Always wandered if they (the swimmers) were spending their entire life counting the number of tiles at the bottom of the pool or simply interested to become a better swimmer? Consider joining a swim club. Everyone has its own coaching philosophy, some are very competitive, other very social, I found Master Swim clubs have both, leaving each swimmer the choice to swim at their level.
I joined the English Bay Swim Club in Vancouver (you have at the beginning 3 free sessions to taste the water). When arriving at my first session, the other swimmers of my lane introduced themselves and explained briefly how the next hour will look like.
And then it started...
“OK guys, warm up 200m, free style, 50m swim, 50 m drills...” the coach said relaxed, smiling, normal routine right? My mind started spinning “What! 200m, oh no... how am I good to do that? What’s 50m drills?” And that’s where the “belonging to a club thing” kicked in: Right after the coach’s explanation of the session, all swimmers start, you go last to put off the inevitable, but you have to go and you do! Oh boy! after the first 25 m, again my mind was racing: “Why the hell did I sign for an IRONMAN?? How do I breath...” But you keep going as you can see that the lead swimmer of the lane is slowly but surely reducing the distance between you. In fact because the session is organized by level and you are in a lane specifically for development swimming, the intensity, length and time of each part of the work out is carefully planed by the coach, so even if you feel that you’re turning purple under the water and that your muscles are feeling less and less relaxed, you keep swimming and oh miracle, one hour passes by, you finish the session, welcome to the club! Sure the water element requires time to understand and play with, but again to have a great coach, lane partners, the clock ticking and telling you to start again allow to, step by step, year after year, get closer to our fish friends.
I signed up for my 4th year in the club this September. I'm far form being a fish in the water but I would say that I now fully enjoy the training, the camaraderie and I don't turn purple any more after 200m...
Moving from France twenty some years ago, I became a Frenchman outside of France carrying in his baggages a bit of French culture spiced up by new discoveries.