My 1000 SCY Freestyle

I had signed up for the USMS / SPMA UCLA SCY Meet for today so even thought last night I had second thoughts I decided to head to bed early and suck it up and swim.  After a bit of tossing and turning I woke up at 1am.  WTF.  This is like pre-marathon night.  But this time I don't have to be up for hours.  Knowing that I can't sleep unless the television is on so that it drowns out my thoughts of doubt I turned on the television.  It wasn't to some time after 3am that I fell back asleep.  DOH! This is not good.  Then after that messy night of sleeping for some reason I didn't hear my alarm go off.  I woke up about 30 minutes before warm up and check in for the 1000.  I was smart enough to have all my stuff ready for this am so I grabbed a few things and was out the door.  

At the pool the sun was coming out.  It was going to be a beautiful day.  I got in the lane with a mate of mine and started the warm up.  I did a 500 swim followed by 4x100's that were 50 drill / 50 swim.  I wanted to do some pace 100's but I kept catching up to by now 2 other mates.  So I alternated doing some 75's and 50's.  I then headed to the locker room to get out of my Splish Pink Polka Dot swim suit and put on my gown.  By gown I mean my Blueseventy swim suit.  This will be it's last race.  After putting it on I jumped in the pool to do a few laps.  After a bit of readjusting to make it comfortable I got out of the pool.  

Look at the sun rays.  One just has TO LOVE LA!  I took a picture of heat one of the 1000 free.  In lane 3 was Maureen who is 88 years old and swam the 1000  in just over 22 minutes.  Hell I so want to swim when I'm 88.  

Since I sandbagged my time I was up pretty quick.  Well then again they only had 5 heats of it.  But I was heat 3 when I should have been at least heat 4.  I've learned that in swimming my distance events to swim my own race.  Not to look around and swim off others.  Mainly because in local meets the times can vary widely in heats.  

So I got in the pool and felt I had to good start.  Swam a comfortable 100 but I did let a bit of that were is everyone compared to me.  Felt that way for the first 300 or so.  As I was lapping people I kept thinking I might be going to fast.  Which looking at my splits brings me to think I took it out too slow.  I have actually swam faster splits in the 1650.  Not good.

The pool itself is a nice pool but I could feel a big difference in pool temperature.  As I was swimming away from the blocks to the deeper end I could feel the nice cool water.  But on my back to the blocks I could feel the water get warmer and warmer.  I think if someone put a radar gun on my they'd see me go fast to the deep end and slower heading back to the blocks.  

Of course I will admit that the 1650 was at Nationals when I was tapered, shaved down and excited about swimming.  Compared with today just swimming to swim it.  11:16.70 isn't so slow so I am happy for that time.  I've never swam the 1,000 before.  I was shocked to find that out when I was looking up my times to enter the race.  So it's a personal best.  And that is all that counts.   

The splits above and the graph below are from  Since I won't be swimming at Nationals this  year this will most likely be my only SCY Meet this year.  At least this gives me a goal for 2011.  Although I am leaning on going to IGLA in Hawaii instead of Nationals.  But it's all in the air for now.

 LATE BREAKING:  okay, well that is a hyperbole if I ever heard one.  So I keep thinking about this over and over again.  And have chatted, im and talked about this race to the n'th degree.  Yeah, it's only been a few hours but it's me.  I keep thinking about should I have created a sign language to my counter before the race?  Should I have a dedicated counter for these races.  I've actually pretty much only had 2 counters in the past.  I have had a few others but they always turn out to be non-pace keeping lap counters.  But when it boils down to it I only have myself to blame.  I should have been doing more distance workouts and pace sets.  Even if it meant swimming on my own.  In the past I did that and it worked.  I was swimming pace long course workouts with a few mates.  So as my Short Course damn yankee Yards season is over I need to think about LCM and SCM and what my training will be like.  Or maybe no training will be like.

1st Swim Meet of 2010

I decided to sign up and swim at least one SCY swim meet this year.  So I'll be swimming the following events:

Number Distance Stroke    Time

1 1000 Free 14:00.00

2 200 Fly 2:12.95

10 200 Back    2:10.00

I did sandbag a bit.  I've never swam a 1,000 SCY.  I was looking up my times at the USMS site and didn't see anything.  Oh well!  So on Sunday, April 18th I'll head to UCLA and swim.  Here are my previous times...oh and I aged up this year!


It's Raining, It's Pouring, I Scratched My Swimming Events

With the rain I was on the fence about swimming today.  I set my alarm last night knowing that it was a 50/50 chance that I'd actually go.  I didn't prepare like I'd normally do.  All I did was put out 2 towels, 2 speed suits and emptied my bag.  Just in case.  I figured it would be early in the am so I'd need to be a bit prepared.  The 4:50 alarm went off and about one second later like clockwork the rain started to fall from the sky.  Not just a few drips but it was like someone turned on the big shower faucet in the sky at full blast.  That lasted a bit then slowly turned down to a lighter shower.  The second alarm I had set went off a bit later and the rain was still falling.  At that point I decided to sleep in and skip the meet.  It was an outdoor meet and even if the rain was to stop I'd be outside in the damp air all morning.  No thank you!  So not today!

After I did wake up I ran to the gym and worked out.  I figured get my gym weight routine out of the way today.  Tomorrow I plan to wake up and go for a run.  Since I went to the gym almost around the afternoon time the gym was a bit busy.  Still I got in my routine and ran a bit home.  Not all the way just to the store.   So I missed the first swim meet of 2010.  They'll be more. 

Aging Up and SCY Nationals

SCY Nationals are months and months away but I'll be aging up this year.  Not really a big deal.  But then I started looking at qualifying times and I noticed a trend in the times for 40-44 compared to 35-39 and 45-49.  When it comes to anything over a 200 the fastest qualifying times are in the 40-44 age group.  WHAT!  After that they start to go downhill as you get older.  Here is a look at some of the numbers included with my best times.

500 Free - 35-39 5:29.35 / 40-44 5:28.68 / 45-49 5:35.84 / My Best 5:14.22

1000 Free - 35-39 11:46.84 / 40-44 11:43.36 / 45-49 11:47.39/ My Best Don't have one.  Will after the Rose Bowl meet.

1650 Free - 35-39 20:23.32 / 40-44 20:16.76 / 45-49 20:03.41 oh wow.  but it gets slower for the 50-54 / My Best 18:06.41.

Glad I looked at these times so I have an idea of what I need to swim the 1000 in at the meet in over a week.  11:43 will be painted above my bed so I know what I need to beat!

200 Fly - 35-39 2:19.01 / 40-44 2:16.84 / 45-49 2:26.86 / My best 2:12.27

My theory doesn't hold up for some other races but for a few it was a bit of a shock to me.  I guess I just look forward to when the times are slower and I am slower!  Oh Old Age!  Of course my group may just be a fast group and as I age up they also will age up and stay fast. Doh!  I do remember reading somewhere that more men between 35-50 compete in more triathlons and marathons.  Mid life crisis or something.  This may have a little bit to do with the blip in fast times.  Either way I'm glad to be in some very fast company.  

Here are all my personal best times:

Here are all the Men Qualifying Times for 2010:


2010 Swimming Goals and Motivational Crap Stuff

Since I am currently somewhere flying over America I am typing one of my year end blog posts to cover some time since I have nothing else to do. So here is something about swimming goals for 2010.

The other week a swimmer posted the USMS Forum what the swimmer called “Masters SCY Motivational Times” LINK. The swimmer went online to the USMS website and found the Top 10 Times list from the most recent SCY season and used that as a base. I will admit at first I was very curious about the times and see were I fell into his so called “Motivational Time” spread.

The spread covers just about every level of swimming from the super star “AAAA” swimmer to what I'd guess is a starter swimmer or the so called “B” swimmer (note these grades are from the the “Masters SCY Motivational Times” spreadsheet.) I gotta admit I was pretty happy how I ranked on some of my so called key events. Also may use the slower levels on the chart for a guide on some of my not so key events. When I say not so key events I don't mean breaststroke so if any of my coaches are reading please give up trying to teach me breaststroke. Save your energy for my other strokes and other swimmers.


As you can see from the above screen grab of my 2009 SCY Age Group the spreadsheet (above) covers a pretty wide time span. Some of these times are super duper fast (that is a technical swim term.) Some of them are my interval times. But looking at this chart shows the beauty of Masters Swimming. Masters Swimming is open to folks at all levels from the very beginner to the former Olympians. Just looking at the age spread on this spreadsheet was motivational enough for me in that I can swim way into my old age. Hell maybe by then I'll learn how to swim breaststroke!

