Today I did my every-other-week 2000-yard time trial, not all-out, but looking to maintain a steady pace. My 100s were all in the 1:53-1:55 range, which is pretty good for me. I felt like I was getting decent extension on the left side, where I tend to shorten up. Elbows seemed to be staying high, too. Of course, it's difficult to say with certainty what was going on, although I did have Coach Niko in the house. For a dollar he timed my splits and afterward offered feedback: (1) "Hmm, I don't know if your kick was weak, because I don't know what a kick is supposed to look like, but you definitely had a lot less turbulence than other people; (2) "No, your butt wasn't up above the water. Maybe a tiny, tiny bit a few times, but mostly it was underneath the water. But not very far. Just, like, maybe an inch." I had asked him about my kick because it's always sucked. I really have no idea how to kick, when to kick, or even if I need to kick. I've heard a few triathlon expert-types say your swim kick is the last thing you need to worry about, yet at the pool I see lots of swimmers kicking back and forth endlessly, often with flippers. And as for the butt, this is a key to better swimming, of course, reducing drag, and it's a challenge for me. I work hard at it but fear that in part I'm fighting nature. The great swimmers I knew in college had, like, no hips, very little ass and skinny legs. Me, I'm thickly muscled in the thighs and buttocks (well, I am, it's just true). I don't think my stuff floats so well.
Lastly, a fellow CDA blogger had asked about lane etiquette awhile back and I offered my two cents. My main point was that I'm not fond of the practice of asking to share a lane but I believe strongly that when you jump in a lane you are obliged to inform the present occupant(s) of your presence—and why not do so with a pleasant greeting, to set a friendly tone? So a couple of days ago I'm swimming alone in a lane, down the middle, and suddenly my left hand whacks into something. I stop and look up and it's this, like, 40-pound tyke of a girl in white-rimmed goggles and a pink bathing suit. I ask the kid if she's all right and she says, "Uh-huh." And off she went, butterflying. She was maybe 8 years old, so I didn't lecture her. Plus, she did take a whack to the noggin from me, so that was probably enough. Then today, I'm the first one in the pool, me in my lane and five empty ones around me. Gradually I notice swimmers in the lanes around me. Then suddenly, as I turn to breathe, a tsunami washes over me, sending a pint of Dishman's best down my windpipe, and some oil tanker of a dude continues by in my lane. He hadn't announced himself. So I guess anything goes, in fact.