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scyfreestyler
November 7th, 2004, 04:21 PM
November marks 3 months that I have been swimming now. I have been swimming an average of 5 times a week and have just recently got my 800 yd. free down to 16 minutes and my mile down to 45 minutes. My question is how long should it take me to get my miles down to 30-35 minutes and my 800 down to about 10? I was involved in zero physical activity before I started swimming so my cardiovascular health was not at its peak. When I started I was doing good if I could swim 400 yards in 45 minutes. Perhaps I am being overeager or impatient but what sort of timeline should I set for the goals I mentioned above? If it matters I am 30 years old, stand rougly 6 feet tall and weigh about 165. This swimmer carries no extra bulk!! BTW, all of my swimming is done in regular boxer type swim trunks with pockets. When I switch to a jammer or brief will I notice a big difference in drag? I feel a lot of drag when doing my pushoffs especially. Thanks for any input.

newmastersswimmer
November 8th, 2004, 12:15 AM
It sounds like you have made some pretty drastic improvements already ....and over a really short period of time....So based on this I would say that you will probably continue to improve at a similar rate for several more months (and maybe even longer...who knows?)...."Eventually" you will probably reach some "plateaus" and the drastic progress will slow down some for some period of time each time you hit one....but if you keep swimming, I think you will probably break through these and start dropping your times again (perhaps at a slower rate than you are currently dropping times though)....If you kept improving at the exact rate you have been improving at for the last 3 months, you would probably break the world record in those events before the next Olympics....thats why you will have to expect that at some point the rate of improvement will slow down...but for now I would expect more drastic time drops as you keep swimming....You may be breaking 30 minutes in a mile (or 25 minutes in a mile) by this time next year....It is certainly possible. Even though I am new to masters swimming, I have also had similar drastic improvements over the last 5 months or so since I started back...part of that is due to the 65 pounds or so that I have lost over the last 5 months....I probably swam a mile (32 laps of a 25 yard pool) about 4 months ago in around 35 minutes or so?...Now I think I can swim one in just under 20 minutes (I timed myself a couple of weeks ago in just over 21 minutes)....but I was a pretty decent swimmer about 18 years ago...and that definitely helps!!....I too wear swim trunks with pockets....but mine are made of some pretty lightweight material so I don't really feel that much drag....I think it is good to workout with a little drag so that when you wear jammers or speedos for competitions you will feel a major difference (kinda like shaving down).....Keep up the good work!!

newmastersswimmer

scyfreestyler
November 8th, 2004, 11:28 AM
Thanks for the input, it is greatly appreciated. However, you mention that you swim 32 laps to complete a mile in a 25 yard pool. I also have a 25 yard pool but I swim 35 laps to complete my mile. I have heard many others reffering to a mile as being 32 laps before also. Where does this discrepancy come from?

knelson
November 8th, 2004, 02:20 PM
One mile is 1760 yards. That is exactly 70.4 lengths of a 25 yard pool. So 70 lengths is darn close. Do 71 if you feel shorted :)

The event that is swum competitively colloquially called "the mile" is actually 1650 yards, or 66 lengths. I think the reason for the strange length is because this is the closest yards equivalent to 1500 meters, which is also swum in competition.

Now, back to your question. I'd say it's difficult to answer without seeing you swim. Do you think you've improved your technique a lot over the last three months, or has most of your improvement been from better conditioning? If your technique isn't excellent you will definitely reach a point where your improvements will start to get smaller and smaller. The only way to get better then will be to improve your technique.

Wearing a competition style suit will definitely make you go faster. I disagree with nms about wearing trunks being a good idea in workouts. All this extra drag will cause your body position in the water to change. You should train in a suit that is at least similar to what you'd wear in competition. A little extra drag is o.k., but not trunks with pockets!

scyfreestyler
November 8th, 2004, 02:38 PM
Originally posted by knelson
One mile is 1760 yards. That is exactly 70.4 lengths of a 25 yard pool. So 70 lengths is darn close. Do 71 if you feel shorted :)

The event that is swum competitively colloquially called "the mile" is actually 1650 yards, or 66 lengths. I think the reason for the strange length is because this is the closest yards equivalent to 1500 meters, which is also swum in competition.

Now, back to your question. I'd say it's difficult to answer without seeing you swim. Do you think you've improved your technique a lot over the last three months, or has most of your improvement been from better conditioning? If your technique isn't excellent you will definitely reach a point where your improvements will start to get smaller and smaller. The only way to get better then will be to improve your technique.

Wearing a competition style suit will definitely make you go faster. I disagree with nms about wearing trunks being a good idea in workouts. All this extra drag will cause your body position in the water to change. You should train in a suit that is at least similar to what you'd wear in competition. A little extra drag is o.k., but not trunks with pockets!

