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Masters Swim Meets / Events

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

  1. Workout 12/22/12: Squad Meet

    by , December 22nd, 2012 at 11:13 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Busy few days off for me, starting with the storms that moved through the area yesterday. It was super windy (lost some pieces of gutter and my compost bin blew across the yard) with power outages throughout the area. A huge tree fell over near the high school, cutting power to most of the downtown and crushing two cars, and a double rainbow also filled the sky:

    The local paper has a story about it here. The Rec Center also lost power so no swimming for me, which was fine since I was helping my wife get prepared for our annual lasagne dinner with family around the Christmas holiday. Great night with good food and time spent with loved ones.

    This morning, with snow lightly falling, the Rec was open again, but a sign greeted us at the door announcing the pool temperature at 75 degrees.
    With the power outage, the pool dropped about 10 degrees since Thursday. I had organized a squad meet with the local age group team as well as masters from nearby Williamstown, Ma, and we didn't let the colder water deter us. Well, one of our swimmers bailed and spent the whole morning in the sauna, but I enjoyed the cool water for a change. We again used the swim to gather nonperishable donations for the local food shelf as an "entry fee," a great way to branch into the community.

    I joined the team in the water for quite literal warmups:

    500 choice (I did 600)
    5 x 50 builds on 1:15
    1 x 100 FR strong (overkick odd lengths)

    Then the racing began! Fourteen wees ones (and their three coaches) lined up with five of us from Bennington and our four new friends from Williamstown through the schedule of events below. I ended up swimming the 100 back (1.00.7), back in the Medley Relay, 100 free (53.7), and two legs on the 200 Free Relay to log 1225 yards. We also introduced the age groupers to the "cap relay," where the object is to get one member of the team into a standard latex cap and swim them to the other end of the pool - it was a blast!

    A fun day, followed by a nap for me. We collected 25 pounds of food which will be a great help for our community. The plan is to start up training for the spring with the New Year, and I am thinking that I will actually be ready to start swimming in earnest by then again.
  2. Meet 12/08-09/2012: NEM SCM Champs

    by , December 9th, 2012 at 10:42 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Just back from another great weekend of racing in Boston at the New England Masters scm championships. I really like the Boston University pool, even though I spent a lot of time in the outside lanes. Ahh, OUTSIDE SMOKE! (there was some inside at the hotel, you'll get there if you keep reading).

    Here is what I entered and how I did (seed times were either PB or "I think I should be able do this time." I'll update splits another night:

    06 100 SCM IM 1:11.62
    went 1:08.31
    (30.11, 38.20)
    - Strong fly and back, felt like I didn't lose ground on the breast, then sprinted home. Felt really good. This one gets a

    08 200 SCM Breast 3:13.31
    went 3:13.68
    (43.84, 49.72[1:33.56], 50.03, 50.09[1:40.12])
    - Gridge #1 of the day - I was one person shy of swimming with AZTimm, and he beat me, as expected
    - Race was good; I had to choose at the 100 if I was going to really start hammering or not, and I really didn't, opting to continue another 50 of "ride the glide." Happy with the time.

    12 200 SCM Back 2:24.82
    went 2:21.68
    (34.19, 35.44[1:09.63], 36.01, 36.04[1:12.05])
    - Super duper psyched with this swim. I put a lot of effort into working the underwaters more and staying in control for the first 100, then hitting the accelerator. My wife taped it - my left hand is doing something funny on entry, so I need to address that. Slipped on the wall at 125, and I probably don't have to remind everyone that this event is perhaps the most painful of all since it is so kick-driven. My quads were screaming the whole rest of the meet, but I loved the pain.

    18 50 SCM Fly 0:31.20
    went 29.49
    - Mimicked Fort (not really duplicated since I don't think she swam it) and blasted the underwaters. Popped up a few meters shy of the yellow line going out, and took 10 SDK's off the wall on the way home. This was a really fast time for me.

    20 200 SCM Free 2:14.30
    went 2:12.98
    (31.01, 35.15[1:06.16], 34.45, 32.37[1:06.82])
    - Another fast swim with a slightly altered strategy from my normal 200. Felt strong on the front half but need to really start grinding it out earlier in the second half.

    Day 1 done (flogged 1350 meters and 1500 yards), and off to dinner with my wife, son, SwimStud, Fortress, and AZTimm at a Mexican place across the street from the pool. Glad the day ended somewhat early as the joint was hopping when we left. Excellent dinner and conversation, although I have to say that chicken chimichangas are off the menu during weekend meets from now on, I don't want to repeat the gut rot anytime soon.

    Got to the hotel shortly (didn't stay at meet hotel, but found another one close to Fenway that had breakfast) after 6pm, so lots of time to relax. Was debating on taking an Ambien to help sleep and I was pretty wiped out so fell asleep by 9:30ish on my own. Good thing, as right before 3am the fire alarm went off. First time in a hotel that this has happened, apparantly due to some people smoking pot a few floors above us. Left most of my stuff in the room (save goggles and suit in case save a reply of Backdraft loomed), and around 3:45 we got the all clear to leave the lobby and go back upstairs. Finally got back to bed closer to 5 and up at 7:30.

    Back at the pool for Day 2, my aunt Pat came down to sit in the sauna on her day off. I see her a few times a year, and just like when we were kids she makes a point to be a cheerleader for us. <3

    30 400 SCM Free 4:45.57
    went 4:43.83
    (31.85, 35.02[1:06.87], 36.05, 36.54[1:12.59,2:19.46],
    36.79, 36.62[1:13.41], 36.50, 34.46[1:10.96,2:24.37])
    - This was gridge number two, the five-way parlay looking for greatest time drop. That Guy, can you get the results posted for us? Q-brain was the winner I believe.
    -Was 8 seconds faster than last year, and I felt in control. I am still weary of inflicting too much pain at this distance, and could have stepped it up a notch around the 225 mark, but didn't. The gridge (as always) really forced me to put a lot of effort into swimming faster than normal, so I am much obliged, gentlemen.
    - I counted for Tim's great swim and he reciprocated the favor - thanks again, Tim.

    34 100 SCM Free 1:00.43
    went 58.22 (lane 10)
    (28.34, 29.88)
    - :fistpump: I wanted to get under 1 minute, and was surprised at a low 58. I went old school splitting on this: 25 strong (87%), 25 build, 25 SPRINT, 25 whatever is left. Worked out well; I don't mind the pain on the 100's.

    38 50 SCM Back 0:31.15
    went 30.64 (lane 10)
    - So I thought that there were 10 heats, but there were actually 8. 7 was in the water and I was still farting around behind the blocks, then the timers shout my name and I to the water. The judge mentioned "worse than the 8 and unders", but I think he was talking about my start.
    - with Fort - I SDK'd 12 going out and came up even closer to the yellow lines than yesterday's fly, slipped on the turn, SDK'd 10 and churned home. I think I won this gridge by two tenths of a second.
    - Apparently in the warmdown lane I "cannonballed" SwimStud, as all of a sudden, in my weakened state, he grabbed my ankle and dunked me. Sorry Rich, but good times in the warmdown pool nonetheless.

    44 200 SCM Fly 2:43.33
    - Saturday night I was strongly trying to persuade myself to swim this wonderful event again, and after the "Cyprus Hill gathering" way past my bedtime I decided to skip it. I swam it a month ago in Maine, and I wanted to focus on my last event. Sorry to let the Butternuts among us down. :TargetShootingPracticeOpen:

    48 100 SCM Back 1:07.75
    went 1:05.76
    (32.83, 32.93)
    - This one gets a
    - Reverted to old school 100 splitting again, and went 32.83, 32.93. Was able to keep my SDK's off the walls as planned (8,6,6,5) and although I jammed the first turn the final time was excellent.
    (Flogged 2150m and 800yds)

    So, nine swims and nine PB's (many multi-second drops), great times with my family as well as swimming friends (including ones not on the forums), first near missed swim and false fire alarm at the hotel, exceeeded max number of images in blog post and needed to edit, and dinner with ice cream from Friendly's on the three hour ride home. Can't wait for next year!

