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  1. Odd Kinesthesia

    by , January 21st, 2009 at 08:34 PM (My non-workout blog and random thoughts)
    "To taste a memory is far better than remembering a taste."

    I've been PMing Tinjin about swimming. He made the frontpage of this website recently. He has a great story about how swimming saved his life and made him much healthier. It's a great read and if you know of someone who struggles with age slash diet slash inactivity related heath issues, please share!

    Anyway, I read Tinjin's sig line (above), and it reminded me of a really strange and moving experience during the morning swim. I was doing an easy drill set and during the set, I had a really, really strong memory of eating a cheese burger with onions (and catsup). I could taste the burger and the flavors were amazingly lifelike. I know most of us daydream while we swim. Sometimes my mind wanders off or worse, I worry about work issues.

    But this is the first time that some part of my mind has synthesized the flavor of any food.

    I did the one hour swim this last weekend. I usually dread doing this swim because I have a tendency to watch the clock. Plus it is a very painful swim (for someone who loves 50/100/200 distances). During the swim it definately pays to ignore the clock. I decided to put on the xterra swim skin and it was a much more pleasant experience - and I was pleased with the distance covered.

    Oddly, even going back to the old green drag suit, my 100 free repeats were significantly better after the one hour of swimming freestyle. I would have thought the opposite.
  2. got a foot cramp today

    by , January 21st, 2009 at 04:35 PM (Ande's Swimming Blog)
    Wed Jan 21st 2009

    lifted weights this morning, if I want to swim faster I need to get stronger

    will blog todays practice at:
    short cut to Ande's Swimming Blog

    NEXT MEET: USA Swimming Austin Grand Prix Austin TX
    March 5 - 7, 2009
    43 days away
    Meet format: Short Course AM, Long Course PM
    Meet Events: Thursday, Friday, Saturday

    Lat press 8 x 35 8 x 40 8 x 45 6 x 50 6 x 50
    lat pull 8 x 165 10 x 187 6 x 195 5 x 205
    bench press 12 x 135 10 x 165 8 x 175 5 x 185
    leg press 8 x 180 8 x 270 8 x 320 8 x 320
    leg curl
    leg extension
    Incline crunches

    today practice was 7:45 - 9:00 and I comitted to coach San Marcos High Rattlers 8:15 - 9:15 so I missed the A.M. workout

    Noon to 1:00
    Amy coached
    SCY swim center main pool, NO Blocks
    swam with Dale Huggins
    beside Max Davo & Jenn Walker
    dove in at on time

    200 fr
    200 fr
    100 k went 1:18
    100 k with more streamling went 1:10

    assigned 8 x 150
    1 fl bk br
    2 bk br fr
    3 br fr fl
    4 fr fl bk
    5 - 8 were pull
    did 4 x 150 swam 25 free 25 where I pushed off hard and worked the SDK
    5 - 8 did 2 x (50 sw 50 rest 50 swim)

    assigned 600 done 50 k 50 dr 50 sw
    did 4 x 50 k
    did #4 SDK pretty fast
    got a foot cramp on the first 25
    still went 28.2

    100 easy
  3. Wednesday, Jan. 21

    by , January 21st, 2009 at 03:43 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    SCY, solo:

    The lanes were more crowded than usual today. Several lanes were closed due to installation of new drains pursuant to the Pool & Spa Safety Act. Interestingly, none of our local pools seem to have been closed for any time due to the statute. In any event, I had to do less fly than I had planned on.

    Warm up:

    700 variety swim, kick, drill

    Kick set:

    12 x 100 kick, descend 1-4, 5-8, 9-12 to fast
    50 EZ between sets

    1-4 = dolphin kick on back with MF @ 1:45
    5-8 = backstroke kick @ 2:00
    9-12 = dolphin kick w/board @ 1:45

    Didn't go quite as fast as usual on these. Still felt fatigued from last night's workout. My fastest MF 100 was :57.

    200 EZ

    Lactate set:

    5 x 50 @ 3:00 AFAP backstroke with fins,
    50 EZ after each
    went about 26.5ish on each
    wanted to do more, but my stomach has been a bit queasy since last night. hope it doesn't presage something worse ...

