Wednesday, July 1, 2009

And the water felt thick

If you don't spend alot of time in the water, you might not understand. I might not even be able to explain what I mean.

Swimming is about balance, propulsion, and form.

It's about being a straight line, elongating your body and rotating. It's complex. It's hard to master.

It's much different than the swimming many of us learned when we were 7 years old.

If you're like me, swimming was more of survival, splashing around frantically just trying to get to the other side.

It never felt easy.

Then we make progress....and a little more....and a little more.

Still, the effort is there. It almost feels as though you're battling the water instead of using the water. There's nothing to hold on to that allows you to pull yourself through.

After years of making small adjustments of getting faster, maybe you've resigned yourself to the fact that swimming will always be hard. The water will always feel as though it's slipping through your fingers. You reach out for it, but it dissolves as your arms sweep back.

Your arms are paddles. They smack the water and hurry back out, so they can try to keep you afloat.

One morning, as you plunge in, you notice that you feel like you are laying on a soft mattress. You are laying on top of the water. Your legs aren't sinking. You aren't struggling to stay afloat. Out of nowhere, when you plunge your arm ahead, instead of dissolving, you feel like you are pulling yourself through jell-o. You have a grip. Your legs are forcing the current. You can feel the power of your kick propelling you forward. You can use the water, but it doesn't feel like water. You're not sinking; you're not struggling.

Somehow, the water has become thick. Instead of fighting it, you've found the balance. You've found the technique. You've discovered power where you didn't think it existed. Instead of struggling, the laps become effortless. You are pulling yourself through the water as if you were rock climbing. Each stroke gives you another handle to pull yourself through.

When the water becomes thick, you've found your stroke.