    Updated December 31st, 2012 at 06:02 PM by rxleakem

    Tags: boston, bu scm
    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  3. Meet 11/11/12: Riverton (scm)

    by , November 11th, 2012 at 10:03 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    First - thanks to all you in blogger land that have served our country in the military. I appreciate the sacrifice that you and your family have made for our country and the freedoms that we enjoy in it.

    Had a great weekend trip up to Maine for the 5th Annual Greater Portland Swim Meet. After I finished coaching the masters group here in town (and confirmed my suspicion that it is, indeed, possible to deposit a human into a standard latex swimming cap then transport them down the length of the pool (I'll post a picture the next time this happens), I grabbed a quick lunch and hit the road for a 4.5 hour drive to Maine. I arrived at my friend's house as dinner preparations were underway, and was able to catch up with my kayaker Bobby, his wife Val, and their son Troy.

    Val's parents came by and we enjoyed a great dinner of lasagne, salad, and chocolate cake with some Ben and Jerry's for dessert. Great conversation, especially since it was not dominated by swimming (which happens way to often), then we played some Mario Cart on the Wii before getting to bed. A good breakfast today then I made the ten minute drive across town to the Riverton community pool.

    6 lane, 25 meter pool, 82 degrees

    After getting changed (wore my New England Master square leg suit for warmups, and Yingfa racer for events) I ran into JBS and warmed up in the lane next to him. I have two inspirations for this meet - doing the Brute Squad events just like John did last year, and another I'll discribe later for the 200 fly. I assured John I wouldn't blame him for choosing these events, because the idea of the challange (even though this particular one is not being run this year) in swimming the three events in one meet that most people never swim is just the right kind of crazy for me to take on.

    Anywho, got in my standard 1300 warmup and rested during the 400 FR with my yaker and family, who came to watch me suffer through the 400 IM. IIt was Bob's first ever swim meet experience, so I explained a little bit about how the whole thing works and my own procedures leading up to a swim. I almost would rather swim an ultra-marathon OW swim over pool events these days, as there is a lot more energy involved in preparing for tactics in the pool events, whereas for the most part you just hop in a swim 10 miles. Well, it kind of makes sense I guess.

    400 IM 5:32.85
    33.23 40.11
    (1:21.47) - missed the pad twice I guess
    52.35 54.25
    36.02 35.42
    - Only the second time I have swam this race, and I felt really happy with the time. I had to ease a bit on the second 50 of the fly as I didn't want a repeat of my first attempt at this, and was thinking "crap, I'm going to swim the 200 fly after this." Settled into a really smooth back leg, with strong turnover and little kick as I controlled breathing. Then I just focused on staying underwater as long as possible on breast before powering home the free portion. Bob mentioned that I looked really good until the breast leg, and I laughed because while it is still not stellar, it has improved dramatically over last year. Did a 200 before this and 150 after to loosen up, and waited a bit before the ...

    200 Fly 2:43.33
    35.65 42.29
    44.47 40.92
    - I was talking with John before this, as we were the only two doing it, about warming up, and we both figured we'd just swim it (why waste any energy?) I tried to find my inner-TG DPS flyer and took it easy for the first 150. Some may call it loafing (I did), but I maintained 8 spl, then decided to build into the seventh 25 and then lay the hammer down (it wasn't heavy, believe me) on the last length.
    - Did this in honor of Peony Munger from the Pacific Northwest that James mentioned in his meet write-up. What an incredible woman who left a great legacy for USMS in this difficult event.

    50 Breast 39.58
    - Did this for kicks, frog kicks that is. After a 150 cooldown from the fly, I swam a really fast time for me. I had Dan from the Pittsfield (MA) Polar Bears watch me, and he gave good advice about improving my start and also keeping my hands more in front of my body instead of trying to bring them to my chest. I almost got DQ'd on the start - I have been breaking streamline, holding my hands apart and deploying the dolphin kick, then resuming my pull, but the official wasn't all that sure that I could stop my pull to kick. I do intentionally break streamline and move my hands apart, but I'll have to check on this to be sure I don't get deeked from doing the only thing that is fast about my breaststroke at this point.

    1500 Free +split request 19:41.94
    (400 = 5:06.66, 800 = 10:28.62)
    33.63 36.79 38.35 38.29 39.61
    39.65 40.20 40.14 40.67 40.73
    39.71 38.62 41.56 40.57 39.59
    40.51 37.46 39.64 41.38 41.45
    39.75 39.82 40.51 40.59 41.06
    39.29 40.08 38.85 40.09 33.35
    - My first mile swim in the pool. My plan was to just lengthen out my 500 strategy, by doing 1-2 SDK's off each wall, kicking hard past the flags then dropping into strong DPS and a two-beat kick to maximize shoulder roll. I was also thinking about pwb's 800 from yesterday and counted strokes. I was able to hold 13-14 spl, but when I didn't SDK it jumped to 16. I wanted to negative split, but think my second 500 was too slow to accomplish this, as I tried to pick it up too soon and felt like crap, so I slowed down more than I probably would have. I kicked a bit farther off each wall as the 100's ticked off, and with 200 left my stomach was aching. I did my best to switch to a six-beat kick anyway, and on the last 50 gave everything left in the tank. (Thankfully it staying in there too, because on more than one occasion I was not sure that would happen)

    After this I did a 100 float, flogging 4250 meters for the day. This is a great meet, as Son is able to provide the only 1500 scm in New England as well as all of the stroke and IM options in a meet that takes about 3.5 hours from start to finish. I was very thankful that he was also able to get the officials and timers, as well as count my 1500, to allow this meet to happen. It is a fast pool with a great mix of fast swimmers as well as folks entering their first event.

    It was a long ride home, but I manged to get gas in New Hampshire for 17 cents cheaper than here at home. I also stopped at Wendy's for a grilled chicken sandwich and french fries to help restock my glycogen stores, and added a chocolate chip ice cream sandwich from my second pit stop. Always great to check in with my Maine breather, and be around a great group of folks helping to reach their community with the joys of masters swimming!

    Updated November 13th, 2012 at 11:00 PM by rxleakem

    Tags: 1500, 400 im, riverton
    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  4. 07/21/12: Peaks to Portland

    by , July 22nd, 2012 at 11:44 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Another fair warning: long race report blog to follow ...

    This marked my third year swimming in the P2P 2.4 mile swim in Casco Bay, separating Peaks Island from the East End Beach in Portland, Maine. I first learned of this event after stumbling across the blog of Pat Gallant-Charette and asking our friends who live in Portland about this fundraising event for the YMCA in the region. Bobby had heard of it and had a kayak and a willingness to paddle for me, so I began my dive back into swimming (after a ten year + hiatus from the sport) by training for it. Most folks take the ferry out to the island in the morning (although one EC vet opted to swim it as a warmup this year), and after finalizing registration and a brief meeting we are sent off in one of four waves through the Atlantic Ocean to the finish line, passing Fort Gorges. Here is a link to the race map.

    Since the weather was forcasted to be beautiful, we headed up to Maine in two vechiles: Lena took Preston and our nephew Adam in the car and I took the motorcycle. It was cloudy until we hit the border of Vacationland on the five hour trek, but then the sun popped out and did not disappear the entire weekend. What a glorious ride! After checking in at the Y and picking up my packet on Friday, we met up with our Maine hosts and ate at Tortilla Flat before heading back to the house, where Bobby and I took a short motorcycle cruise around town and to the park overlooking Casco Bay towards Peaks Island:
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    JBS contacted me earlier in the week to invite me to join the group that he and slknight swim with for a warmup at the outdoor Kiwanis Pool if I was up for it. I figured that I since I was able to get up to join tjrpatt in Philly for a 6am practice I could do the same in Portland, and Bobby and family was willing to get up so I dropped in for some pool tourism and about 400 meters are stretching out before the race. John gave me a ride to the ferry and I had a new friend, Jeff, snap this picture of your intrepid bloggers for your viewing pleasure:
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    We reached to island and signed off on waivers and got our timing chip. In the process I met up with Bobby, who paddled out with a friend instead of boarding the ferry, and was able to pass off my clothes to him and get duct tape on my feet before the final morning briefings took place. Duct tape? Yes, since the beach is essentially a mussel bed with sharp shells and some rocks, so wading out to the start can be treacherous (I still managed a few cuts on my toes this year). I also finally met Pat before the swim, as I did not find her last year during a season where she completed both the English and Catalina channels. Pat rocks!

