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Masters Swim Meets / Events

Meet / OW event plans and results from U.S. Masters Swmming events in this category.

  1. Meet 08/07/15: USMS Nationals day 2b

    by , August 7th, 2015 at 08:25 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    My first Nats in the book. Fun and fast swimming, great to meet many from these forums. Full recap to come...for now, I am rocking my Red Sox hat here with my son whilst pounding $1 hotdogs

    Updated August 8th, 2015 at 08:10 AM by rxleakem

    Tags: nationals
    Categories
    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  2. Meet 08/07/15: USMS Nationals day 2

    by , August 7th, 2015 at 06:54 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Today I decided to sleep in a bit so we checked out of the hotel after I hit the continental breakfast bar up. Lots more cars on this first full day of swimming but I was able to get in and do 800 meters in the big pool. I kept on my square-legged NEM endurance suit for the 400 IM, as all along I have planned to use this event as a continuation of warmups.

    400m IM: 6:00.95
    Said hi to Chad and also met mmlr38 before the swim. I started outside in lane 9 easy and employed DPS fly , then used the back leg to catch my breath a bit. Breaststroke is my least favorite event (because I struggle with it) so everyone passed me by. At the free turn I peaked over and saw someone on the other side of the pool had already pushed off so I put my head down and charged, ending up with 9th place! A little more racing than I planned on doing (and three seconds slower than last yeas), but I was happy to score and extra point for the team.
    37.83 1:21.08 (43.25)
    2:05.49 (44.41) 2:50.08 (44.59)
    3:49.17 (59.09) 4:47.91 (58.74)
    5:25.22 (37.31) 6:00.95 (35.73)

    Afterwards I did an easy 300yds in the totally packed short pool. Since the women still had to swim and then there was a 30min open warmup in the big pool I met up with my son and we checked out Spire Fuel, the cafe on campus. The prices were quite reasonable with most things made to order. I had a half a piece of pizza before we went to check out the vendor area - great prices and deals to be found. I also took advantage of a physical trainer in that area, Andrew, who was there to check out complaints and had foam rollers and other things to try out. My right knee has been clicking more and he took a look, offering some suggestions to help me out. A great service - thanks USMS!

    After watching Sickfish rock the 100 fly (great job, dude), I got in another easy 200yds and then put on my Yingfa for the 50 free. Originally I planned to just swim it, but decided to go after it.

    50 FREE: 27.45
    I was in first of two heats for my age group and the temp started to rise on the deck as the everyone filtered to the shallow end of the pool for the start. Instead of just going all out from the dive I decided to take 5 strong SDK's and then 5 controlled strokes to start off the swim. I was surprised to be in the lead at this point, so then I dropped the hammer. I was able to win my heat with a time that was 0.86 seconds faster than last year! By this point of the meet my aunt from Boston was tuning in online and was tickled pink because I won the heat. I ended up with 8th place as well, so I felt like this was my swim of the meet.

    An wasy 300yds to loosen up, then as the first heats of the men's 2back went off I got in another easy 100yds. I watched Stewart and Kurt battle out a great race, then swam my own...

    200m BACK: 2:35.43
    I was seeded third and entered a time was was roughly two times my 100back from last year plus 10 seconds. I still believe that this is the most difficult event to swim due to the constant demand on the legs to keep the body in position. I planned to take 4 skds off this start then 5 the rest of the way. That sounded fine until I made the last turn, as after two I surfaced to get oxygen! I felt smooth during the entire race and came in third. My legs were trashed as I struggled to get out of the water! To the warmdown pool for an easy 300yds.
    36.49 1:16.68 (40.19)
    1:57.16 (40.48) 2:35.43 (38.27)

    Last up for the day was the men's 4x50 Free Relay, and I did another easy 100yds.. Our time seeded us 6th, and despite being tired from a full day of racing I was ready to toss whatever was left for our team. I went 2nd and popped off a relay-assisted start time of 26.87, half a second faster than my individual event this afternoon Everyone on team New England dropped time and it was a great way to end the meet for me (after 300yds warmdown). The team is taking a picture on Saturday so I'll miss that, but I had a great time at my first Nationals. I will blog tomorrow about some of the peeps I was able to meet for the first time while here. Off to Cleveland with my son!

    Updated August 10th, 2015 at 06:31 AM by rxleakem

    Tags: lcm, nationals
    Categories
    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  3. Meet 08/06/15: USMS Nationals day 1

    by , August 6th, 2015 at 07:29 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Had a good night sleep and woke up before my alarm, mostly because the other swimmers in the hotel lent a hand! haha Grabbed some oatmeal and a coffee from before we hit the road to the pool, getting there a little after 7am. Once on deck, I met fellow New England swimmer Dick and his wife. We had made arrangements last night to count each other's 800, so it was nice to have that taken care of.

    I jumped in for warmups and swam 1000 metter, including one burst and cruise from the blocks while trying out the wedge blocks. After counting for Dick, who had a great swim, I went to the warmup pool (which seemed to have cooled down nicely) for a quick 200yds.

    My goal for the 800 was to take it out easy and controlled then build each 100. This was my first time swimming this event and felt good through the 350 mark before tightening up a bit. I focused on lengthening my stroke out and felt better at the 550 mark and pushed it to the finish. Felt my stomach do some flips for the last 150, so I feel like I left it all out there. Finished with a 10:56.62. I'll be interested to see the splits to see how well I stuck to my plan en route to a personal best

    Updated Splits:
    800m FREE: 10:56.62
    34.83 1:13.41 (38.58)
    1:52.70 (39.29) 2:33.54 (40.84)
    3:15.14 (41.60) 3:57.42 (42.28)
    4:40.43 (43.01) 5:22.64 (42.21)
    6:05.02 (42.38) 6:48.90 (43.88)
    7:31.55 (42.65) 8:14.51 (42.96)
    8:56.93 (42.42) 9:37.63 (40.70)
    10:18.59 (40.96) 10:56.62 (38.03)

    My plan to descend 100's didn't hold up very well, and the middle of my race was a bit slow due to my tightening up, but I am still happy with the swim. Chad from Cali came in first and had an excellent swim, his first Nationals win.

