Swimming at Altitude Forces New Thinking
Swimming at altitude provides a challenge above and beyond practicign other sports at altitude. You cant simply “swim slower” and take long deep panting breaths. Your breathign stroke must be seamless and flawless, and you must be able to take one every 2 strokes if needed due to the increased oxygen demands at altitude.
I’ve learned the true meaning of hypoxic training with swimming…has nothing to do with breath-holding sets (it never did, but that’s another essay)…and has everything to do with perfecting your technique.
Short workout, but a great day at the pool today. Where to begin…
I only had 30 minutes to swim before the kids swim team practiced, luckily there was a lane open with no one swimming. Next to me as a guy about my age who looked serious…his form looked pretty good as he cruised up and down the lane making big splashy flip turns at either end.
I sat on the edge of the deck and put on my swim cap and goggles, and set my one swim toy on the deck…my tempo trainer. I looked at the deck at the end of my neighbor’s lane…2 kick-boards, huge paddles, fins a pull buoy and an inhaler. I looked back at my tempo trainer and smiled at how uncluttered my deck area was. Uncluttered just like I hoped my mind would be by the end of my swim.
Fantastic Swim today.
Got in and warmed up with some spear switches and some strokign 25 yards. Spent a solid 30 minutes or more on stroke thoughts and some drills. First 10-15 minutes stroke thougths – separating water molecules, and slow handfuls of pudding. totally different feel with each one, yet both are important. Did alternating easy 50s of each one.
Then I knew I needed to start focusing on recovery, so I did an untimed progression until I was done of:
Today, emotionally and physically was just about me. The student practice was stroke work, stroke thoughts, rather than drills. Starting with rehearsals of the path the arm takes from entrance to exit (yes, backwards) . Three stoke thoughts went with this…the shape of the arm, the path from front to back, and the mail slot entry. The instructors practiced early, and did the student session, then we had coach’s practice right after that instead of at the end of the day since it’s warmer mid morning.
The week is really flying by. The 2 student sessions went well and people seem to be making really good progress. Sometimes when I see a few of the students swimming out of my peripheral vision, I think it’s an instructor! Today we practiced swing switch most of the day and some swimming. It may sound like it would be hard to practice one drill all day long, but each practice revolves around review of a previous drill, rehearsal of an upcoming skill and refining the skill.