    100 EZ

    Technique work:

    10 x 50 @ 1:05
    odds: breaststroke working on pullouts, hinging, lunging and neutral head position
    evens: fly drill, 3 l, 3 r, 1 both

    100 C/D

    Total: 3400

    Updated February 10th, 2009 at 10:27 AM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts
  4. Pilot for Pug Power Project

    by , January 21st, 2009 at 03:27 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Baby girls and baby boys
    ready for pick up in eight weeks.

    --excerpt from a recent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ad for AKC-registered pug puppies




    A couple quick additional notes to the above:

    1. I posted the following thread on the regular forums, but in case anybody missed it, I shall repost here. It is my request for master swimmers and their pugs pictures for an upcoming photo assemblage for which today's vlog is a teaser: For some peculiar reason, it seems that a lot of the nation's top masters swimmers are also pug owners.

      Ande Rasmussen, Kristina Ulveling, Heather Rietz, and--well, ah, me--are all owners of at least one and in some cases multiple pugs.

      I am hoping to do a little vlogumentary about the curious connection between swimming and affection for flat-nosed little dogs.

      If you are, or know, a swimming pug owner, would you consider sending me some photos (resolution 640 x 480 at least) showing you and your quadrapedic wards. Please include your name, your dog's or dogs' names, and any theories you may have about the link.

      The photos do not have to show pugs in the water, or wearing goggles, or decked out in a matching Speedo and Zoomers with its owners. But you can certainly send such pictures if you have them.

      Send to or post them on your FB and/or USMS photoalbums. Just let me know where I can find them, and I will do my best to make your pug famous!
    2. On an unrelated note, if you have not already seen these blogs, I highly recommend anyone who has considered weight training as an adjunctive performance booster for swimming to read Chris Stevenson's trenchant (is this a word?) and fair-balanced analysis at Ditto for Leslie The Fortress Livingston's equally trenchant (again, assuming this is a word) and fair-balanced (maybe a little less so than Chris's; after all, we hypochondriacs are subject to wishful thinking and placebo effects) comments, which I shall paste here: Here's you answer on the other issue, copied from my blog:

      I see you're trolling around for answers on this question. For me, they make a huge difference. I think the key factor in my improvement since Austin is weights. And I still don't do them frequently enough or with heavy enough weight. Much as I'm not fond of them, I will probably carry on with the endeavor through Indy. Ande calls weights "free speed". The ranked swimmers on my team (guys anyway) all lift. You should be lifting for general health and fitness anyway or you'll have the gradual erosion of muscle mass problem.

      Kick sets are likewise a a staple for me. I do them for two reasons: they save my shoulders and they are essential for sprinters. However, I think they're key for your fav 200 free as well. Most elite 200 freestylers, kids and masters that I see, have a constant 6 beat kick. I've seen some without it of course, but many of the best have it. I think ehoch commented on this in his "speed zone" thread. I think my ability to do a decent 200 back as a drop dead sprinter is due more to my kick work than my training in general.

      If you're looking to improve your swimming (and you've improved a lot in the last year with Bill's workout despite the buboes), these are the obvious two areas for you to work on.

    3. Summary: Weight lifting, kick sets, good for swimming. Pug ownership--quite possibly, even better. Again, please send in your pug photos!
  5. Aerobic short Axis Day

    by , January 21st, 2009 at 01:03 PM (TJ's Blog of Slow Swimming!)
    11:00 AM to Noon at the Downtown (SCM)

    300 free
    100 im drill
    100 back kick
    7x50 fly/breast drill on 1:10
    (Fly/Breast drill is 1 arm right fl, 1 arm left fl, 2 strokes br without breathing. So, breathing only on the 1 arm fly and trying to keep the same rhythm and undulation (or frequency and amplitude for those science and math people out there)).

    4x75 fl/fr/fl on 1:40 - I did one arm fly for all of these and finished them all right around 1:25
    4x100 fr on 1:45 - I finished the first one in 1:35 and the last one in 1:35. I didn't read the workout thoroughly enough, because after the first 100, I went straight into the next set. My lane mates corrected me and since I was leading the lane, we missed a 50 and got an extra 45 seconds of rest. They gave me a hard time to look good in front of the coach, but were secretly glad for the extra break.

    4x75 br/fr/br on 1:45 - I finished these in 1:30.
    4x100 fr on 1:50 - I went 1:38 for each.

    4x50 fr on 1:10 with 3 strokes bk off of the push and the turn.

