How's the Training Going?

Tuesday 12/01/09

I finally bit the bullet and joined the USF Masters Swim Team. Channel swimmer, Duke Dahlin, took me under his wing and ushered me through the somewhat intimidating process of applying, registering, and orientation. Mr. Dahlin introduced me to Coach Valeriy Boreyko who kindly admitted me to the program. Coach Val excused several of my Masters shortcomings. 1: I’m hopeless at any stroke but freestyle. 2: I’m not competent at flip turns. 3: I’m not very interested in pool competition. Ignoring these deficiencies, Coach has agreed to concoct a personalized program to help improve my chances for a successful crossing. My pool goals are to get in some additional mileage during the winter, work on stroke technique, and increase my sprint capacity with interval training.

In the Bay, I’m swimming a little over two miles five days a week. The temperature is closing in on 53 degrees and I’m uncomfortably cold after an hour. Ralph Wenzel and I have begun swimming together and he graciously adjusts his pace to mine. It’s simply terrific having a companion in the cove and Ralph has impeccable credentials. From December 21, 2006 through March 21, 2007, he swam 365 miles in San Francisco Bay. In those 90 days of winter, he went to work, swam two miles in the morning, went back to work, and then swam two more miles that evening. It was not a warm winter and he took nearly no days off. He’s quite an inspiration.

Lindsay found a laminated yearly planner for me online. The calendar is two feet by three feet and occupies a prominent place on my office wall. I’ve made several entries with dry-erase markers. The start and end of my Channel window are in red. Our airline travel days are in green. For the long Bay swims, I’ve used big blue numbers to indicate my intended hours in the water. During the winter, I’ve marked long pool swims with black numbers. A laminated surface and dry-erase markers were a good idea. We’ve already made multiple modifications of our own. When I told Coach that I intended to do a ten or twelve hour swim a month before my window, he pursed his lips and shook his head and said, “I don’t think that’s enough recovery time. I will check.”

Lindsay bought me a green swim cap that says, “Eat, Swim, Sleep.” That pretty much sums up the current phase of preparation. Gazing at the planner on the wall, more swimming looms.

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