Meet / OW event plans and results from U.S. Masters Swmming events in this category.
I am arranging a 2 day meet in Rockwall the week after summer Nationals and it has made me think a lot about why did I signup to try to put this meet on? Other team members are helping and the meet is by no means a solo effort but I asked myself why do I care one way or the other whether other masters swimmers compete at our meet or not; and even more broadly why am I as passionate about the sport of swimming as I am.
As I have written previously I am a former national level swimmer and quit the sport after the 1992 Olympic trials, burnt out and frustrated. At the time swimming had become something I needed to do rather than something I wanted to do. 20+ years and a lot of weight later I was roped into swimming in a corporate challenge event at work. After competing(I did not win) and having so much fun I decided I was going to give swimming another go. My initial intent was to get back into some semblance of physical shape. Initially swimming was tough but after about 6 months I ventured to Bryan, Texas and competed in a very small local meet. Again my times were not stellar and I was nervous but once again I had so much fun. Unlike the last year or so of my college swimming career where I was not enjoying myself and despite having success Swimming had lost the fun element, masters swimming was a lot of fun.
Again as I have written numerous times on my blog I travel a fair bit with work and no matter where I am I go out of my way to swim. Traveling for work is highly overrated, boring, tiring and most of the time the complete opposite of fun. Despite my job requiring me to meet and interact with large groups of people I am naturally a quiet and fairly introverted person. When I first started dropping in on masters teams both domestically and internationally I was quite nervous but again soon realized that no matter where I went I had something in common with those I choose to join at 0-dark something; a passion for swimming. I was not the only crazy guy who had fun following the black line at the bottom of the pool.
I realized that win or loose I liked the feeling of swimming fast, racing and pushing myself to my physical limit. After a while I even stopped comparing my times to what I did when I was younger and compared my times to my last swims. I still get upset and disappointed with not so great swims but it's no longer a love hate relationship with swimming, its purely a love relationship.
Despite my weight loss and body transition over the last three years I still don't have a 20 year olds body and obviously I never will. When I first started masters swimming I was embarrassed by my body shape and this initially caused me hesitation to compete. Somewhere along the way I realized it did not matter. Everyone in masters swimming has aged from our memories view of our physical glory days and our body shapes and sizes are what they are and are not important. Someone said to me one time that we all have two things in common, we are all born and we all die. He followed this with, what makes a great life is what you do with the time in between these two events. I can't control when my time is up but having the ability to have the highest quality of life while I am here is within my control and swimming has provided me some wonderful experiences. I truly believe, that swimming has given me a stronger relationship with my wife, most of the stress I used to bring home from work I leave at work and I believe I have become less flustered and frustrated as a result. I am still able to keep up with my kids, and my daughter specifically and I have a shared passion and spend time together as a result of swimming. I believe I bring more value to my business because I am more alert and mentally strong at work because of swimming. I have made friends I would not have made and in nearly every case feel like I have friends for life.
So why compete? I believe that meets add even more value to the masters swimming experience. Swimming is to a large extent, a fairly solitary sport. Somehow we get to know each other without really spending much total time talking. After all how much conversation can be conducted in the 10-15 seconds between swims and the 5-10 minutes at the beginning and end of practice? Meets allow us to share more time with our team mates. Meets allow us to support each other in a way we are unable to in practice. I realized in several cases that not only do I share a passion for swimming with my team mates but life experiences ranging from kid stories, work stories, college experiences, etc. My team mates are cool interesting people and traveling to and from meets, hanging out in deck and supporting each other is so much fun. There goes that word again!
Personally I had a very successful Spring Nationals but none of my own swims rank as the highlight of my meet. Seeing our entire team supporting one of our team mates who entered her first meet and completed the 200fly and 400IM was really awesome. Somehow we all shared every stroke Martha made and everyone got something from Martha's achievement. USMS is a big supporter of inclusion and I really do believe that competing enables swimmers to compete as a team and masters meets should not just be enjoyed by the few but rather every masters swimmer deserves to share in the experience and fun associated with a meet.
I hope we have a great turn out at our meet but above all I hope everyone has fun.
My daughter and I had meets today, so my wife and mother went with my daughter while I went on my own. My daughter had the tougher of the two meets with me entered in 50s and a 200IM while my daughter was entered in the 100,200 back, 100,200 fly and 100,200 breast. I arranged to meet a couple of my team mates and car pool together to frisco which is about a 40minute drive from rockwall.
The Frisco pool was similar to Mr Unruhs pool at Nitro in Austin where the outside windows roll up like a garage door which allows for a nice cross wind. The pool was a 6.5 ft deep Myrtha pool but the lanes were very narrow.
I did about a 1200m warmup and then swam fly,back,breast and free. There were very few entries and as such the events went very fast and almost as soon as I was done with the breast the 200IM was getting on the blocks and I chose to skip the IM. Despite this one no show I had a good day and was pleased with all my events going:
Despite being very happy with all these swims I have a lot of room for improvement. In particular the fly I hit both lane lines with my arms. Off the start I hit my left hand pretty good and then clipped the lane line with my right hand towards the end of the 50. I felt like my back was a good swim and had a much better start than I had at nationals but was a little miffed I did not dip under 30. Considering I went 30.0 at worlds this is a great time for me and gives me a lot of hope to go well under 30 when rested and shaved. The breast was probably the biggest surprise. I had a really good start and felt really good through about 30m where I felt the guy in the next lane and tried picking up my tempo which caused me to loose my great pull and the last 20 felt quite rushed. I had a great start on the free and was clear of everyone else by 25. I felt like I lost a little focus on the second 25 and did not finish very well. This is the fastest I have been unrested as a masters swimmer. I also really enjoyed this one because I had a 19,21 and 31 year old in my heat and it's always nice to whoop up on the younger guys. My only regret is I could not do the 200IM but I will do it at another meet.