    There was a brief moment of silence to honor three pioneers of the race before a warmup period was allowed. After the my experience the first year, shivering in the cold between "warmups" and the start of the swim, I stayed on the beach and watched as the yakers departed from the beach and many got in some practice strokes. After a bit of work on the organizers part to clear the water and line up the waves of swimmers, I slowly entered the water with the first group to the end of the pier to await our sendoff, gazing past the waiting kayakers and towards the far end of the bay.

    As arms and legs started to flail at the start, I found myself towards the center of the pod as we made strides into the cool water, a balmy 64-65 degrees this year. I have gotten a little more accustomed to not only the "ice cream headache" from the cold water but also the bumping at the start of the race, and didn't really get to tied up with anyone besides the usual hitting of hands and tapping of toes. I was able to get my head fully submerged within twenty strokes, and got into a strong swimming pattern. I found Bobby easily off shore due to the American Flag sailing above his kayak, and we made our way out into the ocean. Overall the water was much warmer than last year, but we found some colder spots.

    Low tide occurred about an hour before the race started, so we ventured into the slack tide, which really didn't play into the swim until we rounded Fort Gorges around the halfway point. Bobby kept our line a little more to the west of the Fort, and we didn't have any issues until one of the swimmers without a kayak suddenly cut right in front of us. Bob moved from my right side to the left, then I saw legs appear out of nowhere! He kept heading towards the Old Port, until the police boat on the periphery pointed him in the right direction: we joked afterwards that he must have been swimming to the West End Beach! A few waves from the ferry splashed us around, but the water was fairly calm until the currents picked up after the Fort. I was about to get a quick drink when Bobby announced that we were at 34 minutes, which prompted me to forgo the feed and usual comedic banter to power on towards our goal.

    We were again able to pick off some of the swimmers that stayed on a line closer to the Fort, and as we came closer to the finish area I could see the beach was packed! This year saw the highest number of participants at 316, over half of them were first-time athletes and 19 of us swam "naked," without a wetsuit. As we approaced the boats floating just off the beach, we were joined by three other kayaks. I focused on a strong kick and a faster turnover as I made my way into the finish area. Again I did a few breaststroke cycles before trying to stand up, then did my best to jog out of the water to the finish line. I was excited to hear the announcer mention that "it looks like our first non-wetsuit swimmer is making his way up the chute," and looked up to see a time of 51:52 before seeing John on the beach. Susan was the first female to emerge without a wetsuit shortly after - note that both of them swam without a yaker!

    I met with my family and the Browns on the beach for pictures and celebration. After getting hosed off I took advantage of the free massage for swimmers before watching and cheering all of the swimmers into the beach. The harbormaster sounded the siren as the last swimmers reached the finish - Terry Swain, the aquatics director of the Y had waited near the boats offshore for all of the other swimmers to make land before finding her way there.

    We packed up the cars then headed into the Old Port for lunch at Flatbread before heading home for a nap! We finished off the day by wandering down to Old Orchard Beach for some seashell hunting and relaxing on the beach before eating our way back to the house. It was another great weekend for a swim, and by far the most pleasant on the weather front. Susan sent a link to the Press Herald writeup and agreed that everyone finished about two minutes behind the pace from last year, likely due to the tide. John also saw a link on The Daily News of Open Water Swimming site about the swim that I am sure Pat sent in.

    I can't wait for the excitement of next year's 32nd annual race with my friends in Maine! (I might even try to swim over to Peaks in the morning, but don't hold me to it too much) A lot of hard work goes into making this event happen, and I am very thankful that God has blessed me with a supportive family, a great team (including someone crazier than me that volunteers to kayak and his family, as well as Linda and Ron, who always cheer us on), all the volunteers, and the collective ability of all the swimmers to be able to raise money to help offer the benefits of the YMCA to folks who otherwise could not gain access to them.

    Here is a picture of the best wingman in the business, my yaker Bobby, before the race:
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    Updated July 23rd, 2012 at 12:33 AM by rxleakem

    Swim Workouts , Masters Swim Meets / Events , Open Water
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Files
  5. 07/07/12: Fourth Kingdom Swim (My First)

    by , July 8th, 2012 at 08:58 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Fair warning: long blog post to follow ...
    The mighty [ame=""]Lake Memphremagog[/ame] lived up to expectations as I splashed in for the Kingdom Swim this weekend. I made it to the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont on Friday after a four hour drive from my home and took advantage of the early check-in before meeting up with my yaker and our families to head over to Prouty's Beach, where the swim begins and ends. We then headed down to our log cabin rental, which was one exit south on I-91 near Lake Willoughby, to check in before heading back to Newport for the Frontier Animal Society’s Pet and Swimmers Parade through the center of town and the Pasta Dinner, where we fueled up with lasagna, spaghetti, salad, and some chocolate cake. I met up with the two other Bennington area swimmers, Bethany (who swam last year and just got back from Ned Dennison's Cork, Ireland, swim camp) and Brent (my FISH buddy in Williamstown, who was also taking part in his first 10 mile swim) during the evening.

    The next morning saw overcast skies and some minor sprikles (as forecasted) as we hit the beach to unload our equipment. The area was well organized and the kayaks were placed according to the mileage on the east end of the beach with the starting chute on the the west. I met up with some other forumites, Kent from Arizona and Kevin from Maryland, before the race started. I was really bummed not to find Swimsuit Addict or Vivebene Safety is key for the event, and about five minutes before the 8am start numbers were called out for the swimmers that did not check in before entering the chute. Once everyone was accounted for, we lined up on the beach and waited for the mass start of 70+ swimmers into the 70 water to begin. I decided to be involved but not too engaged in the fray, so I splashed in towards the left of the pack as we headed out to the first buoy (S). I was able to weave towards the front and ended up sixth around the orange blob before settleing into an even stroke as we picked up yakers en route to Buoy 1. Let's introduce the course map at this point, as I'll be referring to it:

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    The clouds held back the sun for my whole swim, although it brightened up between Buoys 2+3. My most excellent kayaker Bobby was right on top of navigation as well as feeding me every 30 minutes, all the while providing encouragement. Once I hit Bouy 3, the first long stretch was before us and the next buoy was out of sight. I wanted to get across the lake quickly so I alternated 20 strong swim cycles with 50 smooth ones, and soon we came to Buoy 4 through some mild waves (I was thinking if this is the worst, I am in good shape). I still had some energy left and asked the folks in the sherrif's boat which direction Prouty's Point was - got some laughs just withing sight of . Buoys 5+6 came quickly, and we noticed two things as we headed towards 6 - the chop was picking up with the wind and lots of swimmers ahead of us were shooting more towards eastern edge of Derby Bay (towards the "C" on the map) than Buoy 6. Bob kept me on a tight line to 6 due to the swells, and it felt like I was swimming perpendicular to it and not making much progress.

    The wind kept picking up and the skies darkened a bit on our way to 6b, to the extent that we both were thinking that the threat of a thunderstorm ending the swim might happen - thankfully it did not. On an encouraging note for me, we also started passing those ahead of us that didn't stay closer to the islands. Once near 6a, the support boat shouted that a lot of swimmers were being pushed hard into Derby Bay, so by staying tight to the islands we were avoiding the extra effort needed to get out to Buoy 7. Here is the part where I was really surprised - Bob for the first time mentioned the time, "It's quarter to 12." That means that I was ahead of the 4 hour mark with roughly 2.5 miles to go! That was huge motivation for me to refocus my stroke and mind on powering through the end of the race since it was miserable swimming conditions. It was great knowing that I was reeling in those ahead of me through the two foot waves that were pushing me down the course, instead of fighting through them.

    Between 7+8 I was able to catch two of the 6-mile swimmers, and at buoy 8 the support boat encouraged us that only 3/10ths of mile remained. Well, I am under the impression that it was longer than 3/10ths of a mile and maybe they added extra buoys in this lower part of the course because it took fifteen minutes to come in. I was alternating ten "breasterfly" strokes (breaststroke arms with dolphin kicks) and fifty freestyle strokes as my arms were fatigued and it felt really good to stretch out. I also swam backstroke at different points to help keep loose. Heading past the start buoy into the beach was tough, as the waves were moving heavily perpendicular to shore. About 20 yards out I was hitting bottom, so I took a brief moment before standing up to make sure my legs still worked, then scampered to the beach where my wife and son were waiting, and Bob's wife and son were taking pictures. We made it, with an unbelievable time of 4 hours, 37.07 seconds!