    2450 m assigned, I only went 2400 - What a slacker!!!
    Notes: I still feel like I have a slight pull in my groin. My coach has been working on me keeping my knees narrower and it feels like it isolates the groin muscles more! Does anyone else have this experience?

    Updated January 21st, 2009 at 03:49 PM by Iwannafly

    Swim Workouts
  6. Wednesday, 1/21/09

    by , January 21st, 2009 at 11:45 AM (A comfort swimmer's guide to easy swimming)
    SCY With Carrie

    1 x 300 choice
    6 x 50 kick on RI :15
    4 x 50 drill on RI :10

    Main Set
    4 x 150 on 2:45 broken as follows:
    Swim 100 pace free, RI :10 then 50 free fast
    (did 100's at 1:25, 50's at :35-:36)

    2 x 150 kick, broken as follows:
    Kick 4 x 25 RI :10sec., moderate effort, then kick 50 all out. (went :50, :45 on all out 50's)

    4 x 200 on 3:15, as follows:
    #-1-3 pull with paddles & buoy
    #4 swim free, no toys

    Focus on these was hand entry and catch

    Cool down
    1 x 50 DAB
    1 x 50 easy kick

    Total: 2600 yards
  7. Tuesday, 1/20/09

    by , January 21st, 2009 at 11:37 AM (A comfort swimmer's guide to easy swimming)
    SCY Solo

    1 x 300 Choice
    4 x 50 Kick 25 dolphin/25 flutter on RI :10
    3 x {4 x 25 on :45, 1-4 fly, 5-8 back, 9-12 free

    Main Set
    8 x 25 Fly Drills, did head lead dolphin, hand lead dolphin and 2/2/2 drill

    1 x 50 free Easy
    1 x 50 fly ALL OUT 50 for TIME (Roll start from starting blocks, went :30.35)
    1 x 100 Easy
    Rest 1-2 minutes

    2 x (4 x 50 free on :55 held :35's)
    4 x 50 back fast on 1:30, held :37's

    1 x 200 easy swim

    Total: 2000 yards
  8. strait of magellan

    rachel's last blog entry said today is the day they will make the attempt to swim the strait of magellan. why should i be nervous? ...... don't know...... but i am.
    i think this attempt illustrates the limitless possibility of determination. great things can be accomplished within the universe of swimming that aren't tied to fractions of a second or weighed against others in a competitive environment.

    this entry is for rachel and cristian and team.

    read the blog at:
  9. Wednesday 1/21 - Heavy Fly and Back

    by , January 21st, 2009 at 07:37 AM (Mixing it up this year)
    Today was a heavy fly and back day. Felt great compared to this past weekend. Timing is everything and as masters swimmers we know that we are not always at our best when the meet rolls around.

    400 Free Pull

    9x50 @ 1:15 1/2 pull 1/2 kick fl/bk, bk/br, br/fr

    4x25 @ :45 Fly with fins
    100 Fly with fins
    200 Free EZ
    250 Fly with fins

    500 Back Pull with paddles and board

    8x50 @ 1:10 as 25 Fly/25 Back with paddles
    4x25 @ :45 Fly with fins
    100 Fly for time went 1:39

    400, 300, 200, 100 @ :30 Rest Free Pull with paddles and bouy went 5:55, 3:55, 2:44, 1:20

    100 Free EZ

    Total of 3700 yards
  10. Long Axis Night

    by , January 20th, 2009 at 10:17 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)

    60 minutes at the gym this afternoon doing weights, core and RC. Didn't go crazy since I hadn't lifted since last Tuesday.

    Team Workout:

    Swam with my team tonight. Tuesday is always freestyle night. To me, that translates to long axis night.

    Warm up:

    200 swim
    200 kick
    200 drill
    200 kick
    200 swim
    (I skipped 200 chatting with my coach about last weekend's meet.)

    Main sets:

    800 freestyle pull, every 4th 50 fast
    4 x 200 backstroke, 4th 50 fast, :30 RI
    (I never pull; the guys on my team just love pulling though.)

    50 EZ

    10 x 100 free with fins @ 1:20
    (I did 5 free and 5 back. Held about 1:09s on back.)

    50 EZ

    8 x 75 @ 1:40 w/pull buoy
    (back, breast, scull -- odds on stomach, evens on back)
    (I don't own a pull buoy. I did the backstroke portion going 15 meters UW, dolphin kicked on breast and did V sit scull, which is tough on the forearms)

    50 EZ

    Speed set:

    16 x 25, 4 x through:

    3 fast free @ :30
    1 easy back @ 1:00

    did: (since no kicking)
    UW shooters with fins instead of the fast frees

    200 C/D


    Got my splits from the races Sunday.

