Meet / OW event plans and results from U.S. Masters Swmming events in this category.
I had another great time at the 32nd annual Peaks to Portland 2.4 mile ocean swim in Portland, Maine. This was my fourth year in a row attending, a great trip that allows me time to catch up with friends in the city and swim to help raise funds for the YMCA there. You can see my blog from last year here for some background info if you'd like, including why the use duct tape is encouraged
I headed up on Friday morning (after an EZ 1000yds in the pool) with my son and checked in, receiving my cap, kayaker's flag, and tee shirt, then we went to the East End Beach, where the swim ends, to enjoy the beautiful day. Dinner again at Tortilla Flats and a good night's sleep to get ready for the swim. Got up around 5:30am so we could get to the ferry station before ships away at 6:45; two ferries were used (the "car" one filled with kayaks and the people one that I took) to transport us to Peaks Island for check-in, body marking, time chip getting, and some safety meetings as we waited for the race to start at 9am. Bobby, my yaker, joined many others in paddling over so I met him there.
This year's event was the largest ever for the Y, with 400 people signed up. In fact, many locals did not make it (I missed my buddies jbs and slknight) due to various reasons and I was on the waiting list because they filled up before the end of March. I got the call to register in May, so I was a bit lonely this year. I did see my inspiration for doing these open water/marathon swims, Pat Gallant-Charette, already swimming off the beach while waiting for the start, so I did not get a chance to say hi. The water was slightly colder than last year, 63-4 degrees, with low tide slated to start with our race, meaning very little assist again this year. The sun was out making for a gorgeous day to swim!
We had more time on the beach, which was good in respect to having more time to get all checked in, where we discovered that nearly half of the swimmers were newbies. It was a rather long time mulling about though, since I learned the first year not to "warm up" because that is what the swim is for! I was in the first (of 5) wave, and we waded out to the end of the pier as they counted down to our start. I lined up again on the right of the main pack and took off towards the bobbing yakers to meet with Bobby at the prescribed time.
The swim itself was good. There was as slight current against us as we headed towards our escorts (more than once I ran into a gaggle of yakers due to inexperience, and almost got hit twice - they found and paddled to their swimmers without looking to see what was happening around them), then we basically hit slack tide for the rest of the race. As you get to the midway point, there is generally a bit of swell, so I tried to pick up the pace. Besides some lobster cages, the course was generally free from obstacles, and there was no real current into the beach finish zone, which was well marked by an orange buoy on the left and four or so green buoys on the right. Due to the lack of tide, Bobby took us on a line towards the center of the course, which helped us move past those too far out on our left and catch up to the ones to our right that took too tight of a line. I did one dolphin dive (thanks mmead!) then stood up in knee-high water and took a few steps to reacclimate to the vertical plane. I tried to side step a bit and was going to walk again, but the huge crowd on the beach was cheering so I kept pushing ahead towards the big clock and hospitality tent just up the beach.
So, of the 335 swimmers that started the event (based on final reults), I was the 32nd to cross the finish line, 5th in my age group, and first overall of the 23 "naked" folks, repeating the feat from last year. My time was 59:09.5, which (also a repeat) was slower than last year , although I did not take a break and felt like I swam faster. For reference, I finished just under 50 minutes in 2011, which proves that the tides can help or hinder in Casco Bay.
I can't say enough how much I enjoy this event, which has grown considerably over the years (and even since I started taking part in 2010) and still has some minor hiccups due primarily to it's size. The distance is spot on for the OW newbie or seasoned warrior to complete, and there is a real fun vibe throughout as family, friends, and townsfolk cheer on the swimmers and their festively-colored kayaks. It's easy to see why this event is considered one of the top 50 in our country, and why I will register earlier to make it my fifth trip next year to enjoy some more of "the way life should be."
Some links if you are interested:
Friday's preview, noting Pat's friend Miyuki Fujita, who came from Japan to swim
Sunday's review with a picture slideshow
Some pics I took here and here .
Write-up from Munatones OWS blog
Local news video
A neat picture review I found from 2012 - see the waves head out from Peaks
Updated July 15th, 2013 at 10:25 PM by rxleakem
MEET: Saturday, July 9th, 2013
going into this meet I entered the 2br, 50fl, 50fr, 50br & 400IM
David Guthrie convinced me it wasn't a good idea to race the 2br before the 4IM so I dropped it. Then I thought about swimming the 1bk and going for a 50 time, but the blocks didn't offer much space between the hand grips & the wall so I scratched that idea.
Had a nice talk with Neil Walker who is the aquatic director and coach.
He told me about a better backstroke turn, I practiced it a bit in warm up then did it in the meet. It feels faster.
wore a FS3
cruised it but wasn't happy with it
so I went in the lockerroom and shaved my head
also skipped my other events to rest up for the 4 IM
felt my goggle strap slip down on my dive
cruised the Fly 31.9, 37.9
cruised the back a bit too much 1:21??
worked the BR split 42, 43
2 beat kicked the 1st 50 free, split 36 low
not sure what my last 50 was
It didn't hurt as bad as my 4 IM at pan ams
Updated July 15th, 2013 at 12:02 PM by ande
After enjoying last year's Kingdom 10 Miler, I decided to sign up again this year and make the trip to the northern reaches of my home state to tackle the mighty Lake Memphremagog. I have some notes/observations that I can refer to from last year:
First, Lena did not make the trip. She has been having some stomach issues going on and I really don't think she was enthused to witness me plodding along in the water again, so she rested at home. Preston did join me, along with my buddy Bob from Maine and his wife and son. They were in town to visit his folks, and drove up north behind me. We enjoyed some stops along the way (VT Country Store and lunch in Lebanon, NH) and made it to Newport by 4pm. I went to register at the Gateway then took a nap, waking up in time to sit through post-parade traffic to strap my feedbag on for the annual pasta dinner that race director Phil White and the gang put on. The rain that had fallen shortly before supper cleared out, leaving a great view of the lake for all to enjoy.