Thanks for the clarification on the mile. As for my technique, I would say it has improved. When I started my best stroke count for a 25 yard length was 17 to 18 strokes. After my TI modifications I can achieve 13-14 strokes per length with a good pushoff but no dolphin kicking. I now swim long front quadrant style with a low head and no hint of a dropped elbow above or below water. As for the competition suits, it seems to me that more drag will only force you to develop bad habits to overcome the drag and the effects it has on your body position.

newmastersswimmer
November 8th, 2004, 04:32 PM
No problem.....I hope it all works out for you (and I am sure it will as long as you keep doing what you're doing)....As far as the distance thing goes....My Masters coach just refers to "The Mile" as 32 laps....I never really stopped to question it??....So I didn't realize that other people swim further than that....I guess for 35 laps you would have to add a couple of minutes to my time (so more like 23 minutes the last time I timed myself)....Anyway, as far as drag goes, It's like I mentioned before in my last posting, ....For some reason my shorts don't seem to create that much drag (or at least I am not feeling much drag) even though they have pockets.....My body position feels just fine in the water and my stroke mechanics feel very smooth. I think that you have to go with the philosophy that "Not All Swim Trunks Are Created Equal" ...at least when it comes to drag.....Knelson said that a little drag is o.k. ....Well that's what I reported about my trunks so I'm not sure why he disagrees with me? Maybe he disagrees with my philosophy of obtaining a sensation similar to shaving down when I switch to jammers for competition? My old high school coach had us workout in swim trunks for this same reason (but without pockets)....He also had us wear panty hose in practice during the two to three weeks or so between or regional swim meet (where you qualify for state) and our state championship b/c many of us had to shave down in order to qualify for state at regionals (you had to finish in the top 2 places at regionals to qualify for state in an individual event and we swam in one of the fastest regionals in Texas)....The panty hose were used to dullen the "shaved down" sensation while you were working out prior to state so that when state rolled around you could get that same feeling again after the second shave in a couple of weeks span. My coach must have known something b/c we won the Texas High School State Championships (5-A) 3 of the 4 years that I was in High School and we were ranked third nationally my senior year by Swimming World Magazine (1983...Clear Lake High School in Houston Texas).


newmastersswimmer

knelson
November 8th, 2004, 04:44 PM
Yeah, we used to do the old panty hose trick, too. Not sure it worked, but I think there was something there at least mentally.

Anyway, I'm just speculating that wearing swim trunks may be a bad thing. Consider this: do you think it would be a good idea for a runner to train by ALWAYS dragging a tire behind them?

newmastersswimmer
November 8th, 2004, 04:48 PM
No, but they do sometimes wear small weights on their ankles....and they do sometimes workout in low oxygen environments...ect....Isn't that similar to "a little drag" as I reported in my first posting?


newmastersswimmer

knelson
November 8th, 2004, 05:41 PM
I guess all I can say is that any drag device that affects your body position (adversely) is probably a poor training aid.

scyfreestyler
November 8th, 2004, 05:49 PM
I did not mean to stir such controversy over swimsuits. I do think that my body position is quite good but I do notice drag from my suit and I suspect that swimming with reduced drag would allow me to concentrate more on form than on overcoming drag. As Terry Laughlin said in one of his articles, swimmers such as Michael Phelps and Hoogie do not swim thousands of yards every day in search of some immortal level of fitness. They do it to practice perfecting their stroke mechanics and forging them into their muscle memory. My point you ask? 2000 yards of smooth easy practice is better than 1500 yards of practice with excessive drag causing you to possibly lose sight of your real goal; stroke perfection.

newmastersswimmer
November 8th, 2004, 06:09 PM
I guess all I can say is that any drag device that affects your body position (adversely) is probably a poor training aid.


I completely agree! See there's no real controversy....Just a little misunderstanding perhaps. I am all about trying to reach stroke perfection as well. I put a lot of concentration on "Stroke mechanics", Overall "Energy Conservation", and "Hydrodynamics".....Three aspects of swimming that have a lot of overlap between them. My stroke feels much better than it did when I was in college b/c I didn't focus nearly enough on these aspects as a college (or high school) swimmer. I placed more focus on just raw endurance training and working out hard every practice....Looking back I think I squandered some opportunities back then for not paying enough attention to these extremely important aspects.


newmastersswimmer

Darksaber
November 9th, 2004, 09:21 AM
I think you should be able to do your mile in 30 minutes easy. If you are 13-14 strokes your technique has got to be pretty good.

I also believe that the yardage barriers are more psychological than physiological, at a reasonable crusing speed. At your weight and stroke count, I'll bet you can do more easily.

This morning I went 3500 (2 miles) in about 70 minutes, resting a minute on 500s. When I really work at it, I can get about 15 strokes / 25yds. I'm hoping to get the 3500 down to 60 minutes

I'm 6'2" 206 lbs, 48 years old, and just started swimming for fitness this summer. While I'm down about 10 lbs from where I started, I'd like to knock off another 10-15lbs.

knelson
November 9th, 2004, 10:45 AM
Originally posted by Darksaber
[B]I think you should be able to do your mile in 30 minutes easy. If you are 13-14 strokes your technique has got to be pretty good.

I agree. It sounds like your endurance (330man) still isn't quite as good as it can be. Right now you can hold 2:00 100s for your 800, but something like 2:30 100s for your mile. You should be able to get to the point where your hundreds should only be a few seconds slower for the mile than the half mile.

Sounds like you're making great progresss, though. Keep it up!

scyfreestyler
November 9th, 2004, 11:23 AM
Many thanks to all who posted here. You have solidified my original theory which was that my cardiovascular endurance/stamina level still needs improvement. I somehow had anticipated going from out of shape to 30 minute miler in 90 days. Oh well, at least I know that I have made some good progress and now I want to keep that trend going. Can't wait to see what I can accomplish in another 90 days!

Darksaber
November 9th, 2004, 12:06 PM
By the way - get yourself some jammers :)

You'll feel even more like a swimmer.