Originally Posted by trekcenhoj
The view is incredible. I didn't know what I was missing. Looking across the pool with one eye below and another above the surface gives me more in site on how others swim too. I'm a lot more aware of where I am and what I'm doing.
Congratulations, on your invaluable ‘insight’ – which came over 30 years quicker than it did to me! I can precisely recall the day I had a similar discovery. I was swimming at Lake Minnewaska Labor Day weekend around 2003. It was chilly - about 54 degrees - and raining steadily. Dave Barra and I were the only two people swimming.
After we'd been swimming about 10 minutes, looking for diversion, I began 'scanning' with my eyes as I rotated to breathe. First I noticed that the underside of the surface was dimpled by the rain and found that almost mesmerizing.
Then I kept my gaze keen as my eyes and mouth broke the surface. Like you, I immediately realized this helped me sharpen the timing of the breath and make small adjustments to head position. That has stayed with me ever since.
While your insight will be of value to many, I think you also make a larger point -- The Value of Being Observant. Paying attention, and consequently noticing things
that usually escape your attention is relatively rare among swimmers. This is a result of the common focus on yardage totals, repeat times, intervals, etc. Tuning out to get through
it also results when workouts are tedious, or lack a clear purpose beyond "getting the yards in." The fact that it took me 30 years to notice what you noticed after one is evidence of how pervasive inattention can be.
Be Observant is just another way of saying Swim Mindfully.
And here's the flip side to your discovery of the value of keeping your eyes open. Have you ever noticed yourself closing
your eyes when trying to intensify your focus, usually on a subtle or elusive aspect of technique?
After I began swimming more mindfully, I noticed that during moments of especially keen focus I would instinctively close my eyes. It’s well known that people who lose their sight become far more attuned to sound and feel. For the rest of us, taking away visual input has the effect of making your sense of feel a lot keener. In water -- which is literally a sea of sensation -- anything that sharpens kinesthetic awareness is invaluable.