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An Unfinished Swim

These are my thoughts after returning to the pool after ten years of absence. A lot of history, a little humor, and always, the idea that there is an unfinished swim in front of you.

  1. 5 month summary

    by , December 8th, 2014 at 02:51 AM (An Unfinished Swim)

    Started July 3, 2014

    2-3x a week for the first two months. No swimming two days in a row, two days off between workouts.

    3x a week for the next 3 months. I still have not swam two days in a row, but limit my two days off in a row to once a week.

    Averaging 25 miles a month. Practices are anywhere from 3000-4000 yards/meters. No coach.


    Long warmup, typically 800-1000 meters/yards.

    Main set usually 1000 meters/yards total, like 10 x 100 free or back. Interval on 100 free in meters is 2:00 with the goal of coming in at 1:20-1:25. Need at least 30 seconds of rest to recover it seems.

    Goof-off set of pulling and kicking because I love to pull and kick. Focus is on breathing, rotation, hand entry. Kick is for conditioning.

    50 meter/yard sprints at the end, no time limit on rest, focusing on speed and quality. Typically do 300-500 meters/yards. Include some warm down/recovery 50s while doing the sprints. Always for time.

    200 warmdown


    Oct 5, 2014 - Swim meet. 3 months in. 30.11 50 free scm. 35.76 50 back scm.

    As a reference, 28.64 50 free scm was my best time in 2004 after eight years of swimming, doing 7-8 workouts a week, 1.5 hrs morning and 2.5 hours afternoon.

    Nov 23, 2014 - Swim meet. 4.5 months in. 29.87 50 free scm. 1:27.31 100 breast scm. 33.26 50 fly scm.

    Dec 6-7, 2014. Swim meet. 5 months in. 29.74 50 free scm. 35.29 50 back scm. 1:17.29 100 back scm.

    Other Notes

    Have issues with breaststroke kick due to injury from several years ago from running. Have to be careful about not kicking too much or it will get aggravated and I won't be able to swim breaststroke.

    Diet slightly better. Not enough fruits or veggies still. Beer is very dehydrating. Weight is about 125 lbs which is normal.

    Need to start stretching more. Lots of shoulder and neck tightness. Might need to go to chiropractor.

    Happy attitude. Winning races. Feeling healthier. Feeling stronger.

    Need to consider going swimming one extra day a week. Less is more is working right now, but don't know for how long. Only 1 second off best time in 50 free.
  2. Pools Part 4

    by , October 17th, 2014 at 06:04 AM (An Unfinished Swim)
    31. West Valley High School (Cottonwood, CA)
    32. Carson Aquatic Facility (Carson, NV)

    33. James Lemos Swimming Center (Benicia, CA)

    Can't Remember

    1. Spring 2002 Far Westerns in Walnut Creek, CA
  3. Pools Part 3

    by , October 16th, 2014 at 06:05 AM (An Unfinished Swim)
    21. Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI)
    22. Hope College (Holland, MI)

    23. Carthage College (Kenosha, WI)

    24. Grinnell College (Grinnell, IA)

    25. Betty Kelly Kenning Pool (Nassau, Bahamas)

    26. Stadio Olimpico del Nuoto (Rome, Italy)

    27. Forum Roma Sports Center (Rome, Italy)

    28. Loma Linda University (Loma Linda, CA)

    29. Redlands YMCA (Redlands, CA)

    30. Shasta High School (Redding, CA)

  4. Pools Part 2

    by , October 16th, 2014 at 05:59 AM (An Unfinished Swim)
    Part 2 of my project. I guess only 10 pictures are allowed per a post, so I'm going to just do 10 pools at a time in the event that I find photos later.

    11. Charles Brooks Swimming Pool (Woodland, CA)
    12. UC Berkeley King Pool (Berkeley, CA)
    13. Lembi Aquatic Center (Folsom, CA)

    14. Oceana High School Jean E. Brink Pool (Pacifica, CA)
    15. Sierra College Pool (Rocklin, CA)
    16. Palm Desert Aquatic Center (Palm Desert, CA)
    17. Lake Forest College (Lake Forest, IL)
    18. Washington University (St. Louis, Missouri)

    19. Wheaton College (Wheaton, IL)

    20. Lawrence University (Appleton, WI)

    Updated October 22nd, 2014 at 11:39 AM by mo89564

  5. A Fun Project

    by , October 15th, 2014 at 02:29 PM (An Unfinished Swim)
    I recently saw another blog where the person listed all the pools they have swum or competed in. Way to take me back to my teenage years and remember all those pools!

    It sounded like a fun little thing to do, so I'm going to try and get as many of those pools listed. I had forgotten about a lot of them until I went through my old swim times log (another project!). I tried to find pictures for as many as I could, but even in this day and age, there's not a lot of info.

    1. Shasta College (Redding, CA)

    2. Shasta County YMCA (Redding, CA)

    3. Sun Oaks (Redding, CA)

    4. Arcata Community Pool (Arcata, CA)

    4. Paradise Aquatic Park (Paradise, CA)
    5. The Plunge/Redding Aquatic Center (Redding, CA)
    6. Enterprise High School (Redding, CA)
    7. McGlynn Pool (Red Bluff, CA)

    8. Red Bluff High School (Red Bluff, CA)
    9. Lowden Park (Weaverville, CA)
    10. Ringe Pool (Yreka, CA)

  6. Looking Behind

    by , September 7th, 2014 at 08:29 AM (An Unfinished Swim)
    The dog days of summer were upon me. Summer was always my favorite season of swimming. Meets every other weekend, the once a week lake swim with our coach instead of a traditional pool practice, and of course, no school to sap your time and energy. It would only seem appropriate that I would choose to begin swimming again during the summer.