The more I looked at the list and looked at my best Master's SCY times the more my mind wandered about swimming and swimming goals. Before a race on race day I sorta have two goal times. I don't really think about goal times any other day of the year but the day of the race. Sometimes I don't have a time in mind to I am walking up to the blocks. When I do make my goal times I have one that is what I'd consider a obtainable goal time usually a second or two faster then my last time and then have my blow em' out of the water goal time. This blow em' out of the water goal time is usually based on another swimmer I may know or just some randomly made up number. Sometimes if my time is close to a 00 something I just use that as a goal. For my first 1500 SCM I just wanted to break 20:00 then the second time I wanted to break 19:00. Currently my fastest time is 18:02 and actually went 30 seconds slower then that this past season. Would like to break 18:00 in 2010.

The worst kind of motivation goal setting for me is something I do way too often. I say it's the worst kind of motivation even though it does work for me. It's what I call “The Game”. This so called “Game” can change based on the rule of the moment. Once when swimming an 800 SCM Freestyle I was going at a pretty good clip when I realized that there was a slight chance that I may lap an older team mate of mine. This older swimmer at the time was my speed if not a bit faster in workouts so never mind the age difference. During the race “The Game” became me trying to lap him. Now I didn't lap the swimmer but I did get in a personal best at the time. At the same meet in the 1500 SCM another team mate who has been faster then me for years was in my heat a few lanes over. Before the race this mate talked to the coach and arranged an elaborate communication language of hand signaling to keep him on pace. So in my mind I just wanted to keep his feet in my eyesight. Figured if I could keep a few body lengths behind him I'd be sure to have a personal best. At some point in the race I felt strong and slowly closed his lead and eventually pulled ahead of him. This swimmer and I are only a year about so this was a big swim for me. We've actually raced another time after that and I played the game again with the same results. Of course then someone played the game against me one time I got all pissed. At one meet someone told another mate of mine that not to worry about his time but “to just beat Joel”. So The Game that day was to crush him. Not to out touch him or be a body length ahead of him in the 500 SCY but to crush him. In my mind I did accomplish that and won that game on that day.

So since I've never really had any goal times this post is a bit hard for me to wrap my little alcohol soaked brain around. Besides breaking 18:00 in the 1500 SCM I really have no idea what I want to accomplish or can even accomplish in 2010. At least for swimming I do know I want to do the LA Marathon under five hours but that is another post for another day or flight. In 2010 I will age up to the 40-44 Age Group. The big Four OHHH!

Going back to the Master's Motivational Times Spreadsheet the times really don't give me any extra motivation for this upcoming SCY season. This year I will be skipping the Cal Tech Pentathlon so I can skip all the 50 races and the 100 IM off my list. I will at least swim at a local meet most likely the one at UCLA. Even with the new pool being on the opposite end of campus I can still make it to Deedee Reese cookies afterwards. The longest event at that race will be the 500. Since I am on a plane right now and have no idea what my fastest times are in any race besides the 1500 SCM I wait on putting any concrete goals. So let's talk off the cuff not real world goals. Putting on my imagination cap let me make some fun goals. Then I'll compare them when I land. This will be fun. So for my 500 SCY I would like to do some where oh lets say a 5:20. That is a 1:04 base. Plus the first one hundred is off the blocks so really it's a tad slower then a 1:04 base. For my 200 butterfly I want to hit around the 2:15. Okay it's fantasy time so lets say break the 15 marker. As for th 100 butterfly I want to play The Game with Rob of RobAquatics Blog. Here that Rob, bring it! All kidding aside Rob has a mean fast 100 butterfly so it would be an honor to come within a few hundreds of a second to him. It would be a huge happy day to beat him but that is based on my respect for his swimming and not any mean spirited thought. As for the 1650 I can't think of my time. I think I've only swam the event twice. Once at the USMS Nat's in Federal Way and then again at USMS Nat's in Clovis. So I just want to be a second faster then my time in Clovis. Whatever that time may be.

As for my real best times so far here they are LINK:

500 Free 5:14.22

1650 Free 18:06.41

100 Fly  59.01

200 Fly 2:12.27

200 Back  2:09.04

With Short Course Yard 2010 Goals out of the way I guess I could start thinking of Long Course Meters. Better yet let's skip Yards and just do Meters. Come on America get with it! My one an only goal is to swim at one LCM meet this year. A small goal but it would beat my record for 2009 by one swim meet. I didn't swim any LCM meets in 2010 and I love LCM swimming. I hate walls and have really bad turns. Swimming butterfly in LCM pools is like heaven. I just get in my little body movement and just keep going and going. Then again I do the same with freestyle and backstroke. I don't have the prettiest of strokes but as some have said I am like the energizer bunny who just keeps going and going and going and... Well you know.