We had our nationals team dinner on Saturday night at Brio Tuscan Grill which was near the pool and our team hotel. The restaurant had a large party room and we filled the room. The food was terrific however the speed of service was terrible, the air temperature could only be described as Antarctic and trying to pay was almost impossible taking over an hour. Despite these difficulties it was great fun hanging out with all my team mates.
I managed to get an extra hour of sleep on Saturday night since my first event was not until after the women's 500 free and the 30 minute break. At dinner on Saturday one of my team mates asked if I would count for her which meant I missed out on a little extra sleep but I am so glad I said yes. She proceeded to swim a great 500 and ended up 8th which was really great fun to watch and see her reaction when she was done. Well worth missing out on the sleep. Sunday was my short day swimming the mixed medley relay, 50 back and 100 free. I was the lead off on the medley relay and went 25.9 which was a good time and beat my time on the men's medley relay by .4. Next up was the 50 back. I felt good going in and thought I could go 25.5. I had a terrible start and ended up coming up last but made up some ground before the turn and caught up and almost beat 2nd and 3rd(mike Ross went 23.7 for the win with his incredible underwaters). I went 28.8 which again I was happy with but know I could have gone much faster with a better start. I was very tired before my last event, the 100 free but I was determined to give it everything I had which I did going 49.02.
Overall i REALLY enjoyed the meet. Honestly two to three weeks ago I did not think I was going to make the meet let alone win medals at the meet. The highlight of my meet was the free relay. I so wanted to win the 200 free and be in a stroke for stroke race with Patrick and Steve on the 500 but alas these were not meant to be this go around. It was great swimming with all my friends and especially our extended team mates from Pittsburgh.
Today was was back to work with a bang and I am off to New Orleans with work tomorrow for the rest of the week.
For or those who have been following the traumas of the Carrolls the past few months, my family could not come down to Nationals due to sickness. Also my sons recovery from his double concussion is still ongoing. On Friday we heard some news from the specialist he is seeing and they said they are still concerned about his balance and cognitive recovery and we are afraid there could be some permanent damage; he is still getting severe headaches. Today he went for another MRI and we are hoping to hear some good news based on seeing some positive changes since his last MRI shortly after the second concussion. I will be glad when we can put all this stuff behind us and focus on just normal everyday issues.
Updated April 28th, 2015 at 09:59 PM by StewartACarroll
I had a good night of sleep despite storms that came through last night, however when I woke up to my iPhone alarm I quickly realized the whole hotel was in complete darkness. I also found out that shaving with the light from my iPhone in the sink with cold water is not my best sport!
One of my team mates drove me to chick fil a to grab some food and then we headed to the pool. I was a little sore this morning but felt good after a slightly longer than normal meet warm up(1500). I waited around about 30 minutes due to the delay in starting the meet and then put on my meet suit. I then got back in and swam about 400 with a couple of 50s at 500 pace before I went over to the pool for the 500. I felt nice and relaxed. Like yesterday's 200 we had a false start which added to the anticipation. I had a good start and felt good on the first 50 but as the field started to pickup pace I soon realized I was struggling to hit my groove. I tried relaxing and focusing on long strokes and at half way I was a long way back but seemed to hit a groove and at 300 was able to pick up the pace. I came back strong on the last 200 and finished 5th at 4:56 which was definitely not the time I was hoping for and honestly thought I would be racing against pwb and sunruh. Alas it was not meant to be. I negative split the race and seemed to hit my groove over the last 200 but like yesterday's 200 I just did not feel my normal self.
Unlike previous meets i am just glad to be hear and I did not beat myself up and put it behind me. I had a nice break between the 500 and 200 back and did a nice long loose easy swim. I somehow felt like a different guy after the 500 and felt good and confident going up for my 200 back. The start time for the 200 back was about noon and the sun was right overhead. On the start I finally did not go deep but also did not go as far underwater. As I came up I was blinded by the sun and decided to move over to one side of the lane so I could at least use the lane line as a sighting guide. Off the first turn I was glad I did move close to the lane because the second length the sun seemed even worse. I swam close enough to the lane line the whole way so could feel it but not so close that I hit it or anything. My splits were great going 28 high, 30.x, 30.x, 30.x and ending up with 2:00.13 which is a masters best for me and I took second behind Michael Ross who just ate up everyone with his monster underwaters on the first 100.
Last up for me today was the men's 200 free relay. I had a gap between the back and the relay which allowed me to grab some food and watch my team mates who all did awesome. We had a lot of swimmers in every event and I got some great photos for our team website. As the relays approached I did yet another warmup and felt pretty good. As our team assembled I went to put on my goggles and noticed that the clip on the back of the speedo vanquishers had snapped and had to do a quick knot to avoid any mishap. Luckily it was the clip and not the side which would have meant completely broken goggles with no time to get a replacement pair since my stuff was over in the indoor pool. It was crowded behind the blocks which made staying relaxed and loose difficult but we managed it. I was on lead off since the other guys had either swum the individual 50(Scott Heber and Mark Cox) or had led off a mixed relay yesterday(Scott Carpenter). Off the start my hands came apart but I quickly pulled them back together and did not loose too much. I no breathed the first 25 turned and double dolphin kicked and broke out well, however my right hand hit a wave and my first stroke was very short and deep. I still felt good and ended up coming in at 22.36 which is another masters best. I am pretty sure with a few minor changes I can go under 22 from a flat start 50 but I will leave that for another day. Scott a Carpenter was 2nd and went 22.4, Mark Cox 3rd with a very fast 21.9 and Scott Heber closed with an incredible 21.4. We had good take overs but Scott Heber's start in particular was unbelievably quick. We missed the National record by .4. Between Scott Carpenter almost missing the wall on his turn and my couple of mistakes I really think we could have been under the record. We won by some distance against a very fast Rice team. This was SO MUCH FUN! In fact all four of us were not even back to the indoor pool before we started talking about other meets to go for the record again.
Tomorrow I get to sleep in and I close the meet with a mixed medley relay, the 100 free and the 50 back. Should be more fun tomorrow.
