View Full Version : Significant Milestones

June 20th, 2005, 05:18 PM
Thinking back on your swimming history what were some of the milestones that you aimed for along the way? As examples, last year I set out to swim the 100 fly and this year the 200 fly. At the time just completing those events was a significant challenge. Now I'm working on getting under 30s for the 50m free, which for some reason seems to have more significance than going under 32, or under 31. Probably any round number seems significant, like under 1:00 for the 100m. What other goals or milestones do people see as having special significance? I'm interested in milestones at all levels. I'm hoping to construct a list that will give people goals to work towards beyond just improving their current times, probably with an emphasis on goals for beginners. Thanks!

June 20th, 2005, 07:02 PM
I think my most significant milestone was making the cuts for the high school team in my freshman year. Until that point I had never been in any age-group program or other sort of team. The only real "training" I had in swimming was from hanging around other kids who were on age-group teams as I was growing up.

Other than swimming I am (and have always been) about as athletic as a twig. And I was as skinny as a twig!

But for some reason I found the guts to try out for swimming. We had about 2 weeks of practices before tryouts. To make the team we were supposed to swim a 50 (SCY) free in under 33 seconds. I came in at 33.9, but there was still one available slot on the team and my time was the best of the guys who did not make the cut time. The coach let me join. Had I not made the cut, I probably would never have kept an interest in swimming on my own. I will always have a special place in my heart and an eternal gratitude for Coach Bardo for his decision to let me join.

My next milestone was my first (and only) race in a meet my freshman year. It was a 4x100 free relay at the end of a meet that we already had a guaranteed win. I swam second. It was 5 lengths in a 20-yard pool, and by the third length I thought I was going to die. Had it been an individual event, I probably would have quit at that point. But I had 3 other guys on the relay depending on me. I finished. I did a horrible time (1:29 if I recall) but I finished. I took a lot of ribbing for it, but I didn't care. I finished! Had I quit in the middle of the race, I probably would have quit the team out of embarrassment, and I probably would have never kept up with swimming after that.

My next milestone was to earn a point for the team. At least one. (The way the did the scoring back then, a 3rd place finish in an individual event earned a point.) I earned that point (and a few more) in my Sophomore season. I didn't earn enough points to earn a varsity letter, but I earned some points! I earned a varsity letter in my Junior year, and also broke a minute in 100 free that year, and I never looked back.

June 20th, 2005, 07:14 PM
Last year my goals were to do a 400 IM, 100 fly and 1000 free. I started swimming at age 38, and am now 43, so having completed these events is a good accomplishment for me. Hmmmmm, should I try 200 fly? I can swim them in practice, but not sure anyone would have patience to wait for me to swim it in a meet!

June 20th, 2005, 07:50 PM
My most significant swim was after I had a colectomy. I had an oestomy bad. The lifeguard & I taped the bag to my body with waterproof tape & I wore a t-shirt. The first time, I was able to only swim 400 yds. It took me 5 minutes.

But it is only swimming!

June 21st, 2005, 08:28 AM
The first time, as a masters swimmer, surpassing 500,000 yards of training.

June 21st, 2005, 01:04 PM
In October of 1995 I started a self-initiated program where I basically had to teach myself to swim again due to a condition known as Psoriatic Arthritis. I started out doing only breaststroke, one length at a time, for 300yds, which took about 45min (in the water). I was 37 at the time and have had a number of milestones and memorable moments since then. The #1 problem I've had throughout the whole process has been that I fatigue easily. It has been quite a head game too. For the most part my swimming practice is fear driven: fear of mobility loss (I was heading rapidly for a wheelchair at the time), and fear of injury. My condition primarily affects my extremities: hands, feet, shoulders, and (apparently now also) hips.

My 1st goal was to be able to lift my arms out of the water. This took a total of 6mos for back crawl and 1yr6mos for front crawl. Butterfly was never on the radar screen at this point, in fact for many months I was doubtful that I'd ever do front crawl again.

