My Swim Times Over Time

Over the weekend it came to me that I can find any swim time I've ever swam as a USMS swimmer.  Here are my Short Course Yard times:
These are the key times for my 2009 USMS National Entries.  Although I do plan on using converted times from SCM (short course meters.)  Most of my swims have been in SCM meets.  Between IGLA, Gay Games and SCM Regionals in Long Beach.  Longer meets with more events and faster times for me.



It's nice to see some of my times get faster while some others have hit a wall.  The 1500 is my favorite one looking back over the years.  In Long Course Meters I've only swam at one meet so I have almost no times.

My 1500 SCM

Here are my official splits in this past weekends 1500 SCM Freestyle LINK:

1:07.77 (35.19)
1:43.84 (36.07)
2:19.60 (35.76)
2:55.62 (36.02)
3:31.81 (36.19)
4:08.00 (36.19)
4:44.01 (36.01)
5:20.45 (36.44)
5:56.73 (36.28)
6:32.94 (36.21)
7:09.37 (36.43)
7:45.66 (36.29)
8:21.89 (36.23)
8:58.01 (36.12)
9:34.21 (36.20)
10:10.33 (36.12)
10:46.47 (36.14)
11:22.85 (36.38)
11:58.71 (35.86)
12:34.90 (36.19)
13:11.19 (36.29)
13:47.69 (36.50)
14:24.04 (36.35)
15:00.67 (36.63)
15:37.20 (36.53)
16:13.76 (36.56)
16:50.87 (37.11)
17:27.11 (36.24)
18:02.14 (35.03)

So my new official time is 18:0214. I finished 1st in my age group 35-39. I then checked to see the top swims for all age groups for the men in this event:

1. 16:40.10
2. 16:34.06
3. 16:54.69
4. 18:02.14 ME!
5. 18:05.92
6. 18:07.37
7. 18:09.29
8. 18:24.20
9. 18:39.00
10. 18:43.97

Damn. I need to drop another minute still! After this swim I had made my new goal time of breaking 18 minutes but now I'm shooting for 17:30! I got one year!

And you can't go with out giving props to the 80 year old man who swam the 1500 in 32:07.74. That man is truly a great swimmer!

Mental Toughness & Swimming

This morning at workout our coach told us all to visualize our races before hand.  To get us motivated for the race and to erase away any doubt.  Normally I do this minutes before I get on the block.  I find a song in my head and try to focus on the beat and how it relates to my swimming.  I try to keep positive during the race even when I'm doing 65 flip turns in a 1650.  Swimming a 1650 or 1500 allows ones mind to start to let doubt sink in.  I've swam a few races when around the 1,000 meter mark I wanted to call it quits.  But I don't allow myself to think that way anymore and it seems to be benefiting my swim times. 

On the topic of mental toughness I found an article at the University of Texas website LINK that not only talks about how an athlete's mental toughness is as important as physical strength it also has a Q&A with Olympic Swimmer Garrett Weber-Gale LINK.

Here is a little bit of what Garrett Weber-Gale had to say on this topic:

If you think about losing when you get up to the blocks, you might as well go home.
The way I stay motivated is by dreaming of that goal I want to achieve and imagining how spectacular that moment will be when I finally get there. I know I will only achieve great things through hard work and sacrifice so I never let myself deviate from that.

I go into each race solely focused on myself and what I need to do to succeed. If at any point in a race I lose focus and think about someone else or something else other than what I'm doing or my race, I will not go as fast as I'm truly able. That's the reality I keep in my mind that maintains my focus on race day.
A great coach named Mike Bottom once told me that there is a defining moment in every race when you are really going to start to hurt. This moment is at a different point for every individual. However, what each competitor thinks and does at this moment is what truly sets the champions apart from the other competitors. Mike told me that I need to visualize being at that point and focus on what that will feel like, how I will handle the pain, what I will do emotionally. I do visualize that moment—the moment when my arms feel like sandbags, when my legs are burning and my back feels like it's tightening up like a rubber band. I get myself to the point where I am completely prepared for the pain. After imagining this point for a long time, I know I am able to endure the emotional stress and physical pain. I look forward to this point because I know I will conquer it!

With all that said I'm going to sit down tomorrow and visualize my 1500 on Friday.  Between that and my new suit I hope to be reporting on Friday about my new personal best time.

Grant Hackett's 1500 Freestyle Record Stands

The 1500 doesn't get enough glory when it comes to Olympic television coverage.  I guess NBC and the rest think that watching people do laps for a little over 14 minutes is too long.  Hell how much money would that make in advertising losses if they went 14 2008_08_16t225003_450x257_us_olympics_swimming_men_freestyle without an ad for Coke or Visa?  So the 1500 Meter Freestyle gets diced up and shown in bits and pieces.  Even this year when Grant Hackett almost had a chance to be a triple Olympic winner in this event.  Almost, as he got silver behind Oussama Mellouli. 