The culmination of many months of planning and anticipation was realized this morning with the start of our 4th annual mini meet here at my hometown pool. Overall attendance was down from previous years, but we ended up with more than 25 swimmers and a lot of fun! There are always great stories from any Masters meet, as evidenced at our meet as some folks came out to their first competition, others met with friends and family for an annual splash, and we even welcomed an English Channel swimmer with her new start-up team!
As meet director (and brainchild of the meet), there are certain stresses that I have in addition to actually swimming. We had our main official (and the woman with the most knowledge of running the computer/timing system) back out a few weeks ago due to family vacation, so many others needed to step into new positions in order to make the meet come together. I confirmed that the facility would be opened early so that we could setup in time for 9am warmups, and our lifeguard was there when requested. Some mild headaches as the printer ink cartridges were dried up, and after not being able to use the facility's equipment my wife and son hurried home to get our wireless printer, which worked! So a minor delay in the start of the meet, but we were able to get the relays off and then I filled in some space with my list of "thank you"s and info on our community, so everyone was very understanding and patient.
I try to keep the meet in line with our USMS hashtag #FunnestSport by offering some great prizes and fun events. I bought some USMS silicone caps with my discount earlier in the year, the age group coach donated some maple syrup that she made this spring, and I was able to secure (yet again) some Stroopwafels from our local Dutch bakery, Bakkerij Krijnen. These all went out to our first registrant, farthest traveled (our buddy Lisa from NJ), first time entrant, and the winners of our Sprint challenges.
I again had the privilege in roping my one of my brothers, my sister and her partner, and my daughter into swimming so that we had an All-Leake medley and free relay, as well as a morning to catch up and get some exercise together in a pool that we spent most of our childhood in. It was great catching up and seeing how their swimming abilities have not diminished even thought this is the only time of the year that they get wet! Lena and the boys were our cheerleaders.
Our local team was well represented with Greg, Kevin, Ashley, and Amanda (with Melissa and Rachel helping out as timers). Greg made his famous Magic Bars for the concession stand and had some great swims as well, even after helping me get things set up in the morning - nice job, Greg!
Due to the delayed meet start I scratched the 200 IM to help move things along. I did the 500 fly (7:04, I think, slower than a couple of years ago), and was surprised that Bethany did fly as well! My only other event was the 100 fly (1:02) but was wiped out and could not get the SDK's going. We also had a blast doing the Medley and Free Relays together.
All in all, another great event for Masters swimming! Looking forward to next years addition!
Things to remember for next year:
check printer cartridges, batteries before meet
order more latex caps from national office
I had resolved to just enjoy watching my friends race today. And I did! My Pitt swimmers swam very well, two of them having all PRs at Zones. My PV buddies had some great swims. It was so much fun hanging out with chowmi as well. And I learned that her brother has come to a couple of my practices! (She is from Pittsburgh.) She was quite speedy today and the master of good execution (and casual napping). We lament that we cannot be training partners!
50 free, 25.5
I decided just to swim 50 free, and I didn't have much punch for that. Given the situation, my modest goal was to go under :26. I went 25.5. Start and turn were fairly good, though I didn't take as many SDKs off the turn as I had planned. But I felt like I was staggering to the wall after that -- tired and no legs. Chowmi said there was lots of room for improvement and that is certainly true. Like Jazz, she encouraged me to focus on freestyle more. If I can go 25.5 feeling like crap on 5 days rest, I think I should be able to go under :25 again with a full taper. Right now that time is #1, but it might get bumped down a notch at nationals. I'm glad that I have times from Auburn in a few of my best events as a back up. But no taper times for me this year.
But the bottom line is that I am feeling mentally and physically out of it. Between the allergic reaction, poor sleep, travel, mega antihistamines and continued hives, I'm beat. And that doesn't even account for the cumulative effect of the preceding sinus infection, ear infection and back issue. I feel like I've been doing battle for 2 months and I want out! Right now, I feel that I should cancel nationals and just rest up for a few days to allow the hives to fully abate. It's disappointing, but not the end of the world. I think all masters have to expect to have unscheduled difficulties befall them at the wrong time. That's just how it works out sometimes. And it certainly makes you appreciate the moments when all things coalesce marvelously. I will continue to mull ... but it seems unlikely that I can summon up the requisite enthusiasm for a long meet in a distant locale. And as of this am, my legs are still covered in hives. I am doing nothing today! I think once your body has an allergic reaction, it is then primed to be bothered by other allergens. With spring here, those are out in full force.
I'm also wondering in the future about planning two major travel meets less than two weeks apart. This is probably not ideal for me. Focusing on one is probably the way to go. I miss living in PV where I could roll out of bed and go to a meet!
I must confess to a little retail therapy yesterday after the meet. The shopping in Pittsburgh is not exactly the best. So I made a concerted effort to help the economy!
Zone results are here:
Updated April 13th, 2015 at 01:27 PM by The Fortress
I was still hiving whilst driving down to Zones yesterday. And I wasn't feeling great from a week of interrupted sleep from the hives and medicine. But I felt like I had to travel to Zones bc three of my swimmers were competing there. I'm so proud of them. They all had PRs today and one is likely to get her first top ten. So that was thrilling for me.
My events didn't go so well. My 50 breast was 34.0. Half a second faster than last time and a Zones record, but .9 slower than last year. My 100 back was a non-starter. I cramped on the start. I muddled through the first 50 not kicking very hard, but my calf really seized up on the second turn and I aborted the race. Even with half ass kicks, I was still out in a fairly effortless 30.5. I didn't swim the 50 fly, which was right after. Didn't want to risk another cramp. I am disappointed about not being able to get a 100 back time this year ...
Right now, though, I feel covered in hives again and so am loaded up in Benadryl. I'm not sure it was wise to try to compete after such a severe allergic reaction. I'm obviously not over it. At first I thought to myself that it was stupid to have rested a few days for Zones with nationals coming up. But I likely couldn't have trained hard anyway without compromising the situation further. The doctor said rest, rest, rest. Adding to the stress was some bad news about Mr Forts recent blood tests. He needs to see a urologist and hematologist. And he is supposed to run Boston next weekend.