    Afterwards I met some other NEMer's before a 400yd warmdown. Preston and I spent the rest of the day exploring the area - the shortest covered bridge in America is right here in town, took a short walk at Geneva State Park, drove along the lake to Ashtabulah for lunch at Briquettes, then found the longest covered bridge in America (4th in the world), which is pictured below,as we made our way back to the hotel. After a quick pit stop, we drove around a bit, getting a pop at Ree's Soda Fountain in Gevena. I think they say pop up this way. Now I am ready for a busy day tomorrow.

    Updated August 9th, 2015 at 09:19 PM by rxleakem

    Tags: lcm, nationals
    Categories
    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  4. Workout 08/05/15: afternoon

    by , August 5th, 2015 at 08:07 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Left Vermont this morning and made it to Geneva around 4pm with my son. Traffic was smooth and I took a break every 100 miles or so to stretch out. The facility is pretty awesome, with a deep and cool 10 lane LCM main pool and a 25 yard pool available for warmups. All checked in for my races over the next two days.

    200 free/200 back/200 im drill
    3 x 100 [as 50 kick, 50 drill]
    2 x 50 b/c [first one off the blocks - thanks team Costa Rica for the whistle!)
    200 loosen and out
    (Solo/Spire/1200m/35 min)
    -------------------------

    I made it to the pre-event meeting and now back at the hotel after eating dinner. Time to shave - haven't done this since high school! haha

    https://instagram.com/p/6BVg3dFm1d/

    Updated August 5th, 2015 at 09:18 PM by rxleakem

    Tags: nationals
    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Masters Swim Meets / Events
  5. Meet: 04/25/15: Monumental Masters Mini Meet

    by , April 25th, 2015 at 02:54 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    The culmination of many months of planning and anticipation was realized this morning with the start of our 4th annual mini meet here at my hometown pool. Overall attendance was down from previous years, but we ended up with more than 25 swimmers and a lot of fun! There are always great stories from any Masters meet, as evidenced at our meet as some folks came out to their first competition, others met with friends and family for an annual splash, and we even welcomed an English Channel swimmer with her new start-up team!

    As meet director (and brainchild of the meet), there are certain stresses that I have in addition to actually swimming. We had our main official (and the woman with the most knowledge of running the computer/timing system) back out a few weeks ago due to family vacation, so many others needed to step into new positions in order to make the meet come together. I confirmed that the facility would be opened early so that we could setup in time for 9am warmups, and our lifeguard was there when requested. Some mild headaches as the printer ink cartridges were dried up, and after not being able to use the facility's equipment my wife and son hurried home to get our wireless printer, which worked! So a minor delay in the start of the meet, but we were able to get the relays off and then I filled in some space with my list of "thank you"s and info on our community, so everyone was very understanding and patient.

    I try to keep the meet in line with our USMS hashtag #FunnestSport by offering some great prizes and fun events. I bought some USMS silicone caps with my discount earlier in the year, the age group coach donated some maple syrup that she made this spring, and I was able to secure (yet again) some Stroopwafels from our local Dutch bakery, Bakkerij Krijnen. These all went out to our first registrant, farthest traveled (our buddy Lisa from NJ), first time entrant, and the winners of our Sprint challenges.

    I again had the privilege in roping my one of my brothers, my sister and her partner, and my daughter into swimming so that we had an All-Leake medley and free relay, as well as a morning to catch up and get some exercise together in a pool that we spent most of our childhood in. It was great catching up and seeing how their swimming abilities have not diminished even thought this is the only time of the year that they get wet! Lena and the boys were our cheerleaders.

    Our local team was well represented with Greg, Kevin, Ashley, and Amanda (with Melissa and Rachel helping out as timers). Greg made his famous Magic Bars for the concession stand and had some great swims as well, even after helping me get things set up in the morning - nice job, Greg!

    Due to the delayed meet start I scratched the 200 IM to help move things along. I did the 500 fly (7:04, I think, slower than a couple of years ago), and was surprised that Bethany did fly as well! My only other event was the 100 fly (1:02) but was wiped out and could not get the SDK's going. We also had a blast doing the Medley and Free Relays together.

    All in all, another great event for Masters swimming! Looking forward to next years addition!

    Things to remember for next year:
    check printer cartridges, batteries before meet
    order more latex caps from national office
  6. Workout 01/26/15: One Hour Swim

    by , January 26th, 2015 at 09:48 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I had planned to do this swim tomorrow night at Masters practice, but with the Nor'Easter bearing down on New England the Rec has announced that the facility will be closed all day tomorrow (along with Preston's school). I won't be back in the water until Friday so tonight became the night for the OHS! Preston took splits on my way to a total of 4257 yards, which is just over 300 yards less than last year. Given where I am with my physical state, I am happy with the results. Plus it will add to team New England Masters in our bid to three-peat as National OHS Champions!

    We are all home tomorrow (my regular day off) so keeping up with snow removal should not be a problem. I haven't had to use the show blower yet this year, and today while gassing it up I discovered what appears to be a cracked gasket, so it will be all human power for Tuesday!
  7. Meet 12/13/14: 2014 New England SCM Championships

    by , December 13th, 2014 at 11:19 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    After a quiet summer and fall in the pool training, I came to the realization that I rather enjoy the opportunity to compete and decided to drop in on one of the three days of this annual December meet at the great facility at Boston University. Planning to just drive in the for the day, I signed up for four events knowing that the first would likely not start before noontime, allowing me to sleep in a little before heading out this morning for the big city around 7:30am. Here are some pictures (no filters) from the ride over the Green Mountains (about fifteen minutes from home) as we started our three hour trip):









    I warmed up in the four scy lanes in the diving well of the pool after checking in for my events, logging my standard 1500 yards. No starts or sprints but that's ok. I waited for about an hour before getting in another 200y before my first event ...

