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JMiller
December 18th, 2007, 02:07 AM
I want to ask questions about the life of a Champion.

If you are a World Record Holder, a National Record Holder, a State/Provincial record holder, a Club record holder, or even if you've recently gone a personal best; I want to know how you feel about being a Champion.

Masters win, regardless of place!

See, doing your best, no matter what level you achieve is a great experience. The feeling of improvement from consistent effort is something that anyone can attain. That joy is the same when you finish a race and you know it was your best, a great lifestyle, something worth striving for.

Since I've already started a discussion with Chris Stevenson, perhaps we can continue it here.

Chris, even though you may not have smiled at first (on camera anyways) how did the next few days feel? Are these your first WR titles? Do you plan on more in the future? You're a chemistry teacher, right? Do you realize you've inspired me, and countless others?

Chris Stevenson
December 18th, 2007, 09:08 AM
Chris, even though you may not have smiled at first (on camera anyways) how did the next few days feel? Are these your first WR titles? Do you plan on more in the future? You're a chemistry teacher, right? Do you realize you've inspired me, and countless others?

Truly, I'm glad you have been inspired, but this sort of discussion is uncomfortable for me.

This is a great sport. I think there are a lot of very compelling and inspiring stories in masters swimming -- and not just those of "champions" -- and I would love to read their posts. I am personally interested in (and inspired by) the stories of those who take up the sport seriously as adults and stuck with it. It can be so intimidating to those who didn't grow up swimming.

(Jonathan, if we're at the same meet, introduce yourself sometime. I'll keep talking as long as you keep the beer flowing...) :drink:

JMiller
December 18th, 2007, 09:53 PM
(Jonathan, if we're at the same meet, introduce yourself sometime. I'll keep talking as long as you keep the beer flowing...) :drink:

Sure as rain, I'll do that. Actually, I haven't raced yards since I was a kid, I think it would be fun...

As far as the original thread, anyone else care to share? A best time is a best time is a best time... Way to go!!

Blackbeard's Peg
December 19th, 2007, 10:32 AM
I'm 1/4 of two mixed 800 SCM free national records... and it feels pretty good! It is nice to brag about - I have the certificate from the first one framed and in our family room area.

But having just set the second record, I feel a great sense of accomplishment as well as amazement. My split was over 3 seconds faster than my fastest previous individual 200SCM free. It also came a bit over three months from a pretty serious knee injury that kept me out of the pool for a month and in limited action for most of the fall. I was shocked at how fast I went. Finally, it was also nice to share the accomplishment with my gf, as she led us off and this was her first national record.

Also, Chris, I didn't really take up swimming until pretty late... swam summer leagues since age 6, joined my HS team for only my JR & SR years, and then joined my masters team once I got to college. No USS or NCAA experience for me. So I didn't technically pick up the sport as an adult, but still pride myself on the fact that my swim career is pretty much all USMS-related.

JMiller
December 19th, 2007, 12:40 PM
I'm 1/4 of two mixed 800 SCM free national records... and it feels pretty good! It is nice to brag about - I have the certificate from the first one framed and in our family room area.

But having just set the second record, I feel a great sense of accomplishment as well as amazement. My split was over 3 seconds faster than my fastest previous individual 200SCM free.

That's Great! That's what I'm talking about... The joy from an accomplishment, knowing you did your best.... way to go!!

I'd like to ask more questions from other members, do you care to join my Interview(s) with the Champion(s) thread? See, for me, anyone that trains regularly is a winner... A true Champion... The results are measured on your own clock, and the joy is equally as great.

Even if you don't have an official record in the books, you do have personal goals and best times... Like RTodd, he's only been swimming for three years, and he has the opportunity to still improve, and that is a fun experience... I remeber growing up, and the joy from going best times as an age-grouper, and I wish I could live those experiences over again... I suppose that's partly why I'm a master now...

That's the advantage a newcomer to our sport has, with just a little guidance and the right approach, they can have appropriate adaptation, and truly gain from the joy of going best times.

If you swim regularly, then you are a Winner!

JMiller
December 19th, 2007, 12:42 PM
I am personally interested in (and inspired by) the stories of those who take up the sport seriously as adults and stuck with it.

Chris, what is your swimming background?

Chris Stevenson
December 19th, 2007, 01:42 PM
Chris, what is your swimming background?

My swimming life in a nutshell:

I grew up (mostly) in San Jose, California and started swimming year-round at 8 years old. And have been doing so ever since (though we moved first to Greece and then to Raleigh, NC).

I swam all four years in college, at UNC (= University of National Champions...I mean, U of N Carolina). I was a two-time All-American in college.

I went to grad school at U of Florida and almost immediately met a former Gator swimmer while we were swimming laps at the gym pool. She had started swimming masters and raved about it ("Short practices! You can skip any set you want! Or skip entire practices!") I started and was hooked. The beers after Friday practices helped, too.

I met my wife thru masters swimming (I've often wondered how many "USMS couples" there are out there. I think it would make a nice story.)

I have gone thru long periods of reduced workouts and not competing (especially on the path to tenure) and experimenting with other sports (well, one other sport: cycling) but I have not spent more than about 2 months completely out of the water.

About 2-3 years ago I had some poor blood test results in a checkup. I subsequently lost 30 pounds and decided to train swimming more seriously, and start lifting weights again. And here we are today.