In comparison to last year's swim:
- Similarly, it was overcast to start the swim. Only saw faint peaks of sunlight after passing Buoy 7, then it shined fully after the 8th. This was excellent (humane) for the yakers and didn't really bother me too much.
- Water temp was 72 degrees, which was warmer than last year. I put on some weight expecting colder temps, so I lugged some extra lard for this swim.
- My feeds were not as concentrated, and I did fine with them. Fewer calories did not make a difference for me, which is good to note.
- The Kayakers deployed in a little different formation, and it took my 15 minutes to find Bobby. Many of them did not line up where they were directed to, so I just kept swimming. No collisions which is always an answer to prayer
- See last year's post noted above from the course layout. Not much to report until we rounded Buoy 3, where the "po po" boat had blue lights flashing and another boat stopped. Found out later from Bob that the boat was flying south towards the course without hint of slowing down, and had to be intercepted by either the Newport City Police or Boarder Patrol boat. Crazy!
- Some waves rolled us around as we crossed the northern end of the lake from Buoy 3-4 (just like last year). I was with two other swimmers (last year I was by myself), and we rounded Buoy 5 together, which was interesting.
- Again this year, we held close to the islands and straight on to Buoy 6, then stayed more in the lake as opposed to Derby Bay, where the current was tossing people. The waves were IMO slightly less rough than last year, but pounded for a longer portion of the long leg from Buoy 6-7. It was tiring!
- After Buoy 6B, I caught up to someone that passed my by the lighthouse (and also put a lot of distance on the two guys with my at Buoy 5). I passed him, then he drafted off me. I didn't mind at first, but after ten minutes of pulling him I did some backstroke and slowed down, hoping that he would return the favor. Didn't happen. After about a mile of this, I took a scheduled feed and let him go past. He ended up finishing a minute ahead of me.
- My shoulders felt better prepared for the long swim, but the pounding during the long leg took its toll, as I had a difficult time in the last hour or so keeping good body position.
- Bob noted the time and my stroke count at the big buoys, and was steady around 58-9 stokes per minute at each point. Last year I cycled between swimming 20-30 fast strokes followed by 50-60 regular ones; this year I just tried to stay even with stokes and kicking throughout.
- I skipped my last feed at at the bottom of the hour and motored into Prouty Beach with a time of 4hrs, 37 min, 53 sec, which was 46sec slower than last year. I'm pleased based on the conditions.
Another great weekend, which is just the start of swimming in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. It'a always fun to meet up with forumites, and see some folks from last year. I am disappointed that USMS was not the sanctioning body for the swim (although there was an agreement for this last year before the OW stuff went down) as I think more people may have swam in it. Nonetheless, Phil has a great lineup of swimming in beautiful lakes in that bucolic part of Vermont throughout the summer, and I highly recommend joining in the fun if you are able to! www.kingdomswim.org
Updated July 7th, 2013 at 11:48 PM by rxleakem
We had about 80 swimmers at the meet which was a great turnout. Groups from across the region including, San Antonio, Austin, Houston, Fort Worth, Dallas, Shreeveport, and a lady from California who was visiting family for the 4th July holiday, were all in attendance.
I entered 7 swims but ended up dropping the 200 free due to its proximity to the medley relay and the mile. So I ended up swimming 6 swims in a meet that lasted about 2.5 hours.
I went 4.36.xx on my 400 and honestly felt like I had a lot left. This was probably my best swim of the meet.
The 50 free I went 26.46 which I was very pleasantly surprised at.
The 100 free was my toughest and I died bad on the last 25 meters, and went 57.8. I was hoping for sub 57 so this was a little disappointing, but I really enjoyed this one since I had a close race, and despite coming out on the wrong side of the finish it was fun racing.
The 1500 was right after the medley relay and I knew it would be tough to swim quick. I felt ok but it was just not a quick race and I went 18.41.xx.
I led the medley relay off with a great back 50 and went 31.2. I was number three in the free relay and our relay had a great race with one of our other team relays, but yet again we just got pipped at the finish.
We ended up with about 12 of the RAM team swimming which was a great turnout and it appeared as though my team mates had a good time. We went to the social and nearly all my teammates were there. I think we may be putting in a bid for masters zones next year and suspect we will have another meet next year based on the success of the first RAM long course meet.
Updated July 6th, 2013 at 09:41 PM by StewartACarroll
I'm not much of a sprinter but I seem to be getting better at it. Last weekend, I joined our local summer league team, Madison Dolphins, along with 6 other Masters swimmers to compete in the Alabama State Games. The facilities were awesome. Half the building was an indoor 50m pool with a diving well. The other half was an indoor track and field stadium. The competition lanes were all 7'+ deep and it was set up with 10 lanes (8 used) running to a bulkhead. 6 more lanes were set up on the other side of the diving area for warm-ups/cool down. Everything was state of the art. The pool was a tad warm but still fast. That might have had to do with what appeared to be an erratic climate control system. On deck, temps were 80-85. It was cooler in the stands but noticeably different from the 70 degree temps in the large connecting hallway.
My only minor complaint with the meet was that they divided us up into obscure age groups to fill out all of the lanes. In general, that may be OK, but I was more competitive with some of the 25-40 year olds than I was with the 50-70 year olds I got placed with. I'm not sure why they didn't just seed it by our seed times. There would have been a lot of better races if they had done that for the masters. I get why they do it for the age groupers. Maybe it was hard to convince the software to do it different ways.
Short story is that I'm the 2013 6 time Alabama State Champion in my age group. Sure, three of those were unopposed and I'm not sure who exactly recognizes such a title. But supposedly, it qualifies me for a trip to the National State Games in Hershey, PA (all expenses paid by me). My 15 yr old son qualified as well and is now bugging me to go since it is apparently located near an amusement park (all expenses paid by me of course). Unfortunately, this isn't likely to be in the cards this year. I'm back to piling up yards for a possible SCM meet in November.
