The first ever post on the Swim Practice Blog was a call to action for so-called former swimmers to get back into the pool; or even better, open water. If you didn’t read it, here it is.
Now, a long over due update about our little unofficial swim team.
A hodge podge of characters, the SWIMNERD Masters team is now a bonafide US Masters swim team. Our short team code is NERD (bahahaaha). And today is our first swim meet, the 2nd Annual Club Tribe Masters Classic.
It’s been 11 years since I swam in a swim meet — my final meet being CAA Championships back in 2006 — ahh, the glory days! To be honest, that’s not technically true. I did get suckered into swimming in a SCM meet at my local rec center back in 2012 but I hadn’t actually been swimming so I simply pretend that never happened.
Since last year, though, I’ve been swimming pretty consistently. During the summer (May 15 through Sept 15) we swim in the Chesapeake Bay. During the cold season, we swim twice a week at our local rec center: Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:30. We invite anyone that wants to swim with us into our lane. People come and go. Slowly but surely we are getting more swimmers into the “no excuses” group that shows up.
Big John has been very consistent showing up to practice but hasn’t given in to our peer pressure yet about signing back up with Masters swimming and racing in the meet. We will get him into the Ocean Swim Series this summer, I’m sure of it.
We do about 3,000 SCM a practice and have focused much of our attention on race pace training. As someone who tends to improve the longer the race this does not exactly play to my strengths. My results from last year’s Ocean Swim Series is all too telling: 1 Mile: 3rd; 3K: 2nd; 5K: 1st. Today I’ll be swimming the 100 IM, 100 Fly, 50 Fly, and two relays (25 Breast and 50 Free).
None the less, the race pace training has been great. It’s much harder than I expected as there hasn’t been a practice I’m not on the wall screaming in agony. My training partners feel the same way. For the first time in a long time they feel as if they have another gear or two. While most of us are pumped to simply have friends to swim with a couple times a week, I’d be lying if I wasn’t insanely psyched to get back up on the blocks and race my heart out. It’s been far too long.
It’s taken 11 years to get to this point — a point many “swammers” never get back to, which is a shame. It’s tough — it’s mental. Even in my quest to get back into swimming it’s taken me 15 months to swim my first meet in a pool. The way I look at it is that today is my first swim meet ever. I’m completing starting over — I have NT’s — No Times. Therefore, every swim today will be a PB. And from there, I can actually begin to set goal times again.
It’s a process that started with making the decision to swim one time a week, on the same day, at the same time.
Mel Stewart said something on the Ritter Sports Performance podcast that has always stuck with me that might resonate with you.
“If your career is over, the first thing you do is you keep swimming…stay healthy. The second thing is to have purpose. I think you have to have a purpose that is going to keep you connected to your sport…because it’s your family and I think that you can’t be disconnected from your family and have a full life and have a happy life.”
So, when’s the last time you swam regularly?