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Allen Stark
August 8th, 2011, 07:09 PM
Yogi Berra is famously quoted as saying"90% of hitting is 50% mental".I am not sure of the accuracy of those percentages,but the mental aspect of swimming a race is important
.What do you do mentally to swim fast?Inquiring minds want to know.
I thought I'd get it started by telling about the mental aspect of my 200 M BR from Nats.
The morning of the race I was not confident.I had swum the 50 and 100 BR well and still gotten beaten by Robert Wright.Fortunately I have found that confidence is neither necessary nor sufficient to swim fast.
I was excited,excitement and anxiety are identical physiologically,it is only a matter of attitude and labeling and I was choosing to label my feeling as excitement
I visualize my race for about 30 min before I swim.I found I was having a lot of negative thoughts as I was doing so(it's going to hurt,you're going to go out too hard and die,you're going to go out too slow and embarrass your self,etc.)After each negative thought I would erase it(literally visualize taking an eraser to the thought and replace it with a positive thought,such as you will swim with easy speed,you will feel smooth and powerful,etc.)I kept having the recurrent thought I needed to "swim hard",but I realized I did not want to swim hard,I wanted to swim fast.
At SCY Nats I had gone out too slowly in the 200 yd BR and could not catch the leaders,so I made it a conscious thought that I would not let Robert get too far ahead.This was a potentially dangerous decision because if he went out too fast we could both die the last 50,but I figured"no guts,no glory."
I have very few conscious thoughts during a race,which is strange since my mind won't shut up the rest of the time.On the block I try to focus only on being ready for the beep.In the air on the startIi remember thinking"good start"(I felt I had been slow off the block in the 100 BR.)
I count every stroke in practice so I always have a preconscious count going in my head.That was to prove useful in this race.At the first turn Robert was a little ahead,but my stroke count was 17(I don't count the pull out) so I thought"I'm a little behind and my stroke count is only 17,I'm right where I want to be."
My second 50 stroke count was 20 and I was even with Robert so I began to feel a little optimistic(not confident,just a little optimistic.)
With about 3 strokes left in the 3rd 50 I felt tired.I think this is where training is very important,because I had a lot of experience swimming tired,so I (mostly) took it as information instead of a reason to slow down.My stroke count for the 50 was 21 1/2(yes I took a 1/2 stroke into the wall,no that is not a good thing,being tired was a little distracting.)I was ahead at that point,my stroke count was still good and I started to feel a little more optimistic.
In retrospect what was conspicuous in it's absence the last 50 was feeling tired.I have had times in a SCY 200 BR where I come up on the last turn and the wall seems miles away.This time I came up saw the wall and thought"only one more length,you can do this."
In the 100 I was ahead of Robert at the turn and never saw him and yet he touched first.I knew better than to look,so I just assumed he was speeding up and swam as fast as I could.
When I hit the wall I looked over at Robert's lane first.He was there,but had he just gotten there?Had I won.I looked at the scoreboard and saw a 1 next to my name,so I had a wave of exultation,but the time didn't make sense.I had been pretty consistently swimming 2:52 in major LCM meets for years(when I wasn't slower.)I figured Robert would be 2:51.I hoped he would swim a high 2:51 as I thought if everything went right I maybe could beat that.
The time said 2:50.44,I knew that couldn't be right.I heard the announcer say that the World Record had been broken.I thought,"sure the world record was 2:50.77 so 2:50.44 broke it."Only then did it make sense,2:50.44 broke the world record,2:50.44 was next to my name,#1 was next to my name,therefore I had broken the world record.The logic was flawless.At that point I pulled myself out of the pool and although I was too exhausted to stand I was so excited I don't think my feet touched the ground.
I feel I have to say one of the great things about Masters is that while we are competitors we are also friends.I couldn't have gone nearly that fast without Robert and.
That is my story,what is yours?

pwb
August 8th, 2011, 11:12 PM
Great story, Allen.