I swam 6 events thinking this would take about 6-8 hours to go through. It took 4. My last two swims probably suffered a little because of this. Ok... it took 8 when you add in the awards ceremony. Masters got medals for places 1-3. Age groupers got medals for 1-3 and ribbons for 4-6. With 7 events total, this took a while. They probably could have cut a lot of that out if they just awarded a high point trophy for each age division for masters. The kids that stuck around for it had fun so I was patient.
Here's the event details:
Seed Time: 2:02.71
Meet Time: 2:03.04
Splits: 29.07, 30.98, 31.74, 31.25
Yikes! What happened here? It looks like I faded at the end but this was mostly botched turns. Bulkheads get into my head for some reason and I kept jamming up on them. I was getting a little tired and I think I didn't warm up enough. Started to wonder if I had missed my taper.
Seed Time: 26.98
Meet Time: 25.97
I was hoping for 25.5 ish but I'll take the improvement. Got beat down by Jay (former college swimmer that spent all of 4 weeks getting ready for this event) who did a low 23. At least from this race, I knew there wasn't a problem with my taper.
Seed Time: 2:22.58
Meet Time: 2:21.75
Splits: 30.25, 41.81, 38.56, 31.13
My typical negative split IM. Here's my feb splits: 31.06, 40.87, 38.48, 32.17. So, I gained on the Fly and Free but lost a second on backstroke. Breaststroke was pretty much a wash. Jay was swimming next to me in this race which helped a lot. He went 29 on his fly and I tried to follow. When I turned for backstroke, I had trouble breathing so I slowed a bit to catch my breath. I assumed Jay was going to leave me but the damage wasn't too bad and I was still within striking distance when I came up for my first breaststroke breath. I caught him at 125 and tried to put as much distance on him as I could before the free assuming he would do what he just did to me on the 50 free race. Fortunately for me, 1) He wasn't a breaststroker, 2) 4 weeks of training wasn't enough to sustain his 100 pace and 3) I didn't know any of that. So, I put my head down and assumed he was on my heels for the rest of the race. Sometimes the imaginary guy chasing you down is worse than the real thing.
Seed Time: 1:10.77
Meet Time: 1:09.53
Splits: 33.03, 36.50
Hit the dive just right on this race. I couldn't believe how fast I was just gliding. I got in one solid dolphin kick + a pullout and popped up w/ good speed at 15 meters. What a ride! Finally broke 1:10 but my second 50 wasn't quite as nice as the first.
Seed Time: 1:10.00
Meet Time: 1:05.02
Splits: 30.45, 34.57
I tried to match my 200 IM fly speed for the first 50 (successful) and then hold on to my pace (no so successful). First 50 felt great. On the second 50, I could feel myself riding lower and lower into the water. I didn't crash too hard but a 4 second difference seems like a lot for me.
Seed Time: 57.83
Meet Time: 56.89
Splits: 27.42, 29.47
Swam next to Jay again and he paid me back for the 200 IM. I "held on" for the first 50 but he was just too fast (I think he split faster than my 50 free time) on the way to a mid 53. It was fun to try anyway.
Looking forward to it next year. Jay ages up into my age bracket next year so "6 time champion" may be a little harder in 2014. Great job to Dave C (4 time Alabama state champion) who I swim w/ on most mornings and Brandon (5 time Alabama state champion) who I swim w/ on Saturdays. For three of our Masters, this was their first meet. One of those even swam the 200 IM! And finally, congrats to the Madison Dolphins who took their team 100 miles to outscore all of the local teams and win the large team first place trophy!
Zones, Day 2
-- scratched the evil events
50 fly, 30.29, NR
My start wasn't as crisp as usual. My feet were separated when I hit the water. Had just an OK breakout. My fly felt smooth, but my turnover slowed a bit the last 10 meters. Small glide at the finish. Solid swim, but not at the level of my SCY 50 fly at Nats. Still happy with the time! I broke the NR, but missed the WR by .05 (which was my goal for this meet). I was a tiny bit disappointed, but, given everything, I'll gladly take the 30.29. I'm also psyched to have the 50 fly record in all three courses, despite not being a long course swimmer.
So I only swam 3 of my 6 individual events at this Zones meet. It was all I had the physical and mental energy for, and even that was pushing it. The timing of my malaise sucked, but one has to expect that as a masters swimmer. I'm glad I bucked up and swam the meet. The times were not PRs, but they were my best in my current age group and best non-tech suit times. And I am hopeful they will hold up as FINA #1s. I'll be watching the results at Mission for sure.
The best part of the meet -- as usual -- was hanging out with PV friends and teammates. And it was nice to see Patrick, who closed out the meet with a nice looking 400 IM.
Updated June 23rd, 2013 at 10:34 PM by The Fortress
I didn't swim yesterday; felt too poorly. I felt somewhat better today, but was still tired with low energy. I think I needed a couple more days for a return to full health. Given that, I'm extremely happy with my times today. But, ouch, they felt rough.
50 free, 28.6
I had a great start (12 SDKs) and felt good for about 35-40 meters and then struggled to the wall with a long glide at the finish. I was expecting a 29, so was very happy to see 28.6. This is .6 faster than last year and only .4 off the WR. Probably due to doing more freestyle with healthier shoulders. But, yikes, I felt done after this.
50 back, 32.41, WR
I had about 50-55 minutes rest after 50 back, but with the way I feel this was not enough. I had another good start, but only felt strong for 25 meters. I had a half body length over Fall at that point, but she cruised by me. I just felt dead. I was pleased to dip under my WR by a few hundredths. But honestly, I feel like I should be a good half second faster. I can't seem to get back to my tech suit PR. I've had life issues before a focus meet 3 long course seasons in a row. Is this a message that I should stick to short course?
I felt sickish in the warm down pool. Mollie said I was very flushed.
Mixed 200 medley relay, 2nd
I swam the backstroke leg. I was exhausted so decided to slow down my turnover and build it. Went 33.1. John, Cheryl and Alex were all very speedy, but we got nipped by VMST -- probably because Chris Stevenson crushed me on the backstroke leg!
