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Masters Swim Meets / Events

Meet / OW event plans and results from U.S. Masters Swmming events in this category.

  1. Y Champs + 50 free

    by , April 16th, 2018 at 07:54 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    I swam in the Allegheny Mountain Y Champs at the Spire Institute recently, which is sanctioned for USMS. It was a mix of swimming frustration and fun with friends. I swam 7 events (that's the max) and DNF'd one. Each day, my events were all within 1.5 hours, which is no sprinter's dream. It went like this:

    25 back, 13.5

    This was a disaster. I didn't see the backstroke flags at all and crashed into the wall with my left elbow. I knew the crash was coming, but felt blind. My teammate in the same heat didn't see the wall either, and had a similar crash. This has never happened to me before ... Weird.

    50 free, DNF

    Well, the first length felt great, had a great start. But I misjudged the wall on the double bulkhead. I only got a toe on the wall and came to a complete dead stop. Since I had the 50 breast 20 minutes later, I just hopped out.

    50 breast, 34.5

    I was in a lovely mood at this point after a rough start to the meet. Wasn't dying to do this event as my breast has felt off and I went a sloth like 36 a few months ago. But the team needed points, so I got on the block and swam through it. I had a great start, but my breakouts were horrible. I got stuck underwater both lengths. I think I'm used to pushing off deep for SDKs. But perhaps need to go less deep or pull up more emphatically on the pull down for breast. Bill thought I would easily have been a 33 with better pullouts. This was at least an improvement.

    25 fly, 12.6

    Fourth event of the day, good enough. I didn't seem to mess up anything crucial on this one.

    Next day ...

    50 fly, 28.00

    That .01 makes a difference, doesn't it? I blew at least .5 on the turn, maybe more, gliding in a huge amount. My stroke and kick counts aren't the same as they were pre-surgeries. The last few strokes felt really hard.

    50 back, 29.2

    Seems pretty mediocre for me. I spent most of the race worrying about the backstroke flags. I think this is contra-indicated to swim a good race.

    25 breast, 15.5


    All in all, I was less than thrilled with this meet. I understand all the technical miscues from racing rust. That part could improve. And I know it is still very early days in my swim recovery/post-surgeries comeback. But it is not all that fun to feel like you are literally staggering to the wall or about to DQ in a race. And the bottom line is that I doubt that issue will ever change. Closed veins are closed veins. I'm not sure, even if I continue to build collaterals, that they are a real substitute for your actual subclavian and axillary veins.

    BUT, I was unhappy with DNf-ing my 50 free. So, being the stubborn person that I am, I went to a meet at OSU the next weekend just to swim that one event so that at least I would have completed all four 50s this SCY season. (Note: I had to google the name of the meet to enter; It didn't come up in the calendar at first search. WTH with this new website.) I had been having suffering from insomnia for a bit (prolly a result of tapering and 23 & me says I'm a "light sleeper"), so felt tired. However, I managed to execute a very good flip turn on the double bulkhead wall. I got bogged down on the breakout of my Lochte turn, same as the Albatross meet. I probably need to modify or eliminate that turn now ... But moving my arms the last half length proved difficult and I went a 26.7, which ties my masters personal worst. Sure, I am older and have had a rough couple years. But it is still a lot slower than I have been since my very first masters meet.

    Anyhoo, I did not sign up for nationals after the Spire meet. I am clearly not ready for prime time just based on racing rust and technical miscues. My times are, however momentarily, at the top of my 55-59 age group. I'm sure several will be knocked down at nationals. Super sick of tapering, I have been on the treadmill for 10 miles the last 2 days. I'm going to keep swimming, but I am not going to have a laser focus on sprinting that I have had the last month or so. Some aerobic work may actually help with re-vascularization. So I will swim and cross train the next couple months and then, poof, I am in Europe where I will not swim for 2.5 weeks. I'll re-evaluate meets in the fall. But right now, they don't feel fun. And shouldn't they at least be fun? Perhaps I am too much of a perfectionist to have fun. All I know is that swimming is difficult, at the moment. I thought that making a comeback would at least be an interesting anecdote to the inevitable decline of aging. But if a comeback is necessarily physically limited and so frustrating, is the comeback worth it? Philosophy question somewhat dependent on personality, I think.

    Updated April 17th, 2018 at 10:15 AM by The Fortress

    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  2. Albatross Meet

    by , March 5th, 2018 at 11:46 AM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    It's been a long blogging hiatus. I hit another detour in my comeback in late December and January (vacation and post vacation flu-ish thing) that kept me out of the water for quite awhile. But I've been training pretty regularly since mid-January. In the pool that is; I've not been moved to return to the gym because of a wee treadmill addiction. Anyhoo, I took myself off to the Albatross meet with about 6 weeks training under my belt and a mini taper. After a 1.5 year racing hiatus, I had major racing rust and of course was way off my PRs.

    50 back SCM, 32.1

    I had an uncharacteristically mediocre start, which lacked explosiveness. I had a good first length and decent turn. I was a little deep on my underwater on the second length. The main issue though was that I couldn't really feel my arms/they didn't want to move the last 10 yards. I had a major glide at the end because I just couldn't summon the energy to take another stroke. That cost me going a 31. Still, I am content with a 32 after the VTOS debacle and given my still closed veins. That time would have been #1 in the world last year in my age group.

    50 free SCM, 29.5

    I had a pretty good start (feet not together tho) and first length. I botched the turn a bit with a half stroke and extra breath. I tried the Lochte turn off the wall. It went decently, but again I was a little too deep. Then I just staggered to the wall again with arm fatigue. Since all the youngsters scratched, I ended up winning the Fastest Woman on the Water award.


    Whew, it was good to survive my first meet back. I think it being SCM not SCY added a degree of difficulty for me. Aside from some limitations from the VTOS, I think my main problem in the pool right now is that I lack strength. I had a ton of muscle removed from my chest of course. But I'm also not getting as much DPK as before. So off to the gym I go! I plan to start in small 30 minute chunks.

    Updated March 5th, 2018 at 02:43 PM by The Fortress

    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  3. Birthday WRs

    by , July 11th, 2016 at 02:00 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    I did a couple all easy swims at the end of last week, which I didn't blog. Then I packed up to drive down to the U of Md for the Terrapin's Colonies Zones meet on Sunday. I did not have particularly high expectations. I haven't been training as much, have done virtually no drylands or yoga, and have been feeling unmotivated. I also haven't done a long course meet in years and had very little long course training in the tank. But I wanted to give the 50 fly and 50 back a whirl in the hopes that I could pack it in for the summer and forget about meets for while. And, happily, I succeeded, setting two WRs in my new age group! In both races, as expected, I tightened up and died somewhat the last 10 meters (this always seems to happen no matter my training). But I am still quite pleased with the results.

