Observations and Experiences at the Piscine Molitor

We went to the Molitor Hotel for a couple of nights this week. For anyone who likes swimming pools, it’s really worth the trip. Apart from the two awesome art deco period pools, it was a very cool hotel, and breakfast was excellent, with gluten free cakes and everything. With a Black Friday deal 2 nights B&B was just over £350.

I was really keen to experience the pool but I wanted to see if I could avoid doing too many lengths. I wasn’t there for exercise.

Piscine Molitor


Our first visit to the outdoor pool.

On arriving at 3 pm Tuesday, the long, heated outdoor pool was empty. I wrote, ‘What a place. Cool but warm water meets crisp winter air. It doesn’t get much better than swimming (but not swimming up and down) in a pool like this. My neck I’m pretty sure is freer than when I arrived. That’s what it’s all about.’

Piscine Molitor at night


The outdoor pool in the evening.

On our second night, I wanted to experience the pool in the dark. But by the time I got there, there was at least one person in every lane. I found myself swimming about a kilometre of gentle, easy breaststroke with the odd length of crawl. As I did it, I was mindful of the video I recently found of me swimming like a robot. But I kept giving my Alexander Technique directions and focused on enjoying the glide.

Overall I was fairly satisfied that I’d stuck to my principles and not done too much damage. I was sharing a lane with one other person who kept steaming passed me. She looked like she had no concept of using the weight of her head, which was half in and half out of the water in a constant forward looking position. This made me feel uncomfortable so I tried to keep my head down!

While I wasn’t quite able to stick to my plan not to do any lane swimming, I didn’t overdo it. And that’s certainly what most of the other pool users, during our stay, seemed to me to be doing.

If it was possible for me not to spend too long observing the behaviour of other people when I was in the water with them, it was less easy to resist watching them from our bedroom window, which overlooked the pool.


Observing other swimmers

‘From our window I’ve been watching people swimming up and down. Some people misuse themselves in more subtle ways than others but almost everyone is distorting themselves in some way, exacerbating whatever happens on dry land. And 50 lengths holding a kickboard with the head out of the water whilst wearing fins is one good example of turning what the water can do for us into its opposite.’

I was surprised by the amount of swimming that was being done with training aids, kickboards, pull buoys, paddles and, the least offensive to me, snorkels.

What I didn’t know was that, during my evening pool swim, Cheryl had been watching me. ‘You looked like you were fixing your hips, holding on to your legs.’ So I asked her to give me a lesson.

Piscine Molitor looking up from winter pool


Looking up from the winter, indoor pool

My breaststroke before and after a 5 minute lesson from Cheryl, in the Winter pool.

‘It feels completely different because she’s changed (180 degrees) my guiding thoughts. The change is in not holding on to the glide. This subconscious doing is getting in my way as it results in fixing in pelvis, neck and shoulders. The release of the legs and everything else as soon as the feet come together to complete the kick makes coming up to breathe much more natural. To help make her point she swam behind me tapping the soles of my feet, to reinforce the new thought. I hadn’t been able to work it out for myself because my thinking was too fixed and what you think is what you get.’

So it was certainly worth the trip for me.

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