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Of Swimming Bondage

bondage:

  • dictionary.com: the state of being bound by or subjected to some external power or control

Though I swore at 22 I would hang my suit up forever, I am compelled to swim, to relish in the pain/pleasure continuum across workouts and meets, to be forever & happily enslaved by this odd sport.

In my 50s now, I've created this blog to keep me motivated, chart my progress and, possibly, offer some insight to others.

  1. Nats Day 4 - Blue Moon and the GEOAT

    by , May 1st, 2016 at 02:44 PM (Of Swimming Bondage)
    While I wasn't one of the people responsible for apparently draining all the kegs ordered for the Beer Garden at the meet on Saturday night, I did decide to chillax a little at our family dinner that evening and had a Blue Moon beer with dinner. Normally at Nationals, I never drink until the meet is over, but, after how dead I was concluding the 200 IM on Saturday, I figured one beer couldn't hurt my 400 IM this morning.

    I slept like a dog last night - out cold around 11:30pm and I awoke on my own at 6:45am. I did some light yoga, had a bowl of instant oatmeal and hit the Starbucks for a quad espresso before heading over to the GAC. Strangely, given how poor my IM performance was on Saturday, I was probably more excited and more calmly pumped for my 400 IM that I can recall ever being at a Nationals. Traditionally, it is the first event on Friday and, hence, my first event of the meet. As it's my favorite race, it is also the race that I normally place the most expectations on myself and so I'm usually anxious and jumpy before it.

    Today's mood was about as close to 180 degrees away from that as possible; I was just looking forward to a good race. I knew I wasn't going to keep up with Nicholas Granger in lane 5 and so determined to just put blinders on for that side of the pool. Fortunately, I was next to Dave Wharton in lane 7 and I figured, based upon the meet he was having, that the race for second would be with him. Knowing that I'm a stronger backstroker and he's a stronger breaststroker than me, I just aimed to stick as close to him on the fly as possible, tried to get as far ahead on the backstroke as I could, hoped I would not lose too much ground on the breaststroke and then steeled myself for a gut buster to the finish on the free. The race played out almost exactly as I expected. The one part of the race that surprised me was the back to breast turn. I had purposefully done an open turn instead of a rollover to try to get a big gulp of air before the breaststroke pullout (always the strongest part of that stroke for me), but I guess I had expended a bit too much energy on the backstroke as I pushed off and quickly realized that I needed to get to the surface for air. This is only the second time in my life I can remember NOT doing an underwater breaststroke pullout (the last was Omaha 2012), but it was the right decision.

    I somehow managed to hang on for second and was extremely pumped to see 4:20.28 on the scoreboard. While I've been faster at three Nationals before ...
    • 2012 - 4:15.17
    • 2008 - 4:17.04
    • 2003 - 4:20.07

    ... this was faster than the 4:21.19 from Santa Clara in 2014 and that was my only goal for this event for the meet.

    I know that everyone would agree that the 400 IM is the Greatest Event Of All Time so you can understand my special joy in wrapping up Nationals with a great swim in that wondrous event. As I've not done a lot of focused IM training this season, this time really left me pumped and feeling like I can get under my 4:15 best time next year!

    Off to get some good pit BBQ before the flight home and then a couple of days away from the pool!
  2. Nats Day 3 - humbled and still happy

    by , April 30th, 2016 at 09:32 PM (Of Swimming Bondage)
    This was a rough day - recorded the two worst times I've ever done at a Nationals in both the 500 free and the 200 IM - and, yet, still emerged from the GAC today happy and smiling.

    500 free

    • Best time jammers - 4:50.18 (Greensboro '12)
    • Last year in San Antonio - 4:55.30
    • Today - 4:57.60
    • Comments:
      • Going into the race, I had figured that going under last year's time was going to be a breeze. I wasn't confident that I could get down to the time from 4 years ago, but I figured something in the 4:52 to 4:54 range was eminently doable.
      • My race strategy was pretty simple - try to go out the first 350 and hang with whoever was in the lead while keeping 13SPL and a tight, two-beat kick. After that I intended to ramp up the stroke count to 15 for a 75, while still keeping a two-beat, and then intended to add the legs for the last 75.
      • I kind of did that for a bit, but struggled to keep the stroke count at 13 by about the 200. I was only at 14, but was definitely not feeling a lot of love and juice coming from my arms. When Steve Unruh started his move around the 300, I asked my body for the next gear ... and it wasn't there.
      • In the end, it wasn't so much that I died, but I just never had a faster gear - splits were 56.4, 59.9, 1:00.8, 1:00.5, 59.9


    200 IM

    • Best time jammers - 2:00.94 (Greensboro '12)
    • 2014 Santa Clara - 2:01.99
    • Today - 2:06.59
    • Comments:
      • Well, that sucked. Started slow, felt kind of beat from the get-go and never got going. Probably my worst ever swim at a Nationals ever, I'm pretty sure.


    ... but, whatever disappointment I felt from the IM dissipated later in the day as my father, older sister, daughter and I got ready for the mixed medley relay. Ahead of the race, we spent an inordinate, yet mildly hilarious time trying to get a mixture of family photos and then got down to the event. In the end, we weren't competitive (as we were in the 18+ age group), but we had fun. We wrapped the family fun with a very nice dinner out tonight.

    ... and I'm looking forward to the 400 IM tomorrow!

    Updated April 30th, 2016 at 09:41 PM by pwb

    Categories
    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  3. Nats Day 2 - Broke the best times streak, but still happy

    by , April 29th, 2016 at 04:57 PM (Of Swimming Bondage)
    I had gone 6 for 6 best times in my individual events when I swam in Greensboro in 2012 and had hoped to keep that streak going at least through today, but, unlike my 1000 yesterday where I went out fast, I couldn't muster the right front half speed on my 100 today to notch up a best time. Still, I was very happy with this light and fun day of racing.

    50 backstroke

    • Best time tech suit - 27.23 (Sept 2009)
    • Best time jammers - 27.93 (Jan 2012)
    • Today - 27.15
    • Comments:
      • I was bummed that the lines were too long in warmup for me to try out the backstroke starting devices and so I opted to not try something new in the race.
      • This was one of those races where I figured, if nothing else went right this weekend, I'd at least get one best time (jammers best) as I'd never swum this tapered and shaved.
      • While it felt like I did everything wrong - too deep on the start, too long underwater, jammed the turn, felt like I was spinning instead of swimming and took an extra stroke at the finish - the time result was great and much faster than I thought I'd do, knocking off an old tech suit swim (leggings, not bodysuit) from 2009.
      • Great way to start to the day.


