It may sound a little odd to admit, but one of the things I worry about as I swim is being conspicuous. So when I received my official Henley swim hat I realised this was something I was going to have to get over, though I have to confess it’s stayed firmly in my bag, mostly because I have this dread people will be looking at me thinking – Henley Mile, REALLY!?!?!?!
I’m so proud of getting my place I should be wearing my hat constantly, although that said it’s taken me 2 weeks to feel legit enough to venture poolside with my kickboard and pullbuoy.
It’s this same self-consciousness that has stopped me making the transition between lanes, worrying whether or not my technique was good enough for life in the medium and fast lanes. Which got me thinking, with only 10 weeks left to train, should I even be getting preoccupied with technique, or should it be the icing on the cake, once I’ve improved speed and stamina, or are they all interconnected?
The problem is that once I start thinking about what my arms are doing my breathing goes to pot and when my breathing goes it all begins to unravel. I suppose my dilemma is whether I’m tweaking things correctly, it’s a challenge when you can’t see yourself.
The moment when self-doubt turned to something else came just this last weekend when I found myself driving through my strokes, changing up a gear. It was A) a little startling to suddenly discover this ability B) a real boast to keep at it, having tangible evidence the training is paying off. Rather than just swimming up and down I feel more interactive with the water.
With these emerging superpowers of confidence and increasing fitness I realised I needed to be brave, so after much loitering and contemplating under the guise of recovery I decided enough was enough. I ducked under the rope and I was off up the medium lane. Four swims later I’ve got over that feeling of being chased and happily haven’t been responsible for any swim traffic jams. The hat’s out of the bag too and any day soon it’ll make it into the pool.