    100scm Back: 1:06.70 (33.04, 33.66). About a second off my fastest time a couple of years ago. I felt that I was slipping a bit on the second lap, so really tried to think about hand position on the last fifty. Solid time. Warmed down with 200y and sat down to wait for the relays and the afternoon's swims.

    50scm Breast: 39.40. A personal best time by .18! Good start and turn with a fluid-feeling stroke. I've never been a fan of this stroke, but know that I need to keep working on it. I then did an easy 200y to relax before the ...

    200scm Fly: 2:40.37 (34.33, 40.64 [1:14.98], 44.15, 41.24). Another PB by a just under 3 seconds! I did DPS fly for the first 175m, then swimming full stroke on the last length. With my lack of swimming I was struggling with the aerobic side of the 200, plus the thought behind the blocks that I always have ("why did I sign up for this?") After an easy 200y and a quick chat with my wife, I hopped in for another easy 100y before my final event ...

    100scm Free: 59.78 (29.45, 30.33). I was happy to get under a minute and felt tanked. Again the lack of solid base training lead to me being very tired (and in turn, sloppy) for a sprint to end the meet. I capped off the day with and easy 400y, bringing my totals for the day to: 450scm + 2800yds.

    So as I complete another day of competition, I am thinking that I will need to make training more consistent in the future especially for the meets that have multiple events over a number of days. I am also swimming with an extra 15 pounds over last year, so I'll need to commit to some tweaks in my nutrition as well to get my waist back in line. Overall, I am very satisfied with the meet, in particular the extra time spent with Lena talking about her trip to Germany and our family - twenty years ago we used to hop in the car and drive around and talk; it's nice to have opportunity to do that together again.

    Updated December 14th, 2014 at 12:31 AM by rxleakem

    Tags: boston, bu scm
    Categories
    Masters Swim Meets / Events , Open Water
  8. 07/19/14: Baystate Games Day 1

    by , July 19th, 2014 at 11:13 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Just back from Springfield College in Massachusetts for the first day of the 2014 Baystate Games , my first LCM meet! I swam lcm once or twice last year with Brent and then the year before that with Tom in the Philly area; otherwise, I have never been in lcm. The meet is set up with the kids swimming the in the morning to make finals, but the masters (19-34, 35-49, 50+) swam timed finals of mixed events after the kids heats. 6 lanes with no separate warmup lanes. GregJS decided (after some arm turning by his coach) to give the meet a try, so I met up at his place and we carpooled down.

    Noon warmups and a 12:30 start for the 400 Free; I got in 1000m. Greg did not want to do this, but since there was a flat registration fee entitling one to swim up to 4 events on the weekend, he did it and held a comfortable pace throughout. I was in the final heat and missed the opportunity to warmup, feeling stiff through the first 200. I was pleased with a 5:15 final time.

    Then there was a break in the action and we wandered around to the basketball area and concession stand before relaxing on a bench outside the pool. We headed in to evening warmups about 20 minutes after the 3:30 opening before the 4:30 start (did 700m). 400 IM for masters was first, and I finished at 5:57. With no easy swimming, I took Greg's advice of some easy stretching under a hot shower.

    I watched Greg swim an inspiring 100 breast, which I will let him describe. I then splashed in for the 100 back and cranked out a 1:09.42 I felt like I had a great start and 10 sdk's before settling into a strong first half; then 10 skd's before motoring back.

    The last event of the night was the 50 free, and I watched Greg sneak under :30 in a beautiful swim. I was in the last heat and flubbed the start a bit but ended up with a 28.31, a great swim for me. I wanted to take just one breath, but after all of that swimming on the day I ended up taking three. I then did an easy 150 warmdown, totaling 2800 meters on the day.

    Here is a shot of the pool (Art Linkletter Natatorium):


    Great swag for swimmers: tee-shirt and latex cap for all, and medals for placing 1-3 as well as a windbreaker (per person) if you finish 1-4. I ended the day with two golds and two silvers, and Greg brought home two three bronzes! We decided to just swim the one day, so tomorrow the competetion continues without us. It was a neat format with the kids and masters swimming together, and as always it was fun to connect with my swim buddies in the area as well as make some new connections.

    Updated July 8th, 2015 at 09:22 AM by rxleakem

    Tags: baystate, lcm
    Categories
    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  9. 03/15/14: NEM SCY Champs Distance Day

    by , March 16th, 2014 at 09:55 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    The New England LMSC Short Course Yards Championship, affectionately known as "the Harvard Meet," attracts close to 900 people each March to the Boston area for some fast swimming in a great pool. This year there are a total of 854 swimmers from across New England and beyond. The meet is spread out over two weekends, with Distance Day in the middle of March on a Saturday offering either the 1000 or 1650 for both sexes, and then the regular meet the following Friday-Saturday-Sunday. I have never competed on the distance day and last year didn't swim at all, so with my weekend off this weekend I signed up for the 1650 this year.

    I was able to schedule a trip to Boston, my favorite city just three hours to the east of home, with my family and also squeeze in a swim at a pool I always look forward to swimming in. With our my daughter unable to attend and Jinho in Guatemala on a missions trip with the school, I rounded up my wife, Preston and Lina to join me. I also arranged to meet up with my aunt Pat, who lives a a few towns north of the city, to help show us around - she is apparently immune to the humid environment of the pool and tries to watch me swim when I am in town.

    We headed out Friday and checked into our hotel in Cambridge after an easy drive in. I had requested a parking pass, but they were out; fortunately I was able to get street parking within view of the room for the overnight period. We took the T into Government Center and explored Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market, deciding to eat at the Hard Rock Cafe for pre-race nourishment. While chilly, the moon was shining as brightly over the lights throughout the area and we had a wonderful time.



    The next morning, I woke up before 8am in order to drive the car to the Harvard athletic area and park for free for the day. I walked from Blodgett Pool to Harvard Square to catch the T back to the hotel for breakfast. At this point I was able to get a parking pass (oh well, at least I would be covered for after the meet), and we headed out to meet my aunt at Park Street. We checked out the Old Granary Burial Grounds and Statehouse before making our way through the Commons, past the Ducklings and the Swan Pond, and down towards the finish of the Boston Marathon. We continued west on Newbury Street before getting back on the T to head up to Harvard. We farted around Harvard Square for a bit (there is the newstand with media from around the globe and checked out Newbury Comics before grabbing a quick bite at Subway (those new Flatizza things are tasty and not to heavy) before heading on to the pool. (I've been wearing a pedometer and so far had logged 11300 steps!)


