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swimmasterusa
November 9th, 2011, 01:51 PM
I was just wondering. At what point is ones swimming career while they realise that they have hit the wall, and then sur passed it and they cant possibly go faster??

The reason I ask is because Phelphs is "retiring" after the 2012 games.
But then I see athlets go out and compete that are well into their late 20's and early 30's.

What is the averge prime age for a male swimmer before times start becoming slower???

Chris Stevenson
November 9th, 2011, 02:18 PM
What is the averge prime age for a male swimmer before times start becoming slower???

42

swimmasterusa
November 9th, 2011, 02:20 PM
Im glad to hear that the age is at a higher level that say running. Im 24 and It is great to hear that I have a lot still in front of me.

Im also curious, why is it so much higher than other sports, i have watched track and field and people retire at like 28 - 32 if not sooner.

Ex-distance guy
November 9th, 2011, 02:23 PM
I don't think there is a specific age where swimmers start to get slower because of age in their 20's or even 30's. This is just my opinion, but some of the time swimmers who compete at that level just get tired of making swimming a fulltime job. Their whole lifestyle must be centered around swimming their event if they are going to compete at the highest levels.
Others might want to try other pursuits in life, or use their swimming expertise for the betterment of other swimmers and the sport of swimming.

Fresnoid
November 9th, 2011, 02:23 PM
Im glad to hear that the age is at a higher level that say running. Im 24 and It is great to hear that I have a lot still in front of me.

Im also curious, why is it so much higher than other sports, i have watched track and field and people retire at like 28 - 32 if not sooner.

Because training for the elite level of swimming takes a lot more time, effort and intensity than in any other sport. Plus there are not many opportunities to make a living as an athlete in swimming.

Allen Stark
November 9th, 2011, 02:41 PM
I did my best times at 31,faster than in college,Then we had kids.I don't know if I would have kept getting faster if I could have trained as much.From 32-45 my workouts were maybe 45 min 3-4X/wk if I was lucky.

thewookiee
November 9th, 2011, 02:48 PM
42

I thought it was 33.33 years old.

Speedo
November 9th, 2011, 02:55 PM
42:rofl:

swimmasterusa
November 9th, 2011, 02:57 PM
I thought it was 33.33 years old.

Even at 33.33 years of age, or even 42. Im just happy to know that I still have a long road ahead of me and that I didnt decide to start swimming and competing to late in my life. Here I was thinking that know that I have the ability to go to college, that 24 is not to old to get great times and maintain it for 4 years or more.

lefty
November 9th, 2011, 03:02 PM
42

I think the real answer is something like 32. But that is only if you trained as a professional level swimmer from age 18 onwards.

But I agre that there is no reason that you cannot be faster at age 42 than you were at 32 - or even 22 - if you simply train and swim smarter.

gobears
November 9th, 2011, 03:04 PM
42

I know I'm spending too much time on Facebook when I find myself wanting to "like" comments on here. But here's a "like" anyway...:applaud:

orca1946
November 9th, 2011, 03:04 PM
The older I get - the faster I used to be!!:bolt:
I guess it depends how fast you were when you were younger.

knelson
November 9th, 2011, 03:12 PM
I don't see any reason why swimming wouldn't be like other sports and typically athletes are in "the prime of their career" in their late 20s to early 30s. The difference between sports like baseball and football and swimming--of course--is it's a lot harder to make a good living swimming, thus most swimmers retire sometime in their 20s.

swimBRCT
November 9th, 2011, 03:17 PM
When you get older you have to train differently... less yardage, more high-quality yardage.

The obvious poster child of excelling past 40 is Dara Torres. She has written a couple books about swimming, not sure if she discusses her plans there. However, her stroke when she came back into the water with Richard Quick evolved into something very different than what she made her first Olympics at age 14... see the Bill Boomer Morning Swim Show interview about leopards and cheetahs for more details.

Jason Lezak was 32 in Beijing when he threw down the fastest 100 free relay split in history.

