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Old 02-03-2011
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Default First meet of the year

My first meet of 2011 was the South Eastern Region Long Course Masters Meet at Crawley, Sussex, just south of Gatwick airport and only about 30 miles from Brighton. This is a long drive for me, of about 270 miles. The meet takes place over two days and has a full program of events ( but not the 1500m Freestyle).

This was my third time for this meet, having swum for the first time in 2008 and again in 2010 and this time I swam an almost identical program, entering for eleven events, all the freestyle events, all the breaststrokes and all the backstrokes. However, a few days before the meet I received an email from the organizer to tell me that I could not swim the 800m as there were too many entries and my entry time of 23 minutes was too slow. My entry fee was refunded. This was probably a blessing in disguise. The previous year I had scratched the 800m because I felt that I was swimming too slow and I was keen to head for home.

So on Friday, Jan 28th I set off and cruised gently through Wales and into England and then down to Crawley on the motorway, booked into my hotel and went to explore the joys of Crawley but found none.

The following morning I set off early for the lovely K2 swimming pool and had a gentle warm-up (not really enough, I think, but the pool was very crowded and the slow lane had a number of swimmers who were not slow as I understand it).

The meet went reasonably well, apart from the fact that my freestyle events still seem to be in the slump that began in late 2009. My 50 Free time of 1:01.58 was slightly faster than last year's time of 1:02.05 but down on my first effort of 57. 71 at this meet in 2008, which is still my personal best for long course . The 100 Free was slower than last year and 2008, the times being 2:07.17 for 2008, 2: 18.10 in 2010 and 2:19.78 this time. My 200 and 400 times were also slower than my entry times and times for previous years. The age or rust question arises, of course, but I think progress in the other strokes speaks against the age theory, at least to some extent.

The backstroke and breaststroke events provided some cheer, with a new personal best of 56.98 in the 50 Breast, which is not only faster than my previous long course and short course best but actually faster when converted than my short course best for freestyle. My 100 Breast was respectable rather than good and I was disqualified in the 200 for messing up a turn and coming off swimming a sort of half freestyle.

I was also disqualified in the 50 Back for turning off the back at the finish, a silly mistake that I plan never to repeat, but it was an unofficial personal best for backstroke swum as back crawl. My official PB is 1:04.28, swum using the double arm style in 2007, but I believe this is a mistake and should be 1: 14.28. This time I did 1:12.72 so I was relatively pleased, even with the DQ, figuring that I can repeat it and even improve on it.. I entered a time of 2:40.00 for the 100, which would be a PB for back crawl ( the PB swum with double arm style is 2:30. 35) and was quite content with my time of 2:39.32, which was an improvement on last year's 2:54.56 and the 2:51.71 of 2008. My entry time for the 200 Back was 5:30.00, which I didn't quite achieve but came in in 5:35.11, which is a new PB and a considerable improvement on the 6:11.80 of 2008, which was, I think, my first attempt at swimming 200m all back crawl. .

I have hopes of eventually being a respectable backstroker and able to keep pace with some of the ladies and gentlemen in the higher age groups.

One outstanding feature of this meet was the performance of Jane Asher, now in the 80-84 age group, who broke a number of world records, for 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle, the last three all in the same race. She also broke the world record for the 400m IM and the British record in the 100m Fly.

It was also great to meet old swimming acquaintances and make some new ones, one of the chief pleasures of masters swimming
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Old 02-04-2011
Grant Grant is offline
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Good for you Richard. The first meet of the year is somehow special. As you mention the seeing of old friends is a really big treat. Your dedication is exposed by your willingness to travel 270km to play. You mention the K2 pool. Sounds like quite a complex. Is there more than the 50m pool?
I bet your times would be faster if you swam less races. In Canada they only allow you to 4 solo and 2 relays per day. Even that can be taxing if they are not separated by some length of time.
Once again congrats.
May we swim with ease at the speeds we choose.
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Old 02-04-2011
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Hi Grant

The main pool at Crawley is wonderful and there is also a small pool for children, with slides and waterfalls etc., but unfortunately there is no warm-down pool, which some people find a drawback. It doesn't bother me too much, although obviously I would prefer a warm-down pool as well. I usually just have a few hot showers and walk around the pool a lot.

