Fast Twitch -- Week 8 (Monday, April 30)

Monday a.m. short course

400 warmup

2x200 IM kick :20 rest

Two rounds:
6x50 fly drill on 1:00
4x50 dolphin kick on back on 1:10
2x50 fly swim fast on 1:30
(:28 on all four)

300 easy

10x50 on :55
1-5: free breathe every 3
6-10: free with three breaths per 50
The original plan was to do backstroke today, but I didn't go to the pool with backstroke flags. so the second round of the main set remained butterfly. Ow!


Fast Twitch -- Week 7 (Saturday, April 28)

Saturday noon short course

1-5: free on 1:40
6-10: 25 scull/50 drill/25 swim on 1:50

100 free easy on 1:30
50 breast at moderate pace on :50 (:34)
100 free easy on 1:30
50 breast at faster pace on :50 (:33)
100 free easy on 1:30
50 breast at faster pace on :50 (:31)

300 kick on back with Zoomers: 200 moderate, 100 build

The lightning came. The lifeguards had to clear the pool. I suppose I could have stayed, because a couple of miles south of the pool, not one drop of rain had fallen. I think the rain was probably short, and they would have let me back in after 30 minutes. But I was getting hungry and food took priority. It would have been another 90 minutes before I had the chance to eat.

Here's the rest of the workout:

4x25 kick underwater with Zoomers fast on 1:00

200 easy

Work on starts for 15 minutes

4x100 breast kick on 2:10, descend 1-4 to nearly all out



Fast Twitch -- Week 7 (Friday, April 27)

Friday p.m. short course (!!!!)

600 warmup

8x100 IM
1-4: drill on 1:45
5-8: swim on 1:40

50 easy

4x15 breakouts on :45

50 easy

6x35 on 1:30
1: fly turn
2: fly to back turn
3: back turn
4: back to breast turn
5: breast
6: breast to free turn

200 easy

100 back broken by 25s, :15 rest at each 25
(:13, :14, :14, :14 = :55)

300 easy
Yes, that's right, I did backstroke turns in a short course pool! The Ft. Lowell pool at Craycroft and Glenn is the only public pool in town with backstroke flags, because an age group team swims there regularly. It's a little far from where I live and where I work, but for the next two weeks, I'll commute there three days a week.

Because it's a short course pool, the water was way too warm (no public pool has a water cooling system apparently) because it was about 90 degrees today. But I perservered through it all the way through the broken 100.

The set of 35s was a way to do fast swimming incorporating turns. When I was training in Colorado Springs in my other swimming life, we did sets like this all the time. The coach would time us, and we'd do it maybe once or twice a month. Ten meters/yards off the wall means about one stroke cycle for fly and free, two for back, and just the pullout for breast (at least for me). Before you do the set, you might want to know where the 10-yard mark is from each wall.

I felt good about the workout, besides the fact that I was able to work on backstroke. Though my body is a little tired from weights, all my strokes feel smooth.


Fast Twitch -- Week 7 (Thursday, April 26)

Thursday a.m. long course

600 warmup

1x50 on 1:10
2x100 on 2:10
3x150 on 3:20

Repeat the set pulling, then swimming. I don't use paddles, and rarely use a pull buoy. I did the pulling set backstroke (100 back/50 free on the 150s) and the swimming set mostly freestyle, except the 50 (breast) and the last 150 (back/breast/free).

100 warmdown
The workout helped recover more from the fast sets last night. I rarely went faster than aerobic pace.

Thursday p.m. long course

600 warmup

8x100 free on 1:45, descending to 1:10

4 backstroke starts, fast to 15-meter mark
(averaged :07.5)

8x50 breast kick on 1:20, descend 1-4, 5-8

6x50 breast on 1:15
25 pull fast with Zoomers/25 easy

4x50 breast kick on 1:15, holding under :55 (held :53)

200 free, breathing every 3, 5, 7, 9 by 50s


I had more to do in the workout,but ran out of time; it was only about 300 more meters. The backstroke starts felt pretty good, and I'm trying to work on making my four dolphin kicks stronger to keep my momentum going into my first stroke. Of all my starts, backstroke is the one that needs work. I might have written about how bad my back start was at world championships, prompting me to work on changing it.


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Fast Twitch -- Week 7 (Wednesday, April 25)

Wednesday p.m. short course

600 warmup

300 kick

8x100 :20 rest, two of each stroke
75 drill/25 swim

6x50 free on :55
Odd: Breathe every 5
Even: Breathe every 7

4x15 breakouts on :45

3x100 free fast on 4:00

200 easy

50 breast fast

200 easy
The stars were not aligned today. I went to Catalina Pool, the same pool I went to a little more than a week ago and worked on my starts. I clearly remember them having backstroke flags. Tonight, there were none, which seriously affected my workout. I was going to do the fast 100s IM, but without flags, backstroke was out of the question.

I would be very surprised if there were any public pools with backstroke flags. I've been to three in town, and Catalina was the only public pool I have seen in Tucson with flags. I'm going to try to find a pool with flags by calling around tomorrow, because I do need to do some IM turn work, as well as some backstroke work. Obviously, I could swim at the university, but again, it's long course.

A solution will present itself.

Anyway, I was happy with my 100 frees. My plan was to have a fast stroke rate on the first 25, then build my legs the last 75 while keeping my stroke together. Not easy, especially since I'm not a freestyler.

