Sunday, October 14, 2012

Masters of the Swim Universe

Back in August, while I was visiting my family, GymSis suggested I drop in on SwimmerBro's and SwimmerNephew's Masters Swim group.  She emailed the head coach and he graciously said TriGuy and I could give it a whirl.

While driving to practice, SwimmerNephew asked if I knew what IM was.  I sure did!


Oh no, that's not what he was talking about.


I may not have known what the letters stood for (still don't), but I did know what the terminology meant. It meant you had to do all 4 strokes.  Hey, I watched the Olympics!  He then asked me what order you do the strokes in.  Hmm, I might have fallen asleep during the Olympics IM races.

Once we got to the pool, I pulled TriGuy aside and conveyed to him my true feelings about this swim practice.


To start with, I did not understand what was written on the board.


I skipped anything that started in 'butter' and ended in 'fly'. (Just kidding. All the people in the know just say "fly".)

I immediately hopped into the super-slow lane while the coach went over the warm-up board. It consisted of roughly 1000 laps.  I was 1000% certain I would not be doing the 'main' drill work.

As she quickly reviewed the warm-up, here is what I heard:


I waited for her to come over and explain to me at a 4-year-old level in layman's terms what we were doing.  It was 100 metres breast stroke (which I prayed no one was watching me do), followed by 5x50 metres of 'free'...apparently not 'free choice' (floating, anyone?) but freestyle.


It was followed by 5x50 'fly'.

I just went ahead and skipped that one altogether.

Then we did arms only with a buoy between our legs.  This was a first for TriGuy, who was swimming in the lane next to me.  He took to it like a...well, like a fish to water.


And thus ended the WARM-UP.

The main workout started with butterfly kick on our backs for 25 metres, followed by vertical butterfly kicks, followed by 75 metres of long free stroke.  Repeat x4.

I patiently waited for my modifications.

The coach (bless her heart) did some quick calculations and devised my own personal workout: freestyle kick on my back for 25 metres, followed by 5 bobs, followed by 75 metres of freestyle.  Repeat x4.

We were swimming in an outdoor pool, so knowing how well I do with swimming in a straight line, I tried to lift my head--otter-like--while I swam on my back, to make sure I wasn't too off-track.

It didn't help much.  This may seem familiar to you.

I dutifully bobbed at the end of the pool, and somehow came up with a noseful of water, which then dripped into my throat and led to a coughing fit.


I totally fit right in.

It was shortly after this that TriGuy, SwimmerBro, and SwimmerNephew looked over from their Speedy McSpeedster lane and shouted:



I gave them a big ol' thumbs up.


After 3 (not 4) reps, the coach came back and offered more modifications, telling me to skip the reverse IM 200 altogether.  No problemo, I hadn't noticed it anyway.  Then she asked:


...of fury? No?  Then no.

She explained it and said it would give me a good sense of where I was in the water.


Apparently "all over the place" is where I am.

Then she had me do a one-arm-at-a-time-stroke-with-the-flutter-kick-board.


Nailed it!

The coach did suggest remembering to use my core to keep my feet from dragging, because I was basically swimming uphill and that created a lot more work.  And I was supposed to swim downhill this year. 

At the end of all this, I had a warm down of 50 free (50 metres of front crawl) at any pace I wanted.  The coach gave me some parting encouragement:


Bless her kind, teenage heart.

I have to say that despite my difficulties, I really did like the idea of this group.  I usually take a lot of breaks during my swim because I'm doing the same thing over and over.  Not only did I swim the furthest I ever have in the shortest amount of time, it showed me some different things to do that I am sure will only help build my triathlon swimming skills (once my PT helps me fix my shoulder).

Now, I just have to find out if my local group will be as understanding as the guys' group when I explain my situation.


UPCOMING POSTS:  HOW I TORTURE MYSELF, RACE RECAP, WHAT I'M DOING AT PT AGAIN, AND MUSIC WHILE RUNNING(a post about earphones that I promise will be fun!)


Check out Yeah Write's writing challenge this week!

53 comments:

  1. Gurgle. Gasp. Drowning in laughter here. I can't believe that pool did not have wider lanes for you with blinker lights and a tow rope. What is their problem? Your drawing and explanation of the white board reflects what I think when I see that all 4 times I visit a pool each year. Basically, huh? What? Nice hieroglyphics. KymberlyFunFit

    ReplyDelete
  2. haha. I love this!! And your drawings!! Yes, masters swim is a world of its own.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The picture of the board cracked me up. Master's swim is a crazy swim place (in my opinion). I still get a little freaked out to swim there. Loved this post and the pics…wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  4. This perfectly encapsulated my childhood on swim team. There's a reason I will never do triathlons: Swimming.

    You are a trooper and a rock star!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. You're still probably a better swimmer than I am. I haven't entered a pool and properly swam in years. ._.

    ReplyDelete
  6. YOU ARE HILARIOUS
    as would I be at this point in the pool.
    its been too damn long :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. LOL!!!

    Me and swimming...let's not go there ;)

    ReplyDelete
  8. LOL!!!