Along the way I increased yardage, but generally spent the same amount of time in the water (about 45min+). It took 2yrs2mos to (consistently) break the 1000yd mark, and 4yrs5mos to break 1400. All this time I'm averaging practices 5x/wk. (I only practice on my own.)

In July 2000 (4yrs9mos) I did one stroke of fly. I would spend a year focusing on improving the strength and mobility in my shoulders before I would actually start practicing butterfly. I invented a drill, which I still do, to help me in this endeavor.

I now (June 2005, almost 10yrs later) typically swim 1600-2000/day, 3x/wk (I'm in the water about 60min+). I'd like to get back up to 4-5x/wk, but yadda, yadda, yadda, it hasn't happened yet. (Lack of morning lanes and water temperature [82F+] are the biggest problems right now.)

I currently do 600yds/day butterfly (12x50). I generally accomplish this by not thinking about how difficult it is, and it still blows my mind every time I truly realize what I'm actually doing (like when I write it down). I often endure mild shoulder pain throughout all my fly sessions and occasionally worry that I'm doing more harm than good (which is all part of the head game). I love doing IM's. I've done two 400IM's in competition so far. They weren't pretty, but I got the points.

I mostly swim for points at meets. My times have remained fairly consistent in the 5yrs or so I've been in USMS. At my last LMSC championship I was 2nd (in a field of 10) in my age bracket (45-49) with 67pts (1st was 90, 3rd was 37). It was my highest scoring meet ever, and my 3rd one in the 60pts+ range. (Not too bad for a "feels old" crippled guy.)

In most of my heats my "competitors" are typically 10-20yrs older than I am. Pretty intimidating really, and enough to start me considering dropping out of USMS (but I will probably quit swimming only when I can no longer get to the pool). There is one guy in my LMSC almost 30yrs older than me that is often in my heats and only recently have I been able to consistently beat him.

I occasionally actually beat someone in my age bracket (the only problem is they never come back to a meet). And much more rarely get to compete next to someone in my age bracket (but I'm guessing this is true for most folks). My most memorable moment in my competition career (which has only been with USMS) was at the last SCM championship for my LMSC. It was the 50 fly and I was (in lane 4) with someone in my age bracket on either side of me, which has never happened before or since. Both of them beat me to the 1st touch by a substantial margin. (Dang! Why does it seem like everyone pads their seed times?) Not wanting to risk injury for (another) last place, I simply trudged along. The guy who started on my left was long gone, but with half a pool length to go, and a full body length or more behind, I saw the guy who started on my right start to flounder (i.e. butter-struggle). I held my breath, dug in, and touched him out by 0.61 seconds (for 6th vs. 7th [last]). That ribbon is prominently displayed in my kitchen.

I also am keenly aware of injuries (so I count them as milestones). The last significant one I can recall was several years ago when I made a quick, jerky movement in a flip turn and wrenched my shoulder, which took weeks to recover from (I kept swimming, just more tenderly). It is the recovery in fly that makes me the most nervous. No injuries there (shoulders) yet though, so I'm still doing it.

I live to swim and swim to live.

June 21st, 2005, 01:56 PM
Mr Radical.

We're in the same agegroup and you're my hero.

Fritz Lehman

June 21st, 2005, 02:25 PM
there's a few then, now, and future milestones

Years ago a few milestones were going under
50.00 in the 100 y fl
45.00 in the 100 free
21.00 in the 50 free
1:55.00 in the 200 IM
1:40 in the 200 y free

Bench pressing more than 225 pounds
Doing more than 25 pull ups

Recently I was very happy as a 40 year old to go under
2:00 in the 200 IM and
5:00 in the 500 y free

Next season I'd like to go under
4:20 in the 400 y IM
4:50 in the 500 y free and
10:00 in the 1,000 free

when I become a sprinter again
I'd like to go under
22.00 in the 50 y free
47.50 in the 100 y free
1:45.00 in the 200 free
25.00 in the 50 back and
24.00 in the 50 fly

One day I'd like to weigh less than 200 lbs again.

