This weekend sees the Provincial Championships, which for most master swimmers mark the end of the competitive swim season. It happens to be held right in the middle of my busiest period of work when normally I wouldn’t do anything other than work. Given my back and its history, however, not exercising at all isn’t an option so I’ve continued with my training, albeit in a minimal way. Certainly it hasn’t been enough to race on, and there’s been an unfortunate side effect – I’m exhausted. Though my feel for the water and technical abilities have continued to show improvement during this recent span I’ve discovered my endurance, as well as my top end speed, has suffered. Apparently if you want to swim your best you shouldn’t try to do it in a state of sleep deprivation.
This situation where my life doesn’t match up well with the swimming season is a familiar one though. In competitive swimming you change age groups on your birthday, and with a birthday coinciding with Groundhog’s Day (February 2nd) half the time I was changing right before the major meets of the season. Now actually missing the major swim meets, however, will become an annual event for me. In the future I’m going to skip Victoria and the Provincials, held in March and April respectively, and make my racing season the months from May through to February. That means my first swimming meet would be our Masters National Championships – and there’s a big question mark even there as work doesn’t slow until July. Why travel all that distance to swim tired and unprepared? Yet if I don’t swim at the Canadian Nationals then when do I obtain my qualifying times for the U.S. Long Course Nationals? Thinking this through perhaps I could use my times from the English Bay Swim Meet in February. But to rely on a single afternoon to obtain the necessary three qualifying times I’d have to be really good, good enough to make beating U.S. national qualifying standards a routine matter, and I’m not that good yet. Not to mention my overall problem in trying to race with severely limited training four months of the year. Maybe I should change careers.