Friday, October 31, 2008


These past few weeks I have been swamped by work and kids and blah blah blah .....
But tomorrow is the first meet!
50 free
100 free
50 fly
100 fly
My goal.. the long and short of it... swim faster than last year. If I can do that I'll be a happy person. And thank god I'm not swimming the 200 or 500! Maybe next meet I'll be ready for some pain.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Strength training

Well thus far my strength training has consisted of lifting 2lb weights twice and using my therabands three time. Kind of lame I guess, but I am trying. One of the methods recommend by Hodding Carter in his recent book is a parachute. The idea is akin to running with a weight belt on I guess. I looks like this:

My friend John who swims with the Y in Portland has actually purchased one these contraptions and has this to say:

"....let’s say you swim a fifty in 40 seconds. The same effort, with the parachute, would take about a minute ... It turns out that getting tangled in the chute is NOT the problem with flip turns. MISSING the wall is the problem. With the chute on, there is basically no glide. So, I'd start the turn at the usual place, give a big pull into the wall as I flipped, and then realize during the flip that despite the pull I had no momentum. As a result, when I went to push, there was no wall to push against until I had my legs almost completely straight. So, I'd say that some of the time difference was due to that (and to the fact that after the third miss, I'd start laughing at myself and almost need to stop to catch my breath).

I'd say it could be pretty good as a version of weight training on swimming specific muscles. On the other hand, losing the glide was strange, and I don't think I'd want to use it too much for fear of a) losing feel for the water and b) hurting something."

And for the total investment of $20 what the heck, right?
John keep us posted as you experiment more with the parachute!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Back from Bawlmer, Hon!

Well I must be getting old and dorky when I take pictures like this one...

Meadowbrook pool in Baltimore, home of the North Baltimore Aquatics Club

I did not see Michael Phelps, but I did see Katie Hoff and Bob Bowman! She got in my lane just as I was getting out -- the lane was "reserved" for her so we had to move after our workout. Katie is about 5' 9" but not as big as you would expect an Olympic swimmer to be. And as I watched her swim she crossed the midline with her stroke. I was surprised after all this stroke work I have been doing the last few weeks. Bob Bowman smiled and nodded as we passed by and examined Katie's stroke, surely thinking to himself "who do these women think they are!". Oh well, you only live once. I had a great 3000 yard workout with my friend Tanya and her Masters friends and it was fun to swim in a different pool. More over it was so good to catch up with Tanya and have a weekend to play in Baltimore.

Camden Yard

Field of Dreams... the girls were small enough to squeeze through the gate and run around the field but were too nervous to do it!

Jessie and Maria in their Mission Impossible poses

Friday, October 10, 2008

Off to Baltimore this weekend

Maybe I'll see Michael Phelps? My friend Tanya belongs to his aquatic club so maybe I'll drop in for a swim? That would be something. I'll bring my Sharpie pen for an autograph just in case. Ha!

Back in the real world we have been doing lots of stroke work. I have been fiddling around with my entry and angle of pull, as well as my head position. I just can't seem to get used to looking down at the tiles, as Karlyn recommends, I feel like I don't know where I am going. However I do feel the difference it makes in my speed and my hips elevating more.

As far as kicking off the wall I am starting to think that maybe there is more bang for my buck by doing a solid streamline -- really squeezing my arms to my ears and thumb locking my hands together -- than there is for doing a dolphin kick. During a race, like the 425 I just did, I get so tired by the end that I am not getting extra power from the dolphin kick b/c it is not quick enough -- it actually slows me down by breaking the streamline. I am going to practice tight streamlined pushoffs instead.

And on the core strengthening goal, I hurt my back this morning doing the "plank" -- a nifty exercise that my Tri friend Carrie taught me. It is like an immobilized pushup, you "rest" on your forearms and hold the raised pushup pose for 60 seconds. Sounded good. I tried 15 seconds on the side of the pool. Since two hours later my back has been in agony. Ugh. I think I better start slow with crunches. And as for the "wheel of torture" that John recommended... hmmmm.... I think I'll wait on that too. If anyone has any other good core exercises to start slowly with, let me know!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Learning to swim?

MARCH 16: A baby undergoes swim training at the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department of Youyi Hospital on March 16, 2007 in Beijing, China.

I am all in favor of learning to swim early but this looks positively frightening. I can only imagine how this little fellow feels hanging out in a garbage can with a plastic donut wrapped around his neck. BIZARRE!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I made a 9-year old cry today

I really feel bad. Truly. And actually while I am now thinking of it I made 2 kids cry today (no not my own!).

But I'll stick with the one. I guess kicking backstroke with your arms above your head streamlined is a little harder than I thought. It was only 25 yards.

But apparently she couldn't keep her head above the water and got very scared. I am such an evil coach! Lots of the 2nd and 3rd grade boys couldn't do it either, but apparently they didn't get freaked out.

So I assured her it was okay. That yes I had asked them to do something very hard and, of course, she could always turn on her stomach or go to the side if she felt scared. She was better. We swam one 25 freestyle and I was elated to see most of the kids kept their ears in the water as they rotated to breath! Huge progress!

The rest of the time we worked on starts with some kids having open swim. Then I taught the kids how to tread water so we can play water polo next time.