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  #11  
Old 06-10-2011
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
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It's the 'just' that I have begun to question. Isn't doing something for its own sake sufficiently enjoyable? If it isn't, how enjoyable is that thing?
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  #12  
Old 06-10-2011
dobarton dobarton is offline
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Default So I've been thinking more and had an interesting experience

this morning.
Two days ago, I swam my usual 1650m for the first time with a TT. According to the math (TT and total finishing time timed on my watch so off a little), I took 1690 time intervals including beeps for turns (time/SR=# of stroke intervals).
Today, I dropped the SR by 0.05 seconds. I was fully anticipating a faster time, but I was also expecting to take more strokes due to increased inefficiency. Well, the dumb luck of it was that I only took 1655 intervals to finish!!! Needless to say, I was TOTALLY jazzed about my time.
Now, there is no possible way that I dropped my SPL by 1/2 stroke/length. I'm just not that good. Even though I'm not that good, with the tempo trainer over the longer distance, I'm able to totally ignore how fast my arms are turning over and really focus on how relaxed my recovery is and how "long" I'm making my "vessel," especially as I started to get tired.
So what happened? The only thing I can figure is that my turns (open and inefficient) were a little more efficient today.
That's a very long way for me to say that there are so many factors (as has been noted here before) to take into account when we focus on time (speed).
So, yes, SR = speed, but there are sooo many other factors, and clearly you won't go faster if you just spin your wheels faster without minimizing drag.
I hope I didn't ramble too much and that my comments were relevent.
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  #13  
Old 06-10-2011
MarkkuS MarkkuS is offline
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Why not take the ramp test?
http://www.swimsmooth.com/ramptest.html
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  #14  
Old 06-10-2011
RobM77 RobM77 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence View Post
It's the 'just' that I have begun to question. Isn't doing something for its own sake sufficiently enjoyable? If it isn't, how enjoyable is that thing?
A very valid point. Most of my friends do track days in their road cars, where they turn up and drive round the track all day and it's fun. I've never been satisfied by that, I want to race. Everyone's different I guess. I do really enjoy swimming though, there is obviously an element of enjoyment to it otherwise I wouldn't swim so much! Competition is where I naturally want to take it though.
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  #15  
Old 06-10-2011
Rincewind Rincewind is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence View Post
It's the 'just' that I have begun to question. Isn't doing something for its own sake sufficiently enjoyable? If it isn't, how enjoyable is that thing?
What is it that you enjoy about it though?

Is improving and making progress a big part of your enjoyment?

If the answer is yes then I think even self improvement can be considered competition.

You are competing with your former self.
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  #16  
Old 06-10-2011
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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To me competition is fun. I don't mind coming last, though obviously it's nice when I don't and someone else obliges by filling that essential place in any race.

I think the most fun is when I get to swim in a relay. It down't really matter who wins, being part of a team adds an extra dimension.

And, as others have pointed out, competing against yourself is interesting and fun, too.

Just swimming is also good.
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  #17  
Old 06-10-2011
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
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I used to be a competitive athlete. Eventually I realised I didn't know why I was driven to compete and began to wonder whether I wanted or needed to, and indeed whether being competitive was good for me. My inclination was to answer all in the negative.

I agree that pursuing an interest to see how far you can take it is worthwhile. Perhaps it's the most satisfying thing you can do. But it doesn't require competition, just commitment.

I have come to see competition as a distraction from the thing itself, often an expression of vanity, insecurity or boredom, but nothing to do with being interested in the thing in question (swimming in this case). (I make an exception for elite competition, which is interesting as an examination of what is humanly possible.)

I don't say this diagnosis applies to everyone but I think it applies quite widely. It's one reason I steer clear of triathletes in the pool. If all their aggressive splashing proves anything, it's that they have a greater need than I do to splash around aggressively.
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  #18  
Old 06-10-2011
cynthiam cynthiam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence View Post

I don't say this diagnosis applies to everyone but I think it applies quite widely. It's one reason I steer clear of triathletes in the pool. If all their aggressive splashing proves anything, it's that they have a greater need than I do to splash around aggressively.
Oh, man, this made me laugh! I am often in the lane next to said triathletes and end up getting a good open water workout in the pool. All that wake and splash...
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  #19  
Old 06-10-2011
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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One of my masters swimming pals is also a keen runner and triathlete. He told me at the last meet we both attended that he runs a 5k race every weekend. He gets up early to do a ride on his bike almost every morning. He is a year younger than I am and much fitter and slimmer and also a much faster swimmer. His stroke may not be perfect but it's pretty good. He only swims freestyle and breaststroke races, although I suspect that he can actually swim fly. He definitely doesn't fit into the furious kicking category. He refuses to swim backstroke because he says he likes to see where he's going.

A youngish couple ( forties? - it's hard for us old guys to tell since everybody looks young after you reach a certain age) who show up regularly at the local pool both do triathlons. The husband is primarily a cyclist and runner but is a pretty good swimmer as well and has a very presentable stroke. His wife has a prettier stroke (she is a former swim club member) and a better kick. Both are a pleasure to swim with, and not at all pushy. I expect their kids will be swimmers and probably triathletes too.

I think most people have a touch of competitiveness in them. Some hate losing more than others and some hate it so much that they won't compete unless they're absolutely sure of winning. Being absolutely sure of losing is a much easier problem to deal with.
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  #20  
Old 06-15-2011
The Parrot The Parrot is offline
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You're right Rob. I AM 70 and I'm still trying to go faster than the day before! But, I am now old enough (wiser?) to try to do this without making an outright race of it or letting my technique deteriorate. Even that can change according to who is in the next lane but swimming TI is a wonderfully satisfying way of enabling a 70 year-old to give the 30 somethings a fright . . .

Martin
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