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Right Fin Left Fin

If you were not a swimmer, like I am not a swimmer, what would the following mean to you?

6 x 25 with fins on one side per length

It was accompanied with a disclaimer that explained though the drill might feel strange keep the core engaged to stabilize your body and it should be fine.

Yeah, I thought, swimming with only one fin does sound like one big exercise in awkward strangeness and stabilization. Done and done. But that doesn’t explain how the whole thing will work.

I started thinking, and logistically to do that I would have to place the correct foot’s fin at each end of the pool. I’d swim 25 yards and switch fins, swim 25 yards and switch again, 6 times. As I was picturing myself at the public pool setting up the scene a red alert went off: switching with only one pair of fins would only work for 1 lap, right? Because if I swam 1 length with the left I’d hit the pool edge and exchange it for the right, but then the left wouldn’t be at the other end of the pool when I needed it 25 yards later. Right? Right. I was puzzled. I emailed my coach to see if he had any tips on this mind-blowing topic of Fin Placement.

As it turned out, the drill that I created in my mind in all its wide-screen high-definition glory isn’t actually a drill at all. And “6 x 25 with fins on one side per length” actually means that you wear two whole fins, yes, with one fin on each foot, while you swim on only one side of your body. Making the whole 25 yards, in an essence, like one long stroke.

I laughed at myself for a good two days about that one before I decided to start telling people. If I had gone through with my version of the plan then it could have caused disaster! Surely all of the cool kids in the medium lane would have disowned and heckled me back into the slow lane. I would have never been able to show my face at Queen Anne again, and would have been stuck with the too-hot showers at Green Lake or the off-hours at Medgar Evers for all the rest of my swimming days.

Good thing I asked. And even better thing that I have many people to laugh at myself with me when I get too serious and stressed out about Fin Placement. Silly.


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