17 5 / 2012
Hard to believe it’s been (only? already?) two years since I started swimming. Since my last proper report, I carried on and took my excitement for swimming further. In one of the highlights of 2011, I created a sprint triathlon to celebrate my birthday. My friends had the grace to let me come in second.
Tons of Competition (Yeah, Too Much)
Also in 2011, I committed to compete in seven races. Along the way, I learned the value of showing up and what competition required mentally and physically. Erin (pictured: far left), my new friend and a naturally competitive person, motivated me to do the work.
Aaaand we went through a whole flexing phase.
Seven events was too much. I burned out around five.
However, competition became so important to me that, to improve my sprint times, I started lifting and swinging kettle bells with Coach Stevo. (He taught me to run in 2011 too. Without him, I’d never have done that sprint tri!) Getting stronger got me swimming faster in the pool, and leveling up as a sprinter was a sweet achievement. More on that in a sec….
Student » Teacher
Let’s roll that back. Maybe not a great move?
Shortly after getting started, I mentally and emotionally locked up. Uh, what exactly does it take to be a coach? What did I commit to? Maybe I don’t have time for this. Even though Erin and I split the duties, adding new work on top of my startup job also added a big dollop of stress.
I tried to quit twice. Both times, Jordan stalled me, and I reconsidered. Finally, I stayed because if I were ever going to find out what it meant to coach a whole season, it’d be easier to just keep going now. Better to regret something you have done than something you haven’t done. Halfway through, I accepted it would be hard and I might even hate every minute of it. Then, paradoxically, coaching felt easier and I started learning a few things. Here’s what I’d do differently if I were starting the season all over again as a coach.
5 Tips for Coaching Your First Swim Season
- Memorize names fast, and keep a written log.
- Review the basics: how exactly do you execute a relay dive? Because they’re going to ask you to show them.
- Listen carefully to what students say. Don’t assume they’re wasting time when they complain or misunderstand simple things.
- At the beginning of the season, review basics like lane management, reading the pace clock, turning, and lots of kicking. It’ll save time.
- Run a few hard workouts early in the season, so the team will be ready to work harder just before the championship meet. Use the Yelling Coach voice earlier.
And finally, now it’s over. Just as this second swim-a-versary rolled around on May 13, the season ended. What a relief.
Okay, maybe I’d do it again.
Is Training Too Much Fun? Get Hurt!
In the midst of competing, coaching, strength training, and swim training, my right shoulder started nagging. At first it just ached every so often while I tried to sleep, then twinged faintly during workouts, and then I suffered a little pain all the time. And then it moved to the other shoulder.
I stopped swimming for two months. No practice + no competition = depression. After a few massages, quitting running, quitting bicycling too, stretching more, and sleeping differently, I accepted that the pain might fully never go away while I’m training. It’s not so serious that I need to stop swimming. I can play through and swim a little if I’m careful. I’ll keep looking for solutions.
Three days ago, I got back in the pool and swam 1000 yards. My shoulder ached, just the same as usual. I’ll try it again this weekend and see how it goes.
It’s Time to Swim That Mile
On my first swim-a-versary, I was excited to be training for my first open water race, a mile in Lake Berryessa. I never got to complete that race, due to weather. I have two weeks to train for this year’s Berryessa swim (read: lots of lap counting). Out of deference to my shoulders, I’ll take a little longer to complete it than expected. :)
So, uh, here’s to the start of year 3. Happy Swim-a-versary!