    100 free
    • Best time tech suit - 48.12 (Mar 2009)
    • Best time jammers - 50.36 (Jan 2011)
    • Today - 50.71
    • Comments:
      • While this wasn't a best time, I was probably even happier with this than the 50 back. I've not been under 51.68 since I went that 50.36 back in 2011.
      • While it would've been nice to get under the jammers best, 2011 was a season when I was training to be a sprinter and I've been doing next to no speed work lately.
      • My splits - 24.97 / 25.74 - show two things: (a) my lack of sprint training and (b) my lack of gutsiness. If there was one part of this race that I was disappointed in, it is that I probably held back too much on the first 50.
      • Like the 1000 where I still think I have the ability to get under 10:00, I still think I've got one more sub-50 100 in me in the future.


    Now it's just some work this afternoon, a nice dinner tonight and then a helluva race tomorrow morning in the 500!
  4. Nats Day 1 - I'm no Katie Ledecky ...

    by , April 28th, 2016 at 02:06 PM (Of Swimming Bondage)
    ... and maybe I shouldn't have had that extra shot of espresso about 20 minutes ahead of my 1000 today, but the end result at least got me to my first level of 'swim nirvana' - a best time!

    I will say that my trip out yesterday, last night and this morning was the smoothest and least nerve-wracking that I can ever recall before a big meet. I was ultra calm, felt almost no worry about my race today, slept very well - especially given the timezone change, and was supremely confident in warmups. Yes, I did get a little nerves around heat 19 ( I was in heat 23), but nothing like I normally feel before my first race at a Nationals. I'm sure it helped that my memories of swimming here in 2012 are beyond positive - I went 6 for 6 best times then and really surprised myself on some of my swims. It also helped that I was very confident in my training leading up to this.

    I had a race plan going into the 1000 today that was very similar to what I've done the last two times I've raced it:
    • First 400 - try to get into a 13 SPL and feel smooth
    • Next 300 - as needed, bump up to 14 SPL
    • Next 200 - go to 15 SPL
    • Last 100 - whatever the hell I've got

    ... but I also decided that I was going to just go with whatever feel I had at the start of the race and try to get into a pretty fast stroke rate. The one thing I did not want to happen was to lock into too slow a stroke rate or to feel like I had too much left at the end of the race.

    Well, I clearly accomplished the last goal - I was pretty hurting by around the 650-750 - and had as close to zero in the tank at the touch as I wanted. I also generally held to the stroke rate and count plan, though I could feel my stroke getting sloppy around the same point that I started to get tired. My splits tell the story of the pain ...
    • 500s - 4:58.3 - 5:11.6
    • 200s - 1:56.2 - 2:00.8 - 2:03.4 - 2:05.0 - 2:04.5

    ... but I touched just under 10:10 at 10:09.92 for the overall win and a best time by 4 seconds

    The only bummer is that I was very close to my next level of swim nirvana - breaking our AZ State Record from the suit era, which was 10:09.09. When I touched the wall and saw how close I was to that, I was initially bummed that I didn't get it ... but I quickly got over that and am really pleased how the meet has started.

    Of course ... I still think I can go faster next year as I really want to achieve my next level of 1000 swim nirvana - sub 10!
  5. SAT Nats Day 2: The Age of Adaline

    by , April 26th, 2015 at 02:43 PM (Of Swimming Bondage)
    I went to see The Age of Adaline on Friday night after a very early dinner (4:30pm because the racing didn't really allow me to have a proper lunch) at Chuy's (shrimp tacos, no 'rita or Shiner Bock). I know it's not really a "guy film" nor is it a pump-you-up-to-race film like a Rocky flick would be, but my wife doesn't like movies with a sci-fi or fantasy element to them and I remember really enjoying The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (about a guy who aged in reverse). I quite enjoyed the movie and it was very fitting given my swim performances this weekend. I'm definitely aging chronologically, but not so much when it comes to race times.

    The last time I did a two day, six-event Nationals meet was in 2010 at Georgia Tech, the fading glory days of the full rubber bodysuit … and I ended up with a pretty miserable performance on the 6th event of day two. I did the same today on my 6th event (50 free) … and then somehow rejuvenated and finished, if not quite with flair, then, at least, with promise on the 200 free relay. It was another fun day of racing, capped by, perhaps, my most perplexing best time ever. Here’s the tale of the tape.

    500 free
    • Masters Best – 4:50.18 (Greensboro, 2012)
    • Today – 4:55.30
    • Reaction:
      • Surprise – With Steve Unruh’s very impressive 4:49 aside, I thought there’d be a bigger dogfight around the lower 4:50 range for the medals.
      • Satisfaction - I eeked out second place by 0.07
      • Adaline-like consistency – like my 200, this was my third best 500 of my Masters’ career, having gone 4:52 in Austin ’08 and 4:50 in Greensboro ’12. In my first ever Masters Nationals in Santa Clara in 2001, where I was a mere babe of 34 years old, I went 1:49.73 in my 200 (1:49.68 this weekend) and 4:55.69 in my 500. Now, if only I can hold that for the next 14 years, I will be an ass-kicking 62 year old, provided, of course, Steve gets slower
      • Relief – While I went out strong enough and held close enough to Mr. Unruh through about the 250, and didn’t exactly die (except the utterly crappy 7th 50 at 30.8), I certainly had no second gear or back half push. I was relieved that I had gotten a good enough lead over the five guys charging the back half so that I held on for the silver. 100 splits were 55.9, 59.3, 59.9, 1:01.0, 59.1
      • Reality Confirmation – More often than not, I go times in warmup that never transpire in a race. While I had felt great on Friday in every race and last night after the meet, I woke up this morning feeling beaten up. I couldn’t get going in warmup and really struggled to hit any 50 pace under 30. I actually felt HUGELY better throughout the actual race … but barely was under 30 on any of my splits. Maybe, as I get older, my pace swims in workout/warmup are becoming more predictive?


    100 breast
    • Masters best – 1:07.41 (Sun Devil Invite, 2011)
    • Tech suit best – 1:04.96
    • Today – 1:05.03
    • Reaction:
      • There has never been a race where I have been simultaneously more freaked out by a heat-mate and confident in my own efforts than this.
      • I was in the second fastest heat of my age group and, as I knew my time was from an unshaved, unrested meet, figured, naively (in hindsight), that I could handily handle my heatmates. Moreover, even swimming against some pretty good breaststrokers, my underwater pullouts (mostly thanks to the height advantage bestowed upon me by my loving parents, 6-foot tall Mom, in particular) are usually a huge advantage.
      • Imagine my surprise, then, when I came up behind the guy next to me after the start. That’s OK, I thought, I’ll reel him in after the first turn … oh so ego-fully-confident I was in my pullouts … but he kept pulling away from me.
      • Mind you, I was feeling great. My stroke was connected in a way it didn’t feel on the 50. My stroke count was spot on where I wanted it to be. I felt like I had access to a back half push. I (again, naively) thought I’d catch the guy.
      • But, still, he kept pulling away from me.
      • The whole second 50 I was bouncing between two thoughts in my head – “I feel great, I must be doing well” and “That guy is destroying me, I must be hallucinating from the 500 and sucking wind.”
      • Imagine my surprise when I saw the 1:05.0, barely a tenth over a tech suit time I had done at a meet I had rested for.
      • The lesson for today, for every day in the pool, for the thousandth time in my 40+ years of racing – swim your own race, most importantly with your head in your own lane.