    200 back:

    1:08.36 (36.24)
    1:45.13 (36.97)
    2:22.36 (37.23)

    Seems like a typical sprinter 200 back: out too fast. But for a first effort, I'm fine with it. I actually *tried* to go out at a leisurely pace. And my first 50 reflects, in part, popping off a good start. A backstroker teammate told me that, when she first started doing masters 200 backs, she had the same problem: always too fast the first 50. Now, she says she has to tell herself to go faster the first 50. lol

    My only other thought on the 200 back is that my legs didn't hurt as much as everyone warned me. It just hurt all over at the end. I'm attributing this to all my kicking and fin work. Probably helped in this event.

    200 IM -- I think I'll keep those splits "secret." I did, as previously confessed, bonk on free. The most interesting split was my first 50 fly: 29.29. Little surprised at this as I was *trying* to go very very slowly, was hardly kicking at all and had slight cramping in both calves. Maybe I just have no slow gear on fly ... I thought I was taking it out slower than my last 100 fly in October when I was out in 30.2 or 30.4 or thereabouts. So I was rather surprised to see this split. Thinking my 100 fly should be faster at Auburn ...

    Total: 3950

    Updated February 10th, 2009 at 10:28 AM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts , Strength Training and Dryland Workouts
  11. Teammate Profile Series No. 1: Ronald Gainsford

    by , January 20th, 2009 at 09:23 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)

    “Whatever you do, don’t ever let anybody put you in the trunk of a car.”

    --J. Ronald Gainsford, 2006, over a pasta dinner in the Polish Hill section of Pittsburgh


    Today’s vlog is the first in an occasional series of profiles of teammates I’ve become friends with thanks to a shared interest in swimming. Ronald, now 79, was at one point the fourth fastest butterflier in the world. He missed out on the Olympics, alas, because two of the guys faster than him were also both US citizens, and the team only took two American representatives in the fly.

    Such factoids are probably the least interesting things about Ron, who grew up in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh back in the days when this was known more for thuggery than the University. At age 10, he and his friends offered to “protect” the cars of people who came to watch Pitt football games. Those sports fans who paid indeed got protection. Those who didn’t got flat tires.

    A couple years ago, when I was swimming regularly at Trees Pool atop “cardiac hill” in Oakland, Ron would regularly remind me to be careful, claiming he knew personally at least three murderers within a block of the pool.

    One, who suffered some form of insanity, had bludgeoned his victim to death with a hammer. Because of this, Ron would always keep his hand in his gym bag as we walked through the streets to the pool. He showed me once what he kept in there, but I can’t say what it was.

    I did, however, ask him how “they” could know what his hand was holding.

    “Oh,” he told me. “They know, all right.” Then he laughed the way guys do who don’t ever let other guys put them in a trunk of a car.


    I’d like Ronald even if his pearls of advice hadn’t, at least theoretically, saved my life.

    About nine years ago, I wrote a story on Masters swimming for my former employer, Men’s Journal magazine. Like most men’s magazines today, this publication was so obsessed with their youthful demographics that a guy past 40 doesn’t stand a chance of making it in as an athlete. I am pretty sure the following passage, which was my favorite part of that particular story, ended up on the editorial room floor.

    I will paste it in here because I think it will give you another idea of what Ronald has been through, and why he’s such an admirable fellow, and why swimming seems to offer all of us some real hope for salvation:

    When it comes to inspirational tales of the heart, there’s one man on our team who clearly trumps everybody: Ronald Gainsford, a 70-year-old retired Pittsburgh public school teacher. In 1953, Ron was rated fourth in the world in the 100 and 200 yard butterfly. He missed the Olympics only because, he says, "the three guys ahead of me were also from the U.S."

    I first met Ron over the lunch hour when I spied him swimming laps at the Y. You could tell immediately from his form that he was a great swimmer, so I tapped his shoulder in between laps to recruit him for our team. He stood in the shallow end and pointed to a huge scar running down the center of his chest. "I’d love to," he told me, "but I’m not supposed to compete. I’ve had a heart transplant, and my doctors don’t want me to go too fast."