Chris Stevenson
December 19th, 2007, 01:44 PM
I'm 1/4 of two mixed 800 SCM free national records... and it feels pretty good! It is nice to brag about - I have the certificate from the first one framed and in our family room area.

But having just set the second record, I feel a great sense of accomplishment as well as amazement. My split was over 3 seconds faster than my fastest previous individual 200SCM free. It also came a bit over three months from a pretty serious knee injury that kept me out of the pool for a month and in limited action for most of the fall. I was shocked at how fast I went. Finally, it was also nice to share the accomplishment with my gf, as she led us off and this was her first national record.

Also, Chris, I didn't really take up swimming until pretty late... swam summer leagues since age 6, joined my HS team for only my JR & SR years, and then joined my masters team once I got to college. No USS or NCAA experience for me. So I didn't technically pick up the sport as an adult, but still pride myself on the fact that my swim career is pretty much all USMS-related.

A great story. Relay swimming is a fun thing -- hopefully you can recapture that swim in an individual event sometime soon!

Blackbeard's Peg
December 19th, 2007, 01:58 PM
A great story. Relay swimming is a fun thing -- hopefully you can recapture that swim in an individual event sometime soon!

It is - I had 11 events booked for that meet... this was in the middle, and I was already really tired, and felt the lactic acid building up mid-swim and kept saying to myself "don't let down your teammates." Mollie's constant smile all evening was worth all the pain.

dorothyrde
December 19th, 2007, 02:46 PM
[QUOTE=Chris Stevenson;117211] It can be so intimidating to those who didn't grow up swimming.

(QUOTE]


Boy do you have that right. That intimidation factor is one thing that keeps me from going to meet sometimes. The main reason is the drive, 2 hours to get to most meets. But then I think, do I want to drive 2 hours and look like a fool in front of people who have been swimming all their lives? So I stay in my own little pond, and work on my own times, and the aerobic ladies think I am the most graceful thing ever(I swim during their class), and life is good.

pwolf66
December 19th, 2007, 04:58 PM
Dorothyrde,

That is an issue true but also think about it this way. Do you want to drive 2 hours, compete against yourself and meet a new group of people who share your interests?

Meeting new people is a driving force for my attending SCY Nats in the Spring. Am I gonna win any of my events? Probably not? Will I place top 10? An outside chance. Will I concentrate on meeting people, definately.

My advice? Do not think of it as embarrasing yourself, concentrate on doing your best and having fun. Regardless of where everyone is now in thier swimming ability, all of us were less than fast at some point in our careers and some still are. But if you have fun and continue to challenge yourself, you will grow more than you realize.

Paul

dorothyrde
December 19th, 2007, 07:55 PM
Place in the top 10? Then you are pretty good. I believe I was about second to last the Nationals I went to. I went for the experience, it was fun. Everyone was really, really tall.

echo
December 19th, 2007, 08:07 PM
Sorry... just read the title. I inadvertently jumped in on the wrong thread.

rtodd
December 19th, 2007, 08:45 PM
Even if you don't have an official record in the books, you do have personal goals and best times... Like RTodd, he's only been swimming for three years, and he has the opportunity to still improve, and that is a fun experience...

Having the time of my life.

pwolf66
December 19th, 2007, 09:08 PM
Place in the top 10? Then you are pretty good. I believe I was about second to last the Nationals I went to. I went for the experience, it was fun. Everyone was really, really tall.

Well, that maybe a stretch too. That requires me to drop about 3 seconds for both 50 Free and 50 Fly. Not sure that's gonna happen. But the point was go, challenge yourself, have fun, meet new people.

Paul

Chris Stevenson
December 20th, 2007, 03:42 AM
But then I think, do I want to drive 2 hours and look like a fool in front of people who have been swimming all their lives?

I have been swimming all my life, and now you know that -- far from looking like a fool -- I am very impressed by people like you. It is very admirable to step way outside of your comfort zone and try something like competing at nationals (or any meet).

Competition is not for everyone but don't miss out because of how you think you might look to others. There is nothing to worry about. Good luck!

dorothyrde
December 20th, 2007, 05:34 AM
Oh I will get there. There are two meets that are closer that I will try and get to. They both conflict with my daughter's meets though, and right now she comes first. Soon enough she will be grown and then my time is more my own. Meanwhile I keep working out, and hopefully getting better. 8 years ago a 25 was all I could muster to swim without stopping. I have now done a 400 IM and a 1000 free in a meet, and was not last! My goal for the 1000 free was to do flip turns through the whole thing, which I did. The IM was just to keep the strokes from breaking down, which I did. I like the sprints, but my starts and turns are not good, so I lose a lot on that. I can work the turns where I swim, but not the starts.

Anyway, I am happy to be in the pool, and have come a far way in 8 years.

JMiller
December 20th, 2007, 09:32 AM
Oh I will get there. There are two meets that are closer that I will try and get to. They both conflict with my daughter's meets though, and right now she comes first. Soon enough she will be grown and then my time is more my own. Meanwhile I keep working out, and hopefully getting better. 8 years ago a 25 was all I could muster to swim without stopping. I have now done a 400 IM and a 1000 free in a meet, and was not last! My goal for the 1000 free was to do flip turns through the whole thing, which I did. The IM was just to keep the strokes from breaking down, which I did. I like the sprints, but my starts and turns are not good, so I lose a lot on that. I can work the turns where I swim, but not the starts.

