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Thread: Getting Older,Getting Slower

  1. #1
    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Getting Older,Getting Slower

    I just got back from the SPMS meet and I am in a funk. I have talked to several of my contemporaries who share my dysphoria at getting slower. From age 50-62 I slowed down very little. Ages 63 and 64 were one injury or illness after another, but at least there was a cause and I felt I would do better. Age 65 I aged up and for most of the year was healthy. That was a great year,but my times were all significantly slower than at 62. Since then it is very unusual to have one swim that is faster than I did the previous year.At 67(almost 68) I am notably slower than at 65. I have seen the graphs of how times slow with age, intellectually, if I am staying at the same rate of decline as my peers I should accept it, but I don't like it. I know most forumites are much younger and what I am saying may seem like something natural that I should just acknowledge and go on, that is what I thought until I was 63. I know that our having age groups every 5 years is a partial solution to the problem, but there is more difference between a 65 year old and a 68 year old than between a 40 year old and a 50 year old, in my experience. How do the other older swimmers out there cope and have a good attitude? The common saying in Masters Swimming is that "you are only competing against yourself",but my slightly younger self is kicking my butt and I am tired of it.
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
    Allen

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    Very Active Member Swimosaur's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Older,Getting Slower

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Stark View Post
    How do the other older swimmers out there cope and have a good attitude?
    I went to a meet a little over a year ago, did all personal worsts, and it pissed me off. I realized that wasn't a healthy attitude. At 58, I'm not dealing with stuff at an acute level yet, but I've realized I have to start developing a new relationship with sport.

    Right now, my attempts are fairly primitive. "Anything that's not a personal worst is a victory!" And I'm trying to re-imagine Ande's famous thread: The point is no longer how to swim faster faster, it's all about how to swim slower slower.

    Here in Knoxville, we benefit from living in the same town as Bill Lauer, now 82, who seems irrepressibly cheerful, no matter what. Whatever the answer is, he seems to have found it. Talk to Bill.
    Last edited by Swimosaur; December 6th, 2016 at 12:10 AM.

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    Very Active Member GGS5T's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Older,Getting Slower

    I can fully understand what you are going through. I'm 70 now and I can't do the times I did when I was 55. The bonus though, is that all other swimmers of my age are slowing down too. The reintroduction of bodysuits would help enormously. I will never understand why bodysuits were banned for masters swimmers, especially those of my age. We are hardly going to pose a threat to Micheal Phelps.

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    Very Active Member joshua's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Older,Getting Slower

    I will be 63 next month and this past year I realized that there is a big difference between understanding the aging process and actually aging. I was aware that people get old but in an irrational way I didn't think it would actually happen to me. Reality check! It is.
    Since I'm a recreational swimmer, my goals are not really competitive and I time myself only occasionally. Since swimming is much more of a skill based sport than running, I try to learn new skills. Presently I am working on my underwater dolphin. In fact I am better at this skill now than I have ever been in my life. Of course this also helps my times but that is not my main point of focus.

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    Re: Getting Older,Getting Slower

    I've never done a swim meet, just one OWS so far, so I'll relate my running experience. I've run 480 races since 1978 from 100 meters to half-marathons. Ran my best times between 38-42, but then had heart surgery to repair a leaky valve. I never ran up to that level again, mostly due to the drugs I'm on. I eventually learned to cope with it and adjust my training and racing strategies. By age 60 I was again getting into the top 3 in a few road races. Around age 63, the times started to go south again, even though I was still in super shape. At age 65, I could do 500 pushups in a 1 hr session, run a half marathon and swim a mile.

    At 67 I suddenly got old, arthritis, etc. Yes, that's how it works. At some point, there's a big step down in performance, not a gradual decline, a point at which your body says I can't take this. That age is a bit different for each of us, but it's inevitable. So I had to slow down. I can do my pushups, maybe 150 each day, I can swim a mile, but it will take 45 minutes, and now I can't run at all, just walk. That's the way it is.

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    Re: Getting Older,Getting Slower

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Stark View Post
    I just got back from the SPMS meet and I am in a funk. I have talked to several of my contemporaries who share my dysphoria at getting slower. From age 50-62 I slowed down very little. Ages 63 and 64 were one injury or illness after another, but at least there was a cause and I felt I would do better. Age 65 I aged up and for most of the year was healthy. That was a great year,but my times were all significantly slower than at 62. Since then it is very unusual to have one swim that is faster than I did the previous year.At 67(almost 68) I am notably slower than at 65. I have seen the graphs of how times slow with age, intellectually, if I am staying at the same rate of decline as my peers I should accept it, but I don't like it. I know most forumites are much younger and what I am saying may seem like something natural that I should just acknowledge and go on, that is what I thought until I was 63. I know that our having age groups every 5 years is a partial solution to the problem, but there is more difference between a 65 year old and a 68 year old than between a 40 year old and a 50 year old, in my experience. How do the other older swimmers out there cope and have a good attitude? The common saying in Masters Swimming is that "you are only competing against yourself",but my slightly younger self is kicking my butt and I am tired of it.

    I saw your 200 meter fly time and thought it was real good. I'm lucky to break 4:00 now in the 200 meter fly these days and I'm 59 years old. As a kid I think the first long course at age 14 I swam about 3:03 and got down to 2:47.4 as a 17 year old but our body changed and your a very good swimmer for your age group.

  7. #7
    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Older,Getting Slower

    Quote Originally Posted by cinc3100 View Post
    I saw your 200 meter fly time and thought it was real good. I'm lucky to break 4:00 now in the 200 meter fly these days and I'm 59 years old. As a kid I think the first long course at age 14 I swam about 3:03 and got down to 2:47.4 as a 17 year old but our body changed and your a very good swimmer for your age group.
    Thank you,thank all of you. I know aging is inevitable,but I am surprised at how much slower I am now than a few years ago. The most extreme example is my 200M LCM BR is about 10 sec slower than 5 yr ago. It is still really good "for my age",but it is hard not to compare it to even 2 yr ago when I was 3+ seconds faster. It is what it is and I'll accept it,but it takes some getting used to,hence the funk.
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
    Allen

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    aka Elaine-iaK & Aqua Dog ElaineK's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Older,Getting Slower

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Stark View Post
    The common saying in Masters Swimming is that "you are only competing against yourself",but my slightly younger self is kicking my butt and I am tired of it.

    I feel your pain, King Frog. (No matter what, and no matter who beats you, you will always be "King Frog!" )

    At least this didn't happen to you until recently. I will be 55 in January (Inauguration Day
    ), and I've been experiencing similar (mental) pain for awhile. I watch video of my breaststroke at 47 years old, and my current breaststroke technique; and, I scratch my head wondering why I am so much slower now. (Sure, we all get slower, but I have slipped an entire column in Swimosaur's motivational charts, which I didn't do before aging up to 50!)

    King Frog, all I can offer you is the same pep talk I give myself when I want to kick myself in the *&%:

    "Hey Aqua Dog, be thankful you are physically able to swim, and you enjoy it as much as you do! You are healthy, fit, and happy; so, quit beating yourself up! Look around you. Most people your age are physically waaay worse off than you, so give yourself credit for all that you do to stay healthy and fit. In the big scheme of things, it is just a time on the clock for a swim race! How does that really compare in importance to everything else in life? Just have fun at the pool and at meets; and, don't worry about that clock so much! Just give it your best shot, and congratulate yourself for your efforts. AND, even if you were a human meet delay
    "racing" the 200 fly, at least YOU DID IT! (How many 54 year-old women can even swim a legal 200 fly race, anyway?)."

    King Frog, you are an amazing swimmer (World Records!!!)! The pool isn't half-empty; it's half-full.


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    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Older,Getting Slower

    Quote Originally Posted by GGS5T View Post
    I can fully understand what you are going through. I'm 70 now and I can't do the times I did when I was 55. The bonus though, is that all other swimmers of my age are slowing down too. The reintroduction of bodysuits would help enormously. I will never understand why bodysuits were banned for masters swimmers, especially those of my age. We are hardly going to pose a threat to Micheal Phelps.
    It would help, but you have to recognize this is a one shot (not to mention spurious) method of improving your times.

