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  1. From the sublime to the ridiculous . . . and back again

    This morning I enjoyed a glorious cold swim at Brighton Beach. The day was not that promising—clouded over and grey, breezy, with drizzle threatening—and did I mention cold? Thirty-degree air and 44-degree water definitely met Evmo’s combined-100-and-under criterion for cold swims. Getting ready on the beach was a challenge—earplugs were cold going in, caps were cold, fingers got chilled with all the preparation. But once I was in and stroking—no dawdling today!—the sensation of being surrounded by water felt simply magnificent. I swam to the big jetty to the west and back (a bit over 1k) with Cristian, Melissa, and Brad. I was tempted to go further, but was nervous about rewarming in the cold, so got back out when we got back to our starting point.

    After dressing on the beach I elected to go rewarm in the car. Generally I like warming from the inside out, relying on jogging or exercising on the beach post-swim to make enough body heat to get my temp back up to normal. That usually works well, but with the wind and temp today and with my feet painfully cold I worried it would prove challenging to keep from losing heat faster than I could generate it. I was lucky to have swimmates willing to share their car heaters with me, so I opted for that method. I shivered for a bit, and had to take off some of the clothes I had put on so that the warm air could reach me, but eventually I warmed back up. A massage afterwards rubbed away some of the shivering tightness, and I basked in the warmth of the subway car on the ride home, grateful for another wonderful morning spent with the ocean and my ocean-loving friends.

    That was the sublime. This afternoon was the ridiculous. There was a fun meet scheduled at Asphalt Green that I had contemplated swimming, but I ultimately decided against it, in part because my LMSC has devolved to such disarray this year, and I didn’t want to spend time among people who were sure to want to talk to me about the situation. (If I were gung ho about my pool swimming I wouldn’t have let that stop me, but as someone on the fence about competing the infighting is tempering my enthusiasm for participating in masters events in my area.) As it turned out, though, there was a members-wide vote on new bylaws scheduled to take place during the meet, and two of the groups I swim with were urging their members to come out and vote. So in the end I felt obliged to stop by the anyway.

    When I arrived at Asphalt Green, there was a group of people outside arguing—some were handing out leaflets, others were trying to stop them, and our LMSC chair was ordering confused newcomers to go inside. I stopped and took a leaflet from a friend urging me to vote no, then was scarcely inside the door before another swimmer friend stopped me and told me to vote yes. When I got the ballot, I discovered that in addition to the bylaws, the membership was also being asked to vote on minutes from the last two meetings, because there has been too much contentiousness among the board to even get minutes approved. (I was not completely surprised by this, as I had been to part of the general membership meeting, and was appalled at how uncivil and ugly it was—I left halfway through). Before I left Asphalt Green today I heard from several people that the police had been called to stop swimmers from handing out fliers—I’m not sure if that was true, but in any case I imagine that the NYPD has more pressing matters to attend to than Masters swimming infighting. Ugh—I have no stomach for conflict, and wish that I could simply switch from Metro to a less dysfunctional LMSC. If anyone is reading this whose LMSC works well consider yourself fortunate, and consider thanking your board members (or give yourself a pat on the back if you are one).

    This situation has definitely made me grateful for the groups I swim with that do run efficiently and where people tend to get along and appreciate each other. So to end on a happier note I will write about the Team New York workout I attended yesterday. We have occasional “ladies only” workouts to bring the women from the team together from our various workout locales. Yesterday’s was also one of two free holiday workouts the team is giving their members, and it was held at John Jay and coached by David. It was nice to reunite with teammates I hadn’t seen in a while, and I enjoyed having Hannah and Elisabeth as lanemates for the following:

    600 scy warmup, various

    4x thru
    200 (50 scull + 150 FR) @ 4:00, odds w/buoy, evens w/out
    4 x 50 (k/d) @ 1:05, IM order by round

    2x through
    250 (100 FR moderate + 50 K fast + 100 IM moderate) @ 4:15
    3 x 50, desc. @ :55 (1st round FR, 2nd round BK) [30, 34 on fasts]
    4 x 25 @ :40, odds ez, evens dps

    4 x 75 FR with no-wall turns [on these, my lane took turns leading on the first three, then synchro-swam the last one three abreast—fun!]

    And our coach brought us cookies for after!

    Updated December 8th, 2013 at 08:30 PM by swimsuit addict

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  2. Sunday 12/8/13

    Sunday 12/8

    PM only SCY

    2x
    300 swim every 3rd 25 scull
    12x25 @ :40 odd: drill, even: under H2O kick w/ fins
    3x100 @ 1:15 pull w/ buoy + paddles + snorkel

    3x (RD1/2 first interval, RD3 w/ fins second interval)
    200 @ 2:10/2:00
    100 @ 1:05/1:00
    4x25 @ :25 FAST FR kick w/ board (RD3 under H2O kick)

    300 EZ

    Total: 3300

    Weather really ruined practices the latter half of this week. Was able to sneak in an hour and a half at the pool during the small window it was open today.
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  3. 12|07|13 - 12|08|13

    by , December 8th, 2013 at 07:04 PM (Blog)
    Saturday
    100 IM - did not attempt, short axis strokes have been aggravating a tendon under my right chest muscle

    200 free (50 fr SR) 29.09
    Sluggish off block, breathed once or twice for my 50 split portion, then had to finish the remaining 150. It was somewhere around 125M that I experienced quite possibly the greatest quantity of suffering I've ever experienced before. I survived however, but barely. Then for 5 minutes afterwards the outsides of my shoulders, arms, and forearms were like a huge cramp full of pain - ouch.

