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Saturday, 26 February 2011

Tight Chest

Arriving at the pool this morning I felt all excited about swimming with the training fins I had bought towards the tail end of our winter season last year. I hadn't really used them a lot then and because one isn't allowed to swim with fins during the summer month, when the pool is open to the public, they had become (almost) redundant .. well, until this morning that is! The reasoning behind bringing them along today was that I thought I would be able to swim more lengths as (theoretically) swimming with fins does speed you up (somewhat!) What I had forgotten, however, was that these training fins are quite heavy and are primarily used for improving ones leg kick and to build up strengths... Pushing off on my first lengths of what I thought would become six lengths (and 2 more than yesterday) I immediately felt the weight on my legs and the effort I had to put into my kick. It actually took my breath away - a feeling I had not experienced before when swimming in cold water chest tightened and I was never able to fully relax into my stroke... reaching the deep end of the pool after my third length I even had to stop to take a bit of a breather before heading back to the shallow end. I certainly didn't feel as if I was going much faster, all I felt was that I was uncomfortably out of breath. Never mind the cold ... I was getting out after length four to relieve the tightness I was feeling in my chest ;) I'm happy to report that it wasn't anything a bit of rest didn't fix. After 20 minutes in the sauna and a lovely chat with Kate, I was back in the pool for another 2 widths - without fins!

Fazlar hiding under his extra large umbrella :) ...

... As it was periodically chucking it down this morning

Simon adjusting his goggles before heading off

Ann pushing off for her two lengths

Ann has all sorts of big open water swims planned for this year ...

... you can listen to Ann's plans on today's boo

Simon relaxing into his breaststroke

Ann and Simon swimming side by side back down to the shallow end

by the way today I also had the chance to ask Ann to "set the record straight" about how she suggested Tricky would be the perfect person to take over from Betty and produce our monthly newsletter ;)

I like that shot of Simon ;)

After an absence of a weeks or so due to a head cold Jonathan C. decided to jump in the deep end and swim 3 lengths

Greg decided on a gentler option and used the steps in the deep end ...

... before powering down the pool to catch up with .....

.... Jonathan who was well on his way

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Unable To Digest

I grabbed my kit too quickly this morning on my way out the door and up to the lido ... when it came to taking a photo of Tricky to accompany the interview I did with him for the lidosounds boo, my trusted IXUS camera told me that it was "unable to digest the photo" :) ahhhh poor camera had indigestion .. ! well, all it meant was that I had forgotten to put the SD card back into the camera .. and so the image I (thought) I had just taken couldn't be stored .. anywhere! We've all done it .. haven't we ..?! no, not the indigestion bit ... I mean forgotten to put a card in the camera!

Oh well, lucky I had my "smart phone" HTC with me!
Here some shots taken with it- it's got an 8 Megapixel camera - technology does move at the speed of light!

Tricky after his swim and just about to share his experience on taking on Betty's Newsletter

the difficulty with taking action shots with the HTC is that you never know when the shutter actually goes off .. the focusing takes it's time ... which means freezing the exact action you have in mind can be a bit of a hit and miss experience.

As I was lining up my next shot Nick changed from breaststroke to front crawl which didn't help either!

it's easier when taking still life ... I rather like that shot .. although I know the owner of the legs and the banana peel does not approve :)

Monday, 21 February 2011

Wishful Thinking

As I arrived this morning Pip got in the deep end to swim a length down to the shallow end. I walked down alongside Pip to grab a couple of shots of her.

the water had dropped to 5 Celsius (from "only just" 6 on saturday) after a rather cold and miserable sunday and Pip was still showing a very relaxed stroke ... when out of the blue and almost in mid stroke...

... she suddenly stopped in her tracks .... dived down to the bottom of the pool .... this took me by surprise and I only just got her re surfacing! Any treasures down there Pip? no ... sadly not ... wishful thinking .. but certainly looked like something .. down there ...
to console herself she then added another two widths to her outing before making her way to the sauna !
I swam two lengths and 2 widths before making a beeee line to the sauna too. The water temperature had dropped indeed!

It was lovely to see Clare again too ... we rarely swim at the same time ... so I took the opportunity to chat to her for the boo.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Stefanie In Action

After a beautiful swim, my usual stint in the sauna and a dive followed by another two widths of the lido I felt terrific. The only "worry" I had was that I hadn't done my boo yet ... I wasn't too sure where my inspiration was going to come from ... it was raining quite heavily ever since I left my house and when I arrived at the pool it was pouring - most early birds had been (for their swim) and gone ... however, when stepping out of my cubicle I spotted Stefanie (in swimming attire) coming out of the ladies changing rooms, walking towards the shallow end of the pool. Perfect. Stefanie's lovely stroke inspired me to immediately pick up my camera and get clicking. After grabbing some shots during the three lengths she swam I also caught up with Stefanie in the sauna for a quick chat.

Stefanie started off full speed on her first length

I like the wave her body makes - I haven't noticed that with any other swimmer

I think it's because Stefanie seems to be quite buoyant - apparently women are more buoyant than man .. don't ask me why :)


fully elongated arm

pushing off and on the way for length no. two - Stefanie keeps her head a bit higher than Alfonso during that under water phase

Stefanie's left arm does all the work under water

even above water Stefanie's head carriage seems higher than Alfonso's - maybe she is not swimming the total immersion technique? I must ask her next time I see her.

dynamically looking ahead

straight line

Stefanie doesn't seen to rotate much -
here she is just about to swim her arm forward

During our chat in the sauna, I showed Stefanie some of the shots - she explained the importance of keeping the hand at an angle so to best get hold of the water with the hand and forearm when pulling back under water.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

A Study Of Alfonso

As I arrived at the Lido this morning I noticed a very elegant swimmer powering up the pool - I wasn't quite sure who it was ... I hadn't immediately recognised the stroke ... taking a closer look though and judging by the stylish way this swimmer's hands reached forward and entered the water so smoothly, I concluded that it could only be the one and only Alfonso! I had a good chance to take quite a few photos of Alfonso as he swam six lengths. The water temperature still only shows 5.5 Celsius!

Alfonso simply glides along - one arm fully stretched out for maximum glide while the other arm has just come out of the water, getting ready to reach forward again to complete the cycle

the right arm forward, Alfonso's hand about to make contact with the surface of the water while the left arm is pulling under water and coming backwards

here you can see the under water technique - the arm is pushing down

Alfonso is actually a swimming teacher - he applies the Total Immersion technique -
Funny that his green cap takes on the colour yellow when under water !

here Alfonso is coming to the deep end of pool

and pushing off again under water - notice that his arms are fully stretched out - one hand placed on top of the other, head between the arms to minimize resistance - like a pencil cutting through water - his legs could be closer together and stretched out but here he is already starting his kick

Mr Bubbles and Alfonso are great sparring partners - specially in the summer months when they push each other to swim faster - Today Mr. Bubbles got in the pool after Alfonso. Alex is on his first lengths while Alfonso is on his sixth and last of the morning - Today, their friendly rivalry was of course extended and Alex who has been swimming six length for the past few days, had to swim eight today!

here another image showing the classic freestyle movement -
right arm just about to come back as the left hand is about to enter the water

here the rotation while taking a breath

Mr. Bubbles seems more buoyant -
head position is a bit higher and his rotation is less obvious - mind you he swim faster than Alfonso!

that's it - time to get out and to the sauna ...
but not before having a word with me for the boo!

By now Chris and Sue are also in the pool - they swam four lengths - Mr. Bubbles on his sixth length caught up with them from far down the pool -

he didn't stop there .. oh nooo - he swam another two lengths which made it eight - more than he's done so far in the new year - here you can again see the difference in style - Alex's hand is at an angle, his thumb and hand seem to be pushing the water away which makes for the bubbles (which he doesn't like making .. ) but hey, as I said before, Alex swims very fast - just image how much faster he would swim if the entry of his hand was smoother :) (creating less resistance)

Remember : it's all about enjoying what we do!
Bernie in her first season of cold water swimming enjoying her two lengths of breaststroke -
she told us in the sauna that she still finds it hard to put her face into 5.5 Celsius - she is doing brilliantly!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Today's Sundry of Images

Vince reaching for the sky

Michael rushing back to his beloved ...

... beloved bike

the majestic trees are sadly still leafless

lovely to see birds enjoying cruising over the lido

the orange cap can only belong to ...


Jonathan contemplating getting in while Mr. Bubbles is cruising up and down

neoprene cap off ...that looks like a bit of fun, Jonathan

Vince pushing off for his two lengths

Mr. Bubbles seem to be quite buoyant ... I like the shimmer on the surface of the water and on Alex's back

here we go .. favour returned .. a bum shot of Alex's tumble turn :)

ok the previous shot wasn't too flattering ... but I love this shot .. also of Alex!

I caught up in the sauna with "musical athlete" Annie for a lovely chat

Ann Brimelow on her second length, she only takes a breath on the left .. which meant I could never get her face in the shot while she was swimming from the deep end to the shallow end ...