I thought I had purchased a ticket for the social, but apparently I had not. This was fine as I went out for fabulous barbecue with my team, which is now full of fast boys who like to compete. We went to Buzz & Ned's and it lived up to its rave reviews.
I'm now back in my room cursing myself for once again forgetting my compression garments. My upper body takes more of a beating in long course.
I'm going to scratch the 50 breast tomorrow. I have the same 50-55 minutes rest before 50 fly. But I want to save whatever energy I have for fly without the evilstroke evilly interfering. 50 fly was my focus event for this meet after all, so I'm going to focus on it. The 100 breast is only 15 minutes after 50 fly. Who thinks I'll make it to the starting blocks?
Considering all I have going on with the move and the girls, I feel lucky to have even gotten in a long course meet. Our summer league team won its first A meet today and Lil Fort had PRs in 50 breast and 50 fly. She dropped three seconds in breast, and I'm wondering if she's becoming a bit of an evilstroker ...
Updated June 23rd, 2013 at 10:59 AM by The Fortress
The day started with an early morning 90 minute drive to Siesta Keys Beach, Sarasota arriving at 7:15 am for check-in, number marking, and pre-race meeting. I did a quick 5-min warm up to get used to the salt water, as my last salt water swim was in Waikiki-1993. My goal was to enjoy the swim and keep my stroke smooth all the way.
It was a beach running start in waves according to event and age (as under or over 50). When the men's 3K 50+ wave started, I went in on the side of the pack and let most of the group go as I stopped about mid waist to adjust my goggles. A triangle course, the first leg was against the surf and mild swells, and then a longer second leg, with the return leg parallel to the beach. With only five minutes between each wave the course quickly became crowded over three laps around. But by the middle of the second lap I had passed most the "pink" colored 50+ caps.
I ended up with the time of 47.29, a solid result for the 75-80% effort I made in the 3k, and 5th place is reasonable considering the 55-59 age group was competitive with 40.57 and 42.47 for 1st & 2nd. Results: http://goo.gl/YHp5D
Updated June 13th, 2013 at 09:11 PM by fdtotten
Sat Jun 8th 2013
Pan Ams Day 2 for me
Felt good, breathed twice,
hit my touch
Mon: 50 BK
Tue: 200 IM
Wed: Go home
Yesterday was the third day of a great meet for me. Nationals have been somewhat difficult for me as of late (labral tear, elbow tear, insomnia, power outages, etc.) But this meet I was healthy, uninjured and got at least a semblance of shut eye. And it really paid off with 6 PRs, 3 NRs and near misses on 2 other NRs.
I felt pretty good during warm up, just some leg fatigue. By day three, when you're UW 15 meters for all your races, leg fatigue is inevitable.
100 back, 1:01.30, PR, Missed NR by .01:
I'm not gonna lie. I looked up at the time and was a little heartbroken. I would rather have swum a 1:01.5. My splits were good -- 29.3 & 31.9. But I didn't have the leg power on the second 50, especially the last 25, and that cost me. My turns were a little glidey (2 strokes before flipping) and my entry on my start could have been cleaner. I let myself be disappointed during my warm down and then shrugged it off. The time was still a PR and I have been the beneficiary of a .01 swing on other occasions. Plus, it will still be the AA time this year since Karlyn swam a 1:01.7 earlier this year. I knew swimming this on day 3 wouldn't be ideal, so I will have to figure out when and where to swim it rested. Certainly keeps me hungry! And I am encouraged since I still feel like my 100 training wasn't ideal this season.
Here's a vid that Stud took with a nice "dammit" at the end:
50 free, 24.67, PR/NR
I used to dislike the 50 free. But since it occurred to me that I could try SDK-ing on the start, I like it more and may start swimming it more often. I had a tad slow reaction time compared to my other swims. I took 11 kicks on the start and from the vid it looks like that took me to about 13 meters. Then, I took 9 rather than my usual 5-6 on the turn. My breakouts didn't look great (lack of access to blocks). My flutter kick/leg drive looked really solid until right at the end. I was thrilled with the time! I knew 1980 Olympian Sue Walsh had swum a 24.7 last month, so knew I had to improve on my Zones time of 24.86. Really happy with this for the final event of a 3 day meet. Ellen and Stud took vids. I think that is Teen Fort screaming at the end.
Best event: 50 fly
Most Frustrating event: 100 back
Here's a couple other vids from the meet:
50 fly vid:
-- shows a total of 13 strokes and a glidey turn
100 IM vid:
-- no SDK on breast to free turn
-- did not need that breath inside the flags
I'm going to reboot for LCM Zones in late June. I'll be moving in late July, so July and August I will likely not be as laser focused on swimming. And I have to find a place to train in Pitt. As for next SCY season, I will not go to Santa Clara -- shallow outdoor pool. I may focus on the Harvard SCY meet and Colonies Zones SCY instead. Onward!
Teen Fort did not have a great meet. She didn't taper enough. But she ended with a great race in the 200 breast, taking the win in the final 5 yards. She hadn't swam that race since age 14. Funny, that her best race was the 200 breast and mine was the 50 fly! She did enjoy the experience and meeting lots of masters. I think she will talk up masters swimming in college next year and she may swim at LCM Nats at U of Md next summer.
Updated May 13th, 2013 at 05:30 PM by The Fortress
Saturday night I went out for dinner with my team mate Nikki and her mother. We went to the Webergrill restaurant downtown Indianapolis and despite an hour wait the food was well worth the wait. For future reference and events in Indy I would recommend the restaurant.
I had a really solid nights sleep and woke around 6am. I went through my normal morning routine of reshaving, brewing and drinking coffee and taking my vitamins. I then headed down stairs and had a nice leisurely breakfast of oatmeal and a bagel. I headed off to the pool later than usual and caught the last 4 heats of the women's 500 at around 9am. My friend Katie Gilmore with Alexandria masters swam an incredible race and ended up taking second in a blazing quick time of 5.06.
