free our minds up for more interesting things and I find my self easily persuaded by this, and that automating certain parts of our lives is far from dehumanising but the opposite, super-humanising.  I trained a little more at my parents and this morning was a tester because the idea is to wake at 5.30 everyday so that I can get to swim or meditate or do an Awareness Through Movement lesson all before the children are up. But since I have the Au Pair back with me, and what a blessing that it is; she is brilliant and takes such a lot of the strain of single parenting away;  and so I didn’t HAVE to start the swim at 6.15 to be back by 7.15, because she would do breakfast if I wasn’t there,  but actually, as soon as the alarm went, I was kick-started into the routine, which involves getting my futon cleared away as well so that my bedroom can become a Feldenkrais “treatment” room by day, again, practically before I knew it!

The glory of the morning is partly that I got up on schedule and that the weather is still beautifully hot and dry. It is a good few years since we have had this and although I am no sun hound I am very happy to enjoy it. It was bliss to be able to simply slip on a pair of sports shorts and a tee shirt on and get on my town bike to ride to the pool.

I arrived in time to be in the gaggle of mainly elderly folk who like to swim. The old Jewish lady was there again; she has incidentally a great posture and a nice powerful breast stroke. The elderly gent with the scaly legs was there also, this time sporting a “Free Palestine” badge, I beadily looked for tension between him and the old lady, but there was none!

The swim was straight forward; almost entirely drills. I am starting to love the drills for their own sake, especially now I am aware of the distances I will be swimming. I need to drill well so I do everything in my power to improve my stroke so eventually I can swim far and fast whilst enjoying it and not hurting myself. 

I felt the quizzical looks from my co-swimmers were a little less hostile today and when I came to do lengths I was very aware of my improved hip rotation and managed to do a length in 14 strokes. ( I think!!) which would be a massive improvement on last week. In fact, it is so good that I am doubting my count. I will verify tomorrow!

Back home in the glorious sun shine only to now have to stay indoors and sift through receipts and payslips all day.

 

Till tomorrow.