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  1. April is Adult Learn-To-Swim Month!! What Will You Do?

    We at our Masters club (the Columbia Masters in Howard County, MD) are very excited that the Swimming Saves Lives Foundation has declared April Adult Learn-To-Swim month. We think that many adults would like to learn how to swim, but maybe haven't had an opportunity to do so... Until now. We are using this nationwide campaign as the impetus to develop programs we can use to get interested adults in the pool. And, we hope to expand the opportunities to swim that we already offer. The ability to bring this life (and lifesaving) skill to an adult population is exciting and something we are eager to do.

    Has your club offered adult learn-to-swim lessons? Is it a Swimming Saves Lives Foundation partner? If so, what types of programs have you offered. What types of programming is the most popular with your population/in your area?

    I would love to hear from you about your Adult Learn-to-Swim successes! Thanks! ~Angie AngieKozBlogs
  2. Sink Or Swim Classic Premeet Prep

    Those of you who talk with me on the forums have probably seen my signature promoting the Libertyville Masters Sink or Swim Classic in Vernon Hills Illinois. Those of you who know me REALLY well (and now everyone) will know that I will be wearing this brief during the meet:

    To all of you who think that this is ridiculous - YOU'RE WELCOME, I've now opened your mind.
    To all of you who believe that this is awesome and classy - THANK YOU.

    Fun Fact: All summer I swam SCM at Vernon Hill High School - the very pool where this meet will be held. Since September we have been swimming SCY.

    I decided to sign up for as many events as I could - including relays for this meet. It's going to be a blast and I figure "Why not? I don't plan on winning anything - I just plan on pushing myself through this and making it a fun time."

    Events And Goals
    400m Free
    So I decided I wanted my first swim of the day to be the longest swim of the meet. I plan on using this event as a double whammy.
    1) It'll be a PR. No matter what.
    2) It'll be a great warm up before the 50 free which is my next event.
    My goal for this event is to swim it in 7:00. That will be an average 100 around 1:45
    It seems like this might be an easy goal for many of you, but its hard to say for me since I'm so used to swimming SCY, I come in around 1:30-1:35 on the 100 during practice, so I'm hoping that extra 7 foot or so won't equate to much more than 10 seconds.

    50m Free
    The 50m free is placed perfectly. Its a race I really like and a race I would like to do well in. I learned some painful lessons this summer swimming it in LCM and I'm excited to give it another go.
    My goal for this event is to swim it in under 36 seconds
    When I swam SCY in march, I swam my 50 (tapered) in roughly around 33 seconds. I don't see any reason why I couldn't beat that now non-tapered. I can swim a 35 at the end of practice these days (so I'm already exhausted and its a push off the wall).

    50m Breast
    I'm not good at breast stroke. I'm very aware of it. I know I should take the time, I just haven't. I'll admit it fully and readily. That being said:
    My goal in this event is to beat my LCM time of 59.57 seconds
    I shall not fear the event! I shall embrace it!

    100m IM
    Even though the 50 is the event I want to do the most well in, the 100 IM is the event I'm most excited about! I've more or less just learned butterfly in the last couple months and I'm excited about the prospect of finally getting to do it in a race! I practiced my transition off the wall from fly to back once the other night and its a LOT of fun!
    My goal in this event is to swim it in under 2 minutes.
    The 100 IM is just the stepping stone. By January I'm hoping to be able to do the 200 IM and stick with that event for a while while I build up my strength/endurance to do the 400 IM.

    50m Back
    The 50 Back is one of those events I like - but I'm not great at. This will have been after all of my other 4 events + 2 relays. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be more of a flooded kayak than swimmer at this point.
    My goal in this event - given the circumstances - is survival. That being said, I'd like to swim it in under 50 seconds

    Thanks for reading! I hope to have video of this!
  3. The "Prettiest Waitress @ Denny's"

    Last night was the inaugural Wednesday practice for the Libertyville Masters! It was a relatively empty pool, but it was honestly a GREAT practice for me! I couldn't make Tuesday night's practice due to other (wasted) obligations so I was excited to not have to wait until Thursday night's practice.