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    aka Elaine-iaK & Aqua Dog ElaineK's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Older,Getting Slower

    Quote Originally Posted by knelson View Post
    It would help, but you have to recognize this is a one shot (not to mention spurious) method of improving your times.

    Agreed. I would rather know my race time based solely on my efforts rather than how much it was aided by a bodysuit.
    http://ElaineiaKsTravels.wordpress.com

    ~ Believing in your dreams can be far more rewarding than living by your limitations ~Karla Peterson

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    Very Active Member jim thornton's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Older,Getting Slower

    I wish USMS would consider adding an age-grading feature to our meet performances, one that doesn't just go by age group (i.e., 60-64) but by actual year. This would not only allow aging individuals to see how they are doing with regards to the predicted curve of deceleration, but also let people of different age groups potentially get "Best in Meet" honors despite how long their teeth are. Rick Colella's 5:14.48 400 LCM IM at age 65 is not only the age group record by 26 seconds, but no one in the previous age group (except for Rick himself) has come within 14 seconds of this time. It would also be the third, all-time fastest 400 IM in the 55-59 age group.

    Chris Stevenson did some work on the kind of age-grading calculator I have in mind, though the algorithms and sloping curves would require more refinement since last he played around with it. Nevertheless, you can enter your time by year of your age when you swam said time, get your rating, them enter your time performed at another year and get your rating for this, too.

    I think that if USMS could automatically post such "ratings" beside every swim performed at a regional or national championship meet, it would give us geezers a new metric to chase that is not quite so pitiless as the ticking clock!

    To give an example of how Chris's calculator works, your best 200 LCM breast time at age 67, 3:00.01, earns a rating of 100.4.

    You best 200 LCM breast at age 62, 2:50.44, earns a still great but lower rating of 100.00--this despite it being 9.5 seconds faster.

    Check it out. And Chris, if you read this, give us an update--if any--on the record curves. As of now, it was last updated in 2008. Since then, the body suits have been outlawed, but new and ever faster cohorts of swimmers are ascending the ranks.

    http://www.vaswim.org/cgi-bin/rcalc.cgi

    PS despite your increasing magnificence in age, don't get too cocky, Allen. Rick's 400 LCM IM gets a rating of 110.4!

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    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Older,Getting Slower

    Quote Originally Posted by jim thornton View Post
    I wish USMS would consider adding an age-grading feature to our meet performances, one that doesn't just go by age group (i.e., 60-64) but by actual year.
    I agree. USA Swimming does this with their "Power Points" system. Quite similar to Chris' rating system except they use 1000 for a record level swim rather than 100.

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    Re: Getting Older,Getting Slower

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Stark View Post
    Thank you,thank all of you. I know aging is inevitable,but I am surprised at how much slower I am now than a few years ago. The most extreme example is my 200M LCM BR is about 10 sec slower than 5 yr ago. It is still really good "for my age",but it is hard not to compare it to even 2 yr ago when I was 3+ seconds faster. It is what it is and I'll accept it,but it takes some getting used to,hence the funk.
    Not sure what you mean by 'funk', but if it means ' this HAS got to stop' and 'no more declining times this year' and 'look my pb this year is nowhere near world record for my age group - i am going to step up my training'

    Its pretty obvious to me that us 'oldies' ( I'm 63) often give up the challenge by looking around at our local competitors, see that their times are regressing badly and take our cue from them. Ally to that Old Mens Niggles (and women's ) and we really have every excuse to stay in our armchairs too often and too long

    I am feeling particularly good at the moment. After 5 years of shoulder injury, plus several other niggles, nearly all mended now, I recently posted my fastest 400, 800 and 1500m times since 2007! Yes, 9-year PBs!

    This has taken some hard work. More training than i did in 2007 - more distance and more strength sets. Its also needed me to realise that if i want approach lifetime PBs then i must believe its possible!

    I need to look at 'the best' in my age group and say to myself that i can at least track their declining times and NOT decline faster than them! This, I feel, should be the yardstick for us all as we age NOT absolute times, but relative times relative to the best in our new age groups.

    We are aging but we do not need to think we cannot improve our times, especially if we never were world record holders. Old bodies are amazing and we can make them amaze ourselves if we give them a chance to maximise their potential.

    Apologies Allen for going off on one, as we say around these parts

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    Very Active Member jim thornton's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Older,Getting Slower

    [QUOTE=knelson;317864]I agree. USA Swimming does this with their "Power Points" system. Quite similar to Chris' rating system except they use 1000 for a record level swim rather than 100.[/QUOTE

    Chris points out a couple difficulties with his system, one of which is that as records fall, the ratings would necessarily go down for previous swims. He also says that since there are so few times and records in 80+ age groups, it's harder to have accurate curves.

    Both these, I think, can be overcome with the right mathematical approach. Once set up, it seems to me it wouldn't be that difficult to automate the calculations and add a new column to our meet results.

    I just checked out my 500 (5:31.57) from last year at age 63, and compared this to my 500 (5:15.49) from 2003 at age 50.

    Youngish Jim earns a 90.9; olderish Jim earns a 95.6. Both of these, to be sure, are well below Allen Stark's 100 and 100.4 breast strokes! Nevertheless, seeing my improvement makes me feel a bit like a bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild!

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    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Older,Getting Slower

    Quote Originally Posted by jim thornton View Post
    I wish USMS would consider adding an age-grading feature to our meet performances, one that doesn't just go by age group (i.e., 60-64) but by actual year. This would not only allow aging individuals to see how they are doing with regards to the predicted curve of deceleration, but also let people of different age groups potentially get "Best in Meet" honors despite how long their teeth are. Rick Colella's 5:14.48 400 LCM IM at age 65 is not only the age group record by 26 seconds, but no one in the previous age group (except for Rick himself) has come within 14 seconds of this time. It would also be the third, all-time fastest 400 IM in the 55-59 age group.

    Chris Stevenson did some work on the kind of age-grading calculator I have in mind, though the algorithms and sloping curves would require more refinement since last he played around with it. Nevertheless, you can enter your time by year of your age when you swam said time, get your rating, them enter your time performed at another year and get your rating for this, too.

    I think that if USMS could automatically post such "ratings" beside every swim performed at a regional or national championship meet, it would give us geezers a new metric to chase that is not quite so pitiless as the ticking clock!

    To give an example of how Chris's calculator works, your best 200 LCM breast time at age 67, 3:00.01, earns a rating of 100.4.

    You best 200 LCM breast at age 62, 2:50.44, earns a still great but lower rating of 100.00--this despite it being 9.5 seconds faster.

    Check it out. And Chris, if you read this, give us an update--if any--on the record curves. As of now, it was last updated in 2008. Since then, the body suits have been outlawed, but new and ever faster cohorts of swimmers are ascending the ranks.

    http://www.vaswim.org/cgi-bin/rcalc.cgi

    PS despite your increasing magnificence in age, don't get too cocky, Allen. Rick's 400 LCM IM gets a rating of 110.4!
    This actually helps, it gives me something concrete to shoot for(higher rating.)
    Rick Colella is a great guy,but he is just lucky that after that terrible astronaut accident they were able to repair him better, stronger, faster.They had the technology.
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
    Allen

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    Very Active Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Older,Getting Slower

    Allen,

    As we age our cardiac output declines as does how efficiently we use the oxygen we take in during exercise. When these declines come is different for each person. That, I suppose, is the bad news. The good news is despite your disappointment with your times, those times are still in the top five all-time in the World! Not too shabby.
    Glenn Gruber

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    Very Active Member Sojerz's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Older,Getting Slower

    I'm wondering, Allen, if it may be more difficult to hold onto your br times than it would be for fr, fl, or bk, because of the coordination and flexibility required to swim br well. I've found it hard to get and keep my br going as I've gotten older through my 60s.
    Some guys they just give up living and start dying little by little, piece by piece. Some guys come home from work and wash up and go racin’ in the street. (Bruce Springsteen, 1978)

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