I thought about just driving home. But I'm here and my swimmers are here. Right now, I just plan to swim 50 free tomorrow. Maybe 100 fly. But honestly my heart is just not in it. At this juncture, I'm thinking of pulling the plug on nationals. I don't want to get all the way there and not feel amped to compete. And I don't right now; I'm a little deflated. It's been a hard couple months, and I feel worn down. As I told Water Rat once, and it resonated with him, I'm not a wind up monkey that can perform on cue. I'll see how I feel tomorrow and think about it for a couple days. It's not the end of the world, just a lot of bad timing.
Updated April 11th, 2015 at 09:27 PM by The Fortress
As usual, Conner and his team put on an exception meet! And we were especially spoiled this year since the SEC championships will be held in Auburn next weekend. That meant some serious upgrades to an already very nice swimming pool. The pool was drained and repainted. The tiling on the deck was redone. I think someone said they got new bulkheads. At the very least, the bulkhead at the start end was much wider. They set the pool up between bulkheads to minimize any wave reflection. The water did feel a bit warm... maybe 82-83 but I didn't have any way to measure it. The coolest thing was the new starting blocks. These had the adjustable wedge and were hooked up to measure response time. The best part was that they were fitted with a couple rows of led lights that flashed green at the start of each race. This feature was cruelly snatched from us on Sunday. Apparently the lights are hooked into the response time system which had issues and needed to be shut off. I was able to go back to listening for a sound but I have been forever spoiled by the lights.
As for me, the meet did not go very well at all. For one thing, I'm about 15-20 lbs overweight. But the wheels really came off during taper. The first 3 days were great and I felt like I was way ahead of last year. But over the weekend I got a sinus infection followed by a mysterious illness. In practice I had speed but no endurance... even for the very short taper sets we did. Friday morning, I woke up nauseated and considered not going at all. By noon, I was improving so I went ahead and made the trip. That night, I swam in the Auburn pool but still wasn't feeling great. Saturday morning, I was a little better but far from 100%. As the meet progressed, I was slowly starting to match my meet times from last year. So, for times it was mostly a lot of disappointments. Here's how the events went:
200 Fly - Seed: 2:21.24, Time: 2:29.07 (34.17, 37.91, 38.31, 38.68)
This was the first indication that things weren't going to go well over the weekend. The first 50 was fine but I quickly fell off the pace from last year. The last 10 yards or so, my body went into shutdown mode. Fortunately I was close enough to the wall to gut it out. During cool-down, all I wanted to do was throw up.
100 Breast - Seed: 1:09.53, time: 1:13.63 (35.59, 38.04)
Not sure what to say about this. It was just slow and I botched my first pullout. I was in a heat with a bunch of 1:05 ish swimmers which just amplified how slow I felt.
200 Free - Seed: 2:04.61, time: 2:05.89 (29.62, 31.65, 32.46, 32.16)
The girl next to me was seeded at 2:00.00. She went 1:55. I tried to keep up and didn't do a very good job of it. But at least I was in the ballpark of one of my worst swims from last year. Even better, I had a little extra for the last 50.
400 IM - Seed: 4:59.20, time: 5:05.12 (1:11.74, 1:22.44, 1:23.52, 1:07.42)
I really just cruised this event. I had a relay coming up and nobody was in my age group contesting me. There were really only two of us with seeds under 5:00 and the other guy scratched. So, 5:05 wasn't terrible for holding back a bit. In fact, this was probably my best swim of the day. It definitely felt better than the others did.
200 Breast - Seed: 2:33.97, time: 2:35.52 (36.14, 39.51, 39.79, 40.08)
I didn't feel completely warmed up for this race but it was a lot of fun. The swimmers on both sides of me had excellent swims and we pushed each other pretty hard. I started off about a second off their pace and then slowly chipped into their leads. I actually overtook the guy in lane 3 with 25 yards to go but he out sprinted me on the last leg. The guy in lane 5 had us both at the last turn but couldn't bring it home. I touched .01 seconds ahead and the finish.
200 Back - Seed: 2:41.39, time: 2:38.08
Finally beat a seed time! And this was a personal best. This was from a couple years ago and my backstroke has improved a lot since then. With nobody in my age group contesting this, I relaxed it and got ready for the final two events.
50 Breast - Seed: 32.16, time: 33.58
Not great but not terrible either.
200 IM - Seed: 2:24.40, time: 2:24.30
Not my best but I beat my time from last year. Finally started feeling closer to 100%.
Despite my struggles, I did win high point. I had a lot of fun (as usual) and I got to swim in a really nice pool with all the trimmings for a big NCAA event. Definitely worth the time this weekend and I'm glad I decided to go.
I had planned to do this swim tomorrow night at Masters practice, but with the Nor'Easter bearing down on New England the Rec has announced that the facility will be closed all day tomorrow (along with Preston's school). I won't be back in the water until Friday so tonight became the night for the OHS! Preston took splits on my way to a total of 4257 yards, which is just over 300 yards less than last year. Given where I am with my physical state, I am happy with the results. Plus it will add to team New England Masters in our bid to three-peat as National OHS Champions!
We are all home tomorrow (my regular day off) so keeping up with snow removal should not be a problem. I haven't had to use the show blower yet this year, and today while gassing it up I discovered what appears to be a cracked gasket, so it will be all human power for Tuesday!
After a quiet summer and fall in the pool training, I came to the realization that I rather enjoy the opportunity to compete and decided to drop in on one of the three days of this annual December meet at the great facility at Boston University. Planning to just drive in the for the day, I signed up for four events knowing that the first would likely not start before noontime, allowing me to sleep in a little before heading out this morning for the big city around 7:30am. Here are some pictures (no filters) from the ride over the Green Mountains (about fifteen minutes from home) as we started our three hour trip):
I warmed up in the four scy lanes in the diving well of the pool after checking in for my events, logging my standard 1500 yards. No starts or sprints but that's ok. I waited for about an hour before getting in another 200y before my first event ...
