I had my first one on one swim lesson (ever) yesterday. I'm getting coaching from someone who really knows his stuff. It took about 25 yards to break down the plethora of issues that I have in the water. This is a good thing. I knew what they were but not how to change any of it. I've always looked at my swimming kind of like a very bad tangle. The tangle is the problem, but which knot do you untie first ?
Paraphrasing, he told my wife today that I'm the type of guy you'd want with you in a fight. That's a compliment. But it's also dead on to what my central issue in the water is. While I've never been able to sort out which thing to fix first- the high turnover, the poor pull, the lack of body roll, the head being too far up- the one thing I do know is that it's me vs. the water. I'm fighting the whole time I'm in the water.
I've made plenty of jokes along the way about how I might not come back from a swim, but underneath that has always been a real discomfort. Some fear. I haven't kept count of the times the start of a race left me hyperventilating and gasping for air or I did half a swim with my head up out of the water. My only DNF in a triathlon came when I lost my nerve in rough water about 50 yards from shore.
No more fighting. The drills that I'm getting are designed to teach me balance and relaxation in the water. I'm not naive. The water is never going to be my friend.
But it's not my enemy anymore...