    I was offered a drink of water or gatorade, even warm chicken broth if needed, by the staff on the beach. They even passed sweatshirts out to help warm us up. It took about 20 minutes after finishing for me to be brave enough to sit down and the sun to make an appearance, so we headed over to the food tent were swimmer and yaker ate for free, and everyone else munched for only $5. I was thinking a cheeseburger would be great around Buoy 6a, and munched on one afterwards! Somewhere in this time I missed SA finish, and I checked out the time boards on the side of the building for the girls' numbers, but had no luck finding them. We did see the kid's swims (8/u-17 could choose 100yds, 1/4 and 1-mile) as well as the adult 1-mile. We stayed for the awards ceremony which was a great gathering for those getting awards, especially watching the little kids head up for their "Woodal" - a hand-carved wooden medallion.

    So my time was totally unexpected given the horrible head cold I had the past two week, since I trained a lot more before the 10K last year and was exhausted at the end of that. Having only swam three times I would have been elated to get in around the 5 hour mark. Maybe the break was needed? I think two things were key for me: having great sighting from the best wingman in the business, my buddy Bobby, and also the nutrition aspect, which came together from a lot of research on the marathonswim forums and other blogs by marathon swimmers. I used a maltodextrin-based feed, flavored with juice, on the bottom of each hour, and an electrolyte-based feed on the top of the hour. No backfires like the fruit cups I ended up loosing after the 10k - only some minor gas for a few minutes. I followed a suggestion of using a retractable dog leash hooked to my bottles, so I only had to swim to the yak for the feed. We strapped a crate to the back of the kayak, but the weight of the drinks would have left Bob doing wheelies, so we moved the drinks into the kayak, which was more accessible for him to refill bottles. I only had an extra dose of water once, and did not get into the gel shots or chocolate bar that were on board. To keep my mind from drifting like my body, I again reviewed the New Testament books of the Bible in order, and also spent a great deal of the swim praying. For me, being surrounded by God's Creation and having a lot of time on my hands makes for a great boost in my prayer life.

    I would highly recommend this swim to anyone that is looking to move above the marathon 10k swim distance, or even to come out for one of the lower distance courses as Memphremagog is a gorgeous lake, the swim is very well organized (they can arrange for a kayak and/or a kayaker for you if needed), and the activities surrounding the swim are great for adding to a family vacation. We had a blast walking down the main street during the parade and also watching the events unfold on the beach. We did not go out one of the two boat tours of the course, but was able to talk with folks who have swum the race in the past and use the maps to succesfully navigate the swim. Next year this will be the 9+ Mile USMS National Championship, a great draw to get more swimmers out to support that programs that are helped from this and other athletic events in the region. I am already looking to book the same cabin for a week next year, and my thoughts are also towards finding a longer swim to add to my list.

    Oh, I will get an album of pics up soon, but here is a picture of team "Can't Stop the Leake" (only my daughter was unable to make the trip):
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Updated July 9th, 2012 at 12:22 AM by rxleakem

    Masters Swim Meets / Events , Open Water
  6. 06/02/12: Charles River Swim

    by , June 2nd, 2012 at 09:35 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Dear Charles River Swimmers, the water quality looks great and we have received permission to hold the race tomorrow. Water temperature is 73 degrees.
    I swam in the Charles River during the fourth one-mile event! Testing out that Dirty Water. Tomorrow we'll see if any strange skin conditions result!

    The race started at 8am this morning, and I decided that I did not want to drive three hours this morning so I stayed overnight in Leominster at a Motel 6 right off route 2. I figured that I had an hour more to travel this morning, so I left at 5 and arrived at the Alewife T station just before 6 to catch the Red Line to Charles/MGH. I got off the train and walked to the Espanade , getting to the registration tent around 6:40am. Oh, did I mention that it was raining? Yep - steady drizzle with some stronger showers the whole morning.

    I checked in and decided to repack my bag before checking it after getting marked up. I took off my sweats and put them into a plastic bag with, keeping only my warmup pants and jacket (and wet shoes) on. By 7:30, I was feeling cold as the wind picked up a bit, shivering and the like. At 7:45 we had our pre-race meeting, and I stripped down to my suit - the field was split roughly in half with folks wearing wetsuits and not, with me not wearing one. I donned my yellow cap marked "3" and headed to the dock with my fellow racers as the gray sky hung low above the skyline to this glorious city.

    "No diving into the water because we don't know what's in there - we don't want anyone landing headfirst into a shopping cart."
    We all hopped in after being warned and enjoyed the warm water, although viability was not much farther than arms reach in the murky greenish water. After treading water at the start buoy for about a minute, the race was started as we took off west towards the Harvard (Mass Ave) Bridge. I noticed that my shoulders were tight, likely from not doing enough kinetic stretches before the event. After rounding the first buoy towards the Cambridge side of the river, we entered into the roughest chop on the course, powered by a steady wind coming out from the city center. The second buoy came much quicker, and after rounding that we made our way on towards the Longfellow Bridge. Here is where the taste of oil and gas entered into my senses, and I flipped over and swam backstroke for about twenty cycles. I was able to increase my stroke rate and catch a small group off the lead after the last buoy, and motored to the finish line.

    I am pleased with how I sighted the race, having only to make two major corrections throughout. I lift my head for a quick sight and rotate my head into a breath, usually every five or six arm cycles, until I get closer to a buoy. One of the things I love about OW swims the ability to watch as a mass of swimmers enters the water, and then take a peak during the race and see arms stroking just above the water. I didn't notice the water falling during the race, but the precipitation never let up. Maybe all of that acid rain helped to counterbalance the river water?

    After the race I made my way back to the tents and sampled some of the vendor's treats before getting some coffee and bagel. Due to the rain there were very few spectators and the swimmers just packed up and headed out shortly after finishing. I walked back to the T with my wet warmups and dried off before going up to the station's platform, as my repacking kept my dry clothes mostly dry. I met some other swimmers (not too many other folks walking around with numbers on their skins) on the train back to the station, and we talked of the swim and our need for a very thorough shower! They laughed as the Harvard stop went by, opting out of joining the master's group there for their Saturday morning practice. I got off at Alewife and took the long, raining ride home.

    So, how did I do? Not sure yet! I forgot my watch, and at the finish only our race numbers were shouted out to the timers. I checked with some of the folks I finished near, but they were fine with just getting to the end point. Once I get the info, I'll update this entry. As for now, I am happy that the event went off and I was able to take the plunge into the murky, I mean, mighty Charles. I would recommend this swim, as it was safe, well organized, and you can join me in 'going where humans should not go' (according to a friend).

    *** Addendum: Results for the swim are up, and I finished in 23min 56sec. If you have the facebook you should be able to see my picture album here (nothing too exciting). ***

    Just a friendly reminder to turn on your lights while driving in the rain for everyone's safety. Oh, let the little ducklings cross the road, too (I did this twice).

    Updated June 12th, 2012 at 12:10 AM by rxleakem

    Masters Swim Meets / Events , Open Water
  7. Monumental Masters Mini Meet

    by , April 28th, 2012 at 11:34 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    So today we had our first ever mini meet in my my home pool. It served as a fundraiser for the local age group team, and essentially I just leaned on them for running the meet. We had to wait about 15 minutes to get into the building (they normally open at 9am, and you know how it goes when you ask someone to change their routine ...), but I had already put the lane lines in last night with my son so just some minor tasks to get the show moving.

    We ended up with 23 swimmers, so I was really excited about that. At least half came from out of town, many first timers, and despite the warm pool (83) everyone seemed to have a good time. I made the opening announcements and took over the mic a few times to help slow the meet down, and we ended up finishing up in about 1.5 hours. Dedicated the meet to my mom, who passed away in 1995 but was so important in not only helping to get all of us kids to swim competetivly, but also to promote the sport throughtout Vermont.

