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Thread: Returned to the Pool after a 30 Year "break"

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    Participating Member Zwemmer's Avatar
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    Returned to the Pool after a 30 Year "break"

    Hello All:

    This past week found me back in the pool for a coached workout for the first time in 30+ years. I swam high school & college but my college career ended strangely largely due to the fact I had undiagnosed asthma. I didn't find out I had it until 15 years after I hung up my suit.

    So I stayed away from swimming for some reasons that don't make a lot of sense anymore. A month or so ago I went to a local pool & swam a bit. I found out I really missed it. A lot.

    So just over a week ago I found our local USMS club, joined, and this week just past swam my first four workouts in decades.

    I really love it!

    I would enjoy hearing from others who took a long or longer break from swimming & returned. What's was it like to get back in the pool after so long? How is it for you now?

    Thanks!

    --Zwemmer (simply Dutch for "swimmer"), also known as Benjamin.

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    Re: Returned to the Pool after a 30 Year "break"

    Hey there! I just returned to the pool again, after a 4 year "taper". This following a 30 year taper before that. In my prior life, I was a mere teen, swimming AAU and USA age group swimming for 9 years. So, at age 25, I found a Masters Program down in Irvine that I joined and worked out at UCLA, where I also worked. As a youngster, I did pretty well, competing against former college swimmers who were still oh so fast! But our mixed relay did set a record! That was back in 1983, the beginnings of USMS. We then moved to Texas, grew a family, and 30 years later, having moved back to the Bay Area, I decided to try Masters again. Found a great team with an even greater coach who has the patience of Job!!!! I worked out and competed with them for a couple years and had such a great time! It's too easy to let other things get in the way, like earning money, and in the Bay Area with no indoor facilities, you go on a winter break so that broke my momentum, and didn't go back.... then we moved again. So here I am, in the Pacific NW and indoor pools, and no more excuses! Joined up, and had my first workout in 4 years! (Another taper, right?). I'm sitting here typing this wondering if I can even stand up. Swam 1,000 yards, which may have been overkill, even tho I did it 50 yards at a time. Hahaha! So here we go! I'm looking forward to connecting with a team, and the cameraderie it brings. I've aged up again, and am allowed a wee bit slower times to feel successful! This is a great thing! Being in the water finds me sometimes just zoning out, not thinking much about anything, which is very refreshing, and sometimes exploring all sorts of opinions within each lap. It's SO bad for my hair.... but SO good for my mental where-with-all! AND my weight, too, hopefully! Cheers to you! Welcome back to the chlorine, and the fun!

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    Re: Returned to the Pool after a 30 Year "break"

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruinswim View Post
    Hey there! I just returned to the pool again, after a 4 year "taper". This following a 30 year taper before that. In my prior life, I was a mere teen, swimming AAU and USA age group swimming for 9 years. So, at age 25, I found a Masters Program down in Irvine that I joined and worked out at UCLA, where I also worked. As a youngster, I did pretty well, competing against former college swimmers who were still oh so fast! But our mixed relay did set a record! That was back in 1983, the beginnings of USMS. We then moved to Texas, grew a family, and 30 years later, having moved back to the Bay Area, I decided to try Masters again. Found a great team with an even greater coach who has the patience of Job!!!! I worked out and competed with them for a couple years and had such a great time! It's too easy to let other things get in the way, like earning money, and in the Bay Area with no indoor facilities, you go on a winter break so that broke my momentum, and didn't go back.... then we moved again. So here I am, in the Pacific NW and indoor pools, and no more excuses! Joined up, and had my first workout in 4 years! (Another taper, right?). I'm sitting here typing this wondering if I can even stand up. Swam 1,000 yards, which may have been overkill, even tho I did it 50 yards at a time. Hahaha! So here we go! I'm looking forward to connecting with a team, and the cameraderie it brings. I've aged up again, and am allowed a wee bit slower times to feel successful! This is a great thing! Being in the water finds me sometimes just zoning out, not thinking much about anything, which is very refreshing, and sometimes exploring all sorts of opinions within each lap. It's SO bad for my hair.... but SO good for my mental where-with-all! AND my weight, too, hopefully! Cheers to you! Welcome back to the chlorine, and the fun!
    Well, I did two breaks. I retired from competitive swimming after 2 years of community college. I was an average swimmer B and A times of the 1970's. I started to work out a 1,000 week in 1999 and up to 5,000 to 8,000 a week in 2,001 to 2005 and swim about 4 to 5 masters means during that time period. Then from 2,006 to 2010 about 1,000 to 3,000 a week. Stopped in 2011 to 2016 and workout from 3,000 to 5,000 yards a week with some fast swims. Went to Tucson senior Olympics in 2017 and 2018. Swam 50 yard breast and 100 yard breast in 2017. 200 Im, 100 yard breast and 400 yard free in 2018. My best 50 yard breast as a kid was probably around 35.8 since I once swam a 100 yard breast in 1:16.1.As a 45 yard old I did 42.8 in a 50 yard breast and as a 59 year old 51.21. As a 45 year old 100 yard breast 1:34.1. As a 59 year old 1:48.5 and a 60 yard old 100 breast a 1:50.3. The body ages and if you don't keep it up on a regular basis you tend to lose a lot of speed. After I think women coming back after 40 is somewhat different than the men. As far as slowing down. People live Laurie Val reentered in their 30's and were able to maintain their youthful speed more.

