Or, in the tri-world, before you can bike. But personally, I would rather float. (I'm talkin' bout the *front* crawl, y'all.) I have never been what you would consider a strong swimmer. While I did take swimming lessons throughout my childhood, I usually did just well enough to pass the class. However, some of the teachers left a little to be desired. For example, my first "grey" level class consisted of treading water for 45 minutes while chanting air force ditties:
I did not pass that class.
Or the next time I took it.
I did manage to get a couple more levels in, but then my swimming days fizzled out as a young teenager because I could not fulfill the endurance requirements for front crawl.
From that point on, the term swimming basically meant frolicking around in the shallow end or swimming brief stints under water to get from point A to point B. Oh, I should mention that we actually had a pool in our backyard at our last home. Still, no swimming.
So anyway, over the last two years I focused on (a very poor version of) the breast stroke because I could manage to do a couple of laps without desperately clawing through the water to reach the pool wall.
My feelings on front crawl can best be explained as:
Trying to walk and chew gum.
While patting my head head and rubbing my tummy.
And adding a clap every 3rd, 8th and 93/16th step.
There are of course other challenges to swimming, such as:
keeping my hair out of my face while keeping my swim cap on,
trying to be *at one* with the water so that I can glide smoothly,
(You know he's there, even if you can't see him)
and finding the right goggles. I have tried so many that I should buy stock in them. But, I've found they generally fall into two categories.
OPTION A Small, cool-looking goggles:
They tend to be a *teensy* bit tight.
OPTION B Larger, recreational goggles:
Comfier, but they leak just a tad.
But, forsooth!! I have finally discovered the solution with...
OPTION C What I like to call Scuba Steve goggles:
Ginormous, sparkly honkin' goggles that suction your face but leave your eyes feeling wonderful!
So this year, with proper eye gear sorted, I have committed myself to finally learning the front crawl. Why? Because let's face it, how often do you see the breast stroke at the Ironman??
TUNE IN NEXT TIME FOR *ALL* THE HELPFUL HINTS I'VE LEARNED ABOUT SWIMMING!