I greet my new swim coach Matt at the pool. I've pulled my goggles as tight as I can to avoid the water leakage. I pull down on my swim suit as it was the only decent one piece swim suit I could find in my drawers but it's a bit on the tight side. We begin by Matt watching me swim a length a pool. I actually do OK - except I get to the end completely out of breath and coughing up the gallon of water I inhaled. I had told Matt the inhaling water part was the first thing we need to fix.
He tells me to keep my head down more and try and find the "pocket" near my armpit as I turn my head. Another length's swim and I'm only drinking a half gallon. A couple more lengths and I'm feeling like we're making progress, but I'm completely exhausted already and now only making it about 3/4 of a length before I revert to breast stroke.
We switch to some kickboard drills to give me a break. He wants me to start breathing every several strokes instead of every stroke and also to try bi-lateral breathing so I don't just get strong on one side and can swim straighter. Trying to breath on my right side proves to be a very foreign concept.
"I didn't do so well on that one," I declare so he doesn't have to tell me.
My long hair is in my face and I'm furiously trying to get the water out of my ear. He suggests a bathing cap and ear plugs for the next time. He has me swim a couple lengths without the kickboard and I'm really exhausted at this point, not making a full length.
"Come on," he says encouragingly, you can do it.
After 3 attempts, I finally swim a full length. It's been 45 minutes of a one hour lesson and we're both happy to call it a day. I promise to practice on my upcoming Hawaii vacation. After I shower and change, I look in the mirror and have to laugh at my raccoon eyes from the goggles.