I want to follow up with the latest posts (Part 1 and Part 2) on Remedy For Sinkers to acknowledge that dealing with the body is not the only part of the sinker equation. It is obvious in many cases that overcoming the sinking problem is not just physically challenging but mentally frustrating also.
It is too apparent that others can slip along at the surface fast and seemingly without effortless. Even though the disadvantages the sinking swimmer has to deal with can be accepted intellectually as a fact or fate, it can still be discouraging to work from such an apparent deep and slow starting position compared to other swimmers.
And that could be part of the problem – comparison.
It is quite human to feel either self-conscious about it, or competitive about it – with others or just with the self. ‘I’ve got to conquer this thing!’
In some ways that external motivation – to make myself as good as the swimmers around me – is useful. But beware of leaning too much on external reference points for what is ‘good swimming’ for you. You’ve got your own physical facts to deal with that others don’t. So, success for you is not necessarily going to look the same as for someone else. And who cares?
Consider this: what if your sinking-body type were the norm for humans, and there were rarely any low-density freaks in the pool? If everyone had to work from the same deep position, how might your attitude about practice be different? How might you set your standards of ‘good swimming’ differently? How might you change the way you view and work through the struggles you have?
How might you spend your time in the pool differently if:
- You didn’t have any particular speed you need to achieve.
- You didn’t have any particular distance you need to cover.
- There was no one around to care how you look.
- You had all the weeks in the world to work this out.
- You didn’t need to worry about ‘getting a good enough workout’.
- Making swimming easier and more enjoyable was the main goal.
You don’t have to give up performance (in competition with self or others) in order to take up internal motivations for swimming. After all, going faster with less energy feels really good inside the body. Having water flow faster and smoother over the skin is indeed extremely pleasurable and should be pursued. External/internal motivation is not an either/or situation. But it is a matter of which one dominates, which one will carry you through not just this difficulty, but all those that come and go over the entire lifespan of an athlete.
So what happens when you are 50 or 60 or 70 years old or more? What are your standards when you are no longer 15, 20, or 30? How will you measure ‘good swimming’ for you? If swimming isn’t peaceful and fun inside your body and mind, you won’t likely keep doing it.
Overall, I hope you will work on this swimming puzzle simply because it feels good to swim and it feels good in your body and mind to work on this puzzle – you can work as hard on it as you like and get an incredible ‘workout’ in the process. Whether you conquer the puzzle in the way you or someone else expects is secondary to the main reward of engaging in this kinesthetic practice – to improve your mind and your body together – because you need a vibrant body and mind every day, for as much of the rest of your life as possible. And when you overcome this sinker problem, guess what? New puzzles will present themselves. Improvement opportunities (and those who swim better than you) are endless.
And your errors and ignorance in how to practice, and the deficiencies in skill that are exposed by your struggle? These are just information that you use to grow. You learn to deconstruct the problem and learn to build up the skills you need, piece-by-piece. It is an opportunity to practice the skills and attitude of peaceful problem-solving – arguably one of the most valuable yet rare skill sets in the world. There are more tools, technique, and advice in the swimming universe to help you than ever before in history. And there are millions out there who swim (or struggle with far less hope than you) in your section of the body-composition curve. You’ve got a lot on your side and you are not alone.
So, I want to encourage my denser-than-average aquatic friends – or aging friends, or disabled friends, or anyone who perceives himself to have a ‘disadvantage’ – to keep your heart in the work of solving this problem for the pleasure of working on something so purely healthful for your mind and body. The progress you need to feel to keep you going will come more easily to you when your heart falls in love with the practice itself because it simply feels so good to practice.