I am just back home from meeting a subsection of my local recorder playing group. I am tired from my mental exertions on the top line of several trio pieces with a little “what is the future of our group?” discussion added in. I could really do with a knap but my plan is to go swim training this afternoon and I really need to eat something before then. I have some cereal and consult my phone to decide that I can fit in a fifteen-minute snooze before leaving. It barely seems a few seconds later when my alarm goes off. “Do I really need to go swimming?”, my struggling-to-wake mind asks.

There is more to the struggle than sleepiness though. There is a part of me that fears a repeat of the last two days.

When I went to the pool on Tuesday it was ultra busy in the lanes and I just couldn’t settle. Once there is more than four people in a 25 metre lane, I find the splashing and trying to keep track of the others starts to disrupt me. This is made worse when there are number of the people are significantly faster swimmers than me. It is not just the avoiding others though, the crowdedness mans that doing butterfly consistently is impossible. I have to keep “folding” my wings when I go past another effectively missing a arms pull. This can lead to a too low position in the water, extra water resistance and a struggle to find my stroke again. I ended up doing lots of breast stroke in the second lane on Tuesday. Thus I avoided the fast, younger sprinters but still kept some butterfly-like fitness going. It was not satisfying though as I told a fellow swimming at the end, when they asked me how the session had gone.

I tried again on Wednesday but this time, I decided to get there 30 minutes early hoping that the school holidays would let the training pool have more availability outside the standard land times. This used to be the case in the past but the management seems to be much better at filling up the pool capacity during the holiday these days. So the training pool wasn’t available. I was in half a mind not to swim anyway because Wednesday would have meant the fifth swimming day in a row. This risks injury in my book.  So rather than hang around for another 30 minutes, I cut my loses and went home, accepting that Wednesday was a day was for rest.

Turning up yesterday meant the ghosts of Tuesday (too crowded) and Wednesday (too early) were still hanging around in my mind. The pool was quiet when I got in though. There were only two others in the lane. “This is hopeful”, I thought, “but early days yet”. I proceeded with my warm-up/longer distance section, three hundred metres each of front crawl, breaststroke and backstroke. One person had left but another had joined the lane by the end of that section, so it looked to do some butterfly was possible. I always steel myself mentally before doing butterfly. The stroke takes more effort than the others and if the different sections of the stroke aren’t synchronised well, then butterfly gets much harder. I swam eight split-one-hundreds as 50 metres butterfly followed by 50 metre breaststroke. Each one hundred had approximately fifteen breaths in between.

A note here. It is more normal to time the break between physical movement in seconds but I can’t make out the clock due to my myopia so I time in breaths. This also means I am aware of how much strain in on my body. Generally speaking though, swimming tests my strength and technique more than lung capacity. That is unless I am sprinting.

The butterfly went really well. My stroke seemed super smooth and powerful. I could tell my speed was reasonable too because I was nearly keeping up with the front-crawlers. I felt I could have done some sprints afterwards but I know I have a tendency to over-do things so I made myself content with doing another three or four hundred metres as a mixture of front, breast and back-stroke.

I can’t tell you how good it feels after I manage a good workout with so much butterfly (for me) and such good form. Butterfly is an all over body workout but with more power than front crawl requires. My body feels more coordinated, more comfortable and powerful after a good pool session when it doesn’t exhaust or damage me. The good mood carries over into other things too. I just feel more the real happy me I suppose. No wonder exercise is addictive.

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