100scm Back: 1:06.70 (33.04, 33.66). About a second off my fastest time a couple of years ago. I felt that I was slipping a bit on the second lap, so really tried to think about hand position on the last fifty. Solid time. Warmed down with 200y and sat down to wait for the relays and the afternoon's swims.
50scm Breast: 39.40. A personal best time by .18! Good start and turn with a fluid-feeling stroke. I've never been a fan of this stroke, but know that I need to keep working on it. I then did an easy 200y to relax before the ...
200scm Fly: 2:40.37 (34.33, 40.64 [1:14.98], 44.15, 41.24). Another PB by a just under 3 seconds! I did DPS fly for the first 175m, then swimming full stroke on the last length. With my lack of swimming I was struggling with the aerobic side of the 200, plus the thought behind the blocks that I always have ("why did I sign up for this?") After an easy 200y and a quick chat with my wife, I hopped in for another easy 100y before my final event ...
100scm Free: 59.78 (29.45, 30.33). I was happy to get under a minute and felt tanked. Again the lack of solid base training lead to me being very tired (and in turn, sloppy) for a sprint to end the meet. I capped off the day with and easy 400y, bringing my totals for the day to: 450scm + 2800yds.
So as I complete another day of competition, I am thinking that I will need to make training more consistent in the future especially for the meets that have multiple events over a number of days. I am also swimming with an extra 15 pounds over last year, so I'll need to commit to some tweaks in my nutrition as well to get my waist back in line. Overall, I am very satisfied with the meet, in particular the extra time spent with Lena talking about her trip to Germany and our family - twenty years ago we used to hop in the car and drive around and talk; it's nice to have opportunity to do that together again.
Updated December 14th, 2014 at 12:31 AM by rxleakem
Southern Masters SCM Swimming Championships,
UNO Pool -
Dec 6 - 7, 2014
New Orleans was fun
I swam slow in the meet, it was small and the sessions went by too quickly. It was a well run meet, they served lunch on Sat and the people were super nice.
Sat, I arrived late on & didnít warm up at all for my 50 fly, went 28.2
50 LCM fl 2013 27.0 in the & 27.5 this past summer
Cruised the 1 bk in a 1:06,
2 years ago I went 1:00.4
50 free was the very next event and I only went 26.4
think I was 25.4 last year
In my 50 bk I discovered the bk flags were set at 5 meters at the starting end and 5 yards at the turn end. When I turned over at the 25 in my 50, the wall was too close and I barely had room to flip. I felt like I lost speed & momentum.
Still went 29.5 was 29.1 last year & 27.8 the year before that
cruised my 200 IM
I should have gone to California & raced at the SPMA SCM Meet.
I'm frustrated & disappointed, yet inspired to be much better at SC nats.
I need to be much stronger and do more short fast timed swims in practice.
We had a fun night last night watching college football, eating food and laughing and joking. Great stuff. I still managed to get to bed at 9pm. I fell asleep pretty quick but woke around 1am with my stomach in knots and feeling really dehydrated. I guess my dinner did not settle as well as it went down. I felt better this morning but my stomach was still doing loops. Luckily as the day went on I felt better and better. I was a little nervous that I would suffer in the pool today but as it turned out I had another great day and finished off a great meet.
There was an issue with lane 6 the entire meet with numerous stoppages trying to fix an issue with the bulkhead. Today just before the women's 200 they finally decided to close lane 6 and reseed everything. Apparently the bulk head wall had a hole in it and they felt like it was a hazard. As a result of the reseeding I was moved out of the fastest heat of the 200 into the center lane in the second to last heat. I felt good ahead of the race and was ecstatic with my time of 1:59.9. This was my goal time for the swim and it was great to achieve it. My splits were a little off but who cares. I was out a little fast but hung on pretty well and I was a long way ahead of everyone in my heat.
My my last event was the 50 back where I went 29.1 and was again happy with the time. I had a tough time at the start going a little deep and despite trying as hard as I could not get going like hoped. This is a great time for me but I think I have a faster 50 in me.
Overall I had great fun and a great meet. I am really happy I swam at this meet and will be back(thanks Patrick). I have a week of work in California and will try to hold my taper this week around a busy work schedule. Next weekend I swim in the USAS LPA meet at our pool in Rockwall and I am hopeful I can carry my taper into next weekend. I am swimming with UCLA masters while in LA.
I had another late night last night but I guess I must be adjusting to local time because I did not feel nearly as tired. I had an excellent nights sleep and woke around 6am local time. I had a good breakfast with Stephanie and Ray Stone and my team mate Bill Elizondo before heading to the pool for a warmup. I once again felt great in the water although I could tell it was the second day of the meet and not the first. Today's line up was the 400 free and the 100 back.
The 400 free I ended up with a 4:17.7 which I was pleased with but my free turn challenges really caught up with me in this race almost coming to a complete stop at the 275 turn and again at the 350. I don't know what's the deal since I have swum scm many times before. I did hear quite a few people saying similar things so I was not alone. I think the most encouraging thing about this race was how strong I felt and if it were not for the turns I think I could have been even faster.
My second event today was the 100 back and unlike the 400 I hit everything right in this one with a final time of 1:01.3 and splits of 29.9 and 31.4. I would love to see this one on video. One of my friends said my underwaters sucked but I was the fastest swimmer. The great thing about swimming is no mater who you are or how old you are there is always something you can work on.
I have the 200 free and the 50 back tomorrow. Fingers crossed I will have a strong finish to the meet.
I arrived in LA at around 7pm (9pm central and way past my bed time) thursday night and then sat on the I105 east for about 1.5 hours. Despite LA being a fun city, traffic totally sucks 24/7 and reaffirms that it's not the place for yours truly. When I finally arrived at my hotel I was caught in the dilemma of eating or not. I decided to grab food at the hotel and choose pasta which is always a safe choice ahead of a meet. I finally got to bed around 10pm(midnight central) which is closer to my normal wake up call than my go to bed time. I woke around 6:30am pacific after a good night of sleep and felt good. Stephanie Stone who swims with us from time to time, and I headed over to the pool together for a warmup swim. Again I felt good. After the warmup we headed back to the hotel where I ate, shaved down and even grabbed a short power nap.
