Swim Team Practice and the Concrete Box

As an adult onset swimmer working hard to improve, I so desperately want to find another option to swimming in a lap pool. Swimming in the pool goes something like this: push off the wall, follow the black line, touch the wall, rinse and repeat. Over and over again.

A few facts about the pool:
  • Super convenient - 10 minutes from my house
  • Spectacular facility - new, modern, with long course on the weekend
  • World class fitness center - if they don't have the equipment, it doesn't exist
  • Hundreds of classes included in the membership fee
  • Only way to improve for novice swimmers like me
I avoid the pool at all costs. I even suspended my membership for a few months, hoping the open water would be sufficient. My skills declined since going less frequently to the pool.

For 2018, I commit to two masters workouts each week. To make it a plan, it must be written down. Now it's done.

Anticipating the new year's commitment, I joined my local masters team, for the second time. I went to their long course (50m) workout this morning. Masters (swim team) workouts remind me of being on the JCC swim team when was in grade school - swimming endless laps while trying to keep up and not bump into the other swimmers - neither fun nor relaxing.

My swim team has all levels of athletes, including Olympians, collegiate rock stars, accomplished open water swimmers, lifelong age groupers and mere mortals like me. Swimmers divide into lanes based on their pace. I'm with the slower kids, not the slowest, but not even close to the fastest. The fastest swim at twice my pace. Saturday swim team practices use seven of the eight 50m lanes. I was in lane five - 1:50 on hundreds measured on short course.

Saturday workouts last 90 minutes. I survived 25 minutes. Warm-up 400 meters, then 200 meters with 50 meters increasing tempo followed by 50 decreasing tempo. 400 meters with 25 meters hard kicking followed by 75 meters even paced front quadrant swimming, with 15 second rests.  There were likely another 2000 meters as part of the workout, but I just couldn't enjoy the experience.  There were eight of us crammed in lane five, perhaps too many for my comfort.

I figured 25 minutes was a good start for 2017. For 2018, I'll get over my anxiety and just suck it up. Maybe my swimming will improve as well.


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