    As I drove down to the aquatic center, I was slightly nervous. This was a new pool with people I didn't know. How many people would be there swimming laps? Would they be college students doing full, blown-out practices including a mandatory 200 meter fly for time? Would they be what I had encountered at the YMCA in 2008, a bunch of self-righteous "I own the pool" people who refuse to budge from swimming an entire practice backstroke? Maybe they wouldn't be swimmers at all. The lady who yells at you not to splash too much because she doesn't want to get her hair wet. The creepy old man who "swims" just so he can wear a speedo and oogle at women. Or maybe they'd be like me. A "former" swimmer. And although I had never thought of myself like that, I realized that the time I had been away was greater than the time I had actually been one.

    You see, I started swimming at the age of 11. I practiced 1 hour a day with a group of kids who were from 7 to 12 years old. I didn't start off fast, but I was consistent and swimming was fun. By the time I was 13, I had moved to the "senior" group which consisted of the 13-18 year olds. In order to get into that group, you had to do a set of 20x100s on a 1:30 or 1:35. I had managed to do the set, but had just about killed myself in the process. Needless to say, I was one of the slower swimmers in the group. I continued to work hard and improved quickly once I was in high school. By the time I graduated, I was definitely faster and confident that I would continue improving.

    I left home and went to a college 2000 miles away from my hometown. It was a division III school as I had never bothered to see if I could get a swimming scholarship; I received far more academic scholarships and the concept of a "full-ride" on an athletic scholarship was no longer possible, even for many of the best swimmers.

    I swam with my college team for 2 years and was exposed to some of the hardest workouts. I had been branded a "distance" swimmer while in high school and hated it. The 500 free wasn't a bad or hard event, I just didn't find it fun. So, I had determined to make myself a sprinter. It worked. Although my coach noticed that I had a stroke that was ideal for the 200 yard free, my times in the 50 and 100 were just better. At the end of my sophomore year, I posted all best times in every event I swam with the exception of the butterfly, my worst stroke. But I was tired. I had planned to study abroad the spring semester of my junior year and knew that I could swim with the team in October-December at the start of the season and miss out on the conference championships in February, or I could just not swim at all. It was a surprisingly easy decision to make, given the brutal workouts. I swam to compete and was sick of training. There was no way I was going to endure all that just to endure it. In February of 2004, I raced my last races. I did extremely good and felt it was time to move on from swimming.

    Until now.

    Going back to that first day, all the nervousness faded once I saw the pool and the people. They were like me. Maybe slower or not as technically proficient, but they were enjoying it. That's what I had missed.

    Updated October 22nd, 2014 at 11:56 AM by mo89564

  7. Looking Ahead

    by , September 6th, 2014 at 09:42 AM (An Unfinished Swim)
    What an interesting two months it has been. After ten years out of the water, it was hard to know what to expect. What was my body capable of? Would I have the desire to continue? Did I really want to get back into a sport I burned out on?

    For years, it just wasn't possible. My job required me to work 12 hours a day and with an hour commute each way, finding time for sleep was difficult. Then there was the problem of where to swim. I lived about an hour away from the nearest pool and given my work schedule, it was not surprising that the pool would be closing the same time I got off work and opened a half-hour before I was supposed to be at work. I let it go. I took up other hobbies. I fulfilled my dream of becoming a pilot. I became an avid photographer. I traveled the world and took places off my bucket list. I had made one half-hearted attempt in 2008 by signing up as a USMS member. I went to an old 20-yard YMCA pool without lane lines and did about 500 yards, dodging elderly people doing backstroke diagonally and left after too many near misses.

    I still missed swimming. Not necessarily the workouts or two times a day practices that I had endured, as I suspect was what burnt me out, but non-tangible things.

    I was lucky to move to the city I work in back in January. The 12-hour days had been reduced to 11-hours and I had a five-minute commute. The city had just built a beautiful aquatic center that boasted a 50 meter by 25 yard pool. It was just 10 minutes from my house, and open from 5:30 am to 7 pm for lap swimming.

    In July I decided I needed to swim again. I pulled out a big box with probably about 15 old swimsuits that I had acquired during my 8-year career as a swimmer. My swimsuit from my senior year of high school was in the box. As I went through the suits, I quickly realized that while most of them still fit, they were just too old and were falling apart. Had it really been that long? I found two brand-new Nike swimsuits that I had purchased in 2003 off of ebay. They still had the tags on, but I could hear the fabric "stretching out" as I managed to wiggle it on. It was way too tight to pass off as a practice suit. I had forgotten about the days when swimmers would try to squeeze into the tiniest suit possible and it made me chuckle to think of myself doing that.

    Realizing that I couldn't swim without a "real" suit (my poor Victoria's Secret bikinis would have to wait for the beach), and also needing a new cap and set of goggles, I headed to the Sports Authority in town. I had no idea what my suit size was anymore, so my usual ordering online was out of the question.

    I picked out a swimsuit, two pairs of goggles, and two caps to purchase. I had no idea why, at that moment, I started to feel a sense of excitement. Was it because I was finally doing it? Stopped making excuses not to? Or was it just exciting to go do something I once loved? I couldn't answer that question then. I would have to find out.

    To be continued.

    Updated October 22nd, 2014 at 11:43 AM by mo89564

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