Rocky Point 1500M Ocean Swim

Got some more good news for all of you open water swimmers out there. Tri Family Racing is organizing a triathlon in Rocky Point, Mexico in early October. As a part of this event, there is a 1500M Ocean Swim for the monoathletes (aka "swimmers") who are unable/unwilling to participate in the biking and running legs.

After all, why ruin a good swim in the Sea of Cortez by engaging in more physical exertion?

The water should be warm and crystal clear for this event. The weather should be nice as well, picture Phoenix in early October with a touch more humidity. Now add authentic street tacos and a cerveza or two and you have the makins' of a fiesta!

NOTE: This event is a USA-Triathlon sanctioned event, so you will either need to have your USA-T card or purchase a one-day membership for $10.

Need more information? You can contact the Event Director by emailing him. You can also register for this event online or download the form and mailing it in.


Open Water Dreamers: It’s Time To Register For La Jolla

Digging through the mail I find too much junk, too many bills, too few checks and oh—now I smile--my La Jolla Rough Water Swim registration form. September 9th must be right around the corner. The form hasn’t changed a bit. It’s the same swim course, 1 or 3 miles (or for some, 1 and 3 miles). And it’s the same frightening waiver reminding signers of the POTENTIAL FOR SERIOUS INJURY OR DEATH. (Every year I like to re-read the risks that include but are not limited to: EXTREME PHYSICAL EXERTION, FALLS, CONTACT WITH OTHER PARTICIPANTS, ROCKS, EVENT EQUIPMENT, WATERCRAFT, POWERBOATS WITH PROPELLERS, VEHICULAR TRAFFIC, SHARKS AND OTHER POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS SEA ANIMALS, WEATHER AND COLD WATER.)

Let’s examine these risks one by one. Extreme physical exertion, yes. That’s something we train for. It is ill advised to do this event if you have not been training routinely in the pool or, if you’re lucky enough, in the ocean. That said, my friend Jill did the one-mile one year (backstroke) after just a few sessions in the pool.

Falls? Hmm. I suppose you could fall down the steep stairs leading to the beach at the start of the race; or more likely fall up the stairs when you are cross-eyed from the extreme physical exertion after you finish.

Contact with other participants. Well, that’s a given in an event this size. My advice at the start is just to keep your head down. The frothed frenzy usually doesn’t last that long. Last year, some bloke was jabbing his fingernails into the soles of my feet for about 2 miles. Now that’s obnoxious. I tried dodging the drafter by veering right, then left but he was always right there. I tried kicking really hard (which for me is extreme physical exertion indeed) but he didn’t get the hint. I got cramps in my feet as a result, but didn’t lose the drafter. Not that there’s anything wrong with drafting, mind you, but when you’re poking someone’s feet on every stroke, Man, you need to back off. I think he eventually must have passed me.

Rocks. Yes, my friend Lisa stepped on a rock on the beach and hurt her ankle badly right before the race last year. Watch out for those.

Event equipment. Don’t get tangled up in those flags that line the queue when you’re getting marked. And don’t put that ankle chip on so tight it restricts blood flow. Then again, make sure it’s tight. Those things are expensive to replace if you lose one.

Watercraft. Kayaks and surfboards police the course. They should be watching out for you, but still. Beware.

Powerboats. Have you ever met anyone that got too close to a propeller? My point exactly.

Vehicular traffic. Yes, well, don’t expect to find a parking space anywhere near the cove.

Sharks and other potentially dangerous sea animals. Now we’re talking. Leopard sharks live on the bottom. They are small and harmless. I know this because a) I’ve seen them and b) there is a nice lady from Scripps who told me all about them one year before the event. They say there’s never been a shark attack in all 76 years of the event. And I believe them. Mostly, expect to see those cool orange Garibaldi’s that frequent the shallows, and maybe a curious seal eyeing you from a rock. One year, when it was particularly warm, there were giant schools of small bait fish, the size of minnows, which were really fun to swim through. You could part them like the Red Sea. And then there was the time my friend Screven got stung in the face by a jellyfish. It didn’t stop him.