    How long is it going to take to squeeze into this?

    Checked in, warmed up and waited. I was asking around for a counter, and met Matt from RI who was swimming in the heat before me in the shallow end so we counted for each other. Harvard has the main competition pool, 5 lanes in the diving well (29 yards), then 6 lanes in the shallow end. For distance day, you can opt to swim in the shallow end with an in-water start and save $2 on your entry fee; since this is my first 1650 (I did the 1500 scm at Riverton a couple of years ago) and my training has not been focused, I choose to swim there [Really, I'm just cheap ]. Matt had a great swim (his first mile, too - way to go, Matt!) and I quickly went from the turn end, grabbed my goggles and cap and hopped into the start end for my race.

    My plan going into the swim was to string together 3 x 500 then finishing out with a strong 150 to complete the 66 lengths required for the race. I maintained a comfortable pace and lead over Jon in the lane next to me for the first 500, working on two dolphin kicks off the wall and 13 stroked per lap. I increased to a strong kick for the first 4 strokes off the wall in the middle 500 and was able to stay ahead of Jon. I felt tired in the final 500, and around 47 Jon caught me as my upper back/shoulders tightened up, actually sneaking ahead in the mid 50's. I decided to pick up the tempo at 59 (a little earlier than I planned) with increased turnover and a stronger kick, battling back and forth with Jon. I gunned the last fifty and just touched out Jon, coming in at 19:38.89! What a race! I ended up taking first in my age group for the event.


    (rx in the green cap FTW!)

    Event 4 Men: 35-39 1650 Yard Freestyle
    ========================================
    1 rxleakem 36 Bennington-NE 19:57.75 19:38.89
    32.49 1:06.14 (33.65)
    1:39.93 (33.79) 2:14.82 (34.89)
    2:49.73 (34.91) 3:25.51 (35.78)
    4:01.03 (35.52) 4:37.08 (36.05)
    5:13.64 (36.56) 5:50.09 (36.45)
    6:26.14 (36.05) 7:02.19 (36.05)
    7:38.81 (36.62) 8:14.97 (36.16)
    8:51.13 (36.16) 9:27.72 (36.59)
    10:04.57 (36.85) 10:41.70 (37.13)
    11:18.35 (36.65) 11:54.62 (36.27)
    12:31.42 (36.80) 13:07.75 (36.33)
    13:44.25 (36.50) 14:20.92 (36.67)
    14:57.90 (36.98) 15:34.06 (36.16)
    16:10.23 (36.17) 16:46.25 (36.02)
    17:22.62 (36.37) 17:56.84 (34.22)
    18:32.58 (35.74) 19:08.21 (35.63) 19:38.89 (30.68)


    *Note that twice I had the same 50 split, something I have always found awesome in others swimmers.
    The second occurrence was back-to-back; a combo bonus!
    ** So I swam: 5:50.09, 6:04.53, 6:02.22 plus 1:42.05. Probably took the first 500 out ever so slightly too fast.

    After a quick warmdown (totaling 3774 yds for the day), we brought the car back to the hotel and took the T into town for dinner at Jacob Wirth/'s German Restaurant, in honor of our exchange student. I refueled with Wiener Schnitzel. We had a great time, capturing this photo before saying good night to my aunt after an excellent day:


    Preston (yes, he is 16 and that tall now), Auntie, Rx, and my beloved.

    This morning we ate breakfast at the hotel and then took the long way home on Route 2, driving through Lexington and Concord to check out the pivotal starting points of the Revolutionary War along the Minute Man National Historical Park. We took some pictures at The Wayside, Orchard House (where Louisa May Alcott penned Little Women), Emerson House, and finally Walden Pond, which is on my bucket lists for an OWS.

    Another most excellent swimming adventure!

    Updated March 16th, 2014 at 10:18 PM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  10. 03/01/14: Glens Falls Masters Meet

    by , March 1st, 2014 at 11:14 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Plans for easy swimming on Wednesday or Friday morning didn't happen. I did go snowbaording yesterday - had a lot of fun with temps in the teens and lots of sunshine. Lina from Germany made it down from the top of the moutain twice! It was her first year boarding and we celebrated with a stop to the Waffle Cabin

    I met with the Masters crew this morning, getting in this easy swim:
    - 200 Fr/200 IM drill/200 Bk
    - 4 x 50 kick
    - 8 x 25 drill
    - 5 x 50 on 1:15 (odds= EZ, evens = fast)
    - 200 w/d
    (Masters/Rec/1450 yards/40 min)
    ----------------------------------

    GregJS got out and we met at my house with my wife and headed to Glens Falls, NY, for their Masters meet today at the high school pool. This was actually my first pool meet in NY, as I tend to be working on the weekend of the meets over there, and we met with Steve and some of the Pittsfiled, MA, swimmers, as well as getting to know our ADMS peers during the meet.. The drive is about 75 minutes from home, so we got in some warmup there (I did 1100 yards, including some sprints from the blocks).



    The meet was run mixed and last just over two hours from the 2pm start. I picked my events with the plan to get a little rest and easy swimming in and it worked well, altough I knew that after my first event (2bk) coupled with boarding yeasterday my legs would be fried, so I picked two 50's and a 100 to cap the meet. I'll update with official results later, but I posted some really great swims that I am excited about:
    -200 Bk = 2:10.9
    - 50 fly = 26.9
    - 50 free = 24.6
    - 100 free = 52.9

    (Got in another 700 yards between warm up and cool down)

    I love these mini meets because you can watch as some folks are hitting the blocks in their first meet, and others are getting close to PB's as they cruise through the water. Steve, a former coach for the Maruarders in town, did the 500 for this first time in 40+ years, clocking a well executed time under 9 minutes. I was beat in the 50 fly by Patrick, and got to watch Greg swim his first 200 breast, even splitting it with a 2:44. While Dan from Pittsfield was out due to illness, Steve was there to help lead a group. I also talked with Denny, who finished right in front of me at Betsy Owens 2mile cable swim in August.

