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100 IM (SCM)

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My first event at next Sunday’s meet is the 100 SCM IM. Here is how I want to swim it and what I want to achieve.

Masters/Lifetime best: 1:13.92 (33.91, 40.01) (2001)
40-44 AG best: 1:16.43 (35.10, 41.33) (6/19/08)
Most recent time: 1:18.30 (36.40, 41.90) (5/3/09)
Relative strength of strokes: Last spring my best 100 yards times for each stroke (in IM order) was 1:09/1:08/1:17/1:01rs

Comments: That’s a big dropoff in splits for all three of the IM times, especially considering that my BR is decent and my FL not so much. I tend to get myself in trouble on this event by thinking of it as simply 4 x 25 sprints. Wheeee—25s! Unfortunately, by that last 25 I’m all tuckered out, and tend to demonstrate too well why freestyle is also called the crawl.
I’d like to swim a better paced race this time around. I think I should be able to beat my time from earlier this year, and maybe come close to an AG best if I have a good day, but that 2001 time is probably out of reach.

Goals: I would like to swim this in under 1:18. I’d also like my 2nd 50 to be < 5 seconds slower than my first 50 (and <4 seconds would be better still).

Keys: I would like to approach the FL leg of this race with the same attitude that I approach the first 25 of my 100 fly, aiming for easy, relaxed strokes. Thinking about going forward on each stroke is one key that has helped me avoid butterthrashing in the past. On the BK I’d like to focus on establishing my rotation right away and making each stroke powerful by bending my arms more than I usually do on the underwater pull—I’m aiming for bending them about 90 degrees at the elbow, and on IMs especially, for some reason, my natural inclination is to do a stroke that’s straighter-armed than that. On breaststroke, I want power on the pullout and first few strokes, then to focus on increasing my turnover as I get nearer and nearer the wall. In my ideal race, the last 25 would then be swum joyfully and speedily, with a strong kick. I like to count my strokes when I am fatigued on freestyle—it makes me focus on making each stroke strong, and distracts me from whatever distress I might be in—so that’s what I’ll do here. (I generally count just to 8, then start over if need be.) Counting also makes it easier for me to keep my head in a good position (I look at my armpulls rather than up towards the wall) and to avoid breathing those last few strokes into the wall.
So, my keys are:
Easy FL, with momentum forward on each stroke; neat and simple turn w/ good dolphins/breakout; rotation and 90 degree elbow bend on backstroke; power then increased turnover on breaststroke; bring freestyle home with zest, while counting strokes

Mantras: I generally have a sheet listing my keys that I look at before each race, then simplify the most important ones down to a few single words that I plan on thinking to myself during the race. So, for my 100 IM, my mantras are: easy, forward, elbows, power, joy, count!

Today was an off day for me, and I needed it, as my knees and legs were feeling a little beat up from the breaststroke and the starts and turns I have been working this week. Tomorrow I plan to swim easy and to do mostly free and back.

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