Today was my off race day and I had zero expectations for placing. First up was the 100 back followed by the 50 free. I had not swum a fast 100 back since 1992 and despite the odd back swim in practice(which are not swum all out) I have not swum the race at all. The 50 was never my thing and I don't recall the last race 50 and I bet it may have been back in the 1980s.
I did my normal warmup of about 1600 but did back 100s instead of my normal pace 100 frees. I practiced my turns and even joined the start lane and did a practice back start. After getting out and drying off I heard the start of the relays and only then realized I had not done a back finish and did not know the number of strokes from the flags in. Oops! In the end it did not matter because I had a great race, hitting all my turns, and taking four strokes into the finish and hitting the final wall spot on. My splits were 28.x, 29.x for a final time of 58.4. I felt really energized at the end and felt like I could have done another 50 at that pace. I am now determined to do a 200 back at some point in the future. I can definitely say I have not done one of those in an even longer time frame.
After the back, I took a nice long warm down which felt good. I got out wrestled my speedo fastskin3 on and then spent about 45 minutes stretching and focusing for the 50. I had entered on the only 50 time I have done since joining masters which was back in January and at 25.14, was over a second slower than my first 50 of yesterday's 100, and even slower than the first 50 of my 200. I felt with a good start and turn I could do a 23.x. I concentrated on taking a good track start and I got off the block really strong with a good breakout. I was half way down the pool and shock and horror I breathed. It was not intentional, but I breathed. I hit the turn really well, had a good streamline, kicked and the next thing I knew I had taken a second breath. I could not believe I had breathed. When I finished I was really upset at myself. I turned looked up and saw my time was 22.61. I had a moment of joy followed by that feeling of I could have gone even quicker. My time placed me 3rd, which I never ever would have imagined possible.
This meet exceeded my wildest expectations and my first place in the 1000 and third place in the 50 has to be one of the weirdest medal combos. I ended the meet with two golds, two bronzes, a fifth and an eighth. I would like to thank all the forumites for there support and encouragement since joining masters swimming. I am even more motivated to continue this fun masters journey. The most inspiring part of the week for me was seeing the 90 year old Vladimir Ouchaya's 20 minute plus 400 IM followed by a great 30 minute discussion with him about his life and how he quite smoking and took up swimming, competes regularly in his 90th year and has no intention of retiring any time soon. Swimming really is a life sport and my congratulations goes out to everyone who participated this week.
Had a fantastic time at the form/stalker dinner last night, meeting lots of new folk. One of them (same age) actually has a son the same year same college as Fort Son. Small world. Had a semi decent nights sleep for a traveling insomniac. The only am emergency was that Teen Fort lost a contact in the am and hadn't brought any replacements. Ack. I've learned the hard way to pack extras after swimming a one eyed day at Zones one year. In any event, I had a great day two and am so excited I fear I wont fall asleep.
50 fly, 25.70, NR/PR
I really thought that I would not swim faster than Zones where I had perfect walls. In fact, I had a wager on it. But I decided to use my nose clip for the first time in fly and took an extra kick on the second length. That and a little more rest allowed me to shave off .2. I did have a slight glide at the turn. The ever witty Ellen took a vid (thx!) and I counted 13 strokes. I didn't quite take the whole 30 meters UW, but was fairly close. Comparing vids, I can see my DPS has improved in fly since Greensboro; it felt long and powerful. Very happy about that swim.
100 IM, 1:02.3, PR
I hadn't swum the 100 IM in SCY in 2 years and never at nationals, so was a tad nervous. But very caffeinated! I missed the NR by .2 and it was all in my breast to free turn. I glided in and then, brain fart, didn't SDK off the wall. Maybe my legs where telling my brain they were done. I wanted at least a body length lead at the 50, and went out n 27.7 (12 + 12 SDK). Fast, but it didn't feel excessive. Did not have a particularly speedy evil leg, and lost some ground there to a real evilstroker. But my free leg was fairly solid and I pulled away a bit at the end. So psyched about the time! A PR by 2 seconds.
Really hoping for some sleep tonight. Tomorrow 100 back and 50 free. It could be the first nationals ever where I don't scratch an event. . The speedy Water Rat beat me to it!
Updated May 11th, 2013 at 10:46 PM by The Fortress
I went for a stretch swim last night and came back to the hotel tired. I decided to have a early dinner at the hotel and go to bed early. I had a good nights sleep but woke this morning with a sore throat and some sniffles. I don't know if I have a cold or allergies and i don't feel sick.
Today was not such a good day and my 500 was disappointing. I took the race out ok on the first 200 and then just did not have anything left. I have been working on bringing my 500 home and it just did not happen today. No excuses it was just not my day in the 500. I ended up going 5.02 and finished 3rd in my age group. I honestly think I have a lot more in the 500 and I will train even harder for this one.
There was about an hour gap between the end of the 500 and my heat of the 100. I took a long warm down after the 500 and tried getting myself in a good frame of mind for the 100. I had a good start but my first turn was not very good, but despite this I kept pushing hard and brought my second 50 home. I had hoped to go under 50 , but touched in 50.20. I think this is another race that could have been better and I think my seed time was probably a handicap. If I had been in the fastest heat I think I could have gone quicker, but I can't change what I did and this was a solid swim. My time placed me 5th in my age group.
Tomorrow is a fun day swimming off events. First up is the 100 back which I have not done since 1992 and then I have the 50 free. I will do a no breather on the 50 free and see what I can do. I have had an awesome time so far and plan on finishing the meet with some fun racing and a smile on my face.
Updated May 11th, 2013 at 05:25 PM by StewartACarroll
Yes it is! It is sprinters day 1!
50 back, 27.04, NR
Great first event for me. My first event at Nats isn't always my best, so I was glad to see this time. Execution was good except I was too close to the wall on my turn. It didn't effect me materially, but might have made the .05 difference in getting under 27. Still extremely pleased. This event is clearly my baby with a 4.5 winning margin. I felt like I had a fast reaction time. But that doesn't seem to be listed in the results. I did really jam my finger on the finish, which required ice and 4 ibuprofen.
