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Thread: Help with 200 freestyle

  1. #1
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    Help with 200 freestyle

    Hi everyone:
    I just turned 37 years old and I'm going through midlife crisis. Long story short, I just started swimming again last week, and timed myself in the 200 meter free. I came in just under 2:35. When I was a youngster many years ago, I tried the Pentathlon (Shooting, fencing, swimming, equestrian show jumping, running). I quickly excelled in all the disciplines and finished 5th in the US. What kept me from being a contender to make the U.S. team, was my swim. Back then, I swam a 2:31 (after 6 mo practice). In order to be a contender, I'd have to swim about a 2:12. I have no swim coach, but I have all the free time to dedicate myself, and just for my own sake I want to see if I could at some time in my life achieve something close to a 2:12. For all you older swimmers who I admire so much, can you give me some realistic words of encouragement - or a reality check?

  2. #2
    Swimming gives me a buzz! Bobinator's Avatar
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    Re: Help with 200 freestyle

    It's probably your technique. You need to find a good technique coach and go at least 3X per week to them. On your other day or two of swimming you should focus on what the technique coach says.
    Have fun!

  3. #3
    Very Active Member gigi's Avatar
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    Re: Help with 200 freestyle

    Bobinator gives you some good advice - If you're not already doing so, find and start practicing with a team; you'll get good advice from the coach and other participants and you'll push yourself harder than you would on your own (probably).

    If you don't have a team nearby, try checking out some videos to give you some tips on how you can tweak your stroke - GoSwim has a lot on freestyle...check them out

    And frankly, 30-something is a little early for a midlife crisis---you;re still a kid for pete's sake...your goal seems readonable in you if you put your mind to it

    good luck!

  4. #4
    Very Active Member Paul Smith's Avatar
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    Re: Help with 200 freestyle

    Pentathalon is such an incredible event...of course this is coming from a guy who swam, showed horses and competed in shooting events growing up...

    Question...do you currrently have or in the past had coaches for the other disciplines? The reason I ask is that not getting coaching to me is the single biggest challenge you face...don't make the same mistake that so many multisport athletes do and assume that all the swim requires is mileage...technique is everything for a guy with your athletic prowess, you can go back and forth all you want but if its being done incorrectly you'll be wasting valuable energy and not see the improvement you could make.
    I crack myself up. It is jealousy. It is Boredom. I Did not accomplish enough when I was young, and I hate anybody faster/younger than me.

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    Re: Help with 200 freestyle

    Bobinator and Gigi: Thanks to the both of you for giving great advice. Gigi - thank you for your encouragement. I quit the modern pentathlon after my first year, thinking I had no chance of shaving off so much time in the swim portion. Now I realize that a 2:12 is really not all that phenomenal, and with proper training - tenchnique, discipline, and pushing myself, I could make alot of difference off the 2:31 I now swim with really no training. I spent the last couple of hours at the local swim center after reading Bobinator's response. Turns out the new highschool coach there comes from Arizona State and wants to help me. Tomorrow we are starting with him observing my stroke, and he's going to film and critique me. Next week I'm starting with the Masters Program, where I will implement his advice. I'm competing in the 2010 National Championships in the Modern Pentathlon as my first competition back, which will give me time to re-learn my technique in the swim portion. And since I was and still am very strong in the other disciplines, I can focus mostly on m8y swim. Anyway, thanks guys - I appreciate it a lot.