Anyway, I am happy to be in the pool, and have come a far way in 8 years.

Dorothy,

Yep, you are a Champion! That's the idea of this thread... You know, if you are keen on improving, and still swim regularly, then you are a winner, for sure...

You have an advantage over many master swimmers, because for us the goal is to reduce the decline, and we probably won't ever see a PB on the board... but we do get to have fun over again, by "aging-up"... It's a PB in a new age-group! That's a great way to think about aging...

JMiller
December 20th, 2007, 09:49 AM
Having the time of my life.

Ya, seeing improvement is very rewarding. I remember a good solid 10 years in my youth, from about the age of 10 to the age of 20, where I went best times pretty much every swim meet... That was a great experience, for sure...

See, I do envy people that are new to the sport, for that reason. You might not know what your absolute best may have been if you trained as an age-grouper, but yet you still have room to improve... You can still have adaptation, and you can still acquire a new skill, which reduces your times... Who knows when you'll stop improving? Maybe when you're 60?

From a pure mathematical point of view, I often think about what a graph of this sort might look like. An experienced athlete tries to reduce the decline over time, whereas a new athlete continues to improve... At what point do the graphs cross-over? Which is a greater accomplishment?

I'll save my opinions on this, for now...

aquaFeisty
December 20th, 2007, 10:00 AM
Oh I will get there. There are two meets that are closer that I will try and get to. They both conflict with my daughter's meets though, and right now she comes first. Soon enough she will be grown and then my time is more my own. Meanwhile I keep working out, and hopefully getting better. 8 years ago a 25 was all I could muster to swim without stopping. I have now done a 400 IM and a 1000 free in a meet, and was not last! My goal for the 1000 free was to do flip turns through the whole thing, which I did. The IM was just to keep the strokes from breaking down, which I did. I like the sprints, but my starts and turns are not good, so I lose a lot on that. I can work the turns where I swim, but not the starts.

Anyway, I am happy to be in the pool, and have come a far way in 8 years.

Dorothy, I hope you make it to the Danville meet this January! Chris will definitely be there and, barring another 'Carrie is a moron pork chop ER incident', I plan to be there too!

Cool thread. I am not a champion, but still doing best times at age 33 and after a kid, so I'm a happy camper! :)

dorothyrde
December 20th, 2007, 10:01 AM
Jonathan, that would be interesting to measure. I do get feedback from former age groupers and college swimmers who say they envy the newness of the sport in me. To them, the sport became a chore and many went away from it in their 20's and then come back in their 30's and 40's. The decline they have from the break and aging dismays them. they watch my drive and enthusiasm for swimming say 31 in the 50 free, and wish they had it, because even though they can swim much faster without a lot of training, they don't get the same joy, because they remember much faster times. It tends to discourage them.

I figure that the gap will close a bit as I get older. Perhaps in about 15 years when I am in the 60 year old age group. In looking at my parents, I have tremendously good genetics on my side, and have consistency in fitness that a lot of people my age struggle to attain. I have determination and focus, and simply just enjoy this journey.

dorothyrde
December 20th, 2007, 10:06 AM
Dorothy, I hope you make it to the Danville meet this January! Chris will definitely be there and, barring another 'Carrie is a moron pork chop ER incident', I plan to be there too!

Cool thread. I am not a champion, but still doing best times at age 33 and after a kid, so I'm a happy camper! :)

Carrie, it would be GREAt to see you there. I have the entry filled out on my desk, but BIG conflict. My daughter's swim team is running their big 3 day invitational in Urbana. Last year we had 500+ swimmers. Entries open tomorrow, and I am entry chair and computer chair extroidinaire. I have been making noise to the people who work computers for me that I want to skip out late Saturday morning, and would be back by late Saturday afternoon, and so far I don't think they realize what I am asking them to do.;)

However, they need to learn to stand on their own, cause my daughter is in HS and I won't be around too much longer. She is a drama and music queen, and plays take tons of time, which is leaving her less and less time for swimming.

I can always leave my phone on, right?

JMiller
December 20th, 2007, 10:13 AM
Well, that maybe a stretch too. That requires me to drop about 3 seconds for both 50 Free and 50 Fly. Not sure that's gonna happen. But the point was go, challenge yourself, have fun, meet new people.

Paul

Paul,

I've been reading your blog, and I watched the races you posted... Your 50 free looked very strong... Well done! Also, I agree with you about the benefits of networking... There is an opportunity in meeting people. It's interesting how we can connect in this forum on the basis of our thoughts, and not just on the merits of our physical performances...

Validation for a performance "feels" equally as good, even when it is solely literary art.

Blackbeard's Peg
December 20th, 2007, 10:23 AM
they watch my drive and enthusiasm for swimming say 31 in the 50 free, and wish they had it, because even though they can swim much faster without a lot of training, they don't get the same joy, because they remember much faster times.

So true. I remember hearing some older guys at Colonies Zones being elated with their 31s and 32s in the 50 SCM Free... first thinking "boring!" and then realizing they're 60+ and thinking "holey moley, I hope I am that fast in 40 years!" They were pretty appreciative of my "great swim, gentlemen" when they got out too... we are all champions in our own right.

