The Family That Swims Together

Wednesday, 13 May 2009  |  Running + Triathlon

Last year, I took Total Immersion (TI) lessons with good friend Nonoy Basa and since then I looked at swimming in a whole new light.

Since the start of this year, there have been only a couple of weeks when I missed a swim. I cover at least 1km 2-4 times a week depending on my availability.

I used to turn to swimming as my last resort when running aggravated an injury, spinning hurt the knees, or the elliptical was too boring. But, after one unforgettable swimming day, when I experienced the same inner peace that I used to get only during solo runs, I found myself seriously immersed into the sport. (No pun intended.)  

So, as with running, I have recruited the entire family into the sport.

The kids have started lessons with Aqualogic Swim Co., the same company operated by Ria Mackay and Nonoy Basa that taught me Total Immersion…

– Little Miss Bull Runner had a tearful 1st session but is all smiles by the 2nd class –

– Surprise, surprise!  One of my daughter’s instructors is Dess, one of the few female finishers of the Bataan Death March Ultramarathon

– TBR Jr. on break –

And, just this morning, I accompanied the hubby on his first day of TI lessons with Nonoy. I swam 1k while the boys took their swimming lessons seriously.  

– Fitness First team cyclist Joel, Nonoy, Jamike (Try-Athlete) and my hubby –

Next week, I hope to add runs after the swims. Now, that would be just perfect training for Animo Tri, right?  I wonder when I can get the whole family to join that with me?

For more info on kids/adult swimming classes, contact:

Ria Mackay – Head Instructor & Founder

Agnes Medel – Administrative Assisitant

Or call 0917.858.AQUA (2782)/ 703-6386

Click here to visit the website of Aqualogic Swim Co.

It’s Over

Wednesday, 5 March 2008  |  Bullish Insights

It’s over. And, I still can’t believe how it all ended so quickly. Wasn’t it just exactly a month ago that we first met? It definitely was not love at first sight, but I knew in time I would take a liking to him. He made me feel cheerful, adventurous, and buoyant even. He challenged me to get my feet wet and go beyond untested waters. Sure, there’s a lot of fish in the sea, but he was the only one who taught me how to swim like a fish.

Okay, let me end there. That last sentence was pretty bad.

By now, you should have guessed that I’m not talking about a man (my hubby should be heaving a sigh of relief now) but about my Total Immersion swimming lessons with Nonoy Basa. Yesterday was the last day of my 8 TI sessions which I took with Dondi, a triathlete lawyer who I met in this class.

– Nonoy guiding Dondi through rythmic breathing –

The past month was an awesome learning experience for me at the pool. We started out with drills, drills, and more drills that initially made swimming more of a mental task than a physical one: keep your head down, stick your thumb out, lead with your shoulder, relax your hand…that was only the beginning of a long checklist that I played out in my mind as I did my skating drills. With so many things to remember, I thought I would forget to breathe!

After mastering one drill, we would progress to the next. With each session, it was a little bit easier to perform the drills—thank God to muscle memory! And, by the 5th and 6th session, we were finally doing laps using the TI technique. Yipee!

On the last session, Nonoy also attempted to teach me how to dive and tumble but, after snorting up half of the water in the pool, I gave up and rationalized, “We won’t need this for a triathlon in open water anyway, right?” Thankfully, Nonoy gave me one free extra session yesterday wherein I had my last chance to have a TI coach fix my form before I went out on my own.

Now that the classes are over, I know I’ve got to swim just as often to become better at this sport, build my endurace, and last but not the least, remember all the things we were taught! Wish me luck.

– Dedette, Nonoy’s past student taking a refresher course, Dondi, and Nonoy taking a break –

– With Nonoy and Dondi for our 2nd to the last session at San Juanico pool –

– The Bull Swimmer (?) with Dondi and Nonoy: It was great fun, guys! –

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

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.