Do I even want to learn new tricks? I’ve toyed with the idea of swim lessons off and on (mostly off), and although I know they can be helpful, I wonder if it’s worth it. Lessons are an investment – both time and money – and there’s that annoying part where you change something and feel slower and less comfortable for a while… Do I want to go through that? I wouldn’t mind being faster (duh). I wouldn’t mind avoiding shoulder pain (now THERE’S a concept!).
Enter Winning Swimming. I got a coupon for a “swim test” and figured I’d check it out. A couple of women on my tri team have gone to Coach Caron and report that she was helpful. What did I have to lose? I was curious: what would she say? I’ve been swimming since I was 4. That’s not to say that I know everything about swimming, more like my stroke is pretty well ingrained by now and it would be hard to change!
What’s it be like to swim in an endless pool? I’ve never tried one and was intrigued. I’d have to drive about an hour to Merrimack, NH – land of the outlet mall! – so I figured if it was a bust, at least there was an opportunity for post swim-test-trauma retail therapy! (I’m not a big shopper, but we did need to replace a pyrex…). I decided to take the plunge (that was bad. Sorry).
I contacted Coach Caron about how to get started. The first step was to fill out some paperwork and take the “swim test” – what the coupon I got referred to. I made an appointment. Road Trip! My husband and I drove up to look at the facility, talk about my goals, and try out the pool. Coach Caron had me swim so she could see what she was working with and determine how best to align her coaching skills with my swimming ability and goals. My husband got to hang around and take pictures – thanks, Shady!
The facility is a converted garage with an endless pool taking up roughly half of the space. Up a few stairs is the bathroom/shower/changing and waiting area. It was nice and warm. That’s one thing that was different from swim lessons in a pool – I always get cold at clinics and lessons. Not a problem at Winning Swimming.
As I mentioned, I’ve never tried swimming in an endless pool. I told Coach Caron my 100 yd pace, she got the jets going, and I entered the current. Whoa, wild! She played around with the speed until it was about right. I was kind of stressed out at first thinking I had to keep up, but was eventually able to relax (a little) into my swim. I expect I’ll be better at getting into my usual rhythm when I do it again.
The pool setup: There’s a mirror on the bottom of the pool so the swimmer can see their body position and hand entry (totally cool), and there are 4 camera views projected onto the wall so Coach Caron can watch what the swimmer is doing from various angles.
Video analysis is offered (see “improve your swim” on the website for the full range of services).
The upshot? Coach Caron really listens. She wants to know your swim goals and will work with you to achieve them – not only freestyle; she can help with the other strokes, too. I only had the short swim test, but I feel really comfortable that she can offer some technique tips to help with my goal of swimming longer distance events without destroying myself (and maybe even go faster!). She already suggested a few things that I’m trying to incorporate into my stroke. I plan to see how the next month or so goes, and then schedule a more in-depth lesson.
- Oh, and although there was no swim test* trauma, we succumbed to the call of the outlets and bought a new pyrex (among other things) on our way home!
[*silly me, it was a “test swim” not a “swim test”!]
Actually, I’d spread SwimVacation love even without swag, but I’m not going to pass up a cool t-shirt!
Hopper, the owner of SwimVacation sent out an email asking for “ambassadors” to wear SV gear, pass out SV caps, and basically talk about the awesomeness of SwimVacation while at swim-related events. It just so happened that I was due to represent my tri team at the yearly expo, Tri-Mania Boston, around the time his email went out. Score! I could do double-duty while working my hour at the Team EnVision booth.
So… if you have any interest in swimming in amazing places, check out SwimVacation. The trips are small, so every swimmer can swim as much or as little as s/he wants. Sign up for a trip you won’t forget or regret. My husband and I went to the British Virgin Islands, but there are also trips to Hawaii and Turkey (new in 2016).
Every trip has it’s own feel depending on the makeup of the group, of course, but you can look at the SwimVacation Blogs to see what generally happens on a week in swimming paradise.
Next opportunity to pass out caps? Hmm, there are some 5k swims I might do this summer. That’s just the population I need.