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View Full Version : Reborn swimmers hitting/near lifelong best times...



m2tall2
February 18th, 2007, 07:54 AM
With all the super fast times being slung around on this board, I have to wonder how long it took people to get there.

If you are a reborn swimmer, how long did it take you to get close (within say 5 seconds on a 100, 2-3 seconds on a 50) to your previous best times?

Did it take two a day or 2 hour a day swimming to get close to college/age group times again? Or is it just a matter of remembering how to swim fast and being dedicated with the time you do have?

Any advice for those re-joining the swimming ranks and are excited to compete but still stuck waaay behind former best times (like 20 seconds in a 100 and 8 seconds in a 50) and getting depressed coming in last in their age group?

USMSarah
February 18th, 2007, 08:14 AM
I'd like to know the same thing!

Paul Smith
February 18th, 2007, 09:27 AM
I think much depends on how long you took off and how active you stayed druing the "break". I've seen a lot of former college swimmers come back and within a year or two are swimming VERY fast....but even though they may not have competed for 5, 10+ years they still got "wet" and kept active.....and didn't get fat!

My advice is don't focus on getting all back fast......there is an entirely differant group I see try to make a comeback who are super motivated, training 2x a day....and are either injured or burned out and gone in 6-12 months.

If you can focus on short term goals of simply learning to love to swim again and having fun.....you'll stay around longer and most likely start to see results in 12-18 months.

SwimStud
February 18th, 2007, 10:35 AM
If you can focus on short term goals of simply learning to love to swim again and having fun.....you'll stay around longer and most likely start to see results in 12-18 months.

This is why I'm devating into the other strokes,and will do more over the summer...still want to improve my BR times but swimming back, fly and front crawl well are nice goals to me.

Michelle did you rest up before that swim meet?

The Fortress
February 18th, 2007, 11:23 AM
With all the super fast times being slung around on this board, I have to wonder how long it took people to get there.

If you are a reborn swimmer, how long did it take you to get close (within say 5 seconds on a 100, 2-3 seconds on a 50) to your previous best times?

Did it take two a day or 2 hour a day swimming to get close to college/age group times again? Or is it just a matter of remembering how to swim fast and being dedicated with the time you do have?

Any advice for those re-joining the swimming ranks and are excited to compete but still stuck waaay behind former best times (like 20 seconds in a 100 and 8 seconds in a 50) and getting depressed coming in last in their age group?

Michelle:

I am a re-joiner/reborn swimmer that came back from a 24 year layoff post college layoff. But as Paul points out, I stayed in pretty good shape during the layoff except for the baby years (some bed rest). I did not get "wet" at all though, but then I didn't get "fat" either.

I've been back in the pool about 20 months now. I'm still about 2 seconds off my best 50 times but not back to within 5 seconds of my best fly/back 100s yet. (Not to be negative, but don't know if I'll ever do those times again. If I ever swim a :58 in the 100 fly, I'll buy everyone on the forum drinks.) Doesn't bug me. I only focus on my adult times and rankings, and hope to improve those. I know people who obsessively look back at their best youth times or their best masters times pre-kid, and they are often very depressed and frustrated every meet. I tend to have fun at most meets.

I'd stay with both mini-goals, and some long term goals in the back of your mind. For example, some of my initial very modest mini-goals were: don't lose your goggles on the start, try to do an actual backstroke start instead of just flopping on the water; try not to hack away on free at the end of 100 IM, learn to streamline better, try to SDK on fly and back, try to bend the elbows more on free, don't cross over in free, etc. Note: most of these were technique related. Mixing it up with other strokes is a good idea and will help keep you on the path to improvement and keep you fresh.

With respect to training, as a master, I have never done two a day swims. I have never swum 2 hour practices. I don't do all that much engine building, although I work hard when I swim with my team. I rarely exceed 4000 or so, often do just 3000. I seem to do just as well on the aerobic-lite, Salo-like reduced yardage sprint training model. I rarely swim more than 4x a week, 5x max. A couple of those involve some easy swimming and drills and a couple sprints for an hour. I had to really focus initially on deconstructing and re-learning some of my old school strokes. So I have spent (and still spend) a lot of time on drills, technique, and turns. Fly and breast are swum very differently now than when I was a youth -- had to re-learn them. No one SDK'd in my time either, so I've invested tons of time in learning that particular skill as well. But no mega training for me. Technique improvements generally yield bigger dividends. I think sprinters in particular need good technique, along with power. With this approach, I posted some decent times within three months back and had a pretty good first year. It can be done.