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    Re: Help with 200 freestyle

    Dear Paul:
    Thanks for your post. Yes, yes, and yes...agree with you 100%. I think that was my mistake the first time around. I was the weakest swimmer by a country mile, and I spent all of my ambition, energy and determination on swimming laps. When I finished a disappointing 5th in the Nationals, and only because of a lousy swim, I got discouraged and pursued a more "normal" life so to say (LOL!). I'm going to do exactly what everyone has suggested...re-work my technique and start fresh. I no longer put the same pressure on myself of making the US team, but I sure would like to find out what my personal best "could" be with the right training. To answer your questions, my background in show-jumping got me into the Pentathlon, and I was lucky enough to be invited for extended training sessions at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs for some of the skill sports such as shooting and fencing. But for new pentathletes...the local fencing club or shooting club can help out a lot. Shooting can be practiced at home as 90% of your skill comes thru dry-firing where you "train" your eye. Nowadays, the pentathlon is not only about "making the US team" anymore. USA Pentathlon wants the sport to grow. They now have Masters events or ages 40+, (There was a 59 year old gentleman at this year's Nationals), and we welcome ANYBODY that has an interest - even if they have to sit out an event or two due to lack of experience and/or equipment.
    Anyway, thanks again for your nice post.

  7. #7
    Very Active Member rtodd's Avatar
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    Re: Help with 200 freestyle

    When did you restart swimming? Did you jump in cold and do a 2:35? If so you really should not have a problem getting to 2:12. That 2:35 converts to a 2:19 SCY. That is totally doable. Just practice every day with a team.

    When I "jumped" in like you say, I went 2:58 SCY. Now I go 2:09 SCY after about 3 years of hard training.

    Question: what is the pentathalon swim event(s)?

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    Very Active Member Paul Smith's Avatar
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    Re: Help with 200 freestyle

    Quote Originally Posted by agingpentathlete View Post
    Dear Paul:
    Thanks for your post. Yes, yes, and yes...agree with you 100%. I think that was my mistake the first time around. I was the weakest swimmer by a country mile, and I spent all of my ambition, energy and determination on swimming laps. When I finished a disappointing 5th in the Nationals, and only because of a lousy swim, I got discouraged and pursued a more "normal" life so to say (LOL!). I'm going to do exactly what everyone has suggested...re-work my technique and start fresh. I no longer put the same pressure on myself of making the US team, but I sure would like to find out what my personal best "could" be with the right training. To answer your questions, my background in show-jumping got me into the Pentathlon, and I was lucky enough to be invited for extended training sessions at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs for some of the skill sports such as shooting and fencing. But for new pentathletes...the local fencing club or shooting club can help out a lot. Shooting can be practiced at home as 90% of your skill comes thru dry-firing where you "train" your eye. Nowadays, the pentathlon is not only about "making the US team" anymore. USA Pentathlon wants the sport to grow. They now have Masters events or ages 40+, (There was a 59 year old gentleman at this year's Nationals), and we welcome ANYBODY that has an interest - even if they have to sit out an event or two due to lack of experience and/or equipment.
    Anyway, thanks again for your nice post.
    Side story, a buddy of mine back when I was living in Vail was one of only 2 athletes to shoot a perfect score in Running Boar (at the OTC in practice). it was amzing to watch him train...the breath control, concentration, balance....wild stuff. Also wild to see how "recruited" he became by the CIA, FIB, etc....not a lot of people can make those shots!

    If it wasnt for that running crap I would have been in ths sport many, many years ago!
    I crack myself up. It is jealousy. It is Boredom. I Did not accomplish enough when I was young, and I hate anybody faster/younger than me.

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    Very Active Member jim thornton's Avatar
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    Re: Help with 200 freestyle

    Paul, let's face it. PETA stepped in early during your modern pentathalon career and protested that it's animal cruelty when the rider is bigger than the horse.

    My one bit of advice to give to you, agingpentathlete, is to not go too crazy from the get go.

    You have a long time to get in shape for the 2010 event. I fear that if you start swimming with the masters team next week (good idea) but push yourself to swim the entire practice in the fastest lane (eventually a good idea, but not a good idea without building up to it), you are asking for trouble. Read these threads long enough, and you will find that one of the most recurring topics is injuries, especially shoulder problems.