JMiller
December 20th, 2007, 10:27 AM
My swimming life in a nutshell:

I grew up (mostly) in San Jose, California and started swimming year-round at 8 years old. And have been doing so ever since (though we moved first to Greece and then to Raleigh, NC).

I swam all four years in college, at UNC (= University of National Champions...I mean, U of N Carolina). I was a two-time All-American in college.

I went to grad school at U of Florida and almost immediately met a former Gator swimmer while we were swimming laps at the gym pool. She had started swimming masters and raved about it ("Short practices! You can skip any set you want! Or skip entire practices!") I started and was hooked. The beers after Friday practices helped, too.

I met my wife thru masters swimming (I've often wondered how many "USMS couples" there are out there. I think it would make a nice story.)

I have gone thru long periods of reduced workouts and not competing (especially on the path to tenure) and experimenting with other sports (well, one other sport: cycling) but I have not spent more than about 2 months completely out of the water.

About 2-3 years ago I had some poor blood test results in a checkup. I subsequently lost 30 pounds and decided to train swimming more seriously, and start lifting weights again. And here we are today.

Chris,

Thank you for providing that information... That's the missing link I was looking for...
Just another question champ, if you would be so kind...
What are your best times?

My hat... or should I say, swim cap is off to you...

JMiller
December 20th, 2007, 10:42 AM
So true. I remember hearing some older guys at Colonies Zones being elated with their 31s and 32s in the 50 SCM Free... first thinking "boring!" and then realizing they're 60+ and thinking "holey moley, I hope I am that fast in 40 years!" They were pretty appreciative of my "great swim, gentlemen" when they got out too... we are all champions in our own right.

That's right!

Also, I'm interested in that story you mentioned, where you went 3 seconds faster on the relay. That's incredible!! You know, that's part of this equation also, it comes down to motivation... You brought out your best that day, for her... Very interesting...

Chris Stevenson
December 20th, 2007, 10:52 PM
Chris,
What are your best times?


Significantly slower than current times; here are a few I can remember without looking the old times up.

100 LCM fly
1986: 55.4
2007: 59.1

200 LCM fly
1986: 2:01.8
2007: 2:15.4
(sigh. I used to love this event. Don't know how Baker does it.)

100 SCY back
1986: 49.8 (old turns)
2007: 51.4

200 SCY back
1986: 1:48+ (old turns, I forget the exact time, not a race I swam much)
2007: 1:53.9

JMiller
December 20th, 2007, 11:01 PM
Significantly slower than current times; here are a few I can remember without looking the old times up.

100 LCM fly
1986: 55.4
2007: 59.1

200 LCM fly
1986: 2:01.8
2007: 2:15.4
(sigh. I used to love this event. Don't know how Baker does it.)

100 SCY back
1986: 49.8 (old turns)
2007: 51.4

200 SCY back
1986: 1:48+ (old turns, I forget the exact time, not a race I swam much)
2007: 1:53.9

WOW!! You went 55 100 fly long course in 1986? and 2:01 for the 200... incredible!! Wasn't the WR for 100 fly only a 53.8 back then, or something like that?

That makes sense, that's why you're the champ now....

JMiller
December 21st, 2007, 12:29 AM
Significantly slower than current times

What do you mean by this? Your current SCM backstroke times are your best ever SCM times, am I reading that right?

Is that because of the new turns, and the natural gift you have for under-water dolphin? (Something you probably acquired in your butterfly training)

new
December 21st, 2007, 02:20 AM
WOW!! You went 55 100 fly long course in 1986? and 2:01 for the 200... incredible!! Wasn't the WR for 100 fly only a 53.8 back then, or something like that?

That makes sense, that's why you're the champ now....

100 FLY LONG COURSE

PABLO MORALES JUNE 23, 1986

52.84 WR

Chris Stevenson
December 21st, 2007, 10:53 AM
What do you mean by this? Your current SCM backstroke times are your best ever SCM times, am I reading that right?

Is that because of the new turns, and the natural gift you have for under-water dolphin? (Something you probably acquired in your butterfly training)

Sigh...there are people out there my age (Sean Murphy, Ron Karnaugh to name two) who can usually thump me in the backstroke but haven't bothered to race lately, so the "champ" business is a bit much...two weeks ago was the very first time in my life I ever shaved or tapered for a SCM meet so getting PBs wasn't really too hard. I don't think I ever swam SCM in college. But even with the old turns and the lack of underwater SDK, I was still a much faster backstroker in college (heck, even in high school).

My college times were decent, second-tier stuff, please don't make too much of them. The fly WR was in the 53s (Matt Gribble) until Pablo broke it around the time of the LA games (though he got beat by Michael Gross that time). I missed finals there by 0.2 and ended up 12th -- like I said, second-tier stuff. I am happy with my college career but please tone down the hyperbole, okay? :)

Rob Copeland
December 21st, 2007, 12:48 PM
My college times were decent, second-tier stuffDarn, I’ll need to rewrite my swimming bio. If NCAA All American Honorable Mention (top 16 or was it 12 back then?) and being an Olympian (top 16 again) qualifies as “second-tier stuff”, then I guess I was somewhere around the 20th to 30th tier.

