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tomtopo
December 28th, 2006, 07:34 PM
I love the stories about who motivated you to start swimming. They're usually great stories. Let me start by telling you mine.

I was with about 7yrs. old and at a 20yd indoor Grand Rapids West YMCA pool, during a "free swim".

The lifeguard was the YMCA Director named Tom (about 25 or so at the time). I knew how to do the breaststroke pretty good for no formal coaching (my older brother swam competitively). It was a Saturday and there were about twenty screaming kids in the pool until Tom blew his whistle. He yelled at everyone to get out of the water and you could hear a pin drop (someone had to be in trouble). He pointed at me and told me to come over and see him. I thought I would pee right there. I didn't do anything anyway, I told myself, and he shouldn't be yelling at people so loud, I thought. I was thinking of what I might have done in the last few minutes as I walked slowly his way until I gulped and stood silent waiting for him to say something. He said to everyone, "You're a pretty fast swimmer and I want to race you across the pool". I was looking at him as everyone of the kids started hooting and hollering. "Well" he said, "Let's go". He told me that we'd be doing the breaststroke. I wanted to race, I wanted to win, even if he was bigger. When he said go, I raced and he sure looked like he was going as fast as he could, and ---- I won. He looked exhausted after that long 20 yard swim, I know I was really tired but I beat him fair and square. He spent about five minutes explaining that someone as fast as me should be on the YMCA swimming team. I couldn't believe it, he wanted me to join the team, heck, I didn't even know they had a team. Well, I almost hyperventilated as I told my mom and dad that I wanted to be on the swim team because I'm the fastest little swimmer that coach had ever seen. I've been swimming and coaching (I wanted to be a coach like him) ever since.

To this day, that one man changed my life by doing something I try to do as much as possible and that's; find something good someone's doing and, only if it's sincere, lavish as much praise as possible onto that someone. Tom did it for me and I hope I can keep doing it for other people and swimmers, young and old. He was a master at making people feel like a million bucks.

Let's hear your story. Coach T.

islandsox
December 28th, 2006, 08:04 PM
What a cool thread and it is so important to always go down memory lane. I feel elated right now remembering the past.

My story is a little different. I got into swimming because I had been struck down with polio and the doctors put me into water therapy to help my atrophied left side. As water therapy worked its magic on my damaged body, I fell in love with how water felt surrounding me. I told my mom and dad I wanted to learn to swim, so they put me into classes at the local YMCA. My heroes were all the people who swam fast (of course) and I always wanted to be like them.

As I grew and the effects of polio gradually left me, I joined the YMCA swim team and, of course, was always last. But I was just so happy to be on the team and swimming my heart out. Once I changed from swimming freestyle to backstroke, things began to look up for me because I found my natural stroke. I remember always wanting to beat a girl named Terry Joyce, whose sister had eventually married Doug Russell, but (sister) left us in the 1970s.

So we battled it out for years and I finally made strides in the backstroke community. And my dad was so proud that as I made progress and started setting records, my journey was like a fairytale so to speak; cripple to champion in his eyes.

So initially, my swimming was medically induced, but later on, I have to say that Coach Don Easterling and Don Schollander had the most affect on me.

Both superb people.

Donna

SwimStud
December 28th, 2006, 08:28 PM
As a kid (around 10) I never competed much but we trained weekly with a local swimming baths team in the UK.
My grandmother worked as a cashier there too so many of my summer days were spent in the water. Hence it was my grandparents who got my sister and I involved with the club. I canstill see my old coach standing on deck doing the breaststroke arms as a demonstration.
My sister had better style than me and was soon asked to move up the the Havering "Killerwhales" team (you can look them up on the web) she went a few times to early morning training sessions but soon grew interesetd in other things and dopped out. I tended to follow my sister's lead too and stopped trainin. We were very young though.

In addition to that our primary (elementary) school had it's own pool where the fabulous Mrs Ward taught us to swim, and encourage those more able to pursue swimming. Her daughter was a good swimmer, and she would tell us about her races.

I guess the good news is the foundation work had been done and I could swim reasonably well for a non-training swimmer. Apart from a few school swims (Breaststroke of course) and races I didn't do much as a teen, and I got into other activites and sports up until most recently.

I returned to the water for fitness without impact reasons and soon found myself swimming my first mile (I probably did this in my younger days, but just didn't know it). The other amazing thing I found was how much I enjoyed being in the water again and swimming. It was like finding a lost toy in your parent's attic or something. I came to the forums to find out if I was swimming a mile in decent time, and where to aim timewise.

