Swimming has been agonizing for me these past two weeks, thanks to Coach Meriam who noticed that though I could swim many, many laps in the Olympic-length pool, I was doing it the wrong way.
"Kapoy kaayo ng imong style, Doc," she said one evening a fortnight ago. "Your hips and legs are way too low in the water, your body is almost at a 45 degree angle." I wanted to protest, "No, it's not kapoy, in fact, I'm so used to it already. The reason my legs are down is that I'm too lazy to kick harder, which I'm pretty sure is really tiring."
But Ma'am Meriam is not the coach of the NegOr Swim Team for nothing, she does know her stuff. So I gulped down my retort and meekly asked, "Unsaon man na, Coach?" secretly thrilled that for the first time in my heretofore non-athletic life, I now had a 'coach'.
Thus began my acquaintance with a floatation device called a kickboard, which I hold on to while practicing the kick ass kick which is actually a fluttery churning of the water's surface. "You have to hear your feet making little splashes on the water. If you hear the splashes, that means your feet are breaking the surface, therefore, they're not way down low."
My first go at the kickboard was utter torment. Keeping my chin above water was difficult, my neck, shoulders and arms were tense; and so were my hips, legs and feet. I could not finish one 50 meter lap without making five to six stops midpool to pant/gasp/bubble up/catch my breath. Now on the second week, I'm down to three rests per lap.
Coach has a lot of instructions for me: Relax. Butt up, legs up. Don't bend your knees. Point your toes. Raise that left elbow. Tilt your head at such an angle. Don't stop kicking when you breath. Relax, relax, relax.
Not yet there, but I am so looking forward to the time when I could finish one lap without a pause and in perfect form.