    Yesterday I worked a little later than I expected to. So by the time I got home at 5:30, I realized that if I ate and then went to the gym and lifted as usual I would have less than an hour of recovery before swim practice. Now - I'm not REALLY that concerned about being slow at practice. I've been that for months now. I am however concerned with feeling like crap during practice because my muscles couldn't recover before another assault on them.

    That was probably the best choice I could've made last night!

    So I ate supper at 5:30ish, played drums for about an hour, and then started packing BECAUSE I GET TO MOVE INTO MY OWN PLACE! and left for practice around 7:45ish. So getting to practice - I was already hungry, I forgot a water bottle, and I was really tired. Even with all of those factors - I must've still brought my swimming "A" game.

    I was the "fastest of the slow lanes" (hence the title) last night! It was a pretty big difference too! I was getting back on average 5-7 seconds faster per lap than anyone else. So when we did a 12x100 set, I was getting back between 10 and 15 seconds faster than anyone else in the "slow lanes".

    It was a pretty cool feeling! I've definitely been getting faster - but I was coming in on 1:35/1:40 at the end of that 12x100 set! I think comparatively at the beginning of summer I was coming in on 1:50/2:00 for my 100s..... wait a minute.... This is really just hitting me like a ton of bricks (you're getting the raw data from the brain to the fingers here). We just switched from SCM to SCY. <Sigh>

    Alright - well it doesn't change the fact that I'm still the prettiest waitress at my own Denny's. Hopefully tonight will give me more opportunities to really rock it out in the pool. Since I'll be apartment hunting - I don't know if I'll get a good chance to do my lift tonight (again :-/). Its okay though - as long as I can get my swim in the night is not a total loss.

    Up next - my excitement for the SCY Season increases as some of the first meets are being put on the board!
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  4. SCY GOAL TIME!

    So SCY season is upon us soon! I'm already starting to plan out my goals and ideas!
    Since I like to break things down logically (being that logic is my job) I'm going to start by labeling my high level goals and then giving slightly more detailed goals that I have within those goals.

    Simple goals:
    1) Get Faster (in Swimming)
    2) Get Stronger
    3) Get Skinnier
    4) Build a giant robot that can take over.... .err never mind. (Remember Mike - this is PUBLIC)

    My physical stats and goals:
    Height: 6'3ish <-- I was 6'2 going into college, grew another inch freshman year
    Weight: 210ish <-- Lightest EVER
    Shoe Size: 15 <-- Sucks to buy shoes
    Waist Line: 34 <-- WOW! I'm so pumped!
    Body Fat (as of 7/22/2010): 17.5% <--- GRRR

    My body fat is a frustrating one. I have a lot of loose skin - so I honestly feel that it probably skewed the results of the 7 point pinch test. Especially when I can't imagine myself still having another 35 pounds of fat on my body. Regardless - I still have to keep working out anyway. Otherwise how can I get stronger? (What just happened?)

    My strength goals:
    I don't do a good job keeping stats (like 1MR) of my lifts. I'm not concerned so much with building up that kind of strength. All of my strength goals are to build my body so I can focus more intensively on swimming. So even though my curl is at 12x70 (35 in each hand) using an underhand grip and my lat pull down is at 12x115 - I honestly just want to see those numbers continue to rise on a biweekly to triweekly basis as I spend my 6 days a week at the gym, focusing on developing my extremities while strengthening my core as much as possible. If I can continue lifting and growing stronger - its only going to help me swim faster! (ANOTHER TRANSITION? What's he doing!?)

    Swimming stats and goals
    Alright - So my only SCY times are in the IL State Meet in April. That was long enough ago - and I've lost 20 pounds since then and have gained a lot of strength. I have a few LCM times - but rather than worrying about converting them. Lets just say I'd better beat them when it comes to SCY. The official times are still there:
    Code:
    50 Free: 32.97
    100 Free 1:18.42
    I have my goal times for the year to reach for.
    Code:
    50 Free: < 30 sec
    100 Free: < 1:10
    50 Back: < 50 sec
    100 Back: < 1:50
    50 Breast: < 55 sec
    100 Breast: < 2:00
    *Note - if I beat those times, then I just want to continue improvement. If I don't - its fine. I'm just looking forward to trying! Lastly for swimming; I want to learn how to do butterfly by next April for the Illinois state meet. I'd like to be able to do the 50 free in fly. We'll see what I can get my coach to teach me!
    Outside of swimming - I'm going to be working up to no less than 5 days a week swimming and if I can - 2 practices per day. We'll see how that lines up with sleep as one can't swim all of those events well if you don't have proper rest and nutrition! (He did it again! That son of a big guy!)

