I saw a video on Instagram of someone swimming in the most exquisite of locations, the canyons of the American wild west. With his bright swimming cap and tinted Aqua Sphere Kayenne goggles, he had the right gear and looked assured in his technique. This included ‘sighting’, lifting his head every couple of strokes to see where he was going and keep himself on course.
‘Bliss,’ somebody commented.
But how could he enjoy the amazing view in that very frequent half-second window, a moment of inevitable neck tension?
If he was ambling along with his head resting under water and coming up less frequently, taking his time both to breathe and to enjoy the view, he’d really be able to absorb the magic of his surroundings.
But from what I could see, the most significant thing happening in that video was a bloke, whether or not he was aware of it, straining his neck and shoulders and shortening his back. Being in beautiful surroundings doesn’t make any difference to what we do.
If you really want a view, it’s no use blindly following everybody else with their established techniques. You have to find your own way.
There’s bound to be lots of videos on YouTube with tips on how to get ‘sighting’ right. You can probably do it using the principles of the Alexander Technique, at least in theory.
‘It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it’ is a commonly used phrase to market the Alexander Technique. But sometimes it is what you do that causes trouble, it doesn’t matter how you do it. Sighting in front crawl inevitably causes strain. Being an established technique, with its own name, doesn’t make it a good thing.
The big question I ask myself in natural water is, how can I be natural? Being able to enjoy the view is a good start.