A Strange Year

I have to start off this entry with an apology for my lack of articles over the last year. It has been a pretty crazy year for me with big changes in my life, which I will outline here. First we must turn back the clock.

In early March 2020 everything was going great. I had made changes to my training that were paying off and I was going faster than I ever had in my life. I was sure that with more training and some small changes in my races I could squeeze out a little more speed. I suspected that after the European Masters Championships in Budapest I wouldn’t get to train as much for a few years. I had been trying to start a PhD for a few years and things were lining up for me to hopefully start one in that August part time with an Irish university. Faith had other plans. I spotted an advert for a paid PhD position in Sweden in an area that was not only perfect for me, but which was also looking for someone with my background. I applied, interviewed online, and was accepted.

Unfortunately, March saw Ireland go into a pretty strict lock-down due to the covid-19 pandemic. In those initial days we weren’t allowed to go more than 2km from our homes. I was fortunate that I didn’t lose my job due to the pandemic, in fact things went the opposite way. Work became incredibly busy and stressful. With no pools or gyms open I was reduced to daily walks as I couldn’t go for long cycles, my joints would only take about 2 runs a week, and with my children off school walks became a family activity. I became too lax with my diet and piled on weight, going from 76kg to over 80kg, eventually hitting 84kg. Things briefly reopened in late July early August, I did some swimming, but was busy with work and getting ready to move. To Gothenburg.

When preparing to move one of the first things I did was to reach out to the local clubs. So shortly after arriving in Gothenburg I began coaching with the local junior club and swimming with the masters club. