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Thread: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

  1. #21
    Active Member Rob Nasser's Avatar
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    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    Our group is an interesting dichotomy of folks. Triathletes and not. Honestly, for me, triathletes are a great source of entertainment and fun to pick on when it comes time for anything involving kicking (WITHOUT FINS), stroke (Bk, Br, or Fl), sprinting (kicking and moving the arms at the same time - with intesity - over a short duration), or pushing a lactate tolerance repeat on anything under a 200. I suffer through their distance workouts on Monday, and they flake out when we do stroke on Wednesday and some are brave enough to come in on Fridays for a sprint workout. Tuesday and Thursday are entirely theirs and I don't like showing up since the coaches on these days do not coordinate workouts, so you might see lactate sets two days in a row. I go to another pool for long course work (though those are mostly distance based too - I cannot win!) on these days.

    Mentally, I cannot understand how someone can just keep doing the one stroke over and over and over - at least not any more.. I used to swim distance - a lot (16-18K per day in club), so you can count me in those that have immense experience in lots of yards, so when most triathletes go after those extra sets in the end of proactice or gripe about too much rest, I can only laugh about the quality that they must have missed putting into the workout or sets they just did. I have learned that most triathletes can benefit from working every stroke (higher heart rates from different training - improved Anaerobic threshold/VO2 Max), kicking (want to get into the lead pack on that swim without paying dearly for it and strengthen the knees/ankles?), or sprinting (get out fast with less impact too). Of course, consistency is the biggest way to gain, not necessarily tons of yards.

    I also do stroke in the lane behind me, though when I am doing IM and they are riding my feet, the breaststroke becomes an "awakening" for many of them as they get my size 12 foot in their _____ (insert body part here).

    As with just about any business, money talks, and if the triathletes are footing the bill, so be it, but I cannot just roll with the punches entirely. At least I get some entertainment value out of it :>

    Rob

  2. #22
    Very Active Member Donna's Avatar
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    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    I am glad you can find the humor in their swimming. This past Monday (usually a long or mid distance day) we had a stroke day assigned in honor of one of our swimmers and you are right it is fun to watch triathletes do these. Our top 2 lanes tend to be populated by the "true swimmers" who have just been turned into distance people. Even some of them baulked at the workout.

    Only the second and third lanes did the workout as written, all of the others adjusted it and turned into freestyle lanes.

    Today (an IM day) only 4 people showed up. Says alot.

    I am in a maintenance mode till nationals since I am doing distance events. But in the evenings I am swimming with the kids and remembering what it feels like to sprint and kick(something I am terrible at but working on).

    After Nationals I will make a total switch to the kids team and the coach and I are committed to retrain me as the sprinter I was and should still be according to my lactate test.

    Donna

  3. #23
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    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    Hi Donna, I just read all the posts since my last post about a week ago. It seems like many other swimmer folks feel the same way I do which is reassuring to know. I also like your coaches comment that you had the "sprint trained out of you". I started off as a sprinter three years ago and could turn-it-on instantly anywhere at anytime. But after a ton of those VOX2 type workouts over the past year, you know those 15 x 200 with 10 seconds rest type main sets, you just sorta get in that highly-aerobic type mindset. That type of main set is not easy for me by any means, but it is not sprint training for sure. I guess the upside is that I am no longer afraid of that type of set which used to be very intimidating. I have a meet coming up on August 4 and am doing some 50's as well as the 100 Breast and 100 Free. I'm truthfully quite worried about the 100 events as I have not trained for them for them unless of course the race was 20 x 100 on the 1:40! Good luck at Nationals and let me know how it goes! Kurt

  4. #24
    Very Active Member Donna's Avatar
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    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    Since the bulk of my training has been distance these past 3 years and I chose distance events at Nationals, I should do fine. The only one I am curious about is the 50 Free. I am curious if all of the sprints and kicking I am doing at night with the kids team will help or whether I started too late.

    This morning I was lucky in that the girl in my lane decided to switch lanes. I was all set of another LONG DISTANCE set 400, 300, 200, 100, 100, 200, 300, 400 then half way thru she leaves. I said 20x25 on 1:00 sprint (1/2 free the second 1/2 IM order) and forgot about the rest of the workout. It was great! Really kicked the heart rate up. My masters coach even commented on my Fly that it looked better than usual.

    I'll update you on how Nationals goes Kurt.

  5. #25
    Very Active Member Dennis Tesch's Avatar
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    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    I think it is great that triathletes are really trying to become better at swimming and are join local masters programs. I find the problem with your statement that masters teams are being overrun by triathletes is that coaches are finding it easier to coach triathletes. I mean who has to think when all you have to do is write freestyle workouts. You get a bunch of triathletes on your team who don't know a thing about getting better at swimming and anything you say goes when you are the coach. I can almost call it the dumbing down of our coaches. It isn't catering to the most people in the group, it is catering to the easiest to coach group on our team. Hell, if you went by what triathletes think are good workouts, all you would have to say is "3000 freestyle, ready go!"

    Challenge your coach into writing creative, beneficial workouts that not only benefit swimmers as well as the triathletes...... good luck!

  6. #26
    Very Active Member Slowswim's Avatar
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    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    Dennis:

    You forgot the "...and don't do any kick sets; save your legs for the bike and run."
    I keep telling my coaches, "I am a sprinter" and "they keep saying you swim short races, but that is not the same thing." - Some Girl

  7. #27
    Active Member Treebox's Avatar
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    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    I coach and swim with a masters group in MD where we are split evenly between swimmers and triathletes. I agree with the previous comments that bashing the tri-folks is silly. The 'A' workout we do is 4000 yds and has at least one IM set everyday, sometimes a distance set of IMs. We have convinced the tri-swimmers that IMs build serious endurance and give a good core body workout. One of our Tri-swimmers qualified for Hawaii Ironman and has made serious improvements in his 2.4 mile swim. Previously he swam with a team of triathletes that espoused freestyle only, no kick sets, no IM, etc. The swimmers gain in return from the tri-folks in encouragement to cross train and nutrition ideas.