Weather. I’ve heard of years when ocean conditions were described as “a washing machine.” But every year I’ve been there, it’s been sunny and beautiful and easy swimming.

Cold water. Now that’s a different story. The air might be 80 degrees, but the ocean can be 58, like it was the first year I did this race. I recall seeing the Gator-people exiting like popsicles, teeth a chatter, lips a blue, and lifeguards whisking them under blankets into heated vans when they didn’t know their own names. No wonder it took me several years to get my nerve up to swim the Gatorman. Relax. For the past three years the water has been in the 70s. That’s perfect if you ask me.

So, what’s a little risk when the reward is a day at the beach in La Jolla? Yeah, I guess it’s time to register (on or before August 24), book my room and book my flight. (To download a form, go to http://www.ljrws.com/.) Last year, I registered early, but didn't decide to actually go until the day before. I logged on to the internet to see what the conditions would be. Big swells and rip currents were forecast! How could I miss it? Especially since I'd aged up and actually had a chance to do better than 5th. I checked with Southwest Airlines and found out I could take a flight from Tucson that morning and return that evening after the race. Not a bad commute. I booked it. Next thing I knew, I was enjoying the day in La Jolla, and setting off the metal detector at the airport with a bronze medal in my pocket on my way home. Sweet!


Brute Squad Meet

Well, I'm done licking my wounds from a poor showing at the Brute Squad meet, but I still had fun and met a couple of new people. Some of the performances were, as I expected, admirable. For example, seventy-eight year old mother of Arizona Masters (she started the states Masters program in the 70s)swam all of the brute events.

It was a fun, laid back meet and everyone seemed to be having a good time, especially the ladies from Ford. Among them was Monica Bailey (pictured on the far right) who swam the 50 fly and the 50 back, back to back!

I'm very thankful to meet director, Judy Gillies, who not only put on a great event, but was also very kind to reprimand me quietly when I forgot that you had to enter the water for the backstroke start feet first. After my fancy dive, she kindly came over to make sure I never did it again!

I also want to thank head referee Tim Krapp who encouraged me to not to scratch the 200 free. Even though I didn't swim it very fast, I did have fun and was glad he had encouraged me to follow through.

I had to leave the meet early...my little boy had had enough! Congratulations to all the 2007 Brutes out there and we'll see you again next year!


National Team T-shirts

Are you swimming in any of the following events this year?

USMS Long Course Nationals

La Jolla Open Water Swim

SPMA Short Course Meters Meet

If the answer is "yes" to any of these, you should get an official Arizona Masters National Team T-shirt! Not only will you show your support for our team, but the profits from these shirts helps pay the expenses of sending coaches to Nationals. Both are great reasons to buy, plus you can add a distinctive t-shirt to your wardrobe.

Ordering your t-shirt is quick and easy.
  • Go here, then click on the National T-shirt thumbnail. You will then see a picture of both the front and back of the t-shirt.
  • Next, click on the thumbnail again, which will take you to a description page.
  • Select the number of shirts in each size (M-L-XL).
  • Click the Update Cart button when you are done.
  • You will then go to your shopping cart which will list all the items you have ordered. This will include shipping and taxes.
  • To place your order click on Submit Shopping Cart and your order will be processed.
This site uses PayPal so you can pay with a credit card, debit card, or the money in your PayPal account. Once the order is processed, it will take a couple days for it to arrive via mail. Then you can proudly wear your National Team shirt at upcoming events.


IGLA Paris

Several swimmers from the Phoenix Sunfish participated at the IGLA Championships in Paris during the last week in May. They did well and had a good time too.

Here are some pictures from the meet.

...there are also sights to see around town

Good job Nicholas, Christopher, Gregg, Eddie, Scott, and Chris!


Lap Time Article

On page 12 of Fitness Plus (Phoenix-edition), there is an article on training in the pool. While the emphasis is on swimming as a new wrinkle in an ongoing fitness regimen, it does provide some good information about swimming as a sport.

If you have anybody within your social circle who may be interested in swimming, this may be a handy article to tell them about. For many, swimming is a daunting sport with a lot of unknowns. This article provides a good, quick summary of items neophyte swimmers need to know.

Keep in mind that other magazines are interested in stories about people. Fitness accomplishments, competitive triumphs, life balance, and other topics are great content for local magazines. Nobody will know about them unless you tell the story, so feel free to contact magazines like Fitness Plus and share.


Brute Squad Meet

Well, the 26th Annual Brute Squad Meet is coming up on Sunday and I think it is going to be fun. I haven't swam in a meet in quite some time so it'll be great to race again. While I'm not participating in the "Brute" Part (200 fly, 400IM, 1500 free) it'll be inspiring to watch those who have chosen to take the "Brute" challenge.

I've heard there is only about 30 people registered to swim in the meet...that is too bad! We need more swimmers racing. I find it difficult to maintain training (my main goal is to get the rest of the baby weight off!) without swimming in meets - they help me with short-term and long-term goals. I've swam in a couple of Arizona Masters meets and it is nice to have memories of age-group meets flood my mind as I walk on deck...predominantly the smell of coffee and chlorine! and hearing people laughing, making new friends and having fun! Sounds a bit Pollyanna, I know, but that is what Masters is to me.

I'm swimming four events: the 100 and 200 free and the 50 and 100 backstroke. I wanted to swim the 200 back, but I was told not to enter too many events because the meet will go really quickly - because there are too few swimmers. Maybe I'll get to swim the 200 back and the 50 free at Long Course Champs at the end of July. But I'm going to bring a camera to this meet and maybe I'll get some good pictures that I can post. I'm off to the chiropractor!


New Blogger

Let me introduce myself. My name is Beth Isaak - I'm an Olympic Silver Medalist and Masters swimmer for about five years. I've been involved in swimming for 30 years. I've enjoyed swimming Masters... it has been very healing and a lot of fun! I'm not swimming with a team right now...I have a YMCA about 2 minutes from my home so I've opted to swim on my own....the other teams are so far away! And as you know, there is a big difference between getting up at 4:30am for workout instead of 5am! I also am an individual stroke coach...meaning I help others develop or refine their strokes so they can be as efficient as possible. I also have a MySpace group where I help, for free, anyone who has a swimming question.

Anyway, I'll be posting blogs on subjects that come up in my group or just whatever is on my mind at the time. On my mind at present is how few Arizona masters swimmers swim in meets. I found out just this weekend about a meet in Oro Valley (Tucson) that I've entered in and I was so surprised to find out that only about 25-30 people are entered! I use meets to keep me motivated...I make short term and long term goals based on upcoming meets. Since I just entered the Oro Valley meet I haven't made up those short term goals yet, but I have my long term goals (the meet in Tucson at the end of July) already set. I hope that we get a big crowd at that meet.

Well, my son is wanting me to help him color (he is 2) so I'm going to log off now, but I just wanted to introduce myself. Oh! And for those of you who are also "unattached" I blog my workouts here.


New Contributors!

In the next week or so, we will have two new contributors for the blog.

No, I am not going to tell you who they are. That is my little surprise.

I suspect that you will like both of them and benefit from the information they share in their postings.

Stay tuned...



It looks like we are getting traffic from all over on our blog. I know this because Josh from Dynoswim (in Florida) sent me an email last week. He wanted to let me know about his site and how it could benefit our readers.

So what is Dynoswim?

In Joshua's words...

Dynoswim is an internet source for swimming workouts which is continuously updated and prides itself in being the go-to source for swimming workouts. Designed for coaches, lifelong recreational swimmers, age-groupers, triathletes, and Masters swimmers alike, Dynoswim has the workouts to suit all goals and abilities.

Dynoswim was devoted to promote all things swimming related and is available for all people of all swimming levels and abilities. It's a resource available for fitness swimmers and elite level athletes alike, where information is shared by various coaches, and free for all people interested in swimming to share. Dynoswim provides one of the best resources available for swimming workouts and is also a forum for the sharing of ideas and information.

I've created a link for their site on the right-hand side of the blog that will take you to their website. Check it out and see how you like it. I think it is a great resource, especially for swimmers out there that don't have a coach and/or train by themselves.