The 50 breast was tough, but the point was to work on hand speed. That will come in handy on the last 50 of my 100 breast.


Fast Twitch -- Week 7 (Tuesday, April 24, part 2)

Tuesday p.m. short course

6x150 :20 rest
1-3: 100 free/50 kick
4-6: 100 IM drill/50 kick

4x15 breakouts on :45

100 breast kick fast with board, 100 swim easy (1:24)
75 kick fast, 75 easy swim/kick (1:02)
50 kick fast, 50 swim easy (:42)
25 kick fast, 25 kick easy (:18)

200 easy

4x25 flutter kick underwater with Zoomers on 1:00
(:13 average)

200 easy
I got to the pool late (traffic) and had to leave right at 6:30, so I cut out 400 yards at the top of the workout, and another fast set at the end: 4x25 dolphin kick on back with Zoomers on 1:00.

It felt good to do short course workout. I could feel my breaststroke kick going at a higher rate than when I did the set long course. That is what I need.

I spent about an hour at work looking at the public pool schedules for the city of Tucson. Turns out they had the wrong one posted. The pools are open for lap swim at quite convenient times. Again, I really wish I had thought of this option weeks ago.

What I might do is either swim at 6 a.m. or 5:30 p.m., depending on circumstances. I'd rather swim in the morning because I can have my evenings back.

I can't stress enough how important it is to swim short course when preparing for a short course meet. If you're going to nationals and have been training mostly long course, it's not too late to find a short course pool and prepare for the homestretch. Even if you're a distance swimmer. Your legs will thank you as they remember what it's like to push off twice as many walls.

Fast Twitch -- Week 7 (Tuesday, April 24)

Tuesday a.m. with Ford Masters long course

500 warmup

4x4x50 one round of each stroke on 1:00 (breast on 1:05)
1: drill
2-3: 25 drill/25 swim
4: swim (was supposed to be fast, but I did it moderately...very hard for me to swim fast in the first 30 minutes of workout. Went :38 on fly, :39 on back, :43 on breast, :37 on free)

3x200 kick (essentially a straight 600)

Three rounds:
3x50 on 1:00
100 on 1:40 (was supposed to be fast, but I did it moderately...Tuesday morning is not my sprint workout. Went 1:20 on 50 back/50 breast, 1:17 on 50 breast/50 free)

100 easy
A pretty decent workout. No problems, though my hamstrings are real tight.

I have figured out a way to get in more short course training until nationals. I'll swim at a public pool, either early in the morning or after work. I can swim from 6:30 a.m.-8 a.m. or 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m., giving myself time to do workouts and not rush through them, especially test sets. The only problem is that the pool I will go to, Quincie Douglas, doesn't have a pace clock (at least none that I've seen), so getting times on test sets and the like will be difficult.

I have to work tonight, but I'll be able to get in a quick workout from 5:30-6:30 before heading back into the grind.

I don't know why I didn't think of this before. It's a great solution to my problem, although a costly one. I'm paying dues to swim at Ford, and now I'll add about seven or eight dollars a week to it.

I won't be home until very late tonight, so I will post this evening's workout Wednesday.


Fast Twitch -- Week 7 (Monday, April 23)

Monday p.m. long course

600 warmup

8x50 :15 rest
25 scull/25 free with snorkel

10x100 on 1:45
50 back/50 free, increasing the effort on backstroke

4x15 breakouts on 1:00, one of each stroke

Four turns from the 15-meter mark

300 easy
The first two sets helped get out the kinks of travel and the meet. I wanted to work on my body position on the 10x100s, and I swam straight for pretty much all of it.

As I said in my previous post, I need to do more work on turns. Tonight, I tried to work on my IM turns, but I couldn't properly get the back/breast turn right because the flags were set up for long course, which means a different number of strokes into the wall. I'll work on the turn when I get into a short course pool.

Fast Twitch -- Week 7: Back from the meet

I've got a lot to talk about as I head into the final stretch of this training phase. But first, the results from the meet in Pleasanton, Calif. You can find the full results here.

50 back: 25.17
50 breast on medley relay: 26.13
100 IM: 52.93
50 fly: 24.31
100 free on free relay (second leg): 48.32

100 free: 49.04
50 free lead-off on free relay: 22.72
200 IM: 1:57.79
100 breast: 58.01
100 back leadoff on medley relay: 53.08

Now some thoughts.

I am happy with all my times, except the 200 IM, which is hard for me to do when I am in the middle of training and have no one to push me. The fact that I am quite broken down was evident in my breaststroke races. No snap in my stroke and a little bit of trouble on the pullouts. In the middle of the season, my breaststroke is always the first to suffer. But otherwise, I raced well and had a lot of fun -- the most important thing.

It's obvious that training long course has helped my endurance, but it had severely hindered my short-course racing strategies. Since swimming long course exclusively for five weeks, my body has trained itself to not think about turns for at least 30 strokes. I found it very hard to prepare for my turns, which made them either sloppy or soft. In my 50 back and 100 free, I noticed the guys in the lane next to me out-turning me. That rarely happens.