    Rest and Nutrional Goals
    Now - nutritional goals are nothing new for me. Rest goals however totally are. To help me focus better on my swimming and to allow me to swim more often and more effectively - I need to be properly rested and well nourished.
    So to help me rest more - I'm giving up organized recreation outside of swimming for now. As soon as my seasons are over for basketball and both of my softball leagues, I'm going to forgo other offers so I can just primarily focus on my swimming and my workout (lifting and possibly running).
    Nutrionally - I need to focus on making sure I keep a solid grip on the reality of my situation - I have to maintain healthy eating habits. I know from experience now that when I do splurge - I end up feeling kind of sick and tired within a few hours. If I'm going to perform - I need to be on top of my game!
    I also need to make sure I sleep enough. Which is such a tear for me. One the one hand - if I get up early - get to work early and get home early - I get to have the afternoon to accomplish what needs to be done. On the other hand - my masters team meets at 8:30 at night. That means practice goes til 9:30, and I'm awake til 11 minimum. A 5 AM wake up just doesn't happen on that these days. So especially once basketball and softball are done, I'll take some time to really focus on how I'm going to actually implement these ideas.

    Thanks for reading again! Today's post isn't as long - but I still appreciate you reading! So today I'm offering a dinosaur:
  5. Wednesday LCM workout

    I went to the 5:30 AGUA workout this morning. Hereís what we did:

    500 lcm warmup

    6 x 50 FR (25 overkick, 25 dps) @ 1:00

    6 x 50 ST (IM order twice thru, 25 fast, 25 easy) @ 1:10

    1 x 300 pull
    2 x 200 pull
    3 x 100 pull

    1 x 200 kick w/ fins flutter
    2 x 100 kick w fins dolphin
    4 x 50 kick w/o fins breaststroke

    1 x 300 FL/FR/BK/FR/BR/FR
    2 x 200 IM
    3 x 100 choice

    200 warmdown

    Yesterday I went to the Y and did weights, and also got in a mini swim workout. Hereís what I did:

    800 scy warmup

    8 x 25 kick, odds very fast UDK, evens easy

    16 x 25 swim, odds very fast IM order, evens easy

    400 warmdown

    I entered the Colonies Zones meetóI decided to swim just 6 events (50/100 BK, 50/100 BR, 50 FR, 200 IM). I had thought about adding the 4IM and maybe a 200 stroke as well, but Iím excited about having a more focused group of events to concentrate on during the next few weeks of training. Plus, with the first day starting at noon, Iím guessing I'll end up swimming 5 or even all 6 of my events within 24 hours, and will be glad I haven't committed myself to more.


    Iím also looking at open water races in September and possibly on through the fall. Iíve always been bummed that LC season and OW season are at the same timeótheyíre my 2 favorite modes of swimming, and I always feel like Iím missing out on one by focusing on the other. This summer Iíve mainly done LC meetsóIíve only been out open water swimming once (although I do have a 2-mile race coming up this weekend). But once summer is over, Iíll be able to swim with the CIBBOWS group on weekends for as long as I want. They have a race at Coney Island on November 6th, and it would be really cool to swim that. So Iím toying with the idea of extending my open-water season through the fall as long as possible. Itís been a while since Iíve acclimated myself to cold water, but I know it can be done.
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  6. New Forum Pic + Swim Across America + What now?!

    Well - it seemed like a really good idea at the time and for once - it was!

    Swim Across America - a late night of softball (missed my party because it ran so late) where I tore up my left knee and leg sliding into home, followed by a drive to chicago where I slept for a few hours, and was up at 5:20 AM and down at Navy Pier by 5:40 AM.

    I actually got some really cool pics of the harbor that morning. You can check them out at my Picasa Web Gallery. I'll be adding more as I get the hi-res versions available. All the pictures taken early in the morning were taken with my phone though. I like how they turned out!