I don't have anything as miraculous as a WR to add to this, but one of the joys from my youth that I re-discovered this summer was the sheer joy of racing, almost regardless of the outcome. I swam three USAS meets this summer, all of which were prelim-final affairs. Before the first one, my attitude was that I would scratch finals and just do the typical one try effort that we masters often do. However, a strange thing happened on the very first day of the very first of these meets. This was Memorial Day weekend and I had done zero LCM training after Mesa, but I wanted to get a baseline time for the 200 fly. I was fully intending on just swimming it in prelims and calling it a day, but, as the meet was not huge, I made it back to finals with a time that was 2 seconds faster than I had previously gone (admittedly, I don't race much LCM). My wife then guilted me into swimming in finals, saying I had to set a good example for my 3 swimming daughters. That night, instead of playing my usual cautious self on the 1st 100, I decided to go out and race the kids ... it hurt like a beast, but I dropped another 2 seconds.

Over the rest of the USAS meets this summer and the one Masters meet I've been in, I have managed to find people to race, ranging from a scrawny 15 year old who pushed me harder and faster on the 1500 than I thought I could be to a 20-something who toyed with me before powering back the last 25 meters of a fun 200 free race. Even though I was not really rested for any of these meets, I really discovered the benefit of simply loving to race again and having fun just by racing. In some cases, this lead to some spectacular bombs, but in most cases it lead to me swimming faster than I thought I could.

As I head into my taper meet this coming weekend (SPMA/Southwest Zones), the only real mental "game" I'm taking is two-fold: have fun and enjoy the race. I'll have some goals, for sure, but this summer has re-taught me the pure joy of just racing and letting the outcome be what it is.

jim thornton
August 8th, 2011, 11:14 PM
Magnificent!

What a great description of an inner cognitive monologue familiar, I suspect, to many of us swimmers!

What is not so familiar, with the exception of Leslie, Chris, and Michael Ross, is breaking a world record.

Superb job. I could barely swim a 2:52, with a rubberized body suit, for a 200 YARD breakstroke. I always knew you were good, Herr Doctor, but I didn't realize just quite how good.

The only part of your cognitive reconstruction I do not 100 percent buy is the confusion at the end. How long did it really take you to realize you were the winner and the world record holder? My guess is that this registered instantly, but you then did a double take because it seemed too good to be true. If your account is completely factual, what do you account for your inability to accept what had happened without some delay? You are, after all, an eminent psychiatrist if memory serves. Can wonderful good news induce the same sort of temporary dissociative state that is sometimes seen in victims of horrible trauma?

And if so, do we now need to worry about a Two Faces of Allen scenario, or perhaps Stark: Son of Sybil? This could give a whole new meaning to "racing oneself."

Regardless of the reality of how the truth sank in, and how long this took, major congratulations on a remarkable accomplishment.

Swimosaur
August 8th, 2011, 11:44 PM
I looked at the scoreboard and saw a 1 next to my name,so I had a wave of exultation ...

I saw that race. It was a terrific race. It's exceptional to read your thoughts afterwards. Congratulations!

philoswimmer
August 9th, 2011, 12:31 AM
This isn't about your mental process per se, but one thing I saw in the video was how much ground you gained with each pullout. Hmm, maybe that is about mental process -- staying focused and not cutting things short. Well done!!:applaud:

Allen Stark
August 9th, 2011, 09:21 AM
Great story, Allen.

I don't have anything as miraculous as a WR to add to this, but one of the joys from my youth that I re-discovered this summer was the sheer joy of racing, almost regardless of the outcome. I swam three USAS meets this summer, all of which were prelim-final affairs. Before the first one, my attitude was that I would scratch finals and just do the typical one try effort that we masters often do. However, a strange thing happened on the very first day of the very first of these meets. This was Memorial Day weekend and I had done zero LCM training after Mesa, but I wanted to get a baseline time for the 200 fly. I was fully intending on just swimming it in prelims and calling it a day, but, as the meet was not huge, I made it back to finals with a time that was 2 seconds faster than I had previously gone (admittedly, I don't race much LCM). My wife then guilted me into swimming in finals, saying I had to set a good example for my 3 swimming daughters. That night, instead of playing my usual cautious self on the 1st 100, I decided to go out and race the kids ... it hurt like a beast, but I dropped another 2 seconds.

