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Y Champs + 50 free

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I swam in the Allegheny Mountain Y Champs at the Spire Institute recently, which is sanctioned for USMS. It was a mix of swimming frustration and fun with friends. I swam 7 events (that's the max) and DNF'd one. Each day, my events were all within 1.5 hours, which is no sprinter's dream. It went like this:


25 back, 13.5

This was a disaster. I didn't see the backstroke flags at all and crashed into the wall with my left elbow. I knew the crash was coming, but felt blind. My teammate in the same heat didn't see the wall either, and had a similar crash. This has never happened to me before ... Weird.


50 free, DNF

Well, the first length felt great, had a great start. But I misjudged the wall on the double bulkhead. I only got a toe on the wall and came to a complete dead stop. Since I had the 50 breast 20 minutes later, I just hopped out.


50 breast, 34.5

I was in a lovely mood at this point after a rough start to the meet. Wasn't dying to do this event as my breast has felt off and I went a sloth like 36 a few months ago. But the team needed points, so I got on the block and swam through it. I had a great start, but my breakouts were horrible. I got stuck underwater both lengths. I think I'm used to pushing off deep for SDKs. But perhaps need to go less deep or pull up more emphatically on the pull down for breast. Bill thought I would easily have been a 33 with better pullouts. This was at least an improvement.


25 fly, 12.6

Fourth event of the day, good enough. I didn't seem to mess up anything crucial on this one.


Next day ...


50 fly, 28.00

That .01 makes a difference, doesn't it? I blew at least .5 on the turn, maybe more, gliding in a huge amount. My stroke and kick counts aren't the same as they were pre-surgeries. The last few strokes felt really hard.


50 back, 29.2

Seems pretty mediocre for me. I spent most of the race worrying about the backstroke flags. I think this is contra-indicated to swim a good race.


25 breast, 15.5

Fine.


All in all, I was less than thrilled with this meet. I understand all the technical miscues from racing rust. That part could improve. And I know it is still very early days in my swim recovery/post-surgeries comeback. But it is not all that fun to feel like you are literally staggering to the wall or about to DQ in a race. And the bottom line is that I doubt that issue will ever change. Closed veins are closed veins. I'm not sure, even if I continue to build collaterals, that they are a real substitute for your actual subclavian and axillary veins.

BUT, I was unhappy with DNf-ing my 50 free. So, being the stubborn person that I am, I went to a meet at OSU the next weekend just to swim that one event so that at least I would have completed all four 50s this SCY season. (Note: I had to google the name of the meet to enter; It didn't come up in the calendar at first search. WTH with this new website.) I had been having suffering from insomnia for a bit (prolly a result of tapering and 23 & me says I'm a "light sleeper"), so felt tired. However, I managed to execute a very good flip turn on the double bulkhead wall. I got bogged down on the breakout of my Lochte turn, same as the Albatross meet. I probably need to modify or eliminate that turn now ... But moving my arms the last half length proved difficult and I went a 26.7, which ties my masters personal worst. Sure, I am older and have had a rough couple years. But it is still a lot slower than I have been since my very first masters meet.

Anyhoo, I did not sign up for nationals after the Spire meet. I am clearly not ready for prime time just based on racing rust and technical miscues. My times are, however momentarily, at the top of my 55-59 age group. I'm sure several will be knocked down at nationals. Super sick of tapering, I have been on the treadmill for 10 miles the last 2 days. I'm going to keep swimming, but I am not going to have a laser focus on sprinting that I have had the last month or so. Some aerobic work may actually help with re-vascularization. So I will swim and cross train the next couple months and then, poof, I am in Europe where I will not swim for 2.5 weeks. I'll re-evaluate meets in the fall. But right now, they don't feel fun. And shouldn't they at least be fun? Perhaps I am too much of a perfectionist to have fun. All I know is that swimming is difficult, at the moment. I thought that making a comeback would at least be an interesting anecdote to the inevitable decline of aging. But if a comeback is necessarily physically limited and so frustrating, is the comeback worth it? Philosophy question somewhat dependent on personality, I think.