I don't like meets where you can only enter a few events. If I'm traveling 270 miles (not km) one way to swim I want to get value for money. In my experience swimming a lot of events doesn't seem to make my times any slower - they're slow anyway. Sometimes if a race comes too soon after the one before I do feel it, and certainly I've noticed at the Welsh Open that I usually swim the 800m slower as a separate race than as a 1500m split because the 1500 is always on the first day and I think it takes longer than a day to recover from a 1500, even at the pace I swim it. I think I only once swam it faster the second day, in Manchester in 2007, and these are still my best times for both events, but generally with shorter races I seem to have recovered in a few minutes.

What I need to find out is how to swim the second fifty of a 100m in somewhat the same speed as the first. Maybe some Tempo Trainer work will help.
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Old 02-16-2011
CoachBobM CoachBobM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant View Post
I bet your times would be faster if you swam less races. In Canada they only allow you to 4 solo and 2 relays per day. Even that can be taxing if they are not separated by some length of time.
Most of the meets I attend have similar limits. But I wouldn't want to do more events than that, since my goal is nearly always to do personal best times, and I can't accomplish that while swimming lots of events.

I also avoid swimming back-to-back events because I find that this doesn't leave enough recovery time.

But I must admit that this leaves me frustrated at times, because I often don't have enough meets in a year to get a shot at all of the events I want to do!


Bob
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Old 02-16-2011
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richardsk View Post
went to explore the joys of Crawley but found none.
I laughed at this gently ironic line.

I'm with you, Richard. I like to enter and swim many events. Oddly enough I find it easier to swim multiples without undue fatigue. Likely because I pace myself better. In evaluating a swim, I'm more focused on 'intelligent race construction' than on the final time. And I find that when I pace well, I generally swim well too. I can always find something positive about the races.

A thought for freestyle. In the shorter events, try swimming as fast as you can quietly. I think you'll actually swim faster and find you have more finishing speed.

In backstroke, swim with a thought of swimming as fast as you can while minimizing water disturbance -- as if trying to swim without leaving a wake.

A suggestion (for Richard or anyone) Try a Swimming Golf (Strokes + Seconds) trial in practice for 50m back and/or free (or even a 50 that's 25BK+25FR). Do it first just swimming as fast as you can. Then repeat swimming as fast as you can quietly.

Compare scores and how you feel overall. Working more with, rather than against, the water?

If you try this, let us know how it works out.
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Old 02-16-2011
Grant Grant is offline
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[quote=terry;17439].

I'm with you, Richard. I like to enter and swim many events. Oddly enough I find it easier to swim multiples without undue fatigue. Likely because I pace myself better. In evaluating a swim, I'm more focused on 'intelligent race construction' than on the final time. And I find that when I pace well, I generally swim well too. I can always find something positive about the races.

Interesting. When competing I swim each race distance at a different pace. The 50m is the quickest pace and then the pace slows with the increased distances. I still have allot of work to do in swimming races with negative splits but am working on it. After swimming 4 races in a 4 hour period the only way I would not be fatigued is if I did not play the edge speed wise. And that would not be my idea of racing. Actually my goal at the end of the meet is to be running on empty or at least pleasently fatigued.
Am impressed if you can go all out and still not be fatigued.
May we swim ease at the speeds we choose.
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Old 02-16-2011
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Hello all

With regard to the joys of Crawley, on the second night I went to a little tapas restaurant run by a mixture of Spanish and Portuguese people that I had visited with my wife on my first Crawley trip and had a really excellent meal so I did find some joy in Crawley, apart from the swimming. My wife won't go there again, though, because she finds little to amuse her there.