    50 fly:

    former WR: 30.97
    my swim: 30.52

    I made a couple mistakes in this swim. I should have taken 1-2 more kicks on the start (was trying to be cautious of 15m m mark). And I lifted my head up too high to breathe, especially on the last breathe where I was actively looking for the wall. I found it somewhat hard to judge the finish. I have no doubt I could improve a few tenths if I really trained for this event. But I am honestly quite happy with this time. I wasn't even sure that I could go a 30.97. And this time is only .3 off my time from 4 years ago when I was much more focused on long course. Here is the video Fort21 took where you can see me racing the speedy 50-54 world record holder and my buddy Susan Williams:

    50 back:

    former WR: 33.75
    my swim: 33.08

    Though I got off the blocks fast, I was a bit flat on my start. But my SDKs and breakout were really solid, and probably gave me the lead/win (barely) in this race. I had a good stroke rate, but I felt like the race went on forever. Where was the wall?! I took more than twice as many strokes as I do in my SCY 50 back (46). I would have liked to be a couple tenths faster, but I am still so happy to come away with a world record. Here is the video that my daughter -- who showed up at the meet to surprise me for my birthday -- took:

    I'm going to keep working out and swimming, but not at my usual hard core pace. I want to be fresh for the fall racing season. Very happy that I can now just goof off at my upcoming beach week with friends!

    Updated July 12th, 2016 at 05:28 PM by The Fortress

    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  4. CN -- Let it go!

    by , May 23rd, 2016 at 11:59 AM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    This was not the meet of my dreams (said in dramatic understatement). Before leaving, I had some GI issues from the antibiotics that I was on for the sinus infection. But I felt fine during the drive up to Toronto. Unfortunately, then I was the unlucky recipient of Lil Fort's stomach virus Friday night. It seems to be going around here. So I was not exactly my usual self. CN ended up being basically a one day meet.

    100 breast, 1:24.3, 1st

    All was well the first 50m, out in 38.7. But I was tired at the start of the second 50, so knew I was in trouble. Unlike my 100 breast at USMS nationals, I had a spectacular collapse, coming back in :45. Stroke fell apart, and I felt like I was going backwards the last 25. Considering that I swam a 1:22.0 last November on 3 days rest, this is pretty darn awful and close to a personal worst. As a result of this, I scratched the 100 IM. I just did not have the energy to get through that event, which I think is much harder than the 100 breast. I did consider leaving the meet at this point, but I was already there and didn't want to be a baby.

    50 free, 28.3, 1st

    This is a solid time considering. I actually thought I'd be at least .5 slower. It just lacked punch. And I can't say I was mentally all there. For 50s, you have to be ready to rip.

    50 breast, 37.6, 1st, NR

    I did not feel well on Sunday am, but I decided to just swim this event and then leave. (I had zero desire to swim the 100 back.) From the video that Mark took, I had a good start and good first 25 until I misjudged the turn (big glide into fina wall). Then I had another major fade the second 25. The time is well off my PR but fast enough to get under the national record of 38.3. So that was a silver lining from the meet.


    I watched Mark swim a great 50 breast (all his event swere awesome!) and then felt awfully sick to my stomach. I had to rest awhile before I could leave. And it was a long (7.5 hour) drive home with traffic at a standstill on Queen Elizabeth Way.

    So a big waste of a taper and all that 100 training ... But so goes life sometimes. Onward and forward! I slept for 11 hours last night and still feel exhausted. I am going to avoid the pool for a couple days. I think I've inflicted enough torture on the poor body for while.

    Updated May 24th, 2016 at 12:43 PM by The Fortress

    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  5. Nationals & Monday workout

    by , May 2nd, 2016 at 05:17 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    We made it home from nationals safe and sound -- after a bit of a harrowing drive in the midst of hail and a tornado watch. The best part of nationals for me was hanging out with great swim friends and my RAM team. And I love the spectating at nationals -- got to see so many great races and was really happy for my friends and fellow bloggers that kicked ass. My coach and friend Bill White, who hadn't competed in SCY since 2002, swam out of his mind. Hopefully, we can persuade him to come to more USMS meets! And my Jimby was very happy to grab a well paced win in the 500 free. Of course, it was great hanging out with Stewart and Mark and I finally got to meet Mr. Unruh (who also swam out of his mind).

    For various reasons, this was an extremely challenging meet for me. I had felt pretty good a couple days before leaving. But whatever was blooming in NC did not agree with me and I had a bad allergy/asthma flare starting Friday afternoon. Lot of hacking and not enough oxygen to power the SDKs. Hindsight is 20/20 of course. But I was probably pushing the envelope to have competed in the meet. And so it was a mixed bag.


    50 back, 1st, 27.7

    I did two starts with the backstroke ledge in warm up, and they seemed fine. But at race time, I fumbled around with the ledge and couldn't seem to get it in the right place. It ended up being a little lower than I would have liked. Then the starter held us for a long time and my arms were shaking. I was a little deep on the start, but it was solid. But then I had a glide into the turn. I was just happy to get the win. And anytime you beat the speedy Susan Williams that is saying something.

    Mixed 200 free relay (can't remember our time), 24.7 split

    I didn't execute this very well either. I jammed the turn and went off the wall way too deep. I had trouble breathing after the race and it seemed to precipitate a 5-6 hour coughing spree.


    Started off the day by tearing a hole in a new tech suit that I had only worn once at the Albatross meet ... Grr!

    50 breast, 32.8 DQ

    More bad execution here. My start was not very good and my heels broke the surface on my breakout. Off the turn on my pulldown, I could feel my feet move. I knew I was at risk for a DQ and sure enough it was enough undulation to draw the call. Obviously, I need to be hyper vigilant about this (and I was in my 100 breast).

    50 free, 4th, 25.4

    I can't say that I was too excited to swim this race and was worried about air/breathing. This time, I had a great start but instead of jamming the turn, I only got my toes on the wall. So my Lochte turn, which is usually an asset, was a liability. This is a pretty mediocre time for me; I went faster at the Sprint Classic. No idea why I had such trouble with my freestyle turns this meet.


    50 fly, scratch

    I didn't feel like I had the lungs to SDK well, so opted to scratch and rest on my 26.0 from a month ago. Was happy for Susan who crushed the field in my absence.

    100 breast, 1st, 1:13.7

    I really wanted to end nationals on a positive note and, hey, at least you get to breathe in breaststroke. I felt like I had very good walls and a good 4th 25. It was a dogfight to the finish. It is a very rare occasion indeed when this drop dead sprinter comes from behind to win a 100. So I was happy with the result, which is only .3 off my PR from a few years ago.


    So this was definitely not the meet I had hoped for. But so goes life. Hopefully, my lungs/ears/sinuses will be happier heading into Canadian Nationals. I was in the mood for a workout today and so headed to Sewy and did the following:

    Swim/SCY/Solo @ Sewy

    Warm up:

    600 various
    100 scull
    8 x 25 shooters
    100 EZ

    Main sets:

    20 x 25 @ 100 pace @ :45
    -- done as 5 x 4 x 25 IM order
    250 EZ

    2 rounds:
    10 x 25 fly w/fins @ 100 pace @ :45
    150 EZ

    20 x 25 breast @ 100 pace @ :45
    250 EZ

    10 x 25 dolphin kick @ 100 pace @ :45
    150 EZ

    Total: 3700

    Updated May 2nd, 2016 at 06:53 PM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts , Masters Swim Meets / Events
  6. Albatross Meet Report, March 5

    by , March 7th, 2016 at 12:08 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    I journeyed down on Friday night with Jim to the Albatross Meet in MD. It's always a fun meet and it was great to see all my PV buddies. I had one of my best days in the pool, setting 4 world records in the 55-59 age group. Could not be happier!

    50 back, 30.12, PR (old WR was 32.62)

    Looking at the video that Jim took, I had one of my best backstroke starts ever, getting off the blocks very fast. At this meet, the officials stand right on the 15m line; they're used to Susan and me pushing it. So I decided to take one less kick each length than I did at NE Champs to be safe. As a result, I had a bit of a glide going into the turn -- the only mistake in the race. Well, my second breakout could have been a little smoother too. I did have a solid finish with no glide. At first, I thought I went a 30.42 so was just thrilled when I saw that my official time was actually 30.12.

    100 back, 1:10.08 (old WR was 1:12.23)

    This race went much better than the one at NE Champs where I swam a 1:11.7 (almost 2 seconds slower). Mostly because I didn't feel like I had a brick on my chest from the cold water, I think. Still, I had only swum this race once since March 2012, so I took it out cautiously. Too cautiously. My splits were 34.5 and 35.5 -- basically an even split with my start. I really came roaring back on the last length. My UWs were much better than at NE Champs as well. Next time I swim this (maybe at Canadian Nationals), I think I can take it out a second faster. Still, I was very happy with the time and the record! Making progress in this event.

    50 fly, 29.39 (old WR was 31.13)

    This race was fairly well executed too. Great start, hit my walls, good UWs. I just felt like I died a bit the last 5 meters. And I felt, having done virtually no fly the last month, that my turnover was just a tick slow. (Jim says this is false, but that was my internal feeling during the race.) But I was super happy with my time, especially for my third race of the day. It was .5 faster than I went last year at this meet and is only .1 slower than my 50-54 world record. It's my second fastest time ever.

    I was pretty beat after this race. I knew I had at the most 20 minutes before my heat of 50 free would go off. Because of the tight turnaround, I've never swum 50 free at this meet. But I decided to give it a whirl ... I thought that, possibly, I might have a shot at the national record of 28.49.

    50 free, 27.81 (old WR 27.91)

    I had a tight race with two other women, one a fast 25 year old who had just outtouched me in the 50 fly. I had a great start off the blocks, but didn't do as many UWs as I wanted to on the first length. Three of us went into the turn dead even. But I had a great Lochte turn and UW and pulled slightly ahead, just holding them off going into the wall. This time, avoiding a mistake from NE Champs, I only took one breath the second length. I was super surprised and happy with my time, just getting under the world record. I'm pretty sure that I can swim faster than this if I were fresher. (It was only .04 slower than my December time where I swam it as the second event of the day.) It is a rare day indeed when I swim 4 events in one day (in under 4 hours). But I did at NE Champs on day 2 where we ended with a relay, so I thought I should try it here. I'm very glad that I decided to make the attempt! For my efforts, I won a nifty Fastest Woman in the Pool plaque at the social later that night.


    So very pleased with the meet. Jim swam very well too, doing his best times in his age group. I had some insomnia at the hotel, but slept like a rock last night. My elbow was not too bothersome at the meet. My chiro told me to wear my compression sleeve 24/7 and that seems to have helped. Excedrin and ibuprofen helped too. Now I need to get back to training!

    I saw that the info for Canadian Nationals is up. The order of events looks pretty good, but there is no great place for me to do 50 free again ...

    Here are the results from the meet:

    Updated March 7th, 2016 at 01:20 PM by The Fortress

    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  7. NE Champs/Zones Dec 12-13

    by , December 14th, 2015 at 01:04 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    I had a super fun weekend at Zones. My RAM teammates are a great bunch of people and very welcoming. And it was fun to hang out with my fellow blogger Stewart. A couple of my PV friends were there as well. My flight was on time and I got to the pool in plenty of time for warm up on Friday before the 1500s. The pool was pretty nice, but the water was shockingly cold. It felt like 76-77 degrees too me. Pitt is usually 80. I'm sensitive to cold water (asthma) and immediately got a calf cramp when I jumped in. I wasn't the only one who felt this way. Lots of people thought it was too cold, and others scratched events bc they felt like they were swimming slowly due to the water temperature. I felt like the water temp affected my first event, and then I grew more used to it. I had a good day on Saturday and a great day on Sunday.


    100 back, 1:11.7 (34.8/36.8)

    This was my roughest event of the meet. I didn't have a great start (too shallow). This was partly due to the fact that the blocks were on the bulkhead and they didn't make the swimmers exit the pool before starting the next race. Uh, this is fine for forward starts but sucks majorly for backstroke starts. But mostly my lungs felt slammed and I couldn't stay underwater nearly as long as usual. I only took 6 kicks off the final wall, which is awful. I took it out very relaxed, but felt dead/off by the end of the second length. When I finished the race, I could not get any air and it took forever for my heart rate to come down. At first, I thought the race was the product of the lingering effects of mono. But I think the cold water/asthma were factors here as well.

    My modest goal was to get under 1:12 (WR in next age group is 1:12.2) and I was hoping to go 1:10. Modest goal accomplished and I feel like I could definitely go 1:10 in better conditions. In any event, I didn't let the somewhat slow time bother me one bit! Swimming that race had two huge benefits: I got the monkey off my back by swimming it and it is the #1 time in the nation this year.

    50 breast, 36.91

    Back to 50s, whew. I felt like this race was well executed. Got off the blocks fast and had a very good turn. The women next to me went a :35. But Stewart said that I went into the turn a half body length behind and came out a half body length ahead. My time was only a few hundredths off my masters PR, so I was very happy with it. Especially so since I went a dreadful 39.2 at the Albatross meet last March.

    200 mixed medley relay, 36.3 breast split

    Coach Stewart added up our ages and we were at 199, 1 year short. I had expected to swim the fly leg, but Scott Heber had a major bruise on his knee and wanted to minimize his breaststroke swimming. So I swam the breast leg. Heehee, a lifetime first for me! I had a really safe start and split a 36.3. Was really thrilled with that.


    100 IM, 1:10.6, PR

    I was a little nervous going into this race after the 100 back, and I hadn't swum this race in 3 years either. I was worried that I had seeded myself too fast and just wanted to get under 1:15 (which was the #1 time going in). But the race went well. I was rather shocked to see the time. My previous best was a 1:11.9. Comparing splits from prior efforts, all the improvement came in the second 50. Steph said that my turnover in breaststroke was slow, but I was worried about dying on free. Laura Val's record in the next age group is 1:12.9, so I am in good shape heading into next year. I think all the IM order 25s that I've been doing really paid off. Was very stoked after this! This is the first time in my masters career that my 100 IM has ever been faster than my 100 back, so I was definitely underachieving on the latter this meet.

    50 free, 27.73, PR, .06 off WR

    I wasn't anticipating having much rest before this race. The meet was zipping by on Sunday with lots of scratches. Fortunately, the meet directors realized the meet was running too fast and added an unscheduled break. This was huge for me; it gave me time to recover and mentally prepare. I was pretty stunned by my time. Having gone a 28.7 a month ago, the world record wasn't even on my radar. I executed most things pretty well, including my Lochte turn. I was swimming next to Mollie and she said the turn freaked her out a bit. I guess it could be weird swimming free and watching someone dolphin kicking on their back. It was the first time in 50 free where I was underwater longer off the wall than the start. I made two small execution errors. I was a tiny bit shallow on the dive and took one less dolphin kick than I had anticipated. I also took 2 breaths on the second length. At the time, I felt like I needed it ... But that was where I lost the .06. But that did not take the edge off my happiness at setting my second PR of the day. I really had thought that I had gotten to the age where PRs were out of the question. I have to believe all that time on the couch from being sick with mono really helped rest my legs.

