It’s been a while since I gave an update on my own personal training and swimming. I’m so busy between coaching, training, writing about other topics, and life in general, that it’s hard to get time to write about myself. This is a big year for me in terms of swimming, because of a goal I’ve set myself. For the last two seasons I’ve given myself rough goals and met them, this year I’ve been a bit more daring and have given myself goals for both times and placements in the European Masters. I’ve split this article up into different sections, similar to my articles for the Rome Challenge.
The European Masters in Slovenia this September is my target competition for this year. My entries are in, I’ve decided to swim the 100m, 200m, 400m Freestyle and the 100m Fly. This year my whole family will be travelling over, our flights and accommodation are all booked and paid for. I had considered swimming the 200m IM, but its just before the 400m Freestyle. This wouldn’t normally be a problem, but the 200m and 400m are the two events I am really focusing on this year and I want to make sure they are the best I’ve ever done.
For a little more than a year now I have been doing strength and conditioning work in the gym to compliment my swimming. Before that I was simply turning up to random circuit classes in the local gym and before that doing no gym work at all. It has made a difference to my swimming, but its still evolving. I’ve been lucky this year to have been selected to join my college’s staff-student PT program. This is where staff are paired with third year students as part of their PT training and they design a program for us. We’ve done our tests and had our preliminary sessions where he made sure my lifting technique is correct, next we will be upping the intensity. One of our tests was on bodyfat percentage, while I’m within the range of an athlete, I have to admit I was a little disappointed with the result. Of course I’m still about 2kg heavier than I was in Budapest so I guess I should at least be happy that I’m in the athlete range and I hope to hit my target bodyfat percentage by Slovenia. I’ve found that gym sessions are not only helping for strength, they are also helping to keep my body balanced. Without them my shoulders and hip would never hold up under all of the pool training I’m doing. It’s a pity I didn’t have these sessions at the end of my junior club career or during college, still better late than never.
Training was going well before Christmas, but then I hit a bump and got sick. It took three weeks before I was able to train properly again and I’m only now getting to the training times I wanted for January. I had hoped to have a mini-peak for the Irish Masters Open, but now I just have to try and use it purely for getting my pacing for Slovenia right. My training this year is a little different to last year as I continue to change and adapt it. This is a combination of thing’s I’ve found that work, sometimes with some tweaks, things that I’ve read or learned about from various courses, and of course some things I’m trying out to see if they will work. At the heart of it I’m swimming 5-6 times a week (with 1-2 gym sessions) and I’m balancing my Aerobic, Aerobic Threshold and Anaerobic work. I will add some more pool sessions in May for the summer months.
First Gala 2018
Last weekend saw my first competition of 2018. My plan going in was simple, tweak my 200m pacing a little to see if it makes any difference, and sprint 50m butterfly to get a feel for it. I used to be pretty good at sprinting fly as a teenager, but I can’t seem to get my old rhythm and feel back. On the day I realised there had been a mix up and I had been entered in the 50m free rather than fly. I considered getting it changed back, but my shoulders/arms weren’t feeling very well from my fly training over the last few weeks. So after a quick check to see if I had a chance for a gold in either one (never give up a chance to pick up a gold), I decided to just leave it and do the 50m free.
As you can guess from my plan I wasn’t expecting much from my 200m, I took a bit of a risk with the pace at the start. The person next to me was a bit too close for comfort on the first length so I stayed just in front of them on the first 25m and then just kept that pace for the rest of the 200. By pure luck I got a quick peek at the electronic clock at 350m and realised I was on course for a dream PB. Unfortunately on the next 25m while sprinting I took a mouth full of water and it threw off my rhythm for most of that 25, I managed to pull it back for the last 25m. The clock wasn’t working properly when I hit the wall so I didn’t get my actual time until the results came out. I was delighted to find out that not only had I won gold, I’d gotten a PB. My first 200m short course PB since swimming with the junior club. Of course if I run it through a time converter it doesn’t beat my Budapest time, but still it’s a nice boost at this point in the season. The 50m free went the way it usually does for me, I got the same time I normally do and a gold with it.
Irish Masters Open
The start lists for the Irish Masters Open have been released. Going by these I should have a good chance of winning medals in each event I’m in, but its going to be a real fight for three of them. I’m going to be swimming the 400m, 200m and 100m free, and the 200m backcrawl. The first two are mostly for practice racing those distances long course. I would have liked to swim the 100 fly, but looking at the order of events I was worried I wouldn’t have recovered between swims. The 200m backcrawl is just for fun, it’s an event I’ve never swam before and should be a good chance for a medal. If anyone reading this is at the gala, give me a shout and say hi, its always fun to talk swimming. Jia is also swimming in this competition so expect an update on the Rome Challenge next week too.