Tuesday, September 12, 2006

First Practice

Yesterday was my first practice with Hyack Masters. The Hyack website was out of date and presenting last year’s information but, on the assumption things wouldn’t change much from year to year, I showed up at Bonsor Pool on the second Monday at the time posted and was rewarded as it was indeed the first night back from their summer break. So I signed up for the first half of the season (postdated cheques returned with one month’s notice) and got ready to swim. Coach Brad set out the times for each lane and, after seeing the fastest lane had only two swimmers, I told myself, “I can do that!” and slotted myself there. For those who haven’t been in a swim club swimmers are divided into lanes of varying abilities, each with different splits to make and sometimes even different workouts. Then each lane is further parsed by having the fastest swimmer lead off followed by teammates of ever declining speed. This has the advantage of allowing many swimmers of varying abilities to use the same pool without interfering with each other, but when I was swimming as a child this ‘pecking’ order was fiercely contested. There were fights over it (well, hit-and-runs and the occasional partial drowning). So I’ll admit my placing myself there my first practice was not very diplomatic (hopefully Master swimmers, being more mature, are also more forgiving - or maybe they’re just indifferent). I’m afraid later with some hindsight I’ll find it would have been better in all respects if I had joined a middle lane and then moved up but I did make it through tonight’s workout all right. No problem with my knee either. Some observations: 1) we swam almost exclusively sprints – perhaps because people were out of shape, or perhaps because most Master swimmers only swim shorter events, but by golly a lot of sprints. In past swimming remembered practices after summer break were almost exclusively the opposite – lots of endurance work; 2) we did several drills, exercises training specific parts of a stroke or muscle group, while I remember doing virtually no drills (drills were for the extremes – only the highest caliber swimmers (i.e. the ‘Nationals’, our club’s best senior swimmers) or new swimmers (i.e. kids who hadn’t mastered the basics of the four strokes) did drill work to any extent at all. Mileage was the be all, end all back then; 3) the workout was harder than I thought it would be even though I had been doing more meters in my weekly workout (all that speed work was exhausting); and finally 4) the club has several good swimmers, but it has at least one swimmer with talent – the team’s star Ian. Not only is Ian much better than everyone else in the pool, he’s good by competitive swimming standards … which got me to thinking if he could be the same Ian McVay I competed against as a boy. Same physical build, same stature and colouring, and he must be close to my age. If he is then I’m swimming Masters for the long haul because I swore to myself as a child one day, when I finally had some muscles, I’d beat him in something other than backstroke. Of course, I’ll have to find those muscles again .

No comments: