Today is day four of swim camp and it started again at 7.30am with my first trip to the beach and to swim in the sea!
Four years ago, I started "having a go" at Sprint and Olympic distance triathlons. As a novice, who just wants to finish, you can get away with doing breaststroke for the swim part and it's not unusual. It was just about feeling comfortable and confident in open water, wearing my wetsuit and getting my head under water. Plus, if you are new to a road bike, that seemed the greater challenge.
Four years later, winter approaching, and my bike skills a little improved, I wanted to come to swim camp to focus on swimming front crawl. I had some lessons, but I needed something more intensive (otherwise life gets in the way and you don't start properly for another year..).
So by day four, I am ready to go try the sea. The conditions favoured me - the wind was much calmer today and the sun was out. We were split into four groups. Although I am the youngest in the squad, I am the least accomplished swimmer. I hit 40 this year, not something I was looking forward to, yet here is a group who are fitter, stronger, and leaner than me. Some of the group, as well as the coaches Jo and Sandra, are (or were) age group GB athletes. Whilst I don't I think I could ever reach that level, that's been such an inspiration. I may not be able to run 10km when I am 80 but I hope I could still swim well.
Back to the sea, I went in with Sandra and Dee and swam gently for about 800m. The water felt warmer than the pool and the waves carry you along. I want to get better because open water swimming is not boring, it's not countless laps of a pool, and brings a sense of freedom - like climbing to the top of a mountain. Whilst the more advanced swimmers kept on going, I did some running on the beach and took some videos of those swimming. My friend described watching them as "Baywatch but hardcore"! (And it does look impressive!)
After breakfast, there was the Critical Swim Speed test. This is like the bleep test for swimmers and given my level, this is not something that can help me yet, so I had a snooze. We are on holiday after all!
In the afternoon, we had a short core session outside before, once again, getting back into the wetsuits for a further swim session in the pool with our "toys" (pull buoy, short fins, hand paddles etc.). The group has at least three lanes of a 25 metre pool so there is plenty of space for everyone. I work with Sandra a bit more on my arm reach and breathing - my arms are not straight enough going into the water nor move with enough momentum and I need to blow out more underwater to see the bubbles. We then work in groups on drills, sculling, high elbows, torpedoes, swimming sideways, fins on, fins off, hand paddles on and off - lots of different variations but that makes it less intense than just swimming up and down. We finish with some "lung busting" races which brings everyone's competitive side out, although technique doesn't last long.
We finish about 5.15 and dinner is at 7pm buffet style, where we always eat as a group. We chat about the day and what we do in our lives away from swim camp. On the way back to my room, I see the cats. The resort has a few, who are well looked after by residents (who are asked not to feed them!). I particularly like a ginger one who looks like he needs some exercise but perhaps not swimming!
Thank you Tri50 for a great holiday so far!