View RSS Feed

All Blog Entries

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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

  6. 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
  7. 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.

  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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.
  11. Monday 1/19 - Easy workout

    by , January 19th, 2009 at 11:10 AM (Mixing it up this year)
    I made the mistake of bringing my son and his friend to the Y with me. They were stealing my kick board and trying to grab me as I swam by. Then I found out they drained the hot tub. YUCK, I really wanted to soak today.

    I just felt really tired and had no energy. Of course the water was over 85 too which did not help.

    Well here is what I got in:

    1000 as 200 swim/pull/swim/kick/swim
    500 free with paddles every 3rd lap fly
    10x50 @ 1:00 Free with one paddle on 4 kicks on the paddle hand. 5 on right 5 on left
    500 kick alternate fly/free with fins on back
    200 IM nice and loose
    200 free EZ
    100 Back

    total 3000 yards
  12. Practically Naked

    by , January 18th, 2009 at 09:46 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Ventured back to the pool today to swim another 200. The vlogger guessed it -- 200 IM. Naturally, I fully intended and would have preferred to swim it with my B70. Indeed, I brought my 23+ swims B70 to the pool for this very purpose!

    But as fans of Vlad the Vlogger, that evil disseminator of private text messages, already know, I busted a huge hole in the suit. A friend, scyfreestyler, said: "I told you to kick ass, not show ass." Fortunately, for everyone involved, I did NOT pull a Laura Smith, as my wardrobe malfunction occurred in the privacy of the locker room. Right on the heels of having set a PR by shimmying into it in 2 minutes flat ... Perhaps that was a sign ... Spurned, I reached into my bag and, lo and behold, I left the Hineck Pro I wore for yesterday's 200 back on the drying rack ... So I was forced to borrow a dry suit from my daughter: bright pink floral Splish suit.

    Thusly attired, and with 30 years of rust, I rather cautiously approached the blocks for the event. I was spurred on by the sure knowledge that my daughter would never let me live it down if I didn't swim (and would be thrilled to be so much faster than me) and that Stevenson (or others) would haul out the "ninny" word. So I gamely gave it a whirl and finished in a 2:26.35.

    I must confess I completely bonked on the last 50. No gas left at all. I was also coffee breaking on the turns. Don't know what my splits were as I was swimming in a different pool than my daughter. (Her coaches sometimes get my splits.) Still, I was happy with the time, and suspect I would have gone roughly 2 seconds faster if properly clad.


    Woke up today and despite a lot of stretching and fluids my calves were still sore from the cramping yesterday. They cramped again right on the start. I think this reduced my enjoyment of the race. I felt like I was SDK-ing like a wee baby. lol Stud says I need to try tonic water.

    I also wish I could say I liked this event like Hulk, but, truly, I did not. That was the most pain I've felt as a masters swimmer since the piano fell on my long course 100 fly this summer. Ack. This event might have been a little ambitious for me, and is definitely not for drop dead sprinters. The 200 back seemed comparatively easier. But, still, I'm glad I broke out of my comfort zone this weekend and tried two new events.

    I took 3 strokes from the flags before flipping on backstroke today. Was very close to the wall. I guess now that I have a ripped B70, I can haul the thing with me to the pool and practice turns in it. (Tank underneath of course.)

    Didn't swim the 100 back today. My seed time hadn't been changed in the system. Wouldn't have gotten enough rest. Reminder never to even think of doing back to back events.

    I really didn't enjoy swimming without a tech suit and have no intention whatsoever of repeating this incident!!!!!! I guess I know not to push B70's 25 swims promise without a back up suit.

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

    USA-S Swim Meets / Events
  13. Sunday 1/18 - Last day of the meet

    by , January 18th, 2009 at 09:39 PM (Mixing it up this year)
    My back hurts still, had to use the tens unit again just to be able to bend over and grab the block. Other than that my kids did really well, even my son who usually goofs off in practice when he is there.

    As for my times, they were all off. I didn't realize between the back issues and the fact that I coached in the mornings, standing, running between 2 pools to see everyone swim. That was a workout in and of itself.

    Tomorrow is another day and hopefully a workout and soak in the hot tub will do just the trick.

    I should probably rename this entry as "Old and Falling Apart!"

    Updated January 18th, 2009 at 09:58 PM by Donna

  14. Hour of horror

    by , January 18th, 2009 at 05:56 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Today's vlog is best described by the same adjectives that describe my hour swim:

    • interminable
    • monotonous
    • pathetic
    • sick (and not in the good way, as in That swim was sick, dude!)

    The Steelers are about to start playing, and I can only say that if my lack of heart is any indication, we are about to be beaten down again. I hope I am wrong.

    To encourage viewership of today's vlog despite its myriad drawbacks, I have put three bonus features in, sprinkled throughout so you have to watch the whole thing to find them. These are:

    • a prize
    • a mention of the temptress Mermaid
    • an actual phone text from Leslie The Fortress Livingston, which includes a spelling error! Such a thing is as rare as a postage stamp showing Abraham Lincoln smoking a banana. You really, really don't want to miss this.

