February 17, 2013

Trying new things -- a swim meet

This week I pushed away my final doubts and registered for the English Bay Swim Club "Love to Swim" meet held next Sunday, Feb. 24. You can register too until the 20th.

It will be my first time at a swim meet. I do (yet) not do flipturns and have yet to learn diving off the start blocks. But I can swim, which is a good start.

I opted for four freestyle events: the 100, 200, 400 and (gulp!) 800. 

You have to provide your estimated finish times. I based mine on the 400m I did a month ago, when Squamish Titans swim coach Roseline Mondor-Grimm clocked me at 7:32.

For the meet, I estimated 7:30 for the 400, 17 minutes for the 800, 1:45 for the 100 and 3:45 for the 200.

Tim is registered too, he's doing the 50, 100, 400 and 1500 free. This will be his third swim meet, and Tim recommended I try one after doing his first two years ago encouraged by his then-swim coach Jan Francke.

The key goal for me is swim-specific fitness as I gear up for a return to triathlon, and Ironman.

"While the swim portion of the Ironman may only represent 10 percent of the race, it does play a significant role in the outcome. The time taken to exit the water is just a fraction of the whole picture of performance— the state in which we exit the water and how much energy is expended during the swim is critical to the overall performance at the end of the day," writes ironguides Coach Alun 'Woody' Woodward in Swim Technique - Part 1.

I am working hard on my swimming because it will help me lower the amount of bricks I will feel in my stomach come race day -- the more fit I can get in the water, the more comfortable I will be. Anxiety is a pre-race sensation I am looking to avoid at the start of Ironman Whistler in August.

My goal is to feel exited and confident, nervous in a good way, the way that helps sharpen your focus.

Sunday's meet will provide a great opportunity to test my current level of fitness, and watch some very fast swimmers in action.

Since the first week of January I have been training in the pool three times a week with the Titans, which means I have 18 one-hour sessions under my belt. I hope to do another three this week before Sunday's meet.

On Friday, I swam a little over 2.5K in the hour-long workout with coach Roseline. The longest continuous distance I have swum is 600 metres, so I'll be very curious to see how Sunday's 800 time will compare with my 400.


I have only once done a pure swim race, the 4.2K Across the Lake Swim in Taupo, New Zealand, in 2005, as Tim and I spent six weeks there getting ready for Ironman New Zealand. At its deepest point, the bottom of Lake Taupo is 186 metres below the water surface, an interesting fact to ponder as you swim across this massive body of water, also popular with cyclists as they follow the 160K around it in the annual Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge.

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