Allen Stark
December 21st, 2007, 02:11 PM
I won my first Masters National Championship in 1976 (100 BR LCM) and my reaction was stunned disbelief.How could little old me win a National Championship(and go faster than I had in college.)My favorite and most personally exciting race was 240+ Mens 200 MR at the 2001 LCM Nats. 3 teams broke the WR(though one was DQd) and a fourth broke the NR but we(OREG) won! I yelled in pleasure and amazement.:banana::banana:

Chris Stevenson
December 21st, 2007, 07:30 PM
I won my first Masters National Championship in 1976 (100 BR LCM) and my reaction was stunned disbelief.How could little old me win a National Championship(and go faster than I had in college.)My favorite and most personally exciting race was 240+ Mens 200 MR at the 2001 LCM Nats. 3 teams broke the WR(though one was DQd) and a fourth broke the NR but we(OREG) won! I yelled in pleasure and amazement.

Great story. Aren't those breakthrough, "stunned disbelief moments," a lot of fun? I respect those who don't like to compete but they sure do lose a lot by missing such moments.

It looks like you have continued your success -- I see you were a USMS all-american this year, over 30 years later! Your stroke of choice (breastroke) may make me shudder, but I am envious that you could best your college times in a masters meet.

Have you been swimming masters ever since 1976?

The Fortress
December 22nd, 2007, 09:10 AM
I won my first Masters National Championship in 1976 (100 BR LCM) and my reaction was stunned disbelief.How could little old me win a National Championship(and go faster than I had in college.)My favorite and most personally exciting race was 240+ Mens 200 MR at the 2001 LCM Nats. 3 teams broke the WR(though one was DQd) and a fourth broke the NR but we(OREG) won! I yelled in pleasure and amazement.:banana::banana:

Why do you think you went faster in 1976 than college? Different training?

Allen is not fessing up to being king of butterfrog!

Allen Stark
December 22nd, 2007, 02:04 PM
I started Master's in 1974, and have been swimming continuously since. As to why I was faster than in college, in college we only swam 200 breast in dual meets and our training was focused on the 200. On my own, I could do more speed work. I've always liked and been better at the 100. :banana:

ande
December 22nd, 2007, 02:11 PM
Masters swimming is about friendship, staying healthy, and having fun
only compare your performances to yourself
make it easy to feel good and hard to feel bad
the social aspect is awesome
you get to see and support your friends in their events

The best part is the stories and beer after each day or the end of the meet

Meets are fun.
Training is too.

Ande




Boy do you have that right. That intimidation factor is one thing that keeps me from going to meet sometimes. The main reason is the drive, 2 hours to get to most meets. But then I think, do I want to drive 2 hours and look like a fool in front of people who have been swimming all their lives? So I stay in my own little pond, and work on my own times, and the aerobic ladies think I am the most graceful thing ever(I swim during their class), and life is good.

ande
December 22nd, 2007, 02:22 PM
There's guys and women out there, that if they started training again
they would be very fast.
Matt Biondi, Tom Jager, Rowdy Gaines,
I wouldn't be surprised if within ten years we see
a 40 year old man go under
20 sec in the 50 scy fr
I bet Neil Walker could do this if he trains a little after he retires
though to do the Dara equivalent he'd need to go under 19.

I wonder how many former greats are going to come out of the woodwork for Austin 2008

I was talking with Eddie Reese about this.
Eddie said "I go because I want to see every one and have fun."

"These guys (the former greats) are likely to only show up if they are in good shape and can win."

Chris Stevenson
December 22nd, 2007, 03:37 PM
I wouldn't be surprised if within ten years we see
a 40 year old man go under
20 sec in the 50 scy fr
I bet Neil Walker could do this if he trains a little after he retires
though to do the Dara equivolent he'd need to go under 19.

Yah, we need a whole new vocabulary: the "Dara equivalent." I checked using the calculator at

http://www.vaswim.org/cgi-bin/rcalc.cgi

and the equivalent of Torres' 50 free last summer would be 19.01 for a 40 year-old male in scy. Don't think that will happen anytime soon, but who knows?

Slightly more "realistic" would be a 19.72, which is equivalent to Susan Von Der Lippe's 100 breast lcm of 1:13.80 last summer. Still amazingly fast!

dorothyrde
December 22nd, 2007, 04:15 PM
Masters swimming is about friendship, staying healthy, and having fun
only compare your performances to yourself
make it easy to feel good and hard to feel bad
the social aspect is awesome
you get to see and support your friends in their events

The best part is the stories and beer after each day or the end of the meet

Meets are fun.
Training is too.

Ande

I know and when I can stop being the chaffeur and volunteer for the kids(really kid, cause the other is in college now), I can have more time for ME!

I did have a first in the pool last night. This first is easy for most 8 year old speedsters but for me it is hard, and I have tried and tried and never done it.

One of our coaches like those no breathe 25's, so she had put up 9 25's breathing 2,1 and 0. I said, OK on the 2, maybe on the 1, but the 0, don't think so. Well I did all three no breathes, near died, but did them! So hey, this old lady can improve.

JMiller
December 23rd, 2007, 12:16 AM
Masters swimming is about friendship, staying healthy, and having fun
only compare your performances to yourself
make it easy to feel good and hard to feel bad
the social aspect is awesome
you get to see and support your friends in their events

The best part is the stories and beer after each day or the end of the meet

Meets are fun.
Training is too.

