Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Promises, promises

Uh oh. In Monday’s blog, I promised details on Sunday’s FAST Super Swim Meet would be coming today. Two problems with such a promise: (1) The official results haven’t been posted yet anywhere except on the wall in the Brighton High School pool, and (2) I’m a little far from that wall right now, and was a little too casual about recording the results when I wasn’t. I do have something like results, though. They’re written in grease pencil on a tape-covered (the poor man’s laminate) printout of the meet schedule I brought to the race with my goal pace noted in each event. They’re in front of me now.

I entered all freestyle events from 50 to 400 meters. I’ll note that I posted personal records in every one, but all I had to do to accomplish that was count my laps correctly – this was my first race in a metric pool. But I had taken my best previous times in 25-yard-pool events and converted them to the metric equivalent. So, according to the smeared grease pencil, we have …

200 Freestyle – Goal 3:04, raced 3:03
  50 Freestyle – Goal 0:37, raced 0:37
100 Freestyle – Goal 1:22, raced 1:22
400 Freestyle – Goal 6:33, result 6:37.

We have caveats galore. First, in the 200, the clock on the wall disagreed with the stopwatches held by each of my timing officials at the starting block of my lane. I’m going with theirs because they both agreed, there were two of them and just the one wall clock, and I think they had me going faster. Second, I didn’t mess with decimals with the grease pencil, and I’m coming to realize that to be a real swimmer is to absolutely mess with the decimals. And third, my 400 freestyle goal pace was not based on my best previous time – that would have had it at 6:48 – but rather on my winter goal of swimming 500 yards in 7:30. So in one sense I barely missed my goal, but in the other sense I beat it pretty well.

It was a good and satisfying swim meet. I had a lot of fun; I won a water bottle for placing first in one of my heats, and though it seems wrong to win a prize for what I imagine was incorrectly submitting my seed time, it’s a cool water bottle and I’m keeping it; I think I won an actual event by participating in the 200 free relay with three Team FAST members who were actually competent; and finally, we have photos! Not just any photos, but good ones (especially compared to any of my running photos) by another FAST friend, Carol Feldmann. And useful photos.

I can actually see my hip in the pictures. Not that my hip is terribly photogenic, but just having it close enough to the surface to catch a glimpse of it is a streamlining triumph for the Jef of a year ago.

I can see that I’m rolling my shoulders reasonably well about the longitudinal axis, but that I need to get them more vertical on the fore/aft axis.

And I like the one where my forehead is practically touching the wall, where I should have long since dolphin-kicked myself into a flip turn instead of taking a big breath and apparently trying to do the splits. And you can’t see it in the pictures, but I’m taking as many as 25 (!) strokes per length of the pool. That’s nice for math, but bad for speed. That’s a meter per stroke; dropping it by one stroke per lap spares me 16 strokes – two thirds of a lap – in the 400. A man could figure out a better use for that energy. And that’s just one lap per length. I’m told I could shave off five. Ooh, la la!

Stuff to learn. That, and to write the results down in ink when they’re posted on the wall.


Lana said...

I have it on good word the official results will be posted soon, just making sure all the t's are crossed and i's are dotted. Should have grabbed your stickers off the back wall!

Purplestate said...

USMS has some great old articles from the 90s about getting your stroke count down --

Short and worth a read!

Jef Mallett said...

To Lana: See, now I've learned another thing about Masters swimming. Or need to. I had no clue about any stickers on the back wall -- but it sounds, as the engineers say, elegant!

To Purplestate: Huge thanks! I'll check it out. That'll be good to read -- simply willing it down wasn't working too well during practice yesterday. And now we know there's more to it than just getting my hips where you can see them. Many thanks!

JD said...

Someone looking for results? Meet Director is triple checking them before sending them to Lord Voldemort.

Jef Mallett said...

Meet director rocks! No whining sounds were intended in this blog entry! I am in favor of double- and triple-checking. Could stand to do it a bit more myself, like to prevent a piece about my own poor planning from looking like I was complaining about someone else's thoroughness.

La Professora said...

Congrats on improved times! Must mean that your strokes are getting better than you let on.

Anonymous said...

Great job! I want to see a picture of that cool water bottle you won. Is that your first swim stash award?

Elaine said...

Wow! What a great result, Jef! You are making wonderful progress. Your stroke count should drop as you continue to get more comfortable riding higher in the water. Love that high elbow in the photo- means you must be getting good roll, which means you should be able to get some more forward motion out of your hips with some more practice. It all works together, and you should be really proud of these swims! Congratulations!

Lana said...

Results Posted

Kat said...

Just started reading Trizophrenia. I'd started training for my first tri a few years back, but then a change of job completely interrupted it. I'm not sure how to get started again! Suggestions?