Throughout this project I’ve taken different lessons from different experiences and tried to apply them to my swimming.
Whether it’s been learning how to race or things that applied to my every day swimming — the breathing, flip turns, starts, pull, etc. — I’ve constantly been pulling things away from practice and Coach Jeff King’s advice as I try to become a better swimmer.
It’s been an interesting process because I feel like there is always something new to learn or to tweak. Even the swimmers in the pool next to me who have been at this for years are tweaking things to see how it can help them go faster. Shoot, even Michael Phelps tried a straight-arm freestyle for a while.
Anyway, the process of getting faster has become kind of like a puzzle of sorts — or maybe some kind of pyramid. I’ve constantly been adding bricks to the pile, building and building and hoping to one day get to the peak.
Today was that type of practice for me, as I worked on some of the small things that I want to do to improve my stroke, and hopefully, my time this weekend.
My focus during practice today was on a number of things.
1. Keeping my head down — This should help my hips stay up and should make me faster overall. I tend to lift my head a lot and peek forward, which slows me down considerably. I am getting better, but I am still learning how to breathe with my chin tucked all the way down.
2. Getting enough power off the wall — One of the things that was pointed out to me after the October Open was that I don’t get enough power off of the walls coming out of my flip turn. I think a number of things contribute to this. I haven’t been tight enough in my streamline coming out of the turn, I haven’t gone into the wall perfectly to maximize the push and my kick off the wall hasn’t been perfect. This was a major focus of mine this morning, and for the past few weeks.
3. Keeping my wrist locked — This is something Jeff pointed out to me today. I have a tendency to let my wrist slide out sometimes and that causes me to lose the pull on the water. It’s all about having a feel for the water, which I don’t yet, and thus remaining focused on keeping the wrist locked and maximizing the effect of my stroke — which was a major contributor as I spun my arms in the final 12.5 of that 100 three weeks ago.
It is definitely a lot to think about as I swim, but I think that as long as I talk to myself about those things before a race I can focus on them and make sure they all happen. If they do, I think my time should improve — hopefully. Obviously there’s still a lot that goes into it, you know, like adrenaline and fitness and pressure and all that. But getting this stuff right helps a ton.
Today’s swim was about focusing on these things while also testing out the arm and making sure I didn’t mess it up anymore. I was happy with the way things went and am going to continue to build what I do in preparation for the weekend.
I also weighed in this morning and stayed right at 177, which I was happy about. It feels pretty crazy when people ask how much weight I’ve lost and I say 16 pounds. I mean, that’s a lot. Every once in a while it hits me how far I’ve come. A few more pounds and I’ll be a very, very happy camper. Imagine getting to 173 and saying, “Yeah, I lost 20 pounds doing this project.”
July 20: Weight- 193, Waistline- 36, BMI- 27.6, Body Fat Percentage- 17.7
July 27: Weight- 189, Waistline- 36, BMI- 27.1, Body Fat Percentage- 16.6
Aug. 03: Weight- 185, Waistline- 36, BMI- 26.5, Body Fat Percentage- 15.6
Aug. 10: Weight- 184, Waistline- 36, BMI- 26.4, Body Fat Percentage- N/A
Aug. 17: Weight- 186, Waistline- 35, BMI- 26.7, Body Fat Percentage- 14.5
Aug. 24: Weight- 185, Waistline- 35, BMI- 26.5, Body Fat Percentage- N/A
Aug. 31: Weight- 184, Waistline- 34, BMI- 26.4, Body Fat Percentage- N/A
Sept. 8: Weight- 184, Waistline- 34, BMI- 26.4, Body Fat Percentage- N/A
Sept. 15: Weight- 181, Waistline- 34, BMI- 26.0, Body Fat Percentage- 13.1
Sept. 21: Weight- 181, Waistline- 34, BMI- 26.0, Body Fat Percentage- N/A
Sept. 28: Weight- 180, Waistline- 34, BMI- 25.8, Body Fat Percentage- N/A
Oct. 5: Weight- 179, Waistline- 33, BMI- 25.7, Body Fat Percentage- 14.0
Oct. 19: Weight- 179, Waistline- 33, BMI- 25.7, Body Fat Percentage- N/A
Oct. 26: Weight- 177, Waistline- 33, BMI- 25.4, Body Fat Percentage- 11.6
Nov. 2: Weight- 177, Waistline- 33, BMI- 25.4, Body Fat Percentage- N/A
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.
Tags: Michael Phelps