I got involved in a couple of threads, and started to make some friends here, and have some banter on posts. Reading about what everyone was up to and racing etc began to make me think about competing. When I asked about it all I got was people telling me to just go for it. Now I am worrying about streamlining, my shoddy tuns and what-not.

So it was coming here and encountering a few folks that didn't judge me for not being as accomplished as them that inspired me.
Thanks
Rich

CreamPuff
December 28th, 2006, 08:36 PM
My 1st summer league coach Debbie Bowden. Her patience, knowledge and dedication to the sport took me from hardly making it across the pool (I slept for 3 hours after my first summer league practice at age 7) to swimming all four strokes proficiently. Debbie's professionalism, patience, and love of the sport got me hooked. She lived what she preached. I'll never forget her. She will "go to heaven with her shoes on" for being so patient in teaching me all the fundamentals of each stroke. I don't know how she did it!!

My favorite age group coach David Ellwanger kept me swimming through those tough age group years. I'll never forget my first age group practice where I went from being the fastest swimmer in the "Silver" group to being the slowest swimmer in Age Group I. I was getting lapped - creamed basically - my first practice - what a shocker! His encouraging, motivational words to me got me through that first practice and I never looked back. He introduced me to the world of positive thinking and to the power that we all hold within ourselves and within our minds. He too lived what he preached on the deck, in the pool, and in his life. He was the best swim coach and life teacher that I ever had the honor of knowing. It didn't hurt that he also happened to look like Superman - and he still does, even at 50+ yrs! :notworthy:

dorothyrde
December 28th, 2006, 09:24 PM
OK, I will bite, because my story begins as an adult. My kids had a coach, who also coached masters. She would always tell me I needed to join masters. I kept saying, I don't know how to swim. She did not believe me, she would say, your kids swim beautifully, you taught them when they were small, come swim Masters. I kept saying, I don't know how to swim. So at age 39 I signed up for the adult lessons at the Y. I took 10 weeks of lesson, and then summer came, and I dinked around in the pool while my kids were at practice. That fall, I came to the Masters practice, plopped my self into the super slow lane, and basically learned, and half drown. I remember trying to learn back stroke turn. Everyone was lined up, and I was thinking, I cannot swim underwater on my back. But I tried, came up, swallowed half the pool, and the coach said...work on open turns for now!

About a year later, that coach told me...you told me you could not swim, and I did not believe you......but you really could not swim!

Swimming for me, gave me a way to exercise without impact. My weight had gotten too high, and other forms of exercise were starting to really hurt. It helped me get the weight off, and when I don't swim, it starts to creep up, so I keep swimming!

swim4me
December 28th, 2006, 09:32 PM
Fun to hear how we got to a place that we love!!!!!

It always came from within me. My earliest memories are of 'swimming' in my blow-up 1-ring 'pool' in front of my house in Arizona. My dad was in the service and we moved to NY when I was six. The air base had a nice pool, and I spent as much time as I could there, just playing in the water (swimming, but not any 'real' stroke). At 11 we moved back to CA (originally from CA), my parents bought their first house and the neighborhood had a swim club with a summer league team. It was just assumed that my brother and I would join as we loved the water so much. The first two years swimming during the summer, we went to practice, competed in meets and had fun. Never worried about what place we came in, because it was fun and we were slow :laugh2: . The summer I was 13, however, something changed and I was one of the top swimmers in my age group, almost always a 1st place. My high school in California was fortunate enough to have a pool on campus and I swam two years of highschool swimming there and the summer I turned 16 I had the league record for 100 Breaststroke. We moved to New Mexico (during December) the year I was 16 and I missed my Junior year of swimming because CA swimming was in the Spring and NM swimming was in the Fall. I made state for the 100 breast stroke my Senior year in NM and swim on a summer league as well. Since then, I have just swum for fun whenever I could get in a pool (I have always traveled with a suit just in case the motel had a pool :) ). Since I have been in TX, either there was no pool nearby or the hours did not mesh with my work hours. However, this past fall a new indoor pool was completed six miles from my house. I began working out again this October and my first meet was in November. It was scary, but I was very pleased with my performance, and I am looking forward to future meets! My coach is helping me refine my free and breast strokes and helping me work on my back and fly. I have to swim at 5:30 am. but as much as I hate getting up early, I love to swim more:applaud: .

nkfrench
December 28th, 2006, 10:34 PM
My sisters and brothers used to spend as much time as possible at the pool each summer. Each year we'd take Red Cross lessons in the BRRRCOLD !! community outdoor pool. As a chubby kid the water was something fun where I didn't overheat in the summer heat and I loved being weightless in the water. Many afternoons Mom would load up the VW minibus and drop us off at 1 pm and pick us up at 5:30.