We had a little bit of a worry around 12:30pm when we heard the meet was running an hour ahead of schedule. When we got to the pool it was ahead of schedule but the meet organizers said the meet would stick to the original timeline and there was a warmup between the 1500s and the 200 IMs which worked great.
My first race today was the 100free and I was in the fastest heat in lane 1. I had a really good start but messed up on both my turns at the bulkhead end of the pool. Neither was a complete stop by any stretch but both were softer than I would have hoped. My goal time was 53.99 and I ended up with a 54.3 which all things considered I was very happy with. I felt strong all the way.
My second race was about 45 minutes later which gave me time to warm down and prepare for the 200 back. I was in lane 8 in the fastest heat and as things turned out I was the outside burner. I have not raced much back and as such I have next to no expectations which may actually be the ideal way for me to swim. I was entered on my unrested LCM time from this past summer(2:25) and hoped I could go under 2:20. I ended up going 2:12 even with a challenge on the last two turns. This time I decided to wear clear goggles(I usually wear smoke) because it was getting dark. These worked great other than I forgot to put anti fog drops in the goggles and they got harder and harder to see out of as the race progressed. Even with this challenge I was absolutely shocked with this one and felt awesome. I know it's hard comparing lcm to scm but this was 13 seconds faster than my entry time and 8 seconds faster than I thought I would go.
A big thank you goes out to Patrick for his post on this meet last year. I read it and was really inspired to one day attend this meet. I am really glad I was able to make the meet and catchup with friends like Patrick and Kurt.
I have the 400 free and the 100 back today so I have another fun day in store. I am really digging doing the back thing and maybe I have found a new event or two for nationals.
Yesterday I swam in the city of Richardson corporate challenge. This is a special event with a great cause. Companies in the DFW area compete and raise money for the special olympics. This meet is special to me also since this was the meet that precipitated my return to swimming two years ago. One could say this event changed my life. Like the two prior corporate challenges I have participated in this one was enormously fun. My company had about 8 participants which is a little low compared to prior years but like the other two years those who participated had great fun. I remember how nervous I was two years ago and how intimidating I found it showing my belly and body that I was not comfortable in front of strangers. Like me once people see that they are just like everyone else and get the first sim out of the way it's no where near as intimidating and everyone on my team said they had a great time.
In terms of the meet, I swam well and finished first in my two individual events(50 free and 50 back) and our relay which I always find the most fun won coming from behind. The past couple of weeks I have been very stiff and sore and this feeling continued today. I was able to get my normal 1300scy warmup in before the free and had decent warm downs after each of my races. Despite the soreness I had some decent times today.
Free - 22:83
Back - 26.42
I feel like a duck out of water whenever I swim a 50 free. I seem to always mess up one or two aspects of the swim and today I had a decent start but glided into the turn and had a slow turn. Despite my turn I felt strong the whole way. They swim the meet in 10 year age groups which meant I was not with the young guys which I would have preferred. Two of the younger guys who were my speed swam with body suits which I have not seen in a long time. I have struggled for over a year on my back break outs. My under waters have improved a lot but I go slightly too deep and struggle getting up to the surface before I am forced to take my first stroke. Today was no exception and I had this problem on the start and turn and in both cases I took my first strokes while under water which causes an almost immediate stop. If I can fix this issue I really feel like I have some good back races in me this year and beyond.
I am off to DC with work this week so won't be swimming today but will be swimming with Alexandria masters all week. I have really enjoyed swimming with this group before and know many of there team we'll so it's always nice to see friends and train with another competitive group.
During the award ceremony I met Karri Kennedy aka FlyStorms and had a great conversation. It's always so wonderful when you know people through dimming and get to see them. karri and I have known each other for about a year through the forums but had never met so it was great to finally put a face and name together. You swam great Karri and offer to come train with us still holds.
What an interesting two months it has been. After ten years out of the water, it was hard to know what to expect. What was my body capable of? Would I have the desire to continue? Did I really want to get back into a sport I burned out on?
For years, it just wasn't possible. My job required me to work 12 hours a day and with an hour commute each way, finding time for sleep was difficult. Then there was the problem of where to swim. I lived about an hour away from the nearest pool and given my work schedule, it was not surprising that the pool would be closing the same time I got off work and opened a half-hour before I was supposed to be at work. I let it go. I took up other hobbies. I fulfilled my dream of becoming a pilot. I became an avid photographer. I traveled the world and took places off my bucket list. I had made one half-hearted attempt in 2008 by signing up as a USMS member. I went to an old 20-yard YMCA pool without lane lines and did about 500 yards, dodging elderly people doing backstroke diagonally and left after too many near misses.
I still missed swimming. Not necessarily the workouts or two times a day practices that I had endured, as I suspect was what burnt me out, but non-tangible things.
I was lucky to move to the city I work in back in January. The 12-hour days had been reduced to 11-hours and I had a five-minute commute. The city had just built a beautiful aquatic center that boasted a 50 meter by 25 yard pool. It was just 10 minutes from my house, and open from 5:30 am to 7 pm for lap swimming.
In July I decided I needed to swim again. I pulled out a big box with probably about 15 old swimsuits that I had acquired during my 8-year career as a swimmer. My swimsuit from my senior year of high school was in the box. As I went through the suits, I quickly realized that while most of them still fit, they were just too old and were falling apart. Had it really been that long? I found two brand-new Nike swimsuits that I had purchased in 2003 off of ebay. They still had the tags on, but I could hear the fabric "stretching out" as I managed to wiggle it on. It was way too tight to pass off as a practice suit. I had forgotten about the days when swimmers would try to squeeze into the tiniest suit possible and it made me chuckle to think of myself doing that.
