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biestieboy58
February 24th, 2013, 04:04 PM
Sorry if this is overlong, but I am discouraged, and need some encouragement. Since getting back in to swimming this past summer at the age of 54, I have been in 3 events. My main stroke is the 50 breaststroke. This summer I swam a 39.42 for 50 meters in a non-sanctioned event (they take the middle time of 3 hand-held timers). I was delighted, because 36 years earlier at 18 my best time was about 36 seconds (and that was a relay split as we only had 100s back then), so I figured for a guy my age, that time (the 39+) was pretty good. I had only trained about 7 weeks. I had a trainer for dry land workouts, but really no swim coaching at all.

In my second meet, and my first sanctioned one, I did 40.71 (also for 50 meters) in October. Today, I did a 38.0 for 50 yards, which translated to about 42 and change.

When I did the 39.4, I swam 6 events, for a total of 225 meters (there were some 25s). Today I swam only 1. I have also gone from 220 pounds down to about 203 (I am still overweight with about 19% body fat). It seems that things should point to my getting faster, not slower.

Two things have changed...I am logging MORE time in the water, but have reduced my dry land training to almost zero...just doing 100-200 pushups a few times a week, but no work with a personal trainer. Secondly, I am trying to use the new breaststroke technique, introducing the dolphin kick, focusing on getting more streamlined and submerging my whole body on the extension, tucking my head to lower water resistance, and lifting my head out of the water less on the outsweep. I am guessing the learning the new methods is taking some time...it is not automatic yet...I still have to think about it.

I guess I answered my own question to some extent, but would like to know if folks think I should just revert to my old flat style or keep trying to perfect the new. I also welcome any other ideas about training, day of race prep, and the like. I feel great in practice, and some of the lifeguards who are swimmers say I look fast, but on race day, I seem to psyche myself out and forget to concentrate on what I am doing.

ElaineK
February 24th, 2013, 04:26 PM
Biestie, can you get somebody to shoot video of your breaststroke and upload it to YouTube? If so, post the link here: http://orums.usms.org/showthread.php?16584-The-Breastroke-Lane/page46

The only way to answer questions about your stroke is to see your stroke. King Frog (Allen Stark) kicks around on The Breaststroke Lane and will offer excellent stroke advice after he sees what you are currently doing. I highly recommend it! :agree:

gull
February 24th, 2013, 04:58 PM
You need to lose the push ups if you want to avoid shoulder problems.

I would also suggest the obvious--train with a team and a coach if at all possible.

Bobinator
February 24th, 2013, 08:26 PM
Definitely lose the push-ups!!! They can hurt your elbows too!

Swimosaur
February 24th, 2013, 08:36 PM
I am discouraged, and need some encouragement.

Ok.


Since getting back in to swimming this past summer at the age of 54 ... I have also gone from 220 pounds down to about 203 ...

There's some serious encouragement right there!!! :banana::banana::banana: Well done!!!

You and I are the same age. Here's a riddle. Q: At our age, any improvement is what? A: An improvement! You have accomplished a lot in six months! Keep going!

That's the challenge, right? To keep going. What's it gonna take, for your particular psychology, to sustain the effort, not for six months, or a year, but indefinitely. Let me suggest that focusing on your time in one specific event is too narrow, and as you've discovered, too vulnerable to disappointment. Instead, find a broader range of things to do. If you're doing many things, a minor setback in one won't be so discouraging.

For example, what's your best time for a 1650 in a meet? Have you done one yet? No? Put it on your list. How about a 400 IM? Why the heck not? Ande says train for everything, swim everything. If you're in it for the long term, that's a good goal.

You are doing extremely well! See you in the next age group up!

ElaineK
February 24th, 2013, 09:18 PM
Let me suggest that focusing on your time in one specific event is too narrow, and as you've discovered, too vulnerable to disappointment. Instead, find a broader range of things to do. If you're doing many things, a minor setback in one won't be so discouraging.

For example, what's your best time for a 1650 in a meet? Have you done one yet? No? Put it on your list. How about a 400 IM? Why the heck not? Ande says train for everything, swim everything. If you're in it for the long term, that's a good goal.