Over the rest of the USAS meets this summer and the one Masters meet I've been in, I have managed to find people to race, ranging from a scrawny 15 year old who pushed me harder and faster on the 1500 than I thought I could be to a 20-something who toyed with me before powering back the last 25 meters of a fun 200 free race. Even though I was not really rested for any of these meets, I really discovered the benefit of simply loving to race again and having fun just by racing. In some cases, this lead to some spectacular bombs, but in most cases it lead to me swimming faster than I thought I could.

As I head into my taper meet this coming weekend (SPMA/Southwest Zones), the only real mental "game" I'm taking is two-fold: have fun and enjoy the race. I'll have some goals, for sure, but this summer has re-taught me the pure joy of just racing and letting the outcome be what it is.

Fantastic.Some people like to race and some just like to swim.If you like to race ,racing is great.

Allen Stark
August 9th, 2011, 09:32 AM
Magnificent!

What a great description of an inner cognitive monologue familiar, I suspect, to many of us swimmers!

What is not so familiar, with the exception of Leslie, Chris, and Michael Ross, is breaking a world record.

Superb job. I could barely swim a 2:52, with a rubberized body suit, for a 200 YARD breakstroke. I always knew you were good, Herr Doctor, but I didn't realize just quite how good.

The only part of your cognitive reconstruction I do not 100 percent buy is the confusion at the end. How long did it really take you to realize you were the winner and the world record holder? My guess is that this registered instantly, but you then did a double take because it seemed too good to be true. If your account is completely factual, what do you account for your inability to accept what had happened without some delay? You are, after all, an eminent psychiatrist if memory serves. Can wonderful good news induce the same sort of temporary dissociative state that is sometimes seen in victims of horrible trauma?

And if so, do we now need to worry about a Two Faces of Allen scenario, or perhaps Stark: Son of Sybil? This could give a whole new meaning to "racing oneself."

Regardless of the reality of how the truth sank in, and how long this took, major congratulations on a remarkable accomplishment.

It is true.The outcome exceeded my expectations so much that it set up a cognitive dissonance that it took several seconds for my oxygen deprived brain to resolve.

aquajock
August 9th, 2011, 01:26 PM
It is true.The outcome exceeded my expectations so much that it set up a cognitive dissonance that it took several seconds for my oxygen deprived brain to resolve.

Considering how bad that race hurts, Allen's mental confusion totally makes sense to me. I could barely do my last pullout, I was so winded. I was thinking "this is what it feels like to die" on the last 10 meters and I feared I wouldn't be able to get out of the pool after the finish. Whereas after most races, I get an endorphin rush immediately or within about a minute, I felt the first symptoms of a migraine coming on within minutes after the 200.

Ian Smith
August 9th, 2011, 01:56 PM
Allen,
Congrats on your swim!

As you requested, my story:

After reading your note am I glad I swim 50's - no thinking required!! - even when setting a WR. I happened to do this in June at the NEM LCM Champs in Middlebury (LCM 50m free in the 70-74 last-man-standing age group).

At the end, even if I had looked at the scoreboard for the time, my eyes probably couldn't have read the time. Also the next heat was on its way so the time was probably off already. No one, including myself, noticed until I read the results taped to the wall some time after the event and "WR" was indicated next to the time.

Now the thinking began. I decided not to believe it was a WR until I saw it in print on the FINA. This is because I have heard of a number of cases here in Canada where somehow paperwork was screwed up and WRs have not been recognized. (NEM did a great job and it's on FINA already)

Sorry, no thinking about the race at all afterwards - except that, recovering from an auto-immune problem, my arms went to mush at about 40m and I was surprised to even do the time I did (28.35 for LCM 50). Have to get closer to my 27.50 at age 68.