Last year I managed to hook up with a bunch of swimmers, some of whom I already knew, and had a pleasant evening with them but this time nobody wanted to come out to play so I had to dine alone. I have since successfully reconstructed one of the dishes I sampled, Riņones al Jerez (Lamb kidneys in sherry sauce) which is a great recipe if you like kidneys, and I do.

One of the things I'm working on in the freestyle events is splitting my races, particularly the shorter ones, and most of all the 100m, where I have a huge gap between my first 50 and my second. I also often swim my first 50 slightly faster than I swim the actual 50 although not trying as hard, which supports what Terry has to say. The second 50 is much slower, so that may mean the first 50 or maybe the first 75 is still too fast relatively speaking, although as slow as a snail in tar as they say in Welsh..

I've been analyzing some races at masters and international level and will post the results of my analysis soon.
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Old 02-16-2011
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant View Post
After swimming 4 races in a 4 hour period the only way I would not be fatigued is if I did not play the edge speed wise.
Our differing approaches may reflect our differing experience. You're coming from more of a sprint background, while I'm coming from a distance history. So our racing experiences have probably left us with different habits. This year I'm favoring shorter races more - in an intentional effort to leave my historic comfort zone.

One influence is that Adirondack Masters covers a large area with relatively thin - and declining - population. So an ADMS meet might have fewer than 30 swimmers, as did the most recent one, resulting in many events having only one or two heats. Consequently I might swim 4 to 5 events in 3 or fewer hours. That also encourages a more cautious strategy.

However, I'm keenly focused on how I pace a race aiming mainly to feel strong in the final quarter.

Richard, I study the split patterns of world and American records - and sometimes beyond those. Those patterns tell me what an optimally-paced race looks like. The "sweet spot for splitting" a 100m freestyle race for instance is to keep the second 50 within 1.5 to 2 seconds of the first. Being a distance swimmer I aim to split at least that close. If you have a much larger differential, you are probably hurting your final time.

Splitting isn't just something you do on race day. You need to develop a strategy for that and practice swimming your repeats accordingly.

The reason I suggest the Silent Swim Golf strategy is because a very good Swim Golf score predicts that the approach you used to achieve it - and the sensation that swim produced - will likely work well for the first quarter or half of a well-split race.
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Last edited by terry : 02-16-2011 at 10:32 AM.
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Old 02-16-2011
Grant Grant is offline
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Originally Posted by terry View Post
Richard, I study the split patterns of world and American records - and sometimes beyond those. Those patterns tell me what an optimally-paced race looks like. The "sweet spot for splitting" a 100m freestyle race for instance is to keep the second 50 within 1.5 to 2 seconds of the first. Being a distance swimmer I aim to split at least that close. If you have a much larger differential, you are probably hurting your final time.
Terry: thanks for pointing this out. My split differential on the 100 and 200m races have been under 2 seconds, but I was hung up on people extolling the benefit of negative splitting. I have timed myself from a dive start and a push off start and usually the dive gave me that 2 sec advantage. I have always been hesitant in slowing down the first half in order to swim the second half faster.
Your observation is welcomed. Will let go of negative splitting for the short races. From 400 and up it should be possible to overcome the 2 second advantage the start dive gives???
In the 100 and 200 races my growing edge is to be able to hold the 3rd quarter of the race at a pace at least as fast as the second Quarter. My history has been to sag on the third and really red line the last quarter.
Have been training in the manner you suggested some time ago. Build on the second quarter, get up to top speed in the 3rd quarter and hold on for the last quarter.
A three week layoff because of illness has given me an unintended taper. Was back in the pool today for the first time and it was glorious.
May we swim with ease at the speeds we choose.
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Last edited by Grant : 02-16-2011 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 02-16-2011
terry terry is offline
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Grant
You've got it right. 100-200 aim for splitting within 2 seconds.
400 and up, aim for an even to slightly negative split.
400 IM, aim to negative split the last 3 x 100.
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