Effortless Swimming with Tom Reudy

Have had a really great and productive week of swimming this week! I’ve been doing some combination of what Jamie had given me for last week’s workouts that was thwarted by a couple of days of rain making my left hip hurt so I couldn’t swim.

Sunday I was back in the pool doing 80 x 50 meters. It’s been awhile since I’ve felt that out of shape, but I kept going at it. Around 1400 meters, I noticed Tom, the head San Mateo Masters coach, on the pool deck. I asked him if he would watch me swim 50 meters which he said sure. I got some helpful feedback from him for the few minutes that I worked with him that day. I need to work more on keeping my chest “locked down” and not pulling back with the leading hand until the stroking hand just about enters the water again. Just taking those few bits alone, I was able to reduce my slow time of 1:20 / 50 meters to a less slow time of 1:05 / 50 meters within 3000 meters. 🙂 I sustained the 1:05 for the last 500 meters of my workout. He said that he had some drills that he wanted me to do the next time we saw each other. I emailed him later thanking him for the help and asking if he was coaching Masters on Thursday morning. He said we’ll work more on Thursday. 🙂

Side note: A random woman asked me from another lane on Sunday how I was doing, which I was wondering why is this random person talking to me. She and a few other guys were damn fast and I noticed 2 of them had SMM swim caps so figured they must have been other Masters swimmers, which the fast guys don’t usually talk to slowpokes like me. Afterwards I saw Cindy, the assistant SMM coach on the deck with wet hair. I asked her on Monday if she was swimming the day before and she said yes. Turns out she was the random woman. I didn’t recognize her in the water! She figured as much so no offense was taken. For whatever reason, I never expected to see the SMM coaches actually in the pool. Really cool that they swim too and by the looks of it, they don’t only coach swimming but they are damn good (and fast!) swimmers themselves too!

Monday I was doing 4800 yards via 2 x 1000, 3 x 500, 4 x 200, and 5 x 100. My times were still a bit slower than with my old stroke, but noticably using less energy and the times aren’t that much off. My 5 x 100 were on the 1:10 which considering how far into the swim that was, I’ll take it. Rest times were 3 minutes during the 1000s, 2 minutes during 500s, 1 minute during 200s, and 30 seconds during 100s.

Wednesday was my biggest swim in awhile: 6600 yards! It was a similar workout to Monday’s, but 3 x 1000, 4 x 500, 5 x 200, and 6 x 100. Times were about the same as on Monday which made me happy. Rest times were the same. Again, doing a 100 on the 1:10 after swimming 6000 yards..I’ll definitely take it. 🙂 I almost didn’t even make this swim due to some crap in my personal life the night before that left me exhausted. I thought about not doing this swim since I woke up and all the way up to and including the first part of the second 1000. I just kept going though. Part of me knew that I’d just feel better if I finished the entire workout than if I just bailed. Definitely glad that I finished!

I was up late last night picking up friends from SFO and had questioned whether I could get up at 4:30 AM this morning to do the Masters workout. I had even thought that I’d just do the 7 AM one instead, but apparently my subconscious had other ideas. Even though I had already switched my alarm to go off at 5:30 AM instead, I woke up at 4:07 AM and couldn’t fall back asleep. I was a bit excited about getting to work on my stroke again with Tom. The situation was perfect as Tom put me in a lane that was empty (and stayed empty!) so he could watch me. I forgot how hard a Masters workout is with all the 50 yard intervals. I only managed to do 2150 yards, but I didn’t care about yardage today and was only focused on working with Tom on my stroke. Today’s feedback was bringing my arms in a little closer, really focusing on keeping the leading hand in front until the last second, and keeping my kick to come from between the hip and knee, not the knee and ankle (really hard to do, at least for me but hip rotation seems to help force that I’ve noticed). For keeping the leading hand in front, he compared it to like pulling on a sweater which was a great visual to maintain while swimming. It helps extend the glide more and increases the distance per stroke naturally. Combined with the hip rotation, I’m more streamlined. He said that I’m better at keeping the chest locked down. 🙂 He had me do a 3 x 200 pull which every time my arm recovered too quickly, it was more pronounced during the pull set than when just swimming. I was happy to do pulls anyway since I really like them and can actually do them as fast (and sometimes faster) than when I’m just swimming.

This week has definitely taught me what it means to “practice” a sport. Since I first worked with Tom on Sunday, everything else has been focused on practicing what he’s taught me. I’ve been able to go back to enjoying being in the water since it’s less of a struggle for me (50 yard intervals switching off between fast/slow ones aside). I really enjoy the reduced effort (but times staying within reason) as it has helped make the longer swims seem not so long. In a way, I feel like I’m floating or gliding in the water. I think for awhile I’m going to continue doing the Thursday Masters sessions with Tom so I can continue getting weekly stroke feedback from him. Since they tend to do shorter intervals also than my regular workouts, that would also help me work on my speed so I can focus on distance endurance the rest of the week.

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