Slalom Swimming

By richard | 30/08/2019

Slalom Swimming isn’t talked about enough. Slalom swimming is the type of swimming you do when you’re one of the stronger swimmers but not the strongest. You’re going fast enough to overtake certain swimmers but too slow to keep up with others. As you overtake some swimmers you’re forced to swim to the side to overtake them.

Linear swimmer

As well as having the slow swimmers to content with as you overtake them you also have the linear swimmers. These swimmers swim in a straight line without ever moving to accommodate other swimmers. You are the one forced to move out of their way over and over again. When you’re swimming one or two kilometres this means that you’re swimming more than the length of the pool on each lap. These are the people that impact my enjoyment of a swim.

A lane to myself

A week ago I had a lane to myself for an entire hour. During this hour I swam back and forth along the centre line for the entire duration and it felt good. It is for this reason that I swam such a distance. The length of the pool was just twenty five metres so i had to do quite a few back and forths.

For the last two lengths of the swim, I practised breath-holding. I swam my penultimate length under water successfully and then took 30 seconds or so to get my breath back and swam the final length underwater as well. When you perfect the technique of swimming under water it feels like you’re gliding. You make one stroke, let yourself glide, and then you do another stroke. you repeat this until you’re at the other side of the pool.

Cold water

Many years ago when i was taking swimming lessons as a child I would always get cold and start to shiver. Eventually the swimming teacher would let me get out of the water and go to the showers. As children we would stay under the showers until we had used up all the hot water and then we’d get out and be really thirsty and enjoy an ice tea. It tasted so good.

My reason for not swimming is often that I like to be warm and swimming pools are, or at least, were cold. I like to swim when I know that I will be warm when I get out of the water. Thanks to the most recent heatwave my psychology changed and I want to swim again.

Having a broken arm and limited access to swimming, cycling and other sports also helped. Swimming with an arm healing with a break is simple to do. You don’t need to worry about lifting weights, about pulling, pushing, torsion or other forces. You can also modulate the strength of your strokes according to what feels comfortable.


One of the strongest motivating factors to go swimming is that it’s a third as expensive as gym membership and more affordable than climbing gym memberships for a year. A year’s membership would be amortised after just 45 swims. If you go swimming five times a week you’ve amortised it in five weeks. The other advantage of membership is that you can go for just half an hour or an hour. You work out and get out and get on with the rest of the day. You also get a full-body workout.

No need for an internal combustion engine.

The final advantage is that you don’t need a car to get there. As it’s within walking distance you can easily walk there without worrying about petrol, traffic or parking. When climbing, you always have to worry about those aspects.

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