Last weekend we were swimming in Filzbach – a place somewhere close to nowhere – together with Sheila Taormina. Sheila is a professional Swim Coach and an Olympic Gold Medal Winner, the smallest swimmer to win Olympic gold since 1920 and the only woman in the world to have competed in three distinctly different sports (Swimming, Triathlon and Pentathlon) in four consecutive Olympics and she was World Champion in Triathlon over the Olympic distance and last but not least a great, motivating and very professional person. Which means, she knows what she’s talking about. And I have never seen a person being so deep in her topics as she is.
To make a long story short. It worked. I mean it really worked. I started swimming together with a young coach in 2007 and raced the 1500km open water one year later in 24 minutes. Which is a respectable time for a rookie. Two year later then followed the 1900m in the Ironman 70.3 race with 34 minutes. But not more. One year later exactly the same time. Beside the fact that I did not have enough kilometers and physical power in my arms there were some technical issues which i didn’t overcome. That was my personal motivation to meet Sheila. I want to race the 1900m in 32 minutes and the 3800m in 2013 clearly below 70 minutes.
Sheila told us her story and explained that she had to become 27 when a coach told her how she could improve her swim even more. An impressing story and astonishing insights. And we talked about our physiology, stretching, muscles and yoga positions. Out of the class room she told us exactly what to do in the water and … amazing. I’ve never felt like this in the water. And I’ve never produced under and upper water vortexes out of nothing. All things I’ve felt that went wrong did work and … the best … I’m still knowing exactly why:
- keeping up the body tension and tone
- not waiting but stretching in the water (scapula)
- cobra style underarm and diagonal tension (sorape)
- catch with whole forearm, water feeling, diagonal
- high water exit with perfect timing (kick)
So what is this story about? We should learn to listen to people having much more experience than we have. We have to trust in what they say and we have to do what they say. It will work. It did with Sheila Taormina in the water, it did with Gilbert Fisch in Zofingen and it will again next year with Kurt Müller. And it makes much more sense to invest in a weekend with Sheila and friends than buying two or three pairs of the latest state of the art lightweight mid-distance running shoes. At this place: Thank you Ironnonno for organizing this!
The problem I have now is: It’s up to me to make the best out of it. 6 kilometers per week. And there is an exercise for each key point in my strokes and swimming. And last but not least we’ve found this small power machine to generate more power for our strokes – which works excellent between the sets.
A good coach can show you the way you have to go. But going the way is up to you and your inner weak 😉