What I learned after is that the first time you get see your record on FINA is at:

http://www.fina.org/H2O/index.php?option=com_wrapper&view=wrapper&Itemid=637

In the top line, change pool to LC, enter your age group, hit 'Display Records' and you get a history of WRs incuding those new ones not on the May/Nov published lists.

Like with Fort, we now expect more WRs from you, Allen.

Ian.

PS: Fort getting WRs in 50s was an inspiration - congrats to her too.

ElaineK
August 9th, 2011, 02:27 PM
That is my story,what is yours?

I was so proud of you Allen! I was screaming so loud my throat hurt! That swim was by far my highlight of Nationals. The funny thing was, I only heard the announcer say you broke a national record. I screamed so loud that I didn't hear him say "...and a world record." :blush: When I found that out from you, as you know, I went ballistic all over again!

How wonderful to now hear what all was going on in your mind before and during that race. Thank you for sharing that with us.

Hey, I have to share a portion of an e-mail I received from Rob Butcher today:
Hi Elaine,


I was thinking of you yesterday when we were driving home through Valdosta and saw King Frog billboards everywhere!

You truly are the King Frog! :cheerleader:

gdanner
August 10th, 2011, 10:27 AM
I heard the announcer say that the World Record had been broken.I thought,"sure the world record was 2:50.77 so 2:50.44 broke it."Only then did it make sense,2:50.44 broke the world record,2:50.44 was next to my name,#1 was next to my name,therefore I had broken the world record.The logic was flawless.At that point I pulled myself out of the pool and although I was too exhausted to stand I was so excited I don't think my feet touched the ground.

Awesome job! It looks like you will have to defend your record for a couple years too, so good luck with that.


What do you do mentally to swim fast? Fortunately I have found that confidence is neither necessary nor sufficient to swim fast.Amen to that. In my college ages, my mental approach was: "I train harder than anyone I know, so I can compete with anyone." My confidence levels were pretty high, though I always get a little nervous as well.

The past couple years are a different story. I can no longer train the way I once did, so I know I'm not the best prepared swimmer in the field. That's not the most encouraging feeling in the world. But, I still know the times I can put up are competitive, so that provides some comfort. "I've been here before, let's just do the best I can" is pretty much what runs through my mind at any given big meet.

My best races I find myself not thinking much at all. I never count strokes.

jim thornton
August 10th, 2011, 11:18 AM
Congratulations to Ian!

I guess that guy from South Africa that beat you decades ago didn't swim this time!

You should tell the forumites that story.

Priceless!

Ian Smith
August 10th, 2011, 12:13 PM
Thanks Jim. However, even though moving into the ancient age categories, I like to think I'm not old enough yet to bore forumites with pre-history war stories.

But to stick to Allen's topic, the mental aspects of sprinting are like the golf swing: the more things you think about, the more likely you are to screw up.

I liked some advice Rich Abrahams once gave for a 50: "kick like hell". Assuming you have prepared properly in training (a la Ande's SFF), if you stick to Rich's one-thought advice everything else falls into place.
Ian.

That Guy
August 10th, 2011, 01:15 PM
I can no longer train the way I once did, so I know I'm not the best prepared swimmer in the field. That's not the most encouraging feeling in the world. But, I still know the times I can put up are competitive, so that provides some comfort. "I've been here before, let's just do the best I can" is pretty much what runs through my mind at any given big meet.

