Revisiting the Chicken$#@* Swimmer Checklist

Nothing like some mandatory time off to bring on a little introspection. When I started swimming and triathlon, my goals extended beyond races distances and finish times. I wanted to learn some skills. And in order to accomplish those goals, I had to get over some fears. I laugh now at some of the things I was afraid of – and laugh some more at some of the things that still get my heart rate up way too much. Wow, what a little head case. Okay, here’s the list:

1. Swimming laps without drowning. Check. 2. Sharing a lane with another swimmer. Check. 3. Circling with even more swimmers. Check. 4. Swimming in a lake. Check. 5. Swimming in an enclosed bay. Check. 6. Swimming without stopping in the open water. Check. 7. Swimming far, Ironman distance far. Check. 8. Swimming bilaterally. Almost there. In the pool, yes. In the ocean, not always. 9. Swimming through surf. Even barely existent surf. Nope. 10. Swimming in ocean swells. Nope. 11. Swimming without a wetsuit in the ocean. Nope. 12. Doing flip turns. Nope. 13. Race starts. Nope.

Since I’m still not feeling up to snuff, my training and race schedule is totally up in the air right now. The only thing I can do with certainty is work on some of these weaknesses a little bit at a time. So for the next few weeks or longer, I’m going to focus on #9 through #11. When I have my normal energy back, Coach Mary has promised to help me with #12. If I can get over some of these bug-a-boo phobias this year, I’m sure that will feel as good as any PR. Even if I don’t master those skills, at least I’ll dip my toes in the water and feel better about myself for trying.