First Class: 18/8/14
The first class, we had a internal test to see which groups we would be placed in and what our swimming speeds for 50m freestyle was. My time was 48 seconds, which was average as I was called as the second best in my group, even though there are many people better than me. We went through a series of drills I have never done in previous years, which was quite hard and strenuous but helped us train different parts like breathing and posture and movement. For example, when we put one hand on the side and did freestyle with one arm it was quite hard on my left arm as I was not able to balance as well as I am not used to that movement. I think this is an opportunity to train small components of a larger picture so the larger picture can function. I think backstroke was pretty hard at first before I did the drill but it seems like the coach made it more simplified and I felt more confident trying the drill. It was actually quite hard to keep a straight line in backstroke, sometimes you could lean to the other side slightly and come back, which could be a huge problem.
1. Improve freestyle stroke count + improve the form
I think I am at a around a solid 5, as I still have to combine them together for it to work. I think currently my arm stroke is quite strong and I need work on combining the different elements together. I aim for an achievement level of 7. I will use free time during class to perfect this stroke as I am going to use this stroke for my assessment stroke as I believe this is my most proficient stroke.
2. Improve backstroke confidence, and try to do it without bobbing around, and swim in a straight line.
I think at backstroke I am at a 3 as I am not very proficient at it and sometimes stop at the middle and have to restart again, and my head constantly sinks and moves which I believe isn’t very good. I want to achieve a 5 at least as I feel it is important to learn a new stroke, and help out my team at the swim meet. I will achieve this by concentrating in class and trying my best when Rachel teaches backstroke.
Today was quite different from the first class as we jumped straight into the breaststroke and butterfly stroke drills. I think I am more proficient at breast-stroke as I was even faster than the first “group from another lane. I still have many mistakes that I can fix, but I think my breat-stroke is better than my butterfly stroke. For the breast-stroke we learned how to make smaller kicks so we could push more. This was kind of difficult because I was used to my legs moving in a more larger direction. We also did a drill where we had to kick breast-stroke while leaning on her backs. It was quite hard to not have your knees stick out of the water as it was kind of natural for me to stick my knees out. The butterfly exercises was short and that was good because I have no idea how to do really do a butterfly as we were running out of time.
1. Try to glide more than keep swimming the stroke as gliding will help you go faster.
I think I am at around a 4 during this session as I did not glide a lot. I think this is linked to you remembering to hold the position for a few seconds to glide, which should be easy to complete although it always seems not logical to hold that position as on the outside/or your inner gut feeling it does not really increase your speed. I want to aim for achievement level of 5 or 6 in breast-stroke.
The third class was when we had to do our first coaching session, which was taught by Lincoln. We learned about breast-stroke, and did some drills and a set. The drills were not too hard, the first being the glide drill which was perfect to remind me to glide and achieve one of my challenge points. This exercise was helpful in training your stroke and reminding you to glide and hold your position for a few seconds. I think after this exercise it helped me reach closer to the goal, which I deemed useful.
This was the class I was in charge of teaching in for freestyle. I think this day went out very smoothly as I prepared my plan well in advance and had ideas in my mind to make the session go smoothly. I only swam for 30 minutes as I was coaching for half of the class. Most of my group listened well and did quite well. I think throughout the exercise I was being a bit too “soft”, not pushing them to improve rather just simply pointing out their mistakes. I think I did quite well in terms of teaching as from the feedback from the group members, but there are a few things I could improve on like have a better plan, which means a more brief plan which I can quickly refer to in the swimming pool. Even though I did not refer to the plan during the session, it would be helpful to have the plan so I can explain it much more throughly.
Today was special as we have two coaching sessions, probably one of the classes I would want to escape which was the coaching sessions for backstroke and butterfly. Both of these strokes I am extremely not proficient at which means I am scared and I don’t do well. First off, Rachel taught us backstroke with a series of drills and exercises. The drills were kind of hard, and I struggled really badly during the start. After a few more drills and exercises, I gained my confidence to swim quickly during the set in which I swam 25m really quick with backstroke which I believe was an achievement as I have set myself a challenge to be more confident. Although I still cannot exactly swim in a straight line, I have devised a method for myself in order to swim correctly starting with looking at the tiles and lights above to align myself to them in order to swim better. Butterfly was also a shocker to me at first as butterfly is probably one of the hardest strokes in the swimming world. Butterfly started off with some kicking exercises which was provided by Matthew. This class was particularly useful as Matthew is an experienced swimmer and gave some useful advice. The use of the flippers made it more fun as it made you feel very confident, blazing and gliding through the water. This made me more confident for the full stroke which was also quite hard but the difficulty was reduced because we only had to swim half a length as requested by our teacher. Since our coaching sessions are all done, I will try to focus on my own stroke which is freestyle and the impending swim meet.