One day I went over to a gradeschool classmate's house and we were running through the sprinkler and doing gymnastics stuff on her front lawn and she had her swim team swimsuit on. It was a Hart suit (one piece nylon, high neck, zips up the back) and she was pretty athletic and I thought she was really cool. I wanted to take the next step and be part of a team .: also be very cool but the folks weren't having it.

Years later when I had a little babysitting money (Soph in HS) I took a 2-week class that was learn-to-swim-competitive that bridged my Red Cross lessons to where I could actually comfortably swim freestyle more than 25 yards without exhaustion and learned flipturns. Once I learned how to relax in the water, I was able to swim as far as I wanted. I loved watching the Olympics on TV.

When school started, I asked the HS coach if I could join the team and he said no, the girls don't have an "official" team so the 4 girls don't have any in-season meets and are just preparing for the championships. So I swam with a Y team that year to get some experience and do more work on my strokes. I had a blast and loved going to workouts. Yep, we had those Mark Spitz 7-medal full-length posters for our door.

I was a walk-on in college but in my soph year they started offering some swim scholarships and I wasn't able to keep up with the faster field, so I quit after not scoring a single point all year. That was in 1975 and there were no other opportunities to swim at that time. In 1990 I was "medically retired" from my adult rec sports that I was doing 6 days a week (volleyball, softball, soccer, bowling, racquetball) . The orthopedist said swimming would be great, so I joined a local Masters team in 1991 after rehab as a new thing to do.

To this day I would never dream of going out of town without taking at least one swimsuit (a Speedo for swimming & a "civilian" suit that the hottub can tear up) and goggles. My idea of a great vacation is to go to a beach.

The Fortress
December 28th, 2006, 11:24 PM
My story is a story of coaches.

I began life as a gymnast who liked to frolic in the pool in the summer months. After I turned 11 one summer and fared well in the summer meets, my Mom asked if I wanted to join the swim team. I initially balked. Then, later that year, I developed an irrational fear of fancy backward tricks on the balance beam and decided to try swimming instead.

So I joined the local swim team. It was the only team I ever swam on besides high school and college teams. I was coached by two brothers my entire career with different approaches to motivating swimmers both psychologically and physically. I give them the credit for getting me through adolescence without quitting or burning out. I credit them for developing my mental game and mental toughness. I credit them for making me forget that every other swimmer was taller. (As Wayne very sagely said recently, it's not a pose-off; it's a swim race.) I loved their inspirational speeches to the team and to individual swimmers in private. A very ancient memory: I remember going into my first state champs as a inexperienced 12 year old seeded fifth or so in the 100 fly. My coach turned to me and a teammate who was seeded sixth and said, "Can't one of you guys win this race for us ? It's wide open. What are you waiting for." We finished first and third. I was hooked, and I wasn't even a flyer yet. I was a backstroker.

Conversely, I hated my college coach. She didn't believe that swimmers should do separate workouts designed for sprinters, strokers and distance folks as my AAU coaches had. So I was forced to bang out endless distance freestyle sets and then sometimes asked to swim 400 IMs at meets when I had never done them at practice. The only good thing about college swimming was that I lifted weights like crazy and, shockingly to me, became a good sprinter. Previously only a stroker, I could now do the 50 and 100 free without embarassment. Nonetheless, with all the mindless garbage yardage and head butting with my coach in college, I burned out and tore my rotator cuff.

I did not swim another "workout" for 24 years. No desire. My daughter's USS coach got me back in the pool. He began coaching an informal masters workout program, which I grudgingly joined after a running injury sidelined me and my ipod. He overhauled my old school strokes with tons of drills and one-on-one coaching. He called me a "stud." He made me laugh in practice. He taught me starts, turns, streamlines and how to keep my goggles on. He made me do tons of TI drills. He got in and swam with me during practice and challenged me on sets. He told me to go to Nationals and Worlds when I initially thought the idea was perposterous. He helped me love swimming again. He's moved on. I'm on a "team," but swim alone a lot too. I remember everything my good coaches said and it still motivates me. My kids also motivate me a lot. They cheer me on, and I think they are proud of me. They are sure proud that I'm not a total couch potato.