    The swim went decently! I learned a lot of neat things on Saturday as a result.
    Lesson 1: I LOVE wetsuits! I rented my $5 wetsuit, put it on and immediately took a walk in the water - I was incredibly buoyant! Each step my legs felt lighter and lighter as the suit made picking my feet out of the water easier and easier! During the swim - this would help fix my body position and put me in a great place to just coast my way through the middle half mile.
    Lesson 2: Drafing ROCKS! Getting in the water - I had no idea how the swim was going to go. So I immediately started in the back of the pack. When you have 15 people swimming in front of you and dragging you along for the first (roughly) 1/4 mile... it's AMAZING. I was putting in virtually no effort, and just swimming along. Before too long, I was passing people left and right and I think I found myself towards the front of the pack when it came to miler swimmers.
    Lesson 3: Those wet suits are very VERY tight. Seriously, I got out of the water tired, disoriented, dizzy, and feeling drunk - sans the fun of having drank. Within a minute of me finally pulling the zipper open on the back of my suit - my chest opened up a LOT and suddenly oxygen was rushing through my body. It was kind of a cool feeling! Although - pulling the plants off my head and body was rather annoying in my disoriented state. I remember having a conversation with Coach Catie as I tried to walk inland:
    Me: Did I win?
    Catie: Good job Mike!
    Me: Yeah but did I win? (trying to stand without falling)
    Catie: Sure Mike, you won..... Are you okay?
    Me: (Stumbling past Catie) Yeah I think so...
    It took me about 5-6 minutes to regain my footing, and once I was able to breath and on dry land I was in much better shape. Speaking of being in better shape - that new forum/profile pic I have posted is actually my taken right after I got out of the water - hence why I look like I feel like I'm going to die.

    So I've decided I'm not a huge open water fan. I might do Big Shoulders just so I have competition to swim for in September. I'm kind of undecided about it all. I'm not a huge OW fan to start. Things like plant life, choppy water, weather.... those things aren't really my most favorite things in the world.

    That leads me to the most important topic: What now?!
    Some important things to know: 1) Our season ends August 1st. Next season doesn't start up until August 12th(ish). I am NOT taking 12 (or more) days off. If anything - I need to ramp up my swimming even more. SCY season is going to be here and I need to be able to destroy my times from last year!!!!

    So I'm going to shift my training to Lake Forest High School pool. The resident annual pass is $260, so I may just buck that out. That'll get me through next summer of doing up to 6 days a week of swimming (and even 2/days!!!) Since my masters team doesn't practice nearly enough for my liking. I'll probably see if I can pull some of my teammates in with me.

    As far as dry land goes: I'm going to talk to my trainer tonight. I'm thinking I should adjust my training to be far more plyometric in nature. I want to be able to build my sprints as much as possible this year - so by building those fast twitch muscles - I'm hoping to finally build up the ability to sprint (rather than whatever it is you say I do).

    I'm also not going to be doing the extra sports from now on. I've kind of made the decision for now I just want to focus on swimming and only swimming. Basketball has been fun, as well as softball - but they get in the way of my dryland and swimming workouts - and that drives me NUTS!

    Wow - that was a novel of a post! If you made it this far thank you! You win a cookie:
  7. O give me lane, lots of lane, under starry skies above . . .

    This morning I went to early LC workout at Asphalt Green. Hereís what we did:

    400 LCM warmup + bobbing and sinking

    600 reverse-order IM, 100 Swim + 50 Kick of each stroke

    8 x 50 drill: 2 fist, 4 tap drill, 2 dps

    2 Ĺ times through
    300 IM (50 FL, 100 BK, 50 BR, 100 FR)
    3 x 50 kick (1st round FL, 2nd round BR, 3rd round would have been BK if weíd gotten that far)
    3 x 50 easy FR, decreasing # of breaths by 2 on each successive 50

    100 warmdown

    Sometimes the numbers of swimmers in each lane at these workouts works out strangely. Today, there were 8 or 9 swimmers in each of the 2 fastest lanes, and just 2 or 3 in each of the other 2. By speed I would usually swim in the next-to-fastest lane, but today the range of speeds in that lane made efficient clumping unlikely (if the rest of the swimmers stay on each othersí feet, as they often do, I figure it really doesnít matter whether Iím sharing a lane with 2 or 12 others, as long as I make sure Iím not in the middle of the clumping).

    So I scooted over to one of the slower lanes and swam the workout there. That was fine for the drillsóIím a pretty slow drilleróbut on the IMs I was way too fast for the interval. So I compensated by doing double turns at each wall, and doing the vertical-axis strokes as 50 swim/50 kick. If Iíd stayed in my original lane, I would have gotten in more yardage, but this way I got in some additional turn and kick work. Itís a trade-off Iím happy to make.

    Sometimes I do wish teammates were less married to their usual lanes (not to mention their particular position within lanes), but it seems like itís been that way on every masters team Iíve ever swum with. When I coached, one of the least pleasant parts of the job was trying to even out overcrowded lanesóthere were always certain people you knew would have their feelings hurt or be in a snit for the rest of workout if you asked them to move down from ďtheirĒ lane, and who even preferred swimming 7 or 8 in a scy lane to switching. Iím usually happier moving to wherever I can find good space to swim, and luckily in a lcm setup thereís usually somewhere that fits that description. Plus, I get to chat with swimmers I know less well, which is always fun.

    This Sunday Iím headed out to the Wilton Summer Sizzler LCM meet and bbq. Iím signed up for 100 FR, 400 FR, 200 IM, 50 FL, and 50 FR. Iím swimming the 400 free just for the sake of doing all the events (minus the 1500) this summeróI predict that I will negative split it. The other event I donít even have any predictions for, but I know it will be a fun dayóit will be my first pool swim outdoors this season, and the Wilton folks always put on a fabulous event!

    Good luck to everyone doing the Charlottesville swim this weekend! Stay cool and swim fast!
  8. Meet Prep for the IndySwimFit

    I'm currently stuck in training at work. Its about how to run some monitoring application. Honestly - my efforts are better spent in about 50,000 different places, but I'm stuck here for the rest of the week. I'm going to do some prep for this weekends meet.

    I will be swimming the following races:
    • 50 Back
    • 100 Back
    • 50 Free
    • 50 Breast
    • 100 free


    I also did some reading, and it appears I can sign up for at 1 relay. I know I'm going to be completely cashed by this point, but I'm totally signing up for another relay at this meet. I loved swimming it last weekend. It was fun meeting the new people as I swam it as well!

    Goals
    50 Back
    I'd like to go at least a 50 in the 50 back this time. I did a 53 last weekend, and I think this time I'm going to be a little better prepared mentally for the race. I've also increased my backstroke during the week and kick to help push myself down the lane.
    100 Back
    I'm hoping I survive. No kidding. It's going to be a long race - and I'll swim it as hard as I can, but we'll have to see. I'm also hoping to have a good flip turn followed by a strong dolphin kick. I'm aiming for the flags off the wall!
    50 Free
    I'm working on my sprints this week. I'm hoping to be able to make it to the 49 meter mark before I'm totally starting to cash out this time! So that means I need to dolphin off the dive and extend my dive for a little longer than I did last weekend. I swam a 33ish in 50 SCY, and a 39 last week. With some improvements in form that I'm working on I think I can speed things up significantly. My goal is going to remain 35 (as last week)
    50 Breast
    Survive again. It would be nice to finish my 50 Breast in under a minute. Its my weakest stroke mostly because my kick is essentially useless. I'm working on it, I just need time and experience I think. However - specifically - I'm going to make sure that each lunge forward with my arms helps propel my body forward.
    100 free
    I'd like to see no goggle problems this time, a strong dolphin kick off the wall and pacing it right. Again - with some strong improvements in form that i'm working on - I think I can speed this up significantly by this race. Goal: 1:25

    My goal for every race
    Push through the O2 deprivation. I'll have at LEAST 2-3 minutes to catch my breath after every race - so O2 debt is not going to be a major concern. I can catch my breath later!

