General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Adult Onset Swimmer sets Masters Swimming Regional Record Rss Feed  
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2018-10-21 4:11 PM

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Master
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Subject: Adult Onset Swimmer sets Masters Swimming Regional Record

I hesitate to post this as it could be construed as a self-aggrandizement play.  I do this hopefully to inspire adult onset swimmers.  Just because we did not swim as kids does not mean we cannot become good adult swimmers.  

Here is my race report from the meet where I set a Masters swimming regional record.

https://beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=553139&posts=1&page=1

It also is a story of consistent, targeted work over time.  Good messages for many on these boards to take away.

 



2018-10-21 4:37 PM
in reply to: Ridgelake

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Master
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Rochester, NY
Subject: RE: Adult Onset Swimmer sets Masters Swimming Regional Record

The record broken was the Men's 50-54 age group, 50 yard butterfly.  The new record is 25.82 seconds, surpassing the old record of 26.57.

The region includes the areas of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Binghamton, New York and other surrounding areas.

2018-10-21 5:21 PM
in reply to: Ridgelake

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Subject: RE: Adult Onset Swimmer sets Masters Swimming Regional Record
That's awesome work! Congratulations!
2018-10-21 6:15 PM
in reply to: Ridgelake

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Subject: RE: Adult Onset Swimmer sets Masters Swimming Regional Record
Great job! I'm still not giving up my only excuse for being a poor swimmer.
2018-10-23 1:18 PM
in reply to: Ridgelake

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Subject: RE: Adult Onset Swimmer sets Masters Swimming Regional Record
Fantastic race report and congrats on the record!
2018-10-23 4:07 PM
in reply to: Ridgelake

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Master
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Subject: RE: Adult Onset Swimmer sets Masters Swimming Regional Record


2018-10-25 12:52 PM
in reply to: Ridgelake

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Subject: RE: Adult Onset Swimmer sets Masters Swimming Regional Record
Congratulations!! You've done a lot of work and this is a nice payoff!
2018-10-25 2:16 PM
in reply to: Ridgelake

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Subject: RE: Adult Onset Swimmer sets Masters Swimming Regional Record

That's an amazing time!  How far are you dolphin kicking underwater (off the blocks and off the turn)?  At the collegiate level, it looks like those guys are really working the underwaters.

2018-10-26 8:16 AM
in reply to: JoelO

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Master
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Subject: RE: Adult Onset Swimmer sets Masters Swimming Regional Record

I don't dolphin all that much now.  When I first qualified for Nationals 3-4 years ago, I was dolphining underwater ("UDK") to the 15 meter mark each way.  I started testing myself.  Was I faster underwater or stroking on the surface?  I found that I was faster stroking on the surface.  So I changed my race strategy to only dolphin a bit.  My times dropped at age 48 as a result.  My latest time was over a second faster than when I was dolphining as much as the race allowed.

I have read that the second fastest way to swim is UDK, behind only surface freestyle.  And I know that some elite college coaches have their swimmers start each practice with 1000 yard of dolphin kicking with fins.  I do have elite, or near elite, kicking ability.  I am always at the front of team kick sets, even with college swimmers and recent grads in our group.  Perhaps if I really focused on UDK like some of those college programs seem to do, that I could go back to that strategy.  But I'm not sure its the most effective use of my time.

Good question.

2018-10-26 8:48 AM
in reply to: Ridgelake

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Subject: RE: Adult Onset Swimmer sets Masters Swimming Regional Record

I watched elite high school (national caliber) swimmers from the deck for 4 years....they were coached by a former world record holder in the 200 fly. (was on boycotted 1980 Olympic team)  You may know the name since he holds/held many masters records as well....Jim Haliburton.  He, and all of his coaching peers on deck, spent hours and hours on dolphin kicking.  Besides being the fastest way through the water, they felt there was no better way to develop a feel for the water and moving through it fast.

I can't find the article where I read the Alexander Popov,  probably the greatest swim sprinter of all time,  swam the fastest 50 in his life underwater, using the dolphin kick. 

Obviously, what you are doing works for you.  My only point is that almost everybody could improve their swimming by learning to dolphin kick and doing sets of it.  If nothing else, you learn to decrease drag in the water.....and that's all swimming really is.  The faster you go the more drag you create.  That's why technique is so important in swimming.

2018-10-26 9:45 AM
in reply to: 0

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Master
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Rochester, NY
Subject: RE: Adult Onset Swimmer sets Masters Swimming Regional Record

Yes, there is definitely a reason that younger elite swimmers are doing so much dolphin work.

Its interesting, when you watch USMS Nationals, you get to see all age groups.  Its been my observation that the older the group, the less dolphining you see.  Very few swimmers in the 40+ age groups UDK very far.  When I was dolphining to the 15M mark each leg, I was literally the only swimmer 40+ at Nationals who used that strategy.  Even in the 30+ AGs dont have many doing it much (Ryan Lochte and Matt Grevers excepted). 

I talked to one of the perennial top 5 sprinters who is in my age group about UDK and why no one at Nationals (middle age and up) seems to do it.  I commented that no one in the middle to older groups UDKs while younger and current elites seem to do so.  He said a couple of things.  First, its not how they were taught. I suppose its hard to teach old(er) dogs new tricks.  Second, he said that he and others were faster on the surface.

It was actually that conversation that led to my testing myself which way was faster.  I changed my approach as a result.  Not to say that I am locked into that.  I am somewhat unique in that I am still figuring out how to do this and setting personal bests at age 50.  I am regularly tinkering to see what works better.