    Finally, if you need more incentive to watch this long, meandering, and strangely obnoxious in terms of acoustic quality vlog, add one final item to our list:

    it begins to answer a question that I think every masters swimmer at some point begins to ask himself, herself, or, in my case, itself.

    When do things really start to fall apart?

    I think you will find the answer you a searching for in today's film. Not to give too much away, but the number "56 years old" plays a part here as one swimmer learned today for itself.

    Enjoy! Even if that is really not the right word at all.

    or simply click on this:


    Updated January 20th, 2009 at 01:14 PM by jim thornton (movie wouldn't play)

  15. swam the 200 fr today in a meet

    by , January 18th, 2009 at 03:33 PM (Ande's Swimming Blog)
    Sunday Jan 18th, 2009

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

    #18 Boys 200 Free 1:50.70

    NEXT MEET: USA Swimming Austin Grand Prix in Austin TX
    March 5 - 7, 2009
    46 days away
    Meet format: Short Course AM, Long Course PM
    Time Standards are up
  16. Blech Meet!

    by , January 18th, 2009 at 01:03 PM (The Labours of SwimStud)
    Well, had a SCM meet today thought I might do better than I did. Only swam 3 events:

    100 FR 1:14.somethingawful. That's a bit slow for me. Though I did try breathing more, but I think I messed it up and took 1 or 2 too many at the 75 mark. Should have taken 1 more at the 50 and then I may not have got so whacked.

    50 FR :32.42 (I think) well not bad it's within 1 second of my it's in the neighbourhood! I also tried a breathing pattern and it was ok. went 1 up and 2 back. I'm training to go the first 25 without in the SCY...yes it's a mental game but it's a new game to me, and I'm learning the rules!

    50 BR :39.83 Unhappy with this being a second off my best times on conversions...I haven't been back there since 07 but then I'm not really training for BR lately. Just checked my records and although it's slower on converts, it's an SCM so I'll take the positive.

    We move on.

    Updated January 18th, 2009 at 02:40 PM by SwimStud

  17. 30 Year Hiatus Ended! Sat., Jan 17

    by , January 17th, 2009 at 08:56 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Broke out of my drop dead sprinter mold today!

    Swam the 200 back for the first time in 30 years. (Never swam it as a freshman in college because we had a designated backstroker.) I'm glad I did it too, even though it's a decidedly different kind of pain than sprinting -- an insidious creeping all over kind of pain. Couldn't do it on a regular basis though.

    I was secretly hoping to go around 2:26, as that was the cut off for Top Ten last year. Went a 2:22.36 ... very happy with the time. The swim, however, was, er, an adventure. Calves cramped slightly on the start. But mainly I had a hard time negotiating all the turns. Ideally, I need to take 2 and 1/2 strokes from the flags in before flipping. If I take 2, I glide in; if I take 3, I jam the wall. Decided to take 2 today and glided in big time to most of my turns. My streamlines off the wall weren't so great either. Didn't want to SDK much, but overcompensated and broke out too early. Obviously, my inexperience showed. These things never really discourage me, though, they just make me realize I could go faster if I fixed the problems.

    Despite how blastedly tired I felt when the race ended and now, I'm not completely dissuaded from trying it again. (This thought does not apply to the 200 fly, which I still will not try under any known circumstances.)

    Don't know what my splits were as the results aren't posted yet.

    Still trying to decide whether to swim the 100 backstroke right before my secret event tomorrow or just the secret event. Probably just the latter unless I wake up loads of energy. I love cruising into USS meets and only doing an event or two with no pressure for practice.

    I did end up signing up for the 200 backstroke at Auburn, though not the open 100 as it's right before the 50 fly. So I have to decide whether to swim it for a 100 split or just swim it. It would be my last event of the meet. And, by the way, I can't imagine swimming any event within a couple hours of a 200. Those are hard to recover from.

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

    USA-S Swim Meets / Events
  18. Saturday 1/17 - Kids Meet

    by , January 17th, 2009 at 06:26 PM (Mixing it up this year)
    I have to admit that coaching takes alot out of me. Last night my 400 IM was off by about 25 seconds, today my 500 Free was off by 20 seconds, but I have to say my 200 fly was actually ok only 4 seconds off.

    As for my back IT HURTS. I spent the early part of today coaching with the tens unit on.

    The bright side of this meet is that my kids are smashing their times! I know they will do just as well tomorrow. As for me I will be doing the 200 Breast and 200 Free. I don't think the free will be anything spectacular but hopefully my breast will be ballpark.
  19. Swim of a Non-Stop Hour

    by , January 17th, 2009 at 02:22 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    A bubo (Greek boubôn, "groin") (plural form= buboes) is a swelling of the lymph nodes, found in an infection such as bubonic plague


    By this time tomorrow, I will be finished with my 1-hour postal swim attempt, and hopefully also finished with a decent chunk of the follow-up YMCA meet at another pool one-half hour away.

