This post may be a little long, so bear with me!
I have been thinking about joining a Masters Swim program for awhile now, but none of them ever fit into my schedule. That is until I found out about a program at a 24 hour fitness not too far from where I live. It's held at a Super Sport, which I didn't have access to. I guess the people at 24 hr. fitness like to think that the Super Sports are far superior than the regular clubs, which is why they charge an arm and a leg to be a member of one. But, this week, they were running a special where I could update my membership to just $15/mo. and have access to ALL the clubs. After doing some research about the price of joining a Masters Program, I realized that $15/mo is WAY cheaper than anything else I could find, which was in the $45-$55 range. And, they meet at 6AM which is great. I'm able to go to the class, shower, and get home before my husband has to go to work. Of course, my husband and I had to talk about it because on the days that I do the class he would have to get himself and both of our boys ready and fed, which is something I normally do, but he was all for it. He is really supportive of me and knows how frustrated I am with my swim. So, he's willing to take on some extras to help me with my goal. I'm so thankful to have such an amazing husband!
Anyways, I decided to get to the gym early and swim for about 20 minutes to loosen up before class. Um, I don't think I'll be doing that again (keep reading!). So, I introduced myself to the instructor and told her it was my first time doing a Masters program. She was like, "But you know how to swim right?" I said, "Yes" and I could tell she was relieved! She wrote down the first part of our workout and I jumped in a lane and started swimming. After a couple of minutes, more people started coming and the instructor asked me to move to the end lane. I forgot that the lanes were set up by speed...oops! But, I wish she would have told me that from the beginning. Anyways, I went to the end lane, the slowest lane. There was one other girl in the lane with me, but once we started the main workout she moved over a lane. I didn't understand why she would want to be in a lane with 2 other people, but I was kind of happy to have a lane to myself. But, in the back of my mind I was thinking that she didn't want to be in the "slow" lane with me. :(
Now, there were probably about 10 other people in the class and I could tell that they had been swimming together for a long time. They were laughing and joking with each other and I immediately felt like an outsider. Plus, I'm pretty sure I was the youngest swimmer there. Then, once the workout started, I knew I was definitely an outsider. They were all super fast and they all did flip turns. Needless to say I was very intimidated. At one point, the instructor had us do 4*100, odd IM/stroke, even free. Now, I don't know about you but I cannot do the butterfly stroke! I looked over at the other swimmers and they were ALL doing the IM. But, I just kept swimming and doing my thing. I could not keep up with them and realized that when they were done with their set of 4-100s, I was only on my 3rd. So, I would just move on to the next set because I thought it would be better for me to get in a variety of sets then just keep doing the same thing. At one point I stopped and rested because I was pretty tired. With my extra swimming before hand I had actually been swimming for about an hour already and I could really feel it. I told the instructor that I couldn't keep up with them and the intervals. She said that it was alright and that I shouldn't feel like I needed to keep up because the morning classes usually have all of her fast swimmers. It kind of made me feel better, but not really.
Overall, the class really kicked my ass! I mean, I have been doing drills and interval work when I go to the pool, but not at this level. I had to leave a little early to ensure that I would make it home in time, and when I got out of the pool it felt like everyone was just staring at me. I'm sure it was all in my mind, but still, I didn't like that feeling. I thanked the instructor, said goodbye, and went to change. I'm ashamed to admit that I had a little breakdown involving some tears in the shower. It seems so silly to say that, but I HATED being the slowest swimmer and not being able to keep up. But, more than that, I hated that I compared myself to the other swimmers and let that comparison get to me so much. I am just so frustrated with my swimming and I don't know what I'm doing wrong. Why am I so slow???
Obviously, I need to get over my insecurities and just think of this as a great opportunity to become a better swimmer. I know it will be good for me to go to this class on a regular basis because it definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone (both physically and mentally). But, I just wish the results would come faster.
Do any of you go to a Masters swim class? If so, how do you like it? Do you think it has helped your swimming?