It has been FOREVER since I’ve posted one of these entries. You can blame high school swimming because, as you probably have seen when visiting this site, it’s kept me pretty busy.
Yet despite the fact that all of my posting has been eaten up by districts, regionals, states, Metros or whatever events have been going on, it doesn’t mean I haven’t been swimming every morning.
In fact, I missed today’s practice — which is the first I’ve missed since the snowstorm. (I blame my late-night basketball assignment and not getting to sleep until 12:30…I couldn’t do three hours of sleep today.)
Regardless there is obviously plenty to catch you guys up on regarding what I’ve been up to in the pool. Let’s see what I can remember from the past few weeks.
Getting back in the pool
One of the biggest challenges I’ve had when it comes to swimming was getting back in the pool after an extended break due to the snowstorms that hammered this area earlier this winter.
The funny thing is, it wasn’t the first day that killed me when I dove back in for the first time.
IWhile I got pretty tired very early on that first Monday back, I didn’t really feel it until Tuesday. It took all of about…oh, just the warm-up…on Tuesday for me to feel like I had already gone through a whole week of practice.
The arms were sore, I was tired, my breath control was terrible. Ah, so this is what two weeks out of the water feels like. Gotcha.
Jeff kind of eased me back into the workouts, but really it wasn’t anything drastic. There were still plenty of normal sets, and I’ve been really trying not to rely on fins as much as possible — though in those first few days I relied on them a bit more than I wanted when it came to the longer distance swims.
It wasn’t long, however, until I was feeling back to normal and starting to actually pick up the pace on workouts. My shoulder was feeling strong — there is still pain at times, but it’s mostly out of the pool after workout when it gets sore — and I wanted to start really pushing my fitness in the water.
Jeff was working in a lot of sets that hit us with plenty of 100 sprints and 200s at an up-tempo pace, lots of kicking and definitely a good amount of breath control.
But the hardest part of all those workouts was to look over across the pool and see all the kids that were tapering for Metros. Chillin’ in the hot tub, doing 25 sprints and practicing starts. We were all jealous.
Last Wednesday I went to a practice that was not Jeff’s for the first time ever.
For the past few months, Pat Sullivan and Brian Heilbronner have been going to Burke to take part in a power group session — which is basically a group of sprinters doing workouts to help with…well, sprinting.
So last Wednesday I headed out to Burke to give it a try, and although I didn’t go this past week I may go this coming Wednesday — just to vary it up.
The workout was exceedingly different from a normal Wednesday with Jeff. To give you an idea, this past Wednesday with Jeff was filled with a ton of 200-100s with the 100s varied versions of sprinting (75, 25 sprint, 50-50, 25-75, 100) and a ton of other things to get you tired. It was a great set.
At Power Group, the workout is more about strength. About power…basically getting better at those little things that are going to make a difference in your 50 sprints.
For example, we started off the workout by doing 12.5 kick with no fins…holding on to a cinder block. With my kick being as weak as it is…let’s just say I hit the bottom quickly.
We also mixed in a ton of sprinting from floating starts in the middle of the pool — with t-shirts on — and finished practice off with full 25 sprints off the blocks — which, by the way, were the shakiest blocks ever.
My one visit was just a taste of the workouts that go on there, so I’ll go back and see what other new stuff gets thrown at me. I’m sure there’s plenty more for me to experience.
This past week
I really loved this week of workouts. Jeff mixed things up so well and hit me with a bunch of different workouts — all of which seemed to find a way to really make me think about my stroke and racing.
I cant remember the exact details of Monday’s workout, but I do remember that it involved some 100 sprints towards the end of the workout and I remember trying to get a better feel for the water as I really tired toward the end of the set.
Jeff came back the next day and gave me a set that really helped me to learn how to anchor and pull better. It was my first really extended workout with a tension cord.
We swam out until the tension cords caught and would not let us go any further…and we sprinted. The set basically broke down like this:
30 seconds all out swim x 5
(5 minutes vertical kick while your partner did the same)
25 secs all out x 5
(5 mins vert)
20 secs all out x 5
(5 mins vert)
15 secs all out x 5
I loved this set. As the set progressed, even as tired as I was, I was really starting to “get it.” I was extending and pressing my chest, I was anchoring my hands and pulling all the way through. I was kicking my butt off.
Whenever I do get to race for time again this set will directly impact me in those races — and I hope we get to work a couple more of them in these coming weeks.
Yesterday involved a ton of dive start race 25s and was another workout that really tired me out. Basically the 25s came in between 400s, 300s, 200s and 100s and you really had to push yourself to get the full effect of the set.
Out of all the weeks to be able to put up a “catching back up” type of post this was the perfect one. I feel like Jeff really varied our workouts a ton and each one really pushed me in different ways.
It was a great week for me, even though I missed today, which I hate. As the season winds down and with kids preparing for juniors and senior champs I’m excited to see the types of sets we all get in the coming weeks.
I’m just going to try to tag along and keep learning.
Washington Post reporter Paul Tenorio will train with a swim club over the next few months and chronicle his journey as he attempts to transform from regular guy/sports reporter to competitive swimmer — everything from his waistline to his best times.