    The water was clear and cool for a meet that was very well run. I highly recommend this event if you are able to attend in the future, and hopefully my work schedule will allow me to make it again next year. Greg had great swims and my wife was able to put a dent (15 chapters) into a book she is reading (it would take me a month to read that much!). We stopped for a bite to eat on the way home, a super day!
  11. 01/18/14: Postal - One Hour Swim

    by , January 18th, 2014 at 08:53 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I started the day at a very beneficial men's breakfast - the food was great and the pastor shared with us "living within our needs" in terms of how we allocate the 168 hours/week we are given (aren't we used to looking at this idea in terms of money?). I have a sheet to consider.

    I got home before Masters and Lena was ready to come and help count for the OHS that I had planned for the team. I wasn't sure how many would do it, and was very surprised (and proud) that GregJS did an official swim with me, and Melissa, Meg and Kevin did it for the experience.

    I did a 300 warmup, took a Hammer gel and swig of water, then started. I ended up with 4560 yards, which was 5 less than last year, then 100 easy as we all talked about our feat. Here's to our little contribution helping our team remain champs again!
    500 1000
    6:06
    6:26 12:32
    6:35
    6:43 13:18
    6:37
    6:38 13:15
    6:55 (slight break here)
    6:36 13:31
    6:40

    (Masters/Rec/4950 yds/80 min)
    --------------------------------

    My wife took me out to Chili's for lunch, then we enjoyed a couple's massage downtown. We got home this evening for a dip in the hot tub as the snow was falling, now I'm ready for
  12. Workout 12/30/13: evening

    by , December 30th, 2013 at 10:50 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Been a while since I was in the pool, yet my GTD thicker has kept moving forward. Slowly. I've been even slower! I knew that I had opportunity for two swims (one tonight and one tomorrow at lunchtime) to knock out the 5017yds in order meet my goal for the year. 1hr 15min tonight, and I decided to go for it

    4 x 1000 on 14:00
    10 x 100 on 1:25
    150 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/5150 yds/90 min)
    ----------------------------

    My Go The Distance 2013 goal: 300.00 mi. Progress towards goal:
    ! Congratulations! You have achieved your goal for Go The Distance 2013
    My goal pace: 299.18 miles required as of today to reach my goal by the end of the event.
    My actual current pace: 300.08 miles as of today
    I figured that since I was able to do the 6k in ~1:20, and the One Hour in January netted around 4500, I had a shot. With a nearly empty pool and a full water bottle, off I went. I mixed up the thousands to help keep the math correct, then settled into some 100's when I had the time left at the end of all that distance (held 1:15 on them).

    Now I can take tomorrow off!
  13. 11/13/13: 6000yd Postal

    by , November 13th, 2013 at 10:23 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I was able to get in an easy 1200 yard swim Monday morning before work, and even saw a bit of the Veterans ay Parade as I was out giving flu shots. I am thankful for all in our lanes that have served our country and sacrificed. I appreciate you.

    I had an appointment this morning that I am waiting to hear back on, although the medical staff questioned if I am on any meds to lower my pulse due to a low heart rate. I replied, "Nope, I'm an endurance/marathon swimmer."

    After cleaning out the garage (a promise I keep to my wife before the first major snow fall, but usually after the first minor one ) today, I was able to convince my beloved to get splits for the 6000yd Postal swim, which I completed after dinner.

    500yd 1000 Cumulative
    6:25
    6:27 12:52
    6:43
    7:03 13:46 26:38
    7:03
    7:04 14:07 40:39 (eleven sec slower than the 3000yd!)
    7:02
    7:00 14:02 54:41
    6:50 (One hour ~ 4400yds)
    7:00 13:50 1:01:31
    6:54
    6:32 13:36 1:21:57.49

    150 loosen = 6150 yds total

    I took it out a little slower and ended up fairly close to my time from Sunday. I am pleased with the spliting, and tried to pick up the pace on the last 500. I did mostly free, but mixed in some one-arm fly and back. I noticed a little after the one hour mark that I started to get hungry - need to pack an energy gel next year. My wife was kind enough to make a note of the times I stopped for a drink or inquire about the distance I am blessed to have have her

    Updated November 13th, 2013 at 11:07 PM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Masters Swim Meets / Events , Timed swims
  14. 11/10/13: 3000yd Postal

    by , November 10th, 2013 at 02:45 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Punishment for master swimmer= Postal challenges
    Punishment for swimmer's kid= taking splits


    500 - cumulative
    6:14 06:14.11
    6:53 13:07.37
    6:48 19:55.74
    7:04 26:59.01
    6:39 33:38.53
    6:50 40:28.08

    Plus 400 as warm up and cool down
    (Solo/Rec/3400 yds/55 min)
    -----------------------------

    Felt ok, except for the 4th 500 - left shoulder was stiff so did more back and some stretches while swimming. Tuckered out on that last one. I was anticipating around 42, so am pleased with the effort. Our pool is open on Sunday's from Nov thru March, and people have yet to figure it out - more lane space for me
  15. 08/17/13: Betsy Owens Swim (USMS 2mile Cable Nationa Champs)

    by , August 18th, 2013 at 09:54 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    After a beautiful day Friday getting some errands done around time, my friend Brent stopped by the house to pick me up and we headed northwest on a three hour journey to the Adirondacks of New York, with the final destination of Lake Placid for the 2013 USMS National Championship 2 Mile Cable Swim, Betsy Owens Swim. I guided us though some great back road, agricultural settings until we hit Saratoga Springs ("Health, History, Horses") and picked up the Northway (I-87) before getting off on state route 73 through the High Peaks.

