My Top Ten

After the end of each swim season (SCY, LCM, SCM) USMS releases the Top 10 Times for each age group for every event. I personally consider my Top 10 Individual Listings a pride of honor. So I get upset from time to time when I hear or read things like this (from USMS Forum):

- if you are desperate, 1500 and 200 Fly are always calling.

- do a 200 fly or 800 or 1500. You might have a better shot in those events.

While it is true less people will swim the 200 fly or the 1500 freestyle compared to swimming the 50 freestyle it should be no less of an honor. It's not like you just show up a USMS swim meet, jump in the pool, swim 60 laps and automatically make the Top 10 list. In fact I didn't make the Top 10 list the first year I started to swim distance events. Then in 2006 I received Top 10 times for my 1500 Freestyle and my 200 Butterfly. Both of those times I achieved at the 2006 Chicago Gay Games which I trained my ass off for. Then came 2007 a year that I didn't swim the 1500 freestyle and I actually missed the list in butterfly even though my time did improve. I was on the preliminary list for the butterfly but got bumped. As it stands now I'm on the 2008 LCM Top 10 Preliminary list for the 200 Butterfly and the 1500 Freestyle. I spent a lot of time in the pool this summer working on my swimming.

In some ways I think that is may even be easier to make the Top 10 List in sprint events as swimmers have more opportunities to swim these events at meets. While swimming the 1500 is usually limited to longer bigger meets. I usually only get to swim it once or twice per year. Talk about making a tough event even tougher when you don't get the chance to swim it that often.

Making comments about having a better shot at swimming the 1500 freestyle really is not fair to those who spent countless hours working on pacing to swim this event. Us distance swimmers spend just as much time swimming and working on our events as the sprinters. My previous 1500 SCM Freestyle time was 18:52 until earlier this year when I did an 18:26. I then spent countless workouts swimming sets designed for me to learn to find my pace and set it. At SPMA SCM Regionals all that pool time helped me do a time of 18:02.14.

As for 2008 SCM Top 10 times I compared my times this weekend to last years list and I have a very good chance of having 4 Top 10 times in the 200 fly, 200 back, 400 free and the 1500 free. I'll know in March for the SCM Season and sometime this month for the LCM Season.

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!

Everyday Is Like Sunday.

If I swam everyday like I did today then everyday really should be like Sunday.  Today was the last day of SPMA SCM Regionals in Long Beach.  I figured several times over the weekend that I'd just scratch today.  But this morning I woke up and decided to take the trip to swim. 

I got into the pool and swam a little over a 1,000 for a warm up.  Then it was time to just wait for the 400.  Before my heat I counted for one of the female swimmers then hurried into the locker room to put on my Blueseventy suit for my 400.  I still had a while to go but I wanted to be ready.  I only pulled it 1/2 way up and put on my warm up clothing and counted for another team mate.  I got into the water before my heat and worked my way to my lane.  I arrived about two heats early just to sit down and relax.  I had a seed time of 4:44.71 and figured that in my 1500 on Friday I did a 4:42 so I should beat 4:40.  That was my goal.  I talked to my counter and the coaches on deck how I was going to swim and what I expected to do.  I figured I'd go out in a 1:08 and then I'd just need to do all high 1:09's to be safe.  Off we went and I felt like I had a good start and felt pretty good in the water.  I was in Lane 1 which I dreaded.  The guy in Lane 2 was a bit ahead of me but I could see Lane 3 was a bit behind me.  My first 100 I came in at 1:04.95.  My second 100 I really wanted to find a good pace and just keep going.  Just keep plugging away I told myself.  At the 200 mark I was at 2:14.03.  Of course I didn't know that but felt good and kept swimming along.  At the 300 mark I was at 3:23.48.  I'm too lazy to do the math, I'll leave that to you.  The last 100 was a killer.  I just gave it my all and damn that last 25 was a bitch.  I finished the 400 at 4:32.53.  I was more than just a little happy.  That is 12 seconds off my seed time.  Yahoo.  Looking at my past times now my old personal best was 4:37.97 so still I came out ahead by 5 seconds.