    Ron told me he’d suffered a minor heart attack at age 55, followed by a devastating one in his early 60s. His heart was too badly damaged to be helped by bypass surgery, so his doctors kept him alive via medications, knowing that his only ultimate hope was a transplant. For five years, he told me, he’d lived "a nursing home quality of life"--unable to even walk the 25-yard length of a pool without stopping to rest.

    Just after turning 65, with his heart now pumping only one-sixth the normal blood volume, Ron finally received a donor heart from a 25-year-old guy killed when his pickup truck slid off an icy road. Though the surgery went well, Ron developed a staff infection that came close to killing him again. The day we met at the Y, Ron had just started swimming again and was trying to build up to 20 easy lengths a day.

    All of which helps explain my utter astonishment when, eight months later, I run into Ron here in Baltimore. Not only is he competing but he’s swimming some of the fastest times in his age group.

    "What’s happened to you?" I ask him.

    "After I talked to you in Sewickley," he explains, grinning, "I just kept slowly, slowly building up my distance in all the strokes. I went from 400 yards a day to 1800 yards. I said to myself, Hey, you’re getting pretty good at this, maybe too good for just recreational swimming.

    "So I went back to my cardiologist and told him I wanted to compete again. I underwent a full catheterization, and the results came back great. My doctor said, ‘I don’t see any reason why you can’t compete if you really want to do this.’"

    The Baltimore meet, it turns out, is Ron's third since getting the thumb’s up. In April, he medaled in several events at the highly competitive US indoor nationals. In July, he placed 4th in breaststroke, 6th in butterfly, and 10th in backstroke at worlds in Munich. Even as his times continue to drop, he’s refuses to take full credit for the accomplishments. A day doesn’t pass, he says, without him thanking the young guy whose heart beats inside him.

    "Whenever I talk about my races," he tells me minutes before the freestyle relay, "I always say we swam well."


    I’m not sure how many septuagenarian swimmers visit my vlog, but if you know any guys who same in the early 1950s, and perhaps competed at or against the University of Pittsburgh in those days, I would truly appreciate you passing this vlog on to their attention.

    Ron is talking about possibly swimming at the Worlds Masters meet when he turns 80. He did swim at the world transplant games recently, and I think he would do really well at the regular games, as well.

    Ronald, a life-long bachelor, lives alone. He goes to the Sewickley YMCA pretty regularly. I’ve tried to talk him into joining the computer world, what with email and Facebook and USMS forum discussions. But he won’t go for it. If you have a spare moment and think of it, send him a postcard.

    I’m sure it would make his day. And you will have a friend for life.

    J. Ronald Gainsford
    167 Carnation Avenue
    Pittsburgh , PA 15229-1001

    Updated January 21st, 2009 at 05:17 PM by jim thornton

  12. Nobody at the pool today...YAY!

    by , January 20th, 2009 at 04:00 PM (The Labours of SwimStud)
    So I swam while everyone else got their Obama on...

    4 x 50
    200 K no fins
    4 x 25 K 1:00 AFAP no fins these were about :25
    300 K w fins
    4 x 25 1:00 AFAP w fins I was hitting these on :16 or :15
    4 x 50 Pull Snorkel, paddles and fins
    4 x 50 Pull Snorkel and fins
    4 x 50 Snorkel
    4 x 50 Paddles
    4 x 50 No gear

    Updated January 20th, 2009 at 08:14 PM by SwimStud

  13. Tue Jan 20th 2009

    by , January 20th, 2009 at 10:59 AM (Ande's Swimming Blog)
    Tue Jan 20th 2009

    Last night I swam the 50 back in the finals of the
    Longhorn Aquatics New Year's Classic USS Meet in Austin TX
    went 24.64
    last year I went 25.37 at this same meet

    will blog todays practice at:
    short cut to Ande's Swimming Blog

    NEXT MEET: USA Swimming Austin Grand Prix Austin TX
    March 5 - 7, 2009
    44 days away
    Meet format: Short Course AM, Long Course PM
    Meet Events: Thursday, Friday, Saturday

    Lat press 8 x 35 8 x 40 8 x 45
    lat pull 8 x 165 5 x 205
    bench press 8 x 135 5 x 185
    leg press 8 x 180 8 x 270

    6:30 - 8:00
    Whitney coached
    SCY swim center main pool, NO Blocks
    swam with nate amy and brandon
    beside larry max paul andrew Todd, & Tyler
    dove in at 7:30