    We arrived at our home for the night, Art Devlin's Olympic Motor Lodge, and checked in, admiring the showcase that this Olympic ski jumper from the 60's acquired from all over the world and the view of the ski jumps to our south from the property. Brent swam at Betsy Owens a couple of years ago, so we ventured north into town on foot, walking past the 400m outside speed skating oval, ice arena (home of the "Miracle On Ice" game from 1980 OG), and the Olympic Center en route to the Mirror Lake, home of IronMan Lake Placid and Betsy Owens swim. It was a little cool, but the sun was hanging brilliantly in the sky just above the mountains surrounding the lake. I dipped my hands in the water, a tad cool and thankfully not really warm.

    We then checked out some of the shops downtown. Lake Placid is relatively void of major shopping outlets (only one small area with four or five shops), favoring traditional independent shops and restaurants in a town that has the hint of a European village. We ran into Jonathan, one of our Berkshire lake swimming buddies who was in town with his wife and daughter to race. He later shared that they bought a "passport" to check out the Olympic venues, and his daughter rode down the bobsled track! We ended up eating at a restaurant on the lake side, Generations, and enjoyed a relaxed pre-race meal before ice cream at Emma's Creamery and the nice stroll back to the lodge for a restful night's sleep.

    We got up a little after 7am to a brisk temperature of 46, and I grabbed some coffee and a lemon poppy muffin from the lodge as we checked out and drove to the beach for 8:15. Check in started at 8am, with warmups on the course from 8-9. There is a great grassy hill on the start end of the course, and Brent had a chair that he put down to mark our little area. After debating about "warming up," since the report race temperature was 69 degrees, we hopped in and did one loop of the 1/4 mile cable in the counter-clockwise direction that was prescribed for the race. This was my first swim of this type, and the cable was suspended about two feet below the surface of the lake, with a large orange buoy at the turning ends and small buoys every 10m along the length of the course. Since the water at Mirror Lake is very clear, the cable is very early to see as long as the sun is out.

    After drying off, we waited until the safety briefing and final attendance check-in at 9:15, where David and Ann reminded us that a total of 4 loops was needed to complete the race and that, although this is Open Water swimming, we were to be civilized or risk being DQ'd. It kinda reminded me of a scene from Lord of the Rings - we were lined up by wave (ten people) based on 1650 seed time and put into starting order, then proceeded to enter the water so that three waves were always wet. Just after 9:30am, every 30 seconds a wave is started in water (marked by a green buoy at a distance along the cable that offsets the distance to the two yellow buoys ending the race just before the beach), then the next one already in water swims up to the starting buoy and is counted down.
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    I started in the middle of the second wave of the first heat and settled into a comfortable rate, purposefully not hovering cable. Here starts the "Did you get the number of the person who ran me over?" issue, as many folks do not want to leave the cable and will be happy to engage in contact to stay on it. Incidental contact is always an issue, and if I am on the giving end I'll move around it as soon as I realize it. Others have no problem banging into you incrementally from toe to head - oh well. Expect the unexpected!

    As usual, I spend much of the swim praying as I enjoy moving through the water, especially taking in the sites of the venue around the OW event. I caught some in the end waves as I approached the end of the third lap, and went around the turn buoy on the start of the final lap and went wide to get around another pod. I increased my kick and kept the turnover strong, passing some in the first wave before turning at the far end of the course for the last time (well, I swam a couple strokes past it ). I then kept going strong into the finish, where we were handed a numbered popsicle stick and advised to stay in order, handing in the stick as our race number was recognized once on the beach. I was seeded 15th and finished the race with number 10, which could change after the second heat completed their swim.

    After a quick warmdown of 200m, I spent some time in the sun (air temp now 64) with Brent and Jonathan's family as he took off in the first wave of the second heat. I then got changed and vegged out, watching this Nascar of swimming, where folks circle around the rack and some bumping happens. Interestingly, one lady shouted that another swimmer should be DQ'd for pushing her underwater, describing in detail the man and his suit - she later, on the beach, sought him out and lambasted him a bit (to which he replied, "I was just swimming on the cable, you ran into me." to her shouts.

    So, this type of an event really does keep the spectator interested. I have come to realize that contact is indeed going to happen, especially in this more competitive atmosphere. I agreed with Brent that for many of the point to point OWswims, there is more of a sense of just swimming and enjoying the journey, rather than "racing." I am sure that some swims may not feel this way, but I rather enjoy just getting out and going. My final time was 47:34.58, good for second place in my age group, just 30 seconds behind Brent. I am happy that he is the National Champ, and that I was able to be that close to him time-wise since I consider him a much faster distance swimmer than myself.

    After the second heat finished (82yo Patrick was a great inspiration), we stayed for the great lunch that was put on for us and then the award ceremony. I met with some of the Middlebury Muffintops, as well as a Twitter friend, Alicia, that I have been following for about a year now (she was 2nd place on the women's side). New friends are great! I believe that it was announced that the 2014 National Champs will also be held during the Betsy Owens swim. I would recommend checking it out and making plans to attend next year for a great swim experience, in an area where you find fun for the whole family! If your lucky, it will not be as cold!
  16. 07/13/13: Peaks to Portland OW Swim

    by , July 14th, 2013 at 09:30 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I had another great time at the 32nd annual Peaks to Portland 2.4 mile ocean swim in Portland, Maine. This was my fourth year in a row attending, a great trip that allows me time to catch up with friends in the city and swim to help raise funds for the YMCA there. You can see my blog from last year here for some background info if you'd like, including why the use duct tape is encouraged

    I headed up on Friday morning (after an EZ 1000yds in the pool) with my son and checked in, receiving my cap, kayaker's flag, and tee shirt, then we went to the East End Beach, where the swim ends, to enjoy the beautiful day. Dinner again at Tortilla Flats and a good night's sleep to get ready for the swim. Got up around 5:30am so we could get to the ferry station before ships away at 6:45; two ferries were used (the "car" one filled with kayaks and the people one that I took) to transport us to Peaks Island for check-in, body marking, time chip getting, and some safety meetings as we waited for the race to start at 9am. Bobby, my yaker, joined many others in paddling over so I met him there.

