Many good people taught me, corrected me, and gave me good tips. For, not long ago, I had also wondered why my legs sank, where to put my arms, how much to rotate, how to breathe, and why I got so tired… I went through everything you are going through. So, I’m grateful to everyone who had helped, and is helping, me. This would include you, because I do learn from you, also.

Much of what I will teach you is what I learned from Igor Shoukhardin. You will hear me quote Igor alot in class. He would coach us, wearing yellow shorts like this, on the bear. This is a very unofficial logo of the Masters Swim team: he never liked it. “What does bear have to do with swimming?” and I’d laugh, because this is so Igor.

The Vanderbilt Y Masters‘ site has very good information, videos, helpful quotes from the pros, good links (and photos of Igor)!

I love open water swimming, and encourage you to join CIBBOWS (Coney Island Brighton Beach Open Water Swimmers) for trying your strokes out in the ocean when you feel ready. Yes, some go all year ’round. Contact them or ask me for details. As Lou of the Polar Bears says, “Everyday’s a beach day!”

artwork © christina sun

Igor was just great fun to watch. He had an uncanny skill of caricaturing perfectly a swimmer’s stroke, and would exaggerate the flaw. It was brutal boot camp, but it was also an honor to get mimicked; it was how one learned. If you did not rotate your body doing freestyle and only stuck arms out, he’d call you a cockroach. If, in your butterfly stroke, you did not prepare quickly enough for the kick and dive, he’d compare you to a frozen chicken. And—you would get it!

Famous Quotes of Igor:

“This is how to swim: to the point where you are dying, to the point where your head goes blank and you see stars, and you are dying, then you touch the wall, and turn around and do it again.”

“Coaches coach until the eye does not hurt.”

“Do you want to show off or move forward?”

“Pull! pull!! you are only pretending!” or, my preferred: “PULL! this is not water ballet!”

Ah! thanks, Tabitha! yes, the most repeated one: “Speed is not the goal, it’s the result.”

(I’ll post more as they come to mind, or as friends pass them over! so, gang– do these help?)

And, my favorite: “Thank you for good swimming!”

2 Responses to “Igor, CIBBOWS, other favorite things”

  1. Igor Says:

    Hey Christina San, is it some obituary or what?
    And, I never won any Olympic medal, although I had participated just in Tokio – 1964.
    I never say about coaches hurting eye. I used to say that some wrong swimmer’s movement hurts my eye…
    Anyway, love and miss you all

  2. bowsprite Says:

    Ah, well. Sorry, I stand corrected. Igor won our golden medal for best and most favorite coach. He is alive and kicking, he would always say when we hurt his eye,and he does love us very much. Hi, Igor!!!

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