Saturday, May 05, 2007

Back in the Pool

Friday night I was back in the pool preparing for the upcoming Hyack Festival swim meet. This is quite the change in plans from only three weeks ago when I paid my fees to attend the Canadian Masters Championships taking place in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Several factors influenced the switch. First and foremost taking a long weekend off in May isn’t really practicable for me and with the Hyack Festival being a two day meet within walking distance not only do I save a full day but I can also work a few hours around the meet itself. Secondly the Hyack Festival is long course whereas the Championships are short course. Every meet I’ve swum to this point has been short course and I’m anxious to obtain some times in the ‘true’ distance, the Olympic distance, of fifty meters. I’m completely biased when it comes to course length having trained exclusively long course as a child. Way back then any records achieved in short course races were unofficial – the world’s fastest 25 meter times were only accorded ‘world’s best’ status, and I continue to cherish this prejudice against short course. Don’t ever get me started on the American practice of racing 25 yards! Plus I can use the times achieved here to meet the National Qualifying Times (NQT) for the upcoming USMS Long Course National Championships. My last reason is because the Hyack Festival is classed as a combined AAA/AA competition the meet has its own qualifying times. I’m getting weary of competing in swim meets where anyone can swim, meets which include the Canadian Masters Championships. Watching people take several minutes to swim two hundred of anything makes me feel like I’m participating in a SWAD (swimmers with athletic disabilities) event. At Hyack Festival I’m going to be racing just to show I deserve to be there. Hopefully with some good times my participation will go unnoticed. But that's all in the future. Getting back to last night’s practice Brad continues to pound away at speed work despite the fact Hyack Masters have finished with competitions for the season. Consequently the workout wasn’t much in terms of kilometrage but was punishing if you did it properly:

  • Warm up: 8 x 50 on 1:00 (odd fifties back/breast & even fifties free breathing every four strokes)
  • Sup. Set: 6 x 100 free on 1:25; 1:40; 1:55 repeated twice
  • Main Set: 16 x 75 broken into pairs, the first swum hard on 2:00 and the second easy on 1:30 and done as kick, swim (non-free), pull, and swim (free), all repeated twice;
  • Warm down: Anything as we ran out of time to do the final set Brad had planned for us.
Our target times for the hard 75 swims were based upon our 100 times, with the hard 75 non-free swim to be done at or better than our best time whereas the hard 75 freestyle was to be done at least four seconds faster than best 100 time but aiming to equal it for the 75 meter distance (i.e. 45 seconds or better was the announced target for Lane Six). Ian switched it around and pounded out a couple of mid 50 fly's for the hard non-frees but I really wasn’t up to it and by the second repeat was merely trying to maintain a respectable pace. Despite my off form I really liked the way the practice was designed as it allowed for considerable latitude (lassitude?) in approach. Pedal to the metal it really combined speed work with endurance, something we at the Masters level are in desperate need of, and easing off some, the second easy 75 forces a level of minimum effort on the swim. This is one workout I’m going to do again on my own when I’m better prepared for a hard work out. Workout rating: 9

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