After my heat was one more heat of the men's 400 free than three heats of women's 100 fly and I think 5 heats of the men's 100 fly before my heat.  I ran to the locker room to switch to my leggings.  Then I did a warm down/up.  While chit chatting with a team mate I realized my heat was getting up next.  I tossed my swim parka and ran to the start.  I could see people standing on the blocks for my heat.  I made it in time but the whole 100 was a mess.  I did a 1:09.54.  I don't even want to talk about it.

After the 100 fly was the 4x100 Medley Relay and time to switch back to the Blueseventy.  I was in heat ten swimming the free leg.  Which really didn't make sense but as usual the relays were tossed together haphazzard and last minute.  I don't swim the 100 SCM free that often as I gave up swimming it since I couldn't break the one double o.  When I dove in my goggles took in some water so I had to rely on my previous swims for turning.  I ended up by the coaches caluculation with a 1:00 flat.  Everyone said my last 25 was really blasting and that they didn't think I was going to hold my pace.  I was sore and beat but at least I did it and didn't get DQ'ed.  Three events in a row was a bit too much. 

After some well deserved rest time it was time for the 200 backstroke.  Since I've never swam the 200 backstroke at a meet I relied on gut instinct when I made up my time.  I figured I always died in swim practice after the first 100 so I'd do it at the meet.  I got to my heat and lane with plenty of time to spare.  Didn't want a repeat of my 100 fly.  I got in the water and the cold didn't shock me like I thought it was going to.  I was so beat and tired I didn't bother to warm down after my relay or warm up before the back.  Oh well.  It's a fun event for me.  Nothing lost if I die.  I get in and feel pretty good.  I still have my bouncy backstroke but I did my best to keep my head back.  At the 100 point I made a point of looking at the clock and say that my split was 1:11 something (1:11.45) so I knew I was doing pretty good.  I told myself to keep at it and started to pour on the speed.  Well as much pouring as I had left.  I finished the 2nd 100 with a 1:11.13 split.  Wahoo, I didn't die.  My time was 2:22.58.  I really thought I'd be closer to the 2:30 mark so I was very happy with that.  That was even faster than my 200 butterfly. 

And after that the meet was done for me.  I'm very happy with my swims this weekend.  Sometime in the next few days when the official results are available online I'll be posting a new personal best time list.  But till then I'm glad with my times and can't wait to sit on the couch tonight and veg out. 

It was the best of swims. It was the worst of swims.

I got to Long Beach a bit early arrive about 40 minutes before warm up.  I sat down, relaxed, eat a banana and waited.  After checking in for my events and changing I got into the warm up pool.  It didn't take long to get crowded.  I only did a 500 in the main pool but I made sure I did backstroke turns.  I then moved to the non competition pool for a little bit more swimming.  Not too much as I had hours to go before my first event and that would be the 50 butterfly.  I had told myself that I would use the 50 fly as a warmup to this afternoons 200 butterfly. 

The day started off for me with the 50 butterfly.  Before my event I put on my Speedo Fastskin Leggings and did way too little warm up.  I only did a 100.  I just didn't feel like warming up.  The lanes were crowded and switching to one arm fly every so often was becoming annoying.   Now I was looking at my list of past swims and I thought I had a 50 butterfly time.  I've swam it in a relay at IGLA so I might have to go back and find that time.   For today's race I had entered 32.28.  Where that came from I don't know.  I ended up swimming a 31.53.  For some reason I thought that was slow.  I really was beating myself up about this time but now that I can't find a 50 fly time I'm okay with it.  I gotta admit I will need to check out some team mates swimming of the 50 fly time before I'm happy but for now okay is a good thing.

