I told her I was pretty much resorting to the back crawl and sidestroke while practicing the front crawl in between. She believes that the sidestroke is much more labor intensive and that I am thinking about the front crawl too much. What can I say? I do have a penchant for details.
Although I don't really look at them anymore, I still have notes taped to my bookshelf:
long legs, floppy ankles
kick from the hip -- not the knee -- use your whole leg
keep your legs straight but not rigid, with your toes pointed out and kick up and down, continue kicking the entire time
I heard the lifeguard as he was giving a lesson to one of the kids which made me remember this quote from Natalie Coughlin on swimming faster and gliding:
Simply reach as far forward as you can, even if it means temporarily reducing your stroke frequency. Stay focused by imagining there's a mail slot in front of each shoulder and slide your hand into it each time.
I don't know why Coughlin's advice struck a chord with me but it did and as I used this tactic today, it actually helped. I also asked the lifeguard if he breathed through his nose or mouth during the front crawl and he said that it was easier for him to breathe through his nose.
There was a new student at the pool today. Once he got in the water, he kept saying "this is tight." He was amazed by the tricks he could do with a kickboard and I was thinking even when I'm uptight the water is tight.
As I was getting out of the pool, newbie asked me how he could do that -- gesturing by moving his arm backwards. I told him that he would have to learn to float first. But I can't go down there, I might get carried away. That's what the lifeguard told him and, although eager to learn, he was satisfied to explore the shallow end for the time being.