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    Participating Member Zwemmer's Avatar
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    Re: Returned to the Pool after a 30 Year "break"

    Bruinswim, thank you for a great story! And all the good feeling & positive inspiration. I really appreciate it.
    I lived in the Bay Area for years but since I wasn't swimming I'd no idea about the relative lack of indoor facilities. I'm glad you're now in a swimming-supportive area. Our local team here, Palmetto Masters, is already a lot of fun & definitely the camaraderie is a huge plus.

    I love it about your recent return to the water & wondering if you "can even stand up." I can relate! I knew after my first workout it would not be the day after but the day after the day after that would be "interesting" And it was! That third workout was hilarious for me. Just fine for the first 25 of a 100 by by the 75 I was moving quite slowly and on the last length wondering if I could keep my arms rotating. Seems I need to build up some oxygen carrying capacity again.

    I'm glad I timed things for four workouts after 30+ years then a three day long weekend to recover. Yay!
    Last edited by Zwemmer; September 2nd, 2018 at 04:27 PM.

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    Participating Member Zwemmer's Avatar
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    Re: Returned to the Pool after a 30 Year "break"

    cinc3100, Thank you for your story, too. And especially the account of distance and times. Sounds like you're doing really well. I need to go see if i have my old swim records someplace. I think my best SCY 100BR was 57.3 or something like that in the early 80's. I'm surprised I don't remember!

    It's too early to tell what kind of speed I might still have. I kept in shape over the years but not in the water. I did find myself sprinting a 50 at the end of Friday's workout & it was a 30 or 31 push-off to touch so I will use that as some kind of benchmark and see what happens.

    I really appreciate your and Bruinswim's replies. I feel much more at home.

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    Re: Returned to the Pool after a 30 Year "break"

    Hi Zwemmer:
    I also took a 30-year break. I swam AAU in Northern California, consisting of high-yardage workouts (about 9 per week or so). I was an ok swimmer, but never great. I swam at my local junior college for two years, & that was that. I was so burned out & had no idea why I was even swimming, other than because I had been doing so since age eight. I literally did not touch a pool for years afterward. The look of a pool, the smell of it; it all turned me off.
    Well, for some reason, I still have no idea why, I decided at age 50 to take another look at swimming. I thought for fitness it might be a good idea. I did not gain weight & did maintain a pretty high fitness level thru my life. I guess I was looking for an alternate form of exercise away from the gym (which I was getting pretty tired of).
    I swam on my own in a local 25-meter 86-degree pool during lap swim hours. There were no lane lines & 'fast' & 'slow' lanes were anyone's guess. That didn't really matter initially, because I started out by doing 25's & resting at every wall. I could stand it for about 1/2 an hour or so. Sounds kind of depressing, right? Only I didn't think so- I was so excited by the whole experience that I couldn't wait to do it again, & bought a multi-swim pass.
    I kept that up for a year & was happy with my progression in endurance & technique. I thought it was time to join Masters.
    Four years later, I am happily ensconced with a team full of really nice people of all backgrounds & abilities. I love the workouts & am continually challenged. I do swim on my own several times a month, but can't wait to get back with my swimming buddies. My teammates challenge me more than I ever could on my own.
    This experience is so much better the second time around. It is my form of meditation & keeps me on the right track, both mentally & physically....