One way that I address this problem is to do race-pace swims in practice of the events that I'm entered in prior to a competition. I do one event per day starting about a week before the meet, starting with the longest/most difficult event that I'm entered in (400 IM, 200 fly, etc). The shorter events aren't a problem to approach mentally, but I will usually rehearse them in practice anyway the last couple days before the meet. The outcome of this is simple: standing behind the blocks before a tough event thinking "I'm going to tear this up just like I did in practice the other day" instead of "geez, I haven't done one of these since... uh... :dunno:"

That Guy
August 10th, 2011, 01:17 PM
I guess that guy from South Africa that beat you decades ago didn't swim this time!

what is this i don't even

jim thornton
August 10th, 2011, 04:30 PM
what is this i don't even

Okay, Ian, you will have to correct me if I am wrong here, but here is the story as told to me by Ian in Cleveland about 9 years ago:

Ian grew up in South Africa where he was one of the best freestyle sprinters of his era.

At the Olympic Trials, he raced this other guy from South Africa. The guy beat him by .1 and got to go the Olympics and Ian had to stay home.

Sometime afterwards, Ian retired from swimming, moved from South Africa to Canada, and took up other sports, chiefly (if memory serves) squash and possibly golf. He played these for the next twenty years or so.

Then, for reasons I either can't recall or have forgotten, he got the urge to start swimming again. He started training, quickly became quite fast once more, his peri-Olympic glory evidently a strong muscle memory stored in the fast twitches.

He started swimming masters, did quite well, and made his way to a big masters meet, possibly Long Course Nationals, though again, the details elude me.

When his heat was called, he climbed up on the blocks and glanced over at the competition standing to his side.

It was the same guy from South Africa who, 20 or so years earlier, had beaten him by .1!

The gun fired, Ian swam and kicked like hell, turned in an absolutely sensantional performance, and looked up at the score board. He had, indeed, done a great time--just not quite great enough. His former nemesis had touched him out...by a tenth of a second!

Okay, so this is what I recall from my former days as an inebriate.

Ian, would you critique my memory?

Did anything even remotely like this happen, or am I again having "visions" and false memories?

Regardless, I continue to admire my neighbor the North, a great swimmer and a greater fellow!

Hip hip!

PS congrats again on your WR, Ian!

JimRude
August 10th, 2011, 05:56 PM
My :2cents::

- Assuming you have done "adequate" training, racing is mostly mental.

- It is a matter of knowing that it will hurt, with the question being how prepared you are to handle it.

- There is no substitute for training at race pace or faster. To swim fast, you have to swim fast, as they say.

- To swim a fast 1650, you need a fast 500; to swim a fast 500, you need a decent 200; to swim a decent 200, you need a reasonable 100. There are very few Salnikov's around (who basically could barely break 1:00 LCM, but could repeat 15x 1:00s in a row). I hate to admit it, but I believe Paul Smith preaches this philosophy...

- Personally, I dread racing when I am in the "training" phase. As I recall, a few months before I went 58+ in the 100y BR at Clovis, I could not break 1:02 (in leggings or a brief, as I recall).

- "Big meet" racing for me is all about knowing that I will make a big time drop from my unrested times.

- Racing is racing, regardless of attire. I loved the tech suits, and hope they will return. But they gave everyone an advantage - look at the TT rankings from 2007 and compare them to 2010/11 - the same names appear.

Rich Abrahams
August 10th, 2011, 06:59 PM
To Jim, et.al.

To add to stories about Ian, I am inserting an e-mail exchange with him from several weeks ago.

"Ian,

Talk about that British (South African/Canadian)reserve. I quote your e-mail :

“As to aging-up, I aged up this year. So the timing of this auto-immune problem was especially bad (it could have held off for just one year, grrr). The Prednisone I'm on still impacts me. I can just do a reasonable 50…”.
If I read the results correctly, didn’t you just break Jeff’s world record in the 50 free at the Colonies Zone meet last week? I’d say that’s a “reasonable 50.” Didn’t you get any recognition for this great swim? I may have to embarrass you on the swim forum. You better watch your too humble self!"


Also Jim, I believe Ian started swimming after getting a hip replacement neccesitated by too much racquetball.

Rich

Ian Smith
August 10th, 2011, 08:09 PM
With apologies to Allen for the diversion from his topic.........just to set the facts straight (Jim's version is much more interesting than the 'truth'.)