    I'd hoped by now to be back to the 93 percent state of health that represents the highest I've managed to reach on the Jim Thornton Healthometer in the past several decades. Sadly--and I know this is getting tiresome for you, it is getting tiresome for me, too--the Grim One continues to flap his dark wings over my rooftop, looking for a perch upon which to gain purchase and thereupon rest and preen his filthy plumage in the hopes I will give up my ghost. Until then, I must take care to avoid his aerial defecation. Upon every unguarded spot of exposed flesh his droppings has thus far managed to hit, a new bubo sprouts.

    The total now is two. At least two that can be seen. On the plus side, both these buboes have flattened, lost their pustular, about-to-burst, cream pie characteristics, no longer itch or hurt, but only linger on my digit and abdomen respectively like daubs of paint of the sort once used to brand women's breasts with scarlet A's.

    What seems to be proliferating fast are invisible buboes. After a day of apparent relief from my sore throat, it has suddenly reappeared on the other side of my throat. Moreover, I can feel them colonizing their way down my esophagus.

    I swallow.
    There is the initial sore throat pain.
    A momentary lapse ensues.
    Then there is a secondary pain deeper in my gullet.
    Another lapse.
    Then a third detonation of discomfort almost at the duodenum!

    I shudder to think what will happen if this last barried is breached by the buboes' march. How quickly will then fall, and in what order, my cardiovascular, reproductive, nervous, and gall bladderous systems!

    But enough! We masters swimmers are nothing if not non-whiners! I signed up for the 1-hour postal meet and paid my $5 entry fee. I signed up for the YMCA meet and paid my $7 entry fee. I am determined to swim both. I will do so, if life itself remains within my heroic breast! And even if this should choose to evacuate me, the gasses of decomposition should clearly keep me afloat at least long enough to allow me to finish the 1-hour postal competition.

    At times like this, I find comfort in poesy. Here is a little something that came to me this morning as I pondered tomorrow's fate:

    The Swim of a Non-Stop Hour
    Thornton, Lord Jimby


    Half a pool, half a pool,
    Half a pool onward,
    All in Goldman's azure tank
    Crawled fifty-six-year-old Jimby.
    "Front quadrant, my weak arms!
    "Charge for the walls!" he said:
    Into the liquid Malaise
    Churned the sickly vlogger.


    "Forward, the ticking clock!"
    Downward, the creeping buboes
    Deep in esophageal recesses.
    Why? Not one doctor knew
    Their's not to make reply,
    Their's not to reason why,
    Their's but to let Jimby die:
    Into the liquid Malaise
    Churned the sickly vlogger.


    Faster ones to the right of him,
    Faster ones to the left of him,
    Splashing noises all around
    Splish'd and a'splash'd;
    Yelled at coaching jeers,
    Boldly he soldiered on,
    Into the buboed jaws of Death,
    Into the pustulant mouth of Hell
    Dead-man-floated the vlogger.


    Flash'd all their LSRs bare,
    Flash'd as they flip-turn'd in air,
    The others sabring the waters there,
    Charging like Hacketts all, while
    All the world wonder'd:
    Plunging through the chlorine haze
    Gasping through liquid and gaseous chokes;
    Part zonesman part clubman
    Part unwitting joke,
    Liquid malaise inside his head--
    Then Jimby swam forth and back, but
    Not quite for 5,000.


    Nyads to the right of him,
    Mermen to the left of him,
    Buboes sprouting
    inside his ulcerous gulletways;
    Goaded by his hero's heart,
    As body and soul fast fell apart,
    He who had once swum so well
    Dead floated from the jaws of Death
    Like spittle from the mouth of Hell,
    All that was left of him,
    Not even close to 4000.


    When can his glory fade?
    O the wild charge he made!
    All the world wondered.
    Honor the swim he tried,
    Honor sick Jimby's try,
    Perhaps, with luck, 2500.

    Copied from The Poems of Jimby Thornton,
    J. E. Tilton and Company, Boston, 1870
    very few if any rights reserved
  20. Bad choice???

    by , January 17th, 2009 at 12:30 PM (A comfort swimmer's guide to easy swimming)
    I woke late up this morning and then couldn't decide if I should go to the pool anyway and do a short workout, go to the gym and lift weights or just go back to bed.

    I ended up getting to the pool about a half hour late and did a short sprint/IM workout.

    SCY Solo

    1 x 300 as half free/half back

    9 x 100 on RI :10-:15 as follows
    #1-3: 25 scull/75 swim with fists
    #4-6: 25 wrist drag/25 dps (14spl)/repeat
    #7-9: all free desc., went 1:25-:20-:15

    4 x 25 IMO on :30 moderate
    4 x 25 IMO on :35 a little faster
    4 x 25 IMO on :40 faster
    4 x 25 IMO on :45 even faster
    4 x 25 IMO on 1:00 afap
    Rest 1-2 minutes

    1 x 50 easy
    1 x 50 back all out from racing start, went :32.5±

    6 x 50 easy on RI :15 alternating back and free

    Total: 2100 yards