“Does your neck hurt when you do that?”

Kicking Back…asked a young high school swim team member as I finished my first 100 yards of backstroke, ever.

“No, not really.” I replied. Then realizing  she was being incredibly polite I asked, “If I keep swimming like this, will it?” 

“definitely.”

I think I modeled my head position after this otter.  It seems reasonable.  These little guys can swim like crazy and they look cute.  But according to the Milford High School swim team, when humans swim backstroke and crank their heads and necks up this high, it leads to bad things.  The team graciously demonstrated a better head position.

As I attempted to swim like the demonstration, I got completely clear on why I had cranked my head up the first time.  I have no idea where I’m going  and I don’t swim straight going backward.  There are no lane lines in the pool.  Nothing prevented me from swimming right into other swimmers and lanes.  Luckily, it’s a very friendly pool and a few apologies kept me in good graces with my fellow swimmers.

My second backstroke lesson of the day was about how to swim backstroke safely and in a straighter line.  I use the ceiling tiles as my visual guide line.  I use my peripheral vision to look for the ladders which signal that the wall is coming soon.  I always keep one arm up to protect my head from tagging the wall first.

Huzzah! 100 yards of backstroke that felt pretty good.   I understand why my coach has added this stroke to my training.  The workout felt great on my legs and a is nice change from all the freestyle.  The view is going to some getting used to.

“When the student is ready, a teacher will appear.”

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Jeff says:

    Eventually, you’ll start to recognize where you are in the pool from those very same ceiling tiles!

    1. Alex says:

      Thanks, Jeff. I hope so. ( of course I’m wondering how long “eventually is)

      1. Jeff says:

        Not long. And you’ll start to catch a glimpse of the edge of the pool (and the orange cones on the swim blocks) after a while, too. Personally, I think the sound of the water is also different when you get near the wall.

      2. Alex says:

        And I’ll have you in the next lane to fish me up.

  2. StephenS says:

    No flags over the lanes in the pool? The flags are there specifically for backstrokers (I think), and when I’m new to a pool I just try to count how many strokes the wall is from the flags. But I started the same way you did, and it took me a long time to change. Thanks

    1. Alex says:

      Thanks, Stephen.
      There aren’t any flags. Maybe when the swim season starts they’ll put them up.

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