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The Fortress
February 2nd, 2007, 11:44 PM
Do we have to swim in a lot of meets to go fast? Of people that compete, it seems like there is a wide variance among forum members on meet attendance. Some go to many meets and some go to only a few a year. It seems like some people only attend the big meets or nationals. It obviously helps to get experience at meets, but how many do you need to compete in ideally to (1) swim fast and improve, and/or (2) do well at major competitions such as zones or nationals?

Allen Stark
February 3rd, 2007, 12:01 AM
I'm probably atypical because I don't like SCY so I'll typically swim 1 maybe 2SCY meets per year. I'll swim 1-3 LCM meets depending on how many there are close plus LCM Nationals. I'll swim 2 SCM meets because thats usually all I can find close.

SwimStud
February 3rd, 2007, 12:04 AM
I 'm looking to get 2 more in and see how I feel about Colony Zones. I think it's good to get up and race though. Within reason.

poolraat
February 3rd, 2007, 12:06 AM
This is kind of connected to the "interesting article" thread that I just responded to. Again I'm going to draw on my past experience as a runner. We had at least one meet each week and usually had two. Dual meet midweek and invitational on the weekend. My high school coach's philosophy was that one needed to race as often as possible in order to learn how to race. Pace and tactics were best learned in racing situations. He must have known what he was talking about. That year my track team won the first state title in a run of 11 in a row. The string was broken when he retired. I think training philosophies can be applied to both sports though many swimming coaches would disagree.

chaos
February 3rd, 2007, 07:56 AM
Do we have to swim in a lot of meets to go fast? Of people that compete, it seems like there is a wide variance among forum members on meet attendance. Some go to many meets and some go to only a few a year. It seems like some people only attend the big meets or nationals. It obviously helps to get experience at meets, but how many do you need to compete in ideally to (1) swim fast and improve, and/or (2) do well at major competitions such as zones or nationals?

i think it is important to get some meet experience prior to the "big one" (zones for me this year) ideally, i would like to get 3 within the 5 weeks prior to be sharp on my racing strategy.
my problem is taper.....how does one taper for the 1650 and the 100 fly? (decisions, decisions) also OW season kicks in 4 weeks after zones.

The Fortress
February 3rd, 2007, 08:47 AM
ideally, i would like to get 3 within the 5 weeks prior to be sharp on my racing strategy. my problem is taper.....how does one taper for the 1650 and the 100 fly? (decisions, decisions)

3 in 5 weeks? I would love to do that, but it ain't in the cards. I can't swim at a meet again until late March because all the local masters meets conflict with my kids' meets/games. I think I can only do one meet between now and zones. Not ideal. I think it probably makes one more mistake prone. I only swam in 3 meets in the 6 months before zones last year as well (one was a goggle disaster meeet). Late spring seems to be a better time for me ... I'm thinking maybe I should do more of what Poolraat does and swim in USS meets that my kid is at? It just doesn't sound very appealing to me. I will only have two meets before Nationals, if I go.

Are you actually going to taper? I thought you didn't like to taper? I picture you crying when you have to shorten your workouts. Plus, the 1650 and 100 fly are kinda different events .... Aren't you swimming the 200 fly as well?

chaos
February 3rd, 2007, 09:11 AM
3 in 5 weeks? I would love to do that, but it ain't in the cards. I can't swim at a meet again until late March because all the local masters meets conflict with my kids' meets/games. I think I can only do one meet between now and zones. Not ideal. I think it probably makes one more mistake prone.
Are you actually going to taper? I thought you didn't like to taper? I picture you crying when you have to shorten your workouts. Plus, the 1650 and 100 fly are kinda different events .... Aren't you swimming the 200 fly as well?
for zones, i will probably sign up for the 50, 100, 200 fly, 1650, 400 im, (the 500 free falls in a bad place in the line-up...swam it as a warm up last year)

get in some time trial/races (even better if you have rival to swim with) i wouldn't find swimming at uss meets very appealing, though i have attended a few dual sanctioned meets that were ok.


i could probably take it easy for 2-3 days and have a good 1650, but for the fly stuff, a couple of weeks would be more like it.
i only cry when i miss practice all together.

poolraat
February 3rd, 2007, 09:41 AM
... I'm thinking maybe I should do more of what Poolraat does and swim in USS meets that my kid is at? It just doesn't sound very appealing to me.