Ande

Thank you Ande, for joining this thread... You Are A Champion, and that's no exaggeration!

JMiller
December 23rd, 2007, 01:06 AM
Sigh...there are people out there my age (Sean Murphy, Ron Karnaugh to name two) who can usually thump me in the backstroke but haven't bothered to race lately, so the "champ" business is a bit much...two weeks ago was the very first time in my life I ever shaved or tapered for a SCM meet so getting PBs wasn't really too hard. I don't think I ever swam SCM in college. But even with the old turns and the lack of underwater SDK, I was still a much faster backstroker in college (heck, even in high school).

My college times were decent, second-tier stuff, please don't make too much of them. The fly WR was in the 53s (Matt Gribble) until Pablo broke it around the time of the LA games (though he got beat by Michael Gross that time). I missed finals there by 0.2 and ended up 12th -- like I said, second-tier stuff. I am happy with my college career but please tone down the hyperbole, okay? :)

All this talk of people who may be hypothetically faster is redundant... Until they actually break your World Records, you are the CHAMPION. You might think of yourself as second-tier, but that sounds more like a rationalization, a way to accept your accomplishment(s) without actually having to take any credit for those performances... It's easier being 12-16th place, you might tell yourself... I've heard that before, but now you went and swam faster than anyone else, in all history for your age category... You can't simply dismiss this fact as meaningless....

Being fast once is admirable, but continuing to be fast as we age is astonishing.

The fact is, most people lose something with age, and to be able to continue to perform at an elite level propels you further ahead of the curve in terms of athletic ability... This is not second-tier stuff...

When looking at athletics from a purely physical perspective, having the ability to maintain performance over longer periods of time can be arguably seen as an even greater accomplishment... Not to mention the sheer will-power it takes to continue to train at an elite level... This can only be done if there is at least some level of joy gained from the process. A process that is equally enjoyable regardless of the place you are on the scoreboard.

Masters, especially swimming, could become even more popular in the public mind. With the aging demographic and our mutual obsession with youth and vitality, to be able to show an alternative, one where you actually stay healthy and strong; this is bound to draw a larger interest.

Happy Swimming,

KaizenSwimmer
December 23rd, 2007, 06:56 AM
I've won four USMS championships and broken USMS records on three occasions since turning 55 last year. All happened in open water and to be brutally honest I wouldn't have a prayer of doing either in pool events as I simply don't possess any natural speed, a source of great frustration my first 10 years as a swimmer.

I got cut from my elementary school team at 12, failed to qualify for the NYC Catholic HS league championship as a 16 y.o. senior (however I did collect silver and bronze medals in the 400 and 200 free in the novice championship, swimming mainly against 9th graders) and failed to make a final as a 20 y.o. college swimmer in the NYC Metro Collegiate Championships (home of such powerhouses as CCNY, Lehman, Hunter, Brooklyn, Queens, Adelphi and St Francis Colleges). I started racing in open water that summer as a Jones Beach lifeguard and immediately experienced a sense of being "at home" that had eluded me in the pool.

I've approached open water swimming as an exercise in problem solving, rather than physical conditioning, continually pursuing a more economical way to swim in chop, to navigate, to swim in packs, etc. I do most of my training in the pool (though I swim almost exclusively in OW four to five months a year) and my training goals in the pool have evolved from "being the hardest worker" in my teens to "finding the easiest way" to complete each set in my 50s. The most important lessons I've learned in my 50s have been how critical relaxation and integration are as you approach your "red line."

Because "speed" in OW must be sustainable rather than sheer, those lessons have made quite a difference. When I broke my first USMS record, in the 2-mile cable swim at Charlottesville in July 06 (a race in which Chris Stevenson, an impressive OW swimmer, was first overall finisher or pretty darn close and broke the 40-44 record) my pace per 100 meters was only 1:28, which illustrates my point about speed not being a significant factor.

Where speed does become a factor in that sort of race is when you find yourself in a closing sprint. This summer I improved my time for the 2-Mile from 47:00 to 46:20 (1:26/100m) but when I found myself in a flat-out race with Bruce Gianniny in the final 200m I got spanked. But I'm doing all I can to raise my game so I have a chance of breaking that record again.

Oh yeah. How does it feel to break a record? At least for me, an exhilaration I can't even describe. I floated on my back with a huge grin, reflecting on that decade of feeling clueless. But even that doesn't outstrip the exhilaration I felt swimming mano a mano with Bruce, inches apart, forearms and hips brushing most of the final 400 at Lake Placid, even while sort of knowing he'd pull away at the end.

Chris Stevenson
December 23rd, 2007, 08:41 AM
This can only be done if there is at least some level of joy gained from the process. A process that is equally enjoyable regardless of the place you are on the scoreboard.

Yes, absolutely!

Here's the thing, I am not trying to denigrate myself or my accomplishments by referring to my past swimming as "second-tier." I have a very healthy ego, believe me, but a realistic picture of myself as someone whom did not cause the "big guns" to worry overmuch in the past. So what? I worked hard and I got plenty fast.

One great thing about swimming is the stopwatch. Ultimately you are competing against the clock. Being first or breaking a record is a great feeling...but it depends on others "cooperating" by being slower than you. I believe pride in accomplishment should not depend too strongly on such external factors.

