I swam for Solihull Swimming Club until I went to university. By then I had developed a sensitivity to chlorine that means I have the symptoms of a head cold for the rest of the day after a swimming session in a chlorinated pool.
A few years ago I started swimming just once per week to keep fit and inflicted these symptoms on my colleagues. Much to their relief, when that pool closed for two years for refurbishment, I found an alternative that is treated with ozone and went twice per week.
The Clipper newsletters started to talk about fitness, so I increased it to three times. My sessions each week were devoted to:
- stamina – swimming as far as I could in a session; apparently I would be blue when I finished,
- speed – interval training, as fast as I could go and
- strength – swimming just the arms or legs of a stroke.
I described this to Reg, my swimming coach, when he offered to help me. He wanted to know how fast; how much rest between each interval; he explained that I couldn’t gain the strength I needed just from swimming alone, I would need to do some weight training as well.
So, with programmes he sends me periodically I have refined this to a swim session twice per week and a weights session three times per week.I now have toys – fins and hand paddles, the big ones for power, not the small ones you can get for stroke technique. Far from making swimming faster and therefore easier, these toys actually make it harder – because you are needing to displace much more water than your hand or foot could do alone.
I have learnt that a reclosable food bag is excellent for keeping a printed programme dry and can be safely left at the end of the pool so that you can check what is next.
I have taken advantage of the discount Garmin were offering to Clipper crew members and bought a Garmin Swim Watch. Now I can answer Reg’s questions about speed and rest – and have to be honest – I email him with the swim output.