Both these swimmers swim far less now than they did as age groupers and in college. As great as their form is (which is significantly more efficient/less strenuous for the body than the average swimmer), you can't keep grinding out those millions of shoulder rotations without musculoskeletal consequences.

The body stops gaining muscle mass (I think especially fast twitch muscles get harder to maintain but I don't have a study so don't hold me to that) as easily starting in the 30s.... the advantage that older athletes have over their younger selves is greater experience and better imprinted neural patterns for how to swim (assuming proper form has been imprinted into the brain through the years).

As to the original question:
At what point is ones swimming career while they realise that they have hit the wall, and then sur passed it and they cant possibly go faster??

As John Barrymore said... "A Man Is Not Old Until Regrets Take the Place of Dreams".... there's always something you can improve in. I know it's kinda zen, but ultimately you kill off any potential to go faster when YOU decide you can't get any faster.

Sojerz
November 9th, 2011, 04:51 PM
At about age 50 one can no longer avoid the loss of muscle mass from aging. This apparently happens because aging changes kidney function and increases the release of nitrogen from the body. Nitrogen is an essential element for building muscles. Friel states (paraphrased) in his Triathletes Training Bible: you begin peeing out your muscles at about the mid-century mark. I would guess this could start earlier and that other physical aging, illness, injury and life could catch up with you long before 50.

The muscle loss process after 50 can apparently be slowed by dietary changes - eat more foods that keep your blood supply alkaline - primarily veggies and fruits - rasins and spinach for instance produce high levels of blood alkalinity. Most grains and protein have the opposite impact in that they create acidic conditions in your blood, and this hastens the loss of nitrogen and muscle, and I suppose making it harder to build muscle at this point.

To slow the loss process down, being careful about the sources of protein and grains seems important - all grains and proteins ar not equal - for instance some cheeses produce the highest levels of blood acidity. (I've stopped putting more than a 1/2 lb. of parm cheese on my pasta :) .) Friel doesn't say whether to reduce protein intake once you hit mid-century, and I'm still wondering?? Consuming protein that produces lower blood acidity would seem to make sense, and consuming more alkaline foods to counter the acids too?? Beacause fats and oils are neutral, would it help to get more protein from these sources?? I'm still trying to figure this balancing act out. So as you approach the 50 mark remember:

Turning 50 :cake: beats the hell out of the alternative.
Swim more efficiently once you hit 50 and pull on the lane ropes.
There's still plenty of time if in your mid-20s to get stronger and faster. Enjoy the journey.:bolt:
I'm not sure if a diet of high alkaline foods will reduce N and muscle loss in younger adult athletes, but eating more alkaline veggies, fruit, and lower blood acid proteins probably won't hurt.

SolarEnergy
November 9th, 2011, 05:06 PM
I was just wondering. At what point is ones swimming career while they realise that they have hit the wall, and then sur passed it and they cant possibly go faster??

The reason I ask is because Phelphs is "retiring" after the 2012 games.
But then I see athlets go out and compete that are well into their late 20's and early 30's.

What is the averge prime age for a male swimmer before times start becoming slower???

Swimmers often retire way way before having reached this wall.

The reason why they feel like opting out, is that they finally want to get a life. When you've spend 10-15years in a row with virtually no social life, at one point you feel like experiencing something else (like harmony with your couple? Maybe try to have and raise kids?).

Therefore it has very little to do with physical limitation per se.