Because the age group and college teams dictate how the pool at the University of Arizona will be set up, it's unlikely that we'll see it changed to short course until the end of the summer. (An unfortunate side effect that I'm not sure was brought to anyone's attention.) I am going to make every effort to find a short-course pool for training until nationals. There is no way to replicate a short-course minded set in a long-course pool. Sure, I can swim 25s, but how do I work on the turns? Swimming from the middle of the pool to the wall isn't productive, either.

On Saturdays I will definitely swim at the public pool. It'll be difficult to get away from work to get in a workout during lap swim hours from noon to 4 p.m.

For those of you who have been training mostly long course for nationals or any other short course meet, please make sure you find a way to do the majority of your workouts short course. And do lots of starts, swimming 25 yards and doing a turn.

I wish I had realized this sooner. The effect wasn't really felt when I swam at the meet in Phoenix three weeks ago. But I had been doing workouts shaped around swimming 50 meters before turning, or conditioning my body to last more than 15 seconds before a turn. My body needs to be retrained, and I am sure it can be done before nationals.

You would think this is a small fix, but it isn't. If you can't do turns as well as you are able in a short-course race, forget winning.


Functional Training Clinic - April 28

For those of you who want to improve your swimming, triathlon, or overall athletic performance, there is an event this coming weekend you should attend. Functional Performance Center in Tempe is hosting a clinic on Saturday April 28 at 2pm that focuses on exercises designed to improve your performance.

The clinic is going to host twice-weekly training sessions on Tuesday and Thursday mornings starting in May. If all goes well, registered members of Arizona Masters Swimming will get a discount at the clinic. Stay tuned for more information on this...

While most of the focus is on improving triathlon-specific movements (biking and running), the clinic has experience with elite level swimmers. World-class sprinter Nick Brunelli has been rehabilitating with them since his shoulder injury last year and speaks highly of them. Functional Performance Center also works with professional athletes from a variety of sports (ex. Arizona Diamonbacks) to improve their performance. If you are at all interested in improving your performance in and outside of the water, give them a call at 480-968-2020 for more information.


Fast Twitch -- Week 6 (Thursday, April 19)

Thursday a.m. with Ford Masters long course

650 warmup

3x200 free on 3:00
2x100 kick on 2:00
1x50 on 1:00 (25 fast/25 drill)

2x200 free on 3:00
1x100 kick on 2:00
3x50 on 1:00

1x200 free on 3:00
3x100 kick on 2:00
2x50 on 1:00

100 easy
Still sore from yesterday. The 200s were aerobic (about 2:45 pace) and I got no rest on the kick sets. I also only did a 15-meter breakout on the 50s.

I'm taking off for California at 6 tonight. Tomorrow, I'll swim an easy workout at the pool, my only day of true rest. Here's what I'm swimming, over the course of two days:
50 fly
50 back
100 IM
100 free
200 IM
100 breast
I'm also likely to swim on relays for University of San Francisco Masters, the team I am representing. I pleaded with them to not put me on the 800 free relay. I hope they didn't consider that a joke.

I won't be able to report on the meet until I return late Sunday night. Look for a post Monday. Enjoy the weekend!


Fast Twitch -- Week 6 (Wednesday, April 18)

Wednesday p.m. long course

6x150 :20 rest
100 free/50 non-free

3x100 :20 rest
50 kick/50 swim of back, breast, free

4x15 breakouts on 1:00

100 easy

4x50 on 2:00 IM order
(:31, :31, :35, :29 = 2:06 200 IM)

4x100 on 2:00 easy, mixing strokes

I changed into my Speedo brief, then had to wait 10 minutes for an open lane to do:
3x25 from a dive, Nos. 1 and 3 back, No. 2 breast

100 easy
My arms were in intense pain, but started to feel better a few minutes before the broken 200 IM.

The 25s were actually pretty strong, and the breakouts were pretty good. Naturally, I'm still having trouble swimming backstroke in the middle of the lane.

To remind you, I'm swimming in a meet in Pleasanton, Calif., this weekend. I'm not going to rest too hard for it, though the competition is bound to be strong. Olympian
Roque Santos will be there, as will a couple of swimmers from the Olympic Club, a masters team in San Francisco where a lot of the fastest guys in myage group train, especially the freestylers. I'm looking forward to racing them and seeing what kind of strategy I need to execute. It's the last meet before nationals, so I'm making sure I'm on the right path on the way to taper, which will start on May 8.


Fast Twitch -- Week 6 (Tuesday, April 17)

Tuesday a.m. with Ford Masters long course

500 warmup

2x250 IM on 3:40, #1 adding 50 of worst stroke, #2 adding 50 of best stroke

200 IM fast (I went about 90 percent effort: 2:41)

3x3x100 kick, descending the interval each round
(The leaders wore fins, so I pretty much did a 900 relaxed kick, mixing back and breast kick)

2x(4x50 IM order): fly and back on 1:00, breast on 1:05, free on :55
(I did backstroke for fly, and swam this relaxed instead of sprinting it as instructed.)

100 easy
Thursday p.m. long course

600 warmup

4x100 free on 1:40, descend to 1:10

Rack work: 4x15 on 1:00

100 breast kick fast, 100 swim easy (1:41)
75 breast kick fast, 75 swim/kick easy (1:14)
50 breast kick fast, 50 breast kick easy (:46)
25 breast kick fast, 25 breast kick easy (:21)

300 easy

4x50 kick with zoomers on 1:30
1&3: dolphin kick on back fast
2&4: flutter on back fast

200 easy

100 breast kick fast (1:40)

100 easy
It was interesting to do that main set kicking instead of swimming. I recovered a little faster, but it was hard to keep my kicking rate going as the set went on.

