Sunday, September 11, 2011

Back in the saddle

Date: Sunday, September 11, 2011
Time: 9:15 a.m.
Short Course Yards
288 days to Trials

At the gym
Five minutes shoulder warmups

Sitting bench press (15@110, 12@130, 10@150)

Sitting leg press (15@150, 12@180, 10@200)

Standing lat pull (15@50, 12@60, 10@75)

Hamstring curls (15@70, 12@90, 10@110)

Fifteen minutes abdominal work and stretching

(Gym workout time: 50 minutes)

At the pool (10:30 start)

20x50 on :50
1-4 kick/swim, 5-8 drill/swim, 9-12 stroke/free, 13-16 free, 17-20 IM order
(Averaged :35 each 50)

4x300 free
#1 on 4:00 (3:30)
#2 on 3:45 (3:24)
#3 on 3:30 (3:15)
#4 faster than #3 (3:16)
(Note: I did not wear paddles. If a set allows for paddles -- or even a pull buoy -- I do not use them. I prefer to swim under my own power.)

50 easy

10x25 on :35 with pull buoy around ankles or kickboard between thighs
Averaged :18 seconds per repeat, just swimming easy. Did free for 1-4, back on 5-7 and breast on 8-10. Good set for core engagement, especially on breaststroke!

7x (3x100 on 1:30), with third 100 in each round fast
Round 1 backstroke: 1:02 (slowed down last 25 when I felt a cramp coming on in my leg)
Round 2 freestyle: :57
Round 3 backstroke: 1:00
Round 4 freestyle: :56

Round 5 backstroke: 59.3
Round 6 freestyle: 56.5
Round 7 backstroke: 59.1

200 breast kick easy

 4800 yards

Today's workout exemplifies why I rarely attend the Sunday workouts at Phoenix Swim Club! (That and the fact that I'm in Tucson most weekends.) The main sets didn't offer much time to rest, which is great for building endurance, but the sprinter in me would have loved to fully recover more on the last set, to try and do some race pace swims for the first time this season. As it was, I was two seconds off my fastest 100 free and back from a push on the set, which isn't too bad. Had I really put forth the effort and gone all out, I might have crashed hard halfway through the set. I was glad I made it to the end! I did promise my coach, Mark Rankin, that I would attend Sunday workout once a month, so I've fulfilled my promise for September!

Since I did not swim on Friday or Saturday, I needed more than 1000 yards to get back into the rhythm. That set of 300s was brutal. My lanemates made me go first despite my objections. Alan Carter seems to be back in the groove. He swam a 2:50 on his final 300 (with paddles).

I will claim a small victory over Alan today. He did backstroke on the fifth round, and I got my hand on the wall about a second before him. Again, it's a small victory. He'll probably pummel me when he shaves and tapers.

I decided to go to the gym before workout because I hadn't lifted weights in more than a week. I figured a fairly good weight session would even give my muscles a little boost in the pool. Everything (including my lats) felt great until the end of the set of 300s.

I want to tell you about some things I learned on Saturday at the ASCA clinic in San Diego. SwimmingWorld.TV was filming a talk Matt Kredich was giving on some of the exercises his team does on the Vasa Trainer, and when the scheduled demonstrator did not show up, Matt enlisted my help. I do Vasa Trainer work often, but nto as much as  I probably should. I was very much into Vasa Trainer work in 2009, but haven't done regular sessions in the past two years. After today, I will be stepping up the routine.

Matt, the head coach at the University of Tennessee, showed how the device helps his swimmers recognize the arm angles needed for pulling in freestyle, backstroke and butterfly (as well as the breaststroke pullout). I wasn't aware that the true strength of the pull comes from the forearm in free, back and fly. It gave me something to work on today in the pool, and I agree that the pull is stronger! I noticed that the hitch I had in my freestyle virtually disappeared, and I had a better grip on the water in backstroke. As for the breaststroke kick, you can use a pulley system attached to your ankles to work on strengthening your hamstrings, which is important for a quick leg recovery on breast kick. He also pointed out that too many swimmers drop their knees on the breast kick, which is obviously counterproductive. I always thought it was necessary in order to set up for a powerful kick. This might be a tough one to change. My kick isn't great as it is, but when you put the focus on the hamstrings, it gets worse. I felt a difference in the easy kick I did at the end of workout, but I am not sure if it would be faster. We'll see on Friday during kicking day, and I'll think about it while swimming breast throughout the week.

I'm glad to be back in Phoenix! I should be very consistent with training for the remainder of the season, since I don't have any travel plans for work or personal reasons. In a couple of weeks, the endurance training phase ends, and the sprint training kicks into full gear for my taper meet in December.


  1. Thanks for doing this blog. Look forward to following you this year! I'm in my 2nd year of masters swimming after being away for 24 years. Did my first meet (nationals in Auburn) last Summer. Prior to that last meet was Jr. nationals in 1986. Will compete more this year (breastroke!!) good luck with your training. amazing what you did in Qualifying for the trials!

  2. Hey, Duckman! Sorry it's taken me so long to reply to you.

    I'm glad you're back in the pool! I'm sure our paths will cross at a future Masters meet. Maybe summer nationals next summer in Omaha?