Possibly you wonder why I haven’t taken time to swim the breast stroke in my Fastlane current yet? It hinges on having been working so hard to get ready for the triathlon and having limited time to swim. Because of getting sea sick and trying to keep up with the other aspects of training, I concentrated on the freestyle stroke. Also, I find the breast stroke an easy and relaxing stroke, so have a sense of cheating when I use it.
But Sunday, relax in the pool is what I wanted. Only not holding still. I needed movement. So, I tried an extended interval of just swimming the breast stroke for the first time in the Fastlane.
“Extended” was limited to 5 minutes because I got a cramp in the middle of one hand. I have never before, in many years of swimming the breast stroke, gotten a cramp in my hand, but I have never swum it for a long time in open water. In spite of the cramp, it was still a relaxing exercise. I found it a bit easier to stay in the current and maintain a standard distance from the machine. This is probably partly because the frog style kick tends to help maintain direction more distinctly than a flutter kick.
The mirror was of no use to me, I guess because head position with this stroke is mostly looking forward. When I tried to look, it felt very unnatural. No matter. The feel of the current was helping me to maximize my form. I was feeling a lovely combination of being Olympic and on vacation. A person should learn to enjoy these harmless delusions. :-)
One thingthat seemed noticeably different from swimming free style in the current, is that while swimming breast stroke I was more likely to jog back and forth with the current in between strokes if I wasn’t attending to pace. With free style I might float, gain, or drift slightly, but there was never a moment between each stroke when I felt slightly jerked back. I guess this exposes my loss of momentum when using the breast stroke. Trying it more often in the flow of the current should make it more efficient for me.
With a limited number of summer days, I have been wanting to get in the pool as much as possible (well, every day), but didn’t want it to be a challenging workout every time. Adding the breast stroke to my routine, maybe on alternating days, seems like it is going to help make that workout. I might end up with stronger hands, too!