Fact number 1: I love swimming.
Fact number 2: Sadly, that doesn’t mean I’m any good at it.
I like taking my time, trying to make a perfect movement, focusing on my breathing. It’s ever so soothing, isn’t it?
When Virgin Active invited me to their Hydro swimming session, a high intensity class designed with Speedo… I wasn’t sure what to expect but they reassured me no skill was required. I dived in. Why not? On my own, I will not learn anything new…
The session took place at their fitness club in Broadgate – quite a space. Never did I expect a pool in these office buildings! The group was mixed – guys and girls, all rather intrigued. We were asked to form three groups, depending on our speed: slow, medium, fast. We would all work on similar exercises, but adapted to our level.
Hydro is all about pushing your limits, more than you would dare too. Endurance – not speed – is key here. Amazing what you can do when someone has faith in you… We practised several things – different number of length, relay but also cardio. For this, I worked with a partner, both holding the same float board. On the word “Go” we start kicking our legs, trying to push against each other. 30 seconds, breathe, 30 seconds, breathe… It really gets your heart pumping. No wonder they say you burn more calories in a 4o minutes session than in an hour in the gym!
What I loved was… the structure, the constant reassurance. Even in each group, the task was adapted to our weaknesses and strengths. I can’t, for example, put my head under water when I swim. Scuba diving, with a mask covering my nose? No problem. Without? I simply never learned. Never had to. My first reaction was to feel embarrassed of course – I felt under level. But the instructors simply are brilliant. There is no judgement, just tips, encouragement, ways to improve.
And you suddenly see it. How much technique you lack – lessons, at school, in my time, were more about “ok, let’s get you to float and move forward. Got it? Mission accomplished”. How much you would gain from lessons here. It’s a welcome change from running or the gym, which you might have got used to. It challenges you more. Hydro is hard – but it really, REALLY makes you feel alive too. It’s a different take on swimming entirely.
Who is it for? Everyone. People like me who simply want to master swimming. Good swimmers who want to try something else – say, a triathlon and don’t know how to go such a length. It’s all in the “yet”. You know have a team to rely on. They will build your confidence and your endurance, session after session. They will only need one thing from you: commitment, 2 sessions a week. But trust me, you will be convinced from the very first one…