Check out this wonderful shot from New Zealand...nothing but open water and the horizon ahead. Long distance swimming at it's finest.
Let me make it very clear - that is not me.
Despite best effort over many years, and even swim coaches in my triathlon days in the 1980's, I never mastered the art of swimming.
When it comes to head knowledge, I have it all. The concept, the stroke, understanding deficiencies in the kick, bilateral breathing, and other indicators of the perfect form in water...but when I try to put it into practice, I move forward at a turtle's pace, and create a lot of foam.
Hey, it's not really that bad. I started swimming again a few weeks ago, and the benefits to my physique are noticeable. My upper body is showing great definition, and the repeating action of the reach and catch has been most excellent for the bad disc in my back.
As a creature of habit, I perform the same routine each time. Thirty minutes freestyle stroke with a swim buoy in between my legs, and then 30 minutes with hand paddles and fins. I have learned to use the swim buoy as it makes the first segment more enjoyable. I have such a poor kick that my legs sink in the water, so with the buoy, I stay parallel to the water line, and let my arms do the work. Once equipped with paddles and fins, the effort is much different. I'm getting a better "dig" with my arms and legs, and I can cruise a a slow aerobic pace.
If you'd like a great starter book on swimming, check out "Swimming Made Easy." It's the Total Immersion method made famous by coach Terry Laughlin.
I'll never be even an average swimmer, but I have learned to accept my pool workout as a great alternative for endurance sport. Life isn't about being the best, but rather being well rounded in all the great activities that are available to us...so get wet and enjoy the water.