Friday, March 11, 2011

Close of the Swim Team Season

On March 6, 2011, I competed in my fourth swim meet as a member of a Masters Swim team. Until this season, I had never swam competitively, and before fall 2009, I had never swam at all. Alas, the swim team season has ended and I must wait until next fall to compete again. I look forward to participating again next season. The prospect of racing again gives me a great incentive to keep training throughout the spring and summer. I just can't wait.

My mood is quite a bit more positive now (after my fourth competition) compared to my mood after my second competition in December 2010. In December I swam the 200-yard freestyle and got physically sick from the exertion. I did not pace myself and I swam past the point of exhaustion. It wasn't fun. Since then I've done the 100-yard freestyle and the 100-yard individual medley, and for both I was appropriately tired but not awfully fatigued. In fact, the 100-yard individual medley (IM) was my last swim on March 6, and I was triumphant if I don't say myself!

I had submitted a seed time of 1:41 upon the recommendation of my swim coach. Actually, he recommended 1:40 and I added a second to that because I figured his suggestion would be a little fast for my comfort. As it turned out, I swam the race in 1:28. The race began with a fairly good dive and then 25-yards of butterfly. I felt powerful as with each stroke my lower legs came out of the water and then struck it with some force. I was already a few body lengths ahead of my competitors by the time I reached the wall and began backstroke. I had recently worked on my backstroke with my coach. He had me rotate my arms out of the water right next to my head ("armpit to ear"), and then extend them as far in front of me as possible. Somehow this made backstroke less tiresome for me--probably because this resulted in better rotation of the body axis and a greater pull of water with each stroke. I was glad to show it off during the IM.

By the 50-yard mark I was out of breath. I hadn't done much breathing during the butterfly stroke, and the backstroke worked me hard. I also knew that my breaststroke was my worst stroke, and I find the transition from backstroke to breaststroke a little weird, too. The reason my breaststroke is my worst stroke is because I thought I knew how to do it, and then my coach pointed out that my kick is late. I've been trying to correct this without success. I'm a bit self-conscious of the stroke now because I know I'm doing it wrong. Anyway, I tried to do it right during the race and as a consequence I got my timing all screwed up. This loss of coordination in my stroke actually led me to try to breathe while still under the water, and that's never good! By the time I got to the far wall, I was ready for that stroke to be over. It was time for freestyle, and as I turned to start freestyle, I took a full second to catch a breath and look to see where my competitors were (I was in lane 6 so I couldn't see most of them when swimming). They were all at the far end of the wall, a full 25 yards behind me. With an inner grin, I started my freestyle stroke and proceeded at a fairly leisurely pace to the end. The pressure was off; I had won, and there was no need to exhaust myself. I'll do that the next time, as I will have a personal best to beat. This race set the benchmark for my future races.

It is worth mentioning that I swam in two other races. I completed the 25-yard breaststroke in 18.53 seconds. I don't have another race to compare that to, but it seems to be on par with my 39.72 second 50-yard breaststroke race in December. I also swam the 25-yard freestyle race. My time was 15.31 seconds, which beat my previous time of 15.86 seconds.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog and can I just say wow - as someone who just started swimmming last year and still struggles with every stroke - I am very impressed by how far you've come in such a short period of time. Have you always had a coach? I'm sure that makes a difference. I'm trying to "self-teach" - probably not the best idea!