Sunday, January 10, 2010

Break to Build

For those of you following my blog and Twitter account, you may be familiar with my breaststroke kick woes.  Breaststroke used to be my stroke - but that was back in the day.  Way back in the day.  When I started working with Kristen, she noticed that my kick was not nearly as powerful or effective as it should be.  For the past few months, we've completely broken it down to get back to the building blocks of the kick in an attempt to rebuild with better form and power.  For months I practiced kick sets of just breaststroke and focused on building adductor strength in the gym, in addition to my regular swim practice and weightroom repertoire.  Friday I went to practice with Kristen and finally saw the fruits of my labor.  As a swimmer, every once in a while, you get the feeling that you're swimming downhill.  Elite swimmers I'm sure get this feeling more often than not - MP probably thinks that water is on an angle.  Jessica Hardy and Rebecca Soni are great examples of breaststrokers that appear to be cutting through the water with absolutely no resistance.  They always looks like they're swimming downhill.  But I digress.  This downhill feeling is flipping awesome and it's as if the water is working with you, rather than you working against it.  For a few brief wonderful minutes, I got this feeling and it was fabulous.  I was pretty psyched that my breaststroke had improved so much - and so was my coach.  The hours, many hours, of hard work in the gym and kick sets in the pool had started to pay off.  There were times, many times, that I got very frustrated.  Hundreds of yards of kick sets where I literally did not move.  Floating in streamline and watching the flags barely inch forward pretty much makes you want to scream.  Anyone that knows me knows that I do not let things go - especially if that thing makes me not-so-happy.  The more I practiced, the more I wanted to own this.  Now I know that I can - eventually - and that practice makes progress.  Next challenge: keeping it up.  Yikes.

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