    I ended up swimming a little more than I wanted to, but I did not want anyone to swim alone. It's all good with:

    200 Medley Relay*: Fly
    100 Fly: 59.23
    100 Back: 1:06.xx
    400 IM: 5:04.xx + 100 swim = 500
    25 Monument Kick Sprint: dfl (by choice)
    200 Free Relay*: Swam 1st and 4th leg

    * Swam these with my brother Jeff, who has not been in the water in over 10 years but came to swim. He looked like he never took a break from swimming (he is a biker: cyclocross, so I have to do a race with him this fall ).

    My goals were to swim the 100 Fly and 400 IM to complete the checkoff challange (save the super-long distances). I was a little tired from the relay, but happy to go under 1:00 in the 100 fly. The last 25 hurt pretty bad. I just cruised the backstroke, working on underwaters (skd'd 10/10/6/5) as a loosen before the next event.

    I was really happy with the 400 IM, my first ever time racing this event , and I did not leave a whole left in the tank at the end. Thinking about my practice swims, it was really close to the add-up from one of PWB's sets in February, and my splits were:
    29.46, 37.57 (1:07.03)
    38.22, 38.47 (1:16.69)
    46.86, 48.14 (1:35.00)
    31.49, 34.08 (1:05.57)
    I either took out the first 50 fly too fast (but it felt easy) or loafed the second 50 too much, and was a bit too slow on the backstroke leg. Still need to work on beaststroke, but my calves were really tight so I'll take the time. I hoped to get under 5 minutes, but now I have motivation to swim this event again.

    Had a great time getting this meet going, and people in my neck of the woods liked the idea of driving less than 2-3 hours to swim. GregJS had some fast swims (blazed the 100 breast ), and I talked about the upcoming Kingdom 10mile swim with Brent and Bethany, who are also doing it. We had first time swimmers from our Masters club, like Kevin, Rich and Cindy (who did an awesome 50 back), and Robert and Sharon (both swim for fitness, but like my brother were convinced to race due to my pestering).

    Thanks to all of you on the intertubes for your support and encouragement as well, especially SwimShark. Total: 1975 yards. Came home and watched Chris and Tom do the 200 back, then Speedo and Jazz + others in the 50 free online before taking a nap.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Updated May 4th, 2012 at 03:06 PM by rxleakem

    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  8. 2012 Harvard New England scy Champs 3/16-18

    by , March 18th, 2012 at 10:42 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Just pulled into station from our trip to Boston for the weekend. Another excellent meet with fast swimming and plenty of time for socialization with the other 887 swimmers from New England and abroad. I spent most of my days hanging out with my adopted team, Cape Cod Masters, but was able to check in with fellow bloggers [ame=""]U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums[/ame] and [ame=""]U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums[/ame]. I also met some new folks, including the Kosiorek brothers, who I went to UMass (Amherst) swim camp with way back in the day, and Justin B, who is battling the GTD with me (at least we always seem to be neck and neck). I was able to better all of my Masters best times, so it was a very successful meet for me.

    Friday, March 16

    #10 Men 50 Freestyle Time: :24.37
    WENT: 24.22 r:+0.92
    This swim felt good. I was a tad slow off the blocks and didn't start attacking it quickly enough - need to work on breathing less and just powering it.

    #12 Men 200 Backstroke Time: 02:11.88
    WENT: 2:09.15
    31.27 1:04.28 (33.01)
    1:37.15 (32.87) 2:09.15 (32.00)
    I split this really well and was happy to swim it during the first day of competition this year. Two second time drop, still need keep at those SDK's off the walls - went 7,5,5,4,3,2,1 and streamlining, which fell apart in the last 75. Still, first place finish for my age group.

    #14 Men 100 Individual Medley Entry Time: 01:03.18
    WENT: 1:02.88 r:+0.83
    28.24 1:02.88 (34.64)
    Dropping time, which is the goal. Felt really good, not too much to comment on here.

    ** Early night - at the hotel by 4:30ish. Took a nap, had supper, and then went to the planetarium (Boston Museum of Science) with my daughter to watch a flick about the universe - amazing stuff.

    Saturday, March 17

    #24 Men 50 Butterfly Entry Time: :26.84
    WENT: 26.48 r:+0.75
    Played with more SKD's - helped a little. Good swim.

    #26 Men 200 Breaststroke Entry Time: 02:55.14
    WENT: 2:52.84 r:+0.84
    38.89 1:24.37 (45.48)
    2:08.62 (44.25) 2:52.84 (44.22)
    Wow, I actually gave a some fruit to the 200 breast? Yuppers - my goal for a FIRST EVER EVER 200 breast was to break 3 minutes. I focused on LONG underwaters (just about made the 15m mark the first four), swim an easy 125 then rock it home. Was a good swim (I've been working pull and kick from my Cape buddy Jim), and Rich suggested tossing the kick at the end of my pull after he swam. You'll recall my slow pace put him into a trance and the announcer had to call "SwimStud, wake up and get on the block." It was as if St. Nick was dashing down the stairs at Harvard, as I saw him spring onto the lane 3 platform then rocket off to a PB. Dude is awesome.

    #32 Men 200 Freestyle Entry Time: 01:57.19
    WENT: 1:56.62 r:+0.77
    27.55 57.50 (29.95)
    1:27.68 (30.18) 1:56.62 (28.94)
    Felt really strong, and I used a forceful two beat kick for the first 50, then gradually added legs after each turn. I waited until the 75 flip to really pick it up, and I will start a little sooner next time and attack the 3rd 50 more.

    #34 Men 100 Backstroke Entry Time: :59.45
    WENT: 58.78
    29.18 58.78 (29.60)
    Finally under the 59 mark, and based on the swim I need to take this out faster - I think I can hold on the back end. Dan from Pittsfield noted that I was not driving my shoulders enough, so I will work on that.

    ** This was not only my long day, but the meet's, as we got out around 6:30pm. That was a lot of swimming - I just ate supper and went to bed.

    Sunday, March 18

    #42 Men 200 Individual Medley Entry Time: 02:22.47
    WENT: 2:14.31 r:+0.80
    28.14 1:00.99 (32.85)
    1:44.72 (43.73) 2:14.31 (29.59)
    Wow! I went 2:22 in January, so this was a SIX second drop for me - still hard to fathom it. I stayed strong on the fly, worked the shoulder rotation (with less kick) on the back, then busted a long while shifting my kick for the breast before bring the free home. Jim noted that I did not lose time on the Breast, which I have always done before. It felt awesome, so it is getting the Chiquita®.

    #44 Men 50 Backstroke Entry Time: :27.76
    WENT: 27.60
    Happy with this swim. The only thing I will note, without a hint of whining, is that in lane one the flags do not fully extend over the lane - they are clipped to a plastic line. I was really far from the finish when I pulled out the "Leake Lunge," and could have short stroked it for a quicker time. Still, I was happy to get a little faster.

    #52 Men 100 Freestyle Entry Time: :52.60
    WENT: 52.14 r:+0.79
    25.23 52.14 (26.91)
    This was a good swim, and I was right next to Dave F. from the Cape on this one. I swam it 25 strong, 50 sprint, 25 last swim of the meet ... probably could have gone out with more intensity on the first 25 and gotten under 52. That will have to wait until next year.

    *** Beautiful day in Boston, 70 degrees, St. Patty's Day parade (which the family took in). I feel really blessed to be able to swim in this neck of the world, and to have this great facility and meet to dive into. For the 3 hour ride home I always take Rt 2 back to Vermont, driving through Concord like Paul Revere, past Leominster (birthplace of Johnny Appleseed) and Gardner, the furniture capital of New England before you get to the the toilet paper factory in Irving. Lot's of history here. A great meet, and our prayers for save travel and competition were answered. Now, I am going to complete my warmdown for the day with a dip in the hot tub, then .

    Updated March 18th, 2012 at 11:01 PM by rxleakem

    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  9. Meet 3/3/12: Simon's Rock Countdown to Champs Mini Meet

    by , March 3rd, 2012 at 09:09 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Back from the Mini Meet in Great Barrington, MA, this afternoon. Three more Bennington area swimmers joined me along with close to 50 other swimmers for a great afternoon of racing. Bill Meier and the team down in the Berkshires put on a great meet yet again this year.