Getting my butt kicked by 16 year olds isn't much fun. But for me, masters meets within traveling distance are few and far between. Even the closest one in Salt Lake City is a 3-1/2 hour drive. I'm going to try something different this spring since the only meet between now and nationals is the Salt Lake one in April. Since my wife is the coach of the AG team I'm going to have her arrange some time trials in April where I can race some of the kids on the team and hopefully that will help me be more prepared for Seattle.

jim thornton
February 3rd, 2007, 06:25 PM
This is the first year in quite a while where I haven't swum in any meets. There's a regional association of Ys up here in the pittsburgh area, and there are meets every other week from Setember through February, then a regional championship in April.

The years when I did a lot of these meets were good for my times, I think, not so much because I learned how to pace myself, but because the meets themselves served as very high intensity sprint workouts. You can swim 4 events plus two relays, for a total of 6 swims, all over the course of 3-4 hours.

Anyhow, this year, I may try coming down to the Colony Zones meet without having competed since last April. I'll let you know then how the lack of meets affects me.

Muppet
February 3rd, 2007, 09:15 PM
Some folks had mentioned race strategery - I think that is important for stuff like the 200s and up. I swam the 500 6 times last season - I think that may have been too many - but was experimenting with a new "lets try to lose a few people on the first 100 and see what happens from there" strategery.

For the 50s and 100s, feeling that get-up-and-go you get from putting on a good suit and cap, going off the blocks trying to beat your neighbors - you can really only get that from a meet. I think it is good to get that race feeling and work on swimming at that speed frequently.

Personally, I pretty much will go to any meet that is available on a weekend that I am not doing something else. Last year, I got a boatload (I think ~10)of SCY meets in before SCY nats. This year, there are 6 meets + one SCM, and after tomorrow, there are only 3 of those left, one that is intercollegiate club, so doesn't count for anything.

jaegermeister
February 3rd, 2007, 09:16 PM
Interesting isn't it that meets are a bit of a contradiction. We want to do them, but life gets in the way in terms of either geography or family commitments. Sorry to harp on the old themes. :dedhorse:

The biggest challenge for me in getting back to swimming meets is that for many years I never tried to swim FAST. My first meet in 27 years was a lot of fun but humbling physically.

I've been following Ande's advice and trying to swim fast in practice more often. Getting speedwork in on a more regular basis I think is helping me drop times for the meets that I get to. To that end, my coach has advised a Tempo Trainer to help my turnover- seems as though 27 years of fitness swimming left me a bit slow on the uptake.

Fortress, I know I'm not answering your question, and it is a good one. We probably all have our own answers. I am going to do at least 3 meets over 5 months before nationals, and hopefully can work in at least 1 more.

Bob McAdams
February 4th, 2007, 01:01 AM
It obviously helps to get experience at meets, but how many do you need to compete in ideally to (1) swim fast and improve, and/or (2) do well at major competitions such as zones or nationals?

(1) None. You can swim fast and improve without ever being in a meet. In fact, the fastest times I have ever done for any stroke have been in practice - not in competition.

(2) Lots! To do well at competitions, you need both (a) to be able to swim fast and (b) to be able to swim at top of form when you are at meets. The only place you can develop the second ability is at meets.

The good news for many swimmers is that the process of learning to compete is, in some degree, cumulative. So if you competed a lot when you were younger, much of what you learned is still with you even if you haven't competed recently.

The bad news for swimmers who are new to competing is that there is really no substitute for being in lots of meets. Breaststroke champion David Denniston once said that there were guys he'd known in college who could turn in great times in practice that they could never duplicate in competition, and that almost invariably they were guys who had never been on a high school swim team. The ideal for people who haven't competed much is to be in one or two meets per week, so that the experience of being in a meet becomes commonplace, so that there is plenty of opportunity to experiment with different events, so that they learn how to make the best of things on days when they aren't at top of form, and so that messing up or getting DQed isn't that big a deal since they'll have another chance to swim the event in a week or so. But, of course, in masters swimming there's what's ideal, and then there's what's possible! :dedhorse:

SwimStud
February 4th, 2007, 10:12 AM
Some folks had mentioned race strategery - I think that is important for stuff like the 200s and up.

I agree with that..my orignal strategery for the 200BR was not to blow out on the first 100, pick up in the 3rd lap and bust a gut on the last 25...

The 100 and 50 were just much more swim like hell and about pull harder on the the last 25.

It sorta went ok.