    Me and swimming...let's not go there ;)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Def a world of their own. Hilarious post!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I loved this post! I'm a sometimes triathlete/mostly runner. When I started triathlon 14 yrs ago, I went to master's practices 3x/week. The great thing, though, was that they were coached by a triathlon coach, so we just did free. However, I have been to a few others and had much the experience you did. I am a one-trick pony so I am intimidated by doing all the strokes. My son is a swimmer and I'm pretty sure I would die if I tried one of his practices!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thought you'd be amused- searching for motivational posters brings up your drawings. : )

    ReplyDelete
  12. This is just soo hilarious. I can just see you there and I know that it's all true. As for the white board that's how they speak. I don't understand when they carry on a conversation. Thanks for the good laugh. :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hahahah I thought free style meant free choice for the longest time, too.

    ReplyDelete
  14. IM = Individual Medley
    I love swimming but I've never been able to do the butterfly. Also, I have no idea what "fists" means...well, outside of the dirtiest definition imaginable.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This is a great post! I'm a horrible swimmer. I can get myself from point A to B but I am so slow! I have done a handful of triathlons but because I suck at swimming so bad I think I'll just stick to running. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Kymberly FunFit: Your comment made me lol--how inconsiderate of them, right? Oh man, it was confusing!

    Christine: Thanks! Definitely its own culture :)

    Carrie: Thank you :) Good for you for going! I have been too intimidated to try it without people I know!

    pensive pumpkin: You were on the swim team? You could definitely do a tri...you get to wear a wetsuit!

    DWei: Well sure, not going to the pool doesn't help swim skills. This Masters swim is actually the last time I went to the pool :S

    MizFit: Thank you! You know, swimming is *hard* unless you do it all the time!

    Kierston: Ok, we won't ;) But I bet you'd do a killer water workout class!

    jillconyers: Yes it is! Thanks :)

    misszippy: Thanks! Yeah, maybe I should find a triathlon group. I will never be able to do butterfly or swim on my back in a straight line. Those swim practices are just incredible!

    pensive pumpkin: That's cool....just kidding. That is AWESOME!! Where were you searching??

    not athletic: Gracias, I have no idea either. But, they're related to us so I guess they keep talking that way and we'll still like them :D

    Gia: Right?? It makes a lot more sense than being another name for front crawl!

    Pickleope: THAT's it! Thank you! And I was just waiting for someone to bring up the other side to the fists comment.

    Jenny: Thank you! I agree it's really hard...I'm grateful to live in a cold enough climate that I can wear a wetsuit!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Fun story and awesome drawings!

    ReplyDelete
  18. How I love you! I would love to see you swim one day - mostly because I think you're funnier writing about it than you would be in a race. You are a triathlete after all :-D.

    This is why I stick to running! What's with all this technical stuff - don't you just get in the pool and swim? Downhill/uphill/fists... I think you need to revolutionise swimming in the same way that someone invented the automatic button on a camera, or quick start on a microwave.

    Epic comment ramble. My bad!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Elle: Thanks so much!

    Kate: Well, I'm better than I was when I started all this, but TriGuy has video of me starting my triathlon this year and you just see me immediately take a sharp turn right, straight into the fray, then onto the wrong side of the buoys. I think the techniques make you a better swimmer, like tempos, hill repeats, etc... And, I loved your comment ramble!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I am the world's worst swimmer. Hands down. I might need to work on it in the future.

    Loved your drawings, they were great.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oh man your cartoons are classic. They totally made this post even more enjoyable and entertaining to read. Your personality definitely comes across and I'm liking your sarcasm!
    Way to stick with that seemingly brutal workout!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Too funny. My daughter, Emily, was your coach that day. I must have been out of town or I would have forced you to do ButterStruggle. Apparently, it gets rid of all the toxins?

    Come back again and visit our club. Emily or Trevor will sure to give you another personal practice :)

    Tom
    www.swimottawa.com

    ReplyDelete
  23. Haha this is amazing. It totally brought back memories of my high school swim team practices, trying (and failing) to stay afloat during the "fly." I never could quite master that one.

    ReplyDelete
  24. This was one of your all-time bests!!!! I seriously giggled at every paragraph!
    You are awesome for enduring through with the dolphins and unicorns :)
    And the guesses for what IM stood for were classic!

    ReplyDelete
  25. This was so awesome! Your drawings are always spot on and great for a good laugh. I think this is my favorite of yours yet!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I love your goggle drawings!!

    I am a poor enough swimmer that this post might describe what my eternal punishment may be, but I have a 7 year old son who shows some natural aptitude for swimming, so this may become my future...

    ReplyDelete
  27. This made me laugh! "Apparently "all over the place" is where I am."
    Your drawings and descriptions are awesome.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I really don't understand the "fly". It just looks like people jumping up and down in the water. But then again, I can't swim.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Tasha: Thanks :) "In the future"? Like, you're going to do a triathlon?? :D

    E: Thank you so much! I have a hard time quitting workouts when other people are around :P

    Tom: I'm so glad you commented. Emily was wonderful and never gave me the impression that I shouldn't be there. I was clearly out of my element but I did learn so much that day. Thank you for the open invitation!
    (And, the nephew's swim skills come directly from his father's side. If you made me "fly" you would watch me sink!)