Next up was the 100 SCM Backstroke.  After putting on my Blueseventy Nero I warmed up only about a 150.  Too crowded for my taste.  I need to get over that.  Now my old backstroke time for the 100 SCM was 1:10.05.  I just told myself I needed to just break the 10.  I watched two team mates swim the 100 while I waited for my heat and sized up my heat.  I noticed the guy one lane over was in very good shape.  Cute and in shape.  Damn him.  I noticed him doing Phelps like stretches and my nervous energy was now about to sink me.  Looking at him I figured he was going to trounce me.  We jump in the water getting ready for the start.  The counter mentions to me about how my lane was a record breaking lane.  I remarked that I just wanted to break the 1:10.  Then we were off.  I know my reaction time is always slow so I don't know if I had a good start.  But with a good first off the wall underwater streamline I pop out of the water ahead of the two guys on each side of me.  I swim my backstroke remembering to keep my head back.  I had to remind myself a few times in the 100 to keep my head back.  After the first turn which I felt good I noticed I was a bit ahead of the cutie with the nice body.  I now had a goal for the race, beat the guy with the bod.  My second turn wasn't as strong as my first but I kept swimming fast.  I was beginning to wonder if I'd be able to keep this pace.  My 50 spit was 32.83.  The third turn approached and my timing was off.  I was too far from the wall so my push off was shallow and I just popped up out of the water.  I threw my head back and tried to move my arms.  But that wall haunted me towards the end.  Fearing I'd mess up with my last stroke I tilted my head back at my finish so I could see the wall. That had to add at least a second.  I looked up at the clock and my time was a 1:06.75.  I did it.  I dropped 4 seconds from my best 100 backstroke and beat the guy with the nice body.  Double Score!

A few hours passed and then it was time for the 200 Butterfly.  I slipped back into my Speedo Fastskin leggings and warmed up only about a 175.  I headed to my lane to rest a bit and watch other heats.  Guess who was there?  The cutie with the body but this time he was in the heat before me.  His heat gets held up for some reason or another for a minute or so.  No rats or mice in the pool today just a tech glitch I guess.   As I am behind the block he finished and I look up to see he did around a 2:40-something.  Okay, I so can beat that I told myself.  The race starts and I think I had a good streamline.  I started off slow figuring this is the 200 butterfly.  Take it slow and build.  My first 50 I did a 34.36.  I didn't feel all that strong in that 50 but it's only 2 out of 8 laps.  My second 50 I did 37.95.  Okay I'm still back there time to kick it in.  My fifth lap felt good but lap number six my legs were aching.  My third 50 I did a 38.63.  The race was over.  I wasn't getting any momentum building and my streamlines and underwater kick were not strong.  I really was struggling.  It was clear to me that I really need to work on my turns and my pushoffs.  I know I am a strong butterfly kicking so why isn't it happening now?  My last 50 I did it in 38.92.  The splits were close but I got slower and slower.  Not my finest 200.  I finished with a slow time of 2:29.86.  I need to work on the 200 butterfly in 2009 for Nationals.  This was my 2nd fastest 200 butterfly so I shouldn't be so hard on myself.  I just felt I should have been faster.  But my team mates pointed out that I'd be even with the other swimmers and then fall behind on the turn only to catch up again.  So turns will be a major focus for me. 

So that was Day Two of Three.  Tomorrow the 400 Free, the 100 Fly and the 200 Back are up.  Unless I sleep in and scratch them all.  Time will tell.

I'll post official times when the results are available online.  I got to see Tony of the SCAQblog and Rob of Robaquatics swim today.  Tony even left the meet to go and buy a new TYR suit.  Personally I think he should have gotten a Blueseventy.  It's worked wonders for me so far.  2 for 2 personal bests.  20 seconds drop in the 1500 and 4 seconds in the 100 backstroke. 

Umm...excuse me. But there's a rat in my swim lane...

Ahhh...swim meets.  Warm up starting at 9am so of course I arrived in Long Beach at 8:30.  I like to hang out and relax before I have to jump in the pool.  Also because of my spacial issues I like to get in the pool before I have to share the lane with 8 other swimmers.  Since the 1500 SCM was up 1st warm up wasn't so crowded.  After swimming a 1,000 warm up I got out and waited for the sprint lane to open up.  I only did a quick warm up since I had about 5 hours to go before I actually had to swim.  Heat 10 of 11.  The first thing I noticed as the heats started was that I wasn't the only person wearing a Blueseventy swim suit, in face today seemed to be awash in swimmers in Blueseventy.  In my heat alone two other swimmers were wearing Blueseventy.  Another thing that stuck out was that two crazy folks decided to swim the 1500 BUTTERFLY!  You heard me right, two swimmers swam 1500 SCM butterfly.  That is 60 long laps butterfly.  Those two folks are just crazy.  The first one up was a female and she did a damn good time coming in around the 24 minute mark.  I didn't see the male who swam in another heet finish but I'm sure he did.  Really what do you get for swimming the 1500 butterfly?  Must have been one big cash waiger on a bet.