Muppet
December 28th, 2006, 11:56 PM
What a great forum to make my 100th post!

I can thank my best friend Jonny for getting me in a pool when it wasn't summer. I swam summer league for years, and when he gave me hell for not joining our HS team my soph year, so I promised I would do it Jr. year. I did, and was hooked!

Our HS coach Scott is also to be thanked. I think he was skeptical about my motivation, but I showed up to every practice we had in those 2 years and improved dramatically. I let him know from day 1 that I wanted to improve and he saw to it that I was routinely challenged. Coach Scott awareded me with Most Improved Swimmer my Sr. yr for the work I had done the last two years. This was an award I worked hard toward and was my proudest achievement in the pool until Worlds.

Now in my 9th year of masters, my teammates (and maybe a certain bovine individual as well;) ) continue to inspire me to continue to swim competitively. I'm always up for a challenge!

The Fortress
December 29th, 2006, 12:05 AM
I let him know from day 1 that I wanted to improve and he saw to it that I was routinely challenged. Coach Scott awarded me with Most Improved Swimmer my Sr. yr for the work I had done the last two years. This was an award I worked hard toward and was my proudest achievement in the pool until Worlds.

Muppet:

There is no better award in swimming than "most improved" or the "coaches" award. My triathlete son won that this summer with his summer league team. He's not really a swimmer, but he (and I) were very proud. Seeing someone focus intently on a goal of self-improvement or whatever goal is very rewarding. Glad your far side cow keeps you going. ;) You are doing so well!!

Superfly
December 29th, 2006, 07:36 AM
Happend by accident actually. I was training wrestling (greek-roman)...and one day there was a "open house" quiz organized where you were supposed to go around the facilities and answer all the questions. Some of the quizzes were located in the pool area...where other kids were practicing. I simply thought it looked fun to swim like that and told my father I wanted to try it out. I was 10 years old back then. One year later I participated in my first event, the club annual championship...and finnished 3rd (out of total 4) in my age group...the one inspiring /pushing me to participate was actually my coach "Cecilia" at that time (who I also had a crush on) :)
/Per

waves101
December 29th, 2006, 08:58 AM
I recall 2 factors getting me into swimming. First, my sister started swimming on a team (so I'm sure, inspirationally, it was her) but, secondly, we had an above ground pool installed in our backyard. I remember, prior to age 10, being scared of the water. Then, one day, about age 10 I was floating on the inner tube in the above ground pool when one of my friends came up on the back side of the inner tube and accidentally flipped me over. I can still, vividly, recall going face first into the water with eyes and mouth wide open. I came up laughing. It wasn't much after that when I joined the same age group team my sister was on. By age 13-14 I made "AAA" cuts in the 50 free and was hooked. I swam all 4 years in high school and, again, in college. Took 10 years off after college but then found masters.

Slimy
December 29th, 2006, 02:16 PM
I don't recall exactly but it must have been my older sister combined with a general love for the water. My mom told me that when I was just a toddler, I would wander into water over my head and just bob up and down pushing off from the bottom to keep from drowning. The lifeguards were always poised to jump in but I was always fine. Where was mom? Well, she always had a bead on me but knew I did this all the time so she never panicked. My sister (2 years my elder) swam summers starting at 7 and I follwed suit. That led to AAU swimming (early 1980s). I am so glad I swam all those years because it has given me an excercise skill that I can use as I get older.

~Wren~
December 29th, 2006, 10:48 PM
My older sister swam in jr high, and in to HS. Since I used to do everything she did, I joined the jr high swim team in 7th grade. She quit soon after that (having her little sister asked along to swim varsity invites was a bit too much for her), and I stuck it out. I credit the coach who took on our team in 10th grade, for keeping me in when life got troublesome, and later when figure skating and horse shows started to seem more interesting than swimming (I balanced the three for a long time, but started burning out going in to my sr year, and thought something had to give). Looking back, I realize he wasn't much older than we were, but he sure knew how to get the best out of each of us. In the three years I swam with him, our team broke very record the school had, and beat teams we'd never come close to before. He was great and we all loved him. :)

poolraat
December 30th, 2006, 10:49 AM
I started swimming 7 years ago, mainly to lose weight and get in shape. I was formerly a runner but had quit while in my mid-30's and chose swimming because I had no desire to take up running again. My children joined the local swim club and that is why I chose swimming. After swimming for 2 years, one of the kid's coaches talked me into swimming in the annual family fun meet. After that I was hooked. I might add that I had no prior swimming background so this sport is new to me and as a 50 something, I am setting pb's in just about every meet I enter, as my technique and fitness continues to improve.