50 evil, 32.80, PR, 2nd
Really pleased with the time, but my execution was iffy. I dove in and took my bloody time taking my dolphin kick. And I had to short stroke both walls. I pulled ahead on the UW off the wall, but Kim Crouch tracked me down, out touching me by .02. I've never beaten her in yards. My turnover looked slow on the vid too (in complete contrast to my other strokes). Breaststroke is the most aggravating, unsightly, frustrating, bizarre stroke. And hence I am completely happy with my fake evil time!
Day 1 is in the books and went very well. Teen Fort won her 50 evil so we are mommy daughter national champs. Now off to forum dinner!
I was pretty tired last night after the 1000 and when a rain storm came through around 6.30pm I decided to grab food at the hotel and have an early nights sleep. I fell asleep around 7.30pm and had a solid nights sleep waking at around 5.30am. I had a leisurely hour getting ready for the second day at the pool and ate breakfast around 7am and then took the 3-4 block walk to the pool.
Today had the 400 IM'ers starting followed by a break and short warmup before the rest of the days events. Long story short I had a lot of time this morning to do my 1600 yd warmup and then a shorter 1000 yd loosen up before my 200. Yesterday after my 1000 I had a pretty long talk with my coach and he asked me to trust him and take the 200 out in 24 on the first 50, and 52 at 100 and he felt I could bring it home swimming from the front. The 200 is my least favorite event. Over the years I have swum both slow and fast races in this one and on all occasions it just hurts. Typically my legs feel filled up with lead by about 150 and the last 50 is just brutal. Today was no different, but as my coach said I had enough to bring it home and I won in 1.49.47, touching out Morton Anderson who was reeling me in on the last 50. My splits were spot on what I was asked to swim and with some more fast endurance training I think I can drop significantly in this event.
It took me 30 minutes to loosen up after my race, but this one felt great. I have a tough day tomorrow doubling in the 500 and the 100. The 500 is my favorite event and based on today I think I can have a great 100. The key tomorrow will be getting a good long loosen up after the 500. I believe on the time line I will have about an hour between races and I am glad the 500 is first. I am ranked 4 in the 500 and there is a professional triathlete who is ranked first but has no times in the usms database. The 100 I am in the second fastest heat.
I am tired but I plan on heading back to the pool for another stretch and then will decide if I go to bed early or meet up for the forum dinner.
I had a great nights sleep last night and woke feeling excited. I had some butterflies fluttering even before I left the hotel room, which for me is a really good thing. I did the 10 minute walk to the pool from my hotel which was very pleasant and arrived at the pool at around 6.45am. I swam in lane 4 and realized after about 100 that three of the people in my lane were on the Alexandria Masters team I train with when I am in Washington DC. It was great briefly catching up with Katie Gilmore who is going to do the 1650 later today. I did about a 1600 yd warmup and then got out and dried off before heading back to the hotel for a light oatmeal breakfast. I quickly repacked my competition bag with my meet suit and headed back to the pool.
I was in the last heat of the 1000 so had tonnes of time when I got back to the pool. I hate sitting around at meets so kept moving and about 45 minutes before my race did another warmup swim in the diving well. Indy is such a great facility for swimming with the two competition pools and the diving well, plus two other 25 yd pools for warmup/warm down. After my second warmup I again dried off and put on my competition suit and then basically stretched and stayed busy until my heat. I had checked out the heats for my competition and new the next fastest guy was in lane 1 in the heat before me. He posted a 10.39 which is a good time, but it was beatable.
I was pretty relaxed before the start, but could not get some condensation out of my goggles which was annoying. As the gun went off and I hit the water, the strap on my goggles moved significantly down my head, and as I went down the first length I was expecting my goggles to fill with water. Luckily my worst fear did not come true and my goggles stuck. After about 400 I started to feel pretty tired, but focused on long and strong strokes. After 700 I really started to hurt and the final 150 was pretty brutal. I noticed a few guys on the other side of the pool, but being in lane 8 it was hard to really see where I was and where they were. I think I overtook a couple guys on the second 500 but wish I was closer to the middle of the pool.
After finishing I looked up and swore I saw my time was 10.48, and I was really upset. Nicky who was my counter congratulated me and said I did great and that my time was 10.21. I double checked with the time keeper and she confirmed my time. I guess I had looked at the wrong lane. I had won my age group. I am a National Champion masters swimmer. I am so excited. I had hoped to swim faster than 10.20 but at this point I don't care. It gives me plenty of room to improve and train to improve, but I won!
I am going to head back over to the pool to catch the 1650 swims.
I promised a few people I would blog my week at Nationals so thought I would start with a quick preamble post the day before the meet.
I am currently sitting at DFW waiting for my flight to Indianapolis. As of this week I have been back in the pool 8 months and when I got back in I never thought I would be traveling to Indianapolis to compete at Nationals. I have trained hard for this meet and feel like I have had a good taper keeping my yardage up yet mixing in some good quality work. I am nervous that I have not really raced in a long time, yet excited at the prospect of some good races.
Practice was short this morning with a quick 2300 yard workout after which two of my team mates who unfortunately are not swimming this week and my coach took me out for breakfast. It was great fun and its nice to have team mates i swim with who are so supportive. After breakfast I headed back to the house to start my shave down. I did not think much about hair or lack of before I started and ended up an egg head! My shave down took about an hour and I had no major razor burn or cuts and I am feel pretty good right now.
My flight leaves Dallas around 3.40pm and arrives at around 6.30pm. I hope to have time to swing by the pool for a short swim but if not I will grab dinner and try to go to bed early. Warmup tomorrow is 6.30am so with Indy being East Coast time zone I will have an early start. I had hoped to swim all the free events but the meet does not let you swim both the 1650 and the 1000. I swim the 1000 tomorrow morning, the 200 on Friday, the 500 and 100 on Saturday and the 50 and 100 back on Sunday. The 1000 and the 500 are deck seeded so I won't know my heat or lane until just before I swim. The 1000 is swum slowest to fastest with all ages and both men and women swimming together. I am ranked #9 overall so could be in the second to last heat or the last heat if anyone drops out. The meet timeline looks like i will be swimming around 10.30am. I am really looking forward to swimming the 1000 and it will give me a pretty good idea how my taper worked out and how the rest of the meet will go. I think my base is pretty good and think the middle and lone distance events should be strong, but based on some speed I seem to have picked up during the taper I may surprise myself it he shorter races.