I was the South African champion in the 100 (really 110yds) in 1962 but in 1960 I was maybe 4th and certainly slower than the one 100 swimmer sent to Rome. (This was Aubry Buhrer who had been at a US school at the time and made the 100m final). In 1960 the relay was 4x200 (not 4x100) and SA did not send a team - I wouldn't have made that team anyway had they sent one - my 200 was as non existent then as now.

Jim, it must have been someone else you have met in your travels that got touched out by an old rival. I have never swum against anyone from South Africa since. (have nevertheless lost to quite a few from elsewhere.)

Rich is right, I returned to swimming after 35 years because of a hip replacement probably due to a rugby injury at youth and being advised to no longer play squash.

Boring I know but thems the facts (or close enough)

BTW, my spies tell me you've been swimming very well this year, Jim. Maybe you out-touched someone who didn't expect it......now you have the mental advantage.

Ian.

jim thornton
August 10th, 2011, 10:17 PM
So sad to see the early signs of dementia!

But the question is, which one of us has it?

Jim, who has an incredibly detailed memory of Ian's story as reported below?

Or Ian, who has seemingly forgotten the incident that has made him such a legend in the mind of Jim?

Lordy, how stories evolve! I was certain that you told me this as you, me, and your lovely wife were sipping pale ale in Cleveland in the company of Ion Beza and that very cute blonde butterflier and her mother and possibly a few others.

But we have already established that my mind -- or yours, but probably mine -- is faulty!

Rich, a great guy on our team got diagnosed with this odd autoimmune problem that caused extreme back pain and other joint problems. They didn't know what it was at first, but when they figured it out, they put him on prednisone and it worked wonders. Supposedly, the condition is self limited and supposed to go away in a year or two. He cut off the prednisone, and his symptoms returned, so he's back on an extremely low dose but doing quite well.

Good luck, and very sorry to hear about any discomforts you may be feeling.

As one further test of my allegedly faulty memory, here is another thing I recall from that Cleveland meet: you swam, as always, brilliantly, possibly setting a variety of records, though I am not sure of this. However, what I do remember is that after winning all kinds of glory and accolades, they announced the winner of some kind of raffle. The prize: a free round trip ticket anywhere in the US. The winner: Rich Abrahams!

I remember this because it seemed to so perfectly fulfill a dictum many have heard of: The Rich get richer.

Rich Abrahams
August 10th, 2011, 10:34 PM
--
As one further test of my allegedly faulty memory, here is another thing I recall from that Cleveland meet: you swam, as always, brilliantly, possibly setting a variety of records, though I am not sure of this. However, what I do remember is that after winning all kinds of glory and accolades, they announced the winner of some kind of raffle. The prize: a free round trip ticket anywhere in the US. The winner: Rich Abrahams!

I remember this because it seemed to so perfectly fulfill a dictum many have heard of: The Rich get richer.

Your memory is correct. Bill Muter, a great sprint butterflyer who unfortunately passed away a few years ago, funded a raffle with the free airfare (for 2) to pay for the electronic scoreboard at the meet (which the host committee couldn't afford). About an hour before the drawing he bugged me to buy a ticket. To be nice I did and then, well you know the rest.

My most memorable memory of that meet (aside from meeting you for the first time) was Greg Shaw's 200 fly. Ask him about it sometime.

Rich

jim thornton
August 10th, 2011, 10:36 PM
Your memory is correct. Bill Muter, a great sprint butterflyer who unfortunately passed away a few years ago, funded a raffle with the free airfare (for 2) to pay for the electronic scoreboard at the meet (which the host committee couldn't afford). About an hour before the drawing he bugged me to buy a ticket. To be nice I did and then, well you know the rest.

My most memorable memory of that meet (aside from meeting you for the first time) was Greg Shaw's 200 fly. Ask him about it sometime.

Rich


I saw it.

I heard the whimpering, too. Thank god there were no veterinarians in the lanes next to him.