    My times:
    200 Fly: 2:23.35
    29.75, 35.03 = 1:04.46
    39.13, 39.44 = 1:18.57
    - My first ever 2fly! Only the 200 free was offered at the meet, so I let everyone around know that I was doing fly. Well, since it is a smaller meet and introducitons were given for all lanes, Bill announced I would be doing it fly - no turning back!
    - I tried to follow advice from TG in [ame=""]the Butterfly Lane[/ame] and loafed the first 100 (should have loafed more), and then that piano was waiting for me on the second half! I kept wondering if anyone would notice if I just sneaked in some one arm fly. I will keep experimenting with the DPS fly that Swimasaur employs ...
    - I am really pleased with this time, and happy to check it off my bucket list. Probably won't do it again for a while (I'm thinking once an age group).

    500 Free: 5:27.37
    29.72, 32.98 = 1:02.70
    30.82, 34.91 = 1:05.73
    34.24, 33.44 = 1:07.68
    33.97, 34.30 = 1:08.27
    31.98, 30.98 = 1:02.96
    - I was gunning to get under 5:30 and did it - very pumped. I roughly followed advice from [ame=""]pwolf66 in a forum thread[/ame] with a strong first 100 then adding more kick. I really went hard for the last 100 and was excited to see the final time - I will aim to keep more even in the front half and pick it up sooner at the end next time (the second half was 2 seconds slower than the first). This was the first time I have done a 500 free since high school.

    100 Breast 1:19.06
    37.45, 41.61
    - Worked the pullouts to the max, and felt better with the pull end of the stroke to get under 1:20. Jim suggested I keep working to not sweep so wide with my kick, so I'll keep plugging with this, my least favorite stroke with hopes to improve my IM times.

    w/u was 1300, 200 after fly, 100 after 500 = 2400 yards total for the day as I swam to three masters PB's with my new Yingfa suit.

    It was fun to have fellow teammate and forumite GregJS car pool with my family en route to breaking 1 minute in the 100 FR in his first masters meet. Kim and Joelle also made the trip down from the Bennington area - we all ended up doing the 500 FR and counted for each other. It was strange - guys swam before girls as the heats were not mixed. Worked out for the 500 as the girls counted for us then we reciprocated the favor back to them.

    I was also able to meet up with Dan, Craig, and Kyle from the Pittsfield team, as well as the folks from Simon's Rock (including our old teammate Jon, who swam in his first ever masters meet in the 500 free). I also met some of the FISH swimmers from Poughkeepsie, NY, (perhaps swimmerb212 shook my hand?) before stopping at a Mexican restaurant on the way home for supper. Great day! Now to update those rascally times on my sidebar - filling the hole in today!

    Updated March 3rd, 2012 at 09:31 PM by rxleakem

    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  10. Harvard Meet - March 2012

    by , January 25th, 2012 at 05:56 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I signed up today for the New England scy Champs at Harvard in March. I entered best masters times for all events (the website suggested these during the registration process, kinda neat), except for the 200 breast. Yes, the 2br - I decided to enter it for the first time ever and just ballparked a time.

    Friday, March 16, 8:00am warmup, 9:00am start
    #10 Men 50 Freestyle Time: :24.37
    #12 Men 200 Backstroke Time: 02:11.88
    #14 Men 100 Individual Medley Entry Time: 01:03.18

    Saturday, March 17, 8:00am warmup, 9:00am start
    #24 Men 50 Butterfly Entry Time: :26.84
    #26 Men 200 Breaststroke Entry Time: 02:55.14
    #32 Men 200 Freestyle Entry Time: 01:57.19
    #34 Men 100 Backstroke Entry Time: :59.45

    Sunday, March 18, 8:00am warmup, 9:00am start
    #42 Men 200 Individual Medley Entry Time: 02:22.47
    #44 Men 50 Backstroke Entry Time: :27.76
    #52 Men 100 Freestyle Entry Time: :52.60

    Last year I swam 6 events, and this year I decided to bump it up to 10. We'll see how the training progresses through the end of winter and see if some time drops are realized in the middle of March!

    I will be mailing in entries for the Valentines and Pace/Maker's mini-meets tomorrow. With these meets, I will replace the 100 and 200 Free with Fly to complete all events for the scy season

    Now, off for a swim ...

    Updated January 26th, 2012 at 11:23 PM by rxleakem

    Masters Swim Meets / Events , Planning
  11. WCWC Mini Meet 1/22/12

    by , January 22nd, 2012 at 10:48 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Took the short three hour drive to Salem, NH, to swim at a mini meet this afternoon. I said hi to forumite mrubacky and watched him swim a great 500. I also ran into my buddy Jim from the Cape, as well as meeting other folks there for a really nice meet.

    Here are my posted times from the meet:
    - 200 IM (goal: 2:16.72) - went 2:22.04
    -- well off my goal, but I haven't swam this in 20 years and I guess doubling my 100 IM and adding ~10% failed. (At least I beat the high school kid from last week ) Splits were:
    29.17, 1:04.80(35.63), 1:52.74(47.94), 2:22.04(29.30)

    - 50 FR (goal: 24.94) - went 24.25
    - 50 BR (goal: 38.77) - went 38.13
    - 50 FLY (goal: 27.86) - went 27.07
    - 50 BK (goal: 28.46- - went 28.22

    The swims felt good (surprised myself with the fly), and an amazing thing is that the meet was over with in less than one hour! I knew that my conditioning is not the greatest, and I have not done much speed work so the times were in the ballpark of where I would expect my training to be at this time. (Total swimming for the day ~ 1900yds)

    I will be registering for the Harvard meet this week, still figuring out which events to swim. Last year I entered six, and I am thinking of eight or ten this year - depending. One Hour swim before the end of the month as I incorporate more speed work into my routine.

    Updated February 3rd, 2012 at 12:19 PM by rxleakem (Updating swim times from meet)

    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  12. Saturday 12/10/11: NEM SCM Champs

    by , December 10th, 2011 at 11:22 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I headed out this morning spot on 6am for the 3 hour drive to Boston, with my daughter as copilot for the meet at BU. Having messaged aztimm and others yesterday, I texted him to sign me in for the 400 FR as this closed at 9:15. Good thing, as I got to the pool about 5 minutes later - thank you very much, Tim!

    I got in an easy warmup, as my goal for this meet was in line with this season - get times by not to duplicating events and see how close those scy -> scm conversion tools are. I did:
    200 FR/200 bk/100 Fly drill, some 50 swim/kicks, two sprints from blocks and another 200 at the end (around 1000m).

    I met up with aztimm before after warmups and thanked him again for checking me in. I think I ran into Fort and Stud after the 400, then slknight dropped in before noon and said hi. I also said hi to mrubacky (missed him at the Riverton meet) along with some of the folks from Maine, Cape Cod, and Pittsfield that I have met at other meets.

    The meet is being run through swimphone here: so you can check out everyone's results. I have linked my results below:

    400m Free: Goal: 4:55.Swam: 4.51.57
    - Felt really good. I tried not to go out too fast and settled into a strong two beat kick with DPS strokes. I was hoping to obtain consistent, even splits but that did not happen so much! I has happy to negative split it, and it was nice that someone counted my laps for me - still not sure what kind soul did that.
    (200y w/d)

    100m IM: Goal: 1:13. Swam: 1.11.62
    - I had a strong underwater with the start, and even stayed under 5 more meters than I planned. In typical fashion, I had a strong first 50, then tanked the breaststroke leg. My buddy Jim from the Cape shouted at me to "stretch" but I still struggled through. Someday I will invest the time to figure that stroke out ...
    (100y w/d, a long couple of hour break, then a quick 100y w/u before...)