    Oh, and the Lochte turn is here to stay for me. I don't always do it perfectly, but it is faster and I will get even more used to it over time.

    50 back, 30.27 PR/WR

    This was my last individual swim in the 50-54 age group in meters, and I went out with a bang. I was pretty tired after 50 free. I really didn't expect to go this fast on my third event of the day. So I was super shocked and super happy to see this time. I originally set my 30.58 WR five years ago when I was 50 and haven't been within a half second of it the last couple years, going a 31.0 last March. But I think my UWs have improved a tad as of late, and I killed them on this race taking the entire 15m on each length. I also decided to take an extra stroke at the finish after having a very very long glide at the Albatross meet. I banged my left hand on the finish and have a nice bruise now, but it was so worth it. Weeeee!

    Note: I just realized that my very first and very last swims in the 50-54 age group were WRs in the 50 back. What are the odds of that?

    200 mixed free relay, 1:45.1, 27.6 split

    I teamed up with Stewart, Scott Heber and Stephanie Stone for this relay. We were all tired; it was the very end of the meet. My legs felt especially dead after 3 events and so much SDKing. I went second, had a safe start and split a 27.6. I felt and had expected to be a lot slower. I was a little deep on my Lochte turn this time. Stewart had a great split too. Then he stepped up and did an 800 free relay right after ... I hit the shower and just enough time to get to Boston to catch my plane. I noticed our relay was not listed in the swimphone results. There was definitely some confusion on the scoreboard about which team was where. So hopefully that will get corrected.


    After feeling like I've been struggling mentally and physically for two years, this was an extremely gratifying meet for me with 3 PRs and a WR. I feel like I'm back on track and will have a lot more confidence heading into next year. Unless some unanticipated time pops into the database, I will be #1 in 100 back, 100 breast, 100 IM, 50 back, 50 fly and 50 free. 2nd in 50 breast bc a real breaststroker just broke the NR at the San Diego meet. Pretty darn happy with that result, and tickled that the #1s are in all four strokes.

    Looking ahead, I think I will focus on the Albatross meet in mid March and Canadian Nationals at the end of May (assuming that is SCM). Stewart mentioned that there is an indoor long course Zones meet at Texas A&M at the end of July. That would really be perfect for me. I don't plan on going to Oregon. We could team up for some very fast relays. Maybe Water Rat will even join us this time. Hint hint.

    I didn't get to sleep until after 2:00 am and am just dead from the traveling/racing. I didn't warm down after the relay, so may take myself off to LA Fitness for an easy swim. I'm usually dead for a couple days after a multi day taper meet and this one is no different. But it's nice to have a smile on my face while being exhausted.


    Updated December 14th, 2015 at 06:51 PM by The Fortress

    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  8. Sprint Classic, Oct. 25

    by , October 26th, 2015 at 11:14 AM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    I'm glad that I made the effort to go the Columbus Day Classic for some racing practice two weeks ago. While I still have technical improvements to make, I felt more prepared to race and my results were much better this time around. I had big drops in the 50 free and 50 breast, a very solid 50 fly and won The Battle of the Drop Dead Sprinters. And nary a scratch.

    50 fly, 26.41, 1st

    This race was well executed and I got off the blocks fast. My breakouts, often problematic, were very good. The only issue is that I finished the race with a foot to go, lol. I had to glide/kick in. But I was definitely correct not to take another stroke. I often swim the 50 fly at this meet and this is equivalent to my fastest time in October ... So I feel like this is an excellent start.

    50 free, 25.14, 3rd

    I went 25.8 two weeks ago, so this is a big drop. My glaring error in the race was that I breathed at the 2/3 mark on the first length again and felt like I had to take another breath at the flags to power the UWs. I'm like a pavlovian dog who's done it that way for so long that I'm on autopilot. I need to do some all out 25s and decide on a stroke count that will have me breathing at the flags instead. My Lochte turn was better this time around. I took 12 kicks on my back (instead of 10 before) and then 3 to spin to my belly and breakout. It felt really fast, so I think I will stick to this turn for the season. After the last couple years, I never really thought I'd get under 25 again. But this race makes me think that I can with a full taper and good execution.

    50 breast, 33.2, 1st

    I only had about 30 minutes rest before this race, but I popped out a good one. (Two weeks ago I was 34.0). Execution was about as good as it gets for me in breaststroke. I kept my stroke long this time. Unlike my other strokes, I don't have a fast turnover in breast. When I try to rush it, I seem to go slower. Super happy with this time.

    Battle of Drop Dead Sprinters, 1st

    I knew it would be a true battle with Fall W. She is the best sprinter in the 45-49 age group and the NR holder in the 100 IM. I figured I had the edge in fly and back and she had the edge in breast and free. I think I won by around .4 with a cumulative time of 51.08. I tried to get everything I could out of my starts and get off the blocks fast.

    25 fly, 11.64, 1st

    Whoa. I could not believe this time. A huge PR. I would have liked a snapshot of the 15 m mark as I took 1 more kick and 1 less stroke than usual. Perfect breakout, perfect finish, long strokes. Some of the guys were jealous of my time. This 25 probably won the Battle for me bc I had a .7 margin of victory.

    25 back, 12.96, 1st

    Very good. This might be my first time under 13 with electronic timing.

    25 breast, 14.78, 2nd

    This is a great time for me. Had a great start and was fast off the blocks.

    25 free, 11.70, 2nd

    Eh, botched this one a bit, and not my best time. I got off the blocks fast again, but had a really poor breakout and glidey finish. I find it a little amusing that my 25 fly was faster than this.


    So overall, I am very happy with the meet. My legs didn't feel as tired as at the last meet -- probably bc I had a few days of only easy swimming with not one fast kick or stroke. Interestingly, all of the 50s are under the current 55-59 NRs. I wish I was aging up before Nationals in yards ... My shoulders are sore from all the ballistic sprinting, but I am going to try to hit the gym today.


    Updated October 26th, 2015 at 01:25 PM by The Fortress

    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  9. Racing Rust, Columbus Day Classic, Oct. 10

    by , October 11th, 2015 at 12:18 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    It was good to be back in the saddle -- nice pool, well run meet. But, wow, did I make a lot of technical miscues on my races. Definitely some serious racing rust. Out of curiosity, I checked my blog to see how many races I'd swum in the last year or so. Not many. Exactly 9, with a 10th aborted for a cramp since April 2014. Lots of reasons -- two long summer holidays, injuries, living in Pittsburgh. I need to correct this if I want to have a good 2016. Racing makes you better at racing.

    50 free, 25.8

    The only good part of this race was that I got off the blocks fast. I didn't have a very tight streamline on the start, breathed too early and had to take a second breath before the turn. I also glided into the turn too much and lost some momentum. I executed the Lochte style turn pretty well, but felt like I had no legs the last part of the race. I probably need to work on my flutter kick more. I'm not sure the Lochte turn will help my 50 free that much. I've invested a fair amount of time in working on my side SDKs for my freestyle flip turn. But I should probably try it again at the Sprint Classic.

