Had an absolute blast playing in the YMCA pool with the Bull City Crossfit crew on Sunday. Without question, this was one of my favorite workout days in quite a while.

I love swimming! When I say to you that I don’t remember learning how to swim, I just always could. That’s not hyperbole. I was a water baby. My mother had me in the pool as an infant and I quite literally learned to swim before I could learn to walk. I feel completely at peace and at ease in a pool, so to be able to combine swimming with Crossfit was definitely something special.

We warmed up playing Sharks and Minnows across the width of the pool. I was the last minnow eaten. Tough for one minnow to swim through 15 or so hungry sharks. It turned into a feeding frenzy.

Coach Jack then put us through a couple of drills doing warm up laps working on our efficiency for the crawl. Those were pretty cool.

We also did a warm up of Tabata Treading Water. I was joking with Jack about that. “How exactly does that work? 20 seconds tread, then 10 seconds sink?” Jack’s a pretty generous guy. He allowed us to hang on to the side of the pool or lane lines during the rest. 😉

I tried to do the Rx + version of this Tabata Tread, with hands raised out of the water and using a flutter kick. My flutter’s not that strong. I went all 8 rounds without using my hands, but had to use a bicycle kick to keep my head above water.

After that it was on to the 3 person team WOD.

25 minute AMRAP
Partner A does 15 dumb bell Thrusters poolside then swims 25M (any stroke)
Partner B (waiting on the opposite end) does 10 push ups when Partner A touches the wall, then swims back 25M.
Partner C (back at the starting point) does 15 Thrusters when Partner B returns
This completes one round.

I began as Partner B, working with Chad and Jen. They are both outstanding athletes. Chad selected 40# dumb bells for the thrusters. I tried to use them during my first turn. I got 12 reps, had to break, then finished my round. We were only 4 minutes in. This was going to be WAY too much weight. So I located some 25’s and used those for the rest of the WOD. That was a solid weight.

In total our team completed 8 full rounds, and I did 3 reps of pushups for a 9th set when Jen returned to the wall before the time expired.

I was pleased that I was able to use all the strokes during the METCON. I started with Butterfly for the first length. After that I did 3 laps using the Crawl, and two laps each using back stroke and breast stroke. There was no particular rhyme, reason or order to which stroke I used each length. It was simply a matter of what felt good when I hit the water.

I got to tackle a couple of questions/challenges that I’ve wanted to test for some time. That was rewarding.

First thing I did when I got in the pool was swim the length of the pool underwater unbroken. That’s a question I’ve been wanting to answer for a long time. As a competitive high school swimmer, I think my personal best was roughly 35-40 meters. I don’t believe I ever got all the way down and back on a 25M pool in one breath. I have been wondering for some time now could I get all the way across a regulation pool. Fact is, it wasn’t too tough. I could have made a turn and glided through a push off, but that would have been the max distance.

The very next thing I did while doing individual warm ups, was to swim a length of butterfly. I wasn’t sure I could hold that together for a full length either. I was pleasantly surprised to do so. Butterfly is a funky stroke. In my mind, it’s the swimming equivalent of double unders, because your arms and legs are working at different paces. Your arms should be maintaining a steady cadence. Meanwhile your legs are working at an alternating pace. Your arms are stroking steadily going one-two-three-four. Your legs are working one-TWO, one-TWO! It can be a real challenge to hold it together. Was nice to do a lap or two and discover I haven’t lost the rhythm.

The last challenge I put to myself was underwater farmer carries. This is something I saw in a crossfit article somewhere years ago and I’ve always filed it away mentally as one of those, “yeah, that’s stupid and indicative of nothing, but I’m probably gonna try it the first time I have the chance.” Sunday was my chance.

After the METCON, in between classes I took two 20# dumb bells and hopped in the shallow end headed for the deep end.

This actually proved to be much easier than I anticipated. A couple of forces were at play here that helped. First the pool runs from 3 foot 6 inches deep at the shallow end to 10 at the deep end. The slope to the deep end begins roughly halfway across the pool. So realistically, I was only underwater for 12-13 meters. Second, the pool slopes sharply. So by leaning forward a bit, making myself more aerodynamic and allowing the weight of the dumb bells to draw me forward, it was a pretty quick trip across the bottom of the pool to the far wall. I suspect if I’d tried to maintain an upright posture creating more drag, this would have been much tougher.

I chose to walk the dumb bells back up out of the deep end doing an uphill underwater farmer’s carry. The only challenge going up hill was that I tried walking up the smooth tiles that line the bottom of the lane. They were too slick. Once I moved off those onto the textured concrete, it was no trouble lean into the slope and walk up to the 5 foot area where I could then stand.

It was an interesting experiment.

All in all, it was a great day in the water and I hope the gyms will be able to coordinate more of these workouts in the future. I would definitely welcome it.

Now though, I’m taking a spontaneous rest week. I hadn’t really planned on it, but I’ve got too many nagging aches and pains, mostly on my right side that just won’t quit. My right hip is sore to the point that I’ve had problems sleeping soundly the past few nights. My right shoulder is tweaky. Everything is just a bit too creaky.

I got to thinking about it. I trained 5 days a week for 6 or so weeks with Einar preparing for the Team Super Fit competition that took place just after Labor Day. I took a couple of days off after that, but then dove back into 5 day a week training since. My body is tired and it’s telling me I need a breather. So, I’m gonna rest up for a full week and come back next Sunday. Gotta be smart and train for the long-haul.

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