Saturday, August 29, 2015


Here is an unusual still life -- the tools that serve 
to help me become a better swimmer.
Most days, I travel to and from practice with
a pair of what looks like a pair of blue fairy wings
sticking out of my backpack. 
They are fins designed to help me improve
my position in the water, to strengthen my kick,
and to help my ankles increase flexibility.
I can tell you that, from the first I could feel the effects 
of the fins, strengthening the muscles of my butt.

The pair of green leaf-like objects are
hand paddles, meant to add resistance
as one pulls against the water. They also serve
to help the swimmer achieve the correct 
position for their hands as they enter the water. 
It's a purposeful action; the incorrect angle just 
about brings one me to an embarrassing 
halt in the water until I get myself 
sorted out to begin again.
The paddles come in graduated sizes.
These are the smallest because
I have a bit of osteoarthritis in one shoulder
and too-large paddles can cause injury.

The goggles and swim cap are more familiar
items, with my silicone cap having
a Roy Lichtenstein-inspired design, in keeping
with my artistic interests.
The last is a pink and black pull buoy,
a piece of dense foam rubber one puts
between one's legs while practicing "pull sets,"
which is swimming without kicking 
in order to strengthen one's arms. 
The buoy helps to maintain body position.

I've added these training aids bit by bit
on my own. As I've improved and become
stronger, I started to look for additional assistance
to be more able to compete keep up with
my teammates. I've started to have goals for myself
that go beyond just getting to the other end
of the pool; I've started to think about winning.
And that's scary.


William Kendall said...

The hand paddles are new to me.

Speedway said...

Hi, William. The paddles are new to me, too! I bought them just about a month ago. It was time to up the ante. I've seen them used by other swimmers since I started. They come in different sizes depending on the amount of resistance one wants to work against. Some look the size of dinner plates to me. I don't have much trouble manipulating them because I've worked all along to have the correct angle on my stroke, but adding strength is a goal. If you're interested, look around you at the other swimmers as someone may have a pair you can try. You really can hurt yourself if they are the wrong size and/or you let your hand hit enter the water at the wrong angle. BTW, they can be dangerous to other swimmers; somebody cut me a nice slice in my shoulder this swimmer. It was like a paper cut, but bled a lot. I didn't even notice it until the lifeguard asked. Just add it to the list of things I'm afraid of.