The Swim Centre in Bedford is hidden away on Castle Road behind a bric-a-brac shop, unless you look you’ll miss it. It features a snazzy endless pool and several videos cameras for recording and analysing your stroke. The theory is that swimming in a controlled environment with video analysis and decent coaching should provide a fast-track method to improvement! An so, this lunch time, I found myself swimming in an endless pool, being filmed and instructed on how to improve. Here are my findings, feelings and experiences of the session.
Having never had any kind of swim coaching I was expecting the session to be a little brutal. However, it appears that I’m not a total car crash. I’ve been given some simple drills that aim of improving my efficiency and speed in the water.
Things didn’t start too well. This was largely due to my inability to read a calendar or understand Bank Holidays. After a bit of email tennis, a date was booked and I was heading to the endless pool. As usual, I took some advice from a colleague on swimming in endless pools. He suggested that it was a bit off-putting to start with, but after about three hours I would be fine! I wasn’t expecting it to be easy.
The first challenge of the session was to find the swim centre it is a bit hidden away but eventually I found it (having missed the big sign!) and squeezed my bike into their changing area. After a quick change and shower I was climbing a smaller ladder into a massive bath with a jet at the front. Surrounding the pool were a number of cameras which were strategically placed for obtaining the best views of my dodgy stroke! After a few minutes of normal swimming, Andrew explained a number of things that were wrong. Normally this would involve standing around and talking about various aspects of my stroke. However, this is when the video recording equipment came into it’s own. As Andrew described problems, I could see them on the screens and understand what I needed to do.
We moved onto a couple of kick drills and catch drills which should make me more effective in the water, each time watching the good and bad on the monitors to describe what was going wrong. After about an hour and a half I was puffing a bit and Andrew called it a day (I’d only paid for an hour). I was really impressed with the coaching, all of the content was relevant to what I want to achieve. The major boom was the video recording gear, with Andrew’s commentary, it really allowed my to see what was going wrong and how I could change it to improve.
If your looking to make some improvements to your swimming and need some advice, get down to the swim centre and have some fun splashing around in their pool.