    The Most Perplexing, Godawful, Stupid, Yet Strangely Intriguing Unicorn of a Race There Is (e.g., the 50 free)

    • Masters Best – 22.77 (Jan, 2011)
    • Today – 24.06
    • Reaction:
      • For all my professed love of the 400IM, the only event I have raced more times in my ~14 year Masters career is the 50 free (21 times vs 17 for the 400 IM). I often enter this race as either a warmup or a throwaway event, much like I did today, where it was my designated 6th event and the one I cared least about.
      • Caring not much about an event often leads to a good performance, as you don’t get yourself all wrapped in nerves and ego.
      • That worked well yesterday for our medley relay where I split a 22.85 on the anchor leg. It worked again at the end of the meet today (after the individual 50) where I dropped a 23.20 on another relay.
      • It didn’t work well in the individual event today. I routinely go 23-mid to 24-flat in mid-season meets and think nothing of it. Just a throwaway race.
      • The only thing I can attribute this poor performance to was my breathing plan. Normally, I breathe once down and once or twice coming back. Today, I decided to not breathe at all on the first lap and then only once on the second lap.
      • Clearly, this classically trained aerobic animal is not suited to such sprinter macho stuff. When the relay came around (done without much warming down after the individual event and without much focus), I breathed 1/1 and swam more according to norms.
      • Oh well, it’s not a real event, anyway (says the man who has known since time began that he’d never be capable of the raw speed and perfect execution this event requires), just a throwaway, a filler.


    The meet in summary
    • Though I have some quibbles with the competition course – namely smaller than needed lane ropes and some less than adequately tightened – this was, BY FAR, the best overall competition setup for a Masters Nationals. Clovis approached it with their 2 x 50M courses, but the indoor pool at San Antonio provided a much-needed respite from the elements, be they heat or lightening.
    • The weather gods were smiling on USMS this weekend, with expertly timed middle-of-the-night thunderstorms that miraculously cleared just about the time we needed to start. However, I still far prefer racing indoors. I know it’s all cool for the northerners to swim outside and put on sunblock, but I really would prefer if we always held Nationals indoors.
    • As with virtually any competition I go to, I left the meet uber-motivated for the next race, the next round of training, the next taper meet ... and fully believing that I can not only stay Adaline-young in my times, but potentially pull a few more years of Benjamin Button swims out and keep getting faster!



    =====================================
    Pools I've trained and/or competed in since 2007