Edited by Ridgelake 2018-10-26 9:47 AM


2018-10-26 9:50 AM
in reply to: Ridgelake

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Subject: RE: Adult Onset Swimmer sets Masters Swimming Regional Record

I find good kicking ability fascinating...mainly because I'm so lousy at it.  If you put fins on me I can keep up with everyone in my lane...without fins...forget it.  At 59, maybe I don't have the endurance to kick as hard/fast as the better kickers but I think its a bit of a technique/ankle flexibility issue too.  I need to get some video of my kick to try to fix the technique part.  You probably don't need to think about your kick technique much, but do you have any technique keys (on either the dolphin or flutter) that you focus on when do kick sets?  For reference, it's usually an all-out effort for me to kick (flutter) 25 yards in 30 seconds (covers face with hands......but I'm at 40ish or below for a 50 with fins.

 

2018-10-26 9:52 AM
in reply to: Ridgelake

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Subject: RE: Adult Onset Swimmer sets Masters Swimming Regional Record

Yes, I think most people who don't have a background with dolphin kick would be faster on the surface.....but man, watching some 16-18 year olds who could really dolphin kick.....it was phenomenal, and they were not faster on the surface. 

Swim threads always go off the rails here because almost nobody in triathlon REALLY knows how to swim, so my only point is that dolphin kicking is another tool in the box that can really help with that feel for the water that adult onset swimmers struggle with.

2018-10-26 10:07 AM
in reply to: JoelO

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Master
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Subject: RE: Adult Onset Swimmer sets Masters Swimming Regional Record

Joel, I find that I kick faster when I focus on starting it from the hip.  Actually with dolphins, starting it with the chest and shoulders.  I see many less than fast kickers who only focus on the lower leg.  That's really just the end of the whip.  Get the whip handle going and the tail really moves.  Kicking is the same in many ways.

LB, you make a great take-away as usual.  We can all benefit from more dolphin work, for a variety of reasons.

2018-10-26 10:29 AM
in reply to: #5250941

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Franklin, TN
Subject: RE: Adult Onset Swimmer sets Masters Swimming Regional Record
Thanks! I read/heard that and I try to do that but, obviously, my body has other ideas. I'll try to get some video for feedback.
2018-10-27 11:11 AM
in reply to: Ridgelake

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Master
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Subject: RE: Adult Onset Swimmer sets Masters Swimming Regional Record
I remember writing in one your earlier RR's that occasionally I read about someone who goes from tri to being a serious/elite roadie or runner. But you almost never hear of someone going from adult onset tri to being an elite fishie. Very cool, and on behalf of those of us who could stand to get a little faster in the water, inspirational, too..


2018-10-28 12:49 PM
in reply to: alltom1

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Master
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Rochester, NY
Subject: RE: Adult Onset Swimmer sets Masters Swimming Regional Record

Originally posted by alltom1 I remember writing in one your earlier RR's that occasionally I read about someone who goes from tri to being a serious/elite roadie or runner. But you almost never hear of someone going from adult onset tri to being an elite fishie. Very cool, and on behalf of those of us who could stand to get a little faster in the water, inspirational, too..

Tom,

I have come across 2 others who are somewhat similar.   One person started swimming in their early to mid 20s.  By late 20s, he was winning top 10 nationally in distance swims.  He continued to get faster and diversified into IM as well.  I believe he's gotten top 10 in the 400IM as well.  He's been featured in Swimmer Magazine.

I know of another person who came to swimming in his late 30s/early 40s and has been to USMS Nationals.  He's actually in my region and close in age.  I'm probably a little older.  We are not far off in freestyle times.  I am ahead of him in stroke, particularly fly.  But he has qualified and gone to Nationals too.

But you are right.  It is not a common thing to become relatively elite after starting so late.  I have thought about why me?  I think there are several things that all had to happen.  1) I do have a relatively significant amount of natural ability as a swimmer.  I am told that I have a very high natural feel of the water.  I'm not completely sure what that means.  But I do believe that I have more natural ability as a swimmer than most.  2) I received good coaching.  No doubt in my mind that this does not happen if I didnt have a good Masters group to swim with and a good coach with a sharp eye for technique.  Yes, I am more receptive to coaching than most swimmers my age.  But without that eye seeing what can improve, this does not happen.  3) It has taken years of pretty consistent work to reach higher levels.  For sure, when I started swimming (to do tris), I had no idea that I'd end up being a Nationals level masters swimmer and regional record holder.  But I had been swimming probably at least 2x per week for close to 10 years before I first qualified for Nationals.  And 12 to 15 years to set a record.  Yes, I have a huge lifetime yardage deficit compared to swimmers who competed in youth and college.  But I did put in over a decade of pretty consistent work before strong results were seen.

So one takeaway message is that consistent, regular work, is a very good thing.  Improved results are not necessarily linear to that work either.  It seems that improvement comes in spurts.  The work to generate that does not.  

2018-10-29 8:09 AM
in reply to: Ridgelake

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Master
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Subject: RE: Adult Onset Swimmer sets Masters Swimming Regional Record
Very cool! Congratulations! This reinforces what we read in the book "Mindset," which is that hours of practice and curiosity drive mastery, not some ingrained genetic talent.

What an encouraging story for those of us who didn't start swimming until adulthood, just to get through the swim leg of a triathlon!
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