    300 EASY

    8 x 100 on 1:08
    skipped a 50 on #5

    100 easy

    6 x 50 on 1:00
    took 6 ore more SDKs off each wall

    Updated January 20th, 2009 at 11:27 AM by ande

    Swim Workouts , Strength Training and Dryland Workouts
  14. Tuesday 1/20 - Pleasant Surprise

    by , January 20th, 2009 at 07:34 AM (Mixing it up this year)
    Today started out rough but in the end it turned out to be great. Started off slow and sluggish this morning but at the end of practice wouldn't you know that I broke the time I did over the weekend in my 500 at the end of practice.

    My back is not as sore as it has been but I still feel it some. This turned out to be just the workout I needed.

    20x50 @ :55 Free #1-10 loosen up #11-20 hold pace held 41's for all but last 2 which were 40's

    1000 free with paddles and bouy for time 13:30

    20x50 @ 1:00 Free every 3rd FAST on the fast ones held 38, 38, 37, 37, 36, 35

    2x500 @ 8:00 Free with paddles and bouy descend went 6:55 and 6:35 my time at the meet was 6:36.

    500 Free EZ

    Total 4500 yards good distance day
  15. Some recovery!

    by , January 19th, 2009 at 07:35 PM (The Labours of SwimStud)
    Well after yesterday's meet I went in and did a recovery set that I liked. I was tired and the busy weekend didn't help.

    I set up 15 x 200 but only got through 13 before I ran out of time.
    I went Kick, Pull, Swim using fins for the kick and pull and paddles.

    In the afternoon I did 40 minutes on the ellipse HR >140

    Then did a full weight workout!
    Chest Press
    Leg Press/Calf Press superset
    Leg Extenion
    Leg Curl
    Pull Dows
    Yoga Ball

    Updated January 19th, 2009 at 08:28 PM by SwimStud

  16. Recovery Day, Monday Jan. 19

    by , January 19th, 2009 at 05:27 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Just a short recovery swim today. Ande told me he's not too sore after meets, but I always feel pretty for a couple days. Hoping to get in a good workout tomorrow, although my kids are out of school for the Inauguration, which could prove problematic.

    SCM at the hot gym pool:

    700 warm up
    8 x 100 back on 2:00
    300 C/D
    20 minutes in the hottub


    Paul Wolf and I were chatting about 200 IMs. We decided it would be much better if you could swim the strokes in any order you wanted. I would definitely opt for fly-breast-free-back, if that were an option.

    Updated February 10th, 2009 at 10:29 AM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts
  17. Life Lessons from a Pamby

    by , January 19th, 2009 at 04:22 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Q & A with Jim Thornton
    Second in an occasional series
    Interview by Jim Thornton


    Q: Jim, I don’t want to get too personal here, but a lot of your fans—myself arguably foremost here—are desperate to know: How is your health?

    A: Jim, first of all, thanks for asking. And believe me, I’m not trying to duck your question. It’s just that health is not something Clint Eastwood, Troy Polamalu, Vince Spiegelman, and other men of our ilk think about. Truth be known, we probably suffer a form of emotional leprosy. That rusted railroad spike through my scrotum? Oh, I suppose it might hurt if I thought about it. That’s the approach guys like us take to “health” and “pain” and “weirdly unnerving somatic sensations that seem like they could prefigure bird fancier’s lung or maybe a humongous myxoma.” So, to answer your question, “How am I feeling,” I ask you in return, “What is this feeling that you are talking about?” Maybe you should talk to Paul Wolf. I understand he postponed his 500 short course yards freestyle while moving up an appointment with his masseuse. Paul probably knows what his “feelings” about his “health” are.

    Q: Yeah, yeah—I know Paul: the guy with the occasional big toe gout.

    A: You know, there was a recipe for squirrel in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today. It sounded delicious...until I read that you have to kill the squirrels before you ingest them.

    Q: Okay, I think we get it now, Jim. You’re no namby-pamby like, well, you know. Or his friend, well, you know. Or him, her, and the other one, too.

    A: Listen, Jim, I don’t mean to sound like a hard ass here, though you probably could roll out pastry dough on my buttocks, so hard and cold and marble-like are they. I don’t want you to get the wrong impression. True, I’m no namby. But I am, at least occasionally, a pamby. I have a softer side. I emit the occasional inarticulate keening when things don’t go my way.