I need to run since my flight boards in about 10mins, but will blog tomorrow after the 1000.
Well, months of planning and also some training came and went today as we welcomed swimmers to the local Rec Center pool for our 2nd meet, again dedicated to my mom. We had 34 preregister, one couldn't come, and added 5 same-day entries for a total of 38 swimmers! Last year we had 23, so I am really excited for the increase in numbers.
I got to the pool around 8:30 and helped with setting things up. People started trickling in and warmups began as scheduled at 9am. The local age group team, the Marauders, again did a great job of running the meet for us, providing timers and counters for the 50, and we had three officials altogether.
There was a large contingent from the Pittsfield Polar Bears, some from Smith Collge and also a team out near Blechertown, MA, and other unattached swimmers (Lisa Ann won the farthest distance traveled, coming from New Jersey). It was fun getting to meet new people that share my passion for swimming. My brother, Jeff, swam again - he swam from Springfield College but hasn't been in the water since then, save last year's meet, and looks fresh as a daisy swimming. Stinker! My wife also swam in her first ever meet, rocking out the 50 free and proudly proclaiming afterwards, "I did it, now don't ask me ever again."
In addition to meet director, I coached the three area swimmers that came (GregJS, Jill, and Kevin). Greg dropped time in the 100 free and blasted out a smoking 100 IM - great job again, Greg! Plus, he is a really good chef and made some delicious muffins for the food spread we had in the lobby for swimmers.
I was not sure what to expect myself for times, and I did the 100 breast with Dan during the women's heat so no one swam alone as a warm up for the 100 back. My goal was to SDK 8,7,6,6 off the walls, but only was able to get 5 on the last one as I swam 57.73. I did the 500 fly in 6:48.08, and the 100 fly in 58.72. I'll update the times when the results are official, but all of the these swims were masters best for me!
Lots of great help, a full pool (which is such a great sight to see), and some fun swimming on a gorgeous day made for a memorable event, complete with our signature 25 Sprint Challenges, the Monument Kick and Tarzan swims. Now for a nap! (I was also able to FLOG 2350 yds for the day)
Updated May 7th, 2013 at 10:44 PM by rxleakem
I had a really great time at the Commissioner’s Cup meet on Sunday. It was a well attended event, with around 175 swimmers, but with 10 lanes things went pretty quickly and the meet took maybe 3.5 hours total. The 500 at the end and the 200s grouped all at the beginning accounted for a big chunk of that, so after the opening relay my 4 individual events (all 50s) came and went quickly. The 25y competition course was set up starting in the shallower end of the pool, which, with the adjustable floor lowered all the way, was about 2m deep. One odd thing—the adjustable part of the pool bottom ended about 15y out, and at the end of it there was a white plastic scalloped border—I assume this serves to cushion the adjustable floor when it meets up with the permanent tiling. But besides being functional the scallops were cute too—it looked like the pool was wearing a frilly lace garter across its middle, and swimming across it made me smile every time.
The meet was deck seeded, but psych sheets were distributed so that we could check that our entries were correct. I dutifully flipped through it to make sure I was in the events I’d entered—yep, there was my name in the 50 fly list—but wait! There was a 28.39 by my name. That wasn’t right at all—I’ve broken 30 once or twice, but not recently, and I had padded my seed times pretty well for this meet. I flipped to the 50 free--25.37? That was faster than I’d ever gone too--I knew I hadn’t put that down. My other seed times were equally off. As I went up to the computer table to straighten things out I was trying to puzzle out what had happened—things weren’t off just by a digit, or even two.
As it turned out, everyone’s seed times had been treated as though they were meters times, then converted to yards by mistake. So swimmers would end up seeded where they should be, just the times would be off. There’s always something quirky with the heat sheets or seeding at this meet; this year’s glitch turned out to be pretty innocuous.
That mystery solved, I warmed up, went off the block s a few times, and gathered with my team to get relay assignments for the meet’s big event—the Commisionner’s Trophy Relay. The parks department goes all out for this, bringing in huge trophies for the top 6 teams (1 for each swimmer), plus t-shirts and a big photo session for each relay team. It’s not an official masters events, so any 4 swimmers who meet the criteria (2 men, 2 women, total ages equaling 160 or more) can enter, regardless of official team affiliation. And since it’s deck entries, there’s always last-minute finagling during warm-ups to try to pull together teams, with women over 40 being in high demand. This year I was very glad to be affiliated with TNYA, and have a coach on-deck taking care of all the relay decisions and entries so that I wasn’t part of that zooiness.
I had heard that one of my open-water buddies was putting a team together to go after the event record, a 1:40-mid. I knew we didn’t have a shot at them, so I was rooting for them to get the record. They didn’t disappoint, swimming a 1:40-low, the class of the field by far. My team came in third (1:49) with a strong finish from our anchor swimmer, who passed one team in the final 5 yards and came very close to catching another. They didn’t post individual splits, so I have no idea what I went, but I enjoyed swimming with my teammates and cheering them on in a close race—gotta love relays!
The rest of the meet was individual events, and I spent most of my time behind the blocks waiting to swim, or in the warmup pool. I had about 10 minutes between my first two 50s, then a 40-minute gap, then about 5 minutes between my last 2. My times were relatively slow (in IM order: 33.03, 33.48, 38.00, and 29.01), and if I had been really focusing on doing everything I could to swim fast at this meet I would have been disappointed by these results. But since I’ve kind of been taking an extended break from working very hard in the water, these seemed about right. And I was reminded how very much I enjoy just getting up on the blocks and racing, no matter the result—the experience was just plain fun.