Often so, times are becoming slower not as a consequence of physical limitations (although certain injuries never entirely go away, this places quite a stress mentally speaking), but rather as a result of diminuishing the commitment to their sport. They don't train as much, or don't train as well. Bottom line, unless you hit mid 30s early 40s, given you're lucky with your (recurring) injury record, you should constantly improve. But social / family obligations will come in the way, unless you're a social freak having began swimming at age 5, very seriously by age 10, and still eat kilos and drink pool water day in day out without getting bored without feeling the need to find mates without feeling the need to see your friends etc...

swimmasterusa
November 9th, 2011, 05:27 PM
Wow, what a lot of info!!! All of you guys are great. And to answer some questions. I swam one year in high school so I did not get an early start. My last meet was in 2005. Im just getting back into swimming and for some reason I am swimming very well and I don't understand how. It is only week 4 back from not swimming since 2005 and Im beating my high school tmes already and Im now one of the fastest Fliers on the team.
It is great to know that there is so much more ahead to come.

Also, Im not much of a social butterfly, haha. But I do manage working, swimming like 10-15 hours a week, having some social life and being able to sleep and do what any normal person my age does. Im 24, have no kids, and not married so I know that makes a big difference.

The Fortress
November 9th, 2011, 05:32 PM
At about age 50 one can no longer avoid the loss of muscle mass from aging. This apparently happens because aging changes kidney function and increases the release of nitrogen from the body.


I'm 50 and I just did best 1RM on the deadlift today. I haven't noticed muscle loss yet, though I'm sure it'll be along in the not so distant future.

swimmasterusa
November 9th, 2011, 05:33 PM
I'm 50 and I just did best 1RM on the deadlift today. I haven't noticed muscle loss yet, though I'm sure it'll be along in the not so distant future.

Sorry Im new to all these acronyms.

What does 1RM mean????

The Fortress
November 9th, 2011, 05:34 PM
Sorry Im new to all these acronyms.

What does 1RM mean????

1 rep max

aztimm
November 9th, 2011, 05:38 PM
I learned to swim as a kid, but never swam on a team or anything until I started masters swimming when I was 28.

Even now, in my early 40s, most of the events that I swim (when I swim meets) are faster than when I was younger.

I've asked some people when I will slow down, and the general consensus seems to be around 45. One of my former coaches set some PBs when he was well into his 70s (I guess that just requires doing events you didn't do before).

Sojerz
November 9th, 2011, 07:25 PM
You can keep getting stronger and buidling muscle well past 50 (didn't mean to imply it was all downhill at 50!), but realistically at 62, it's not possible to get back to where i was at 19 in '68 when i stopped swimming seriously and was in my best condition. From about age 50, it has been harder to find the time and energy. Finaly kicked myself in the tail and got going again about 4 months back and have been relatively (for my condition) successful at building strength and muscle, aerobic conditioning, and working on technique in the pool. Muscles are growing (that's clear) and fat is going, I can lift more, swim more distance, and hold better RIs, than when i started 4 mos back, but its been quite a bit slower, required more work and determination than it did in 20s, 30s and 40s to make a difference. I've been trying to adjust stroke techniques, conditioning, and diet and see how much i can recover. Will get some times (first ones in about 15 yrs.) at SCM masters meet in about 1.5 weeks as a base to use for future comparisons. I'm hoping being older and smarter will help development; USMS and reading these forums is certainly contributed to getting smarter. Thanks all and USMS.

couldbebetterfly
November 9th, 2011, 09:29 PM
42

Another "like" :chug:

robertsrobson
November 10th, 2011, 04:47 AM
I'm 50 and I just did best 1RM on the deadlift today. I haven't noticed muscle loss yet, though I'm sure it'll be along in the not so distant future.

Your capacity might ultimately reduce, but you might not have yet explored the full entent of that capacity - so keep going!

KatieK
November 10th, 2011, 10:50 AM
Based on the analysis I did of the 2011 1-Hour Postal Swim results, there's a pretty substantial drop after age 49. It's pretty level from age 25-49.
http://www.watergirl.co/content/triathletes-your-swim-doesnt-have-slow-down-you-age

Interestingly, triathletes experience a dramatic decline in swimming performance, starting at age 25, and continuing for the rest of their life.

I think the difference between swimmers and triathletes is technique--improvements in technique can make for loss of strength (and amount of time available for training).

Glenn
November 10th, 2011, 12:19 PM
Two words............Rich Abrahams.