I completely agree with Swimosaur, (especially now that he is my teammate). :D

Seriously. I am a breaststroker, but I have seen my times recently tank, even though my stroke technique has improved quite a bit since I first joined USMS, three years ago. The reason? I was focusing too much on breaststroke in training and kept injuring several of the muscles in my right leg. So, I am unable to put my full strength into my kick, because it always feels like it's on the verge of :toohurt: . I am still sore after last weekend's Auburn meet, because I raced all three breaststroke events, the 400 IM, and breaststroke leg of the medley relay, in addition to a full slate of other events.

My solution? During the several-week process of going to see my doctor to get a referral for PT and waiting until after my swim meet to go to my first appointment, I have been working on improving my backstroke; a stroke I can train more yardage with less pain. It used to be my worst stroke and it is now my second best stroke. I used to hate it and now I love it! So, I have new time goals for backstroke, as well as improving my 400 IM, 200 fly, and distance free; all events where I have plenty of room to grow and improve. By focusing on something positive, it keeps me from getting too :sad: about my breaststroke.

At my next meet on March 9 & 10, I will be racing all three backstroke events for the first time. And, for the first time, I will NOT be racing all three breaststroke events; only the 50 breaststroke and breaststroke in the 400 IM.

Swimosaur is right about trying different events; especially if you are in this for the long haul. Mixing it up keeps things exciting, challenging, and rewarding. It also may save your body from repetitive stress injuries if you train all of the strokes, rather than focusing too much on one.

Good luck! :cheerleader:

Swimosaur
February 24th, 2013, 09:56 PM
... 400 IM, 200 fly ...

Speaking of which, did you notice ART is offering the 1650 at their April 13 Spring Fling Meet (https://www.clubassistant.com/c/7BB0607/file/Events/ART_Spring_Splash.pdf) at GaTech?

I thought you'd be interested. You're welcome.

Allen Stark
February 25th, 2013, 12:31 AM
Keep with the new stroke(but post a video so we can make sure you are doing it right.)Every time I have redone my stroke there has been a really clumsy/slow time before I "got it".At one meet in the middle of a transition said"you look like you are thinking instead of swimming."The modern breaststroke is so much more streamlined it will be worth the effort.

waves101
February 25th, 2013, 08:44 AM
It is quite normal for a lot of swimmers to experience a decline as they train in season. Think about it, you start out fresh and slowly tear yourself apart as you build your training. It is here the decline may show itself. Then, when you get to taper it all comes back and you end up beating the times you started with (hopefully). I know this style is hard on the psyche but you have to believe.

ande
February 25th, 2013, 11:05 AM
Biestie,
you feel discouraged you're 54
you raced the 50 breaststroke & went 39.42 for 50 meters,
was that LCM? (long course meters)
then you went 40.71 in October. was that SCM?
Then you went 38.0 for 50 yards
Were you rested?
What suit did you wear?
What's your training regimin? X per week? yds per practice? Times in practice? sets?
how much breastroke kicking do you do per practice?
how much fast breastroke kicking and swimming do you do per practice?
What are your other 2 events?

weight wise you started at 220 pounds and are now 203
What's your height?

you are trying new breaststroke techniques,
dolphin kicking on pull outs. Before your pull or after?

Psych your self UP
Practice so much that you don't need to concentrate on what you're doing when you race, make it automatic.

Lift weights and get stronger, push ups aren't enough, do leg press or squats

You might need to improve your turns. your LCM time seems better than your SCM & SCY times
Race in a speedy suit.

You can Swim Faster Faster (http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?4229-Ande-s-Swimming-Tips-Swimming-Faster-Faster&p=276466#post276466)

ande

Karl_S
February 25th, 2013, 11:22 AM
...
have also gone from 220 pounds down to about 203...
Two things have changed...
I am logging MORE time in the water, ...
doing 100-200 pushups a few times a week...
Secondly, I am trying to use the new breaststroke technique...
Your yardage is up, enough that you have lost a bunch of weight. You are doing a mess of pushups and you are trying to implement a stroke change. My take is that it is amazing your times aren't off more than they are.
IMO, you need to give the stroke change a chance to take hold. Even once you have it patterened into your brain, it may take some months to build up strength and endurance in the muscules that you are now using a different way. After that, when you rest for a meet you will see the fruits of your labor. Keep up the good work. Methinks great things are in the making.

