Let’s play Jeopardy, shall we?
Answer: “Now that’s a wide shot.”
Question: What is the phrase Jeff King said as he filmed Paul Tenorio’s start from the back angle?
One of my biggest concerns entering this whole workout/swim journey was whether I would end up with the right coach — someone who would push me, but at the same time help me grow, who made sure he was tough when he needed to be, but also was easy-going enough to have a little fun.
I can honestly say I feel like I ended up in a perfect situation. The above example is just a snippet of the fun Jeff likes to have during his practices. I’ve told the story of his singing Baby Beluga. (Another favorite is the theme song to ‘Speed Racer.’) He also enjoys cracking jokes while you swim and kick, or doing something that’ll make you laugh when you’re in the middle of a workout.
It’s such an important part of coaching.
I always figured that there were two things in my life I loved enough to do for a living: journalism and sports. After I realized I was no longer the best of the best at playing, coaching was something I always thought would be a natural progression for me — and maybe it still will be. Luckily, I ended up with my dream job — literally, the one job I used to picture myself having — writing about sports for The Washington Post, my hometown newspaper.
I’ve worked camps, I’ve taken charge of games when a coach has been late, and I’ve been around enough coaches to recognize a lot of what makes a good one. Now, as I step back into athlete’s shoes I can see just how important it is to strike that balance between teaching and having fun. Sometimes it’s hard to see when you look at the pro levels. It’s what makes you step back when you see a picture of Redskins Coach Jim Zorn throwing large blocking dummies at his quarterbacks in the rain and think: this guy is unreal.
Today’s workout was another progression. Jeff continues to work with me on my kick — a point of frustration for me as I can’t seem to get as much power and speed as I would like out of it. So basically here’s how it went:
175 kick, 25 swim
150 kick, 50 swim
125 kick, 75 swim
100 kick, 100 swim
75 kick, 125 swim
50 kick, 150 swim
25 kick, 175 swim
Looks fun, doesn’t it?
After that, I headed over to the deep end of the pool and did some sprint work. Basically, I went four 12.5s on zero breaths, 10 seconds of rest in between, then 30 seconds of hard kick. Ten times.
It was a good workout overall and I’m starting to get some little things down. As Jeff said, now that I’ve got a comfortable flip turn, it’s time to move on to the next little detail I need to get right.
So that’s what my mission is. I take the video that Jeff is shooting of me in practice and I study it. My right arm isn’t pushing all the way through; let’s take a look and see what it looks like and then improve on it tomorrow. My breathing still isn’t perfect; how bad is it? Am I kicking enough? Am I kicking when I breathe? Are my fingers always together?
It’s good to know I’m able to start focusing on some of the little things because I’ve done enough to get the big things down pretty much okay. Here’s hoping that I continue to see improvement as I go along — and eventually when I race.
And I will race soon … more on that later this week.
Washington Post reporter Paul Tenorio will train with a swim club over the next few months and chronicle his journey as he attempts to transform from regular guy/sports reporter to competitive swimmer — everything from his waistline to his best times.