Friday, December 6, 2013

Masters Swimming

So last winter I got a swim coach to work on my form.  I only met with her every couple of months.  She'd tell me how bad I sucked, and give me drills to work on it.  There were a few glaring things and once I worked on those, my 100 repeat times in the pool dropped by 15 seconds.  It was pretty impressive, and I felt good.  I even broke 29 minutes in a wetsuit Olympic lake swim.  I was quite pleased. 

At the end of the year, my results were not as pleasing.  I had a couple of non-wetsuit races in which I just got killed.  Then the stark realization of how slow I was swimming set in at Rev3 Anderson.  I swam 40 minutes for a half with a wetsuit.  It was a lake swim much like the one I did at the Try Charleston Half back in April of 2012.  So pretty much comparing apples to apples, a year and half later I was 1 minute slower.  Yes slower in the open water.  My pool times had really improved, but I just wasn't seeing that translate into races.

I decided to mix things up and start going to a masters swim group.  In the mornings they meet every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  They don't meet until 5:30am and its an additional 10-15 minutes from work.  It doesn't fit into my schedule really well, but I wanted to make it work.  I went on a Friday initially because I typically slide into work later on that day anyways.

The Rock Hill Aquatic Center is quite a nice facility.  The above pic shoes the cool pool in the foreground and the warm pool in the background.  Its kinda out in the middle of nowhere but parking is ample.  Of course you park on the opposite side of the building from the entrance.  Still trying to figure that out.  I first went on a nonmasters day just to check everything out (and get my palm code setup).  There was literally no one in the cool pool when I started.  Only like 4 of us by the time I got out.

I contacted the head master(?) or coach(?), well, the person in charge.  She was going to be out a while and she directed me to Jamie.  Jamie helped me a bunch that first session.  The hardest thing was figuring out what group I should swim with.  I knew I should be on the slow end and she put me a couple lanes from the end.  I swam with Jamie the first few times I went and it worked out well.  The workouts are fair, not crazy hard.  They do a LOT of kicks, which is good for me.  I have the worst kick in the history of organized triathlon.

This last time I went, we ended up doing 3,400 yards.  But it went by really quickly.  In fact I was surprised when I went back through the workout we did and added up all the yardage.  I swam with Barb, who was great.  She really kept us on track with the rest.  When you do a workout by yourself, sometimes you take a little extra rest.  Sometimes you take a break in the middle of a 12x100 and give yourself a minute rest.  Not in Masters.  You get lazy on an interval and come in 5 seconds before the start of the next one, you get 5 seconds rest.  That's it.  It really pushes you.  That's what I need.  I wish I could go more.  For now I plan on every Friday and Wednesday when I can.  I went Wednesday this past week and that helped me get in 11,500 yards for the week.  Not crazy, not my best, but its a start.

They also host a bunch of open water swims when it gets warmer.  I really want to get in on some of those.  I need to practice that more.  Like I said, for some reason I've gotten faster in the pool, but slower in the open water.  Fear is a great motivating factor.  As I told my wife: don't think that the 2.4 mile swim in Chattanooga doesn't scare the ever livin' crap out of me . . . cause it does.