by Jeremy Lyle
What does a Swim Coach and a Dentist have in common? They both use DRILLS. Ha-ha. Okay, lets get serious- Exposure to Santa Rosa Master’s Monday swim clinics, directed by the lovely Coach Hermine, provides considerable challenge, not without reward. The challenge, for me, is attempting to dismantle my flaw-riddled swimming stroke, through fundamental swim drill, and seamlessly integrate, multiple and proper, swim techniques into the framework of my ability. During today’s clinic, I experienced a taste of successful integration (reward), through the following swim drills: kick on sub-side, kick with pause, swim with shoulder touch, the beloved “X-factor”, and the shoulder “ball joint” elbow-setup with glide, thingie. If I found myself out-of-position, performing any of these swim drills, I found that I “hit a wall” and experienced a “deceleration”, like a racecar just after parachute deployment. My out-of-position freestyle faux pas that contribute to my deceleration are: breathing prematurely without my cheek tucked at my shoulder’s acromion/front-deltoid area, head too high or looking up, my arms crossing the centerline during pull, or failing to twist my relaxed torso appropriately. The success I achieved was through feeling deceleration, then connecting the sensation to the bad habit. With practice, and continued Monday clinic attendance, one day I hope to remove my swim stroke encumbrances and glide through the water.
By Jeff Scharfen
After completing a grueling workout run by his Master Coach Hermine, Saigyo the 12th Century swimming monk, was returning home on foot, gathering his thoughts, reflecting once again on how he could break through and transcend the pain and suffering of Master’s Swimming. As he walked, he heard the sound of footsteps padding behind him. Recalling that tigers roamed the forests of Santa Rosa, he picked up his pace. But the padding footsteps matched his effort, gaining speed. Saigyo panicked, swept by the same angst he got when immersed in a death-dealing 400 IM set. It was the identical panic that always defeated him. He ran. In fear of his life and blinded by terror, he lost the trail home and fell from a steep cliff. Falling about 20 feet, he grabbed a branch protruding from the cliff and looked up to see the bright and fierce eyes of a tiger staring down at him. He was out of the tiger’s reach, if only he could find his way down. He looked beneath him and to his horror, another tiger paced hungrily below. At that moment, Saigyo assessed his hold on the rocky cliff and saw a perfectly ripe red strawberry. He ate it. The strawberry proved to be the most delicious he had ever popped into his mouth.
Post-swim, hanging still.
Blue sky mind in morning fog.
Mu! MU!!! MUUUU!!!*
If Saigyo were truly enlightened, he would have fed the strawberry to the tiger. No effort. Swim in the moment. Do it and it will be done.
*Mu is a Japanese word used in Zen meaning “nothing.”