Realizing that I couldn't swim without a "real" suit (my poor Victoria's Secret bikinis would have to wait for the beach), and also needing a new cap and set of goggles, I headed to the Sports Authority in town. I had no idea what my suit size was anymore, so my usual ordering online was out of the question.
I picked out a swimsuit, two pairs of goggles, and two caps to purchase. I had no idea why, at that moment, I started to feel a sense of excitement. Was it because I was finally doing it? Stopped making excuses not to? Or was it just exciting to go do something I once loved? I couldn't answer that question then. I would have to find out.
To be continued.
Updated October 22nd, 2014 at 11:43 AM by mo89564
Just back from Springfield College in Massachusetts for the first day of the 2014 Baystate Games , my first LCM meet! I swam lcm once or twice last year with Brent and then the year before that with Tom in the Philly area; otherwise, I have never been in lcm. The meet is set up with the kids swimming the in the morning to make finals, but the masters (19-34, 35-49, 50+) swam timed finals of mixed events after the kids heats. 6 lanes with no separate warmup lanes. GregJS decided (after some arm turning by his coach) to give the meet a try, so I met up at his place and we carpooled down.
Noon warmups and a 12:30 start for the 400 Free; I got in 1000m. Greg did not want to do this, but since there was a flat registration fee entitling one to swim up to 4 events on the weekend, he did it and held a comfortable pace throughout. I was in the final heat and missed the opportunity to warmup, feeling stiff through the first 200. I was pleased with a 5:15 final time.
Then there was a break in the action and we wandered around to the basketball area and concession stand before relaxing on a bench outside the pool. We headed in to evening warmups about 20 minutes after the 3:30 opening before the 4:30 start (did 700m). 400 IM for masters was first, and I finished at 5:57. With no easy swimming, I took Greg's advice of some easy stretching under a hot shower.
I watched Greg swim an inspiring 100 breast, which I will let him describe. I then splashed in for the 100 back and cranked out a 1:09.42 I felt like I had a great start and 10 sdk's before settling into a strong first half; then 10 skd's before motoring back.
The last event of the night was the 50 free, and I watched Greg sneak under :30 in a beautiful swim. I was in the last heat and flubbed the start a bit but ended up with a 28.31, a great swim for me. I wanted to take just one breath, but after all of that swimming on the day I ended up taking three. I then did an easy 150 warmdown, totaling 2800 meters on the day.
Here is a shot of the pool (Art Linkletter Natatorium):
Great swag for swimmers: tee-shirt and latex cap for all, and medals for placing 1-3 as well as a windbreaker (per person) if you finish 1-4. I ended the day with two golds and two silvers, and Greg brought home two three bronzes! We decided to just swim the one day, so tomorrow the competetion continues without us. It was a neat format with the kids and masters swimming together, and as always it was fun to connect with my swim buddies in the area as well as make some new connections.
Updated July 8th, 2015 at 09:22 AM by rxleakem
Wed June 25th, 2014 5K Postal
6:00 to 7:30 Swim Center LCM
Trained Mon but not Tue
dove in at 6:05 with no warm up the group started at 6:00
had a little controversy about whether I had a lane or not
The coach had us make lane reservations so I made one with her.
One woman made reservations, then canceled and gave hers to another swimmer
but she also told the coach she cancelled and the coach gave her slot to another swimmer. I walked in seconds before the group dove in and nearly didn't have a lane.
Which would have sucked because my wife came with me 40 miles from Martindale.
0200 0:02:33.5 1:19.6
0800 0:10:35.7 5:19.50
1200 0:15:52.5 5:16.8
1600 0:21:08.7 5:16.2
2000 0:26:23.7 5:15.0
2400 0:31:40.7 5:17.0
2800 0:36:54.8 5:14.1
3000 0:39:31.8 19:42.0
3200 0:42:09.1 5:14.3
3600 0:47:25.3 5:16.2
4000 0:52:41.7 5:16.4
4400 0:57:57.7 5:16.0
4500 0:59:16.7 1:19.0 19:44.90
4600 1:00:35.1 1:18.4
4700 1:01:50.7 1:15.6
4800 1:03:08.8 1:18.1 5:11.1
4900 1:04:26.8 1:18.0
5000 1:05:44.2 1:17.4 5:09.1 (last 400) 19:21.70 (last 1500)
I just swam the whole thing, long steady and slightly uncomfortable.
Think my best time ever as a masters or recent years in a jammer was 63 min something on my way to the 10K. Today was a pretty good effort and I'm certain I can go faster, I never turned on my kick. for a while I was doing a single DK off each turn.
Maybe I'll take another whack.
I left Thursday for VA with Lil Fort in tow. Unfortunately, the trip did not start off well. I couldn't fall asleep Thursday at our friends house and then their huge dog busted down my door and hopped on my bed at 6:30 am. I couldn't fall back asleep and felt like a zombie all day Friday. I promptly checked myself into a hotel for the next couple nights. Slept great Friday night, but not Saturday night. I wish I were a more talented sleeper because lack of sleep effects my racing.
Anyhoo, I had a fabulously fun time at Zones despite those bumps. It was really fun to have my Team Pitt swimmers there with me and they all swam very well. I give Saturday an A, Sunday a B-.
50 back, mixed 45+200 medley relay, 1st, 27.20 (split request), Zones record
Was I ever happy to see this time! After my blech 50 back at Albatross, I wasn't sure what to expect. I was really just hoping to slide under 28. But this time I had a very good start and turn -- and from an end lane! This is only .16 hundredths off my NR set in Indy last year when I was on fire. So I was super super happy.
50 fly, 25.96, 1st
I was also thrilled with this time, which is a half second improvement from the Sprint Classic. I felt like I had a very good start, turn and UWs. My breakouts were not as bad as usual. The only glitch was that I had to glide into the finish. Without that glide, I might have matched the 25.7 I did in Indy (and in that race I nailed my finish). At this point, I felt like my meet was made with huge times in my two best events.
