Saturday, April 30, 2016

Flip Turn Frustrations

I got super freaking pissed at swim practice this morning.

You may recall that after the swim meet two weeks ago, one of my goals for the year was to switch to primarily flip turns at practices (and hence also at meets) instead of my current practice of open turns.

I didn't really think this would be a very difficult goal to achieve since I currently CAN flip turn, I just choose not to.  I just had to get in the habit and get used to it.  I opted for open turns because I tended to get winded staying under for so long on a flip, and also sometimes would end up with water in my goggles.  But any time I wanted to do one (at a moderate pace at least) I could.

So Thursday at masters swim I figured I'd just take my swim pace a little easier than usual and just start doing flip turns at every turn.  No big.  Except it was.  Suddenly I couldn't do it anymore.  Suddenly every flip ended up like the one at the meet where I got all cockeyed and disoriented.  I have no idea what happened.  I literally couldn't do a single one.  I don't know if it's some kind of psychological trauma or what.  So anyway, I solicited Coach Don's help at the end of Thursday morning's practice, and he had me do some drills and practice turns and finally, after what felt like a thousand failed attempts, I managed one good turn.  (Which should not be that big of a deal because I've done a bunch before with no issue whatsoever!)  It actually felt really great.  Smooth and effortless.  A little taste of what might be possible in the future.

So in my head, between Thursday and today, I'm kind of fantasizing about swimming.  I have this smooth, powerful, effortless stroke and can do these beautiful, efficient flip turns without batting an eye.  (In my head....this is NOT real life).  I'm getting excited for Saturday (today's) practice when I can implement my new found swimming prowess.  I start swimming this morning and my core connection and body position and stroke were feeling great, so I was pumped about the improvements there, but when I went in for the flip: FAIL.  No big deal, try try again.  FAIL.  FAIL.  FAIL.  FAIL.  And every time I fail I lose time and get behind the people in my lane and either have to bust ass to catch up, or sit out a lap and hop on the next one.

I was getting REALLY frustrated.  (understatement.)  I really wanted to get it though so I kept trying for a little too long, and it was ruining my mood and ruining an otherwise perfectly good swim.  So finally I stopped.  It was such a relief.  To just swim and not think about the turns.  The ease and power of getting a good square push-off the wall with my legs on the open turns.  The lack of stress and effort to keep up in the lane.  *sigh*   But I want that, with the flip turn.  I need to practice, but practicing bad turns with zero success was just drilling bad habits into my brain and muscle memory, or at least that was my impression.  I think I'll take a few days or a week off of trying to flip, let my body and brain forget whatever bad juju it picked up, and then try again.

On the bright side, our masters team moves to a 50 m outdoor pool in about a month, instead of our current 25 yd indoor pool, so that will be 50% less turning!  Yay!

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