    50m Free: Goal: under 27. Swam: 26.88
    - This felt good, but I had a bad turn and didn't stay underwater past the flags on the final lap. Oh well, I am still really happy with this.
    (200y ez)

    200m Back: Goal 2:25. Swam 2:24.82
    - I had a decent start and good underwaters for the first 100. I was definitely searching for the walls at the 25y mark, as I seemed to float forever into the wall. I tried to ramp it up heading into the half way point, but I could not get my turnover turning over. My turns in the second half were lackluster, proving I need more conditioning for this distance. But I am super excited about this time!
    (100y w/d, then out)
    (1750scm, 700 yds total for the day)

    My meet is over for now, as I am back in Vermont and getting ready to hit the hot tub before work tomorrow. Overall I felt very fast and happy I made the trip down today to swim, and watch some other really fast swimmers. My daughter met up with a friend and checked out the school more than our tour this summer allowed.

    Again, it was great to meet more of the forumites and check in with other friends at the meet, especially a great 200 Breast between aztimm and Stud and Susan rocking the 200 Fly. Everyone is helpful in answering my questions about training and competing. I am turning my attention to a "squad meet" this coming Tuesday at my home pool that I will be running - trying to get other swimmers in the area to "catch" the competition bug like me for next year.

    Updated December 12th, 2011 at 12:28 AM by rxleakem

    Tags: boston, bu scm
    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  13. Riverton Results & Workout 11/18/11

    by , November 18th, 2011 at 02:48 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    My goal to practice every day this week hit a road block last night due to my mental block - I missed Adult Swim time! Mon thru Wed the pm time is 6:15-7:30, and on Thursday it is 5-6:15. I showed up at 6:10 and saw all the swim team kids in the pool and knew I made a mistake.

    Oh well, took it as a sign that a day off was in order ...
    11/18 Solo at Rec (scy):

    w/u: 200 FR/200 BK

    2 x 500 swim with Paddles (continuous)
    - 25 DPS/25 fast, 50/50, 75/75, 100/100 FR
    - Repeat with back all all but the 75's

    TWO TIMES Thru:
    - Start on :60
    - 4 x 50 kick on :50 (flutter with board, ok back w/o, dolphin, flutter)
    - Wait until the :45
    - 4 x 100 FR Pull with buoy on 1:20 (dec 1-4)
    - Wait until the :15
    - 4 x 50 swim fast (free/bk/free/bk)

    10 Deep water Bobs

    TWO TIMES Thru:
    - 100 FR swim (50 DPS, 50 fast) on 1:10
    - 50 ez (25 skull, 25 kick on back) on 1:20
    - 50 hard FLY
    - q-break til the top

    200 ez and out
    (3600, 65 minutes)
    Felt good today, and wanted to push some yardage. I see that James has adopted the q-break, so I figured I will too (us 200 BK guys need to stick together - haha).

    I went for the long swim to start because I haven't used my paddles in a while and figure my strength needs some work. I made the kicks on the first set with 5 seconds to spare - I have really been working at adding kicking to my workout and going faster with it. I tried to descend the Pulls and did well - 1:14 -> 1:09 both times, thinking about long strong strokes and power through the bottom of the pull. I held :32's on the free and :35's on the back.

    On the second set I was able to come in at 1:04 on both the 100s, ez feeling. The flys were 33, which is good for me.

    Off to help out at my son's school today. My daughter is on a trip to NYC (MET Museum of Art, UN, 9/11 Memorial). Tomorrow I am going to help with a stroke clinic at Master's practice, probably 30 minutes of free and back work. Should be fun.

    Attached are the results from the Riverton meet. I will have to break down the 200 FR, but it looks as crappy as it felt. I did a good job splitting the 100's, but hope to take them out a little faster in the future. Still trying to lay down more yards for the 2Bk at BU ...

    Also, you can see me in the 100m FR at the Riverton Meet here: - I am in lane 2 at the top of the pool. My time of 1.00 converts to a high 53 in yards, and I was 52.6 during the spring, so I am really happy with that time at this point in the year.

    Updated November 18th, 2011 at 07:50 PM by rxleakem

    Swim Workouts , Masters Swim Meets / Events
  14. Riverton Meet (scm) 11/13/11

    by , November 13th, 2011 at 11:37 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I made the trip up to Maine on Saturday to stay with friends and to swim at the 4th Annual Greater Portland Meet. My buddies live ten blocks from the pool, so it was a good reason to head up for a quick weekend.

    An added bonus was a start and turn clinic held an hour before warmups, at no charge. Without having a full-fledged coach with our workout group, it was good to get a refresher on proper techniques, especially with the starts. I was able to work with Doug on the back start, and I think it helped a lot for the swim.

    Clinic (we'll say distance = 200)
    Warm up:
    200 FR/ 200 BK
    3 x 50 kick (FR, BK, FL)
    4 x 50 swim, last 1/4 fast
    150 ez
    (900 total)

    For the swims ...
    (100 ez swim)

    100 Free: seed 59.95, swam 1:00.43 (29.40, 31.03)
    - Felt ok, but not as strong as the scy meets this spring. I was hoping to get under :60, but that was not to be. I was thinking more about really cranking on the next swim ...

    (3 heats, 100 cool down swim)

    100 Back: seed 1:11.55, swam 1:07.75 (34.80, 32.95)
    - Felt great! I was happy to have worked on the start before the meet, as I think the modest improvement from my usually dreadful one helped. I really worked the underwater sdk, even though I need to keep working it more. I went all out on the third lap and pushed it coming home. I'm interested in the splits, which I will post once I see them - took it out too slow, but I'm still very happy with this.

    (5 heats, 100 ez)

    200 Free: seed 2:15.15, swam 2:18.62 (31.22, 35.43, 36.32, 35.65)
    - I had a feeling this was not going to be good as my heart was still pumping from the back. I felt like I had no air, which is pointing out to me that I need to work more on training for the 200's.

    (100 ez, and a nice break before heading into the sprints)

    50 Back: seed 32.56, swam 31.18
    - Worked the start and underwaters again here. Felt very good.

    (1 heat rest before ...)

    50 Fly: seed 32.65, swam 31.02
    - Tired but the swim was a good one. My turn was slow, but I don't really practice fly much. My lungs were shot so I did not have great skd, but I was happy with the time.

    100 easy warm down, and a four hour drive home.


    I had a great weekend in Maine, "the way life should be." The clinic was a great addition to the meet, and I was able to meet some great folks in the Portland area. It was easy to pick out jbs during warmups when he was describing the insane events he was swimming, and it was good to chat with him during the meet. An added bonus was the water and halloween candy hold-overs that we could munch on during the meet. I was able to get some coaching advice from Mike and Doug too.

    Giving my lackluster week, I was really happy with these times. I have not swum scm since 1992, so I tried to pick seeds at where I wanted to be at this point. Since I am only going to get to two meets this "season," my philosophy is not to repeat any events, get some times, and then see what happens next year. My great experiment for the first "official" year back in the pool.

    I made it home in time to join the family at the local "Empty Bowls" event in town. A $10 donation allows you to pick out a hand made bowl that volunteers make throughout the summer, then fill it up with over 10 varieties of soup donated by local restaurants, with some bread and them cookies for dessert. The proceeds benefit the food pantries and fuel fund in the Bennington area, so a great way to have a meal with friends and strangers plus help out many of those in our area that are struggling to get food or fuel into their homes. Especially after the damage that Irene brought.

    Updated November 18th, 2011 at 08:31 PM by rxleakem (Adding results/splits)

    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  15. New England Masters 10K Championship Results

    by , October 9th, 2011 at 10:08 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Here are the official results from the New England 6+ mile OW Championships last month, my first at this distance. I also received my medal in the mail this week from this really enjoyable race. Also, it looks like proceeds from the race will be able to provide close to $1000 to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society!