    50 back, 28.3

    I was a little flat on the start. My SDKs petered out a bit on both lengths, probably due to leg fatigue. I felt like I was spinning my arms a bit and botched the finish. I hit the flag at a half stroke and should have taken another stroke at the finish. Not a great time. But this was also likely a side effect of having done very little sprint backstroke while swimming outside all summer long.

    50 breast (split in 100), 34.0

    I was too tired to do an all out 100. It was a fast moving meet. So I opted for a 50 split. I felt like I had a great start. I just botched the finish again with a ridiculously long glide to the wall. If I had taken another stroke, I would have been a 33 high. Still this is the same time I did last year with way more rest. So it's quite respectable for right now.


    I didn't expect to be exceedingly fast at my first meet back, so these times are fairly solid. I hadn't rested much, and my legs were tired. I also had a hellishly long drive to DC in pouring rain with long delays on I70 due to multi car accidents, which didn't help matters. A sprinter friend also suggested that I might be a little "overtrained" for 50s. True, I haven't been training like Doug and Steve. But I think more rest would make me faster. In any event, I am planning on some 100s for my age up year, so need to do some training for those now too.

    I dashed back right after the meet to make it home in time to send off Lil Fort to her homecoming dance. She had been in Ohio for a XC invitational, posting a season PR, so was in good spirits. I almost didn't make it bc of the Ft. Pitt bridge closure and detour. The parkway and bridge closures here are the bain of my existence!

    Looking forward to more racing at the Sprint Classic!

    Updated October 11th, 2015 at 06:36 PM by The Fortress

    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  10. Zones, Day 2

    by , April 12th, 2015 at 09:31 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    I had resolved to just enjoy watching my friends race today. And I did! My Pitt swimmers swam very well, two of them having all PRs at Zones. My PV buddies had some great swims. It was so much fun hanging out with chowmi as well. And I learned that her brother has come to a couple of my practices! (She is from Pittsburgh.) She was quite speedy today and the master of good execution (and casual napping). We lament that we cannot be training partners!

    50 free, 25.5

    I decided just to swim 50 free, and I didn't have much punch for that. Given the situation, my modest goal was to go under :26. I went 25.5. Start and turn were fairly good, though I didn't take as many SDKs off the turn as I had planned. But I felt like I was staggering to the wall after that -- tired and no legs. Chowmi said there was lots of room for improvement and that is certainly true. Like Jazz, she encouraged me to focus on freestyle more. If I can go 25.5 feeling like crap on 5 days rest, I think I should be able to go under :25 again with a full taper. Right now that time is #1, but it might get bumped down a notch at nationals. I'm glad that I have times from Auburn in a few of my best events as a back up. But no taper times for me this year.


    But the bottom line is that I am feeling mentally and physically out of it. Between the allergic reaction, poor sleep, travel, mega antihistamines and continued hives, I'm beat. And that doesn't even account for the cumulative effect of the preceding sinus infection, ear infection and back issue. I feel like I've been doing battle for 2 months and I want out! Right now, I feel that I should cancel nationals and just rest up for a few days to allow the hives to fully abate. It's disappointing, but not the end of the world. I think all masters have to expect to have unscheduled difficulties befall them at the wrong time. That's just how it works out sometimes. And it certainly makes you appreciate the moments when all things coalesce marvelously. I will continue to mull ... but it seems unlikely that I can summon up the requisite enthusiasm for a long meet in a distant locale. And as of this am, my legs are still covered in hives. I am doing nothing today! I think once your body has an allergic reaction, it is then primed to be bothered by other allergens. With spring here, those are out in full force.

    I'm also wondering in the future about planning two major travel meets less than two weeks apart. This is probably not ideal for me. Focusing on one is probably the way to go. I miss living in PV where I could roll out of bed and go to a meet!

    I must confess to a little retail therapy yesterday after the meet. The shopping in Pittsburgh is not exactly the best. So I made a concerted effort to help the economy!

    Zone results are here:

    Updated April 13th, 2015 at 02:27 PM by The Fortress

    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  11. Bad Timing, Zones

    by , April 11th, 2015 at 08:47 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    I was still hiving whilst driving down to Zones yesterday. And I wasn't feeling great from a week of interrupted sleep from the hives and medicine. But I felt like I had to travel to Zones bc three of my swimmers were competing there. I'm so proud of them. They all had PRs today and one is likely to get her first top ten. So that was thrilling for me.

    My events didn't go so well. My 50 breast was 34.0. Half a second faster than last time and a Zones record, but .9 slower than last year. My 100 back was a non-starter. I cramped on the start. I muddled through the first 50 not kicking very hard, but my calf really seized up on the second turn and I aborted the race. Even with half ass kicks, I was still out in a fairly effortless 30.5. I didn't swim the 50 fly, which was right after. Didn't want to risk another cramp. I am disappointed about not being able to get a 100 back time this year ...

    Right now, though, I feel covered in hives again and so am loaded up in Benadryl. I'm not sure it was wise to try to compete after such a severe allergic reaction. I'm obviously not over it. At first I thought to myself that it was stupid to have rested a few days for Zones with nationals coming up. But I likely couldn't have trained hard anyway without compromising the situation further. The doctor said rest, rest, rest. Adding to the stress was some bad news about Mr Forts recent blood tests. He needs to see a urologist and hematologist. And he is supposed to run Boston next weekend.

    I thought about just driving home. But I'm here and my swimmers are here. Right now, I just plan to swim 50 free tomorrow. Maybe 100 fly. But honestly my heart is just not in it. At this juncture, I'm thinking of pulling the plug on nationals. I don't want to get all the way there and not feel amped to compete. And I don't right now; I'm a little deflated. It's been a hard couple months, and I feel worn down. As I told Water Rat once, and it resonated with him, I'm not a wind up monkey that can perform on cue. I'll see how I feel tomorrow and think about it for a couple days. It's not the end of the world, just a lot of bad timing.

    Updated April 11th, 2015 at 10:27 PM by The Fortress

    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  12. Zones, April 5-6

    by , April 7th, 2014 at 12:27 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    I left Thursday for VA with Lil Fort in tow. Unfortunately, the trip did not start off well. I couldn't fall asleep Thursday at our friends house and then their huge dog busted down my door and hopped on my bed at 6:30 am. I couldn't fall back asleep and felt like a zombie all day Friday. I promptly checked myself into a hotel for the next couple nights. Slept great Friday night, but not Saturday night. I wish I were a more talented sleeper because lack of sleep effects my racing.

    Anyhoo, I had a fabulously fun time at Zones despite those bumps. It was really fun to have my Team Pitt swimmers there with me and they all swam very well. I give Saturday an A, Sunday a B-.


    50 back, mixed 45+200 medley relay, 1st, 27.20 (split request), Zones record

    Was I ever happy to see this time! After my blech 50 back at Albatross, I wasn't sure what to expect. I was really just hoping to slide under 28. But this time I had a very good start and turn -- and from an end lane! This is only .16 hundredths off my NR set in Indy last year when I was on fire. So I was super super happy.

    50 fly, 25.96, 1st

    I was also thrilled with this time, which is a half second improvement from the Sprint Classic. I felt like I had a very good start, turn and UWs. My breakouts were not as bad as usual. The only glitch was that I had to glide into the finish. Without that glide, I might have matched the 25.7 I did in Indy (and in that race I nailed my finish). At this point, I felt like my meet was made with huge times in my two best events.

