The last class has come and gone, and the first level of my Total Immersion journey is complete! The final two classes introduced little new material, and we focused on the essentials, both outside and inside the pool. We slowly built our “house of cards”, originating our movements from the body’s core (BodyPump FTW!) and focusing on proper shoulder articulation and poise points.
In the pool, we progressed through several drills to sharpen our focus on different aspects of our stroke. For me, it looked like this:
- stealthy sleeve-like entry with the arm (closing my eyes for entry)
- even more shoulder articulation
- skate and breathe (w/ flippers)
- patient lead arm
- splitting my vision while breathing
- breathe and glide (alternate side breathing)
- add in tempo trainer at different tempos, from 140 down to 160, then 140 up to 125
I found that I need to continue to focus on shoulder articulation, and on maintaining a laser lead with the crown of my head while breathing. If I keep my face pointed to the bottom of the pool, when I turn my head to breathe my mouth will be in the best possible location.
This whole process has been centered around re-programming our brains. As Shane says, we’re working on imprinting these new behaviors we’ve learned. I was joking with Jia before the last class that I couldn’t make the next 5-week class series, but that was probably good. I said, “I really need time to imprint this.”
At that moment, my mind’s eye brought me to one of those tongue-in-cheek ideas that won’t go anywhere, but certainly was fun to think about at the time. I think we could all get “Imprint This” t-shirts and have a grand time sporting them around Ithaca!
Week 7 Video
I swam with my tempo trainer at 130, and found that I really enjoyed snapping my hips at the same time as the trainer’s “beep”. As Shane notes, I need to continue to focus on getting my shoulder out front. It was really funny, as at the beginning of this class, he stopped me and asked why my head was so far below the water. I didn’t know! I smartly replied that I was trying to be like a dolphin, and then quickly fixed that problem. That’s the thing I loved about this class, that if I picked up a bad habit (like that one) during practice, it was easily pointed out and rectified in the next class. No sense practicing the wrong thing!
Week 8 Video: Swimming with Shane
In week 8, after progressing through our drills, I had the great pleasure of swimming with Shane in my lane. He swam with each of us, matching our stroke count and breathing. During class, I had found that my optimal tempo was around 133-135 (a stroke every 1.33 to 1.35 seconds), resulting in a stroke count of about 17 and a low perceived rate of exertion. It was really cool to see Shane adapt his stroke to each classmate’s style. After the class, we all headed to the hot tub to spend time reviewing our videos.
Summarizing My Total Immersion Journey
All in all, I’m so pleased with how I’ve progressed these past 8 weeks. I’ve gone from a swim style that totally beats me up to one that I feel is sustainable over the long haul. We’ll see how it translates to open water swimming … as soon as we get through this winter. I am doing the intermediate triathlon next summer, my first at that distance, so I’m looking forward to a Level 2 TI class in my future. In the meantime, massive gratitude to Shane Eversfield for his quality instruction and good humor. It was truly a pleasure.
This is part of a bi-weekly series on my Total Immersion learning experiences. If you arrived here and are wondering what Total Immersion is or why I’m doing it, read about my swimming and who inspired me to take this on in my early forties.