I thought I was going to go faster on the 100 kick at the end. I even think my 50 split was faster, but I couldn't keep it up.


Fast Twitch -- Week 6 (Monday, April 16)

Monday p.m. long course

500 warmup

2x200 IM kick :20 rest

6x50 fly drill on 1:05

4x50 25 fly swim/25 free easy on 1:10

2x50 fly swim fast on 1:30 (:32, :32)

300 easy

200 back kick

Rack work: 6x15 back on 1:15

150 easy
I did some pretty hrd weights today before workout, and my legs weren't very cooperative. But swimming on the racks really helped me feel out the muscles that will get me through the last 25 of my 100 back.


Fast Twitch -- End of Week 5 or start of week 6?

Saturday I decided not to swim. This is why I'm not good at training alone. I can easily talk myself out of anything. Instead, I went to watch two high school plays. Much more fun than swimming.

Today, I went to Catalina Pool, which is next door to a high school. It's a city pool, which meant the water temperature is never colder than 82, there are no backstroke flags and the lap swimmers are very particular about having the water be nice and calm. Luckily, no one objected to my workout.

Sunday noon short course (!!!)

600 warmup

12x50 on 1:00
25 drill/25 swim, three of each stroke

8x15 breakouts on :45

Two rounds of a fast 100, broken by 25s and an easy 200 between rounds
#1 breast (1:01)
#2 free (:50-:53; I might have taken a second or so more rest on this round, based on what I saw on the clock)

100 easy

6x50 free on 1:00
Odd: breathe every 5
Even: breathe every 7

5x20 sprint from a dive on 2:00
1 fly, 2 breast, 2 free

100 easy
The goal of that broken 100 set is to be between 4-5 seconds slower than your normal in-season time from a dive. Given that the first 25 is from a push, not from a dive, and the drag suit I was wearing, it's a great way to test out the race pace for the last three 25s of a 100.

The wind was blowing very hard and that had some effect on me.

I was very, very happy that they let me use the starting block. Sprinters should do a good deal of starts leading up to the taper meet, swimming to the 20-yard/20-meter mark. The first 20 yards of a short-course 100-yard race are extremely important. They set up the tone of the race. The stroke rate in these first 20 yards should be a teeny bit faster than the rest of the race. My starts felt pretty good. My freestyle start needs to be shallower, though.


Free Virus Scan Tool

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After you get your system cleaned-up, take the time and money to buy yourself some protection.


Fast Twitch -- Week 5 (Thursday, April 12)

I coached the evening Masters workout and swam my own workout afterward. In the interest of not tarnishing the sprint nature of this blog, I will not post the sets I gave for tonight's distance-oriented workout.

Also, Nike is here doing a photo shoot. That means the Nike starts of swimming are hanging out somewhere in Tucson as I write this. At the pool, I saw Jason Lezak, Maritza Correia and Whitney Myers. I heard Cullen Jones was supposed to be there, but he might have left early. Some of the other Nike swimmers -- Brendan Hansen, Aaron Piersol, Ben Wildman-Tobriner -- might be hanging out, too. The girls looked gorgeous. Jason looked tall. I was amazed they made it out of the pool without getting barraged. Or maybe they did the prerequisite autograph signing earlier in the day.

My partner asked me if I knew Jason, because we are the same age. I don't ever remember Jason and I being on the same national teams. I think he was on his way up when I was on my way out. I admire him and Neil Walker for being able to stay in the sport well into their 30s.

As I swam tonight's workout, I was thinking about the 26.02 50 free I did last night. Even fully out of shape, 30 pounds overweight and with a broken arm, Jason could still go faster than that.

Friday p.m. long course

8x100 free on 1:45
1-3: warmup
4-6: breathe every 3
7-8: breathe every 5

400 breast kick, descending by 100s (2:07, 2:03, 2:00, 1:55)

4x200 free pull on 3:10

8x50 free on 1:00
1-4, 5-8: descend down to two breaths per 50 (I could only get down to three per 50.)

4x100 free aerobic on 1:40


Nick in the News

We have many notable swimmers in Arizona Masters. Some of our younger members are still swimming at an elite level, like Nick Brunelli.
Like all of us though Nick has a life outside of the pool. This article in his hometown newspaper reviews some of his accomplishments in and out of the water. Not only that, it offers a glimpse into what motivates him and what some of his future plans are.

While most of us are aware of Nick's swimming accomplishments, there are many other stories that can be told. If you know of any compelling or inspiring stories, pass them along and let others know. Not only can we learn more about our fellow swimmers and coaches, we can make others aware of our sport in the process.