Before my heat I counted for a team mate who was in heat three.  He did a personal best and was happy about it.  When the heat started the guy in the next lane didn't have a counter till about lap 7.  Even then it took his counter another 100 to figure out the plastic numbers.  Doh!  About the 400 mark someone came over and relieved him of his duty.  I'd be killing that person about now if he was my counter.  When heat eight was about to get on the blocks I headed to the lockerroom to put on my Blueseventy Nero. 

I slowly get the suit to my ankles so nervous getting the legs openings around my foot.  Then I treated the suit just like my leggings.  Inch by inch.  After some light pulling, tucking, more pulling and some cinching I got the suit on.  I slowly moved out of the lockerroom and had a team mate zip me up.  Then it was warm up time.  I jumped in the warm up lane and swam a 25 then did some pulling, cinching, tucking and more pulling.  I did another 25 and did some more adjustments.  I only warmed up around a 400 before I got out.  The ninth heat was just starting.  I did some more adjusting of the suit and walked to my lane, lane 5 and waited.  The girl in heat nine lane five broke some record and yes she also was wearing a Blueseventy Nero. 

Heat nine was over and as we were approaching the blocks with our counters on the other end all ready to count the official told us to step back.  Then he called for the lifeguard.  My coach came over to let us know that a rat was swimming.  Swimming in my lane.  What?  Yes, seems like the rats in Long Beach joined up with the Grunions to swim the 1500 SCM.  After a few attempts of fishing the rat out a brave soul dove into the pool and fished out the rat with a kickboard.  The race was back on.

I get up on the blocks and what seemed pretty quick we were off.  It seemed so rushed I don't know if I had a good start but I do know that I had a good streamline and butterfly kick and when I came up was ahead of everyone.  My first 100 felt good but I thinking that I might have taken it out too fast.  At the 1st 100 I was  a 1/2 body length ahead of lane six and lane three.  Lane four was a bit behind them.  The second and third 100's I continued on what I felt was a good pace pushing myself as best as I could without sprinting.  I mainted the 1/2 body length lead from 3 and 6.  Around the 500 I was a bit nervous that I was going to fast but I kept telling myself to just swim until I can't hold this pace.  I mean I'm at the 500 mark and I'm still feeling it so lets go.  Around now lane 6 is closing the gap but lane 3 seems to have fallen back just a hand or two.  One hundred after one hundred that seemed how the race was going to be.  At the 800 mark lane 6 was now pulling ahead but lane 3 was still at least a body and a 1/2 length behind me.  I was doing my best to lap lane 4.  It took a few 100's but I did eventually lap lane 4.  It was a nice game for about a 300 to keep me going.  Since I started playing that game I was able to block out lane 6 who really knew how to do.  She was kicking like mad and moving ahead.  I noticed at one turn.  But now my attention was all about keeping my lead on lane 3.  At lap 50 the race is taking it's toll.  My stroke felt sloppy but i tried my best to hold it together.  My turns became a moment of relaxation.  Which they shouldn't be I basically gave up doing ballistic push offs trying to conserve my energy for the swimming.  By the last 50 the race was all set.  Lane 6 was in the lead, I was in second and Lane 3 was still trying his best to catch up.  I just did my best to hold it together just a bit more.  I came into the finish, looked at the clock and was one happy swimmer.