They would have put him down.

Ian Smith
August 11th, 2011, 10:01 AM
Rich, a great guy on our team got diagnosed with this odd autoimmune problem that caused extreme back pain and other joint problems. They didn't know what it was at first, but when they figured it out, they put him on prednisone and it worked wonders. Supposedly, the condition is self limited and supposed to go away in a year or two. He cut off the prednisone, and his symptoms returned, so he's back on an extremely low dose but doing quite well.

Good luck, and very sorry to hear about any discomforts you may be feeling.



Jim,
Just to make sure the auto-immune story is clear - this is what I have and not Rich! Hopefully it will go away - it has really killed my 100 which was never great.

My signs of dementia, however, are unlikely to diminish although I certainly remember having a beer or two with yourself and he who must not be mentioned.

It is sad to hear that Bill Muter passed away - he was one of those I have lost to - in Cleveland, I believe. Puts a mere auto-immune problem in perspective.
Ian.

Frank Thompson
August 11th, 2011, 10:08 AM
I saw it.

I heard the whimpering, too. Thank god there were no veterinarians in the lanes next to him.

They would have put him down.

I do remember seeing that race and thought that he was going to break Larry Day's World Record from 2001 at the time because he was out at the 100 in 1:05.52 to Larry's 1:07.98 and he still had a chance at the 150 at 1:43.23 to Larry's 1:45.43 and then the last 50. Everyone experiences this including myself in the 200 Back at this last Nationals.

orca1946
August 11th, 2011, 12:58 PM
A W R is the top feeling that you can have !!!
Mine was winning the 200 fly at Mesa Nats. I thought thru that race for weeks before doing it, good start , keep goggles on & dry for contacts, full pull on each stroke, do great turns with 5-7 kicks off each turn, don't look around , try to finish with a good last 50. All this stuff is going thru my pea brain every race. To win a national title is some thing I could only dream of till this day! What a feeling. I never saw any of the crowd until after after I made eye contact with my wife !!!

funkyfish
August 11th, 2011, 06:31 PM
My races are also short, 50s and an occasional 100, so I don't think much about strategy during the race. For me, the mental preparation occurs during training, and it's usually in trying to push myself through sets where I'd really like to back off. My thoughts are pretty simple in that my mantra is "adaptation," and hope that I've stimulated enough of whatever aspect I'm working to come back as fast or faster the next time.

I have found that I've got the racehorse mentality in that if I'm swimming against someone as fast or faster, I'll push myself more and tend to wind up with a better time.

I have a love/hate relationship with seed times however. If my time is in the top 3 of the heat, it builds confidence. And if there's someone who's posted a faster time, I can get psyched out initially, until the race starts. But when the race starts I forget about seed times and just worry about beating the competition.

Lately for my 50 and 100 free races I think head down, fast turnover, and kick like mad. I've noticed in various practice runs that if I don't focus on a fast, strong kick then my turnover is slightly slower, and my time is slower. I also hope that if I've worked my stroke technique correctly in practice, then I won't suffer from too much slippage with the higher turnover.

Sorry for the rambling, just my thoughts.:bliss:

KatieK
August 15th, 2011, 11:18 AM
Allen, great story. Thanks for posting.

I'm a newbie to racing. Until recently, I thought of swimming (or any form of exercise) as recreation or fitness, never as sport. As I've gotten more competitive in my swimming, I'm amazed by the mental aspect of it.

I can't believe how much fun it is to race another person. I never knew I could have these two thoughts at the exact same time: 1.) Wow, we make a great team! and 2.) I don't care if my heart explodes, I just don't want him/her to pass me.

When I'm competing with someone, I feel like my smart, human brain disappears and my animal brain takes over. I feel a really strong bond with the other person, like dolphins in a pod or antelopes in a herd. I never knew it was possible to want the win so badly but have such a warm feeling toward the other person at the same time.