in practice in the future
I'd like to swim a 500 free in less than 5:00


June 21st, 2005, 03:41 PM
side note: Ande there was a point in my life where I could do more than 25 pull-ups ... I'd bet money I could still eek out 7 or 8 ... (remember I was a gymnast, we did pull-ups and chin-ups every day ... we used to do 20 pull-ups, switch our grip and do 20 chin-ups; we'd go through that multiple times)

As for milestones ... breaking :30 in a 50fr ... Easily holding 200s under 3:00 ... breaking 1:10 on a 100 fr ... swimming a legal 400IM, swimming the mile ...

Future milestones ... breaking 1:00 in a 100 fr, breaking :30 in the 50 fly, breaking :30 for a 50M fr ... breaking 2:00 in the 200yd Fr ...

June 21st, 2005, 04:10 PM
For me it'd be breaking 40 in the 50fr, 1:20 in the 100, and being able to do 300 with no open turns. I'm looking forward to more.

Swimmer Bill
June 21st, 2005, 04:23 PM
This is not really a "beginner's" goal, but....

In 2003, I was the first person to participate in all 12 USMS national championship events in the same year. These events included: USMS Short Course Nationals, USMS Long Course Nationals, One-Hour Postal Championship, 5K Postal Championship, 10K Postal Championship, 3000 Yard Postal Championship, 6000 Yard Postal Championship, 1-Mile Open Water Championship, 2-Mile Cable Open Water Championship, 1-3 Mile (3K) Open Water Championship, 5K Open Water Championship, 10K Open Water Championship.

Prior to 2003, one person (Bob Beach of St. Petersburg Masters, Florida) had participated in all 10 USMS long distance national championship events in the same year.

I am working on a two-part story about the experience, which will be featured as Fitness Articles of the Month for July and August.

Stay tuned...
Swimmer Bill

June 21st, 2005, 05:19 PM
I started Masters Swimming in January and have been following these forums since. Finally decided to officially register and communicate with what seems like a terrific bunch of people.

The thread of milestones really caught my interest. The story of the individual with the Colon surgery and his milestones was truly inspirational.

My story is simpler and not inspiring at all. I started swimming at Countryside Country Club in Clearwater, just for recreation fitness and weight control. The coach Denis Kaltchev suggested I join the team. I had never been a competetive swimmer in my life, never had formal training on strokes. Previous sports were football, track and wrestling.

First workouts were very painful experiences, I could barely make my way through them. My big milestones have been.

1. Swimming the St pete short course meet in march 34 50 free, 148 100 IM, 46 50 breast. Not very good for a 48 year old, but the very first swim meet of my life.

2. Swimming 75 yards fly in a 25 pool. I'm close to doing 100.

My goal, swim the long course meet in st pete with adjusted times 10% better than my last meet.


June 22nd, 2005, 12:04 PM
Originally posted by Dashly
.... My story is simpler and not inspiring at all....
I don't believe anyone can judge what is inspirational (or not). What may seem totally insignificant to one may be a totally jaw dropping experience for another.

I am reminded of a street performer I saw at a fair in Atlanta, GA back in the early 80's. I happened to catch his act about 4 days or more into the festival. He explained that every new fair he went to he would dream up a new stunt to attempt. This particular stunt involved balancing a number of objects on someone's head. I distinctly recall that the bottom object was a glass of water, and the top object was an egg (probably raw). I believe all that was in between was an aluminum pie tin (right side up) on the glass of water, with the egg nestled on top of a curled up business card (obtained from an audience member) inside the pie tin. The object of the stunt was to knock the pie tin (and the card) out of the way and have the egg fall into the glass of water. He claimed that up to this time he had so far been unsuccessful in accomplishing this particular stunt.

I did not think he could do it. And initially I was most impressed with how well the person (an audience volunteer, a young girl) seated in the chair in front of everyone was managing to contain their obviously growing state of near panic as he is stacking all this stuff on top of her head and describing what he is about to (try and) do. This was not a scheduled performance, he simply stopped on a sidewalk in the park where the fair was being held and just began his act (with juggling and such), and people wandering by had stopped to watch. This stunt was the grand finale.