By thetime the 50BR rolled around I was kinda of too relaxed (this is where doing a 50 of free or fly in between the BR100 and 50 might have helped).

quicksilver
February 4th, 2007, 03:54 PM
Do we have to swim in a lot of meets to go fast?... but how many do you need to compete in ideally to (1) swim fast and improve, and/or (2) do well at major competitions such as zones or nationals?

Every couple of weeks should have a specific day with a time trial if possible. It's a great way to get the feel for swimming "at speed". It's also a good guage of your performance level.

Ande does a swim for time very often towards the meet season. This is really helpful for one to get a feel of the race...and to know where the wheels might start to fall off the bus. Better knowledge and understanding of the race course can help one mentally train for the specific event during workouts.

If you know the third turn on a 100 yard sprint is brutal...then train for that. Likewise if the 200 poses a challenge by either not going out fast enough...or going out too fast...you can learn how to pace.

So my answer is ...it's not the amount of meets...but simply having a familiarity with race pace. The importance of an all out swim now and again shouldn't be overlooked. It's an opportunity to learn...and get a very tough workout in. Ask someone to time you.

The Fortress
February 4th, 2007, 10:24 PM
Every couple of weeks should have a specific day with a time trial if possible. It's a great way to get the feel for swimming "at speed". It's also a good guage of your performance level.

Ande does a swim for time very often towards the meet season. This is really helpful for one to get a feel of the race...and to know where the wheels might start to fall off the bus. Better knowledge and understanding of the race course can help one mentally train for the specific event during workouts.

If you know the third turn on a 100 yard sprint is brutal...then train for that. Likewise if the 200 poses a challenge by either not going out fast enough...or going out too fast...you can learn how to pace.

So my answer is ...it's not the amount of meets...but simply having a familiarity with race pace. The importance of an all out swim now and again shouldn't be overlooked. It's an opportunity to learn...and get a very tough workout in. Ask someone to time you.

This is great advice! I try to do a couple swims for "time" somewhat regularly. I usually do it on my own with a pace clock because my team doesn't do this. But I probably should do it even more! I've also been following Ande's aerobic-lite sprint advice and trying to do more race pace swimming. But there will be no 200s right now! I'm sticking with the 50s and 100s for awhile. But, you're right, that third turn is always my worst. Usually getting winded and can't stay under as long. I'll have to focus on that more.

Bob:

I did compete a lot when younger and I actually think that does have somewhat of a carry over effect. I'm banking on it. I only have one meet before zones. I think it'll be OK. I have seen some elite swimmers swim in very few meets with good results, so I was just wondering.

Tom:

I'm considering going to Nationals now, so maybe us Rochester folk will meet! Only two meets for me before then though. But that's OK, I think. I swam in Nationals last year and it was only my fifth masters meet ever. I bet that 200 fly time really starts dropping! (I hope you're at least going to give the 100 fly a whirl too though.)

ande
February 4th, 2007, 11:16 PM
Swim in at least one meet while you are tapered and shaved
in a fast pool during each of the masters seasons in each year.
SCY till 5/31
LCM till 8/31 and
SCM till 12/31
Go for top 10's and glory

all the other meets that you swim are prep for your big meets

Go with convenience,
scy I plan to swim in zones and maybe nationals, but
I also enter a few USS when they are in Austin, cause it's a awesome pool and convenient. Like American Short Course Championships

Next:
I believe you should be very familiar with every aspect of your most important race. The ONLY way to do that is to

RACE YOUR EVENT

I believe you could stay in great shape and even improve if all you ever did was swim in 3 meets a week. But that's a bit harsh. I do think it's a good idea to have one practice every week or two where you pretend you're in a meet and you swim your best event fairly fresh for time.

It's especially important for quality to increase as you approach an important meet. (quantity decreases too)

Ande

SwimStud
February 4th, 2007, 11:25 PM
I do think it's a good idea to have one practice every week or two where you pretend you're in a meet and you swim your best event fairly fresh for time.

Ande

My Rookie method is:
Warm up and do one event race per training session close to the meet. Then continue with a scheduled workout.