Post 250 - Swim Room

Guess what? We have reached 250 posts on the Arizona Masters Swimming blog!

Wow, that is a lot of entries...

I think Jeff Commings posted about half of them so kudos to him. They contained a lot of good information as well as some insights into the mind of a championship swimmer.

This humble posting will be about a new social networking site about swimming. It is called SwimRoom and is worth a look. I just got done reading an article by Lenny Krayzelburg about doping and his thoughts on it. There is a lot of other good content within this site so check it out.

The site is linked on the right-hand side of the blog, just click on it and you will be on your way.


Fast Twitch -- Not done yet

I'm going through withdrawal.

I can't believe three months of intense training and my two shave meets are behind me. When I started this blog, I never thought this moment would come. Twelve weeks seemed so far away.

Now that the meets are over, I think I need some closure.

Is it because I didn't swim as well as I hoped to in the 100 breast finals last night? What would have happened if I had a bigger lunch, been able to nap better and been a little less relaxed? Would I have swum faster?

I've learned not to dwell on such things, but every swimmer faces what-ifs in their lives. I always try to get rid of them quickly. I always wondered what would have happened at worlds last summer if I took better care of myself the day of the 100 breast. I wonder what I could have done in the 100 back in Federal Way if I had nailed my last turn.

I think these things are naturally going to linger in my mind. And it's never hard to shake off. But I will manage to do it as the week wears on. The more I stay away from the pool, the easier it will be to focus on other stuff.

By the way, the Arizona Daily Star did a nice story on the meet. Since I work for the Star, I wouldn't have been able to be a part of the story, even if I broke more records and overshadowed the much more successful swimmers at the meet. Maybe that's it. Maybe I just wanted a little more recognition than I got. Maybe I'm not just happy with the back-slapping I got last night. Maybe I want my name plastered on every newspaper in town: "Old guy takes down young guns."

Maybe the meet just ended on such a quiet note that doesn't usually happen in masters. Maybe I am a little more narcissistic than I believe I am. Maybe it is all about me.

I really don't know what this says about myself. I don't think I'm a bad person for wanting so much adulation to come my way. Every athlete likes the spotlight.


Fast Twitch -- Day two at the Southwest Classic

100 breast prelim: 1:05.10 NATIONAL RECORD

100 breast final: 1:05.73 (1st place)

Another national record! I was real excited to get this one. Everyone kept asking if I was going to go for the Olympic Trial cut in the event, which is 1:04.69. I wasn't making any bets on that time. I just wanted to swim fast and see what the result was.

The morning swim was pretty good. There were some things I could fix, and the left eye of my goggles filled with water. It hurt real bad the last 20 meters. At night, I resolved to go out a little slower and see if I could have more left at the end. It didn't really work. All it did was affect my momentum, and it was harder to build to that all-out sprint on the last 50. But I am proud of both of my swims; they are the two fastest times I've ever gone in masters. I've had some bad luck surrounding all my long course 100 breast races in masters, and this morning was the only one that I believe turned out right. I didn't eat enough food before the final, and felt a little hungry. My energy reserves might have been depleted ever so slightly. Also, there's the fact that I didn't do much long-course training leading up to this. I surely felt it in the last 25 meters!

I won't lie to you, but it was real nice thinking about the fact that everyone was looking at me and wondering about the 33-year-old beating all the college kids. It felt good doing so, though I know on their best days, they could all wipe the floor with me. But on this day, I won!

I got lots of congratulations after the meet, and that felt good. Most of them were from coaches on the Tucson Ford age group team who had seen me working out in the evening. They probably had no clue I was able to go that fast. If anything, I hope this gives masters more exposure.

The five Tucson masters swimmers that participated in the meet did very well. I think everyone likes to see us in the meet, and I hope we'll continue to do so. As of right now, I don't plan to shave and taper for next year's meet (though some think I could train long course and go for that Trials cut one more time). All I'm thinking about is the very long break ahead of me. No swimming. If I exercise, it might be at the gym. I'm not one to actively seek out exercise if it's not for training purposes. Sitting on my couch watching TV or movies is a more preferable exercise.

