Remember hearing your voice recorded for the first time? Well, watching a video of yourself swim for the first time is pretty similar. Lots of “I don’t look like that, do I?” and “That’s not really me, is it?”

Regardless, your first time is an eye-opening experience. It highlights your flaws and forces you to take a step back and listen to what your coach has been saying all along:

1. Keep your head down and look at the floor of the pool.
2. When breathing, rotate your head so one eye is out of the water and your chin touches your shoulder.
3. Do not bend your knees but keep them relaxed.
4. Stretch out your feet and point out your toes.

The most important thing for me though was realising that my hand entry into the water had vastly improved. Coach Fi said that it took 10,000 strokes to correct improper habits, had it really been that long? In any case, fingers straight into the water at a 45 degree angle, effectively catching the mass in front of you, then following through to your hip and out near your thigh (see Swim Smooth for an excellent animation or the amusing “Bill has a long nice stroke” quote).

Next step: ensuring I don’t use as much leg power as I currently do as I had better save my energy there for the bike and run, eh?

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