craiglll@yahoo.com
December 30th, 2006, 05:26 PM
Trudy Coffman. She taught women's PE at my high school. she also taught all of the swimming related classes. I took Sr. Life Guarding, Water recreation, and polo from her. She got pregnant one year. It was great. All o fhte kids inthe class really thought it was a neat experience. She played water polo with us. One time she had us in cnoes in the pool and made us flip them over.

Last year she unfortunatley died of breast cancer. I think she was one of the best teachers I ever had. She really knew how to keep us interested inthe subject and how to explain things.

geochuck
December 30th, 2006, 05:44 PM
My three older brothers were swimmers so my mother made my brother Thurlow and I go to the pool. It all started because my brother Bill delivered the Hamilton Spectator newspaper to a very rich family in Hamilton and they gave my brother a membership in the YMCA for a Christmas present.

zyzyzzy
January 1st, 2007, 08:11 PM
It was a swimming lessons teacher who made me want to swim competitvely... after I got over the fear of the water... It was the highest level before you entered life guard trainging, so it was pretty much a simplified 30 min. workout... That got me hooked, I've been swimming since then. (I was about 8-9)

Timed Finals
January 1st, 2007, 10:30 PM
Both my father and sister swam, so naturally I just ended up in the water. Turns out that I outlasted them both. No one really inspired me to swim. It was my coach and friend, Jim Wood, who inspired me to work hard, be a good person, and race my a&# off. Without Jim, I wouldn't be the swimmer I ended up being. He taught me that life was about hardwork and that translated into long hours in the pool for me. So, while no inspired me to swim, Jim inspired me to be great in my swimming.

swimshark
January 2nd, 2007, 01:12 PM
I can't remember why I started swimming but I was in my first meet at age 5. It was a small meet of only my pool but it was a meet none the less. I have an older sister and she was swimming so I guess I got into it because of her. I also had a cruch on my coach, Andy York so I'm sure he had something to do with me sticking with swimming.

Jump ahead to when I'm 29 and I've been out of swimming for 10 year, my sister travels to Baltimore to compete at LC Nats. She came back and told me how well she did and I thought "I can do that!". Yes, we're a competitive bunch in my family. I was back in the pool within 2 weeks. Now I've been back in for just over 6 years. Last week, while visiting family, we swam in the same lane at Dynamo and I have to admit, I did better than her :p Although she's a huge triathlete and would blow me away in a run or bike ride.

Alison

Seagurl51
January 2nd, 2007, 06:20 PM
This is gonna sound lame compared to the other stories, but it was actually this board that inspired me to finally compete. :notworthy: I swam on the team when I was younger, but it wasn't a competitive team. Then just as I was about to move up, I stopped swimming for about 5 years. I started again when I was 18 and after searching on the internet I found Master's by accident. Then I started posting on this board and realized I wasn't the only one getting a late start. I had my first meet 2 years ago and I haven't looked back!

Caped Crusader
January 2nd, 2007, 09:48 PM
This is gonna sound lame compared to the other stories, but it was actually this board that inspired me to finally compete. :notworthy:

I think that's nice, SeaGurl. It looked like it inspired Coach T as well.

I have to say my kids inspired me. And my hamstring.

globuggie
January 7th, 2007, 09:03 PM
My favorite age group coach David Ellwanger kept me swimming through those tough age group years.

Small world! "Coach Dave" was my summer league coach for a few years in middle school/high school.

I think my mom was the one who got me started on swimming, since she was a swimmer in high school and college. I actually didn't learn to swim until I was about 8, and took lessons on and off for several years. I started swimming summer league when I was 11. The team was new and very small, so I scored a couple points even though I was very slow (1:04 for my first 50 free). I kept doing summer league through high school because I liked being able to improve my times, even though I was never 'fast.'