So this ends the Fast Twitch blog. Thanks to everyone who tuned in these 12 weeks. I appreciate all the feedback you've given me. I hope you learned something as you progress in your sprint training. If you have any questions, e-mail me at

Think fast!

Coronado Rough Water Swim

Summer is here and two magical words enter the minds of many Arizonans

San Diego...

Ah, cool ocean breezes, temperate climate, beaches, and open water swimming.

Open water swimming? Yup, La Jolla is not the only swim in the area this summer!

San Diego is host to the Coronado Rough Water Swim on Wednesday July 4th, 2007. The Coronado Navy Swim Association is putting on this event, which you can get more information on by clicking here. You can register online on Active.com or complete the form and mail it in. If you have any questions, contact the meet organizer.

This should be a good event and a great excuse to escape the summer heat of Arizona. Good luck to all participants.


Fast Twitch -- Day one at the Southwest Classic

100 back prelims: 1:00.04

100 back finals: 59.98 (4th place)
What a relief to break a minute again! That was the fifth time in my life I've broken a minute. I couldn't be happier. Well, maybe if I had taken down Albert Subirats. He got third place, beating me by one tenth! I grazed the lane line on the last 50, and it threw off my concentration for a beat. But, this time is seven-hundredths slower than what I went at worlds last summer, so this was a major achievement. The pool doesn't have touchpads at the turn end, but I wass told I went out in 28.9 in both races. That's good, but if I had more long course training, I might have been able to come home faster.

My start was great. I did four dolphin kicks and was right at the surface. I didn't have to fight to get to the surface. When I turned at the 50, I saw Simon Burnett a bit ahead of me, and out of the corner of my eye, the kid in lane two (I was in lane three). I might have freaked out too much and started to sprint too early. The lack of long course training is probably why the last 20 meters were so taxing. But I got my hand on the wall before the clock reached "1:00."

Before I go, I have to make sure everyone knows that 40-year-old Jeff Utsch went 1:59.41 in the 200 free. Actually, he's 39, but he turns 40 before the end of the year, which means masters says he's 40. So all of you who are in the 40-44 age group, you now have a rabbit to chase.

Here are Saturday's results. Go to this page to see more results from the weekend.

Tomorrow is the 100 breast. I'm going out to just race. The time I see on the scoreboard will hopefully reflect that.

Open Water Events

For those of you who enjoy open water swimming, we have an updated list of events for you!

There is now a section on the right-hand side of the blog page called Open Water which lists upcoming events. If you are interested in any of the events, click on the links and you will either be taken to the event website or the entry form.

Then you can get ready to swim...

This is by no means a comprehensive list but does contain events in Southern California as well as Hawaii. If there is a prominent event that is missing, email me and I will add it.


Albert Subirats -- legend?

Full disclosure: I'm an employee of the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson, so I'm shilling some product here.

Take a look at columnist Greg Hansen's take on UA swimmer Albert Subirats, who's probably going to run over all of us this weekend at the Tucson Ford Dealers Southwest Classic. I say "us" because Albert's entered in the 100 back, and he'd have to be extremely broken down for me to have any chance of beating him. That's OK. It'll be fun to be in the pool with him.

Hansen is the Star's one advocate of swimming coverage. I think it might be increased when the Olympic roster features at least half a dozen swimmers from the UA list.

Anyway, if you didn't see Albert's courageous swim in the 100 fly at worlds in April, watch him feed off the Phelps/Crocker rivalry in lane 5. Former UA swimmer Lyndon Ferns is in lane 3.

I'm going to swim during the warmup before tonight's finals, then stick around to watch some fast swimming. The four South Africans who won the 400 free relay, as well as Albert and some other fast UA guys, will be in the 100 free.

On the masters side, we'll have Jeff Utsch in the 400 free. He just turned 40, so he's going after the 400 free record of 4:11. I'm going to cheer loudly for him, but even if he doesn't get it, I think the effort will be undoubtedly heroic.

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