Fast Twitch -- Week 5 (Thursday, April 12)

Thursday p.m. long course

1-3: free on 1:45
4-7: 25 scull/25drill/25 kick/25 swim IM order :20 rest
8: IM

6x50 on 1:10
25 kick/25 swim: 2 back, 2 breast, 2 free

4x100 free descend on 1:45 (1:17, 1:13, 1:09, 1:06)

4x15 breakouts on 1:00

10x100 on 2:00
1: 50 fly/50 back fast (1:10)
2-3: easy
4: 50 back/50 breast fast (1:14)
5-6: easy
7: 50 breast/50 free (1:10)
8-9: easy
10: 100 back fast (1:07)

250 easy

Put on a Speedo brief and five minutes later:
50 free from a dive (26.02)
Like last night, I still felt kinda blah. I had hoped the first three 100s would be about three to five seconds faster. The 100 back was done on pure willpower, to keep my stroke rate up even though I was getting very tired.

As for the 50 free: My goal was to go under 26 seconds. I had originally planned to have more than five minutes rest after the warmdown from the main set, but I underestimated how long the workout would take. On the good side, the stroke felt good and the kick was very strong for the entire length. Swims like these at the end of workout are good ways to find out how tired you really are and how much more work needs to be done. I think my start needs work, but everything else seems to be falling into place.


Computer Recycle Day

If you are like most computer users, you probably have some unused items collecting dust in your garage, closet, or storage unit.

Why not donate it for a good cause instead?

April 21st, 2007 is Computer Recycle Day in the Phoenix metro area. If you have electronic items that are unused, broken, or too old, click here to find out where you can take them.

Instead of ending up in a landfill, your items will either be repaired and donated to schools or other organizations that will benefit from having this equipment. The items that are not usable will be recycled in an environmentally responsible manner.

This event is held annually by AZStRUT in conjunction with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

As a friendly reminder, do not throw electronic waste into your trash! Many of these items contain lead and other hazardous materials that need to be properly recycled or disposed of. Call your city to find out more about how to properly dispose of these items. You can also search Google by enter the keywords "asset recovery" or "electronics recycling" to find out more information on companies in your area that will take these items.

Fast Twitch -- Week 5 (Wednesday, April 11)

Wednesday p.m. long course

300 warmup

4x150 free with snorkel and Zoomers :20 rest
50 kick/50 drill/50 swim

6x50 on 1:15
25 kick/25 drill

Two rounds:
100 kick moderate on 2:30
4x50 kick fast on 2:00
100 swim easy on 2:00
Round 1: Breast -- :50, :48, :48, :49
Round 2: Free with Zoomers -- :43, :44, :44, :41

4x50 back with Zoomers on 1:00

3x100 on 2:30
25 breast kick fast underwater/75 swim easy

100 easy
I felt kind of blah today, but the times on the main set were pretty good. I can tell the weights are helping. My kick feels strong.


Fast Twitch -- Week 5 (Tuesday, April 10)

Tuesday a.m. with Ford masters long course

300 warmup

6x150 on 2:45
1-2: 50 fly/50 back/25 breast/25 free
3-4: 25 fly/50 back/50 breast/25 free
5-6: 25 fly/25 back/50 breast/50 free

2x50 kick
2x100 kick
2x150 kick
2x100 kick
2x50 kick
(This was essentially a 900-meter straight set for me, because the guys using fins dictated the interval, as usual. And the effort was to get stronger as the set went on.)

8x50 on 1:00
(Odds were supposed to be 25 fast/25 easy; Evens 25 easy/25 fast. I just did them at about 90 percent effort for the whole 50 -- 4 back, 2 breast, 2 free)
This workout would have been great in short course yards, especially the first set. It would have allowed a lot of work on transitions. And it's hard to change speed from easy to fast in the middle of a 50-meter pool, so the last set would have been impossible to do correctly.

I felt a little better today. My breaststroke was feeling awful, which is a good sign.

I had to work tonight, so no evening workout. Everything shifts down a day.

There is no organized workout Saturday. I am looking for a public pool to swim in this weekend. A couple of them have starting blocks and backstroke flags, which I will need for the test sets I plan to do. I might actually swim in a short course pool for the remaining four Saturdays in the season (not counting the weekend of April 20, when I am at a swim meet). I'll need to do test sets in short course yards to work on the speed and stroke timing, which is slightly different in short course and long course races.


Fast Twitch -- Week 5 (Monday, April 9)

Monday p.m. long course

600 warmup

8x50 fly
Odd: kick on back on 1:15
Even: drill on 1:00

300 flutter kick on back with Zoomers: 200 relaxed, 100 moderate

3x200 :40 rest
25 fly/25 free

10x50 back on 1:00
1-4: slightly slower than 200 pace (averaged :39)
5: easy
6-9: at least two seconds faster than first round (:36, :37, :36, :36)
10: easy

200 easy
I felt like dead weight today. It was like dragging a sack of wet potatoes behind me.

I will never do the 3x200s again. If I ever needed proof that I shouldn't be racing butterfly outside of an IM race, that set was it. But I'm still doing the 100 fly at nationals. I already signed up. Too late to turn back now. All I can hope for is that they don't allow us to swim the sixth event, which is the 100 fly for me.

And I found out what meet Ryk Neethling was preparing for last week. South Africa is having its nationals this week, and I guess he came back to Tucson for a day or two before heading back to the southern hemisphere.
There's a lot more to this, but I'll guide you to my thoughts on the US Masters Web site instead of leaving them here.


Maps anyone?

Several years ago, I ran across this site when I was looking for some maps. It was so usefull that I bookmarked it and have used it ever since.

