XTERRA athlete and coach Mimi Stockton mountain biked in college but then took a long break.
“After about 15 years I got back on my bike and went for a ride with some guys who were really good,” she remembers. “I thought I was going to die. I was crashing everywhere. I thought about how great it would be to have someone take me out and show me the basics.”
This desire is part of what drove Stockton to become a coach herself. Together with SherriAnne Little, she has created NextLevel Endurance, where they train XTERRA and multi-sport athletes.
“XTERRA is such an interesting sport. There is always something new to work on. Mountain biking takes skill, but once you get over your fear, you can barrel down anything. Swimming, on the other hand, is super technical, and requires constant work on stroke and efficiency.”
Stockton had her own experience with swimming last year.
“I thought I was a good swimmer and I had a strong stroke, but I was always coming out of the water exhausted,” said Stockton. “I finally had my stroke analyzed and the guy was like, ‘Oh my god, you need to start over.’”
Stockton spent much of last January working on her stroke, which was often frustrating.
“There were many days I left the pool crying. I thought I’d never figure it out. But now I’m faster. The key to getting faster is getting more efficient. And the key to getting more efficient is learning how to swim correctly.”