    Mid-life crisis suggests to me a push to make a radical change, perhaps some kind of wiping-the-slate-clean rebirth, possibly following some sort of traumatic event. You mentioned you now have a lot of free time, which could mean a job loss, or a broken relationship, or a recent release from or incarceration in prison (I understand some of the California prisons have pools.) Whatever your situation, swimming will help you tremendously. But swimming too much too quickly will leave you open to injuries that you can avoid by a steady increase in yards and intensity over a reasonable amount of time (months, not days!)

    One of the best swimmers I ever knew was a pentathlete. I also think that Gary Hall Sr. might have done this at one point in his career, but I am not certain.

    Good luck.

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    Re: Help with 200 freestyle

    Hi Jim:
    Yes, I agree with you about the issue concerning "doing too much too soon". I've been "victim" of such practice many times and the outcome was either burn-out, or injury (mostly in running). Besides wanting to drastically cut my time in the swim, I also want to enjoy every step along the way...and being injured would not really be "enjoyable"

    Reading your post, perhaps I don't have midlife crisis afterall. No radical changes, no wiping-the-slate-clean rebirth, no loss of job or broken relationship. And no, no recent incarceration in prison, LOL!!! Back in 05 after Nationals, I went from being a Real Estate broker (and having all the free time in the world) to becoming a cop in unform with a VERY structured life. After a few years of being a cop, I realized that I personally felt like I was "missing out" on life - on family - on sports - on free time, and on personal goals. Hey - once an athlete, always an athlete, right? I resigned and went back into Real Estate. After attending and watching this year's Modern Pentathlon Nationals and reacquainting myself with the athletes that are still competing, I realized that I still had some fire burning...and the next day I brought out my old bathing suit that looked in pretty sad shape, my scraped up goggles, and nearly drowned myself in the pool, LOL!!! Being very happy in my old career, having new found free time, and being in a VERY, VERY happy and healthy marriage with all the moral support I could ask for, I decided to revisit some long-lost passion in an effort not to make the US team, but to seek a personal best, and rather than "only" keeping a goal in mind, to actually embrace and enjoy the journey along the way. You did make me laugh though .

    Thanks for your input

  11. #11
    Very Active Member Paul Smith's Avatar
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    Re: Help with 200 freestyle

    Quote Originally Posted by agingpentathlete View Post
    Hi Jim:
    Yes, I agree with you about the issue concerning "doing too much too soon". I've been "victim" of such practice many times and the outcome was either burn-out, or injury (mostly in running). Besides wanting to drastically cut my time in the swim, I also want to enjoy every step along the way...and being injured would not really be "enjoyable"

    Reading your post, perhaps I don't have midlife crisis afterall. No radical changes, no wiping-the-slate-clean rebirth, no loss of job or broken relationship. And no, no recent incarceration in prison, LOL!!! Back in 05 after Nationals, I went from being a Real Estate broker (and having all the free time in the world) to becoming a cop in unform with a VERY structured life. After a few years of being a cop, I realized that I personally felt like I was "missing out" on life - on family - on sports - on free time, and on personal goals. Hey - once an athlete, always an athlete, right? I resigned and went back into Real Estate. After attending and watching this year's Modern Pentathlon Nationals and reacquainting myself with the athletes that are still competing, I realized that I still had some fire burning...and the next day I brought out my old bathing suit that looked in pretty sad shape, my scraped up goggles, and nearly drowned myself in the pool, LOL!!! Being very happy in my old career, having new found free time, and being in a VERY, VERY happy and healthy marriage with all the moral support I could ask for, I decided to revisit some long-lost passion in an effort not to make the US team, but to seek a personal best, and rather than "only" keeping a goal in mind, to actually embrace and enjoy the journey along the way. You did make me laugh though .

    Thanks for your input
    Jim is the epitomy of classic Freudian "projection"...the "mid-life crisis" comment should have tipped you off right away!
    I crack myself up. It is jealousy. It is Boredom. I Did not accomplish enough when I was young, and I hate anybody faster/younger than me.

  12. #12
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    Re: Help with 200 freestyle

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