The University of Texas Perry-Castañeda Library has a whole bunch of maps that can be viewed and downloaded free of charge. Many of them are jpegs and pdf so you won't need any special software to view them. They also add new ones on a regular basis and list the most-viewed ones on the top section of the main page.

Oh, and since I know we have a couple of UT-Austin alum reading this page....

Hook 'em horns!


Fast Twitch -- Week 4 (Saturday, April 7)

Saturday a.m. with Ford Masters long course

500 warmup

2x200 swim on 3:00 (held between 2:37-2:40, my aerobic base)
100 easy
4x50 kick on 1:00 (eight dolphin kicks off wall, then flutter on back with Zoomers)
3x100 swim on 1:30 (50 back/50 free, just making the interval)
100 easy
3x100 kick on 2:05 (I did breast with no board; the guys with fins were going on 1:45)
4x50 swim on :45 (I opted out of this, doing 4 breakouts on :50)
100 easy
2x200 kick on 4:10 (IM)
100 easy


Fast Twitch -- Week 4 (Friday, April 6)

Friday p.m. long course meters

600 warmup

8x100 IM
1-5: drill on 2:00
6-8: swim on 1:50

100 easy

4x50 IM order fast on 2:00
(:30, :31, :34, :30 = 2:05 200 IM!!!!!)

200 easy

4x15 IM order on 1:15 (no breath on fly or free)

300 easy

I was going to do a 25 back for time after changing into my Speedo brief and resting for about 10 minutes, but no one was available to time me when I was ready, so I just got out.

About that 2:05 200 IM: The wind was really blowing hard during workout, and I think my fly and breast were wind-aided. But still, it all felt strong and, most importantly, my technique didn't fail me too much. Oh yeah, and I swam straight on backstroke. Some days it's on, some days it's off.

As you can see, I only did 2,300 meters. On sprint days, it's not about quantity, nor should it be. That's why I don't post the workout distance each day. I put in the miles in January and February. Plus, the double workouts I do on Tuesday and Thursday compensate for it.

Password Safe

You use a computer (I know this because you are reading this blog).

You have passwords.

Too many of them in fact.

You could write them all down, but that defeats the purpose of having a password.

You could try and remember them all...

Or you could download a free program that keeps all of your passwords in one place. That way you just have to remember one password. Plus, you can back-up all of your passwords so you don't loose them.

Kinda cool huh?

I have used Password Safe (they are on version 3.07) for over three years and find it very useful. You might like it too, so download it and give it a try.


Ron Johnson Update

Those of us who were at the Short Course State Championships at Brophy on Saturday witnessed a record and a miracle within five minutes.

Ron Johnson set a new record in the 200 Yard Breaststroke on Saturday morning and was warming down when he went into cardiac arrest. He was quickly pulled from the pool and was given CPR by fellow swimmers, several of whom were medical professionals.

After a few minutes, the paramedics arrived and Ron was taken to a nearby hospital. He underwent successful quadruple bypass heart surgery on Saturday and his condition is improving. As I receive updates on his condition I will post an update on the blog.

In the meantime, keep Ron and his family in your thoughts and prayers. Many of us have either seen him compete, been coached by him, or have read his writings about swimming. He is a living legend and a part of the Arizona Masters Swimming family.

Best wishes Ron!
Special thanks to all of those who assisted Ron during his time of need.

Fast Twitch -- Week 4 (Thursday, April 5)

Thursday a.m. long course meters

400 warmup

150 swim
50 kick
100 pull
50 swim -- 25 fast, 25 easy
50 drill

300 swim
2x50 kick
2x100 pull
2x50 swim (fast/easy)
2x50 drill

450 swim
3x50 kick
3x100 pull
3x50 swim (fast/easy)
50 drill

I swam all the pull sets, mixing in backstroke and freestyle. And since the workout was supposed to be mostly recovery, I did freestyle breathing every 7.

After workout, I did five backstroke starts. I think I'm getting the hang of the new start I've been sporadically working on since last fall. The idea is to be shallower because I'm only doing four dolphin kicks instead of six.
Thursday p.m. long course meters

600 warmup

5x200 free on 3:10
1-3 descend to about 90 percent effort (from 2:55 to 2:35)
4-6 pull aerobic

6x50 breast on 1:15 descend, staying under 20 strokes per 50
(:46, :45, :43, :43, :41, :39)

400 breast kick

6x50 free swim on 1:00
Breathing every 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

200 easy
I've found one drawback to training in a long course pool for a short course meet: Loss of short-axis training. By short-axis training, I mean training for 50s, and the 100 IM as well. Sure, I can do 25s, but doing sprint 50s in a long-course pool don't help you work on building into and out of the turn. Plus, I don't have the opportunity to work on 100 IM transitions. I'd like to do some 100 IM test sets. Maybe some time before nationals, the pool will be changed over to short course.

Meet Ideas

I was feeling the Thursday sleepies about an hour ago, though my heavy lunch of pasta salad with tuna and spinach and viniagrette (yum!) had something to do with that. Not to mention the fact that a barking dog kept me up most of last night. To stay awake, I started reading the FINA rule book. Believe it or not, it worked. After watching a whole week of world championships, I got curious about how those meets are run and what the requirements are for the pool. Fascinating stuff. (Yes, I could have done some actual work, but that wouldn't be a guaranteed pick-me-up.)