Dorothy is very rightly proud of doing no-breathers in practice for the very first time after years of attempts. That accomplishment is not cheapened by any little bit the fact that others can do it (and many others who cannot).

Terry is also rightly proud of his perserverance in the sport and eventually finding events (OW swimming) that bring him the most satisfaction. Although he didn't mention it, he should also be proud of spreading the joy of swimming to many others through TI (and right now I am using his book & DVD to further my ongoing project to bring my recently-retired parents into swimming).

Records will be broken. There is always someone out there faster -- if not now, then in the future. Again, so what? We can and should use others' performances as motivation but their accomplishments should not lessen our pride in our own.

Chris

ande
December 23rd, 2007, 08:59 AM
you're welcome and thank you

Ande



Thank you Ande, for joining this thread...
You Are A Champion, and that's no exaggeration!

poolraat
December 23rd, 2007, 11:44 AM
I've been undecided about jumping in this since it started, but here goes. I'm far from a champion in the strict sense of the word but in my own mind my swimming accomplishments are satisfying.

I, like Dorothy started swimming 8 years ago as an adult. I was 48, overweight and out of shape and and wanted to change that. A former runner who quit in my mid 30's because of burnout, I had no desire to run again but when my 8 y.o. daughter joined the swim team I thought "Hey! I can do that."

So I started going to the pool every morning and thrashing my way across the pool as many times as I could until I was thrashed (at first about 4 laps was all I could do and then :drown:). I lost the excess weight and eventually improved enough that I decided to enter swim meet. That was so much fun that I was totally hooked. I eventually improved enough that I made (5) NQT's for short course nationals last year and made the trip to my first nationals meet.

I'm having the time of my life because it's all so new to me and at 55 I am setting PB's regularly.

Chris Stevenson
December 23rd, 2007, 05:15 PM
when my 8 y.o. daughter joined the swim team I thought "Hey! I can do that."

Chuckle...I was wondering how many USMS swimmers started that way...

Nice job with the personal bests. Hopefully they'll keep coming. Personally -- for the rest of us, anyway! -- I think we should wipe the slate clean every time we age up, trying every year for personal bests in that age group. It gives us yet another reason to look forward to aging up, too.

BruceGianniny
December 24th, 2007, 12:56 PM
To paraphrase Dick Jochums:

Those who strive, those who leave nothing on the table, those who take the risk will all be winners.......If you measure your performance by your preparation, and the physical and mental effort, you will never waiver from the truth of that performance......It's the way you undertake the journey that defines the champion...

pwolf66
December 24th, 2007, 02:41 PM
The experience to be valued is not in the destination, but instead, it is in the journey.

I really got this this morning as I meditated in the pool.

Paul

scyfreestyler
December 24th, 2007, 02:46 PM
The experience to be valued is not in the destination, but instead, it is in the journey.

I really got this this morning as I mediated in the pool.

Paul


Are you an attorney?

pwolf66
December 24th, 2007, 03:44 PM
Nope and nor, apparently, am I an English teacher.

:mooning:

Paul

scyfreestyler
December 24th, 2007, 04:09 PM
Nope and nor, apparently, am I an English teacher.

:mooning:

Paul

Ha! Sorry, it was too difficult to pass up.

pwolf66
December 24th, 2007, 09:31 PM
And I'm SURE you applied all your considerable willpower too :weightlifter:

:shakeshead:

Paul

scyfreestyler
December 25th, 2007, 01:07 PM
My patience, willpower, and concentration are readily consumed by my attempts to catch flies with chop sticks.

JMiller
December 27th, 2007, 12:10 AM
To paraphrase Dick Jochums:

Those who strive, those who leave nothing on the table, those who take the risk will all be winners.......If you measure your performance by your preparation, and the physical and mental effort, you will never waiver from the truth of that performance......It's the way you undertake the journey that defines the champion...

I really like this quote...

JMiller
December 27th, 2007, 12:44 AM
I've won four USMS championships and broken USMS records on three occasions since turning 55 last year. All happened in open water and to be brutally honest I wouldn't have a prayer of doing either in pool events as I simply don't possess any natural speed, a source of great frustration my first 10 years as a swimmer.

I got cut from my elementary school team at 12, failed to qualify for the NYC Catholic HS league championship as a 16 y.o. senior (however I did collect silver and bronze medals in the 400 and 200 free in the novice championship, swimming mainly against 9th graders) and failed to make a final as a 20 y.o. college swimmer in the NYC Metro Collegiate Championships (home of such powerhouses as CCNY, Lehman, Hunter, Brooklyn, Queens, Adelphi and St Francis Colleges). I started racing in open water that summer as a Jones Beach lifeguard and immediately experienced a sense of being "at home" that had eluded me in the pool.

I've approached open water swimming as an exercise in problem solving, rather than physical conditioning, continually pursuing a more economical way to swim in chop, to navigate, to swim in packs, etc. I do most of my training in the pool (though I swim almost exclusively in OW four to five months a year) and my training goals in the pool have evolved from "being the hardest worker" in my teens to "finding the easiest way" to complete each set in my 50s. The most important lessons I've learned in my 50s have been how critical relaxation and integration are as you approach your "red line."

