Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Thoughts about synchro and training

My synchro beginners series ended in November. Since then, we've been practicing with whoever can coach us on any given day.  However, with the new year starting, we have a new commitment to training, and the coaches have worked out a schedule with us.  S*** just got real!

Now practices are 2 hours long, include a lot of drilling, and some very specific coaching on skills.  There are, so far, three of us beginners who want to go on to compete, and we are talking about going to two invitational meets this spring, to get practice with competitions.

I've committed to synchro for this season, and am looking forward to the intensity of training, learning something new, and getting to be on a team.  It has been about a decade since I last seriously trained for an event, and I love the discipline of it.  I know this is going to be a hard path. Although I was worried about if training would take the joy out of swimming last year, it didn't. And I think that the training will be part of the joy of synchro!

This past week we were working on front layout to pike, and I was able to do it.  I hadn't been able to do it on prior attempts.  Seeing progress is fun.

In no time, we will be looking like this:

Photographic proof

I've been swimming all winter.  And this week an excellent and talented photographer came along with a partner to steer the canoe while he shot.  He got some excellent shots, including these of me.


I'm in the back there, and this is me swimming with my two best swim friends (BSF). We always goad each other into the water. And if I do crawl, I can keep up with them.  When the water is choppy and I do breast, I'm a bit slower.


Doing breast. I love that he got the background in this one to give perspective. And you can see the temperature, by the way the walker is dressed.


I wear the black gloves in the winter to keep my hands warm.  Without them I probably could only stay in about half as long.  This swim was 26 minutes.


This is probably my favorite of the set. I hate breathing on the left, but am glad I was practicing the bilateral that day!


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Swimming with a whale

Yes, you read that right. I finally got the experience of swimming in the Sound knowing there was a whale nearby.  I was getting ready to swim with the Notorious Alki Swimmers, when we spotted a whale just off shore.  After watching for a while, the blows were seen again.  Our best guess is a Gray Whale.


I still hope to someday see a whale while I'm IN the water.  But this will do for now!!

Here's the gang that can say they've swum with a whale!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Notorious Alki Swimmers

Two years of swims in one collage:


Proud to call these folks my friends!

Making Waves

Growing up in North Carolina we would go to the beach every summer for a week or so. The water was warm and swimable, if dirty. Regardless of how careful I was, every summer I'd get knocked over by a wave and have that horrible moment of tumbling, not knowing which way was up, and getting water up my nose.  I hated it, and it instilled in me a fear of high surf.

In early November, the spouse and I were in California for a vacation. I did a swim in the ocean near Ventura, and wanted to do another near Carlsbad. When we got to Ventura and I looked at the water, I was not fully confident of my ability to swim in the surf.  This is what it looked like:

Yeah, I know, most don't look at that and get scared. But I do. Any breaker feels like a lot to me.  But I went and swam. I did laps parallel to shore for half an hour while the spouse sat on a beach chair and read.

A friend from Alki had told me, prior, that if I watched the water for a while, I'd see the wave pattern and have a better sense as to when to go in.  She was right. After watching the waves I knew when I was about to get a low one, and used that opportunity to get to deeper water.  I had a great swim (the water was WARM compared to up north here) and was proud of how I did in waves I wasn't that confident about.

Then, New Year's Day 2018 came. And I wanted to do a NYD swim.  Not just a "plunge" where you go in and immediately come back out, but a true swim. The gang from Alki met up for a 1pm swim.  There were just a few of us who showed up:



The wind was from the north, so the waves were big.

I got in and swam. It was hard. I was uncomfortable. I got water up my nose and in my throat.  But I felt safe.  There were so many other swimmers, and I'm getting more comfortable in the water as well.  I'm really glad that I swam, even if the video should be entitled "Rebecca, look behind you".



Happy new year, and see you in the waves!


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Synchronized Swimming

I love to dance. And I love to swim. A few months ago I came up with the idea that I'd love to dance in the water, aka, try my hand at synchronized swimming. That led me to the discovery of the Seattle Cascades Synchro Team!

In October I started out with the beginners series.  Nine of us brave souls got in the water for the first time and started to learn basic moves like head up breast stroke, sculling, back tucks and egg beaters. Egg beater was the new move for me, and it took a few practice sessions on my own to figure it out.
After six sessions, we had a little routine down. I'm in the middle of the row furthest from the camera-- dark bathing suit, light cap.


The group of women were wonderful.  Each with her own strengths and weaknesses in the pool and each eager to both learn and support each other. 


Seven of us have continued on, past the beginner class, with hopes of joining the team.  If we stick with it, we can be our own beginners team, and compete together.  

This is some serious fun, it combines my love of swimming, my love of dance, a challenge that is reachable, camaraderie, and some new cognitive skills. The thinking required to know where you are in space (or water) and how to move to keep coordinated requires some serious concentration and cognitive stretching!

The best part is, I get to keep learning.  Here is me practicing ballet legs:

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Halloween Fun

One of the things I like about my swim friends is the ease with which we joke around with each other. No need to be professional. Just a bunch of locker room talk (which does not mean dirty, it means casual).  This means that Halloween gives us extra licence to have fun!

One friend brought a fish head to our last swim that was a cause for much merriment.