What started out as a dark morning turned out to be a bright sunny day at the end of the clinic. I knew going in that we were going to do the new “on board” drill. For those of you who have been away from the pool for awhile, the new on-board is not placing the kick boards on your chest; it’s putting your feet on the top of the kick board and trying to make it to the opposite end of the pool without having the board fly into the next lane and knock someone else off their board.
“Spread those legs wide and load them up!” gently requests the coach. It was somewhat gratifying to see Hilary try it for the first time and struggle because I’ve never seen Hilary struggle with anything. I swam behind Lisa, which was a mistake because she did everything perfectly. How so? Her feet stayed on the board (most of the time) she lifted her hips but still kept foot pressure down on her uplifted hip side, she didn’t over-rotate the upper body, and she relaxed her neck and didn’t lift her head to breathe. A lot of things to think about when you can feel the board slipping off your feet in the middle of the pool!
My “aha” moments came when we could ditch the board and swim some 50’s. Using the same principles as above, I was able to feel more pressure on the top of my downward kicking foot I was trying to emulate the world renown Cal Bear (and close friend of Hermine’s) Nathan Adrian by keeping my knees close and not overkicking on a 6 beat steady rhythym. I also noticed that when I focused on my abdominal core and had my hips ride higher in the water, I could elongate my stroke and keep my hands in front of me longer, which meant I didn’t lift my head (as much) to breathe). I didn’t count my strokes from one end of the pool to the other, but they seemed to be fewer in number as I tried to glide more. For me, remembering to keep my hips higher and keep my ear on my shoulder when I breathe helped me align better. I know Hermine will want to hear “alignment” somewhere in this little missive.
So ends my interpretation of this morning’s clinic. If I messed up and said the wrong thing, I’m sure Hermine will turn my private “aha” enlightenment to an “oh oh” public correction!
Fred David, Morning Thunder