Because "speed" in OW must be sustainable rather than sheer, those lessons have made quite a difference. When I broke my first USMS record, in the 2-mile cable swim at Charlottesville in July 06 (a race in which Chris Stevenson, an impressive OW swimmer, was first overall finisher or pretty darn close and broke the 40-44 record) my pace per 100 meters was only 1:28, which illustrates my point about speed not being a significant factor.

Where speed does become a factor in that sort of race is when you find yourself in a closing sprint. This summer I improved my time for the 2-Mile from 47:00 to 46:20 (1:26/100m) but when I found myself in a flat-out race with Bruce Gianniny in the final 200m I got spanked. But I'm doing all I can to raise my game so I have a chance of breaking that record again.

Oh yeah. How does it feel to break a record? At least for me, an exhilaration I can't even describe. I floated on my back with a huge grin, reflecting on that decade of feeling clueless. But even that doesn't outstrip the exhilaration I felt swimming mano a mano with Bruce, inches apart, forearms and hips brushing most of the final 400 at Lake Placid, even while sort of knowing he'd pull away at the end.

I want to continue this Interview Post with Terry Laughlin next... Although, there is so much I want to ask everyone else, as I've really enjoyed your replies... We'll get to that, in time...

First, let me start by saying, WAY TO GO, CHAMP!!

What you've achieved can only be accomplished by a determined and exacting conscience, indeed, a lifetime of devotion and commitment to your sport; swimming.

On top of your athletic endeavours, you've also pursued the inner world of swimming philosophy, and have produced pure exellence in that realm. Your contributions are an invaluable resource, and this opportunity for continued dialogue is a personal honour for me.

There are a few questions I'd like to ask...

If you were frustrated with the performances of your youth, was it the joy of the swim that kept you in the water?

In the past, what is the hardest experience you encountered, and how/why did you resolve to overcome this?

What do you enjoy most about teaching/coaching?

What is your greatest memory as a coach?

Thank you and
Happy Swimming,

KaizenSwimmer
December 27th, 2007, 06:49 PM
There are a few questions I'd like to ask...

Jonathan
Thank you for your very generous comments. My pursuit of what the business writers James Collins and Jerry Porras called BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) as I entered the 55-59 age group was self-interested initially, but that pursuit has yielded lessons that could benefit almost anyone, and in a wide range of undertakings. A combination of optimism, aspiration and sense of possibility can keep one in a heightened state nearly every day. I highly recommend it.

I gather you're a Canadian Master. Are you also a coach?


If you were frustrated with the performances of your youth, was it the joy of the swim that kept you in the water?
Swimming was the last sport I took up, after having proven myself no great shakes as an athlete in everything else. I played every organized sport in my youth, never missed a practice, but was always on the bench when the game was on the line. In 9th grade I ran cross-country and had the distinction of finishing last in a freshman race in a huge invitational featuring dozens of schools and well over a hundred runners.

As I've related, I had no more success in swimming, but it piqued my imagination and curiosity as no other sport had. My local library had a single book on swimming, "Competitive Swimming and Diving" by
Dave Armbruster, published in 1942. I checked that book out over and over in 1965 after I joined my HS swim team.
Swimming just seemed to hold a lot more secrets than other sports and that sense has never left me.

I did a totally engrossing practice in the Endless Pool on Christmas Day. On the way home I passed a couple of runners and felt sorry for them over how much less opportunity for skill refinement and problem solving they had, compared to what I'd spent the previous hour doing. Is my bias showing?


In the past, what is the hardest experience you encountered, and how/why did you resolve to overcome this?
I got fired from a coaching job in 1982, after thinking I'd done a great job -- and I had in pure coaching terms. It took me several years to accept responsibility for being headstrong and impolitic away from the pool.


What do you enjoy most about teaching/coaching?
In the mid-80s, after going through several jobs in a row, and finally realizing I was still grieving over the loss of that coaching position in 82, and needed to take time away from coaching, I worked in two "regular" jobs for several years. Both were writing jobs in corporate communications, one in a tech company, the other in a hospital. I missed coaching, but what was much harder was feeling non-essential. In all of my coaching positions, my performance was more critical to the success of the organization than anything else. In these jobs, it really wouldn't have made any difference on a given day if I didn't show up.

The sense of being essential and instrumental, not just to the organization but in the lives of those I coach is the best aspect of coaching.


What is your greatest memory as a coach?
Far too many to pick one. Just being able to start each day with the same sense of excitement and anticipation I enjoyed 35 years ago is pretty amazing.

JMiller
December 27th, 2007, 09:56 PM
Jonathan
Thank you for your very generous comments.
I gather you're a Canadian Master. Are you also a coach?

It took me several years to accept responsibility for being headstrong and impolitic away from the pool.

yep, is this yours?
><((((º>·´¯`·.¸ .·´¯`·.><((((º> ¸.·´¯`·.¸.·´¯`·.><((((º>

JMiller
December 27th, 2007, 10:25 PM
Oh yeah. How does it feel to break a record? At least for me, an exhilaration I can't even describe. I floated on my back with a huge grin, reflecting on that decade of feeling clueless. But even that doesn't outstrip the exhilaration I felt swimming mano a mano with Bruce, inches apart, forearms and hips brushing most of the final 400 at Lake Placid, even while sort of knowing he'd pull away at the end.

Terry, thanks for the recollection of your open water swim... That's something I'd like to hear more about from the members of this forum, I'd like to know about the best moments in swimming...