18:02.14.  That was the official time.  I beat my IGLA 1500 by 24 seconds.  In the last year I've taken about 52 seconds off my 1500 SCM Freestyle.  I went from an 18:52 to a 18:26 down to the 18:02.  How low can he go?  Official splits have yet to be posted but here are my splits from my coaches stop watch:

32.58 for the 1st 50 everything else will be 100's















Hmm...I'm missing a split.  Oh well, till the official splits are up you can just call me the 1:12 guy.  All the pace training worked.  As for the suit.  All I can say is that I'm loving my Blueseventy Nero.  Every push off and streamline felt great.  I really could feel myself moving even when I had a weak turn.  I'm not use to wearing a suit around my chest area and the back so that took a bit to get use to.  I really forgot about it to around the end when I was getting tired.  But at that point lots of doubts can sink in.  I just pushed along.  I got to admit I think my last 200 could have been better.  This is the end of SCM season so till next year.  Now it's time to think about tomorrows 200 butterfly.  All I can say is that I can't bitch about that race after seeing two swimmers swim the 1500 butterfly.  Jeez!

Packing And Almost Ready

Almost ready to swim the 1500 SCM today at the 2008 SPMA SCM Regionals in Long Beach.  I packed three pairs of goggles two of which are Swedes and one pair from blueseventy.  I packed a warm up suit from Nike then my old tech brief and leggings from Speedo.  Of course I have the Blueseventy Nero in it's own little bag.  Besides that I packed some street and deck clothes.  The pool is enclosed but the area is not heated.  So between that and some snacks I'm ready for a day at the pool.

Estimated Timeline

What a long weekend this may turn out to be.  I say may cuz' I can always scratch an event or two  Here is the estimated timeline:

Session: 1  Friday
Starts at 10:00 AM

Event Entries Heats Time
1 Mixed 1500 Freestyle 96 12 10:00 AM
2 Mixed 400 IM 62 8 03:30 PM
3 Mixed 800 Freestyle 98 13 04:30 PM
Finish Time 07:15 PM

Session: 2 Saturday
Starts at 09:00 AM

Event Entries Heats Time
4 Women 200 Freestyle 90 12 09:00 AM
5 Men 200 Freestyle 158 20 09:47 AM
6 Women 50 Butterfly 86 11 10:57 AM
7 Men 50 Butterfly 144 18 11:15 AM
8 Mixed 200 Freestyle Relay - - 11:42 AM
9 Women 100 Backstroke 54 7 12:17 PM
10 Men 100 Backstroke 109 14 12:38 PM
11 Women 100 Breaststroke 66 9 01:18 PM
12 Men 100 Breaststroke 96 12 01:42 PM
13 Women 200 Butterfly 19 3 02:11 PM
14 Men 200 Butterfly 51 7 02:24 PM
15 Mixed 200 Medley Relay - - 02:48 PM
16 Women 50 Freestyle 119 15 03:23 PM
17 Men 50 Freestyle 195 25 03:50 PM
18 Women 200 IM 54 7 04:26 PM
19 Men 200 IM 97 13 04:55 PM
20 Mixed 800 Freestyle Relay - - 05:45 PM
Finish Time 06:55 PM

Session: 3 Sunday
Starts at 09:00 AM

Event Entries Heats Time
21 Women 400 Freestyle 68 9 09:00 AM
22 Men 400 Freestyle 102 13 10:06 AM
23 Women 100 Butterfly 37 5 11:31 AM
24 Men 100 Butterfly 88 11 11:43 AM
25 Women 50 Breaststroke 83 11 12:07 PM
26 Men 50 Breaststroke 102 13 12:27 PM
27 Mixed 400 Medley Relay - - 12:47 PM
28 Women 200 Backstroke 34 5 01:42 PM
29 Men 200 Backstroke 74 10 02:04 PM
30 Women 100 Freestyle 102 13 02:48 PM
31 Men 100 Freestyle 193 25 03:15 PM
32 Women 200 Breaststroke 40 5 04:07 PM
33 Men 200 Breaststroke 68 9 04:30 PM
34 Mixed 400 Freestyle Relay - - 05:05 PM
35 Women 50 Backstroke 61 8 05:55 PM
36 Men 50 Backstroke 96 12 06:12 PM
37 Women 100 IM 87 11 06:35 PM
38 Men 100 IM 155 20 07:01 PM
Finish Time 07:46 PM