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  1. Toys galore

    This morning I swam the early AGUA workout. August is such a nice peaceful month in the city—the pool felt very spacious this morning, with just 4-5 swimmers per lc lane. We had a treat this morning—Coach Frank from Curl-Burke guest coached (our regular coach, Craig, is away with our “national team” in Puerto Rico). Frank was super nice and full of energy, at 5:30 in the morning no less. I adapted the workout as necessary for my taper. Here’s what we did:

    500 lcm warmup

    5 x 100 (50 K / 50 easy swim) @ :20 rest

    4 x 200 wrap-around, skip-stroke IMs @ 4:00: 1st 200 = FL/BK/BR/FL, 2nd = BK/BR/FR/BK, 3rd = BR/FR/FL/BR, 4th = FR/FL/BK/FR

    4 x 300 w/ paddles:
    First we had a technique talk on correct paddle technique (keep elbows high and rotate, should feel it in the lats, not the shoulders)
    --On the first 300, we wore a paddle on our right hand only, and swam 100 right-arm only (50 w/ left arm at side, 50 w/ left arm in front), 100 left-arm only (50 w/ rt. arm at side, 50 w/ rt. arm in front), then 100 using both arms.
    --On the 2nd 300, we wore a paddle on our left hand only, and did the mirror-image of the above
    --On the 3rd 300, we wore paddles on both hands and otherwise did the same thing as on #1
    --The 4th 300 was paddles on both hands, 200 back build + 100 FR
    [Doing the one-arm drills with just one paddle on felt confusing, plus I was getting remarkably far behind my lanemates, so I got out mid-way through the 2nd 300 and watched how my teammates did these drills for a bit. Keeping the motion continuous and fluid seemed to be the key—I think I was stopping and starting too much with each single arm stroke. Then I noticed that two of our swimmers who were PR-bound today were doing some fast swims from a dive in another lane, so I went over there and practiced a few dives and got some good pointers. I hopped back into my lane near the end of the 3rd 300. On the 4th 300, I ditched the paddles and did 4 x 50 BK (25 sprint, 25 easy) + 100 FR easy

    4 x 200 w/ fins (150 kick + 50 swim choice)
    [I just did the first of these with fins, and really hammered the 50 swim (FR), which was majorly fun. I then warmed down finless for the last two.]

    Midway through my warmdown I was submerged under the water doing breaststroke on my back, and I happened to look backwards and saw one of my lanemates doing fly with fins swimming towards me. It looked really cool! After that, I tried lying on the pool bottom and watching several of my friends as they swam by. It’s a neat effect.

    ***********
    Over the weekend I watched U.S. nats on tv. Here’s some thoughts:

    --I wondered what Lochte could go for a 200 BR—that stroke looked great on both of his IMs.

    --My disapproval of earlier tech suits on purely aesthetic grounds still stands for the current generation. I don’t at all like seeing all 8 finalists wearing the same solid black suit. If Speedo can make sparkly emerald green sneakers for Lochte, can’t they custom-make some colorful graphic-y suits for their stars? (Or if not custom make—I think that might run afoul of FINA regs, alas—at least produce their suits in a variety of colors and patterns, a la their very successful Flipturns line?) For $375 you should get pretty suit, not just a fast one!
    On one night that swimming was not on Universal Sports, they carried a track meet from Stockholm at which Usain Bolt was wearing a cool custom designed singlet. It would be neat to see something similar done with our tech suits.

    --The thinner parts of the Speedo suit are very sheer, especially in the sunlight at outdoor meets. Some of the guys almost looked like they were wearing black nylon stockings over codpieces.

    --The Arena women’s suit (worn by Rebecca Soni) is very aggressively cut in on the sides. Arena racing suits were always cut like that in the 80s and 90s, but it’s interesting that they went back to that minimal-fabric back design once zippers were outlawed.

    --I want to try those starting blocks with the slanted bit in the back. Do any pools that host masters meets in the northeast have them?

    **********
    Yesterday I went over to my 220y track and did plyo. I had planned to plyo while on vacation in Lake Placid—I had even chosen the grassy infield of the Olympic speed-skating oval as my venue—but had to postpone it for a few days after stubbing my toe on a heavy wooden Adirondack chair. Nothing broken, but the toe swelled up under the nail and was painful for a few days. I was worried that I might lose the toenail, but now it seems fine, and I can once again wear running shoes without pain.

    Here’s what I did yesterday:

    Warmup

    4 x 40y sprint (85, 90, 95, 100%)

    5 x 40y skip:
    warmup skip
    skipping for height, both legs
    skipping for height, right leg
    skipping for height, left leg
    skipping for distance, both legs

    I left off the one-legged skips for distance, because my right knee was feeling a little wonky right at the place (MCL) where it was injured last summer. It feels ok today, though, so I’m glad of that. I’m still very nervous about injuring myself with the plyo, so am being pretty conservative about how much and how quickly I add stuff. I might get in one more plyo session before Zones, if my legs feel good this Wednesday or Thursday, or this might be the last one for a couple of weeks.
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