By Celia Murray
On the golf course and in the swimming pool, you live and die by the efficiency of your stroke. With the Aquatic Center open, I have hit the links (or lanes) again. And like some addicted, deluded aging golfer, I pestered an old friend, a former competitive swimmer, to give me pointers toward improvement. After confessing my sins – breathing only to left side and breathing every stroke when tiring (usually after first 50 yards) – she stared at me, “Jamie, just swim.”
So I swam, concentrating on “normal Jamie swim” and “not weird spastic, flailing wildebeest in clutches of crocodile, she’s observing my stroke” swim. Head down, I wind-milled through the water in search of rhythm.
The freestyle is a rhythmic weave of stroke, breath and pivot of the body. To swim is to dance. An underwater groove hidden to those poor stranded land mammals above; your private rock and roll through an aquamarine chlorine sea.
“Your kick is good. Your stroke looks good, but there is this thing you do with your right hand when it leaves the water” demonstrating a flicking movement. A very dainty casting off of water droplets as my right arm arcs upward. “Great style points but does nothing for you.” Made mental note: Stop right hand’s affected attitude.
Good kick and good stroke (except refined hand swish) was her verdict, but when we began drills, problems surfaced. One exercise involved holding your stroke out in front for three seconds before pulling downward getting as much glide possible out of each movement. Like motion on the dance floor, long streamlined gliding is desirable; choppy thrashing, bad. I tried holding my breath for three seconds while gliding, kicking, pulling and stroking. She laughed. “You held your breath for one millisecond.”
A funny thing happened on the way back from the mail box last week.
In the worst recession this country has endured in recent memory, at a time when real estate sales have dropped to record lows, many Morgan County tax payers last week were given the good news.
By: Dick Hodgetts
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