I’ve been working the Total Immersion swimming program for over a month now, and have completed the first six drill sets. Lesson six took me more sessions than any other, primarily because it incorporates so many components of the other sessions into a movement that represents a new “whole stroke.” The four remaining sessions are refinement of other specific pieces of whole stroke.
I’m not entirely sure what I thought a new swim stroke would feel like. I suppose that somewhere in my mind I believed there would be one of those rare “ahah” moments when the clouds part, the angels sing, and everything just clicks. At this point I’d have to say I’m much more ready to declare progress than success.
I’ve logged two “whole stroke” sessions now, and I can definitely see improvement. I’m limiting the length of my sets to 25-50 yards for the time being. At those short lengths, I’ve seen equivalent 100 yard pace decrease from a 2:30 – 2:40 average to 2:00 to 2:05. At 25 yard reps, I’ve seen times as low as 1:55 per 100 (according to my Garmin). That’s definitely good progress. I do feel my stroke start to break down as I get to the end of a 50 yard set, though, reverting to the former “beat the water into submission” approach before TI. That’s always a risk of pushing too hard, too fast.
So, for the time being, I’ll stick with shorter repeats and focus on ingraining the new skills into muscle memory. Since I don’t have any races coming up that involve a swim leg, there’s really no hurry. One of the most common experiences from my military career revolved around the concept that there’s never time to do it right, but there’s always time to do it over. I definitely don’t want to start over from scratch again, so I’ll take my time. We had another saying as well… slow is smooth, and smooth is fast. I like that one better.