1. Try to perfect arm stroke with freestyle while kicking with hips continuously (combining the elements without forgetting one part)
Currently, I think my stroke is around an achievement level of 5-6, because it is quite hard to do it in harmony and together as it confuses your coordination. I can practice in my mind – as it is a coordination thing, and believe I can do it during the swim meet. I am aiming for an achievement level of 6-7.
2. Do a successful dive without belly flopping or others.
Currently, I think as a student I would rate my achievement level at a 4-5, because I sometimes belly flop and sometimes don’t, as I am not proficient at diving yet. I am aiming for an achievement level of 5.
Inter-personal Skills Reflection:
I think I did quite well with working with my team-mates because I knew them all personally well before this swimming unit. I think I would have worked well with theme even if I didn’t know them as we all had a common objective of trying to learn something new: improve at swimming, and try to win the swim meet. I don’t think there was any grudges or arguments throughout the whole swimming unit even if a few people were missing swimming or not, we still worked together as a team, with the people not swimming giving advice and the people swimming doing their best to improve at swimming which was helpful even if someone was not able to swim that day.
There were a few challenges in the coaching of my team mates, I did not tailor it specific enough to my team-mates and sometimes I could see they struggled and could not cope with the difficulty of the exercise which was kind of hard to watch. To solve this problem and overcome this challenge, I had to switch the exercise to an easier one on the spot and allocate more time for the previous exercise which was easier and more useful as shown before. I have learned from this experience how to better work with a team and adapt to everyone’s needs. For example, I am one of the better swimmers, and because of this the exercises might be a bit harder and be suited to myself. I need to think about more of my team-mates’s needs rather than mine. This taught me to be more open-minded.
I felt quite comfortable in a leadership position as I am used to it. I really like to lead a team and tell them what to do. I’ve felt comfortable because I had experience with the USSC, and I’m always vocal and have opinions which I think is helpful in some situations, but sometimes not as one can get arrogant very easily.
I think the communication between the group members was quite good, we had no arguments and during free times we would ask for everyone’s opinion on what we should work on as a team although Matthew always took a leading role in these situations as he is a good swimmer and would probably understand our needs. This is what I think was good about this team, we had someone who was good at swimming providing us with helpful advice without being arrogant at all, and constantly encouraging us which definitely increased the morale of the team.
I think I have many things to do to improve as a teammate. For example, I think I need to be more confident even when there is someone that is better than you. I need to be more confident as I always ask for reassurance from Matthew whenever another teammate ask me a question. I think that was my main problem as I knew that there was a person way better than me and I did not take responsibility as a team-mate very well during regular training sessions. Although I answered someone’s question, I need to be more confident next time.
After the Meet:
Backstroke – I think I have now achieved my goals finally at my best during the swim meet. I just had that adredaline pumping through my body and the strong desire to win the swim meet which led to me swimming quite quickly and surpassing a lot of the competition during the meet in this specific stroke. I think I still need to work on this stroke as I am not the best but I think I have improved drastically, and I probably rate my achievement level at 5-6. I can further improve by looking online at the techniques required for a proper backstroke as I have already done the basics.
Freestyle- My freestyle time and form was at 48 seconds at the start of the swimming unit, which I had tried my best at but did not implement many of the skills I had learned throughout the unit including remembering to use the hips and a good arm stroke which is one of my goals which I think I achieved. My final swim time which Lincoln accidentally calculated ( he was supposed to calculate overall time) was 34 seconds which I am proud of as not a seasoned swimmer achieving this time was a complete feat. I worked really hard when swimming that 50m, during the last 25m starting to get very tired but because of the desire of getting a better time, I continued to keep a slower pace. I could further improve by practicing as I think it is endurance which is holding me back in this stroke. I would rate my achievement at around a 6-7.
Dive – I still can’t really do a proper dive, on the board – obviously. The proper way of diving is jumping off and then curving your body and slicing through the water. Currently I can only sit on the board and slice through the water without jumping off which is the next step. I think my achievement level in terms of being an amateur is around a 5. I think I did well at trying as Mr. Shortt gave me feedback and I seemed to have improved from it which I believe is a positive start to learning how to dive. I can improve by trying to dive whenever I swim in the future whether it is at school or outside in my free time.
Breast-stroke – I think I did achieve my goal during the training sessions but I panicked during the race and did not listen to the challenge and goals I set myself as I was focused on winning and forget the crucial thing of gliding. I should have set the goal of improving my leg stroke and kick as I don’t think I am doing it properly, as my legs move too wide which apparently makes you gain less power. I think at the end I deserve around a 5 in achievement level for breast stroke.
I think overall I deserve a 6 for performance during this unit as I have shown improvement in many of the strokes.