Thursday, July 28, 2011

Open Water Masters Class

After two failed attempts to make this class I did it and I am glad. After waking up shortly after four, I grabbed my pre-packed swim bag and headed out the door. Then i turned around and went back in to grab my towel and the wetsuit still sitting on the floor. I made the hour trip south to a house on a dead end road in Huntersville, NC. I was early so I sat in the car until someone else got there. I had no idea where I was going. It was so dark i could not even see any water around.

Almost in concert the rest of my classmates arrived and I followed them down the side of the drive way to a dock behind the house. Turns out the house was directly on the lake. I introduced myself to the 6 women who were my classmates as the instructor arrived. Then I introduced to myself to the instructor and we talked about why I am there. I noticed no other wetsuits so I asked about the water temp as i pointed to mine and they laughed.

We laid out pull buoys and paddles, then jumped in the 91 degree lake (I checked).

First off the instructor gave us a safety briefing that she was going to stay to our left in the kayak and then she pointed across the lake and said. "See that dock with the green roof swim to it as your warm up". My sighting sucked but I kept up with the group.

Then she said now scull to the dock with the black roof.

Once there she began explaining to us proper form at the beginning of the stroke and about aggressive hand entry- while making us tread water. Now swim back across the lake to the house with the red boat and practice the entry.

At this point I was getting very tired. I got there just in time to hear swim down three docks to where we started. I missed what we were working on I was so far behind.

Once we were back to the dock we tread water for a moment. I honestly can't remember what she talked about. We grabbed pull buoys and worked on our pull going back across the lake.

I was late again and just caught the directions. Use the pull buoy as a kick board and kick for thirty second, then place it between your legs and then pull 30 strokes without sighting, then repeat. I missed what the point was, but thought it was neat that until I got tired I was dead on without sighting. I also noticed that when kicking I got left behind, but when pulling I caught up and even passed part of the group.

Once back we put on paddles and then went across again, tread water, and returned. This was my first time with paddles and thought they are a little hard to use. I think they are more fatiguing than swimming without.

Once we took them off we swam out to the middle to practice our turning around the kayak. Then on to another dock. I stalled for a moment and she asked if  I needed help getting the paddles off, I said no I needed to catch my breath. She responded by whispering to me "don't worry there's only 8 more minutes"

During the next short swim she pulled the kayak up to me to watch my stoke. As she told me she was watching me I swallowed water and stopped- go figure! At the turn around she stopped me and said "you are doing just what I thought you were, you have perfect form above the water but once you get halfway through your stoke your elbow collapses backwards. You also do not have an end to your stroke. You need to keep pushing until you get to your hips, right now you are just taking your hand out of the water"

I worked on this on the last turn for the day, and when I got there she told me that it was perfect. I honestly could feel more power on the end and was keeping up with the group.

When we got out she told me I had a very powerful pull and that will be my strength.

Overall I really enjoyed this, it was a great workout, the instructor gave me good feedback, and it was really fun to swim with a group. There was not time for socializing but it was nice to be around others for once.

Lesson Learned: Strong pull but it can be better. I think that if it is good enough to gain on swimmers who were 100 yards ahead of me, that once I get a solid kick too I will be doing very well. This class also did a lot for my general comfort level plus sighting became instinctual. I can't wait to try it again next week!   


Tricia said...

super interesting,thanks for a peek into your class

Whitney said...

That sounds like a great workout. I've never done an open water workout, I usually just do a steady swim so this sounds interesting. Glad you made it and got some good feedback.

LB said...

where is this class, it is open for more swimmers??? i need to work on sighting soooo badly, but i dont have much access to the lake other than the lake norman OWS practices