O Angelina

A Girl and Her Dog: Living, Loving, & Enjoying the Little Things

Swimming Visualization: I Pretend Like I'm a Dolphin

SwimmingAngelina OberdanComment

Swimmers are regularly asked what they think about while they're swimming. "Uh, nothing," is usually true, but I do try to concentrate on my stroke, breathing, and flip-turns while I'm swimming. 

When I swim early in the morning or after a long day at work, I can't really concentrate on anything so I imagine that I'm either a famous swimmer or an animal that moves the stroke I'm swimming. 

1. Butterfly: 

Some mornings I pretend like I'm Dana Vollmer, winner of the 100m Butterfly in the 2012 Olympics, but most mornings I don't feel as coordinated. (The actual race starts around 4:30.) When I don't feel like Vollmer, I just try to move my back like a dolphin. I also try to pretend like I can breathe like a dolphin, that I'm not gasping for air when I surface. 

2. Backstroke

Missy Frankly has an unbelievable backstroke, and I've been watching her swim for years. My backstroke is much more haphazard, and I just try to get enough out of my strokes to keep up with my legs. And I get through long kick sets pretending to be an otter. 

(The race starts around 4:00.) 

3. Breaststroke

My breaststroke is incredibly slow. In fact, this guy inspires me, and he's a big old fat frog. I'm pretty sure his timing is better than mine, too! And I didn't even include an olympic video because my body really does move more like this frog's. 

4. Freestyle

Freestyle is a really interesting stroke to me because I used to be so bad at it. However, having a great coach and learning to swim in open water has helped both of my long-axis strokes. Competitive open water swimming is different from competitive short- or long-course pool swimming. This video of Jodie Swallow illustrates an ideal open water stroke. 

So in the middle of a lake, I don't actually think about my stroke count. Usually I just sing to myself and pretend to be Dori from Finding Nemo. 


Does it work? I'm not sure. I'm certainly not an Olympic athlete. USA Swimming does recommend that their coaches teach swimmers to use imagery and visualization while they are training. It's worth a try, and if it doesn't work, you'll at least have fun pretending to be a dolphin. 

For other benefits of swimming, check out Jen Review's "8 Health Benefits of Swimming." A

And if you feel like you're not a natural swimmer, just remember that even baby otters have to learn to swim.