Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mystery Masters Man

Today when I got to the Y, the indoor pool was unusually crowded for the time of day. It's a bit nippy outside and the usual outdoor swimmers had all decided they weren't up for braving the elements, so we were all sharing lanes. I asked to split with a gray haired, bearded gentlemen who was using doing 50s with fins in the fast lane, and he obliged. After my 250 warm up (in which I accidentally smacked him with my hand during a flip turn) he stopped me and told me that I swim with my head too high in the water. The immediate reaction I get is one of annoyance, but I decided to choke it down and take the criticism. After all, I have been working so hard to improve my biking and running, that my natural sport, swimming, has been getting left behind a bit. So I listened to his logic, tried what he said, and when I came back he told me that was better. Then he gave me a few more pointers and we had a nice conversation. Turns out he is a master swimmer, and he knew what he was talking about, to an extent... Once I shut up my ego, I reminded myself that even if I already know the things he's telling me, it doesn't mean I am doing them as well as I think I am. It does help to have someone else watch my stroke, because obviously I can't see it

So now I am inspired, partly by this guy and partly by a tri swim coach I follow on twitter, to video tape my stroke and see what it looks like from an outside POV. I have an underwater case for my digital camera (I'm a scuba diver), so I just need to rig it up on the bottom of the pool somehow. Probably could film myself from above the water too. Hopefully I can enlist someone to help me out (hey Brad, wanna come swim next week?). I'd ask Erin, but I'm pretty sure she doesn't like to hold her breath for that long... (hockey players often prefer their water frozen)

Anyway, today's workout, with help from Mystery Masters Man:

250 warm up easy
6X25 mixed drills (focused on head position and pull technique) RI= however long MMM spoke
5X100 moderate, RI=5 secs
7X75 VO2 max, RI=30 secs
3X50 kick, RI=15
275 cool down easy

Total 1850 meters


  1. This happened to me this year as well. Although i considered myself a strong swimmer, a coach at my lap swim totally started breaking down my stroke. It took a lot to swallow my pride, but it turned out the guy was a retired world class coach that used to coach the Alexandrov family. His advice shaved my 1000 time from 14:00 to 12:20.

  2. I always sit there and critique people's strokes while swimming. But I never say anything because I fear I'm going to annoy them.

    And I definitely need to have someone video tape me as well. I KNOW there are things I need to change - I just don't know what they are.

  3. Exactly on all counts. Not sure this guy was really much of a big shot (I saw some things that he could change in his stroke, but I bit my tongue). But I do appreciate the outsider point of view. Now to rig up that camera...