Monday, October 5, 2015

Swim Social: Norma and David try out Skills & Drills Classes

David: "I learned a few aspects of my different strokes needed improving. During breaststroke the coach taught me to keep my knees together before kicking and keep my head down when I am gliding"

As part of our Swim Social programme in partnership with Scottish Water, we will be following the efforts of two of their employees David Atkin and Norma Alexander, over the coming weeks as they try to improve their swimming techniques.

Swim Social is a coach-led programme that has been rolled out across Scotland to help people have fun while getting fit, make new friends and improve stroke technique. We caught up with David and Norma at the launch event of the programme at Tollcross International Swimming centre to find out how they got on in their Skills and Drills class.

David is 58 and a dad of two grown-up children. He has always loved running and uses swimming as a way of keeping fit if he injures himself. David says: ‘From an early age I always liked running and playing sports.  I played rugby when I was in my late teens until I was about forty and various other sports.  I always enjoyed the training element of it and keeping fit and I got a lot of enjoyment out of it.  He added ‘Running is my main activity now, but at the age I am injuries are more frequent than they used to be, and I use swimming quite often to provide an alternative  and help keep my fitness levels up."

Norma is 35 and enjoys keeping fit but does not swim as often as other forms of exercise. "I attended swimming lessons as a child and also did a couple of blocks with my class at school. Once able to swim I continued to visit the pool recreationally but did not really seek any opportunities to keep on improving my technique. As an adult I have gone through phases of going swimming for exercise and enjoy a swim while on holiday or staying in a hotel but it is not something I do regularly."

Both David and Norma are looking to improve their skills in the water. David says "I know there is room for improvement in my style and technique to make me more efficient. I tend to splash around a lot and not go very fast." Norma says "I can swim, but I probably don’t have very good technique and I don’t go that often."

During a Skills and Drills class coaches are on hand to give advice on any area the swimmers want to improve. David says "I learned a few aspects of my different strokes needed improving. During breaststroke the coach taught me to keep my knees together before kicking and keep my head down when I am gliding. In the crawl I learned my hands were crossing over and I had to keep a much straighter stroke. The kick is important too but it’s difficult doing both well at the same time. I seem to be able to do one ok, but the other falls by the wayside when I think about coordinating both. It was great having someone who could actually tell me what was wrong because I couldn’t see it myself."

Norma says "I knew my breathing technique needed work so I got a bit of advice on that and then spent some time trying to swim lengths using the breathing technique suggested." 

Following the class David and Norma decided to sign up to a block of classes so they can continue to improve their new skills in the water. David says "I see it as a kind of opportunity to actually get involved in swimming with like minded people who want to improve their swimming and hopefully it will also become a social event too." Norma says, "I want to have better breathing and better stroke technique, become faster and more efficient and increase fitness."

Good luck to David and Norma! We’ll keep you up-to-date on their progress.

If you want to sign up to improve your swimming, you can find out about different classes in your area here.