So I went to practice with my old masters team yesterday morning. I decided I just could not wait another week, since I could see that they started back a week before my new team will. Sadly, doing this required getting up at 4:20 a.m. to allow time for the 40-minute drive and making it to 5:30 practice. Let's just say that 8:30 p.m. may well have arrived last night, but I would not know.
But the practice was perfect: not especially difficult, not a large yardage amount, but good drill work on freestyle, and trying to get the body back in shape. Luckily I was not the only one who had been out of the water for a bit, and a number of us traded stories about just how long it had been. (Mostly since practices ended back at the end of July, but one person was now sans tonsils as well.)
We worked on keeling, or kicking on your sides in order to improve your posture moving through the water. Since long-axis strokes (i.e., freestyle and backstroke, where you rotate on along the long axis of your torso) are all about being, well, long, much of what we did was focused on lenghtening and thereby streamlining body position in the water. Some of this drill work was done with fins, then we switched to swimming without fins, the goal being to maintain the feel for the water of swimming with fins even when your feet are now back to their regular length. During that swimming I focused on my stroke count: I tried to keep it to 15-16 pulls per 25 yard length, but often I strayed into the 17 pulls realm. But I was able to keep my time per 50 yards consistent, so that is also cool.
But more than anything it feels good to be back in the water. Don't get me wrong: it also felt good (in a strange way) to be a couch potato. I think those rest periods are important in terms of the rhythm of the season, even if I do struggle with a lot of guilt during them.