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Thread: new to swimming regularly - 50 yard freestyle

  1. #1
    Participating Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Bainbridge, GA

    new to swimming regularly - 50 yard freestyle

    I just started a "class" where I am working with an instructor in improving my swimming technique. I am 60 years old and newly retired and I am now taking the time to exercise. I am out of shape and overweight, but love swimming and am looking forward to becoming a stronger swimmer to improve my health and all the benefits that come with it.

    So, today, I told my instructor I wanted to see how fast (um, slow) it would take me to swim 50 yard freestyle to get a baseline on swimming time. It took me 76 seconds (1 min 16 seconds). I looked up the record time for women age 60-64 and it was right under 30 seconds - so I am in awe of someone can swim that fast.

    It's not my goal necessarily to compete or go faster as it is to be a better, more efficient swimmer, so learning the basics and working on certain areas is where I am.

    However, I am wondering how some of you started and where you are now compared to when you started - just to hear people's stories, especially those of you who are a little older. I look forward to hearing from others or directing me to a place where I can read about these stories!


  2. #2
    Very Active Member Mark Usher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Sarasota, FL

    Re: new to swimming regularly - 50 yard freestyle

    Hi Cathy,

    First, congratulations on making the commitment to improving your health and lifestyle!

    I'm 63.

    I swam on a club team as a kid until I was 15, then quit to pursue other interests (football, wrestling, girls, etc.).

    I stayed active over the years, but really didn't do any serious swimming again until age 50 when I started doing triathlons. Due to some nagging running injuries I decided to go back to just swimming full-time early last year.

    When I was competing in triathlons I was generally swimming at a pace around 1:50/100 yards for open water races from 400 yards up to 1500 meters on a minimal amount of swim training. Not fast for serious swimmers, but competitive for my age group in triathlon, and leaving me with gas in the tank for the bike and run.

    The masters team I joined last year had a coach who was an excellent stroke technician. She worked a lot with me on my technique and got my 100 yard times down into the mid 1:20's within about eight months.

    I swim 5-6 days per week and have logged 500,000 yards in the past year.

    I've also spent a lot of time over the past year working on my other strokes. I've made a lot of progress with my butterfly and backstroke, but breaststroke continues to frustrate me.

    I enjoy competing in Masters meets, both to challenge myself and for the social aspect. I know I don't have the time, talent, or ability to ever be super fast, but I still love that I'm able to go to the pool in the mornings and work hard to get better.

  3. #3
    "Don't float through life orca1946's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Hampshire, il - U S A

    Re: new to swimming regularly - 50 yard freestyle

    Keep going. I recently taught a iran/Iraq war vet how to swim. To start with, he could swim as far as he could hold his breath. After working with him every week to learn how to breathe on the side and pull with a flat hand to push the water back & him forward , he progressed to 50 -75- 100 -150 and after 6 months--- he swam 500 yards nonstop. he is 6ft. 2 and 260 lbs. with war injuries to his shoulder and head. I felt really good helping him reach his goals and we are good friends .

  4. #4
    Very Active Member Sumorunner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Latham, NY

    Re: new to swimming regularly - 50 yard freestyle

    I'm 68, been swimming laps on and off for over 30 years as cross-training because I've been primarily a runner. I never timed myself swimming until January after my kids bought me a swim watch for Xmas. Being an endurance type, I never cared what my short distance times were. Mostly I record times for 1000 yards or more at 2.5 to 3 minutes per 100yd. Can I go faster? Yes, I can do just under 1 minute for 50yd or 26-27 sec. for 25yd, but I would much rather do a faster mile. In the swimming world 1650yd (close to 1500 meters) is a benchmark. I did time a couple of those around 42 minutes which is rather slow even for my age.

  5. #5
    Very Active Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Dover, DE

    Re: new to swimming regularly - 50 yard freestyle

    I am 50 and have belonged to a Master's club for 8 months. I was already in pretty good shape from cycling and taekwondo, but have no prior swim team experience. I did swim to cross train during hot summer weather when cycling is less appealing. I improved my 50 yard time from 1:15 or so when I started to a personal best of 45 seconds (or 50 seconds reliably) in about six months. I think a combination of better form and conditioning. The improvements are not coming so quickly now. I improved my 400 yard time of 14:45 from barely being able to do 400 free without switching to breast or back to 8:38. I can now swim a mile in under 40 minutes, which was what I was working toward. I have started competing in multi sport and open water this year so longer distances are what I am mostly training for. However, I definitely see that working on short distance intervals does have tremendous fitness value that has helped my longer distances.

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