50 free on womens 200 free relay, 25.1 leadoff
I only had 5 heats of rest after my 50 fly, not nearly enough rest. So I guess 25.1 is pretty good considering that. If I had had another 30 minutes of rest, I feel like I would have been under 25. I also had a sub-par breakout on my second length.
We went out for a team dinner after this (A for fun) I was hoping for another good night's sleep but it was not to be. I tossed and turned woke up early and tired (C- for sleep). My legs were more tired than usual as well. I think this is where doing the Columbus meet the weekend before might have effected me too.
100 IM, 1:04.6, Zones record
Well, this was pretty disappointing. I really think I should have been a 1:03. I might have stayed UW too much the first 50 and then I had a mishap on my breast to free turn. I had a major glide into the wall and then my foot slipped on the stainless steel wall at that end. I went into the wall even with my buddy Mollie and came out a half a body length behind. So far, this is the fastest time in the nation, but I suspect it might get knocked down a notch or two at nationals.
50 free, mixed 45+ 200 free relay, 25.2 leadoff, 1st
Again, I only had 5-6 heats of rest after the 100 IM, not enough to rip off a really good time. I didn't think this one through. What I should have done was skip the relay and do the individual 50 free. Then I would have had more rest. But who knows, I was pretty tired by this point in the meet.
100 fly, 1:02.8
After the 50 free, I announced I was scratching this event. Stick a fork in me, I was done. And since I don't train for this event at all, I was slightly worried about finishing it legally. Historically, the last half length has always been soooo difficult. Then, about 10 minutes before the event, I uncharacteristically decided to swim it for a top ten (again, channelling chowmi). I tried to loaf, loaf, loaf the first three lengths. I sort of coffee breaked the last turn, but did not die on the last length! After finishing, I was not nearly as tired as usual from this event and, in retrospect, wish I had picked it up on the third length. Oh well, at least this gives me some confidence to try the 100 in SCM again. And right now, it's the fastest time in the nation, though I suspect it will get knocked down a notch or two at nationals. One season, I feel like I should focus on this event. It was my best event as a kid and I know I can go much faster than this (last year I was only .7 off the NR). Untapped potential, it's just a matter of whether my shoulder could take the training.
50 fly, womens 45+ 200 medley relay, 1st, 26.2
I wish there was a break between individual events and relays at this meet ... Again, I only had 5 heats of rest after 100 fly before the relay. I guess I didn't leave it all in the water in the 100 fly because I popped off a 26.2 split with a very safe start.
Another Zones in the books. On the whole, I'm happy with it, especially considering I've been rehabbing my shoulder the last couple weeks. I wish my 100s had been faster. But I find those respond better too a real taper and more rest. I didn't have a classic taper this year, just rested a bit for each meet. Mostly, I'm proud of myself -- in this year where I've been struggling and only training decently since January -- that I swam all 9 sprint events. I showed up. And I feel like I have at least some of my mojo back.
The results from the Columbus meet have now been added back to the data base, so I was able to check my splits from my events there. My 100 breast I was out fast in a 33.9 (with a fantastic start) and I felt like it was controlled speed. That suggests to me that I could have gone faster than the 33.1 that I posted in the 50 breast last fall if I had had a chance to swim it again. My 100 back, which I didn't have much rest for after the 100 breast, was split 30.6/32.1. That's practically an even split with my start. I took it out conservatively (1.3 seconds slower than Nats last year). That suggests to me that I could easily have gone a second faster with more rest or if that had been my first event.
In other good news, Lil Fort raced in a 5K this weekend and won the womens division. This was her first race since the move. She stopped running for the first 4 months of our move. I'm just grateful that she is getting back in the groove. It's been very hard on me seeing her so unhappy with the move.
Updated April 7th, 2014 at 12:09 PM by The Fortress
On Friday night, I travelled over to Columbus for a meet at Ohio State University. What a sweet pool that is -- deep, cold, clear and with wide lanes. I especially appreciated the wide lanes since it was a mixed gender meet. I was with one of my Pitt swimmers who was swimming in her first masters meet (she did great), so I had some company. The meet ran a bit faster than predicted and I was grateful for a couple 10 minute breaks. On the whole, I am really happen with how things went with 3 days of hard rest.
100 breast, 1:13.4, PR
I hadn't swum this event in over a year. My last attempt was a 1:15.0, so I was hoping to slide under that that time. Imagine my shock and happiness when I saw a 1:13 on the board. The race went well. I had a great start, though turns were a bit glidey. I guess those USRPT sets worked! I think there's only one swimmer in my age group (a real breaststroker) who can beat this time, so it should hold up well. I wish I had another crack at the 50 breast this season, but it doesn't fit into my Zones lineup.
100 back, 1:02.6
I had maybe 45 minutes rest and could have used more. The race went pretty well. I wish I could have taken a couple more kicks off the wall on the third and fourth length. But my UWs are not where I want them to be right now. Still, a 1:02 without a full taper and big meet vibe is a very solid time for me and I'm happy with it.
100 free, 58.3
Ok, admit it. No one thought I would swim all three 100s. And in less than 3 hours no less! I was pretty dead after my 100 back. I definitely do not train to compete in 3 x 100s in less than 3 hours. I've never done that before. In fact, it's an extremely rare occurrence when I swim 2 x 100s in one day at a meet. But I decided to give it whirl. My plan was kick to the 15 m mark, go easy speed for the first three lengths and sprint the final length. While that was a good plan, when I got to the last length, I had nothing and felt like I staggered to the finish. I think I should be a full second faster in this event. But that wasn't going to happen under these circumstances. This is my worst and least favorite sprint event, so I'm glad I got it out of the way and I can cross it off my Zones event list. This is about the same time I swam at Zones last year (when I missed a wall), and should make top ten (channeling chowmi here).
Just did an easy recovery swim today (1800) . Feeling pretty sore, though happily my shoulder seems no worse than it was pre-meet. The constant rehab exercises and icing seem to be helping somewhat.
There are now 563 swimmers entered in Zones.
Updated March 30th, 2014 at 06:12 PM by The Fortress