    1. Cactus Aquatic Center (Scottsdale, AZ)
    2. Brophy Sports Campus (Phoenix, AZ)
    3. Lifetime Fitness (Scottsdale, AZ)
    4. Lifetime Fitness (Skokie, IL)
    5. Lifetime Fitness (Austin, TX)
    6. Somerville YMCA (Somerville, NJ)
    7. Raritan Valley Community College (Branchburg, NJ)
    8. IUPUI Natatorium (Indianapolis, IN)
    9. UT Swim Center (Austin, TX)
    10. U of Arizona Hillebrand Swim Center (Tucson, AZ)
    11. Talisman Centre Competition Pool (Calgary, Alberta)
    12. U of Lethbridge Max Bell Swim Centre (Lethbridge, Alberta)
    13. Crystal Pool (Victoria, British Columbia)
    14. Oaks Christian School (Westlake Village, CA)
    15. Lifetime Fitness (Berkeley Heights, NJ)
    16. Jewish Community Center (Scottsdale, AZ)
    17. McDowell Mountain Ranch Aquatic Center (Scottsdale, AZ)
    18. Desert Breeze Pool (Las Vegas, NV)
    19. The Olympic Club (San Francisco)
    20. Janet Evans Sports Complex (Fullerton, CA)
    21. Woollett Aquatic Center / Irvine High School (Irvine, CA)
    22. Bruce Hazard Pool @ Mission Valley YMCA (San Diego)
    23. UCSD Canyonview Pool (San Diego)
    24. Villanova University (Philadelphia, PA)
    25. Kino Aquatic Center (Mesa, AZ)
    26. Hilton Head Island Rec Center (Hilton Head, SC)
    27. YMCA Aquatic Center - 25M Diving Tank course (Orlando, FL)
    28. Westin Sohna-Gurgaon (India)
    29. Reading Central Pool (Reading, England)
    30. Optimist Park (Raleigh, NC)
    31. Pullen Aquatic Center (Raleigh, NC)
    32. NOVA Aquatics Center shallow pool (Richmond, VA)
    33. Lifetime Fitness (Cary, NC)
    34. Philadelphia Airport Marriott
    35. Berkeley Aquatic Club (Berkeley Heights, NJ)
    36. Chatham County Aquatic Center (Savannah, GA)
    37. Lifetime Fitness (Tempe, AZ)
    38. Clarke Swim Center 25 SCY course (Walnut Creek, CA)
    39. Holy Names University (Oakland, CA w/Manatee Masters)
    40. B.A.D.A.S.S. Pool (Scottsdale, AZ)
    41. Summit YMCA (Summit, NJ)
    42. George Washington Rec Center (Alexandria, VA)
    43. ACAC -- old 50M pool (Midlothian, VA)
    44. Centennial Indoor Pool (Cranford, NJ)
    45. Mission Viejo Dive Tank pool (Mission Viejo, CA)
    46. Mesa Carson Westwood Aquatic Complex (Mesa, AZ)
    47. Lifetime Fitness (Goodyear, AZ)
    48. Victoria YMCA (Victoria, BC)
    49. Issaquah Julius Boehm Pool (Issaquah, WA)
    50. Charles Hadley Pool (Miami, FL)
    51. Pompano Beach Aquatic Center (FL)
    52. Culver City Municipal Plunge (CA)
    53. Stanford Avery Aquatic Center - Baker Pool (Palo Alto, CA)
    54. Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center (Beaverton, OR)
    55. Mt Hood Aquatic Center (Gresham, OR)
    56. Juniper Swim & Fitness Center (Bend, Or)
    57. George Haines International Swim Center (Santa Clara, CA)
    58. Renaissance Club Sport (Aliso Viejo, CA)
    59. Rengstorff Pool (Mountain View, CA)
    60. Coronado Municipal Pool (Coronado, CA)
    61. Eagle Park (Mountain View, CA)
    62. James City / Williamsburg Community Center (Williamsburg, VA)
    63. NOVA Aquatics Center deep pool (Richmond, VA)
    64. Belmont Plaza outdoor pool (Long Beach, CA)
    65. Laguna Beach HS Pool (CA)
    66. Lifetime Fitness (Florham Park, NJ)
    67. USF Koret Aquatic Center (San Fran)
    68. Lifetime Athletic (Vernon Hills, IL)
    69. Stanford Avery Aquatic Center - Bellardi Pool (Palo Alto, CA)
    70. Fremont Hills Country Club (Los Altos Hills, CA)
    71. Rinconada Pool (Palo Alto, CA)
    72. Burlingame Aquatic Center (Burlingame, CA)
    73. Medgar Evers Pool (Seattle, WA)
    74. McGill Memorial Pool (Montreal, QC)
    75. Montreal Downtown YMCA (Montreal, QC)
    76. College of San Mateo (CA)
    77. Greensboro Aquatic Center (NC)
    78. Josh Davis Natatorium (San Antonio, TX)
    79. Bill Walker Pool (San Antonio, TX)
    80. JCC of San Diego
    81. 2012 Olympic Trials Pool (Omaha)
    82. El Pomar Natatorium (University of Denver)
    83. Mt Lebanon Swim Center (PA)
    84. Fritz Sick Memorial Pool (Lethbridge, Alberta)
    85. University of Calgary Aquatic Centre (Alberta)
    86. Kinsmen Aquatic Centre (Edmonton, Alberta)
    87. Eau Claire YMCA (Calgary, Alberta)
    88. Talisman Centre Training Pool (Calgary, Alberta)
    89. Burgess Memorial Pool (Menlo Park, CA)
    90. Kona Kai Resort (San Diego, CA)
    91. Sierra Recreation Center (Mission Viejo, CA)
    92. ACAC -- new (2012) 25M pool (Midlothian, VA)
    93. Greater Richmond Aquatic Partnership / 2008 Olympic Trials Pool (Richmond, VA)
    94. Golden Bear Pool (Berkeley, CA)
    95. Cal Lutheran University Community Pool (Thousand Oaks, CA)
    96. North Beach Pool (San Francisco, CA)
    97. Calgary Winter Club (Calgary, Canada)
    98. Orange Memorial Pool (South San Francisco, CA)
    99. Hamilton Pool (San Francisco, CA)
    100. Jean Brink / Oceana Pool (Pacifica, CA)
    101. City of Calabasas Tennis & Swim Center (Calabasas, CA)
    102. Oro Valley Aquatic Center (Oro Valley, AZ)
    103. Ventura Aquatic Center (CA)
    104. Claremont Resort (Berkeley, CA)
    105. Plantation Aquatic Center (Plantation, FL)
    106. Hyatt Regency Coconut Point (Bonita Springs, FL)
    107. Florida Gulf Coast University Aquatic Center (Fort Meyers, FL)
    108. Club One Union Square (San Francisco, CA)
    109. Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center (Charlotte, NC)
    110. Sunset Canyon Recreation Center LCM pool (UCLA)
    111. Chickahominy YMCA (Sandston, VA)
    112. Soda Aquatic Center (Moraga, CA)
    113. Salt Lake City/Steiner Aquatic Center (Utah)
    114. Splash Montana "The Lake" Pool (Missoula, MT)
    115. Grizzly Pool / U of Montana (Missoula, MT)
    116. Daland Swim School (1000 Oaks, CA)
    117. Rancho Simi Community Pool (Simi Valley, CA)
    118. Brisbane Community Swim Center (Brisbane, CA)
    119. Cal Lutheran University Samuelson Aquatic Center (Thousand Oaks, CA)
    120. ASU Mona Plummer (Tempe, AZ)
    121. Rutger's Sonny Werblin (Piscataway, NJ)
    122. Mission Viejo Nadadores (Mission Viejo, CA)
    123. Phoenix Swim Club (Phoenix, AZ)
    124. Clovis North High School (Fresno, CA)
    125. YMCA Aquatic Center (Orlando, FL)
    126. Georgia Tech Aquatic Center (Atlanta, GA)
    127. Saanich Commonwealth Place (Victoria, BC)
    128. Glendale Foothills Aquatic Center (Glendale, AZ)
    129. Greensboro Aquatic Center (NC)
    130. UC-Irvine Crawford Pool (Irvine, CA)
    131. 2012 Olympic Trials Pool (Omaha)
    132. Clarke Swim Center 25M pool (Walnut Creek, CA)
    133. Santa Clarita Aquatic Center (Santa Clarita, CA)
    134. Wall Aquatic Center (Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ)
    135. Sedona Community Pool (Sedona, AZ)
    136. Chinatown YMCA (New York, NY)
    137. Westmoor Giammona Pool (Daly City, CA)
    138. El Dorado Aquatic Center (Scottsdale, AZ)
    139. Desert Foothills Family YMCA (Carefree/Scottsdale, AZ)
    140. UCLA Student Activities Center Pool (Los Angeles, CA)
    141. Brenda Villa Aquatic Center (Commerce, CA)
    142. Vanderbilt YMCA East Pool (Manhattan)
    143. USC Physical Education Department Indoor Pool (Los Angeles, CA)
    144. Santa Monica Swim Center (Santa Monica, CA)
    145. Los Angeles Swimming Stadium (CA)
    146. Thad Terry Pool (Tucson, AZ)
    147. U of A Student Recreation Center (Tucson, AZ)
    148. Palm Desert Aquatic Center (Palm Desert, CA)
    149. Maggie Gilbert Aquatic Center (Pacific Palisades, CA)
    150. Verdugo Aquatic Center (Burbank, CA)
    151. Concord Community Pool (Concord, CA)
    152. YMCA Aquatic Center - 50M course (Orlando, FL)
    153. Sand Hollow Aquatic Center (St. George, UT)
    154. Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks Pool (Sherman Oaks, CA)
    155. Spieker Aquatic Center (Cal - Berkeley)
    156. Hearst North Pool (Cal-Berkeley)
    157. Kitsilano Pool (Vancouver, Canada)
    158. UBC Aquatic Centre circa 2014 (Vancouver, Canada)
    159. Hillcrest Aquatic Centre (Vancouver, Canada)
    160. Canada Games Pool (New Westminster, BC, Canada)
    161. Oxnard Aquatic Center (Oxnard, CA)
    162. Fortune Select Excalibur Hotel (Gurgaon, India)
    163. London Aquatic Centre - Training Pool (London, England)
    164. London Aquatic Centre - Competition Pool (London, England
    165. Woodbridge Community Center (Woodbridge, NJ)
    166. Raritan Bay YMCA (Perth Amboy, NJ)
    167. Pleasant Valley Aquatic Center (Camarillo, CA)
    168. Phoenix Country Day School Aquatic Center (Phoenix, AZ)
    169. Alga Norte Aquatic Center (Carlsbad, CA)
    170. East Bank Club (Chicago, IL)
    171. Holiday Inn Mart Plaza (Chicago, IL)
    172. Belmont Temporary Outdoor Pool 2014 (Long Beach, CA)
    173. UIC Natatorium (Chicago, IL)
    174. Sunnyvale Swim Complex (Sunnyvale, CA)
    175. Nitro Swimming (Cedar Park, TX)
    176. Peninsula JCC (Foster City, CA)
    177. Norris Aquatic Center (Evanston, IL)
    178. Trefethen Aquatic Center (Mills College, Oakland, CA)
    179. McKinnon Indoor Pool (University of Victoria, British Columbia)
    180. Juan de Fuca Community Pool (Victoria, British Columbia)
    181. Esquimalt Recreation Centre (Victoria, British Columbia)
    182. Latoff YMCA (Des Plaines, IL)
    183. Hotel Intercontinental (Chicago, IL)
    184. Marriott Courtyard on E Hubbard (Chicago, IL) ~15 to 17 yards
    185. Residence Inn LA Live (Los Angeles, CA) 25 yards
    186. Sava Pool (San Francisco, CA) - 04/09/15
    187. Evanston High School (Evanston, IL) - 04/14/15
    188. Northside ISD Competition Pool (San Antonio, TX) - 04/24/15
    189. Northside ISD Indoor Pool (San Antonio, TX) - 04/25/15