    Q: (chuckling) As if!

    A: No, really, I kid you not. This pamby has known plenty of loss in his life. Yesterday, for instance, I managed a pathetic 4700 yards during the 1-hour postal swim. Do the math. This works out to an “anaerobic threshold” pace of 1:16.6 per 100. Last year, I could hold 48 and a quarter x 100’s on 1:14.61. A couple years earlier, I managed 49.96 x 100’s on 1:12.06. The reaper’s gaining, and his stench makes you want to cut off your nostrils, believe me.

    Q: Marvelous phrase, that! Jim, your whole approach to life—so hard-boiled and tough guy and testosteronated to the max, while allowing the occasional pamby keen to break through, too—well, if you’ve got emotional leprosy with a softer side, I say, how can I get me some of that, too?

    A: It’s easy, Jimbo. All you gotta do is lose. Lose everything that was ever anything to you. A decent AT time. Skin unmottled by buboes. An esophageal passage that hasn’t been scraped crimson with nails. A 1998 National Magazine Award followed by three subsequent nominations in 2005, 2006, and 2007 that all came to naught. Lose these things, then regain them, then lose them again. Losing makes winners what they are: really, really, toughened up losers.

    Q: Man, Jim, that is a great paradoxical philosophy. Losers are the new winners?

    A: And there’s a flipside to it, too.

    Q: What’s that? That winners are the new losers?

    A: Jimmy, I think you’re going to have to find out that one on your own. Here’s a little movie about me in my non-swimming life. Watch it a couple times. I think you’ll learn something.

    Q: Is there a prize to encourage viewership this time? A swim cap, perhaps?

    A: Maybe. Then again, maybe not. You’re gonna have to find out for yourself. After all, what have you got to lose but a small chunk of your remaining life? And so what if you lose this? At the risk of beating off a dead horse, let me repeat: Losing makes winners what they are: really, really, toughened up losers.

  18. Meet Day 3 100 FL & 50 BK

    by , January 19th, 2009 at 01:48 PM (Ande's Swimming Blog)
    Monday Jan 19th, 2009

    SWAM In the meet today
    Results and comments blogged at
    short cut:

    100 fl
    50 bk

    NEXT MEET: USA Swimming Austin Grand Prix in Austin TX
    March 5 - 7, 2009
    45 days away
    Meet format: Short Course AM, Long Course PM
    Time Standards are up
  19. EZ Aerobic Free

    by , January 19th, 2009 at 01:14 PM (TJ's Blog of Slow Swimming!)
    11:00 AM to Noon at the Jamerson YMCA (SCY).

    8x75 on 1:40 - 50 fisted free/25 free swim
    4x50 on :50 descend

    8x75 free - odds on 1:20/evens on 1:25
    (went ~1:06-1:08 for all)
    8x75 free - odds on 1:20/evens on 1:30
    (went ~1:05 for odds/~1:10 for evens)
    8x75 free - odds on 1:20/evens on 1:35
    (went ~1:05 for odds/~1:10-1:15 for evens)

    12x25 free on :25 - odds easy/evens big kick (went ~:23-:24 on odds/ ~:18 - :19 on evens)

    4x50 free on :45 (these hurt following the 25s with a big kick - went :45, :42, :41)

    2x50 free on :50 warmdown

    3200 yards

    Notes: I don't think I've ever done 3200 yards in an hour practice. The fast lane did 4000, which is a huge jump for me. I'll keep working on it and maybe I'll get there some day!
    Swim Workouts
  20. Monday 1/19/09

    by , January 19th, 2009 at 12:10 PM (A comfort swimmer's guide to easy swimming)
    SCY with Carrie
    Since Carrie is training for an Olympic distance triathlon we'll do the main set of this workout every few weeks.

    1 x 300 swim choice
    6 x 50 in RI :15 kick
    6 x 50 on RI :15 Drill

    Main Set
    1 x 1650 Broken – as 11 lengths, 10 lengths…..2…1;
    R :15 after each, get total time and subtract 2:30 for actual swim time (swim time: 23:50)
    6 x 50 on 1:15 Kick – 25 hard (ave :20) /25 easy

    Cool down
    1 x 50 easy free
    1 x 100 IM easy DPS

    Total: 3000 yards

    45 minute spin class at the gym at noon.