ElaineK
February 25th, 2013, 01:38 PM
Speaking of which, did you notice ART is offering the 1650 at their April 13 Spring Fling Meet (https://www.clubassistant.com/c/7BB0607/file/Events/ART_Spring_Splash.pdf) at GaTech?

I thought you'd be interested. You're welcome.

Yes, as a matter of fact, I did; I have the print out right in front of me. :D And, I plan on entering the 1650 in preparation for my 1500m at Nationals, in August. :groovy:

biestieboy58
February 26th, 2013, 05:13 PM
I feel overwhelmed (no BS) by the outpouring of support and by the helpful suggestions. I realize I can be a bit too type-A about this whole thing...I actually got back into swimming after I had a brief stint as a secondary school principal and was way too sedentary and way too stressed out...I ended up being told by my doctor that I am have borderline type-II diabetes...so losing weight and getting healthy is the most important thing, and the rest is gravy.

To answer the questions some folks asked...

I am 5-8 3/4 with a stocky build...yes, I weighed 220 when I first competed back in July, and am now down to about ~203, give or take...my goal weight is 185. That will put me in the 15% body fat range. Back in the day...when I was 18...my last year swimming for a summer club team, I weighed about 165-170 and I did 100 Meter breaststroke in about 1:22, with a split in the mid 36s. I was never better than average, and I never even considered swimming in college. Then again, back then, I never recall getting any real coaching other than the coach yelling at me for dogging it or missing practice...and I actually used to smoke cigarettes, though not heavily, and some other stuff, too (hey, it was the 70s). I am happy to have put all that behind me.

I don't know much about fast and slow suits...I use a run-of-the-mill Speedo boxer-style suit. Is there something I should be wearing that is better (but legal!)

All the times I posted were for short course...the first two in meters and the third in yards.

I try to swim 3-4 days per week. I try to hit one mile...on a bad day I do 3/4 and on a good day, I do 2200 (roughly 2000 meters)...I know it is not a lot, but it is more than when I started (1/2 mile when I first got back into swimming). Some weeks I only manage two workouts...

I definitely agree I need to join a team and get some real coaching...it is in the works. And I also need to be more consistent...sometimes I will swim 3 days in a row, get to feeling really good, then I don't get to the pool for four days.

I don't have any videos of me swimming the new style breaststroke...I will ask one of the lifeguards to take a short movie of me with my iphone next time I go to the pool. I certainly welcome suggestions from Dr. Stark...I hope there is no fee for the couch time.

I agree that I should add and/or mix up events. In my last meet (before the one this weekend) I was disappointed in my 50 breast time, but did a personal best in the 50 free. I have never been any good at fly, but I can get through a 25. My backstroke is middling, but I am strong in the other two, so I can see myself doing a 100 IM down the road. I can probably do the 100 free and breast at some point. Maybe eventually I will work up to the 200 and 400 free...but I doubt I would fare very well. I like the idea of just trying it to see what happens. As for the 200 or 400 IM or the 1650 free...not a chance...I am not into self-torture.

ElaineK
February 26th, 2013, 06:13 PM
I feel overwhelmed (no BS) by the outpouring of support and by the helpful suggestions. I realize I can be a bit too type-A about this whole thing...I actually got back into swimming after I had a brief stint as a secondary school principal and was way too sedentary and way too stressed out...I ended up being told by my doctor that I am have borderline type-II diabetes...so losing weight and getting healthy is the most important thing, and the rest is gravy.


USMS Forumites are a great bunch of very helpful and encouraging people! So, you came to the right place. :agree: As for King Frog (aka Dr. Stark), he has never charged for time on his lily pad. But, he is open to being treated to dinner if you see him at Nationals! :D

As for being type-A about swimming, join the crowd; been there, done that, and still doing so... :blush:

I applaud you for taking control of your health. :applaud: You have chosen the best way to do so (but, I'm biased)! Good luck! :cheerleader: