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  1. Unremarkable taper workout

    This morning I went to the early AGUA workout. Coach Craig was back from his Worlds/Nats double, and at least one of my teammates who swam in Puerto Rico was back in the waterómaybe more of them will trickle in later this week to get in a workout or two before the pool shuts down next week. It was a nice, mellow workout. Hereís how it went:

    600 lcm warmup

    4 x 150 (25 kick / 50 drill / 75 swim) [I worked IM turns, did rest easy]

    8 x 50 @ 1:10 (odds IM order, evens FL/BK, BK/BR, BR/FR, easy)

    2-3 times thru:
    300 FR @ 5:00
    250 IM @ 5:00
    200 ST @ 5:00
    [During this set I actually did the following:
    Stretching on deck during the first 300 FR
    5 starts from the block with breakouts (I took advantage of the gaps in the lane for theseówith just 5 other swimmers in a lc lane and generous intervals, this worked out well)
    1 x 50 FL @ 200 IM pace
    2 x BK start from the wall (thereís unfortunately a 1-foot bulkhead between the starting blocks and the water, so dive starts over it are doable, but not backstroke starts)
    2 x 12m fast udk
    about 500m of easy swimming in between and after the above]

    Then I got out early, and went to my gym and stretched thoroughly.

    Sometimes during taper Iím torn between practicing with my team or practicing on my own, especially when, like now, Iím one of just a handful of people tapering for a particular meet. (There are 4 swimmers from AGUA signed up for zones, and I was the only one at workout this morning). Itís always a tradeoff between being on your own and doing exactly what you want to do, versus having to adapt sets at a workout but having the support and encouragement of teammates and a coach there. This morning I was really glad to have gone to the group workoutóI was able to get in some start work (something I canít do during lap swim times) and got some good feedback from our coach. I ended up easily getting in all the things I wanted to work on, and felt happy to be in the water with my lanemates even if I wasnít doing exactly the same thing as them. Plus, getting out early at a team practice just feels special!

    Yesterday I tried on various suits in preparation for the meet this weekend. I havenít bought a current-generation technical suitóI donít have much of a hankering for one, in part because Iím just not sure which one to get, in part because I really just donít want to deal with a super-tight suit that I dread putting on and wearing at meets, and partly because I'm just not sure any advantage they'll give over regular suits will justify the cost. So Iíll probably go with one of the knee suits that Iíve owned for a while. The purple-and-pink Asics flowery suit is probably my favorite, but itís gotten a bit stretched out, especially in the top, and probably doesnít give much compression help anymore. I like the way my still-newish navy Tyr fusion suit fits and feels, but it seems very plain by comparison. I have also ordered a whimsically patterned Asian Tyr kneesuit, but thereís only an outside chance that it will get here in time for Zones, and in any case I expect it to be more of a fun suit than a fast one. So Iím still up in the air about which suit Iíll end up competing in.
  2. Toys galore

    This morning I swam the early AGUA workout. August is such a nice peaceful month in the cityóthe pool felt very spacious this morning, with just 4-5 swimmers per lc lane. We had a treat this morningóCoach Frank from Curl-Burke guest coached (our regular coach, Craig, is away with our ďnational teamĒ 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. Hereís 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 keyóI 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. Itís a neat effect.

    Over the weekend I watched U.S. nats on tv. Hereís some thoughts:

    --I wondered what Lochte could go for a 200 BRóthat 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 donít at all like seeing all 8 finalists wearing the same solid black suit. If Speedo can make sparkly emerald green sneakers for Lochte, canít they custom-make some colorful graphic-y suits for their stars? (Or if not custom makeóI think that might run afoul of FINA regs, alasóat 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 womenís 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 itís 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 PlacidóI had even chosen the grassy infield of the Olympic speed-skating oval as my venueóbut 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.

    Hereís what I did yesterday:


    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 Iím glad of that. Iím 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.