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    Participating Member Zwemmer's Avatar
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    Re: Returned to the Pool after a 30 Year "break"

    Hello imbacktoit:

    Thank you for your reply. We have much in common it seems.

    Quote Originally Posted by imbacktoit View Post
    Hi Zwemmer:
    ... I was so burned out & had no idea why I was even swimming, other than because I had been doing so since age eight.
    Aye, after my college days began to end because of not knowing why I was literally dying in the pool I was definitely burned out.

    I literally did not touch a pool for years afterward. The look of a pool, the smell of it; it all turned me off.
    Yes, I know from a therapist acquaintance that I likely had some kind of PTSD and had the same reaction to any kind of pool or chlorine smell.

    ....I did not gain weight & did maintain a pretty high fitness level thru my life. I guess I was looking for an alternate form of exercise away from the gym (which I was getting pretty tired of).
    I burned out of the gym, too, though managed to stay in good shape from walking, yoga, and generally being someone that doesn't like to sit still for long.

    I swam on my own in a local 25-meter 86-degree pool during lap swim hours. There were no lane lines & 'fast' & 'slow' lanes were anyone's guess. That didn't really matter initially, because I started out by doing 25's & resting at every wall. I could stand it for about 1/2 an hour or so.
    Same here! A few months ago I went to our community "lap pool" and found the same situation though the water was more like 90. I felt most days like I should bring shower gel at least. I swam probably about 500 yards the first day, 25 at a time, and despite the water temp and people barely moving in whatever lane they happened to be in, I felt really good being in the water again.

    Sounds kind of depressing, right? Only I didn't think so- I was so excited by the whole experience that I couldn't wait to do it again, & bought a multi-swim pass.
    Not depressing at all! Sounds like me, excited despite the circumstances. And in my case I went and found a local USMS team instead of trying to navigate the community pool which for reasons I won't get into was about to get much worse. (And it hear it has.)

    Sounds like we're in a similar place, having found the pool & people that make up something to relate to, to be a part of, and to experience as overall happiness. Thanks for your story!

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    Re: Returned to the Pool after a 30 Year "break"

    Hi Zwemmer!

    Due to bullying and untreated MH issues I took a "break" from swimming and most other athletic activities starting when I was an early teen. I didn't really even try being more active again til I started biking to school in college, and picked up hockey when I was twenty. In 2010 I had to leave school due to more MH exacerbation (panic disorder) and got sidelined from *everything*. After much hard work to get to even leave my porch, I found job(s), picked up hockey again, started going to the gym (I work at one - woo free pool access) and in the past couple of years have decided what the hell, I'm going to try - or re-try - all those fun things I wanted to do before but couldn't as a kid. Back to hockey (a goalie now), softball, the gym, horseback riding, and of course, the pool. The story is that my mom went swimming the day I was born, and then a big thunderstorm swept in that night, so I guess the water is just my destiny. I had to work my way up to doing 500yds in one stretch but for the last few years I've been sort of aimless and just working on distance without any plan for increasing speed and power. I think right now if I worked very, very hard in a few weeks I could shave my 50m free to 0:45. Maybe. We'll go for under 50 seconds. At one time, I was pretty fast, for whatever that's worth at 12. Personally I'm a little scared to hop in with a masters' team - most of the ones near me are based at colleges, full of svelte and speedy folks. D: I wish there was a masters' practice at one of the gym pools, and I think there was, but not anymore?

    Glad you came back to the sport, and good luck on your swimming journey

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    Re: Returned to the Pool after a 30 Year "break"

    I have been swimming since December of 2017, after taking a swim for fitness class 30 years ago in college. I am up to a daily 3/4 mile -1 mile workouts abd have swam a mile and a mile 1/2 without stopping and one two miles session, with a break. I am completely loving swimming as my main form of working out! I started with 10 laps....

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    Participating Member Zwemmer's Avatar
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    Re: Returned to the Pool after a 30 Year "break"

    Hello swim_badger:

    Thanks for your story. I appreciate all you've had to go through. I also wish you the best of luck and fortune and am happy you're involved in so many activities & swimming as well. I can relate to the MH issues. I had and have some myself. I an also relate to the water as destiny idea. It seems to be my element in more ways than I understand right now.