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Updated April 17th, 2018 at 09:15 AM by The Fortress

Categories
Masters Swim Meets / Events

Comments

  1. quicksilver's Avatar
    As frustrating as it may have been - stuff happens. Getting rusty is inevitable when we don't race. It sounds as if you encountered both scenarios simultaneously unfortunately. Those are some respectable times tho, especially from what you've been through.

    I had encountered a similar reality check at my first meet in five years as well. Rather than feeling too discouraged, the experience offered some insights on what needs to be fined tuned. Am I happy with the TT standings? - yes, sort of. But did it feel good leaving the starting block like a tree sloth? No. Lol ...At the end of the day, attending handful of meets each year gives some purpose to keeping a routine, and leading a healthy and active lifestyle. The fun is a by-product of the competition experience that happens when you least expect it.

    One step at a time. If victories came easy - there wouldn't be any reward -and little or no motivation to make improvements. Preaching to the choir here...so I'll stop. I predict that you'll be back, and that you'll be doing it with ease.
  2. The Fortress's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by quicksilver
    At the end of the day, attending handful of meets each year gives some purpose to keeping a routine, and leading a healthy and active lifestyle. The fun is a by-product of the competition experience that happens when you least expect it.

    One step at a time. If victories came easy - there wouldn't be any reward -and little or no motivation to make improvements. Preaching to the choir here...so I'll stop. I predict that you'll be back, and that you'll be doing it with ease.
    Thanks Val. This is all quite true, and everything must be kept in perspective. It is somewhat tempting to run off and re-invent myself (as I did when I became a masters swimmer). But I find that my ties to the masters swim community are now pretty deep and compelling.
  3. jim thornton's Avatar
    So sorry for the psychological struggle. I agree with everything that Quicksilver posted. Triumph can be defined in many ways, but it almost always features adversity. I am going to do some research on how the body is triggered into forming collateral vessels. It seems to me that weight lifting remodels the heart by thickening the wall chambers so they can better withstand the huge elevation of blood pressure during dead lifts, etc. Aerobic exercise doesn't thicken walls so much as expand the interior volume so that you can pump more blood with each beat. My instinct tells me that the latter would also be more likely to promote collateral vessels, but this is just an educated guess. I will let you know if I find anything from coming the research literature!
  4. The Fortress's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jim thornton
    So sorry for the psychological struggle. I agree with everything that Quicksilver posted. Triumph can be defined in many ways, but it almost always features adversity. I am going to do some research on how the body is triggered into forming collateral vessels. It seems to me that weight lifting remodels the heart by thickening the wall chambers so they can better withstand the huge elevation of blood pressure during dead lifts, etc. Aerobic exercise doesn't thicken walls so much as expand the interior volume so that you can pump more blood with each beat. My instinct tells me that the latter would also be more likely to promote collateral vessels, but this is just an educated guess. I will let you know if I find anything from coming the research literature!
    Thanks Jim. I've tried researching. There doesn't seem to be much out there. I am going to take a pause from adversity for awhile -- long course would be a disaster! Perhaps I'll aim for the Sprint Classic next fall.
  5. Kenny100's Avatar
    Awesome times Fort. I am struggling with my 50 Backstroke. Any day I can get below 40 secs is good for me. I must keep working on the breakout phase and quit doing small S turns down the lane. It just is what it is.
  6. The Fortress's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kenny100
    Awesome times Fort. I am struggling with my 50 Backstroke. Any day I can get below 40 secs is good for me. I must keep working on the breakout phase and quit doing small S turns down the lane. It just is what it is.
    Thanks Kenny. I guess our bodies ability just changes over time, sometimes involuntarily. Breakouts can be hard. Practice from the blocks!