    Open water courses trained/competed since 2007



    1. Tempe Town Lake (Tempe, AZ)
    2. Lake Pend Oreille (Sandpoint, ID)
    3. La Jolla Cove / Pacific Ocean (La Jolla, CA)
    4. Greenwich Cove (Greenwich, CT)
    5. Flathead Lake (Montana), both Somers Bay (training) & Polson Bay (competing)
    6. Saguaro Lake (Arizona)
    7. Lake Pleasant (Peoria, AZ)
    8. Atlantic Ocean - Ft. Lauderdale
    9. Elk Lake (Oregon)
    10. Canyon Lake (Arizona)
    11. Roosevelt Lake (Arizona)
    12. Castaic Lake (California)

  6. SAT Nats Day 1: The 200 saved me 350

    by , April 24th, 2015 at 08:21 PM (Of Swimming Bondage)
    I made a bet with myself (and shared it with my wife) that if I got all best times today (see http://forums.usms.org/entry.php?357...Track-to-Goals), I'd splurge and buy myself one of the new TYR Avictor suits (the black one, not those godawful color-mishmashes). I have been very loyal to my TYR Tracer Light, but have never gone "high end" since the wonderful days of the rubber suits ended. I figured it might be worth trying, but I'd have to earn it.

    My pocketbook is safe.

    Here's how the day went:

    200 free
    • Masters best - 1:48.81 (Austin Nats, 2008)
    • Santa Clara Nats - 1:50.47
    • Today - 1:49.68
    • Thoughts on the race in the pool:
      • There was a lot to like about this race - aside from going out too slow on the first 50 (25.78 when I really wanted to be 24-very high to 25-very low), my splitting the remainder of the race was great (27.77, 28.07, 28.06).
      • Other than an extra breath heading into the 150 wall, I didn't make an egregious strategic errors.
      • I have only been faster (tech suits excluded) twice in my Masters career - 2003 and 2008 Nationals - so, while I'm not getting faster, I'm slowing down very slowly.
      • However ...

    • Thoughts on the pre-race readiness:
      • I made some super-huge rookie mistakes in the few heats leading up to the race.
      • To begin with, I got distracted watching the prior heat in my end of the pool (where Dave Sims was cranking) and the second fastest heat of my age group in the other end of the pool.
      • That caused me to not get my goggles and cap on until about the 125/150 of both of those races ... which I did in time, but then remembered that I needed to tie my suit.
      • I was wearing the Nero XII suit I had splurged on last year (mid-range at the time, about $200) and, in my rush to get it tied, managed to get the drawstring knotted up. When the whistle blew to get on the blocks, I wasn't entirely confident in my tie-job keeping the suit above my ass.
      • A rare false start allowed me some time to wiggle the knot loose and re-tie my suit while on the blocks, but this was definitely not the right mindset to be in pre-race.


    50 breast

    • Masters best - 30.82
    • Today - 29.92
    • Thoughts on the race:
      • I learned my wardrobe malfunction lesson and switched back into my trusty Tracer Light. I had my cap and goggles on 2 or 3 heats ahead of my race. I was totally focused on the race as the whistle blew.
      • I really wanted to get under 0:30 and was super happy to do so. With that said, I think I went too deep on my start and didn't really feel like I found my stroke until right near the end.
      • This time approached the 29.63 I went during the tech suit era, something I think I could get under in the future.
      • I am VERY excited to swim the 100 breast tomorrow.


    100 back

    • Masters best - 58.74
    • Today - 56.95
    • Thoughts on the race:
      • I finally swam a great backstroke race! While I did go a little deeper than desired on the start, I didn't lose as much ground as I usually do. From there on out, I just felt powerful.
      • The one lesson I've learned about the 100 back is that I can NEVER feel like I am going out too fast. I tried really, really hard to get out fast and yet I still almost negative split this baby - 28.43, 28.52.
      • My backstroke has felt really great this whole season and this was the icing on the cake.


    The one thing today did teach me is this: I don't ever need to look for another suit beyond the TYR Tracer Light. It is the perfect suit. I think I might start hoarding and hermetically sealing them: as I watched the heat of four 90-something guys race the 50 breaststroke, it dawned on me that I hopefully will need another 40+ years of this suit

    I have been to a lot of great pools and, while I do think there are faster pools than this (e.g., UT-Austin, Indianapolis), this facility is BY FAR the best setup I have been to for a Nationals meet - perfectly chilled water for racing, acres of space to spread out and relax, more warmup lanes than we might even need, huge and plentiful locker/bathroom facilities, the best scoreboard I have seen at any pool, an army of cheery volunteers, and more. On top of that, the thunderstorms held off and we had a cloudy, perfectly-temperatured day for racing.

    Updated April 24th, 2015 at 08:28 PM by pwb

    Tags: nationals, taper
    Categories
    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  7. Nationals Navel-Gazing

    by , May 5th, 2014 at 10:02 PM (Of Swimming Bondage)
    Maybe I’m always overly reflective after all my meets (e.g., I am writing this blog), but this weekend of racing at the same pool where I first made my ‘come back’ to Masters swimming in 2001 really had me thinking about how to evaluate my results.


