28 February 2021

NEW YEAR, NEW CHALLENGES! BY ALY - OUR BIG BLUE SWIM GUIDE

NEW YEAR, NEW CHALLENGES! BY ALY - OUR BIG BLUE SWIM GUIDE

After our Big Blue Swim Guide, Greg shared his interesting experience swimming in the cold waters of Scotland, we invited another one of our wonderful guides, Aly to share the new year challenge she set herself for 2021.

Aly lives in Zimbabwe, which is a land-locked country, but that’s where swimming pools come in…

NEW CHALLENGES WITH ALY…

We all know that getting back into the pool after a break carries mixed feelings, and especially in these tricky times, it can be both exhilarating and a tad daunting. For me, I’m a little like a fish out of water living in Zimbabwe with no open water around me.

So, I decided for 2021 I would set myself a new challenge for the new year, one which would keep me occupied and motivated to keep returning to the pool, to gain the necessary speed to swim away from a crocodile if required!

What’s the challenge? 100m in under 60 seconds! Phew, well, I’ve managed 62-63 seconds, but in what feels like a previous lifetime, and with years of long-distance training, it’s a bit like learning a new skill again. I’m assured by the coach here, and my soul searching that it’s a realistic goal, and you know what? I’ve got all year so let’s go for it!

For me, it’s all about the technique, that and using your legs! So, for sprinting I need to use the rudder that I drag behind me, who knew? I can easily gain those vital seconds from better underwater work, especially good strong kicks off the turn. So now every time I get in the water, it’s five good butterfly kicks off each turn and a good breakout (no breath for at least one full stroke), which is certainly challenging my aerobic capacity! I also need to relax my neck… Apparently, as soon as my speed increases I try to play water polo. In comes the ‘helpful and novel’ corrective tool of placing a fork under my hat, on my neck to encourage me to keep my head down - we are never too old to improve!

Alongside this is improving ankle flexibility and getting to try out the ‘banana peel technique’, which will revolutionise the way you do abdominal crunches apparently! Search for a video called Bridger Bell Banana Peel on Youtube to be amazed.

SET YOUR OWN GOALS!

So why have I shared my challenge? Hopefully not to bore you, but to encourage you to plan your own goal for this year. What I’ve come to realise is that goals are especially vital at the moment with the dreaded ‘Covid-19’ putting a hold on most of our plans. Although for many, access to pools or open water is tricky at present, there’s still plenty you can do on dry land to prepare yourself before returning to the water to minimise injuries.

In short, your training doesn’t need to be water-based, for the time being, it could be simply strengthening joints and muscles (especially the back, shoulders, abdominals or legs and glutes.) For the legs, a great, crazy challenge is climbing the height of Everest using the stairs in your house, I’ve completed five of the 7 summits now! (I needed something to occupy me during the endless weeks of enforced quarantine.)
You can also easily create little circuits in your garden/house using weights like food cans, and doing movements that mimic swimming (i.e. flutter kicks for leg and abdominal strength, arm circles, shoulder presses, upright rows etc.) - the options are endless.

If you can get in the big blue, why not challenge yourself to try something new or achieve that goal which you’ve put off? If you’ve always fancied open water, try it, if you’ve wanted to learn how to tumble turn, do it! Remember goals don’t need to be massive, but tailored to you, enjoy them and allow them to motivate and get you through these tough times.

Keep your heads high, smile and keep kicking (or so I’m told!)


If there was ever a time to try something new, it’s now! Freedom is on the horizon and we are getting ever closer to warmer weather and the summer months. If you’re a well trained open water swimmer you can use those techniques with us in the warm, crystal clear waters of Greece. If you haven’t tried open water or are a ‘novice’ in that area, we have our guides on hand to help you throughout your trip with us, so not only can you enjoy the wonderful scenery from the water, you’ll also learn some new skills to ensure your safety in the open water.

For more information explore the rest of our website.

We look forward to having you with us!

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