Then I started to think more about an e-mail I got the other day from our esteemed president of Arizona Masters, Doug Adamavich. He wrote to me about a recent comment I made about the lack of masters meets. He wants to have more of them, too.

Here are some ideas Doug suggested:

Sprint meet (50/100 events only)
Relay meet (200/400/800 relays)
SCY distance meet (500/1000/1650)
LCM distance meet (400/800/1500)

I like them all. I had always thought a relay meet would be a blast. Every year in high school and college our conferences held a relay meet as the kickoff to the season. Very fun and offered events we wouldn’t normally swim in meets, such as the 100 IM. For masters, there could be lots of fun possibilities.

What do you guys think? Of course, teams would have to step up and offer the meets. How difficult is it really to organize a masters meet? I helped organize a USA Swimming meet a few years back and it wasn't that bad. Bribe the volunteers with food and you'll have them in your pocket.

I’m glad Sun Devil Masters had their meet last month; it was a nice training meet for me and most others, and probably gave people more opportunities to hone their racing techniques before their big meet, or just break the monotony of endless yards of training.

Send me or Doug an e-mail with suggestions. Or, even better, talk to your coach and ask him or her to find a couple of weekends to host a swim meet.


National Relays

We now have a website ready for anyone who wants to be a part of our USMS Nationals in Federal Way, WA.

Simply go to the website and enter your information. It will automatically be submitted so relays can be created before the meet.

Don't forget to remind your team that the online USMS National meet entry ends on Thursday April 12th at midnight.

Thanks to Coach Jim Stites from Ford Aquatics and Mike Carey from Carb-BOOM! for putting this site together!

See you at Nationals!

Fast Twitch -- Week 4 (Wednesday, April 4)

Wednesday p.m. long course meters

600 warmup

6x100 free on 1:45
1-4 descend, 5-6 hold at 1:10

6x15 breakout on 1:00

100 free fast, 100 easy (:59)
75 breast fast, 75 easy (:55)
50 back fast, 50 easy (:31)
25 fly fast, 25 easy (:14)

400 easy

I got out and put on a Speedo brief. About seven minutes later:

50 breast fast from a dive
The main set felt better than it did last time, probably because it wasn't all breaststroke. I had trouble keeping my stroke together on the last 15 meters of the 100 free, but the rest of the swims were strong.

As for the 50 breast from a dive, I was real excited about the time, but more excited about the way it was swum. The goal was to have a strong dive and powerful first five strokes, and I felt I did that. I'm no Oleg Lisogor, but I know that a good 50 breast comes from the first five strokes. After that, the most important part is the finish.

I went a 30.0 last summer, but I will admit that I took 30 minutes rest before that. So this one was a very good swim.

Sprinters need to do a good deal of swims from the blocks, or at the very least, work on starts. For races of 100 yards/meters or less, the start is very important. It's important for the 200, too, but it can be argued that there is more time to make up for a bad start.


Fast Twitch -- Week 4 (Tuesday, April 3)

Tuesday a.m. with Ford Masters, long course meters

500 warmup

Two rounds:
3x100 on 1:50
200 IM on 3:30
100s were 50 fly/50 back, 50 back/50 breast, 50 breast/50 free
I didn't feel like descending the IMs as instructed, but I did 2:53 on the first one, 2:49 on the second. Not real fast, but I actively made a stronger effort on the second one.

200 kick on 4:15
4x100 kick on 2:00
100 kick on 2:15
4x50 kick on 1:00
The 4x100 and 4x50 were supposed to be fast. Even if I wasn't doing some fast kick sets in the evening, I probably wouldn't have gone all out on them. The rest was too small to sprint the set.

6x50 on 1:00
They were supposed to be 25 fast/25 easy of any stroke, but I did three of them back, three of them breast at a steady effort (:39 for back, :42 for breast)

Easy 100

Oh yeah, Ryk Neethling was back for another workout. But I guess he showed up well before 6 a.m., because he was out before our warmup was over.
Tuesday p.m. long course meters

4x150 :15 rest
100 free, 50 non-free

8x75 :20 rest
50 drill, 25 swim

6x15 breakouts on 1:00

4x100 breast kick fast on 3:30
(1:41, 1:41, 1:42, 1:40)

Two rounds:
200 swim easy :30 rest
2x50 on 1:10 -- 25 fly kick on back underwater with Zoomers/25 easy

300 easy

I'm sure you are seeing patterns in the workouts now. I will probably do this workout once more, maybe the Tuesday before I go to the meet in California. The kick set felt better this time because I didn't force the first one and was able to keep the kick count under 34 kicks per 50.

Good thing today was a kick test set, because I am starting a heavier gym workout. My lats and shoulders really felt a lot of pain. I should feel better tomorrow. Lots of water helps. I usually don't resort to ibuprofen, because I want my body to learn to recover on its own.

And lots of sleep. I plan on getting about nine hours tonight.


