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2021-05-11 8:36 PM


Subject: Am I Able to Become a Decent Swimmer?
I should preface this by saying I have never been very athletic. I just joined the swim team as a junior in high school. It's the first sports team I've joined since I've entered high school. I am awful. Worse than I expected, to be honest. Granted, we have been at this for only two days, but I really can't perform any of the techniques other than the basic swim and a flutter kick. The breathstroke, dolphin kick, and butterfly are nightmares and I can't even begin to perform them properly. What do you guys think? I've been watching YouTube videos and visualizing myself performing basic techniques. Do you guys think I'll be able to be a decent swimmer by the end of the season?

2021-05-11 10:31 PM
in reply to: 0


Subject: RE: Am I Able to Become a Decent Swimmer?
Absolutely! Swimming is often one of the most neglected disciplines. Anybody can go for a bike ride or run but not everyone can find a pool or open body of water. Swimming is all about technique but once you get it you got it. People just starting out swimming try to go too fast because they're used to swimming in short bursts and not freestyle. If you haven't already, you should probably invest in a pool buoy. That will allow you to work on your swim stroke and breathing without having to worry about your legs staying up. If you practice 3-4 times a week for a couple of months you will notice a difference. Make sure you continue to watch some swimming videos because they can be very helpful.

Edited by fastball1977 2021-05-11 10:34 PM
2021-05-12 1:14 PM
in reply to: Cap0414

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Albuquerque, New Mexico
Subject: RE: Am I Able to Become a Decent Swimmer?

Short answer is yes.  

Swimming is all about technique, so hopefully your coach has structured workouts and is providing feedback.  

Understand that you're about 10 years behind some of your peers who started swimming competitively as 6 year olds.  Even youngsters might be swimming 1000 yards per workout 5-6 days per week, increasing to senior competitive swimmers doing 4000+ yards per workout.  Over 10 years of swimming year round, these kids may already have 500,000 yards on you, and the differences between "decent" and "good" can be on the order of seconds/100 yards and closing that gap can be really hard.  Comparing your performance to them is going to be frustrating (so don't, that happens in the meets already).  

Here's some perspective:  I never swam competitively, but I was a lifeguard and swim instructor.  I swam for fitness off and on.  I did a half-ironman with a 1.2 mile swim and finished the swim in ~37 minutes (1:46/100 pace).  That was good for about 50th percentile in my age group.  A few years later, I did another 1.2 mile swim in almost the same exact time, but this time it was an open water swim and not a triathlon and I finished in about the 75th percentile (i.e. bottom 25%).  The difference?  Most of the participants in the open water swim were swimmers!  (You can read the race reports).  For triathletes, many never get below 2:00/100 pace.  In my best days swimming, I could do 100 yards in ~1:28.  My sons (who joined the HS swim team as Freshmen, having never swam competitively before) quickly got to where they could swim 100 yards in 1:05 and eventually dropped to 0:58/100 or better, but were still far away from the state caliber swimmers who had to be below 0:48/100 to get to state.  

Attitude is also important.  If you're going to swim practice thinking "I'll never be good" or "this isn't going to be fun" it won't be fun and you'll struggle to be good at it.  If instead, you embrace the practice as a fun journey to becoming a good swimmer, you'll find the fun in it and surprise yourself with just how good you can be!  

2021-05-15 10:35 AM
in reply to: Cap0414

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Subject: RE: Am I Able to Become a Decent Swimmer?

Your local Y or pool likely has affordable swim lessons to get your basic crawl stroke down. Take advantage of that resource. Put in some time, then stop back for a critique.

I couldn't swim the length of a pool without being exhausted. Now it is my favorite leg.
2021-05-17 2:53 PM
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Subject: RE: Am I Able to Become a Decent Swimmer?

Your question is will you be able to become a decent swimmer in one high school season.  The answer is no. can become a better swimmer with a base of new knowledge to continue with.  The good news is that 75% of triathlon swimmers are not decent swimmers...and maybe 5% could be considered good swimmers.

Stay with it beyond your current season is the only way....become decent and you can have a lot of fun at the AG level.

Edited by Left Brain 2021-05-17 2:59 PM
2021-05-17 5:09 PM
in reply to: 0

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Lethbridge, Alberta
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Subject: RE: Am I Able to Become a Decent Swimmer?
Define "Decent"?

I never had lessons as a kid. There were occasional family picnics where I eeled around underwater in the shallows and eventually managed a dog paddle. In my early teens I decided to learn but since I lived in a remote rural location I just rode my bike to a deserted shoreline, walked in up to my chin, and did the Tarzan thing I'd seen on TV. Eventually that got me out to the raft and back at local lakes.

Fast forward to mid-40s triathlon interest. I signed up for a "super-sprint" with a 200m pool swim even though I couldn't swim 200m but I had several months. I took group lessons and practiced a lot on my own between lessons. I did about 2:00/100m in the tri. I took more lessons from different instructors as they all seemed to focus on different things and I kept practicing. By my early 50s I was, like McFuzz, hitting mid 1:40s / 100m in half IM swims and could sometimes crack 1:30 for 100m. Two IM swims came in a few seconds over 1:10 each.

Note that the initial 2:00/100m took months, not days, and further improvements came over years. But you're young and you have the time to get there.

Edited by Micawber 2021-05-17 5:15 PM

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