My 3rd link in a triathlon, swimming……..


I taught myself how to swim about 8 years ago. It was a clumsy breaststroke. There was no technique in it. Just simple experimentation to figure out what can prevent me from sinking in the pool. When I managed to stay afloat I suprised myself by swimming 3.6 km in my small 30m pool at the condo. I had to do more than 100 laps and it took me about 5 slow hours. I felt quite accomplished at that time considering I had only learnt a few weeks before that.

My freestyle stroke leaves a lot to be desired and I find it impossible to sustain so I gave up. When I decided to complete in a triathlon, I knew I had to conquer a mountain to climb. I had to work on my running technique, my cycling technique and my freestyle technique. I’ve been working on my running about 75% of the time as it was my weakest link. The climax to my journey in running was about 2 weeks ago when I ran a half marathon.
Getting excited

I decided that i have to face this swimming issue straight on. I tried to swim a few weeks back in the pool of the hotel I was staying in. Needless to say, it was a disaster and I lasted for about 10 minutes. I knew it was not time to get help.

I got in touch with Advanced Aquatics and hired a swimming coach, Saiful Zulkifli who was in Malaysia’s National Swimming Team and Malaysian Games medalist. The sesion was going to be at Bukit Utama swimming club. I bought myself a brand new set of goggles and with much trepidation began my lesson. I had visions of me panicking and hollering out in the pool during my lesson and was prepared to swallow the chlorinated water in my efforts to stay afloat.
He asked me to demonstrate my super refined freestyle stroke. He thankfully stopped me after not even 10 seconds. And started to demonstrate simple drills for me to do. It was not as bad as I thought it would be. In fact, it was quite pleasant. Very pleasant in fact.
Glide baby glide…

I can feel myself getting more efficient in the water. It wasn’t as tough as it used to be. The crowing moment came when I can actually feel myself gliding in the water. I took a before and after video for posterity. It’s not perfect yet but compared to the whale that was, it’s a million times better (no whales were injured during photography). Not quite the shark yet. Well, maybe a fat shark.

My immediate goal is to swim 750m without stopping. Time is not important yet. I just want to be able to do this.

The journey is going to be long and tough but Im determined to do this.
So far, competing in a triathlon is the most difficult undertaking in my life. I have to make so many changes not only to my lifestyle but also to the way I do the simplest things like run and swim.

It doesn’t have to be about a triathlon or any other sports. It could be anything that your heart desires. Your dreams, visions and ambitions. Take action to realise your dream. Don’t be intimidated by how difficult or how long you think it is.

Many have inspired me in my journey and I always say, ‘if they can do it, then I can do it too’.

So maybe by reading this, you would one day say, if Reza can do it, then I can do it too’…

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