Fast Twitch -- Week 4 (Monday, April 2)

Monday p.m. long course meters

600 warmup

8x100 back on 1:50
Odd: 50 drill/50 swim easy
Even: 100 back descend (1:25, 1:24, 1:22, 1:19)

8x50 fly kick on 1:15
Odd: Kick on back
Even: Kick on stomach

Two rounds:
5x50 on 1:00, 25 fly/25 free
Decrease the amount of breaths on the fly through each round, working to a no-breather on #10

4x100 free with snorkel :20 rest
Today was a Very Special Workout: I shared a lane with Ryk Neethling. It was quite surreal that I was watching him on my computer today anchoring South Africa's medley relay (a race he swam about two days ago) and then he was here in Tucson. (Recap of his swims at worlds: eighth in the 100 free, fourth in both 400 relays) He swam for about a half hour and got out. For the entire time I was thinking of something to say to him. I couldn't ignore him the whole time; it wouldn't be polite. I was going to congratulate him on his swims, but was he happy with eighth place in the 100 free after getting fourth in Athens? So as he grabbed his gear I said:

"So are you getting a head start on next year?"

Then, he mumbled something I think was related to moving permanently to Tucson, and he wanted to get a little warmup before the trip (to South Africa to pick up his things?). He couldn't be going to another swim meet, could he? Besides the Duel in the Pool, who else is putting on a major meet this week?

I went to his Web site but it didn't have any info on upcoming meets. Whatever. It was nice to share the lane. I didn't feel startstruck, though. As much as I admire all the South Africans, I've seen them on deck many times and they strike me as normal people, though the muscle definition is beyond human.

Anyway, a nice comfortable workout. Tomorrow, it's back to hard training!

Fast Twitch -- More thoughts at the start of Week 4

I was thinking more about the meet this weekend.

Paul Smith said he was surprised that I swam so well at the meet despite my hard training. I agree with him 100 percent, especially given some of the sprint sets I've been doing. There are two reasons I can attribute to my times:
1) I took it fairly easy on Thursday and Friday, though not enough to say that I rested a lot for the meet. Instead of doing the planned sprint workout for Friday, I did a 45-minute aerobic workout.

2) I love to compete. That's the only reason I am in masters swimming. Yes, yes, I'm staying fit and healthy, yada, yada, yada, but I am not one of those people who can get up in the morning and go to workout because it will make me a fitter person. I swim to compete, and even when I am dog tired, the juices that flow when I dive in take over and I forget about the fatigue from the week's sets. For the first year after I retired from elite swimming, I splashed around at a fitness club's pool, doing at 2,000 yards three days a week, "just to stay in shape." But that got boring because I had no goal, no real purpose. I couldn't say, "If I swim harder, I'll lose five pounds in six weeks." I would rather say, "If I train hard, I mught win this particular race at the end of the season." When I found out that masters swimming had meets, I was on board and have been glad to stay here.

Someone asked me if I thought of giving up my job and trying to make a comeback. Absolutely not. Even if Speedo paid me $1 million, I wouldn't do it. That train has sailed, as Austin Powers once said, and I'm not sad to see it go. But the competitive fire will always be here, and I'm glad to have an outlet for it. The fact that there are about four or five masters meets in Arizona each year irks me, but it was the same in Colorado, and even worse in New Mexico, where a coach tried to put on a meet that turned out to be an intrasquad meet that finished in an hour. Since the majority of masters swimmers are in it purely for fitness or are triathletes who wouldn't be caught dead racing in a concrete hole, there's little chance that there will be more.

Because I love competing, it's not difficult for me to get my mind prepared for racing, though I talked my body into swimming that 100 back yesterday because my arms were like jelly. In-season meets are perfect for mental preparation, so when it is time for the taper meet, you can almost literally swim on autopilot because your subconscious is ready to take over when the lactate kicks in, and the race will be a lot more fun than you expected.


Fast Twitch -- Start of Week 4

I'm back from the Arizona Masters state championships, and what a weekend.

This meet marked the end of stage one of my training for nationals, and I went to the meet extremely tired and sluggish. In fact, diving in for warmup Saturday morning, I thought I was going to fall asleep. Part of that had to do with the fact that I had to get up at 6:30 a.m.!

Here are the results from my Saturday swims:
50 fly: 24.41
200 back: 1:57.45
100 breast: 57.45
50 back: 25.37
I did the first three events back-to-back-to-back, and was surprised that I swam so well in the 100 breast (close to an in-season best). I had hoped to go 1:55 in the 200 back to get the top time in my age group, but grazing the lane ropes tends to throw things off. I also whacked my hand on the lane rope in the 50 back, which was actually good news because if I had swum straight, I would have probably gone under 25 seconds for the first time in-season.

100 IM: 52.86
100 free: 49.77
100 back: 53.08
50 free: 22.77 (10.9 timed at the 25)

Three out of four ain't bad. I need a lot of work on racing the 100 free. My goal for nationals is to go 47 seconds, and to do that, I need to be fast on the first 50. I had trouble getting my body into the race, which might have had a little to do with the 100 IM before it. But the biggest triumph of the day was that I swam a straight 100 back! I could have gone 59, and I would have been happy that at least I stayed in the middle of the lane.

My thoughts on the meet: Why did I swim so well? A lot of it had to do with the kick sets I did in the last three weeks. Of all the new things I worked on, adding the kick sets was the biggest addition.

Now, my shoulders are sore. Tomorrow's workout -- the start of week four -- will be mostly recovery. What I will work on in the next three weeks leading up to my next meet in northern California is the start of my races. It'll involve lots of starts and test sets from a dive, if I can find a coach to time me.

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