    Name Time
    Andrew H. 02:12
    Ryan S. 02:41
    Doug S. 02:42
    Trent T. 02:45
    Michael L. 02:46
    Albert G. 02:46
    Michael S. 02:54
    Chris L. 03:16
    Michael S. 03:20
    Victor Y. 03:32
    Bill E. 04:00
    Lou S. 05:55

    Morgan S. 02:34
    Charlotte B. 02:48
    Elaine H. 03:14
    Paula Y. 03:17

    Matt G. 01:13
    Kaan D. 01:19
    Thomas N. 01:23
    Josh S. 01:25
    Donald S. 01:29
    Al H. 01:29
    Antoine L. 01:30
    Paul D. 01:34
    Steve S. 01:42
    Joe S. 01:51
    Rich H. 01:51
    Mike G. 01:56
    Jim P. 02:02

    Ellen A. 01:17
    Jill L. 01:17
    Kayle S. 01:17
    Donna N. 01:23
    Stephanie H. 01:25
    Suzanne K. 01:26
    Ali M. 01:33
    Kathy L. 01:36
    Jill L. 01:40
    Christina L. 01:49
    Maura T. 01:50

    Updated October 9th, 2011 at 11:55 PM by rxleakem

    Masters Swim Meets / Events
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  16. 9/25/11: New England Masters 5/10K Championships

    by , September 25th, 2011 at 10:16 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I completed my first 10K swim today in Coventry, Rhode Island, at the 5th annual Flat River Reservoir Champion's Challenge. There were just over 40 total participants swimming in either the 5K or 10K events, with a mix of folks donning wetsuits or not. I choose not to, and was happy since the water temp was a warm 68 degrees. I posted a picture of the course recently, but essentially we started on the south end of the lake, swam north for 1 mile, then went east for 1/2 mile, round a buoy and back for 5K, with those doing the 10K make 2 laps.

    The race was started shortly after 9am, with all swimmers entering the water together, but the USMS registered swimmers in the 10K race starting 5 seconds later (so that the results can be certified). I was in the later wave, and found that since the field was not large there was no problem getting out from the start and through the pack.

    I found myself near the front after the first mile, and looked back as I did some backstroke to stretch out my shoulders and found that a pack of 4-5 folks were bunched in behind me. No one was really interested to take over the point, so I keep churning. After we made the first right to the short buoy our group broke up a bit and I stopped for some hydration from my kayaker, Bob, who made the trip down from Maine to paddle with me.

    I settled into a grove behind 2-3 folks through the turnaround and for the next mile or so. After another hydration break, I finished the last 1/4 mile of the 5K. All of a sudden a swimmer was headed towards us - I though it was a late starter but Bob confirmed it was the lead guy going for his second lap. I caught up to the group at the starting buoy and was surprised that most of them finished for the 5K, while I turned around for the 10K! haha - I guess it helped to pace with them as my split was 1hr 18min and change.

    My right calf cramped up at the turnaround, so I was slowed down a bit to stretch it out. I tried a blackberry goo shot, which was just plain gross. For the rest of the race my right leg was bothering me, but I decided to get in a cycle of 40 hard stokes followed by 100 long/strong. It worked well back to the 1 mile marker, but my goggles kept fogging up so I was hampered there. I increased my hydration to 20 minute intervals, and decided after the far turnaround to try some food. One fruit cup later, and the way to sweet cherries I knew that was a bad idea! I keep moving and was not able to gain much on a gentleman in front of me, or lose ground from the guy behind.

    The last 1/4 mile was tough; my arms were shot, right leg bothering me, and I was starting to feel nauseous from my failed fielding attempts. Bob was a great encouragement as always, cheering my on to finish as strong as possible. I came in at an official time of 2 hours, 46 minutes, 12 seconds. Not to shabby for my first marathon distance swim. I was spent after the race, and even got sick, but we were treated to a great post-race lunch and a chocolate bar shaped like a swimmer as an award.

    Bob wondered what I thought about during the swim. I employed some counting (forward and backward), but I used much of the time praying for family and friends and also reciting the books of the New Testament in order by book (my son had a test at school this week on these). The end of the swim was tough, but I found that by focusing on these, I was able to block out the pain and exhaustion that I was feeling. It took me about 15 minutes to start thinking clearly again and try something to eat (Bob was kind enough to give me a shoulder rub).

    I will post the final results once they are available, but I was able to average 2.25 mph for the race. Ray Gandy and the folks in RI put on a great swim, where safety was the number one concern. There were four buoys dividing the lake, two jet skiers patrolling as well as some other boats, and every swimmer had a kayaker to keep an extra set of eyes on the water. In addition, we had a great feast set up after the swim and a really energized feeling from all of the racers, family/friends, and volunteers that came together to make this event happen.

    I never swam more than a 500yd as an age-grouper, and after just 2 years back in the water I am trying these longer distances with the hopes of tackling the English Channel in the next 6 years or so. Time will tell on that, but I am very thankful that the Lord has blessed me with the ability to swim, and has surrounded me with a loving family and friends to encourage me, even though sometimes I think I might be crazier than they think I am!
  17. New England 10K in two weeks

    by , September 12th, 2011 at 09:45 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    After a successful 2.4 mile swim at the Peaks to Portland (Maine) in July, in which I swam without a wetsuit in 62-64 degree Atlantic Ocean water in a time of 49:54, I am now looking towards my first 6.2 mile swim on Sunday, 9/25, in Rhode Island.

    Ray, the race coordinator, gave me a call last night and mentioned that 40+ folks are registered for either the 5K or 10K swims. I am going to be able to have my buddy Bob join me as my kayaker for the event, which I am really happy about.

    I have been reading the Open Water forums for helpful hints for this distance. I have had limited training this month due to Hurricane Irene pummeling Vermont. Our town had no main water supply for 7 days, and the Rec center where I train was closed for 2 weeks (one for yearly maintenance, the other since we had no water). Finally the major road traversing the southern border of Vermont, from Bennington to Brattelboro, was reopened this past weekend. Today my wife and I traveled it on my motorcycle - totally different landscape with roads washed out and buildings gone. We were blessed to only have rain and wind at my home, so I thank God for his protection.

    If anyone has additional tips for this long swim please feel free to leave them for me. I was able to get in a 3600yd swim tonight in less than one hour, alternating focus on 8x200 power swims and 9x100 sprints.

    Anyone else planning to swim?

    Updated September 12th, 2011 at 09:51 PM by rxleakem (wanted to add a category to the entry - still trying to figure out how to navigate these blogs. :))

    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  18. Peaks to Portland 2011

    by , April 11th, 2011 at 10:42 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I signed up today for the Peaks swim, coming up this July. I swam the 2.4 mile Atlantic Ocean swim last year for the first time, which was also my first open water swim. It was great!

    The event is not sponsored by USMS that I know of, but it is a great swim in a wonderful small city with lots of stuff to do with the family.

    You can get some more info about the event here: http://cumberlandcountyymca.kintera....8AA90B6861DA8D

    There is a fundraising component for each swimmer entered, and if you message me I can get that specific info to you.

    Participants need to complete a qualifying swim at a local pool to be eligible, and a kayaker is strongly recommended. They start the event in waves of 50, and all swimmers have a timing chip Velcroed around their ankle for timing.

    You can read about my adventure last year here:

    I plan to swim without a wet suit this year, and hope to go under the 50 minute mark. I have a silly notion of trying to swim the Straight of Gilbralter in the next couple of years, and the English Channel within seven years. We'll see how the Lord leads on all of this ...

    Updated January 16th, 2012 at 02:24 PM by rxleakem

    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  19. My second meet as a Master

    by , February 24th, 2011 at 09:49 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    20th Annual Valentines Love to Swim Classic: 2/19/11

    100 Backstroke: 59.45 - my goal was to get under 1 minute!

    100 IM : 1:04.06 - I wish I could be more efficient at the breaststroke.

    50 Free: 24.37 - felt good, need to work on the turn.

    100 Free: 53.45 - Super excited about this time - I was aiming for a 55.

    I need to keep working on my stroke, as the back is off just a little due to poor hip rotation, which is preventing my left pull from getting as deep as it ought to be. Also, the 100 Free was my last event, and I sucked wind on the last lap - even some water due to a bad breath with 15 yards to go.

    I have been working on some longer endurance sets with time intervals to keep pace - I try to get in two workouts a week hard (3600yds in 60 minutes) and then 1-2 more (2600 in 60 minutes) where I focus more on stroke work/drills/kicking.

    Any ideas for helping my hips and shoulders to rotate together for backstroke would be appreciated!
  20. Simon's Rock Pace/Makers meet 01/23/2011

    by , February 12th, 2011 at 12:53 AM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)

    Unofficial results from my first swim meet in 15 years...

    200 Free: 2:06.??
    50 Fly: 28.34
    100 Back: 1:03.10
    (I also swam back in the 200 Med. relay with some new friends from the Pittsfield, MA Masters.)

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