This section of my website used to be dedicated to triathlon training, personal race results and certification reviews, like Turbo Kick. I am expanding it to include more generic health & fitness topics. Also, I talk a lot about "D" -- he's my husband (Dave Liu)!

Monday, October 27, 2003

The Point of Masters Swimming

I had an epiphany today.

For the last few masters swim sessions, I've been swimming by myself in a separate lane. The benefit is that I stay out of the way of faster swimmers. The drawback is that by going at my own pace, I have no incentive to push myself to work hard or speed up. Due to specificity and the training effect, if I only ever swim long distances slowly, I'm only going to be able to swim long distances slowly!

This is contrary to Total Immersion (TI), which suggests that you should swim slowly all the time until you perfect your form yadda. However,but that's in an ideal world where you can dedicate a lot of time to training and don't have a deadline (race) coming up. Those of us who work, have other commitments, and are already deep into triathlon season need a more practical approach.

Following the advice of a post I read, I'll do more TI drills to focus on form and technique in the off season. During tri season, however, I'll emphasize masters swimming. Unfortunately, this flash of brilliance (my epiphany) isn't going to do anything for me between now and Treasure Island next week. Let's hope it'll help me out for next year.

I swam in a lane with Karen today. She kept me honest. Today's workout:

  • Warm up
  • 3x 400M descending:
    • 400M at 80%
    • 400M at 85% (cruise pace)
    • 400M at 90%
  • 200M IM (fly, back, breast, crawl) = 4x 50M: 25M drill, 25M stroke
    • Butterfly drills: single arm stroke 2-3 times, body only
    • Backstroke drills: shoulder shrugs, hitchhiker drill
    • Breaststroke drills: Single arm stroke followed by 2 more kicks only (arms in streamlined position), breaststroke arms with alternate kick
    • Crawl drills: I know plenty!
  • 100M IM kicks

I managed to get partway through the backstroke kicks before looking at my watch to see that it was already 7:55PM. Yay! I love workouts that go by quickly.

After I exited the pool, there were still some people swimming. I asked Greg whose swimming form I should aspire to emulate, and he pointed to this guy with a tattoo on his shoulder blade. "High elbows, nice entry, although he's a little fatigued now," explained Greg.

Once we finished covering the pool, I talked to Shoulder Blade Tattoo about hand entry. He said he was taught to pierce the water thumb first (weren't we all at some point?) but the latest conventional thinking is pinky first or even hand flat. I also asked him what happens after hand entry and whether he crosses his midline with an "S" move. He said that when you're pulling, you should be on your side so your hand is at the midline and shouldn't really cross it.

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