    This year's event was the largest ever for the Y, with 400 people signed up. In fact, many locals did not make it (I missed my buddies jbs and slknight) due to various reasons and I was on the waiting list because they filled up before the end of March. I got the call to register in May, so I was a bit lonely this year. I did see my inspiration for doing these open water/marathon swims, Pat Gallant-Charette, already swimming off the beach while waiting for the start, so I did not get a chance to say hi. The water was slightly colder than last year, 63-4 degrees, with low tide slated to start with our race, meaning very little assist again this year. The sun was out making for a gorgeous day to swim!

    We had more time on the beach, which was good in respect to having more time to get all checked in, where we discovered that nearly half of the swimmers were newbies. It was a rather long time mulling about though, since I learned the first year not to "warm up" because that is what the swim is for! I was in the first (of 5) wave, and we waded out to the end of the pier as they counted down to our start. I lined up again on the right of the main pack and took off towards the bobbing yakers to meet with Bobby at the prescribed time.

    The swim itself was good. There was as slight current against us as we headed towards our escorts (more than once I ran into a gaggle of yakers due to inexperience, and almost got hit twice - they found and paddled to their swimmers without looking to see what was happening around them), then we basically hit slack tide for the rest of the race. As you get to the midway point, there is generally a bit of swell, so I tried to pick up the pace. Besides some lobster cages, the course was generally free from obstacles, and there was no real current into the beach finish zone, which was well marked by an orange buoy on the left and four or so green buoys on the right. Due to the lack of tide, Bobby took us on a line towards the center of the course, which helped us move past those too far out on our left and catch up to the ones to our right that took too tight of a line. I did one dolphin dive (thanks mmead!) then stood up in knee-high water and took a few steps to reacclimate to the vertical plane. I tried to side step a bit and was going to walk again, but the huge crowd on the beach was cheering so I kept pushing ahead towards the big clock and hospitality tent just up the beach.

    So, of the 335 swimmers that started the event (based on final reults), I was the 32nd to cross the finish line, 5th in my age group, and first overall of the 23 "naked" folks, repeating the feat from last year. My time was 59:09.5, which (also a repeat) was slower than last year , although I did not take a break and felt like I swam faster. For reference, I finished just under 50 minutes in 2011, which proves that the tides can help or hinder in Casco Bay.

    I can't say enough how much I enjoy this event, which has grown considerably over the years (and even since I started taking part in 2010) and still has some minor hiccups due primarily to it's size. The distance is spot on for the OW newbie or seasoned warrior to complete, and there is a real fun vibe throughout as family, friends, and townsfolk cheer on the swimmers and their festively-colored kayaks. It's easy to see why this event is considered one of the top 50 in our country, and why I will register earlier to make it my fifth trip next year to enjoy some more of "the way life should be."

    Some links if you are interested:
    Friday's preview, noting Pat's friend Miyuki Fujita, who came from Japan to swim
    Sunday's review with a picture slideshow
    Some pics I took here and here .
    Full results
    Write-up from Munatones OWS blog
    Local news video
    A neat picture review I found from 2012 - see the waves head out from Peaks

    Updated July 15th, 2013 at 10:25 PM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Masters Swim Meets / Events , Open Water
  17. 07/06/13: Fifth Kingdom Swim (my second)

    by , July 7th, 2013 at 11:10 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    After enjoying last year's Kingdom 10 Miler, I decided to sign up again this year and make the trip to the northern reaches of my home state to tackle the mighty Lake Memphremagog. I have some notes/observations that I can refer to from last year:

    First, Lena did not make the trip. She has been having some stomach issues going on and I really don't think she was enthused to witness me plodding along in the water again, so she rested at home. Preston did join me, along with my buddy Bob from Maine and his wife and son. They were in town to visit his folks, and drove up north behind me. We enjoyed some stops along the way (VT Country Store and lunch in Lebanon, NH) and made it to Newport by 4pm. I went to register at the Gateway then took a nap, waking up in time to sit through post-parade traffic to strap my feedbag on for the annual pasta dinner that race director Phil White and the gang put on. The rain that had fallen shortly before supper cleared out, leaving a great view of the lake for all to enjoy.

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    In comparison to last year's swim:
    - Similarly, it was overcast to start the swim. Only saw faint peaks of sunlight after passing Buoy 7, then it shined fully after the 8th. This was excellent (humane) for the yakers and didn't really bother me too much.
    - Water temp was 72 degrees, which was warmer than last year. I put on some weight expecting colder temps, so I lugged some extra lard for this swim.
    - My feeds were not as concentrated, and I did fine with them. Fewer calories did not make a difference for me, which is good to note.
    - The Kayakers deployed in a little different formation, and it took my 15 minutes to find Bobby. Many of them did not line up where they were directed to, so I just kept swimming. No collisions which is always an answer to prayer
    - See last year's post noted above from the course layout. Not much to report until we rounded Buoy 3, where the "po po" boat had blue lights flashing and another boat stopped. Found out later from Bob that the boat was flying south towards the course without hint of slowing down, and had to be intercepted by either the Newport City Police or Boarder Patrol boat. Crazy!
    - Some waves rolled us around as we crossed the northern end of the lake from Buoy 3-4 (just like last year). I was with two other swimmers (last year I was by myself), and we rounded Buoy 5 together, which was interesting.
    - Again this year, we held close to the islands and straight on to Buoy 6, then stayed more in the lake as opposed to Derby Bay, where the current was tossing people. The waves were IMO slightly less rough than last year, but pounded for a longer portion of the long leg from Buoy 6-7. It was tiring!
    - After Buoy 6B, I caught up to someone that passed my by the lighthouse (and also put a lot of distance on the two guys with my at Buoy 5). I passed him, then he drafted off me. I didn't mind at first, but after ten minutes of pulling him I did some backstroke and slowed down, hoping that he would return the favor. Didn't happen. After about a mile of this, I took a scheduled feed and let him go past. He ended up finishing a minute ahead of me.
    - My shoulders felt better prepared for the long swim, but the pounding during the long leg took its toll, as I had a difficult time in the last hour or so keeping good body position.
    - Bob noted the time and my stroke count at the big buoys, and was steady around 58-9 stokes per minute at each point. Last year I cycled between swimming 20-30 fast strokes followed by 50-60 regular ones; this year I just tried to stay even with stokes and kicking throughout.
    - I skipped my last feed at at the bottom of the hour and motored into Prouty Beach with a time of 4hrs, 37 min, 53 sec, which was 46sec slower than last year. I'm pleased based on the conditions.