    50 free on womens 200 free relay, 25.1 leadoff

    I only had 5 heats of rest after my 50 fly, not nearly enough rest. So I guess 25.1 is pretty good considering that. If I had had another 30 minutes of rest, I feel like I would have been under 25. I also had a sub-par breakout on my second length.

    We went out for a team dinner after this (A for fun) I was hoping for another good night's sleep but it was not to be. I tossed and turned woke up early and tired (C- for sleep). My legs were more tired than usual as well. I think this is where doing the Columbus meet the weekend before might have effected me too.


    100 IM, 1:04.6, Zones record

    Well, this was pretty disappointing. I really think I should have been a 1:03. I might have stayed UW too much the first 50 and then I had a mishap on my breast to free turn. I had a major glide into the wall and then my foot slipped on the stainless steel wall at that end. I went into the wall even with my buddy Mollie and came out a half a body length behind. So far, this is the fastest time in the nation, but I suspect it might get knocked down a notch or two at nationals.

    50 free, mixed 45+ 200 free relay, 25.2 leadoff, 1st

    Again, I only had 5-6 heats of rest after the 100 IM, not enough to rip off a really good time. I didn't think this one through. What I should have done was skip the relay and do the individual 50 free. Then I would have had more rest. But who knows, I was pretty tired by this point in the meet.

    100 fly, 1:02.8

    After the 50 free, I announced I was scratching this event. Stick a fork in me, I was done. And since I don't train for this event at all, I was slightly worried about finishing it legally. Historically, the last half length has always been soooo difficult. Then, about 10 minutes before the event, I uncharacteristically decided to swim it for a top ten (again, channelling chowmi). I tried to loaf, loaf, loaf the first three lengths. I sort of coffee breaked the last turn, but did not die on the last length! After finishing, I was not nearly as tired as usual from this event and, in retrospect, wish I had picked it up on the third length. Oh well, at least this gives me some confidence to try the 100 in SCM again. And right now, it's the fastest time in the nation, though I suspect it will get knocked down a notch or two at nationals. One season, I feel like I should focus on this event. It was my best event as a kid and I know I can go much faster than this (last year I was only .7 off the NR). Untapped potential, it's just a matter of whether my shoulder could take the training.

    50 fly, womens 45+ 200 medley relay, 1st, 26.2

    I wish there was a break between individual events and relays at this meet ... Again, I only had 5 heats of rest after 100 fly before the relay. I guess I didn't leave it all in the water in the 100 fly because I popped off a 26.2 split with a very safe start.


    Another Zones in the books. On the whole, I'm happy with it, especially considering I've been rehabbing my shoulder the last couple weeks. I wish my 100s had been faster. But I find those respond better too a real taper and more rest. I didn't have a classic taper this year, just rested a bit for each meet. Mostly, I'm proud of myself -- in this year where I've been struggling and only training decently since January -- that I swam all 9 sprint events. I showed up. And I feel like I have at least some of my mojo back.

    The results from the Columbus meet have now been added back to the data base, so I was able to check my splits from my events there. My 100 breast I was out fast in a 33.9 (with a fantastic start) and I felt like it was controlled speed. That suggests to me that I could have gone faster than the 33.1 that I posted in the 50 breast last fall if I had had a chance to swim it again. My 100 back, which I didn't have much rest for after the 100 breast, was split 30.6/32.1. That's practically an even split with my start. I took it out conservatively (1.3 seconds slower than Nats last year). That suggests to me that I could easily have gone a second faster with more rest or if that had been my first event.

    In other good news, Lil Fort raced in a 5K this weekend and won the womens division. This was her first race since the move. She stopped running for the first 4 months of our move. I'm just grateful that she is getting back in the groove. It's been very hard on me seeing her so unhappy with the move.

    Updated April 7th, 2014 at 01:09 PM by The Fortress

    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  13. Columbus Meet, March 29

    by , March 30th, 2014 at 12:49 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    On Friday night, I travelled over to Columbus for a meet at Ohio State University. What a sweet pool that is -- deep, cold, clear and with wide lanes. I especially appreciated the wide lanes since it was a mixed gender meet. I was with one of my Pitt swimmers who was swimming in her first masters meet (she did great), so I had some company. The meet ran a bit faster than predicted and I was grateful for a couple 10 minute breaks. On the whole, I am really happen with how things went with 3 days of hard rest.

    100 breast, 1:13.4, PR

    I hadn't swum this event in over a year. My last attempt was a 1:15.0, so I was hoping to slide under that that time. Imagine my shock and happiness when I saw a 1:13 on the board. The race went well. I had a great start, though turns were a bit glidey. I guess those USRPT sets worked! I think there's only one swimmer in my age group (a real breaststroker) who can beat this time, so it should hold up well. I wish I had another crack at the 50 breast this season, but it doesn't fit into my Zones lineup.

    100 back, 1:02.6

    I had maybe 45 minutes rest and could have used more. The race went pretty well. I wish I could have taken a couple more kicks off the wall on the third and fourth length. But my UWs are not where I want them to be right now. Still, a 1:02 without a full taper and big meet vibe is a very solid time for me and I'm happy with it.

    100 free, 58.3

    Ok, admit it. No one thought I would swim all three 100s. And in less than 3 hours no less! I was pretty dead after my 100 back. I definitely do not train to compete in 3 x 100s in less than 3 hours. I've never done that before. In fact, it's an extremely rare occurrence when I swim 2 x 100s in one day at a meet. But I decided to give it whirl. My plan was kick to the 15 m mark, go easy speed for the first three lengths and sprint the final length. While that was a good plan, when I got to the last length, I had nothing and felt like I staggered to the finish. I think I should be a full second faster in this event. But that wasn't going to happen under these circumstances. This is my worst and least favorite sprint event, so I'm glad I got it out of the way and I can cross it off my Zones event list. This is about the same time I swam at Zones last year (when I missed a wall), and should make top ten (channeling chowmi here).


    Just did an easy recovery swim today (1800) . Feeling pretty sore, though happily my shoulder seems no worse than it was pre-meet. The constant rehab exercises and icing seem to be helping somewhat.

    There are now 563 swimmers entered in Zones.

    Updated March 30th, 2014 at 07:12 PM by The Fortress

    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  14. Albatross Meet, March 15

    by , March 16th, 2014 at 06:49 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Made it down to VA for the Albatross SCM meet. I definitely spent more time socializing than swimming and had a great time. The meet basically went awful-great-good.

    50 back, 31.4

    This was the awful part. I had an uncharacteristically bad start. The starter held us a long time and I had a major flinch. I went down a bit thinking the starter would tell us to relax. I mean, I had really moved and was still moving. But then the gun went off and I thought oh crap. So I wasn't in position, got off a bit late and was too shallow on the dive. My turn wasn't my best either. I was too shallow and took a kick or two fewer than usual. The result: my worst time in 5 years in this event. It was a little disheartening, but sh*t happens. I definitely need a do over of this event sometime this year.

    50 breast, 36.8, PR

    I only had 30-35 minutes of rest. I find I tend to have a good race after a bad race. Or maybe my breaststroke is just improving a bit. 36.8 is my best time and only .1 off the national record. I had a great start and hit my walls pretty well. So I was extremely pleased with this swim. At least I know I'm not completely washed up yet!