I'm now a sophomore in college and on the club team, and this is the first time I've done any year-round swimming. I'm still loving swimming because there's always something I can improve on and my times are still dropping. This past year I finally got my 50 free down to a :32, twice as as when I started competing.

So, I guess the moral of the story is that I was motivated to start by my mom and to continue by my coaches and my improvements.

3strokes
March 5th, 2007, 02:57 PM
My story's a bit stranger.

At 14 I couldn't even tread deep water (even though I was born and raised in Alexandria, Egypt where Summers lasted from Late April to late September and beaches were abundant). The year I turned 14, to impress a girl, I somehow managed to "swim" dog-paddle or side-kick or a combination thereof, some 30 metres to a buoy. In order to "impress" her more, I decided to learn how to swim.

I bought a book. Johnny (Tarzan) Weismuller's "Swimming the Australian Crawl". I devoured it, cover to cover, several times and then we moved to Port-Said (Mediterranean end of the Suez Canal) in 1958. There we joined a social club that had a 50 metre pool (first time I'd even seen a pool) and there I tried to do in the pool what I'd read in the book.

(((Still nothing about competitive swimming, the astute reader will note)))

We were a bunch of teenagers then, only interested in girls and impressing, and trying to date, them. A guy, around my age (i.e., another teen) upon hearing one of the girls saying how she liked my "style" of swimming, challenged me to a "duel in the pool". Port-Said back then, although a city, was really a large small town where practically everybody knew everybody. Word of the "duel" spread amongst our groups of friends and the highschools (boys and girls, no co-ed back then). It had been arranged for a weekend.

The day came and hearts pounding there we stood the two of us at the edge of the pool (there were no starting blocks). We had an audience. On that day, the "social" club admitted our non-member friends in to the pool area to watch "The Race". I won the 50m Free race (by quite a few metres, I recall, doing it in about 30 seconds, timed by a lifeguard, on a regular non-stopwatch). What I didn't know back then were two things: That I had done it in what was, back then in 1959, an OK time and that I had a good (SPL-wise) but awful (limping, lop-sided) style.

(((Still nothing about real competitive swimming, the impatient reader will remark)))

In 1960 my father passed away and my mother and three younger brothers (and I) moved in with my maternal grandparents in Cairo, where I joined the Guezira Sporting Club.

That club was the "in" place to be; a country club with two pools (one Olympic 50m and the other a 33.333 yard one). The club had the best swimming team in Egypt and if you really wanted to impress girls that was the team to be on.

It was an elite team and not easy to join, so I decided to try and see if I
could attract the attention of Monsieur Alex, the coach. The team was practicing, using four of the eigh-lanes, the other four being left open to the club's leisure swimmers. I clung close to the dividing lane rope and (kind of) raced the real swimmers, doing only 50's.

The coach did call me over, told me I swam "like a camel" but that I could join the team.

I did but was unable to keep up with them (with even the slowest of them) for any distance over 50.0009 metres. I didn't know it then and the coach did not mention anything to me, but I limped as I swam. Why?
In "Tarzan"'s book, I had read but failed to realize I had missed applying a very important aspect of swimming. Breathing.

I discovered "breathing" by accident. The coach asked me to swim with, side-by-side, not ahead of, Kiko, the slowest swimmer on the team. I felt insulted but I wanted to stay on the team, so I did my best to slow myself way down and stay even with Kiko. As I practically bobbed up and down, rather than moving forward, I found that my face was in the water for quite a long time and that I really, really, really had to let the air out (air? it was CO2). That was when I discovered that I had been holding my breath when my face was submerged and that when I rolled my face out of the water to my left, I was exhaling first and then inhaling; thus my "limp". All it took was one time, I exhaled in the water and when I turned my face, I didn't even have to inhale, the air rushed in, all by itself. That day, nobody could make stop. I did all the sets that Kiko did, resting when he did, moving when he did. Next practice session, the coach promoted me to another, much faster group.

From then on, I was entered in races (we didn't have the 50m Free back then as an official race) so I did 100m, 200m, 400m and 1500m. However, as George Bernard Shaw said it, "Youth is a wonderful thing. Pity it's wasted on the young." Being young (and foolish and somewhat talented) I never trained seriously enough. I regret it now. After 45 years of smoking, even though I know how I should breathe while swimming (I even remember how it used to feel) I am unable to breathe deeply whenever I want to. That's why it's only 50m (occasionally a bad 100m) for me in the Masters now.

Cheers.