The Fortress
February 5th, 2007, 08:48 AM
Swim in at least one meet while you are tapered and shaved in a fast pool during each of the masters seasons in each year.
SCY till 5/31
LCM till 8/31 and
SCM till 12/31
Go for top 10's and glory

Go with convenience,
scy I plan to swim in zones and maybe nationals, but
I also enter a few USS when they are in Austin, cause it's a awesome pool and convenient. Like American Short Course Championships

Ande

Ande:

This is exactly what I try to do each year! 2-3 SCY, 2 SCM and 1 LCM. I like the different lengths, but I never get to swim all the events I would ideally like to swim without more meets. (I can't swim 5-7 events per meet, too tiring.) 2 of those are usually "big" meets as well, so not much meet practice unfortunately. I've never really hit a taper right, as I mentioned on your other thread. Something usually interferes with training like an ill-timed cold or injury. Maybe this spring! So I end up resting a bit for each meet and more for the "big" one. If you only swim in a few meets, is it a good idea to rest a bit for each one to make them count? I just don't go to enough in-season training meets to completely swim through them ... I guess I did that at one meet last summer before Worlds. But if you want to get good times in SCY, SCM and LC, it seems like you've got to go for it at the non-big meets in fast pools too. A few of us here have a SCM meet in a fast pool coming up in March three weeks before zones. Rest some or not?

You're right -- convenience is key. I am very lucky this year. Zones are at my home pool! Nationals are far, far away.

swim4me
February 5th, 2007, 06:29 PM
Swim in at least one meet while you are tapered and shaved
in a fast pool during each of the masters seasons in each year.
SCY till 5/31
LCM till 8/31 and
SCM till 12/31
Go for top 10's and glory

all the other meets that you swim are prep for your big meets

Go with convenience,
scy I plan to swim in zones and maybe nationals, but
I also enter a few USS when they are in Austin, cause it's a awesome pool and convenient. Like American Short Course Championships

Ande


Ande -

How do I register to do a USS meet? Not a lot of meets in San Antonio, but Austin is not too far. I am planning on driving up to Houston for a meet on March 3rd, but that requires an overnight stay and 4 hour drive each way. I would really be interested in swimming meets in Austin.

Thanks,

Kathy

jaegermeister
February 5th, 2007, 09:46 PM
It seems for some of us the problem starts with an inability to decide which events we're going to attempt to "go for glory" in.

Though I've learned that I can swim up to 3 events without qualifying times at nationals, since this will be my first year I'm decided I am going to get qualifying times to make myself feel better. For me, that means backstroke events.
Still, I really am enjoying swimming fly and IM. This can be a challenge. Last meet, I did 50 fly (mostly to get tuned up) all the backstroke events, 200 medley relay, and 200 IM. I would really like to swim 100 and 200 fly, but in the order of events we've been following, they preceed or follow back.

I'm working on resolving my competing desires to swim almost everything and just a few events that I can really stake a claim to.

ande
February 5th, 2007, 11:09 PM
register with a USS team, pick one, I swim for Longhorn Aquatics

find a meet on
http://www.utexas.edu/longhornaquatics/swim/HostedMeets.htm
then sign up and show up

ande


Ande -

How do I register to do a USS meet? Not a lot of meets in San Antonio, but Austin is not too far. I am planning on driving up to Houston for a meet on March 3rd, but that requires an overnight stay and 4 hour drive each way. I would really be interested in swimming meets in Austin.

Thanks,

Kathy

The Fortress
February 6th, 2007, 08:33 AM
It seems for some of us the problem starts with an inability to decide which events we're going to attempt to "go for glory" in.

Exactly. I don't always want to swim the same events all the time. Yet, if you don't do a lot of meets, you want to get good times in your "best" events. But sometimes figuring out which events are best is hard. And of course Ande suggests we should have a focus event or two in training ...

Then, as Tom alluded to, there is the usual problem with the order of events at meets. At my next meet, my "best" events, probably the 50 fly/back/free & 100 IM, are literally all clumped together (events 10-15). I realize no one is ever happy with the order of events at meets, but this seems particularly weird. All the 200s are clumped together too, so if you'd rather do those, it's not so hot either ... When that happens, there's even less opportunity to get times before the big show.

Tom: I didn't know you were doing back and IM too. That means you're a fly/back/IMer like me. :wave: Only you appear to insist on doing those loooonger distances.

quicksilver
February 6th, 2007, 02:23 PM
My Rookie method is:
Warm up and do one event race per training session close to the meet. Then continue with a scheduled workout.

Not a rookie method at all. It's a great way to taper and get the feel for racing.

A warm-up...followed by a timed swim...and then a slightly reduced intensity practice is a very good formula.