In short, I think I essentially did what Paul Smith suggested, although I'm sure I'd be much faster if he was my coach! I also do some running and weight lifting for cross training. I don't do yoga, but I know a lot of people do to stay flexible. Good luck! Be patient and don't rush yourself! Work on technique.

swimr4life
February 18th, 2007, 01:09 PM
Consistency, consistency, consistency!

Don't try to "comeback" all at once. It took me about 2 years of consistent practices (one a day) to get back in shape to race close to my best times..

newmastersswimmer
February 18th, 2007, 05:26 PM
I came back after an 18 year layoff a few years ago....but I haven't been all that consistent about my working out since then. I also allowed myself to get very fat. So according to what Paul and others posted, I might not get back to within a few seconds or so of my best 100 times?....and there is a good chance that I won't I suppose. I did get within about 6 seconds of my best 100 fly time....and within about 15 seconds of my best 200 fly time after 1 year of training fairly consistently when I first came back. I also lost over 80 pounds during that first year of training as well. I hope I can get back into a consistent training routine again....and that I can lose a lot of weight again because I want to get much closer to my best times than I have so far. Its hard to say whether or not I will actually be able to do that though. I certainly wish tthe best for all the other Masters swimmers who are coming back from long layoffs.....You never know what you might be able to accomplish....I would think patience is an important part of it....Don't make the mistake I made about a year ago or so when I tried to do too much by working out 5-6 days a week for 7000 yards or so a practice.....I think it would be better to ease your way back into it over time....but thats my opinion only and I haven't done much yet since coming back.


Newmastersswimmer

Ivor
February 18th, 2007, 06:47 PM
I only had a six year lay-off - and then it took me four years to get back to my best times.

With me it wasn't about losing weight though, it was about putting weight back on a regaining what little strength I once had.

And I have to admit the changes to the backstroke turn rules did help.

Donna
February 18th, 2007, 07:42 PM
After about 20 years off and 2 kids and the last one being 11 lbs. 12 oz at birth, a back injury and alot of weight to lose, I have been back for 3 years now. The first year I could not bend over to touch the blocks on a start, this year I can actually be alittle more competitive off the start.

I have lost about 30 lbs now with 10 of it being in the last 3 months. Kicked up the training since June (now swimming 6 days per week with a double on Tuesdays). I am finally seeing major drops in my distance swimming. Have surpassed my times as a kid for the 500 and 1650.

The sprints which I used to do as a kid are still out of my reach at this point but I anticipate in the next 2 years working on my sprints and losing another 10-15 lbs and getting within 2 or 3 seconds of those old times. I realize physically my back problems will always be a limitation to my sprinting until or unless they finally go away. After 3 years I am thankful to be at the point I am with stiffness as the major issue and not pain.

Donna

m2tall2
February 19th, 2007, 07:55 AM
It sounds like if you've lost your fitness/gained weight the first year or several years back into swiming will be regaining fitness and losing weight before any significant time will drop. After that it sounds like it takes a year or more of dedicated reasonably scheduled swimming to get close to former times.

These replies are really fantastic! Keep 'em coming. Thanks!

newmastersswimmer
February 19th, 2007, 09:53 AM
I just wanted to clear up something I said in my first posting....and that is that I agree 100% with what Paul and others have said here about getting back to within reasonable range of your personal bests from high school and college. I also believe that staying in good shape (which includes not gaining too much weight) during the layoff from swimming is a definite advantage. I have no one to blame but myself for letting myself get so out of shape over the years. I think it might still be possible for me (and others like me who may also have gained a bit too much over the years) to get back to within a decent range of our personal best times.....it's just going to be a little harder for us perhaps. I like the way Ande keeps a good record of his weight. I think I will try and emulate a similar approach. I found Donna's story to be a real inspiration also....Congrats Donna! Thanks for sharing your story with us...I wish you the very best of luck in your swimming pursuits!

Newmastersswimmer

knelson
February 19th, 2007, 11:22 AM
Maybe sprinters will disagree, but I don't think it's all that difficult to get within a second of your best 50 time and maybe 2-3 of your 100 with a few months of consistent, hard training (at least three days and probably four days a week). Anything 200 and up will take a much more concerted effort. Anyway, this has been my experience, but I was and am not a sprinter, so maybe my times 50 and 100 times are easier to get back to than people who actually excel at these events!