    Nutritionally - I'm going to play it a little differently. Last meet I did not come prepared to consume enough fast acting carbs so I felt that my recovery was not nearly as fast as it should have been. So this time - I'm going to prepare again with a healthy balanced breakfast around 6 AM. Warm up around 8 AM, have a banana around 9 AM, and be ready to destroy my old record (hahaha only record) at 9:30-9:45 when the 50 back comes up.

    So I'm ready... going to train on my own tonight, practice tomorrow night, and I get on a train at 2:20 Friday to head to Chicago to catch the 5 PM to Indy from Chicago. I might even lift Friday morning before work. We'll see if I can sleep after practice.
  9. Rowing + Summer meet planning

    Today I went over to the Y to try a rowing workout with Mr. Addict. Everything felt good, and hereís what we did:

    6-minute warmup
    3-minute easy/rest
    4-minute piece [2:25.8 avg. pace]
    3-minute easy/rest
    4-minute piece [2:19.5]
    3-minute easy/rest
    4-minute piece [2:16.5]
    3-minute easy/rest
    4-minute piece [2:14.2]
    3-minute easy/rest
    1-minute piece [2:04.4]
    3-minute easy/rest
    2-minute piece [2:21.1]
    3-minute easy/rest
    1-minute piece [2:01.4]
    3-minute easy/rest

    I started out pretty easy then descended, and things felt good and fairly comfortable the whole way. I was pretty happy with my times on the 4s, especially considering that it was 7 @ 2:16 pace that made me want to cry a couple of weeks ago. Today that pace felt relatively easy, although I was only holding it for 4 minutes rather than 7. I gave myself a get-out time on the first 1-minute piece of 2:05 and beat it, but ended up feeling guilty going easy on the following 2-minute piece while Mr. Addict was still working hard, so I cranked it up again for that last 1-minute row at the end.

    Iíve also been working on my summer swimming and travel plans this weekend. One thing Iím really excited about is the NE LCM champs in Middlebury, VT in a couple of weeks. Iíve really wanted to go to this meet for the last couple of summers, but other plans have gotten in the way. When I scheduled my surgery for early June, I thought it would nix that meet this year as well. Luckily, my recovery and return to swimming has been way ahead of where I thought it would be, and late registration for the meet doesnít close until this coming Friday, so Iíve decided to go. I donít think PRs will be in the works, but it will be great to spend a weekend up in Vermont swimming a long course meet. Plus, thereís a clinic by Bill Boomer leading into the meet that should be very interesting.

    At Middlebury I plan to swim longer stuff and off events (probably 200s of all four strokes, and an 800 FR and 400 IM), because I havenít been sprinting at all and donít have enough time between now and then get things sharp enough to swim shorter events well. One plus to doing this is that it gives me a shot at swimming all the LC events this summer (or at least all except for the 1500óalthough this meet allows you to swim both of the distance frees on the first day, Iím sticking with just one. And Iím not sure Iíll want to swim a 1500 later on in the season, even if I get an opportunity to. In fact Iím pretty sure I wonít.]

    So, here is my tentative meet and OWS schedule for this summer. Events in parentheses are iffy:

    Friday June 25 Ė Sunday June 27: NE LCM Championships at Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT [preceded by Bill Boomer swim clinic on Thursday and Friday]

    Sunday July 11: Wilton LCM meet, Wilton, CT [BBQ after]

    Sunday August 1: Governors Island 2M OWS [This is probably my favorite of the NYSwimís summer series. It will be followed by a 10K Pro swim, along part of the same course.]

    (Saturday August 7: NY Aquarium 1M Swim [Thereís also a 5K swim, but 1 mile will be plenty for me.])

    (Sunday August 8: Jason Nessel Memorial LCM meet, Rahway, NJ)

    Saturday August 21 Ė Sunday August 22: Colonies Zone LCM Championships at College Park, MD

    Sunday September 5: John Daly 1M Ocean Swim, Long Beach, Long Island [The traditional season-ending OW swim in these parts.]

    We also have a couple of trips planned, to Lake Placid and to Victoria BC (both very easy places to get in swim workouts), so it will be a busy summer! I was toying with the idea of doing a rowing camp weekend this summer, in order to learn on-water rowing, but that will have to wait for fall, or another season altogether. I figure I should do all the LC swimming I can while I have the opportunity!
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