In the past few weeks, I've made a breakthrough on the mental aspect. A part of me has always been afraid to go all out. When I go all out, it feels like I'm giving up control. For some reason, it makes me think of skydiving--once you jump out of that plane, you can change your *mind* but your *body* is in for a free fall whether you like it or not.

A couple of weeks ago, when I was trying to do a fast 1,000 by myself, the mantra "I'm in God's hands" came to me. In other words, I can only control my effort. My speed, comfort level, etc. are out of my control. To swim my best, I have to surrender to that reckless feeling.

In that surrender mode, my thinking turned off. I still had focal points for my stroke, but they were either visual or tactile. No words. I had fleeting awareness of other people, my level of fatigue, etc., but they passed quickly. I could almost visualize myself swimming past those awareness, just like swimming past a buoy or a fish. If conscious thought popped into my mind, I just repeated my mantra.

At the end of it, I felt great mentally, physically, and spiritually. Plus I PR'd on the 1,000.

Allen Stark
August 15th, 2011, 04:44 PM
Allen, great story. Thanks for posting.

I'm a newbie to racing. Until recently, I thought of swimming (or any form of exercise) as recreation or fitness, never as sport. As I've gotten more competitive in my swimming, I'm amazed by the mental aspect of it.

I can't believe how much fun it is to race another person. I never knew I could have these two thoughts at the exact same time: 1.) Wow, we make a great team! and 2.) I don't care if my heart explodes, I just don't want him/her to pass me.

When I'm competing with someone, I feel like my smart, human brain disappears and my animal brain takes over. I feel a really strong bond with the other person, like dolphins in a pod or antelopes in a herd. I never knew it was possible to want the win so badly but have such a warm feeling toward the other person at the same time.

In the past few weeks, I've made a breakthrough on the mental aspect. A part of me has always been afraid to go all out. When I go all out, it feels like I'm giving up control. For some reason, it makes me think of skydiving--once you jump out of that plane, you can change your *mind* but your *body* is in for a free fall whether you like it or not.

A couple of weeks ago, when I was trying to do a fast 1,000 by myself, the mantra "I'm in God's hands" came to me. In other words, I can only control my effort. My speed, comfort level, etc. are out of my control. To swim my best, I have to surrender to that reckless feeling.

In that surrender mode, my thinking turned off. I still had focal points for my stroke, but they were either visual or tactile. No words. I had fleeting awareness of other people, my level of fatigue, etc., but they passed quickly. I could almost visualize myself swimming past those awareness, just like swimming past a buoy or a fish. If conscious thought popped into my mind, I just repeated my mantra.

At the end of it, I felt great mentally, physically, and spiritually. Plus I PR'd on the 1,000.

Very nice.I think that "surrender" mode can really help with dealing with anxiety.

orca1946
August 15th, 2011, 07:27 PM
Every sport takes some type of thought !!!

KatieK
August 16th, 2011, 10:41 AM
Nice interview with Allen Stark! http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/lane9/news/MorningSwimShow/27896.asp

Ahelee Sue Osborn
August 16th, 2011, 12:42 PM
Nice interview with Allen Stark! http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/lane9/news/MorningSwimShow/27896.asp

"I CHOOSE TO GET EXCITED!"

LOVE this philosophy Allen!

As Elainiak :cheerleader:always tells us... You rock!

ElaineK
August 16th, 2011, 09:02 PM
"I CHOOSE TO GET EXCITED!"

LOVE this philosophy Allen!

As Elainiak :cheerleader:always tells us... You rock!

:D

I can relate to that quote; because that is my choice, too! :bliss:

orca1946
August 17th, 2011, 12:23 AM
I am recovering from hip surgery:cane: & really miss my pool time & the brain break:D it gives me !!

ande
August 18th, 2011, 04:07 PM
What do you do mentally to swim fast?

Mental stuff falls in 2 broad categories

1) Preparing and training to swim fast and

2) Swimming fast at meets / Making the most of the moments when you're racing

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