View Full Version : Newbie - Coming back after 40 years??

August 20th, 2006, 01:30 AM
Greetings all!!

A long time ago, I was a mildly successful competitive swimmer. Started at age 8 or so, ended after high school. Not many wins along the way, I do remember going to the state meet and placing something like 8th out of 8!! College brought beer and girls ... how could swimming compete?

Fast forward to 2006. Coming up to age 56, probably 40 lbs overweight. Luckily, no major health issues. Have a 7 year old son who started swim lessons this summer and he challenged me to join him in the pool. Son of a gun ... I can still swim pretty well!! Joined the local Y and tried a few laps (nothing organized, just open swim). Hey, I can still finish a few laps without stopping! Timed myself for a 50 (2X25) at about 45 seconds or so. Hmmm, can I compete again someday??

I recently found this site, and may well join up. This may just be the right kind of great challenge right now ... to help lose some weight and stay alive a bit longer! Maybe have some fun!

My question is ... what's the best way to get started?

I don't even know what all to ask. I am lucky to be a "stay-at-home" dad and run a computer networking business from home, so I do have some flexibility, time wise.

Look forward to some sage advice ...



August 20th, 2006, 07:45 AM

Welcome back to swimming. My experience is similar to yours. I swam summer club until 16 or 17 but no high school or college. I got back in the pool early last year at 50 while teaching my six year old son to swim. (My then 12 year old twins had been swimming age group for about 1 Ĺ years.) I decided if I needed to exercise anyway, I'd much rather swimming be my main outlet than anything else. I work out on my own where my kids swim team practices as we're kind of rural and a Masters team isnít really an option right now.

When I first started, I couldn't swim over 100 yds. without having to stop and rest. After some advice from folks on the forums here, I slowed "waaaay" down and started to build up a little stamina. It wasn't too long before I could go 500, then 1000. Once I got to doing 1000 fairly regularly, I started to do some intervals.

I joined Masters to have the carrot of the occasional competition to keep me going. I've competed 4 times in the last year, the most recent being in April. While improvement measurement is inexact as my 1st meet was LCM and last was SCY, my 50 free improved 1.5 & 2 seconds, my 100 closer to 9 seconds. Had improvement in times been my main focus, I could probably have done better but, as with a lot of Masters, real life takes precedence & with 3 kids (and all that that entails), that means missed or shortened workouts.

From what Iíve seen here before, if joining a local team is convenient, it is definitely the way to go. (Your flexibility time wise should be a boon to you there.) Most teams cater to all skill levels and would be able to help you measure your progress based on what you set as your priorities. If you have a local team, stopping by and talking with the coach might not be a bad first step. I expect theyíd allow you to observe, perhaps even participate in, a couple of practices to see if it might be what youíre looking for.

Donít know how sage the advice is but thought it might be a start. (I can attest that swimming will help some with the weight loss even though Iíve still got a way to go myself!)

Again, welcome back to the pool.


August 20th, 2006, 08:22 AM
Ken, sounds like you have the skills, just need to refresh them. Join a group if you can, if not, there are work-outs here in the work-out forum. Use them to help structure work-outs. Also, try to set 3-4 times a week that are your time to go to the pool. Pick a time that will work for you 95% of the time so other things prevent you from going. Gradually add yardage. Pick a yardage you can do in 45-60 minutes a practice, and add 100 yards to that each week.

In our state, 8th at the state meet would be pretty darn good!

August 20th, 2006, 08:43 AM
Leonard's advice is right on the money. If you can find a team, that is a great way to start. Motivation is the key element to getting in shape and staying in shape. A team can supply a great deal of motivation.

If you can't find a team or the times don't "work" for you, you might consider a "virtual team", as I call it. I have two people with whom I email daily. If I didn't have them, I don't know if I would still be swimming. A virtual team is not as easy to develop, but it is certainly as rewarding and motivating.

I was a stay at home dad last year and I can offer this advice: swim in the morning, if you can. Working out at other times, I found that stuff happened which caused me to miss workouts. Swimming before the world wakes up ensures that the workout gets done.

If you remember any of your workout times, forget them. :) Stroke count and heart rate are what is important.

Sounds like you have a bit of competitive spirit, so by all means look for a meet to get you back into competition. Again another form of motivation.

Need more motivation? How about this (from Masters World Champs):
Men 80-84 100 LC Meter Butterfly - Maine, Thomas O 81 IM-USA 1:45.50

1:45.5 at 81!

August 20th, 2006, 11:06 AM
Main thing don't over do it at first. It does take about six weeks before you can do heavy workouts. Focus more on what you can do and not what you want to do in the first six weeks. Joining a master club is a great idea but start out in a lane which you can handle. when I went to a couple of clubs they wanted me to move up to faster lanes before I was ready.

Good luck

August 21st, 2006, 12:17 AM
Thanks, folks!!

The local Y indicates they have a Master's program, but the time is not favorable at all. (It's 5:30 to 7:00 AM Tuesdays and Thursdays and my mornings at that time are filled with getting my son up & ready for school, and my wife up and out to catch her bus to go to work [she's our "commuter/office worker" and takes the bus to Seattle each day!!]). However, they do have an "open" time at 9 AM to 10 AM that looks likely as that's just about right for my trip back home after dropping my son at his school.

I suspect y'all are right that I'm trying too hard, too fast. I noticed today that I had a very difficult time slowing down and swimming "casually". I do not consider myself to be very "competitive" in general, but it seems I keep wanting to try to go faster and faster!!

For example, today I did a 50 warm up, 50 kick w/board, 50 pulls with floats, a 100 "sprint" (well, as much as I can sprint ...), all freestyle. After catching my breath, I did a 50 breast, followed by a 25 back. Tried a 25 fly, but thought I might die before touching the end of the pool, so I switched to breast about 60% of the way down! Did a another 50 breast to rest up a bit, then a couple of fairly slow 100 frees. Took the better part of about an hour to accomplish this.

I'll have a closer look at the workouts listed and will try to put something together that makes sense. I have some time to plan ... we learned today that the main lap pool is going to be closed for 4 weeks for installation of a new filtering system. From the general cloudiness of the water today, this is perhaps a wise investment on their part!!

Thanks for the comments ... look forward to more down the road.



August 21st, 2006, 10:39 AM
start out really slow and easy

make it a priority to lose weight
like 1 or 2 pounds a week

work on drills and efficiency

find a team or training partners

swim as much as you can each week
4 - 5 times is ideal

read "swim faster faster" you'll find many tips there