    Samantha: Thank you. I'm always impressed by people who were on a swim team! Well done!

    Erika: You are such a great commenter...I mean, great ego-stroker :P When things settle down in the new year I will be taking you up on your offer for more swims together!

    Stacie: Thanks so much!

    IASoupMama: Hehe, thank you. I have a feeling you will have a similar schedule to my sister's: driving, sitting on pool decks, and chlorinated laundry! She likes it though, so I'm sure you will too!

    Heidi: Thank you! Making people laugh is my goal :D

    runningonwords: I actually think it looks really cool; I just have absolutely no clue how to do it!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Haha! So funny. I would have drown within the first five minutes. Swimming is hard, yo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THE SARCASM GODDESS: I'm so excited I finally figured out how to get "replies" on my comments and you're the first one!!! (Yes, I'm a total dork). And yes, swimming *is* hard, yo.

      Delete
  31. I swim pretty regularly, but never at Masters level, and your post was a good reminder of why I don't ever want to try it. :) I love your little asides in smaller font. The drawing of you in the swim goggles giving a thumbs-up is priceless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I need to get back to the pool again at some point, but for now i'm trying to hibernate :D I think there's real value in Masters swim, but I wonder if most clubs expect a certain level of competency that I don't possess.

      Delete
  32. I really admire your dedication! This sounds really complicated. Good luck with it!

    ReplyDelete
  33. My daughter started to swim on a team when she was 6. She is on her 6th year swimming. I have watched tons and tons of practice and meets. At a gym's pool I can spot a person who swam as a kid compared to one that didn't in one lap. What those kids can do in a pool never ceases to amaze me. Most kids and adults could not make it through her warm-up. She swims 1.5 hours a day 4 days a week. Soon to be 2 hours a day 5 days a week in the spring. Swimmers are a funny bunch though. While they are in great shape most of them hate to run. If my daughter spends more than 2-3 days away from the pool she starts to miss the chlorine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your daughter sounds exactly like my nephew! I'm sure you're right about the people in the pool; I can tell the seasoned or natural swimmers, but I never thought about them having swum since childhood.

      Delete
  34. I was exhausted, not from your clever writing and pictures, by your workout! Yikes. I'm thinking about beginning to swim again after the first of the year. Bike training will begin Nov. 6th and I should be running but haven't started yet. I'm just about to graduate from PT next week and that should free up some time. I hope you like the new group! Love the camaraderie of them. Can't wait for the next post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, it was pretty crazy and I was exhausted. I haven't looked into a new group yet, to be honest. I'm just starting to get back into really working out after a break/lack of interest...sounds like you're gearing up for a triathlon!

      Delete
  35. I'm glad that Pickleope brought up the fists thing (why am I not surprised?), because I was wondering if I should go there. Then again, I seem to recall you were the one who explained to me last Halloween why one of my google hits was from someone looking for "pumpkin with thong pulled aside". Do you remember that? It was definitely the dirtiest Halloween decoration I've ever seen!

    And I continue to be impressed by both your workouts and your mad MS Paint skills. Just as I was feeling exhausted on your behalf, you threw in that bit about that just being the warm-up. Wow!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Azara, I *do* remember that pumpkin! (I can't believe it's been a year already...that makes me sound like I'm 80.) Thank you for the compliments, and it was a completely crazy warm up!

      Delete
  36. IM = individual medley ... But, holy crap, do I prefer "iridescent muchachos"!

    This was absolutely hysterical. I'm not a swimmer (I can barely doggy paddle), but my kids were on swim team for years. That is the absolutely only way I would know what IM means.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for letting me know! Yeah I've become extremely jealous of the males in my family and their swimming skills.

      Delete
  37. Ha ha ha, this was great! I like to swim at my gym, and I, too, am all over the place, so I can relate. I am not sure how using my fists would prevent that though?

    ReplyDelete
  38. Your illustrations make me seriously happy!! And "transform into a unicorn" - loved it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your comment made me seriously happy :D

      Delete
  39. I would say you nailed the description of Masters swimming! Especially if you're not a big swimmer(me) like those crazy fast people in the fish lanes :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, thank you :) Fish lanes, great description!

      Delete
  40. This is essentially the story of my swimming. My friend gave me gloves to put over my hands to swim with fists (they look like black latex hand condoms and they scare me). He was super impressed with the moves I busted out in the pool when I added those in.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hehe, I bet you looked pretty rad :D I don't think I'd want gloves. I need to know I can use my hands to save myself from drowning.

      Delete
  41. How did I miss this one? There was so much that had me giggling. Fists of fury? No?

    And IM? I automatically thought, duh, instant message. And then I kept reading. O_o

    I would very much like to see you levitate while transforming into a unicorn one day. For Christmas maybe? Think about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can probably get a good 'fists of fury' going :) Oh, instant message; that would work too! I will think very hard about the levitating unicorn. I was just a reindeer for Halloween, so maybe.

      Delete

I love comments and I always reply to each one!

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...