I spent the last weeks working hard - I didn't have too much time for the pool, but spent the time working on catch/pull timing in my hometown 50m pool. It didn't seem to work out, my SPL was constantly above 40, often in the late 40s. Anybody in the pool seemed to be faster than me, even those with the worst technique. Kind of frustrating.
Today - as a contrast - I had a great session in the pool. Everything felt easy, very rhythmic, and I had a constant SPL of 18 (it was a 25m pool for change) as if it was carved in stone throughout a wide range of tempo. And I was the fastest in the fast lane.
My only focus was on entering my front hand very relaxed into the water, drive it forward with the kick and cover lots, lots of ground while spearing forward.
Only when I got faster than 0.95 I started to add strokes. At one point another guy pushed off the wall with me and he really tried hard to outswim me. Of course it was beneath my dignity to increase my stroke rate (I think I was at 1.1 with the TT) and it was beneath my dignity that he would outswam me. So I started to focus even more on covering more and more ground with every stroke while maintaining the rate and ended at the wall way before him with an SPL of 16.
It was one of these days where you know why you do all of this 'hard work' in drills etc, it was just enjoyment. And, if I might add, it seems that it is hard to get there without TI. And, I am quite sure about this, it is impossible to get there without TI when you don't have a coach or training buddies at hand and have to learn freestyle from the scratch all by yourself just from DVD and forum support.
Before I get carried away too much ;-) my point in fact are some questions.
In the last weeks I focused on timing, catch, and pull, and it didn't seem to work out. Today I didn't focus on timing, catch and pull, and it did work out. I don't know what was not ok when it didn't work out, and I don't know what I actually did today, or did differently, that worked out.
I had some thoughts about it, and I am wondering if someone else also noticed these points:
- Sometimes when you practice a certain aspect of the stroke it doesn't seem to improve on a day by day basis. But in the long run it does change your swim (for good) and it seems it was a good investment - although it didn't feel like that while you worked on it.
- Sometimes you practice a certain aspect and put your focus on it, but it doesn't seem to improve. Then, when you put your focus on something else, it suddenly works out.
- When you swim at faster speeds, focusing on catch and pull does not improve it. But putting your focus on anything but catch and pull always gives better to best results.
Any comments appreciated.