I have been considering swimming with a USMS Masters swim group at my local YMCA. The group meets most mornings, but on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the swim is in a 50-meter pool. I like the idea of swimming 50 meters before I have to perform a flip turn for several reasons: (1) I believe it mimics open-water swimming where, obviously, there are no flip turns — you can’t use the wall to speed up; and (2) honestly, my flip turns aren’t the best! My fear of joining the Masters group was simply this: there are some really excellent swimmers! I didn’t want to feel out-of-place by being super slow, having bad flip turns and, generally, not knowing what I was doing!
Last week, I shared my concerns with my lovely bride, Michelle. She looked at me aghast and said: “(1) You are a good swimmer; (2) If you are going to swim the English Channel, don’t you think it would benefit you to swim with the Masters; and (3) You’re a friggin Ironman!” Well, with Michelle’s prodding, I attended my 1st Masters swim this morning at 5:15 a.m. (truth be told, I was 5 minutes late and didn’t get into the water until 5:20) at the West YMCA here in Boise. It was AWESOME!
The coach on deck had a solid workout — it even included some backstroke. She was kind, thoughtful and approachable. She explained the drills and unfamiliar stuff to me in a way I could understand. She kept an eye on me and “coached me up.” We chatted about her philosophy after the workout; it’s a philosophy I agree with…get the form right and the rest will follow. The swimmers were just as friendly as could be.
It just goes to show you: (1) getting out of your comfort zone every now and again is critical; and (2) fear of the unknown vanishes the instant the thing is no longer “unknown”! I know I’ll learn a lot from swimming with the Masters group. I plan on swimming Tuesday and Thursday mornings (and I will be in the pool early!).
Until next time…stay focused on your goals and do everything (even trying something that makes you uncomfortable) in your power to achieve them!