I returned to swimming after ten years off at age 32. It would obviously be more difficult if you returned to the sport in your 40s or 50s.

jonblank
February 19th, 2007, 12:35 PM
My advice is don't focus on getting all back fast......there is an entirely differant group I see try to make a comeback who are super motivated, training 2x a day....and are either injured or burned out and gone in 6-12 months.
I'd agree with Paul here. I think the real benefits from Masters swimming are in improved fitness and renewed/new friendships with teammates. I wasn't trying to "make a comeback" when I got back to swim training, it was just that someone had vandalized my rowing shell and I couldn't row anymore. If one overtrains as a "senior" athlete, one only invites injury. I do think that keeping reasonably fit in the 23 years I wasn't a competitive swimmer helped, though.

jonblank
February 19th, 2007, 12:42 PM
Maybe sprinters will disagree, but I don't think it's all that difficult to get within a second of your best 50 time and maybe 2-3 of your 100 with a few months of consistent, hard training (at least three days and probably four days a week). Anything 200 and up will take a much more concerted effort. Anyway, this has been my experience, but I was and am not a sprinter, so maybe my times 50 and 100 times are easier to get back to than people who actually excel at these events!

I returned to swimming after ten years off at age 32. It would obviously be more difficult if you returned to the sport in your 40s or 50s.

I returned in my mid-40's. I'd agree with your comments about the 50 and the 100 events, but if I EVER got within less than 8 seconds of my 200 time, I'd be in extreme disbelief. I think that after 45 years, age catches up with you. Luckily for me, treachery still counts for something.

knelson
February 19th, 2007, 12:54 PM
Just so the original poster knows, Jon Blank swam sub 1:00 100 breaststrokes at SC Nationals in both 2005 and 2006 in the 45-49 age group, so he's no slouch!

The Fortress
February 19th, 2007, 01:05 PM
Maybe sprinters will disagree, but I don't think it's all that difficult to get within a second of your best 50 time and maybe 2-3 of your 100 with a few months of consistent, hard training (at least three days and probably four days a week). Anything 200 and up will take a much more concerted effort. Anyway, this has been my experience, but I was and am not a sprinter, so maybe my times 50 and 100 times are easier to get back to than people who actually excel at these events!

I returned to swimming after ten years off at age 32. It would obviously be more difficult if you returned to the sport in your 40s or 50s.

I think this comment is generally correct for sprinters, although perhaps a little ambitious for most. Unlike Jon, I'm not quite back to within 1 second of my 50s and 2-3 of my 100s. I returned to swimming at almost 44. Within 3 months, I had good sprints. I just had to worry about keeping my goggles on. In ten months, I was less than 2 seconds off on my 50s, but I'm still a bit off in my 100s. I'm not sure I'll ever get within 3 seconds. Seems highly doubtful without more training. There is no way I would be even remotedly near any 200+ times. And for me over-training does nothing but cause injuries; my shoulder refuses to adjust to increased training. As Jon says, treachery plus technique yields the most bang for your buck.

jim clemmons
February 19th, 2007, 07:29 PM
I had one comeback at 46 then another at 50. At 52, I swam lifetime bests in the 200IM, 500, 1000, 1650 and was right at my college times in the 200 breast and 400IM.

Never was much of a sprinter so I don't have anything to compare with.

The Fortress
February 19th, 2007, 09:30 PM
I had one comeback at 46 then another at 50. At 52, I swam lifetime bests in the 200IM, 500, 1000, 1650 and was right at my college times in the 200 breast and 400IM.

Never was much of a sprinter so I don't have anything to compare with.

Do you have to rub it in, supergirl? Jeez, somone better warn Michelle, if she doesn't already know, that you're a world champ.

How do you do this? You must have some remarkable physiology going on there ... You didn't say, but I assume you were in super shape between college and 46?

Ian Smith
February 19th, 2007, 10:11 PM
Maybe sprinters will disagree, but I don't think it's all that difficult to get within a second of your best 50 time and maybe 2-3 of your 100 with a few months of consistent, hard training (at least three days and probably four days a week).

I returned to swimming after ten years off at age 32. It would obviously be more difficult if you returned to the sport in your 40s or 50s.

In my case, returning after a 36 year break and training about 3.2 times a week, it took 4 years to get to under 3 seconds of my best LCM 50m time (27.8 vs 24.9)

I believe this is mainly due to the time needed to rebuild some upper body strength lost by not swimming at all. (OK, maybe I don't train like a dog either, but rather try for consistency)

Your point on returning in your late 50's is very valid especially for a 100m - I only got to about 7 seconds off my best. It's probably even more valid for the 200 and up, but that's long distance stuff I don't worry about (too much training required)

No 'reborn swimmer' should get discouraged if they don't hit times close to their best in mere months - depending on age, technical ability and training intensity, your mileage will vary.

Ian.

jim clemmons
February 20th, 2007, 11:17 AM
How do you do this? You must have some remarkable physiology going on there ... You didn't say, but I assume you were in super shape between college and 46?

I was heavily into cycling (so aerobic capacity was decent) but I think the major reason can be attributed to year-round swimming. I never worked out continuously in HS or college.