    200 Mens Free Relay (anchor leg) ??.??
    3rd and 4th leg times were combined.
    Turned too late and botched turn ooops.

    Got home, reviewed brief footage (my streamline off the turns were horrible and sloppy) then I practiced track starts and turns for about 75 minutes. My popov wanna-be-grab-start method just takes forever, it's now history

    Sunday
    After insufficient quantity and quality of sleep (which seems to be recipe for good swimming)

    50 free 28.38 (PB SCM)
    Track start seems to work.
    Found myself wheezing uncontrollably for about 30 seconds afterwards. Strangely, all subsequent swims for the day did not result this way. Just this one, and Saturday's 200 (50SR).

    200 - 239 Mixed relay - I was lead-off so I hope my split registers 28.16
    With fear of crunching turn I ended up turning way too early and had to accelerate from a dig a good bit off the turn. Expecting to see 29.poop but to my delightful surprise - another PB

    100 free (for fun, without stress or pain) 1:10
    Actually a PB being a first attempt at the event.

    160-199 Medley Relay (anchor leg) 28.84
    Turned too early again, this time so far that my legs were straight and my only momentum was from ankle leverage - LOL. On the other hand, all remaining parts of the swim felt like my all-time bests. With a solid turn and streamline, I think this one would have taken me to my SCM goal

    Since I live just 1:45 away, I decided to drive out each day. But it took its toll with the swimming and I am pooped. Nevertheless, had a great time swimming with my teammates. It also feels quite good to come back with a PB, and furthermore quite possibly, room for even more improvement. I think

    Updated December 9th, 2013 at 08:34 PM by __steve__

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  4. WI SCM state meet...

    by , December 8th, 2013 at 02:19 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Yesterday Scotty and I headed up to the State SCM meet in West Bend, WI. We have been planning our own face-off (his breast versus my back) for a while now, so anticipation was high... we knew our times were really close from practice, but we had no idea how our times were going to translate into SCM... and our previous meet times in SCY and LCM were already 6-10 months old. Scotty's wife and daughter even made a score board for us out of poster board... nice (see image below).

    We both did the 400 IM, event #2, not counting it in the cumulative time of the other three events, but just to make the meet more challenging. I put down a seed-time of 7:22 (I used the Swimming World conversion tool and an average of my most recent times in SCY)... and went 7:21. I was pretty happy about that, especially since it was only a few heats before my 200 Back swim and I was trying to stay as relaxed as possible, but not completely sand-bag it.

    As it turns out, doing a hard 4!M always warms me up. I did a 200 recovery in the warm-up lane and then got back in line for the 200 back. This time I was in the final heat, so I even had plenty of time to catch my breath... was even a little worried about being too cool. At the LCM meet in June I did the 400 IM (only heat) and 200 Back (first heat) and only had a few heats of 100 fly between them to recover... by comparison, today's rest seemed like an eternity.

    I put down a seed time of 3:29, based on my previous meet times, but knew this was extremely conservative. My 200 back has been something of a focus for me of late, toying with the low 3:00s. Even as I have been forced to curtail my swimming because of time constraints lately, I have not slacked on my backstroke endurance sets and a little bit of technique work. It paid off. I swam 3:14! (which when I went back and converted the time to SCY from SCM gives me a 2:55 estimate). I couldn't be more ecstatic about that performance. It had Scotty very worried.

    Another 200 recovery swim and a short wait for the 50. Scotty, in the meantime swam his 100 breast and brought it in at 1:30+. He was hoping for something closer to the mid 1:20s (his seed was 1:29). At this point I was pretty excited (and he was even more worried), because my first 100 split of the 200 was only a couple of seconds off of his 100 time. I thought I had an opportunity to pick up some more time on him and put this thing out of reach. Then I swam my 50. And despite swimming it pretty fast (I thought) my time at :43.5 was more than a second slower than my seed (:42). I really thought I would have been closer to :42, knowing Scotty was going to take back a couple of seconds on this event... as it turned out, he picked up 4 seconds on me because he came in a in 39.5.

    So; it would come down to the last two events. Could he swim the 200 breast close enough to my time that his dominance in the 50 could erase the time I put on him with my surprise PB performance in the 200? Or could I crush his 100 time and take back some of the time I lost on the 50?

    I swam the 100 first, and this has been one of my best meet events in the past... I've taken my age group in the 100 at two straight state meets and my 100 split for the 200 was faster than I had been swimming the 100 in either of those two meets. Things looked good. But, alas, I think my wait for the event was too long and my warm-up swim for it too short. I had decent starts and turns, swam as fast as I could... but finished in 1:33+. My seed time was 1:34, but I thought, as with the 200, that I would be able to crush it. But it was not to be, I lost another three seconds to Scotty. Perhaps I had spent all my backstroke energy on that 3:14 performance. So Scotty only needed to be within 7 seconds of my 200 time to take the face-off. He was within 2.5 seconds.

    Our wager was that the winner gets to choose the loser's events for the next meet. Scotty is breathing a sigh of relief that he doesn't have to do all the 200s! But now I have to do sprints!?! Ugh.

    Here's the scoreboard:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Anyway... it was a great time and even if I didn't swim the 50 and 100 as fast as I wanted to, I was really proud to have made so much improvement in the 200 back. I beat all my seed times, except the 50.
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