Category Archives: swim

The Hardest Thing About Swimming


For the past few months I have struggled with my swimming stamina. After regularly swimming for several years, I didn’t see the progress that I wanted to. Even post triathlon season I still found myself gasping at the end of a fifty yard swim. My coach told me to stop struggling and use the buoy and just use my upper body.  So the next day I did 30 laps (60 lengths of 25 yd pool) for a total of 1,500 yards without stopping. Not bad but in my head I am still using the crutch of the buoy. I have done this for the last two weeks. The other day I decided to try to do fifty yards without the buoy. Guess what? I did two hundred! So what’s my point? After the mechanics kick in what’s in your head dictates your swimming ability. I can’t stress this enough. Relax and rely on your training. The rest will come. Did I mention be patient with yourself? A hard learned lesson for me.

Nobody Likes A Cry Baby


So I am concentrating on my swimming. At least in my mind that is. I had a very stressful few days leading up to Christmas and although I enjoyed the day my legs were aching and stiff. No exercise at all this week and plenty of holiday eating. All reflected on the scale today at my Weight Watchers weigh in. Ok, boo hoo hoo. So when I ran out of real excuses, I put on my bathing suit and after Weight Watchers (my Saturday ritual) I headed to the pool. I was late and my team members were way ahead of me. Mike the coach says your late! Do your warm up. 20 lengths of the pool. I was exhausted after four but I did the twenty. Then he said 20 with the kick board. Really? I can’t do one. After six  he said okay lets move you on to something else. 20 with the buoy. I was officially finished and I hadn’t done one drill.  The ladies (no guys this morning for some reason) who finished the drills were exhausted. Mike suggested that we work on everything during the week because next Saturday we start again. He mentioned a T30 workout. Thirty minutes non-stop as many laps as we can. OMG. I won’t cry though.

Putting In The Work


 

 

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Okay, I’ve spent a lot of time in the pool over the last three years and the bottom line is that I haven’t made the progress that I should. I am easily defeated and when I don’t see fast progress I ignore the fact that I haven’t put in the work to get better. We have indicated to our Coach Mike Garrett that we want to improve, maybe compete and for sure improve our open water times for triathlons.  Speaking for myself, I have been mostly playing. By now a mile should be a routine. I am gasping for air after 100 yds.  Plain and simple I haven’t done the work. So here is my 2015 pledge, no more whining just doing. I started today. Let’s see what I can do.

 

Saturday Swim Practice


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Another great swim practice. Right now we are working on improving our freestyle stroke. Coach Mike is a talker and that freaks out some folks. He explains the reason and mechanics for each drill. I like knowing why we are doing certain things so it’s fine with me. Many of us have spent years swimming incorrectly. Personally, I want to swim the best stroke that I can. Apart from competing I want to know that I can swim well and easily. I have to put in the work. I have a very weak kick. Drills are helping me improve. I love swimming and enjoy our regular Saturday practice. Happy Saturday everyone.

 

Brick City MasterSwim 2015


BrickCity Master Swim meeting

Brick City Master Swim meeting

Yesterday we had our first planning meeting for 2015.  Took pictures of our 2014 medals (Roz Kelley in the pink with her New York Marathon medal) and made lots of swim and triathlon training plans too. We have lofty goals and invite you to join us at JFK pool in Newark, New Jersey. Brick City Masterswim is calling!.

 

Why Can’t Black People Swim?


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Okay if you want to hear really stupid things google them. I looked out of curiosity and because we had a very unsuccessful swim event for kids last evening. Now without debating a myriad of silly issues about swimming I am going to say that the sports that get the least attention in some communities have the fewest participants. Who knows how to swim and how do they learn?

I grew up in Manhattan, the only child of a father who was afraid of the water and a mother who knew how to swim. I did not have a local Y to go to or any indoor pool that I can remember. Occasionally we went to public pools but not often. Yet I have been in the water my whole life. Probably because my mother loved the water and she passed that information on to me.

So dispensing with a lot of other theories, I think that you only know about swimming what you are exposed to.

Currently I am enjoying a Facebook page dedicated to Black Triathletes. Before you say why is that page necessary, it’s to offer support and spread the word about a sport that may still be unknown to many minority people with athletic aspirations. Swimming is often the topic of conversation because many people haven’t learned how to swim.

So much work to do. Pass the word, swimming is fun and may save your life one day. If you live in New Jersey and can come to Newark, let me know we have a beautiful pool, a Master swim team and would love to have you learn to swim!

JFK Pool Newark, NJ

Take a Deep Breath


JFK with roof rolled back

JFK with roof rolled back

Okay new season of training begins. I think I’m going to sign up for the New Jersey State Triathlon in July 2015. Don’t tell anybody but I think so. So I have to be serious from now on.

On the Black Triathlete’s Facebook page I saw mention of the website SwimSmooth.com. and visited it. It’s a nice site breaking down all the parts of a triathlon. I am concentrating on the swim. Lesson one for me is breathing. Am I breathing out the entire time my head is in the water? Or am I like many swimmers holding my breath?

This week I am working on the breathing part. It’s worth looking at even if you are an experienced swimmer. Blow bubbles exhaling unless you are turning your head to breath. I bi-lateral breathe every third stroke but yesterday I tried every five and seven breaths. Interesting.

Training Makes the Difference


Today some of the members of a Facebook page I follow did and Iron Man triathlon. For those of you who don’t know that entails a 2.4mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and a marathon run (26.2 miles). I believe that most have a time limit in which you have to complete it. Anyway people ask you do you do that and the answer is the same as the one for sprint triathlons like I do, you train for it.

Being the best swimmer in the world doesn’t help you on your bike. Being a marathon runner does not prepare you for the swim. You have to put in adequate time in each sport to stand a chance of completing the entire event.

I know of a few people this year that were not successful in their triathlon attempts  and several of them had medical issues that arose and kept them from being successful. I think that if you talked to the rest of them you would find out that they just didn’t get the right amount of training in. It’s a delicate balance and other than doing the distances in training you are always unsure whether what you’ve done is enough.

If you watch your elite athletes, they are constantly training to stay in the game so to speak. So when you are getting up in the dark to get your training in visualize the finish line!

 

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