As my Channel training in the past year went wrong in every possible aspect, the problem of not being able to get back to the right track has already made me too stressed that it’s affecting my health. After visiting a psychologist last week, I have decided to suspend my Channel training, and try to find a friend who’s willing to take my spot in case if I finally decide not to do it this year.
My former Total Immersion coach, Chung Ho, introduced me to a training group in Tsing Yi last week, training 3 times a week late morning. The time and place are much better for me when compared to my former squad which trained at 06:30 on Hong Kong Island. Through that group I have met Hannah Li, a national marathon swimming team member who’s also coaching as well. As a result she has become my new coach, my last coach in Hong Kong for my final 3 months in Hong Kong. None of my past coaches have any marathon swimming experience but she has, therefore I place my total trust on her, and we will have lessons just before the group training at Tsing Yi.
I told her my explicit goal is to improve my 10 – 25 km speed, and also mentioned about my Channel plan and my race plan this year. She watched my videos of my 16 km swim last month. She told me immediately that I need to improve my fitness in addition to my technique as well. She had experience in cold water marathon swimming before wetsuits are introduced into FINA. When I talked to her about my qualification attempt which ended prematurely at 3 hours, she suggested I might lack the fitness so that I couldn’t sustain anymore after 3 hours, as it takes more effort to swim in cold water.
I had my first lesson today morning. She worked on two aspects about my technique – reaching forward, and keeping my arse and tummy tight. However, she also told me to do some home exercise as well. Last week when I did the group training, as the squad coach (not Hannah – she was training as well) knew I am targeting longer distance while most of the people are triathletes who feel cold after an hour even in their wetsuit in current weather (sunny days with 18°C water), he made me staying in the water doing more loops while getting the group out of the water to do some fitness exercises (such as squats, push ups) and swim short loops. Today the squad coach no longer kept me in the water and made me out of the water to do the same exercise with the group. These exercises are actually what I hate the most – if I am made to do it, my most likely response is to stop doing the sport at all. As I am placing my last hope on Hannah, if she tells me to do these exercises at home, well, I will still do it as I trust her totally, but I’ll give up swimming after my list of bookings is cleared this year. If I need to do these kind of things to get fast in marathon swimming, I will definitely give up swimming. I hope it won’t become true.
I will have lesson with her every week in these 3 months until my planned emigration. If I decide to continue with my Channel plan I will probably emigrate to the UK. If not I will apply for a working holiday in Sweden. The decision will be based on if I can get my qualification done, and how much speed improvement I have got in these few months. I really hope I can finally get speed improvement, and catch up some of the faster swimmers such as Edie before I conclude my life in Hong Kong.