Swimnews online calculated LINK that the difference between the two swimmers was 0.046 seconds a length.  Which is nothing.  The great thing about the 1500 LCM is that it is 30 lengths of the pool allowing for little mistakes that can't be made in the 50 or 100.  Hackett finished with a time of 14:41.53 with Mellouli ahead with a time of 14:40.84.  Rounding up the medal winning was Ryan Cochrane with a time of 14:42.69.  Which is still about 5 minutes faster than me with my time of 19:19.something or another. 

Grant Hackett's world record of 14:34.56 still remains.  My prediction, this record will stand for a very very long time.  Maybe even longer than Janet Evans 19 year old record in the 800 Meter Freestyle that was broken earlier by Rebecca Adington.  Evans record  set in August of 1989 remained unbroken for a record 19 years. 

The 1500: Olympians -vs- US Masters - vs- Me

The 1500 is one of my favorite events.  I think I'm competed in either the 1650 yard or 1500 meter in short course about a half dozen times.  Then two weeks ago I swam the 1500 meter in long course at a meet for the first time.  I liked the long course event better than the short course event, less turns.  Since  right now swimmers are swimming at the US Masters LCM Championship up in Oregon I decided to do a 1500 comparison.  I know it's not fair.  But I'm doing it to show how fast these Olympians are and how fast some of us Masters are.  Well not me but the others. 

So let's start with the results from China in the 1500 LCM Semi-Finals.  With 5 heats of swimmers that is a lot of swimmers.  So I'll just go over the highlights.  Full results can be seen on LINK.  The slowest swimmer with a time of 15:45.98  was Ricardo Andres Monasterio Guaimare of Venezuela.  That is still a really fast time in the 1500 LCM which is 30 lengths of the pool.  The fastest swimmer with a time of 14:38.92 was the master of the 1500 Grant Hackett from down under.  Two American's competed in the 1500 with very impressive times.  First we have coming in with a time of 14:49.53 was Larsen Jensen.  The second American with a time of 14:52.11 was Peter Vanderkaay.  Now these are just the semi-finals. 

Up north in Oregon the United States Masters LINK are having the 2008 LCM Championships.  Yesterday was the 1500 LCM event and here are some highlight.  Full results are online LINK.   The fastest and very impressive time was 16:32.72.  This was done by someone in the age group of 35-39.  Since that is my age group let's go down the time for this age group:
1.  16:32.72
2.  17:51.74
3.  19:00.46
4.  19:15.65 
5.  20:51.73
6.  21:20.93 
7.  21:21.21
8.  26:41.66 
All are very impressive times.  These are US Masters times.  People who can't spend 4 hours in the pool, 2 hours in the gym and countless other hours training each day.  Only eight people in the age group 35-39 competed in this event at the meet.

Now here comes pokey ol' me.  The other weekend I swam at the SPMA Regional LCM Championships.  In my 1500 I came in with a time of 19:19.32.  You can view all the results of this meet online LINK.  Not too bad.  I'm happy with that time.  I don't get to practice in a LCM pool and it was my first time competing at a LCM swim meet.  After this weekend's USMS Championships they will collate all the times from any USMS sanction meet and release Top 10 times for every event for each age group.  Based on my time last week and the meet this week I'm hoping to be up there.  Only time we see.

It's very humbling to think that the slowest guy at the Olympics was 4 minutes faster than me.  Maybe I need to start training with Dara Torres.

1500 LCM: 19:19.32


Wow!  To say that I am happy with that time is an understatement.  I went out a bit too fast in the 1st 100 but then sees to get into a pace.  I really had no idea if I was on pace or not.  It was hard to judge as I don't swim LCM in practice to get a feeling for it.  I just kept swimming trying to hold my own with my pulling. 

To be blunt a teammate who was in my heat in the 1500 SCM at IGLA was once again in my heat today.  I got a head of him in the 1st 100 and was able to keep my lead.  He is in a different age group but I consider him a thoughtful swimmer so I knew just get ahead and keep that distance.  At IGLA my goal was to be at his feet the whole time but since I overtook him then I was hoping to do the same today.  And it worked. 

My turns sucked but oh well.  I'm very very happy.  Now I just have the 200 butterfly tomorrow to worry about.  Everything else is just filler.

Here are the splits in case you can't read the above jpeg:


For a total of 19:19.32.  Looking at those splits it seemed I really held my own.  I gotta admit it didn't feel like I was but I guess I did.  Now time to rest!

Preliminary 2008 SPMA Short Course Yards Top Ten

A few months ago I swam at a Souther Pacific Masters Association SCY Swim Meet at UCLA.  My times were okay.  No personal bests but those times allowed for 3 Top Ten Times for my age group 35-39 in the 500 SCY Freestyle, the 100 SCY Backstroke and the 100 SCY Butterfly.  All with so so times.  7th in the 500 Free, 3rd in the 100 Back (my 2nd worst stroke) and 6th in the 100 Fly.  I never did the 1650 Free or the 200 Butterfly as those are my "key events".