I try to think about how my body is moving through the water. It's tough to not get distracted sometimes. I imagine I am swimming through a tunnel, and I have to make myself really small.
I do math problems.
Like, if I'm swimming a 200 and I've completed a 50, I do the math to find I've done 25%.
Then I just do random math problems that somehow have something to do with the original.
During a race, I do what someone else mentioned, minus the hot girl part..
1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, etc., flip turn, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, etc, flip turn, and so on.
I try to think about technique, pacing etc, but on longer sets (which I rarely do now, I'm a masters swimmer) I will "discover" songs I never thought I knew the words to. I remember as a teenager doing that a lot. Sometimes I used to find myself focusing in on the tiles on the bottom of the pool, too.!
Yesterday (8/9/08), while swimming the 2.3 mile North Shore Challenge on Oahu, my mind wandered off to think about Steve Irwin and his encounter with a stingray. Just then, a spotted ray swam right below me. I've never seen one before! I spent the next 20 minutes thinking about how I have to make sure not to think about Jaws or I'll see a shark....
By the way, I'm a counter too. Counted to over 1800 strokes with my right arm on 8/26/08 Chun's to Waimea before I lost count as I sprinted to the end.
When i'm swimming the 500 i tend to think about the last song i listened to before i started swimming for part of the race and then for the last part i look and see if i need to speed up or if i'm doing well. But if i'm swimming the 200 i count my flips and try not to focus on much else.
I just started swimming this past May. At first I was very focused on breathing or the lack thereof. Now, I think a lot about form and pacing myself through different sets. Recently, I've added a new drill where I try to increase my speed in each round of a set (3 x 75, 4 x100...etc). I say a short mantra to myself, like "nice and easy" and then say it a little bit faster for each round. This has helped me learn how to do this kind of drill. Sometimes I count laps, but cannot seem to count strokes. Also, since I swim at the end of the day before heading home from work, I find myself decompressing from the work day.
I will run for cupcakes!!
I always get songs stuck in my head. if I look at the botom of the pool sometimes I freak out becuse my team is the sharks and I think there might be a shark at the bottom of the pool.
one time I was doing a IM and it was at a diffrent pool and I freaked out becuse the pool was all cold and dirty inside. eawww. but usualy i get songs stuck in my head. LOL
I try to always think about my mechanics, trying to make sure that over time I'm not getting sloppy since it just wastes energy. When I'm in open water I let some periodic thoughts about the waves and the water around me. Are the waves still coming from the same direction? Are they choppy? do I need to breath more on one side to avoid the spray from the? etc. In a pool I try to remind myself of the lap number about 3 times every 25m, at the turn, half way and right before the turn. Also in the pool I take a moment to calculate what the timer should say at my next turn so that I can adjust my pace and stay consistent to what I planned. There's also the occasional contemplation of "All the lanes are full, should I pause at the next turn and see if that cute woman wants to share my lane?"
Usually I run music in my head. I love the 500, I love the fact it's more a mind game than anything else. So to keep myself occupied I run medium music at the begining and by counting the laps I know when to think about loud music and pick up my pace. It keeps me focused on my breathing and stroke and lets me concentrate at the same time. Sounds pretty corny but that is what I do.
Be the fish.
Off the wall, the path of least resistance. Downhill all the way to the next flip turn.
Laughlin talks about the extra breath opposite side to make the turn fluid. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Rhythm, rhythm, ...
Swimming is meditation. The thoughts wash away.
When I am largely distracted by brain clatter, I lose the balance, lose the rhythm. The struggle that inevitably ensues brings me back to being the fish.
In the pool, I count up to the 1/2 way point and then count down. I try to focus on the numbers as I lose count when my mind drifts. In the open water I try to focus on the race and passing the person in front of me. When my mind drifts, I think of Sharks, Alligators, and other creatures that are not good to have around.
If I am in the pool, I wonder how can I be going so slow and when will my body warm up. And swimming for distance I hate forgetting my lap count and wondering if I can beat the person next too me. And trying to forus on my stroke and form when I am dying and everything is falling apart