Sometimes you have to take the long view to get the big picture. I like the way the chart below suggests that I’ve broken through another barrier with my swimming. (I’ve gotten stuck on several plateaus over the years before dropping to the next one for a while.)

26 Sep 2009 -  500 yards -   35:00 - 7:00/100 yds
24 Oct 2009 -  900 yards -   35:00 - 3:53/100 yds
21 Nov 2009 - 1250 yards -   40:00 - 3:12/100 yds
19 Dec 2009 - 2000 yards -   50:52 - 2:33/100 yds
23 Jan 2010 - 1800 yards -   44:15 - 2:27/100 yds
 9 Mar 2010 - 1250 yards -   30:03 - 2:24/100 yds
 9 Dec 2010 - 1250 yards -   29:48 - 2:23/100 yds
 4 May 2011 - 1500 yards -   33:30 - 2:14/100 yds
24 Oct 2011 - 3600 yards - 1:21:12 - 2:15/100 yds
 2 Dec 2011 - 1850 yards -   39:45 - 2:09/100 yds
 2 May 2012 - 1650 yards -   36:45 - 2:14/100 yds
 7 Dec 2012 - 2500 yards -   47:09 - 1:53/100 yds

Tomorrow is the last of my early Saturday morning swim classes, which have been so helpful in getting me to where I currently am. I’m looking forward to sleeping in past 4:15 next weekend!

Last week we used Halo swim trainers during practice. They’re basically a bench with a template near your head and resistance tubing. You lie face-down on the bench on the pool deck with your arms forward past your head and pull the tubing (which is anchored to something a few feet away) toward your feet. The template helps direct your arms in the correct freestyle motion, but you have to pay a lot of attention to keeping your forearms vertical during the “pull” part of the stroke when they’re even with your shoulders. (If you can imagine floating above your body and watching the path of your elbows, you would see them making question marks. And if you were to look at yourself from the side, you would see your forearms start even with your streamlined body and then drop into a vertical position, which you hold while pushing backward, until you bring them to be in line with your body near your thighs. Simple, eh? Technically, I guess I know how to do the butterfly stroke now.)

This device is really fantastic at imprinting correct technique—muscle memory, if you will—working the main upper-body swimming muscles: the lats, deltoids, and triceps. I can also feel my swim stroke starting in my core more than before. It was so effective that I could feel it for the next few days after the workout whenever I raised my arms over my head. Keeping my forearm more vertical makes it a stronger lever, but boy does it hurt. Ouch! . . . but in a good way, of course. At the end of the practice session, I swam a 300 yard time trial in less than 5:10, which is really fast for me and made all of the torture effort worthwhile.

(And to think that I asked Santa for one of these systems!)

I’m still not super fast, but I was keeping up with Jennifer—one of the fastest master swimmers at the pool—for a bit last week. This week she brought her two preteen boys to the pool a couple of times to work on their flip-turns. It was the funniest thing, and it reminded me that I need to start trying that again myself.

Now I just have to work on my kick.

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4 Responses to Progress

  1. StephenS says:

    It’s official… you’re now faster than me (not that that was your goal or anything). It’s great to hear how much you’re improving.

  2. Kate says:

    Jeff, this is awesome progress! I have yet to get back in the pool to do some serious training, but this is a serious motivation. Feel proud of yourself!

  3. Céline says:

    That sounds like a pretty effective training tool. I have never seen or tried one but would very much like to. Congrats on breaking through barriers – so motivating isn’t it?

  4. Scully says:


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