Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Discovering backstroke as an alternative distance stroke and thinking about zombies

Today's set was about avoiding back pain, and to find out how tough it is to do distance backstroke.  I've never done backstroke in any long distances, and with GSL on my mind, I might find it difficult to keep my face in the water when my lips and mouth have just had enough!  So I was thinking that doing some backstroke might become necessary.   So today I experimented with doing distance sets of backstroke and was very happy and surprised by the results!

2000 free
2000 pull
2000 back
2000 free
2000 pull
2000 back
200 IM


12,200 yards total in 3:30

I found that my backstroke is about 25-30% slower than freestyle.   I was doing 2000 back in just under 40 minutes, while it typically takes me just under 30 minutes free.  The thing that surprised me most is that I didn't have any rubbing points, I was able to get in an extremely relaxed state when doing long strokes on my back.  I felt great!  I know it sounds weird, but it was almost as relaxing as a massage.  I'm sure my form looks really bad.  When my right arm enters the water I rotate my body slightly to the right and my head goes under the water and I exhale.  This rhythm allows me to really focus on an exhale underwater and allows my breathing to go into a calm and rhythmical flow.  I REALLY enjoyed the back set.  I didn't want to focus on how much slower I was going.  I wasn't pushing it by any means.   This was designed to be a long distance set and I'm excited to do more practice doing backstroke in long distances in order to counter the aches that occur when doing tons of freestyle.  
Yesterday I saw a picture of TL doing freestyle.  In this picture and in videos I've seen of him, although the stroke looks relaxed and effortless, I'd say it does NOT resemble a dolphin, which is TI's mascot, but more like a zombie.  Made me laugh thinking of having a mindful swimming zombie as a mascot.  

Zombies wouldn't fit the overly conscious self-awareness criteria that TI preaches.   Dolphins are fast and powerful.  Comparing humans and dolphins is like comparing circles and squares.  Both are shapes but thats about it.  They're both so different.  The thing that's freaky about zombies is that while they are slow, they seem to move effortlessly and just keep on going like the energizer bunny, which is what you want when you're doing marathon swimming.  
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