In these uncertain times, everyone has been out of the water for a prolonged period time which can cause a lot of unsettling feelings around being in the water. Not only how will we feel being back in the water but how will our stroke feel? Will we have ‘forgotten’ how to swim, will the pain be too much to think ‘I’ll just not swim, what have I got to do to get back to get back to the swim fitness I was at?’
All genuine questions that I, myself ask myself constantly and I guarantee that all swimmers will be asking themselves.
My advice would be to try some swim related exercises using exercise bands, work on the motor skills of the stroke and keep the muscle memory active. There are many videos online looking at the specific movements and how these can have major positive effects on your stroke once back in the water. This is where having a good coach who can work on your stroke and break the movements down can really synchronise the movements from the resistance bands to the fluid movements in the water.
Swimming is a sport that needs constant maintenance to keep fitness levels up and ‘swim fitness’ is like no other type of fitness, I have fortunately worked with some amazing athletes from other sports who have really found swim fitness something hard to come by. A lot of years ago an amazing coach once told me that ‘a week out of the water is two weeks back in’ so effectively we’ve got to work double hard to get back to where we were. In my eyes this should be seen as a positive challenge and process to go through, yes it’s going to be hard, yes our bodies will ache for a while – but……. How good will it feel knowing that you can achieve through such difficult times like as present? The work ethic that will be required will be unimaginable but the benefits outweigh anything. The feeling of self-fulfilment could never be taken away from anyone knowing that you and only you have put the effort in to recovering yourself to that level of fitness you were at.
I have had a recent discussion with a National level athletes around working towards building their base fitness and some of their anxieties around being back in the pool – interestingly they were all super keen to get back in the water, they were more concerned about the logistics about getting to the pool, what they have to do once there etc. All understandable in such crazy changing times!
Luckily for now, we are allowed back in the open water (wahoooo!) so it means that some base aerobic training can start to take place, more and more athletes can be involved in introductions into open water and how amazing it really is (of course I would say that, but more and more people are saying the same!).
Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or comments around Open Water Swimming!
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