Give me a lever long enough and
a fulcrum on which to place it and I shall move the world.
Laura, an actual swimmer on our team, swam a 50 free in Santa Cruz February 14th this year. Her time was a 24.96 which tied her best time from 2015. This was a nice swim and put a small smile on her face…well maybe not that small after all! In finals that day she swam her 50 in 24.66 and that produce a big smile for sure.
Swimmers love to record best times and since as they get older it doesn’t happen all that frequently, when Laura, a 16 year old junior, cranked a 24.66 it was a nice breakthrough.
Two weeks later we raced in Clovis and what follows is her numerical progression along with a few short comments:
Day 1 Time Trials – 24.8 – fast but the meet is just getting underway
Day 2 Prelims - 24.67 - making progress
Day 2 Time Trials – 24.45 - (Orlando NCSA cut is 24.39) more progress for sure
Day 2 Finals - 24.29 – Orlando and Futures cuts
From day 1 through day 2 she said “well, I’ve been 24.8, 24.6 24.4 so I might as well go 24.2”…keep the synched times rolling, that type of thing.
After the 24.29 the smile was ever widening. Later in the week I asked her what happened physically over those 2 plus days from the 24.8 to the 24.2 and she correctly replied “nothing.”
What had been replaced by up front desire was a pure intention level necessary to induce flow. And of course when flow is injected into the body actual physical changes do occur…as a result of the neural chemicals the brain dumps into your system, you are allowed all sorts of access to previous work, belief patterns and neural muscular connections.
Laura had her confidence go up as a result of increasing evidence that she “could” keep the needle moving forward. This allowed her to race “lighthearted” which in turn allowed the 24.2 which has been in her for several months, to come to the surface.
Intention, when stated, especially out loud, acts as the proverbial lever Archimedes referenced above. Coaches see this phenomenon rather regularly. So do teams, when they state a goal then all sorts of resources become available to the team in its quest for success.
The key ingredient is the statement of intention. That acts as the lever. Give it a try…and then get out of your own way and watch your progress.
Interestingly, at Clovis last summer at Western Zones, Laura swam her 50 meter free in 28.00 down from 29.33 the previous summer. I mentioned to her that she might as well swim a second faster for each of the next 4 summers. She smiled at the thought. When she and I revisited that conversation a few days ago she remembered it. I said, “When you do that in 4 years you will own the AR, which currently stands at 24.01 by Dara Torres from 2009, in the era of rubber suits.” She said to me, “Really?” of course you know I said, “Really” back to her…smiles all around.
And so it goes…