So while I swam times in yards that would once have been good metric times for me (and no, they didn’t give the results the same treatment they gave the seeds times), I actually ended up feeling better about swimming after this meet than I have in a while. It confirmed to me that pool racing is something that I find worth doing, and that I would like to be better at. It also made me feel more connected to the pool swimming community again—it was gratifying to see so many familiar faces and chat with so many meet buddies from over the years. The one thing I regretted about the meet going so fast is that I didn’t get to watch more of other people’s races.
As for my events, what kept me from going faster on Sunday? A little bit of everything. I expected to tie up at the end of my 50s, as the little sprinting I’d done in practices had been just 25s or less. But that only happened in fly, where my arms had a hard time getting out of the water those last 15 yards. On the other strokes I felt almost good at the finish. I think that means I need to work on those lactate-production type sprinty sets more so that I can generate enough energy in the first place to put myself into some distress by the end. I could feel that my turnover in breast and back wasn’t as fast as it should be for 50s. And my execution on starts/turns/breakouts will be sharper the more race-pace stuff I do. So basically—there’s a lot of room for improvement here.
One of the things I had forgotten that I like so much about meet swimming—or maybe I never realized it before I became so immersed in open water stuff—is the sense of order and predictability. I just feel a certain competence when I’m at meets, because I know exactly what I’m supposed to be doing at any given moment. From the basics of being behind the blocks when I’m supposed to be and following starting commands to more complicated things like swimming races the way I’ve planned or getting in a good warmup in a crowded pool, the script has pretty much already been written. The challenge comes from executing mostly-predictable and replicable things well, rather than trying to figure out what I should be doing at any given moment. That I’m drawn to (rather than bored by) that sort of challenge is the kind of personality quirk that has made being a newbie diver a much more comfortable experience than being a newbie polo-player ever was. And it’s one of my perennial challenges in open-water. As many of those events as I did over the past couple of years, I never got to the point where I was confident that I was doing things "right,” or always knew what that might mean—which says both something about the nature of ow swimming and about my own insecurities and need for predictability. At Sunday’s meet I felt I had found my way home again, and was reassured to find it familiar and comforting after what seemed like a long absence.
(That said, I’m not giving up on open-water, just trying to understand some of my reactions to it a little better. In fact, I just signed up for my first open-water event of the season, the 2 Bridges 5K swim on June 1. I’m willing to give up some predictability, sometimes, for the joys of swimming without walls in beautiful locales.)
I thought I would take a rest day after the meet, but I woke up this morning early, and felt excited about going to the pool, so I headed up to Riverbank. I was lucky to find one of my swim buddies there to share a set with. Here’s what I did:
1000 lcm warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200 IM d/s by 25)
6 x 150: 3 @ 3:00, 3 @ 2:50, 3 @ 2:40, 3 @ 2:30, descending each set of 3 [I did fr/bk/fr sandwiches for the first 3, then FR for the rest. My fastest 150 was 2:10 (on the 3rd set), the last set of 3 were 2:20-2:20-2:18.]
400 IM, kick/swim by 50, easy and stretched out
400 warmdown + play
Afterwards I had a nice stretching session on the playground overlooking the GWB. I’m looking forward to doing that more often now that the weather is warming up.
I came in a bit late this am (getting the house ready for an open house). That meant I had to warm up in the rec pool with no backstroke flags. Not ideal and perhaps contributed to some misadventures in my 100 back.
400 Mixed Medley Relay, 3:57, 100 back split, 1:02.11
We grabbed first place overall and will definitely end up high in the TT rankings. We also had two swimmers who had just swum the 100 IM, and were pretty tired. My 100 back was fraught with turn problems. They seem to be due to my stroke count from the flags changing from prior years. I'm wondering if doing a fair amount of backstroke with agility paddles has helped my pull? I've customarily taken 3 strokes and flipped. I did this on the first 25 and my feet went entirely over the gutter, no push off. A huge collective groan from my team on the side. I just started SDK-ing like mad. The second turn I took two strokes and was too far from the wall. The third turn I took 2 1/2 strokes and that worked best. But who can plan on that? I may have to work on taking 2 long hard strokes before flipping. Any other advice? That must have cost me .5+ seconds. If I had had only a decent turn, I would have had a PR; my prior best was 1:01.99 with the floaty suits. So, I was pleased with the time considering the execution problems. It's actually .3 faster than I went at Nationals last year, though I had a terrible day on day one last year for various reasons. I am hopeful I can take a second off that swim with a full taper. My splits were 29.7/32.4. I swam it 50 easy speed, 25 build, 25 sprint. I will stick to that pacing strategy at nationals. I did put in a split request for this event as well.
100 fly, 1:00.8, PR
I had a lot of rest after 100 back, which I was grateful for as that is an exhausting leg dominant event. I planned to swim the race 75 easy speed + 25 whatever I have left. The last 5 strokes were horribly painful and piano-ish. But I was thrilled thrilled with the time. I haven't swum a decent 100 fly in SCY since 2010 (1:01.3). Splits were 28.0/32.7. I can't really get these any closer without training more for this event. This is only .5 off the NR. That .5 was lost in the last 5 strokes for sure. Still, this was the end of a two day meet. I was very happy with it. It helped to have friends cheering at the end of my lane. I'm hopeful it will hold up well against nationals times. And I'm glad I got it off my plate for the season!
Women's 200 medley relay, backstroke lead off, 27.3
We finished first overall! I only had about 20 minutes after the 100 fly for this race. I did have time for maybe a 250 warm down. I thought my legs would be beyond fried for the 50 back. But they didn't feel too bad. I did feel a bit ragged the last 10 yards. But this is a great time for my 7th event over two days.
Overall, I couldn't be more pleased with my Zones meet. This is the best one I've had in years. I usually do a more gradual rest going into a non-taper meet than I did last week. But 4 days of drastic rest really helped zap the fatigue and produce some great times.
I may start using my nose clip for all my 50s.
Feeling quite bushed at the moment. Will just do a recovery workout tomorrow.
Updated April 21st, 2013 at 06:46 PM by The Fortress