    50 fly, 29.6

    This is a pretty good time for me, my third best and faster than I went at NE Champs in Dec. I had a great start and perfect first length. Then I was too deep on my second breakout, costing me a few tenths. I always seem to have trouble right there. I need to practice ascending the kicks more.


    2 out of 3 isn't bad! I still don't feel great in the water. And 2+ months of solid training doesn't make up for 6 months of subpar training. I'm really going to keep trying to not fret about my times this year too much. I am still mulling over going to Canadian Nationals. It's about 6 hours from here. And it would probably be my last hurrah before going on my long vacations this summer. I'll see how I feel after Zones.
  15. Meet Mishap

    by , December 16th, 2013 at 11:04 AM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    I haven't had a bad meet in a long time, but I did this weekend at NE Champs. I felt awful in the water, fell apart the last half length in my races and committed technical miscues. I only swam three 50s and scratched the rest of my events and left early.

    50 fly, 29.9

    My hands were separated on the dive. Hard to have a good 50 after starting with major drag on the streamline. Then I could barely get my arms out of the water the last 3-4 strokes. This is about the same time I went at the Sprint Classic on only a few days rest.

    50 breast, 37.0

    My only decent event. This is my second best time. But had to short stroke both walls.

    50 free, 28.4

    Really, this was just awful. I dove in with my hands separated again. No idea why, I practice starts at Pitt frequently and this doesn't happen. I had nothing the last half length, no legs and breathed way too much. This is definitely worse than the 25.1 I swam at the Sprint Classic on little rest and way worse than my last tapered time of 24.6.


    So what happened? The possibilities:

    1. I was over tapered for my training. I may have rested too long. And I remember needing a recovery week before I started taper, so may have eased up too soon.

    2. My training was pretty sub par in general this fall and I need to do more conditioning work.

    3. I need to go back to lifting. A key benefit from lifting is that your muscles don't fatigue as quickly. My fly has felt pretty poor this fall after 7 months of no drylands. Our poor puppy is going to have to fend for herself for awhile while I go back to my prior training life. I am declaring this enforced experiment with no drylands a failure. It's been too long without drylands, I'm getting weak, and I'm lost muscle mass.

    4. I am human. This fall sucked for me on every level and I succumbed.

    5. I just had a random bad meet. Sh*t happens.

    6. I'm getting old.

    I'm going to look back over my blog to see what I've been doing in prior seasons. Though I guess it's hard to generalize from just one meet. And I'm going to forget about meets for awhile and just train for a couple months. The only good thing I can say about the meet is that my reaction time off the blocks was very fast. And it was great to see some swim friends!

    Updated December 16th, 2013 at 11:27 AM by The Fortress

    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  16. Sprint Classic, Oct. 27

    by , October 28th, 2013 at 11:34 AM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Back from a long, restorative weekend in VA. The highlights of the meet were seeing all my PV friends and defending my title in the Battle of the Drop Dead Sprinters. I was pretty pleased with the meet results. I've only competed one day since Indy Nats and the rust showed with a fair number of technical miscues. In retrospect, I wish I had rested a couple more days. And I will no longer get deep tissue massages 5 days before a meet; I wasn't fully recovered.

    50 fly, 26.4

    This was probably my worst race and the furthest off my PR. Got off the blocks fast, but went in a little on the left side of the line and then had an iffy first breakout. I pushed off too shallow on the turn, was forced to take 2 kicks less than planned, and had an even worse breakout. It was capped off by having to kick in to the finish. Still, last year my in season time was a 26.8 before dropping to time at zones and nationals. With a taper and better execution, I could easily chop half a second off. And anytime you're under 27, that's pretty darn fast.

    50 free, 25.1

    This was a solid race. Teen Fort had some friends in the stands (watching their HS coach compete in his first masters meet!) and they video'd the race for her. I had a good start (12 SDKs), breakout and fast turn. The only issue was that my flutter kick completely peetered out the last 10 yards. This could be either due to the legs not being rested or to the fact that I need to work more on flutter kick endurance. This is slightly faster than the 25.2 I posted in mid-season last year, probably due to taking more SDKs.

    50 breast, 33.1

    Uh, I had to take another look at the clock on this one. 33.1 in my third event of the day with only about 30+ minutes rest after the 50 free?! That's only .3 off the PR of 32.8 that I swam at Indy Nats and my second fastest time ever. I had extremely good breakouts in this race, rare for me in breast. But I had to short stroke both walls. So I was happy to see this time; I expected to swim at least .5+ slower. I may check this event off my list for the year and not worry about it.

    Battle of the Drop dead Sprinters:

    Fall didn't make it to the meet, but I had a good battle with a 24 year old college swimmer. I ended up with a cumulative time of 52.02. I won the battle with a large 1 second margin in the 25 back. Both fly and free were extremely close.

    25 fly, 11.98, 1st

    Perfect swim, and the first time I've ever been under 12. Last year, I was 12.30. I took one less stroke than usual, so was somewhat worried I was past the 15.

    25 back, 13.08, 1st

    Another very good swim, same time as I went last year.

    25 breast, 15.20, 1st (.05)

    Solid swim, great start, had to glide into the wall a bit. Barely hung on to beat a real breaststroker a few lanes away.

    25 free, 11.76, 1st (by .05)

    This was a bit of a half hearted effort. I knew I would win at this point and was freaking exhausted. I had a super long glide at the finish. Should definitely have taken another stroke. Just didn't feel like it.


    Overall very pleased with the results. I was dead after the meet and really feeling it this am. 250 AFAP yards of racing is about my max for 1 day. All my starts were very good this meet, so practicing them at Pitt probably helped. I really should get in a recovery swim today, but that will likely have to wait until tomorrow. Lots of errands to do! It was great to see all my friends in VA. I did lunch with Speedo who says he may hit some Patriot Masters practices this winter.
  17. Zones, Less is More, Day 2

    by , June 23rd, 2013 at 05:11 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Zones, Day 2

    -- scratched the evil events

    50 fly, 30.29, NR

    My start wasn't as crisp as usual. My feet were separated when I hit the water. Had just an OK breakout. My fly felt smooth, but my turnover slowed a bit the last 10 meters. Small glide at the finish. Solid swim, but not at the level of my SCY 50 fly at Nats. Still happy with the time! I broke the NR, but missed the WR by .05 (which was my goal for this meet). I was a tiny bit disappointed, but, given everything, I'll gladly take the 30.29. I'm also psyched to have the 50 fly record in all three courses, despite not being a long course swimmer.


    So I only swam 3 of my 6 individual events at this Zones meet. It was all I had the physical and mental energy for, and even that was pushing it. The timing of my malaise sucked, but one has to expect that as a masters swimmer. I'm glad I bucked up and swam the meet. The times were not PRs, but they were my best in my current age group and best non-tech suit times. And I am hopeful they will hold up as FINA #1s. I'll be watching the results at Mission for sure.

    The best part of the meet -- as usual -- was hanging out with PV friends and teammates. And it was nice to see Patrick, who closed out the meet with a nice looking 400 IM.

    Updated June 23rd, 2013 at 11:34 PM by The Fortress

    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  18. Zones, Day 1

    by , June 22nd, 2013 at 08:55 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    I didn't swim yesterday; felt too poorly. I felt somewhat better today, but was still tired with low energy. I think I needed a couple more days for a return to full health. Given that, I'm extremely happy with my times today. But, ouch, they felt rough.

