Swimming For Runners

Monday, 4 February 2008  |  Running + Triathlon

Today, on the 22nd day of my forced leave from running, I finally took the plunge. I signed up for my very first swimming lesson with my batchmate from college, Nonoy Basa, who has been teaching Terry Laughlin’s Total Immersion swimming style to kids and adults in Makati and Alabang.


– Nonoy Basa, my swimming coach and friend – 

Truth to tell, I walked by the pool area like a fish out of water—all wiggly and nervous and almost out of breath—because this was definitely not my territory. I never took formal swimming lessons; I only learned how to swim from my eldest brother a hundred summers ago. The last time I swam freestyle was in gradeschool when my classmates and I would play “shark” at a friend’s house. And, since I am not Heidi Klum, I haven’t really been comfortable wearing a swimsuit after giving birth to my two kids.

Thankfully, Nonoy made it easy for me and Dondi, another student who is a beginner triathlete, to feel at home in the pool.

The first thing Nonoy did was to show us how he swims. It was simply amazing. I could hardly notice when he would take a breath as he seemed to be completely submerged, gliding through the water, truly swimming like a fish (cliche as it may sound.) Then, it was our turn as he took videos of us doing our own strokes—gulp. Nonoy then showed us our videos and discussed our mistakes and told us the techniques he would be teaching us.

Step by step, Nonoy slowly and patiently taught us 4 or 5 drills to practice so that we could gradually get used to the method of TI. He would teach us one at a time making sure each of us got the position correctly. Seemingly innocuous drill names like Sweet Spot were quite challenging for a newbie swimmer like me to do without having water creep up my nose. But, after a couple of practices and tips from Nonoy, I could do them comfortably.

I liked the fact that TI focuses on engaging the core to propel forward. I thought that it truly will complement my running wherein core workouts are very important for support during those long distance runs. Swimming will also help exercise my upper body, an area that desperately needs toning to keep me in good form when I run. And, it will also help my feet become more flexible, a common problem for runners who have stiff ankles.

What was supposed to be a 1-hour session turned out to be more than 2 hours of fun for me. It was great to be diving (literally) into something new, engaging muscles that were rarely ever used during my runs, and getting a bit of a cardio workout at the same time. It’s also nice to know that I just took a tiny step closer towards my goal of becoming a future triathlete.

I know I am going to enjoy swimming. Having said that, will I exchange my running shoes for goggles anytime soon? Certainly not. It is still running for me. Besides, “The Bull Swimmer” doesn’t sound too catchy.

* For child/adult swimming lessons, call Aqualogic Swim Co. at (0917) 858 AQUA or visit their website.