I’m a developing swimmer!
It is a term the new Masters coach likes to use and now so do I.
Until recently I really wasn’t sure what to call myself since I took up swimming rather late in life. You know the “Master Swimmer” label never really seemed to fit as I had not swum in grade school, high school, or college. It seems to me that most “Master Swimmers” really have some sort of swimming background.
I also didn’t feel very comfortable calling myself a “Triathlon Swimmer” as this label suggested that all I care about is swimming freestyle for as long as possible. I must confess that I really enjoy learning and swimming all of the swim strokes.
I am of course a triathlete but this does not really accurately reflect my swimming ability. So “Developing Swimmer” really fits the bill.
And as a developing swimmer I’ve come to realize that we have our own very unique and special vocabulary the best reflects or unique and special swim ability.
For instance “Master Swimmers” have the ability to swim at least three different speeds.
Just think of these speeds on a horizontal line with easy being represented by the number 1, moderate would be represented by the number 5, and fast would obviously be represented by the number 10.
But a developing swimmer I really don’t have such a wide range of speeds. In fact I only have two speeds.
Feasy is the speed I swim at for 90 percent of the time. It consists of a stroke that somewhat resembles the idea freestyle form but is about 90 percent slower than most Masters Swimmers in the pool. It does have one big advantage. That being that I can breath. The other speed lacks this essential swim technique and that’s why I seldom use them.
Fasy is the speed I use when the coach says swim 50-yards easy and 50-yards fast or 50-yards build, or 50-yards negative split, or 50-yards at a strong effort, or 50 yards over kick or 50 yards at 90 percent.
My fast speed actually consists of two speed settings. The first 25-yards or so is what you might actually consider fast. (Just for your information, about the speed of a motivated penguin waddle) The second 25-yards consists of a lot of thrashing and flailing and heavy breathing but little forward progress, (About the speed and direction of very drunk penguin)
As a Developing Swimmer I also lack another essential skill of the Masters Swimmer, and that would be the flip turn.
Don’t get me wrong I can do a flip turn…once.
After the first flip turn events head downhill quickly. First I completely lose any sign of an efficient swim stroke. I fall down the ladder of ability with a thump to something just a wee bit above the doggy paddle.
When I try to do a second flip turn two things happen at the same time. First, I suck up the entire content of the pool into my nasal cavities and second, I tend to flip, push from the wall and immediately bounce off the bottom of the pool like pissed off NBA player spiking the new rubber basket ball.
Finally, as a Developing Swimmer I tend to swim in the lane of shame. The lane of shame is the very first lane, or perhaps second lane (depending on how many first time swimmers happen to show up to the masters class on any given day) that gets the reduced workout. You know the fast lanes swim 6 fifties, while the lane of shame gets to only swim 4 fifties.
Because as developing swimmers we need more time to work on our stroke.
OK, the real reason is that we’re much slower in our lane of shame, but that’s alright, as we’re just developing our swim skills...and that why we are developing swimmers.