Sunday, 23 November 2014

Ocean Walker on Teesside

If memory serves me correctly, I first met Adam Walker in 2008 whilst swimming in Dover Harbour. He went on to swim swim The English Channel that year in an impressive time of 11 hours 35 minutes.

Fast forward to 2014 Adam was well on his way to becoming the first Britain to complete 'The Oceans 7' and was now hosting swim training camps both at home and abroad. His coaching sessions looked interesting though I had not personally attended, as luck would have it one such camp was taking place this summer at Bishopton Lake (about 5 minutes from home) I took this opportunity to briefly meet up and had a rather inspirational chat with him that evening and decided to keep a closer eye on his progress.

August soon arrived and whilst I was completing one way Windermere number 5, Adam was completing the North Channel from Ireland to Scotland and in doing so made it 7 out of 7.

By now he was pretty much flirting with celebrities! telling his story loud and proud. I therefore more or less pestered him to attend the Stockton area where he could also speak, providing I could gather sufficient interested parties.

Yesterday around 60 of us gathered at David Lloyds Teesside where we were first entertained with some acoustic singing by Gemma (Adams girlfriend) followed by Adams story, unfortunately I missed the first ten minutes or so of the talk as I had volunteered to sell raffle tickets !! I soon got up to speed as Adam engaged with the audience rattling off the details of all seven crossings. The presentation was very well received and I thank Adam for making the effort to travel to our neck of the woods.

The next morning....after far too much alcohol, with a bed time long after midnight, I was back to David Lloyds for a 1 to 1 technique/video analysis session. Feeling slightly under the weather I found the session quite demanding but extremely beneficial. Adam (who uses a rhymical hip rotation to maximise his power and glide) gave clear explanations and demos which I was soon imitating and practising.(at least I was attempting to!) He stayed in the water with me for in excess 2 hours and recorded several elements as we built my stroke in a series of drills. On completion we viewed the recordings and chatted regarding the way forward.

This for me this was the highlight of the weekend, if you are considering or feel the need for some stroke improvement/analysis, I would recommend being Walkerized!!

Friday, 21 November 2014

One of those days

I wonder just what your thoughts were as you read the title of this post...I suspect it may well have been something along the lines of that old Elvis Presley track where "Nothing goes right from morning til night" well surprising enough the reason for the title is the exact opposite.

I have been back to the pool for a little while now, more often than not with Miss Bell of Channel Swimming Fame. We have been doing interval sessions on average around 75 minutes, the general format is: warm up followed by either pyramids or combinations of 100s 200s 400s all on maximum effort trying to hold form with sufficient rest to facilitate the next effort.

Training with another swimmer guarantees greater effort, I'm not sure if that is an ego thing or due to the fact that you know you are not the only one suffering, coupled with being far less boring.

Thursday this week we had planned another similar session, an uneventful steady warm up circa 700m, it was then decided (by Miss Bell) we were doing intervals of 400s, I swam the first two laps harder than normal (I usually try to build the pace on anything longer than 200s) for some unknown reason I was able to maintain this pace and knew I was making excellent progress and yet felt fresh in total control and in no way fatigued) touching after the 16 laps my co-swimmer uttered a few expletives with the closing line "Are you on drugs" She too had noticed an increase in what is my standard best pace.

The same feeling of well being, flow, glide and effortless swimming continued for the remainder of the set. We said our goodbyes and I disappeared for a sauna. I quizzed myself for the reason behind this great session but was unable to find answers. I had been to work all day, I had eaten as poorly as ever, my sleep has at best has been broken due to the arrival of a noisy pup. I just couldn't fathom it.

So I guess I was just fortunate to experience 'One of those days', when for reasons beyond my control everything fell into place, the sort of peak you really want to hit on the day of a major target. I don't know the answer, I wish I did. Do you??