    Another great weekend, which is just the start of swimming in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. It'a always fun to meet up with forumites, and see some folks from last year. I am disappointed that USMS was not the sanctioning body for the swim (although there was an agreement for this last year before the OW stuff went down) as I think more people may have swam in it. Nonetheless, Phil has a great lineup of swimming in beautiful lakes in that bucolic part of Vermont throughout the summer, and I highly recommend joining in the fun if you are able to! www.kingdomswim.org

    Updated July 7th, 2013 at 11:48 PM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Masters Swim Meets / Events , Open Water
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  18. 04/27/13: Monumental Masters Mini Meet (2nd Annual)

    by , April 27th, 2013 at 03:10 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Well, months of planning and also some training came and went today as we welcomed swimmers to the local Rec Center pool for our 2nd meet, again dedicated to my mom. We had 34 preregister, one couldn't come, and added 5 same-day entries for a total of 38 swimmers! Last year we had 23, so I am really excited for the increase in numbers.

    I got to the pool around 8:30 and helped with setting things up. People started trickling in and warmups began as scheduled at 9am. The local age group team, the Marauders, again did a great job of running the meet for us, providing timers and counters for the 50, and we had three officials altogether.

    There was a large contingent from the Pittsfield Polar Bears, some from Smith Collge and also a team out near Blechertown, MA, and other unattached swimmers (Lisa Ann won the farthest distance traveled, coming from New Jersey). It was fun getting to meet new people that share my passion for swimming. My brother, Jeff, swam again - he swam from Springfield College but hasn't been in the water since then, save last year's meet, and looks fresh as a daisy swimming. Stinker! My wife also swam in her first ever meet, rocking out the 50 free and proudly proclaiming afterwards, "I did it, now don't ask me ever again."

    In addition to meet director, I coached the three area swimmers that came (GregJS, Jill, and Kevin). Greg dropped time in the 100 free and blasted out a smoking 100 IM - great job again, Greg! Plus, he is a really good chef and made some delicious muffins for the food spread we had in the lobby for swimmers.

    I was not sure what to expect myself for times, and I did the 100 breast with Dan during the women's heat so no one swam alone as a warm up for the 100 back. My goal was to SDK 8,7,6,6 off the walls, but only was able to get 5 on the last one as I swam 57.73. I did the 500 fly in 6:48.08, and the 100 fly in 58.72. I'll update the times when the results are official, but all of the these swims were masters best for me!

    Lots of great help, a full pool (which is such a great sight to see), and some fun swimming on a gorgeous day made for a memorable event, complete with our signature 25 Sprint Challenges, the Monument Kick and Tarzan swims. Now for a nap! (I was also able to FLOG 2350 yds for the day)

    Updated May 7th, 2013 at 10:44 PM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  19. Workout 03/15/13:

    by , March 15th, 2013 at 11:18 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Made the five hour trip to Rochester yesterday without incident and visited Roberts Wesleyan, running into a friend's son on campus. We ran a bit behind schedule so my thoughts of swimming at their pool didn't happen. We then drove made our way 90 minutes to the southwest and arrived at Houghton just before dinner. Fun thing last night was the use of the rock climbing wall here, my first time partaking in this activity. I was able to ascend the flat wall totally, and made it about 2/3 up the angled one. Really good workout for the arms and core!

    Today I had some time to relax as the kids went to classes and in the afternoon played hoops for half an hour. Then my dip in the pool at the
    George R. Wells Natatorium: Located in the Nielsen Physical Education Center, this six-lane 25-meter pool features three diving boards (one a three-meter board).
    Three lanes roped off for laps, the other three for splashing about, in clear water that was a refreshingly cool 81, but no backstroke flags. I did:

    200 Fr/200 Bk/200 IM drill
    1 Noah's Ark with agility paddles
    100 loosen

    8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 laps, with 30 seconds Vertical Kick between each

    100 loosen
    Major calf cramp, which happens rarely and I attribute to not hydrating enough
    300 more splashing around then out
    (Solo/Houghton/2500 yds plus VK/50 min)
    -----------------------------------

    Felt good besides the cramp. I guess dealing with that is good training for open water.
    Picked up that main set from the Muntones OW book and wrote something similar for the masters group back home, do figured I would do it myself.

    Tomorrow after breakfast we head about two hours to Niagara Falls, then head a tad over six hours home. Considering I have been sleeping on the floor with no pillow these two nights away, I am very much looking forward to getting home Saturday night and crashing into my own bed.
  20. Workout 01/24/13: OHS

    by , January 24th, 2013 at 09:54 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Cold weather continues, so I was able to take advantage of two factors today: the occupancy in the lanes was sparse and GregJS was available to observe my attempt for the One Hour Swim. With a goal of 4300yds, I pushed off and did ...

    0500 5:59.25
    1000 6:22:66
    1500 6:31:67
    2000 7:06.00 (water break)
    2500 6:30.69
    3000 6:32.12
    3500 6:58.38 (water break)
    4000 6:35:62
    4500 6:31.94
    4565 0:51.57

    I felt good in the water, and was able to reign in the last third by really focusing on EVF and consistent body roll in route to a regular SPL. This is almost 300 yards more than last year! I kept an eye on Greg as well, and he expanded on his tally from last year as well, so all in all a great contribution from the Bennington Monument Masters to Team New England Masters total for the national championship!

    In other news, I also volunteered some time today to help with the age group team in town. I was able to get in an additional 1600 (so total of 6165yds on the day) as I helped to reinforce proper streamlining skills off every wall, and also long-axis body rotation. It is fun to work with the kids, and they again paid attention to me as I helped to be a for fast swimming with less effort.
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