    50 free, 28.6

    I had a great start (12 SDKs) and felt good for about 35-40 meters and then struggled to the wall with a long glide at the finish. I was expecting a 29, so was very happy to see 28.6. This is .6 faster than last year and only .4 off the WR. Probably due to doing more freestyle with healthier shoulders. But, yikes, I felt done after this.

    50 back, 32.41, WR

    I had about 50-55 minutes rest after 50 back, but with the way I feel this was not enough. I had another good start, but only felt strong for 25 meters. I had a half body length over Fall at that point, but she cruised by me. I just felt dead. I was pleased to dip under my WR by a few hundredths. But honestly, I feel like I should be a good half second faster. I can't seem to get back to my tech suit PR. I've had life issues before a focus meet 3 long course seasons in a row. Is this a message that I should stick to short course?

    I felt sickish in the warm down pool. Mollie said I was very flushed.

    Mixed 200 medley relay, 2nd

    I swam the backstroke leg. I was exhausted so decided to slow down my turnover and build it. Went 33.1. John, Cheryl and Alex were all very speedy, but we got nipped by VMST -- probably because Chris Stevenson crushed me on the backstroke leg!


    I thought I had purchased a ticket for the social, but apparently I had not. This was fine as I went out for fabulous barbecue with my team, which is now full of fast boys who like to compete. We went to Buzz & Ned's and it lived up to its rave reviews.

    I'm now back in my room cursing myself for once again forgetting my compression garments. My upper body takes more of a beating in long course.

    I'm going to scratch the 50 breast tomorrow. I have the same 50-55 minutes rest before 50 fly. But I want to save whatever energy I have for fly without the evilstroke evilly interfering. 50 fly was my focus event for this meet after all, so I'm going to focus on it. The 100 breast is only 15 minutes after 50 fly. Who thinks I'll make it to the starting blocks?

    Considering all I have going on with the move and the girls, I feel lucky to have even gotten in a long course meet. Our summer league team won its first A meet today and Lil Fort had PRs in 50 breast and 50 fly. She dropped three seconds in breast, and I'm wondering if she's becoming a bit of an evilstroker ...

    Updated June 23rd, 2013 at 11:59 AM by The Fortress

    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  19. Indy, Day 3

    by , May 13th, 2013 at 12:31 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Yesterday was the third day of a great meet for me. Nationals have been somewhat difficult for me as of late (labral tear, elbow tear, insomnia, power outages, etc.) But this meet I was healthy, uninjured and got at least a semblance of shut eye. And it really paid off with 6 PRs, 3 NRs and near misses on 2 other NRs.

    Day 3:

    I felt pretty good during warm up, just some leg fatigue. By day three, when you're UW 15 meters for all your races, leg fatigue is inevitable.

    100 back, 1:01.30, PR, Missed NR by .01:

    I'm not gonna lie. I looked up at the time and was a little heartbroken. I would rather have swum a 1:01.5. My splits were good -- 29.3 & 31.9. But I didn't have the leg power on the second 50, especially the last 25, and that cost me. My turns were a little glidey (2 strokes before flipping) and my entry on my start could have been cleaner. I let myself be disappointed during my warm down and then shrugged it off. The time was still a PR and I have been the beneficiary of a .01 swing on other occasions. Plus, it will still be the AA time this year since Karlyn swam a 1:01.7 earlier this year. I knew swimming this on day 3 wouldn't be ideal, so I will have to figure out when and where to swim it rested. Certainly keeps me hungry! And I am encouraged since I still feel like my 100 training wasn't ideal this season.

    Here's a vid that Stud took with a nice "dammit" at the end:

    50 free, 24.67, PR/NR

    I used to dislike the 50 free. But since it occurred to me that I could try SDK-ing on the start, I like it more and may start swimming it more often. I had a tad slow reaction time compared to my other swims. I took 11 kicks on the start and from the vid it looks like that took me to about 13 meters. Then, I took 9 rather than my usual 5-6 on the turn. My breakouts didn't look great (lack of access to blocks). My flutter kick/leg drive looked really solid until right at the end. I was thrilled with the time! I knew 1980 Olympian Sue Walsh had swum a 24.7 last month, so knew I had to improve on my Zones time of 24.86. Really happy with this for the final event of a 3 day meet. Ellen and Stud took vids. I think that is Teen Fort screaming at the end.


    Best event: 50 fly
    Most Frustrating event: 100 back

    Here's a couple other vids from the meet:

    50 back:

    50 fly vid:
    -- shows a total of 13 strokes and a glidey turn

    100 IM vid:
    -- no SDK on breast to free turn
    -- did not need that breath inside the flags

    Battle Plan:

    I'm going to reboot for LCM Zones in late June. I'll be moving in late July, so July and August I will likely not be as laser focused on swimming. And I have to find a place to train in Pitt. As for next SCY season, I will not go to Santa Clara -- shallow outdoor pool. I may focus on the Harvard SCY meet and Colonies Zones SCY instead. Onward!

    Teen Fort did not have a great meet. She didn't taper enough. But she ended with a great race in the 200 breast, taking the win in the final 5 yards. She hadn't swam that race since age 14. Funny, that her best race was the 200 breast and mine was the 50 fly! She did enjoy the experience and meeting lots of masters. I think she will talk up masters swimming in college next year and she may swim at LCM Nats at U of Md next summer.

    Updated May 13th, 2013 at 06:30 PM by The Fortress

    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  20. Indy, Day 2

    by , May 11th, 2013 at 11:12 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Had a fantastic time at the form/stalker dinner last night, meeting lots of new folk. One of them (same age) actually has a son the same year same college as Fort Son. Small world. Had a semi decent nights sleep for a traveling insomniac. The only am emergency was that Teen Fort lost a contact in the am and hadn't brought any replacements. Ack. I've learned the hard way to pack extras after swimming a one eyed day at Zones one year. In any event, I had a great day two and am so excited I fear I wont fall asleep.

    50 fly, 25.70, NR/PR

    I really thought that I would not swim faster than Zones where I had perfect walls. In fact, I had a wager on it. But I decided to use my nose clip for the first time in fly and took an extra kick on the second length. That and a little more rest allowed me to shave off .2. I did have a slight glide at the turn. The ever witty Ellen took a vid (thx!) and I counted 13 strokes. I didn't quite take the whole 30 meters UW, but was fairly close. Comparing vids, I can see my DPS has improved in fly since Greensboro; it felt long and powerful. Very happy about that swim.

    100 IM, 1:02.3, PR

    I hadn't swum the 100 IM in SCY in 2 years and never at nationals, so was a tad nervous. But very caffeinated! I missed the NR by .2 and it was all in my breast to free turn. I glided in and then, brain fart, didn't SDK off the wall. Maybe my legs where telling my brain they were done. I wanted at least a body length lead at the 50, and went out n 27.7 (12 + 12 SDK). Fast, but it didn't feel excessive. Did not have a particularly speedy evil leg, and lost some ground there to a real evilstroker. But my free leg was fairly solid and I pulled away a bit at the end. So psyched about the time! A PR by 2 seconds.


    Really hoping for some sleep tonight. Tomorrow 100 back and 50 free. It could be the first nationals ever where I don't scratch an event. . The speedy Water Rat beat me to it!

    Updated May 11th, 2013 at 11:46 PM by The Fortress

    Masters Swim Meets / Events
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