As for my real best times so far here they are LINK:

400 Free 4:50.57

1500 Free 19:19.32

200 Fly 2:31.67

Moving down the swim calendar will be 2010 SCM Season. My second favorite swim season of the year. The 1500 is so much better then the 1650. Sixty laps is just easier then sixty-six. Who the fuck wants to do that many turns? Really what sick fuck invented short course yards? I only have one goal for 2010 SCM and that is to just be faster then 2009. I didn't have a good SCM season this past year so anything will be an improvement. For the 1500 SCM I so want to break 18 minutes. That is the one goal that I will kill myself this year in order to break. I really want to break the 18 double ohhhh! Something about being 17 Again! Well I've never swam in the 17's but I once was 17. Seriously I could retire happily from swimming the 1500 if I could just break the 18:00. Hell I could retire happily from swimming with that goal achieved. Everything else just needs to be faster then 09 times. Although the two times I did swim the 800 SCM I clocked in personal best times. Once again being on a plane and not knowing my times I will say that my dream goal for the 800 SCM is below 9:30.

As for my real best times so far here they are LINK:

400 Free 4:32.53

800 Free 9:40.61

1500 Free 18:02.14

200 Fly 2:26.16

200 Back 2:22.58

So there I now for my first time have real swimming goals. Now comes the hard part and accomplishing these goals. One of the things that I have opened myself up to in order to accomplish these goals is that in 2010 I will be listening to every coach and swim mate of mine. Even when I don't fully understand what they are talking about I'll somehow manage to do it. Actually what I need to do sometimes is just stop and listen. Lots of time various coaches do the ol' hit and run advice. By hit and run advice I mean the times when I'm swimming a set and on my interval rest 5 or 10 seconds the coach says something and instead of sitting out a 50 to hear the whole conversation I sometimes just take off on my alloted interval time. So the next time the coach says something I will stop and listen and try to comprehend what they said and put it to use. Sometimes the hit n' run advice is meant as just that for example when a coach yells kick more or keep elbows up. But what I always fail to do is follow up with the coach and ask if I did it correct or not. I did that with a coach on Friday. One of the times he was watching and gave me more feedback. I will be chit chatting with each of my coaches to let them know that I am now open to all critique. For a while I felt like I had too many cooks in my kitchen and was being pulled in too many directions. So I started to pick advice from one coach or so per stroke. Friday mornings and Sunday afternoons were the only days I'd listen to butterfly critique. That was the coach who really helped me in my fly so I wanted to limit any other cooks to mess with the recipe. Since our team has rotated the coaches as my butterfly zen master moved to NY I pretty much shut down. Boy did it show during SCM season.

I know coaching alone wont help me reach my motivational goals. So I vow that in 2010 I wont get injured. Okay that is something one cannot vow to do but I will. Also I will make it to more workouts that I know are harder then the other ones. It may require me to learn basic math and actually figure out how to use the clock on the wall and not just add 20 seconds if we are swimming on a 1:20 base. Which seems to be what I think most of what my workouts are on. I also will lead the lane more when I am with the other fasties and not just swim off of the draft. Oh I love that draft. I'll push myself at every workout and not just the ones that I feel like it. Guess that will also mean I'll be showing up more and more on Wednesday mornings.

Argh. It's so much so many promises for 2010. Of course I can just post this and edit out some of my promises as the year goes on and I break one promise after another. And like I'll remember that I posted this back in December of 2009? Come May I won't even remember being on this flight to Florida never mind any New Years Resolutions. Oh and I while am at tossing out so called New Years Resolutions I promise to swim the 400 IM at some point in 2010. That includes 4 laps of breaststroke. Alert the lifeguards on deck. Seriously, tell them to put down their iphones and updating facebook and make sure I don't drown. Four laps of breaststroke is like, hard.

So those are my goals for 2010 what are yours?

My 200 Back.

My 200 Back.  I was a bit surprised when I saw my time on the clock when I finished.  I so thought I was faster then that.  Last year I was faster then that.  Doh!

4 Mc Kenna, Joel  

1:11.61 (36.77)    
1:49.64 (38.03)    
2:28.23 (38.59)

My best time is 2:22.58.