The moment of truth came. He braced himself for the blow (to the pie tin) with a remarkable sense of concentration. The tension of the audience was palpable. Thwack! The pie tin flew out, and the egg fell into the glass! You could have knocked me over with a feather. The audience cheered loudly. He grabbed the glass of water with the egg safely inside of it, held it up and exclaimed, "I did it!" At this point he became even more intense. He pointed at the audience (still holding up the glass), scanning back and forth from one end of the crowd to the other and almost blurted, "There! That is for all the go-getters in life! That is for all of those who keep trying and never give up!" It was quite a remarkable experience.


"Close to the edge is okay, falling over the edge is trouble, but going over the edge and walking on air is advanced development."

June 22nd, 2005, 01:08 PM
Originally posted by dorothyrde
.... I can swim them in practice, but not sure anyone would have patience to wait for me to swim it in a meet!
I say let 'em wait. They'll get over it. Just be sure you do it legal. Getting DQ'd would probably take some of the air out of that balloon.

I especially like to hear from folks who are "non-career" swimmers. I think what you are doing is pretty impressive. Most people (that even bother to show up at the pool) would not consider a 400IM, let alone a 200 fly. Heck, I hear a lot of folks complain about backstroke. Consequently the 200 back is one of my best point getters.

I get the distinct feeling that a lot of folks don't do certain events (or even show up at meets) because they feel like they "can't do them well enough". Like there is some sort of unwritten standard of excellence out there that you have to measure up to before you can participate. It kind of makes me wonder if that attitude is what keeps folks from returning (or even showing up) to meets... especially the smaller local events.

I reckon I should probably keep my yap shut, not give anyone any ideas. After all, every event I'm in that someone from my age bracket does not show up to just means that many more points for me and my team. :-D But it would be a lot less boring for me at meets if I had more folks near my ability to compete against.

At my last 400IM I was milling about behind the blocks with all the "old-guys" waiting for heat one when another "old-guy" (who is somewhat of an icon in swimming around here) walked through the crowd and said, "Ah! So these are all the tough guys." I looked around and thought, "Boy... You can say that again!" :">

"Time you enjoyed wasting is not wasted time."
-- T. S. Elliot

June 22nd, 2005, 01:29 PM
I posted this same info on a different thread a bit ago but I reckon it kinda belongs here as well. I just started swimming again in late April after a 30+ year hiatus and at that I only swam summer league, no high school or college. Right now I'm just putting in yardage, trying to increase distance per workout. I've enterend one event so far - an open water 800m. As I finished, I consider it a resounding success (& I guess my first milestone). I'm going to enter a meet in July (Zone LC champs!) to basically get some benchmark times. I know my technique & stamina will not allow me to be competitive but, like in the 800, if I just finish my events, it will be a major accomplishment for me. I'm also taking the advice of someone on an earlier thread and entering many events (8) rather than just one or two to "get my feet wet" so to speak. They had done that but ended up deck-entering everything they could just for the experience and said they had a blast (if I'm remembering correctly!).

If I don't DQ, I'll have met my expectations regardless of time. (And, with any luck, nobody will fall asleep (or get peeved!) waiting for me to finish!! :D)

Jeff Commings
June 22nd, 2005, 01:41 PM
When I was 14, my goal for the entire summer was breaking 1:10 in the 100m breast (long course). I did it at the last meet of the summer, and it qualified me for junior nationals.

The most recent milestone I achieved that was major was breaking 1:00 in the 100m back (LC). I did it in November 2002. I've done it twice since then, and I was surprised at the fact that my backstroke was getting faster into my 30s.

I don't have any major milestones now. Just get on the blocks and race.

June 22nd, 2005, 02:22 PM
When I was in college (1976), breaking 5:00 in the 500.

Last year, breaking 6:00 in the 500.