    My local masters team, Palmetto Masters, is really diverse in terms of age, swimming ability, and workout possibilities. I feel fortunate to have found them. Everyone from just out of college to people in their 80's and all having a good time. I decided to count number of workouts and not log yardage, at least not yet, and today, my 5th workout in all these years, I'm pretty sure I swam 1,500+ yards. The contrast between my rapidly returning feel for the water and my need to build muscle and oxygen carrying capacity is just funny to me where as years ago it would have been overwhelmingly frustrating. Progress!

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    Re: Returned to the Pool after a 30 Year "break"

    After 34 years away from the pool, I returned back to swimming on August 1, 2015 at a fitness center. The catalyst was a lap pool at a hotel that my wife picked out for our honeymoon in Las Vegas a few weeks earlier. It felt good...my eyes didn't. We could only go 500 yards at first but added 100 yards each time we worked out. The following year I joined a Masters team where a college teammate was also on the team. It has been sheer fun since I got back into the pool. I have the luxury of getting LCM and SCY training at the pool that the team uses and dryland training at my fitness center, which also serves as my backup pool for workouts on my own.

    I was never burned out. Life happened. The big thing that swimming does for me is that it helps to calm my PTSD. It is my aqua therapy. I have been re-addicted to swimming.

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    Re: Returned to the Pool after a 30 Year "break"

    Quote Originally Posted by Evhisbeast View Post
    I have been swimming since December of 2017, after taking a swim for fitness class 30 years ago in college. I am up to a daily 3/4 mile -1 mile workouts abd have swam a mile and a mile 1/2 without stopping and one two miles session, with a break. I am completely loving swimming as my main form of working out! I started with 10 laps....
    Hello Evhisbeast:
    Thanks for your story. I'm continually impressed with how many people get so much out of the water & for so many reasons. I don't think there is anything quite like swimming for working out & also being pretty kind to the body.

    I'm not sure I could swim a continuous mile without stopping but if I did I'd be going reeeeeeallllly slow the last half.

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    Re: Returned to the Pool after a 30 Year "break"

    Quote Originally Posted by smiley92407 View Post
    After 34 years away from the pool, I returned back to swimming on August 1, 2015 at a fitness center. The catalyst was a lap pool at a hotel that my wife picked out for our honeymoon in Las Vegas a few weeks earlier. It felt good...my eyes didn't. We could only go 500 yards at first but added 100 yards each time we worked out. The following year I joined a Masters team where a college teammate was also on the team. It has been sheer fun since I got back into the pool. I have the luxury of getting LCM and SCY training at the pool that the team uses and dryland training at my fitness center, which also serves as my backup pool for workouts on my own.

    I was never burned out. Life happened. The big thing that swimming does for me is that it helps to calm my PTSD. It is my aqua therapy. I have been re-addicted to swimming.
    Smiley92407,
    That is all wonderful! Again I'm amazed author many people measure their "taper" in decades. You have me beat by about 2-4 years.

    "It has been sheer fun since I got back into the pool." YES! I've been smiling my way through every workout. And it sounds like you have a really nice setup, pool-wise. There are nice SCY pools here and they're finally building the first LCM complex in the area. It's going to be wonderful when it opens, hopefully sometime next year.

    Aqua-therapy...I can relate to that, too.

    So glad to hear you're having a happy time of it all. Cheers!

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    Very Active Member Gary P's Avatar
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    Re: Returned to the Pool after a 30 Year "break"

    Welcome back to the sport, Zwemmer! Like you, I swam through some undiagnosed respiratory issues as a youth. I was not a great HS swimmer, but I was pretty good. Not good enough to swim for any major conference college program, but I had some partial scholarship offers from smaller schools. For better or for worse, I chose to go into the Army after High School, instead. That was the start of a 27 year sabbatical from the sport for me.

    At 45, I had my mid-life "fitness crisis." After neglecting my body for 20+ years, I started eating healthier and working out. Not surprisingly, that eventually led me back to the pool, and, soon after, on to USMS. I've been back at it for 4+years, now.

    I kept a blog about my experience. If you want to follow along chronologically, you can follow from the beginning here. It's a few entries before swimming comes into the picture, but, once it does, it's the central theme. If you just want to browse around, you can start at the homepage here. I have to admit, I can get a little long-winded at times. But, if anyone would be at least somewhat interested, it would likely be someone like you who has recently come back to swimming after a long layoff.
    Last edited by Gary P; October 8th, 2018 at 07:15 PM.

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