Life certainly has given us lemons lately with the COVID-19 coronavirus. As a result, Beaufort County shut down all its facilities, first in March, after the pandemic had hit the U.S. and we finally sought to stop its spread.
One consequence was the closure of the Bluffton Pool. Those of us who regularly swim there were without the pool for more than two months until it re-opened safely, according to guidelines, on June 1.
Unfortunately, that lasted only for a month and a half before the county again closed its facilities on July 15 in reaction to the spike in COVID cases, again leaving us pool-less. We (and the county) have no idea how long it will be until the next re-opening.
So what does a swimmer do without a regulation pool? After the first closing, I went through a daily routine suggested by my physical therapist, augmented by suggestions from fellow older swimmers from around the country. Believe me, coronavirus responses and pool rules vary greatly from state to state.
With better weather than in March, I have been fortunate this time to have the 50-foot pool at my apartment complex available. So I have made lemonade by working on my strokes. As my book advocates, strokes don’t get better swimming laps. One- or two-cycle efforts are the best limit to change habits and not revert to less efficient ones, and I hope I have accomplished that.
Not just working on strokes, but on drills, old and especially new, can be done without the need of a competitive length pool. The shorter and irregular pool shape requires more repetitions, which is exactly what is necessary to change habits.
Another “lemonade” adjustment to losing the longer pool has been to switch from swimming three days each week, with a recovery day between, to swimming every morning for a shorter time. It helps focus on a single stroke or a single aspect of all strokes.
The point is that interruptions to one’s normal pattern of life do not have to cause total upheaval of one’s long-term intentions. With a change of focus and a little creativity, it is possible to enjoy variety and still keep working toward the same long-term goals.
Dr. Bob Colyer of Bluffton is an actively retired college professor, coach and author of “Swim Better: A Guide to Greater Efficiency for Swimmers & Instructors,” directed primarily to non-competitors. firstname.lastname@example.org