How to Swim a Mile as a 'work of art'
It wasn't my first mile. In fact, it was my slowest ever. But as a 'work of art' it was my best ever in nearly 50 years. I swam my first mile (a 1650y race in a pool) at age 16. I'll turn 66 in two weeks.
It was yesterday at the New England Masters Championships at Harvard Univ. and my time was 26:47.9.
I'd ripped a bad gash in my lower left leg while at our Open Water Camp in the USVI on Jan 5. It took 16 stitches to close and 7 weeks to heal. I had only 2 weeks of practice after the long layoff prior to this race.
Even so, my swim felt just exquisite and considering that minimal practice following a long layoff, as good performance-wise as could be expected.
I felt somewhat poorly from the time I awoke until I got in the pool, but once I began swimming my warmup/tuneup felt much better. I warmed up for about 30 minutes, super-easy at first then rehearsing the way I hoped to feel for the first 60 of 66 lengths.
My goals for the race were to stay efficient, pace it well--being mindful of how much physical conditioning I'd probably lost during the 7-week layoff--feel fantastic, and stay focused.
When the race started I felt just as I had in tuneup (no surprise--that's the point of tuning my nervous system and sensory faculties). I counted my strokes every lap and consistently swam 15 SPL on odd lengths and 16 on even. This is nearly 2SPL lower than I've been able to hold during a 1650 in the last two years. I felt silky smooth the whole way. I can recall only 3 flip turns out of 65 on which my timing was a little off. I never felt the breathlessness that is common during this race.
My splits for the three 550s were 9:01-8:58-8:47, while holding my stroke count consistent.
And finally I was keenly focused for every one of the 1607 seconds the race took.
While it was my slowest 1650 ever--as a work of art, it felt like my best ever.