    • I did have two exceptional swims: I am pretty sure my 200 breast was a lifetime best and my 200 back was closer to my lifetime best than I’ve come in any other 200 (e.g., I don't think I ever got under 1:57 back in the day). Self-aggrandizing props to me



    • From a work vs. swimming perspective, I am pretty proud of myself. Starting a decade ago, from 2004 to 2007, I had a huge gap in both my training and my competition. This was entirely due to my work life as I was in a high-growth startup founded in 2000 that I had joined in mid-2002 (right after Hawaii Nationals). While I continued to train (sometime) and occasionally compete during that time period, I really poured myself into that company and neglected my swimming. Fast forward to now and I’m in about the same position work-wise (e.g., startup I joined in 2010 and we’re hitting our high-growth phase now four years into it), but I’m making a very conscious choice to stay committed to my health and my training as an outlet. The mere fact that I showed up and raced well this weekend was a huge win for me; the fact that I kept on top of my work demands & opportunities while here makes me happy and feel like I’ve learned some sort of balance in the last decade. (Mind you, that’s Type A balanced)



    • From an ‘inevitably you must accept decline with age,’ this meet reinforced to me that I do not have to accept that premise. I do know that, one day, I will have to let go of my Masters’ best times and start thinking about things like “Masters best times before 55 and after 55” or some such stuff. However, I saw too much evidence from watching the guys older than me and too much evidence from my own swimming that this theory, at least for now, is not a proven fact. I had posted earlier in the season that I had this goal of going sub 2:00 in each of the 200 back, fly and IM. Despite coming no closer than 1.38 seconds to achieving this in any of the races, I am convinced that, with some changes to my training and with a little more emphasis in the right places, this goal is achievable.



    • As for the training and competition changes, here’s what I think I’ve learned
      • Race pace training is probably good for me, but I need to build a deeper, aerobic base with some old school, short rest, endurance training. With the exception of the 200 breast (where I probably had too much gas left in the tank), I fell apart in every race. While I’m not naturally a negative split racer, I am used to – when I am in great shape – having closing power to end a race feeling like I’m going full steam instead of limping to the finish. I limped in almost every race this weekend. Lesson: rip off Stewart’s workouts and/or do the workouts I used to write for the High Volume Training program in the early season.
      • I finally need to create a committed strength training program. I’ve read too much about the natural decline of muscle mass in men of my middling age and listened to guys older than me who are committed to out-of-the-pool weights/exercises (and doing well with it) to ignore this any longer. I must build a strength-training plan to augment my in-water work and commit to this.
      • I need to have a more balanced competition plan at Nationals. While I really did (despite the pain and agony) enjoy racing the program that I did this weekend, it was probably too ambitious. When I look back at Greensboro (one of my top two meets of my Masters life), I had balanced focus events (e.g., 200 & 400 IM, 200 fly) with shorter, fun events (e.g., 50 & 100 fly, 100 IM). I need to do a better job at San Antonio next year of balancing out the longer stuff with the shorter stuff.
      • I am intrigued to explore what I can do further in my breaststroke and backstroke individually – I will aim to train those more and to finally learn how to do a decent backstroke start.


    As for today’s workout, I went to a great hot yoga session. Step #1 on the path to a strength program is to be on the mat in a structured, vinyasa class twice a week. This is a baby step, but an important one for me – even doing the 5 ‘extra’ pushups offered a few times during this class as a bonus is a challenge for my land-weakened state (e.g., I did a total of 0 extra pushups today). Before I even contemplate lifting a weight, I’d better get used to lifting my own body

    Back to the pool tomorrow for a 3 x 300 test set and, if I'm up to it, some shorter-rest 200s.
  8. Nats Day 3 - 0 for 2, but pleased enough

    by , May 5th, 2014 at 02:33 AM (Of Swimming Bondage)
    Never before have I left a Nationals feeling so beaten up as this. Though I don't know what a prize fighter feels like after a bout, I felt like I had gone through 6 rounds of pummeling by the time I pressed myself out of the water after the 200 IM. Despite an awesome night of sleep (8 hours, a rarity for me), I woke up with a pain in my lower left back that I just couldn't stretch out. I'm not going to use that as an excuse as I didn't notice it when I was racing, but I felt like a near-invalid walking around the deck today. Even a good, 20 minute massage after the 200 free couldn’t remove the pain. As I sit on the plane flying back home, I’m surveying the parts of my body that hurt and wondering …
    • Is this the inevitable future of my Masters racing career – beat-down, battered and bruised after every competition?
    • Or, is this a sign that I need to change up my training regimen to avoid that future?


    I’m pretty sure the answer is Yes to question 2 and No to question 1, but I’ll address that in a future post. For now, here's how the day went:

    200 free
    Probably the most odd thing about this meet is that the stroke I have practiced the most in my training and done the most race pace work on, freestyle, was consistently the worst in this meet. While I executed great race plans in all of my other 200s, when the time came (somewhere between the 6th and 7th lap) to turn on the “juice” to finish this race, all I could hear was Scotty from Star Trek complaining that the engines were shot (or, whatever the appropriate Hollywood-ized Scottish word would be). Beyond the lack of power, though, my freestyle just feels off. Whereas I felt like I could get into a smooth groove with all my other 200s of the strokes, I just feel like there’s nothing smooth about my freestyle these days in the mid-distance range. I’m pretty sure I could crank out a decent open water swim with a nice, two-beat kick (this theory might get tested next weekend) and I imagine I could’ve cranked out a decent enough (for me) 50 free, but I am all discombobulated when it comes to managing my kick and my stroke in the 200 range.

    I ended up at a 1:50.47 for 6th place, my worst place of the meet, but also probably the deepest field of any event in which I swam (e.g., 4 guys under 1:50 and the next 4 of us from 1:50.1 to 1:50.6). This was well off the 1:48.81 I went in Austin and I failed in my mission to beat all of my Santa Clara 2001 times (1:49.74), but it was still much better than the 1:53 I went back at the Biondi meet. To be completely honest, given how bad this felt, I was shocked by the time. I truly expected to see 1:52 or possibly even 1:53 on the board.

    200 IM
    One of the many benefits of attending Nationals is that there is ALWAYS enough time between events. Knowing how my back was feeling before the 200 free, I nabbed a 20 minute massage slot that happened about 40 minutes after I swam the 200 free and finished about 40 minutes before I swam the 200 IM. The masseuse was great – just the right amount of pressure – and the almost snooze-like zone I got into for those twenty minutes was certainly restorative. I got into the near-empty (3-4 swimmers per lane) diving well warmup pool about 5 heats before my race and really just focused on getting the feel for my strokes. Knowing how poorly I had executed the 400 IM, I was bound and determined to bring the same strong & long strokes to my fly, back and breast that I had had in the 200s of each of those strokes. I was hoping then that I would somehow re-acquire the long & strong freestyle stroke that I know I have in me for the final 50.

