View Full Version : Trying to figure out goals

June 29th, 2006, 11:25 AM
Sorry about the length of this, I got it as short as I could...

I started swimming summer-league only as an 11-year-old, I was very slow at the time but have improved a lot since then. My goal was always to make it to the county meet, which I never actually did except in relays. We only swam 50's of each stroke, 100 free, and 100 IM. I alwyas assumed I was a sprinter because I did okay in the 50's and didnt' have the endurance to do a good 100. This past year was my freshman year, and I joined my college club team, swimming about 3 days a week for an hour, uncoached. This summer is my last summer of eligibility for summer league, and my 50's are about the same as last year. My 100's have improved a lot - 6 seconds off my 100 IM since last summer. Now I think I may be more of a middle-distance swimmer than a sprinter, especially since my summer league coach keeps telling me my strokes are not powerful enough for a good sprint. Now that my goal in swimmming can't be to do well in the county meet, I'm having trouble figuring out what my goals should be. My best stroke is backstroke, but I've really started enjoying the IM lately.

So basically, I think I may be a middle-distance swimmer, trying to figure out my goals for the next few years, and don't have a coach to help me. Any advice?

June 29th, 2006, 11:46 AM
Goals do have to change and do change frequently. I was cosindered a middle distance swimmer until I was 18. I got sick and was not able to train the same way so started through neccessity to only swim sprints, which I basically did until I was 28 years old. Then I changed again to swimming marathon races.

June 29th, 2006, 11:56 AM
Lots to consider here.

First - middle distance is generally events between 200 and 500 yards. It doesn't sound like you are really racing these events. 100s are considered sprints.

Just because your coach says your strokes aren't strong enough for sprints doesn't mean you aren't or can't be a sprinter. Maybe you need to look into training specifically to help your sprints.

But I think the most important thing is to figure out what you like to swim and have potential to be good at. I think you should race some events at your next opportunity and compare your results to some standards. If you are a college sophomore you could compare to Masters 18-24 times.

If you like backstroke - stick with it. If you think you want to do IMs, train for it and see how fast you can get.

June 29th, 2006, 01:38 PM
The transition from high school or summer league swimming, which is fairly structured, to swimming on your own can be confusing. But it can also be liberating! I would suggest entering some local Masters meets. Meets always help motivate training, and you will have the chance to try events you may have never done before like the 200 back or the 200 IM. Here are some goal ideas you could consider:

1. Swim every available event at least once.
2. Focus on training for middle distance in back and IM (200s).
3. Improve your times at Masters meets.
4. Have fun and be healthy!

If you can, I would look to see if a club with a coach trains anywhere near you. If not, maybe round up some of the other swimmers you currently train with and enter a meet together! Good luck!

June 29th, 2006, 02:43 PM
One of my goals is to make four practices a week, maybe you could try increasing by one day. I have a basic schedule on the refrigerator, I get a lot of satisfaction out of checking off my practices and it really keeps me on track. Or add one set to every practice, instread of one work set, do a work and a mop up set. You will be amazed at how much that little bit will add up over time and you will be much more fit because of it. My point is that your goals do not have to be lofty, make little goals that keep you on track.

June 30th, 2006, 10:19 AM
I used to love to watch soccer on spanish language TV. when the guy screamed GoooooooL! My dog at then time, a reb boned coon hound named Logan, would howl & howl & howl. That's what goals are for

June 30th, 2006, 03:24 PM
Thanks for the advice. For various reasons, I cannot join a different club or attend Master's meets, but I do have the opportunity to swim in probably 3-4 meets a year with my college club team (50's and 100's of strokes). My current plan is to focus on technique for most of the fall, and then work on endurance for the rest of the year. I was thinking about trying to track my times for 100's and 200's of all strokes, plus 100, 200, & 400 IM over the year, swimming each in practice for time every 1-2 months. At the end of the year, I'll look at my improvement and see what events I want to focus on. Does this sound reasonable?

June 30th, 2006, 03:34 PM
If you are on a college team what is a matter with the coach that he cannot help you. You should be able to join in on the coached sessions.

June 30th, 2006, 03:44 PM
It's a club team, there is no coach. I was coached as a summer league swimmer, but I'm completely uncoached in college.

July 5th, 2006, 08:51 AM
I had a similar situation a few years ago. It's a little confusing at first, but great after that. Technique work is always good, but make sure the changes you're making are the correct ones. You said there's no coach you can ask, but can any of the other club swimmers look at your stroke and give you feedback? Or videotaping yourself can always be helpful. Most digital cameras can take videos if a video camera is not an option. If you're switching from focusing on 50's to 100's and 200's, you will need more endurance, so endurance work would be a good thing, but be sure not to completely forget about sprint work. Try doing some endurance sets like 50's or 100's on a tight interval, but also do 25's and 50's on an easier interval, trying to sprint all-out each one.

Matt S
July 5th, 2006, 08:44 PM

The most important advice I can give you is to set goals that please and motivate you. You seem to have an interest in backstroke and IM races. Groovey! Pursue those races a little more seriously, and try out a few other things that intrigue you. Open water swimming? Breaststroke? Water polo? Snorkling? Yoga? That really H-O-T, hot Hot HOT flyer in lane 6? Go for it. You get to set your sights (or your limits) as broadly as you like, so go for whatever will keep you going to the pool or gym or wherever you meet up with your teammates.

Here is another person's take on goal setting, for your consideration: http://www.totalimmersion.net/2006articles/june/goal-setting.html


P.S. Welcome to the group, c'mon in. The water is...Fast!

July 7th, 2006, 09:27 PM
In the cited article Terry came dangerously close to acknowledging that conditioning has some role in performance. If he keeps this up we may have to revoke his credentials as a revolutionary. :D

Matt S
July 8th, 2006, 09:58 PM
Liberte! Egalite!...oh never mind.

July 10th, 2006, 09:18 AM
I think you lost me on those last few posts. I'm sure I'll be back with more questions later.