If This Were Easy…


Why I’m taking swimming lessons, a handy chart.

Filed under: metapost — Easy @ 10:39 pm
Crawl 00:28.75
Crawl w/ Kick 00:37.23
Crawl 00:38.22
Backstroke 00:55.59
Crawl 00:36.86
Crawl w/ Kick 00:49.13
Crawl 00:37.75
Backstroke 00:59.51
Crawl 00:38.80
Crawl w/ Kick 00:47.84
Crawl 00:35.28
Backstroke 00:56.64
Crawl 00:36.84
Crawl 00:42.86
Break 01:33.44
Crawl 00:30.52
Crawl w/ Kick 00:42.52
Crawl 00:39.19
Backstroke 00:52.52
Crawl 00:37.60
Crawl w/ Kick 00:45.13
Crawl 00:40.01
Backstroke 00:58.65
Crawl 00:37.53
Crawl w/ Kick 00:46.40
Crawl 00:41.97
Backstroke 00:56.80
Crawl 00:40.97
Crawl 00:41.88
Break 01:53.86
Crawl 00:32.35
Crawl 00:39.64
Crawl 00:43.96
Backstroke 00:55.00
Crawl 00:38.27
Crawl 00:43.66
Crawl 00:42.42
Backstroke 00:55.62
Crawl 00:40.13
Crawl 00:43.39
Crawl 00:42.42
Backstroke 00:55.97
Crawl 00:40.52
Crawl 00:45.40
Break 00:49.53
Crawl 00:35.01
Crawl 00:40.23
Crawl 00:40.65
Backstroke 00:55.08
Crawl 00:38.32
Crawl 00:45.39
Crawl 00:43.60
Crawl 00:50.60
Crawl 00:41.66
Crawl 00:44.40
Crawl 00:39.41
Backstroke 00:55.58
Crawl 00:42.67
Crawl 00:43.45

So, okay, the handy chart probably isn’t actually all that handy. But a detailed reading of it will reveal why I’m taking swimming lessons, despite the fact that the chart covers off my ability to swim a kilometer.

I swim in sets of 14 laps (250m give or take), with backstroke laps on the 4th, 8th and 12th laps. Those are essentially resting laps, and they’re quite slow, and I don’t care.

More interesting is the crawl laps. Normally when I do front crawl, I swim arms only. But sometimes, on the return laps that aren’t backstroke, I try kicking. And those laps are much slower than the arms only laps, which is, uh, bad.

Now that return lap is almost always the slowest of the crawl laps — I think that mainly has to do with the currents in the water, but it may also have a bit to do with how the turns get timed into the laps. But even taking that into account, in the first two sets of the time above, I was kicking on my returns, and in the last two, I wasn’t.

In the first half, that return lap was an average of 6 seconds slower than the one that followed it. In the second half where I was never bothering to kick, the return lap was only an average of 2 seconds slower than the one that followed it. 4 seconds, when you’re talking lap times between 30 and 45 seconds is a fairly significant percentage.

So, that’s why I’m taking swimming lessons. At the very least, I’d like to be able to kick my legs and not have it hinder my progress.

My long term swimming goal is to get my crawl speed up to 50y/min, which is what’s considered ‘moderate’ swimming speed. I don’t think I’ll be able to get there if I continue to swim arms only. It’s just under 30y/min in the set above, but would be a little better without the kicked laps.


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