    With the exception of having to do a short, extra fly stroke into the first turn, the first 150 of the 200 IM went wonderfully. I felt like I had a great start and then swam each of the fly, back and breast with the powerful-feeling strokes I had employed in the 200s. I even managed a decent enough (for me) back to breast rollover flip turn into a long pullout. When I asked my body, though, for the freestyle I had in 2012, it just wasn’t there. Instead of feeling strong and long, I felt weak and choppy. With that said, I finished marginally better on this last 50 of free than on the last 50 of my 200 free. Though I got a distant third in this race, I was very pleased with the time – 2:01.99 was only 1.05 seconds above my time from Greensboro.

    Day 3 summary
    Call this the average of my three days of swimming – nothing spectacularly good like the 200 breast from day 2, but also nothing spectacularly bad like my 400 IM from Day 1. As with the other days, this was a 50-50 kind of day: I was very happy (in spite of my anger at my freestyle leg) with my 200 IM performance and copasetic with my 200 free. Reflecting upon the fact that my 200 IM and 200 fly were spot-on the same (2:01.99 vs. 2:01.93) and both slower than my 200 back (2:01.37) made me realize how strong my 200 back from day 1 actually was. To put these into perspective, back in the day (the HS/college day), my 200 fly and 200 IM were about 3-4 seconds faster than my 200 back.

    Now I am home, whacked and going to sleep.
  9. Nats Day 2 - 50-50 never felt so good

    by , May 3rd, 2014 at 10:33 PM (Of Swimming Bondage)
    Another lesson in perspective today: one best time and one not best time felt somehow like a much better day of swimming today than similar results yesterday.

    200 breast
    Even with the full admission that I've never swum this race tapered and shaved, this will probably go down as my swim of the meet. After just about the worst breaststroke leg of my life yesterday in my 400 IM, I turned around and dropped my jammers best by over 4 seconds and was 1.5 seconds ahead of my bodysuit best. I swam a smart race, worked the underwaters, as well as my kick & glide, executed a stroke count plan to a T and even felt like I might have left a little bit in the tank at the end. In short, this was super-fun and, for me, super-fast. More amazing to me is that I ended up 4th and was not too far behind some very impressive breaststrokers.
    • Best jammer time before this - 2:25.00
    • Best bodysuit time - 2:21.78
    • Today - 2:20.21 executed as 31.81 - 36.13 - 36.35 - 35.92


    200 fly
    After my success in the 200 breast, I was looking forward to this event. Knowing that Mike Shaffer was next to me and that he would go out faster than I wanted to be, I really focused on putting my blinders on and swimming my own race. While the final time was about 1.5 seconds off what I went in Greensboro, this was one of the most balanced 200 flys I have swum in a long time - 27.88, 30.96, 31.43, 31.66 -- for a 2:01.93 and 3rd place.

    This is smack in the middle of the range of 200 flys I have done since 2001 -

    • 2001 - Santa Clara - 2:05.39
    • 2003 - Tempe - 2:02.91
    • 2008 - Austin - 2:00.96
    • 2011 - Mesa - 2:01.58
    • 2012 - Greensboro - 2:00.45


    I really think this was the best 200 fly I could've swum today and was happy with the result.

    Day 2 Summary
    A great and fun day of swimming. I got to hang out with Mark briefly and then spent a fair amount of time talking with Steve Unruh as we watched some unreasonably fast 100 IMs (e.g., check out Darian Townsend's 47.77 or Josh Davis's 51.53). I also did much shorter warmups before each race today much closer to my swims (e.g., getting out of the water with 2-3 heats to go before I raced) - about 400 to 600 yards -- and felt much fresher in each race.

    As I was talking to Steve, I realized that I've raced here about every 15 years - first in 1986 at Summer Nationals in 1986, next at Masters Nationals in 2001 and now this year. It's not the greatest pool, but I'll mark my calendar to race here again in 2029
  10. Nats Day 1 - A tale of two swims

    by , May 2nd, 2014 at 06:54 PM (Of Swimming Bondage)
    Swimming offers so many opportunities to learn and to put things into perspective. Today's experience over two swims was a perfect example of that.

    Friday - 400 IM (Not quite) the worst of times
    Despite a bit of a short night of sleep (due to a 5am work call I had to make), I felt quite good in warmup and was excited for this race. As it turns out, maybe I was a bit too excited and a bit too enthralled with the great racing opportunities present in my heat. Despite telling myself that I was going to take this out like I was swimming a 200 fly (target was 57-high to 58 mid), I got caught up in the excitement of my first race and really gunned the fly, hitting the wall at 56.8. I still felt pretty good, though, and laid off my legs on the backstroke. I negative split that leg and was marginally slower on that leg (1:04.39 vs a target of 1:03+), but was still out in 2:01.22, which was very close to where I was in Greensboro (2:00.79). When I finished the first lap of the breaststroke, though, I started to feel the burn from going out as fast as I did on the fly. My legs got really tired. Usually, that starts around the last lap of the breast. From that point onwards in the race, I just didn't have much 'get up and go.' I proceeded to record my slowest back half 200 ever at a Nationals.

    I ended up at 4:21.21, putting me in 4th place in the age group, with easily the strongest field of 400 IMers I have raced. Hats off to Sergey Mariunuk who won the race in a blistering 4:13.02 (in a brief) and took down Dennis Baker's 4:14.17 National Record (done in a tech suit).

    As for perspective taking, here's the way to look at it:
    • This was 6 seconds faster than my two previous swims this season
    • This was 4.5 seconds faster than when I swam at this pool in 2001 at age 34 at my first ever Nationals.
    • Taking out the tech suit times, it fits within the range of my Nationals efforts over the years ...
      • 2001 - Santa Clara - 4:25.72
      • 2002 - Hawaii - 4:22.20
      • 2003 - Tempe - 4:20.07
      • 2008 - Austin - 4:17.04
      • 2012 - Greensboro - 4:15.17

    • ... but it still wasn't a great swim.
    • On the positive side, I clearly have enough speed and endurance to race a 200 ... and that was born out in my next swim


    200 back - The best of times
    After cooling down, I went back to the hotel room to catch up on work and to stay out of the sun for the ~3+ hours between my IM and my 200 back. I got back to the pool in perfect time to do a little bit of dynamic stretching / dryland warmup, put on my suit and grab a 400 warm up in the diving well. Interestingly, with so many swimmers here and truly not much warmup space, it wasn't all that crowded (certainly better than I remember Atlanta). I did an easy 200 IM kick drill followed by 8 x 25s where the odd ones range from 12.5 strong to 25 strong and the even ones were easy. I really focused on a long stroke, deep catch and emphasized my shoulder roll. I felt good. I got out with about 1.5 heats to go before my race, dried off, put on my speed cap and headed to the blocks.

    Contrary to the plan I had noted a few days ago (
    http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?5013-pwb), due to my legs dying in my 400 IM, I decided to try to go long and strong the first 125 with very light legs and then rev up the arm turnover for the last 75. I pretty much executed that plan, except that both my legs and arms really started to fall apart at about the 155 mark -- I came up from the 150 turn and just gutted it out for the rest of the race. I was really, really, really wiped at the end of this and it took me some time to get my goggles off to see the time. Imagine my surprise when I saw a 2:01.37 and third place. My previous best was a 2:03.15 and this converts to a 2:14+ in SCM, faster than I went last December. I was truly happy with this swim.