    My attitude is the more the merrier. Everyone is there for their own well-being. I strictly compete in open water races these days. Some of my most dedicated swimmers including myself, could care less about competing in meets anymore. Their challenge is against the clock during workouts. Should they be treated any differently than triathletes or those that want to go to meets? No way. Encourage more people to show up and you ensure that you keep your pool time and have the ability to ask for more.

  8. #28
    Participating Member harperfish's Avatar
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    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt View Post
    Hi there! I live in north county San Diego. I am 48 yrs and started swimming three years ago. I started swimming with my age-group daughter at her swim club where they let masters folks swim along with the age groupers AND where they teach all four competitive strokes. Last year I moved out of the evening swim club into a noontime masters program to give the daughter her space as Dad was becoming a little "unhip" to be with. I found a great indoor facility (rare for California) with an aggressive masters swim program. Generally 7-8 lanes with 5-6 swimmers per lane, and 4000-4200yrds in 75 minutes. But it is a 100% freestyle workout because I'm told the triathletes are the largest single paying constituency of the program and they neither need nor like doing the other strokes. I have checked with all the masters programs in San Diego county and just one offers an IM day which I have swum and it is still largely freestyle with a little stroke work thrown in. So my question is, and nothing against triathletes or their sport, but what is a swimmer to do? It seems the traditional masters swim program has been hijacked and morphed into a freestyle only program which is in most cases also primarily a cardio workout with little or no anaerobic training. Of course, the longer cardio sets very much simulate the triathletes longer distance open water swim, but in the competitive swimming environment, at least for the 200 and under events of which there are many, cardio training is just an initial foundation. So, am I wrong on this? Do master swimmers who want to further develop their other strokes have to leave the USMS and join USA Swimming and swim with the age-groupers to get their four-stroke workout and training? For this summer, I have just now stopped the masters program workouts and am back swimming the morning workouts with the age-groupers and it is really great to work all four strokes in one workout. Like everyone says, your heart does not know the difference between breast, back, fly or free, or kicking or drills for that matter so it is a great cardio workout without having to swim 4000yrds of freestyle on interval. Any thoughts? Please!
    Hi,
    I'm a writer for Swimmer magazine. Do you still have this problem with triathletes? I'm covering this issue soon.
    Jim Harper

  9. #29
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    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    When there is a problem with triathletes in a workout, I think it is the coach's fault. The coach has to be in charge. Also, the coach has to educate all swimmers about why you are doing a particular set.
    When we do kick sets, I explain that it will get their heart rate up to the rest of the workout. However, I have learned that it is better not to have kick sets on Monday after a long triathlon or road race on Sunday.
    Backstroke was an easy sell because the drills are so similar. I notice now that some tri's do back when it is a choice set. Sometimes I set the interval for a set with those who do non-free in mind. I tell those who choose free to swim a little faster so that they need the extra rest.
    Everyone seems to enjoy speed work, especially if I time them. Everyone remarks about how much more tired they get. They all accept that practicing to swim faster is good for everyone.
    So back to my original statement. It's the coach who can make it work if he/she wants to.

  10. #30
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    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    Quote Originally Posted by harperfish View Post
    Hi,
    I'm a writer for Swimmer magazine. Do you still have this problem with triathletes? I'm covering this issue soon.
    Jim Harper
    I've never noticed any problems or issues with triathletes during swim workouts. The ones with previous swimming experience don't grumble about stroke or IM's. The ones who were never swimmers struggle through it as a challenge, skip it and keep swimming free or simply go to the two workouts/week that are aimed solely at tri/open water specialists. Those two workouts are in addition to the regular masters schedule so I suspect the slowly bobbing runners and bikers who are just hoping to survive the first leg of a tri never workout with the pure swimmers.

  11. #31
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    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    I agree with Betsy that a coach has the ultimate responsibility to do their best to meet the needs of all swimmers in the water and on their team.

    Knowing your swimmers, their goals and inspirations, is paramount to running a smooth practice and growing a team. I love emphasizing all four strokes and plenty of drills. But, I also know I have yardage hounds, drill lovers, freestyle only swimmers, and the "I want something different every day" swimmers in practice. There are swimmers working toward major pool competitions (e.g. Nationals or Worlds), there are those building to 10k or longer open water swims, there are the triathletes trying to get efficient in freestyle for an upcoming Tri, there are the fitness swimmers, and then there are the social swimmers.

    That knowledge of who is in the water, and what they might be working toward is helpful in being able to make changes "on the fly" at practice. There is also the fine art of persuasion that comes in handy when coaching a swimmer that doesn't "want" to do a particular set or workout. (Note that is not "can't.) . Flexibility is, in my opinion, one of the top "must have" tools in a Coach's toolbox. Persuading vs. Demanding keeps the swimmers challenged and coming back.

  12. #32
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    Re: Masters "Swimming" overrun by Triathletes

    Quote Originally Posted by harperfish View Post
    Hi,
    I'm a writer for Swimmer magazine. Do you still have this problem with triathletes? I'm covering this issue soon.
    Jim Harper

    Just look at the entries/results for how man swim the 1500/1650 these days. I do both sports and come from a swim background and I train alone so i can balance both sports.

    For context I swam 17:06.26 ScM in the 1500 this past weekend as well as

    1:00.06 100 Fly, 2:12.98 200 Fly, etc etc

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