I may not have the dates exactly right, but close:

2nd at NCAA Swimming Championships 1965 (ish) 50 free 21.5
1st Masters Nationals Georgia Tech 2010 50 free 22.10 (age 65)

Can't find his time from college, but he went 100 free at Georgia Tech in 2010, 49.42, again, AGE 65

swimmerb212
November 10th, 2011, 01:31 PM
42

I'm also going to go ahead and "like" that.
It's also important to have a towel...

Karl_S
November 10th, 2011, 04:20 PM
Based on the analysis I did of the 2011 1-Hour Postal Swim results, there's a pretty substantial drop after age 49. It's pretty level from age 25-49.
http://www.watergirl.co/content/triathletes-your-swim-doesnt-have-slow-down-you-age

Interestingly, triathletes experience a dramatic decline in swimming performance, starting at age 25, and continuing for the rest of their life.

I think the difference between swimmers and triathletes is technique--improvements in technique can make for loss of strength (and amount of time available for training).
Another possible reason for the difference between swimmers and triathletes is that swimming is an "older" sport. We haven't really seen triathletes age through the entire spectrum of ages from kids to octogenarians yet as we have with swimmers. Your data presumably compares today's retirees with today's 20-somethings, but today's retiree triathletes did not grow up doing triathlons, which didn't exist much before about 1980. Many of today's retiree swimmers did grow up in age-group swimming. I expect that an individual may hold speed quite well over the years, but without the same background training, today's retiree triathletes look relatively weaker in comparison to their younger counterparts. How do the swimming times of today's 60+ triathletes compare to their own times from 30 years ago? How does this look in comparison to swimmers? (Rhetorical questions mostly, I understand that the data may not be available for such an analysis.)

Sojerz
November 10th, 2011, 07:09 PM
Rich Abrahams is amazing and he needs to write a book for the rest of us.

Katiek's data is interesting - check out her blog too. Could it be that it's harder to keep your swimming training and conditioning going as you get older than it is for running or biking? Does swimming require a greater degree of dedication?? Finding the time, getting to the pool, swimming 1-2 hours, and getting back into the flow could be limiting factors. Running and biking can be maintained almost any where and time.

Swimming may require more training to maitain or improve. The hectic pace many people adopt after age 25 could be limiting to all but those just dedicated to swimming. also, Could it be that the major muscles required for swimming in the shoulders are much harder to maintain than those required for running and biking in the legs?? Swimming clearly requires proper timing, breathing, body position, storke mechanics, kick and host of other things to think about and work on. Swimming technique being a huge differentiator, it's easily the most difficult of the three to maintain or improve as you age. Seems somewhat logical it would fall off at the earliest age.

ande
November 11th, 2011, 12:39 PM
I was just wondering. At what point is ones swimming career while they realise that they have hit the wall, and then surpassed it and they cant possibly go faster??

The reason I ask is because Phelps is "retiring" after the 2012 games.
But then I see athletes go out and compete that are well into their late 20's and early 30's.

What is the average prime age for a male swimmer before times start becoming slower?

If swimmers continue training at an elite level they probably peak in their late 30's to early 40's. It really depends on the swimmer's training, breaks, injuries and attitude.

Many Masters swimmers shared their times over time in life time best times and best times in each age group
Since it's old I'd love it if swimmers updated their times.


Many over 40 masters & have gone faster in particular events from one year to the next. It gets tougher to improve everything across the board.
Full body tech suits gave swimmers a bit of a bump.
Once swimmers are over 40 aging through each 5 year age group can take a greater toll each time.

Maybe Phelps is close to feeling burned out, maybe he wants to go out on top, and I'm sure he might want to do something different with his life. Over the years he'll probably discover there's nothing he'll ever do as well as swim. He'll probably retire after 2012, but I wouldn't be surprised if he came out of retirment for 2016, 20, 24, or 28.

Time will tell and times will tell