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Keyvan’s 14k swim for Alzheimers – Update 4

By Daniel Swann
17th March 2017

A moment of clarity

Stating the obvious, but swimming in a straight line, particularly in open water, is a really good skill to have! For one thing, it means you get to swim a shorter distance, while being prepared to adapt to constantly changing conditions in the open water: wind direction, waves and chop, blinding sunlight, etc. And this all comes from a balanced swimming action and the ability to breath on both sides. As most swimmers have a favoured breathing side, we train very hard on developing the weaker side and to increase breathing endurance moving from breathing every 2 strokes to 3, to 5, to 7; and if still floating every 9 strokes! On most occasions when moving to 7 and 9, I am so gasping for oxygen that my fingers and hands go numb! Quite a surreal experience!

A moment of clarity

Friday morning… 6 am… 7 of us spread  across 4 lanes… body aches as we start the 5th session of the week… head down… get into the warm up sets. The pace gradually is ratcheted up. 15 mins in…. we move to the main set… fins on… back and forth… fins off… pull buoy with paddles… back and forth… Now moving to the main part. Swimming at CSS pace (this is the threshold pace you can maintain over 1,500m, which believe me, it’s fast at 6:30 in the morning)… back and forth following my partner… 20 sec rest between each set… and off we go again… I am leading now… Feels harder than normal… faster than the last session… head down… trying to work through the technique… constantly judging the required pace to make sure I am on the right pace and in touch with the beeper under my swimming cap as I touch the wall… and then it happens… I am breathing to my weaker left side… without thinking… without going slower… without the head moving up… just a natural rotation to the left as the body rotates… one moment it was a manual action… I had to think about it… brace myself for each breath… suddenly it is natural… no thinking involved… to test it out I am just breathing to my weaker side… same sensation… at that point I am smiling… taking on board the incredible sensation… water moving fast past my eye as it bops up for each breath…

… and the experience takes me back to 1987… woke up in the morning realising I had, for the very first time, dreamt in English!

Mileage covered last week

Alzheimer’s Society Fundraising

If you would like to support my fundraising activities for the Alzheimer’s Society, please do so via JustGiving: www.justgiving.com/keyvan-shirnia

Thanks for reading and catch up soon.
Keyvan Shirnia

By Daniel Swann