    Of course, I still think I can go under 2:00 ... so that goal is still out there.

    My splits were pretty solid, but do demonstrate diminished power and endurance as the race went on - 29.10, 30.36, 30.60, 31.31. Still a 59.1 - 1:02.3 splitting is a nice race.

    Day 1 Summary
    I am ready to race 200s and so happy I chose the 200 instead of the 500 free for Sunday. Going to take care of a few work calls this afternoon, maybe get a quick massage on my legs, watch the new Spiderman movie and sleep in tomorrow.
  11. Liar, Liar: Nationals Friday

    by , August 10th, 2013 at 03:24 PM (Of Swimming Bondage)
    Lessons learned from this Nationals:

    • Don't ever book a hotel in SoCal where Google says the main drive to your destination is more than 5 minutes. I got a great deal at a hotel that was supposed to be ~30 minutes from both the pool and my clients, but it routinely turned into anywhere from 45 to almost 90 minutes.
    • Make sure you really know what your best time is in an off event!
    • Double & triple check your hotel room, especially when you're rolling out a little before 5am.


    As I had some morning calls with folks on the east coast, I figured I'd beat the traffic down to Mission Viejo and take my 5am to ~7am calls from the road and parking lot. In spite of the traffic that still made the trip 45 minutes (stop & go @ 5:15am is no way to live), I rolled into the pool lot and got a super awesome spot. Unfortunately, as I wrapped up my last call around 7:15 and went to double check something on my iPad, I realized I had left it back in the hotel. Aaargh! I was able to get it later in the day and avoided the minimum $401 fine I risked by cruising in the HOV lane to make it to a client meeting, but that was a stressor I really didn't need.

    As for the swimming ...

    50 breast
    Now that I'm home, I have completed my research and can confirm this was a best time:
    • Prior best time:

    • Result: 36.33
    • Commentary:
      • It felt pretty good and strong, given that I've done relatively little fast breaststroke. I felt like I had a good start and had a decent turnover, but, Laura Winslow watched it and said that, while my stroke looked good, I looked like I was swimming at 200 pace. High stroke rate has never been my strong suit in any stroke!



    200 back

    • Prior best time:
      • I thought it was a 2:34.43 from a MAC Masters meet in 2010
      • I went around telling everyone (and myself) that I was at least happy with a best time. Liar, liar pants on fire.
      • However, when I got home last night, I realized I had gone 2:27.40 at the USAS Cactus Classic in 2011 (http://forums.usms.org/entry.php?15865-Feeling-44) and I had erased from my mind the 2:25.98 I had done in Victoria in March of 2011 (probably because those trigger happy Canuck officials DQ'd me for a non-continuous turn -- here's my boo Canada: )

    • Result: 2:31.07
    • Commentary:
      • Whereas my 200 free felt crappy and I was surprised by how fast the time was, this felt pretty good and I was expecting to see something like 2:28. Looking at the splits (36.8, 38.2, 38.1, 38.0), I swam a really-paced race. I just need to drop 2-3 seconds per 50 and I'll be great!



    With the iPad left behind, I was doubly challenged on time and there was no way I was going to swim the 50 fly. Even had I not left it behind, I had to be working by 10:45 and made that.

    This meet ended up being more 'drive-in' swimming that 'drive-by' as I at least got to spend a little bit of time with a few people. I really love the vibe at Nationals and am stoked for Santa Clara. The other lesson I've learned is that, if I want to go swim fast at a meet, I need to block the time off from work and just be there. I'm going to be sorely tempted to schedule some client meetings next spring since many of my clients are in the San Francisco to San Jose corridor, but, if I do, I am going to make sure I schedule them after Nationals so that I can focus on swimming and enjoying the meet versus trying to juggle too much.

    Updated August 10th, 2013 at 08:35 PM by pwb

    Tags: nationals
    Categories
    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  12. Weak Link: Nationals

    by , August 9th, 2013 at 01:08 AM (Of Swimming Bondage)
    I had a great (albeit packed) morning / early afternoon of client meetings, but made it down to Mission Viejo in time to check in, find a place in the shade, warmup a little more than a 1000 in the very uncrowded (for Nationals) 25 SCM diving well and hop on the blocks for the 200 free. I will caveat the results assessment by stating that my heart really wasn't into the 200 today. Maybe it was the rush of arriving from work, maybe it was the knowledge that I'm not sufficiently trained for this event or maybe it was my utter confusion over what stroke I should use (e.g., strong kick & breathe every 2 or two-beat kick and bilateral breathing), but I just couldn't work up much passion behind the blocks.

    200 free


    • Masters best: 2:07.88 (August 2012, USMS meet)
    • Richmond in June 2013: 2:09.88
    • Today: 2:10.59
    • Commentary:
      • For how comparatively unmotivated I was behind the blocks and how crappy this felt, I was honestly surprised I was as fast as I was.
      • The third 50 was the weak link when compared with my swim earlier this summer
        • 50 - 30.36 vs 30.38 in June
        • 100 - 1:03.17 (32.81) vs 1:02.97 (32.59) in June
        • 150 - 1:37.40 (34.23) vs. 1:36.84 (33.87) in June
        • 200 - 33.19 vs 33.04 in June

      • Whereas the 200 free is usually one of the deepest events at Nationals, it was sparse today in my age group. I ended up second (and 5 seconds slower than Kurt's awesome swim).



    200 medley relay

    • Paul wanted me to split a 31- on the backstroke leadoff. He figured we needed that to medal along with 34/35 from our breaststroke and a 28 from he (fly) and our freestyler.
    • I was stoked to race this as I wanted to see if I could beat some 50-something woman who is known to prowl these forums and set world records (*no official gridge though was ever committed to*)
    • I managed to be the weak link on the relay, be the weaker sex ... and still record a best time of 33.22 (mainly because I have never swum a straight 50 LCM back so my best time was 33.59 going out in a 100 back in 2011!)
    • The other guys on the relay swam exceptionally well, but we ended up 5th; not sure we could've medalled, but I should've been faster so we could've beaten our fellow Arizonans. I think Paul will choose to fly Leslie in for any future medley relays instead of me, but he had to make do with the team that showed up today.
    • I totally screwed up and slipped on the start (damn yellow pads).
    • After the race, Ande (who was next to me) gave me some good advice for my start tomorrow -- pull up less when pads are slippery and focus on pushing out versus up.


    I didn't expect much from today and so really wasn't disappointed. Based upon my work commitments tomorrow, I'll get to swim the 50 breast and 200 back, but then will have to high tail it out of there.