Firstly, apologies for the radio silence over the last few weeks on the blog - we’ve had the whole team busily engaged in a complete revamp of the entire www.swimsmooth.com website and coaching interface, and whilst we are not quite done with all that yet, we are getting very close and hope to resume these blogs and our usual community engagement in due course very soon. Thanks for your patience and understanding.
Today, Head Coach, Paul Newsome, has prepared a reflective piece for you on the value of swimming and what it means to us all, especially in these uncertain times. We hope it allows you to pause over a cup of tea or coffee and think a little bit about your own swimming and how your relationship with the water might have changed somewhat in the last 12 months. Paul features three brief stories of some inspiring swimmers he has had the pleasure to work with and how their swimming journeys have been significantly altered by the coronavirus, mostly for the better. Paul summarises with some of his own take-home points on how this period has changed his own thinking on swimming somewhat and how his ordinarily extrinsic competitive goalposts have shifted to a place of intrinsic challenge and finding a new calm with that. So please, relax, put your feet up and let’s get a little zen for a moment.
The Value of Swimming in Uncertain Times
I was recently invited as a guest on the new "An Open Water Swimmer's Podcast" with host Will Ellis (release date: 28th February here) to discuss my love and passion for swimming - an easy topic for me! Will is a great host and someone I'd taken for a Swim Smooth analysis session as part of a group over a decade ago in the UK. Given my area of technical interest in swimming, many podcasts that we've done with other hosts have always centered on these elements, but Will took a very different slant, one which focused very much on the "why" of swimming. Why do I swim? Why do I enjoy the water? Why swimming and not another sport? I came away with a headful of thoughts that I'd either never given due consideration to before, or maybe some that crystallized a growing appreciation I've started to foster of late?
The Changing Tide
Helen Webster, UK
"Open-water swimming has been a key part of my training week ever since taking those first steps with Paul all those years ago! Lockdown had made me realise just how important swimming is to me though and in so many ways. Not living near the coast and with managed venues nearby forced to close I've realised how much I rely on swimming for lifting my mood, giving me a pause from a busy world and fully immersing myself in nature. I'm a pool swimmer too and with centres all closed I'm even missing the tang of chlorine and having to do kick drills!!It sounds melodramatic but a tearful moment on the phone with a friend promoted her to gift me a garden pool and swimming tethered has given me a route back to the water (thanks to Swim Smooth Coach Jason Tait for the tethered swim sets!). It's also led me to a new swim community who are making the most of what they have and finding humour in sitting in ice baths and under hosepipes, or sharing tips for how to stop your garden pool freezing!I can't wait to have my 'proper' swimming back and believe me, will never take it for granted again. I'm planning a swim challenge for September and keeping fingers crossed it goes ahead!"
Sue Allingham, Denmark
"A year ago I entered the World Ice Swimming Championships in Bled Slovenia for a laugh. 2 weeks later I broke both my wrists and then Lockdown! By April I was going stir crazy and the day I had my casts removed, I got back into the sea, as the pools were shut. Little did I know that I would continue going in every day since! As my wrists got stronger, I could swim longer but the thought of trying to pull on a wetsuit was hanging over my head. By the time I probably could get one on I no longer felt the need. I continued to swim throughout the year and ended up becoming the Danish age-group champion in 25m & 100m Freestyle - Ice swimming and 5k Openwater.
A year on from Covid and we are still in the sea and simply just grabbing any opportunity to jump in the water, to try new beaches or temperatures. As you can see from the picture, we’ve started making our own frozen Margaritas!
What will I do when the pools open again? Dive in and just keep swimming! Never thought I’d miss the black line so much. Swimming as always is such a social thing & drinking coffee with friends after each swim has really made Lockdown actually enjoyable. Already looking at SwimRuns in Sweden, hopefully as it’s close by we may be allowed to travel. Otherwise lots of pre-paid events carried over from last year. I live in hope.
One thing is for sure, the sea is always open!"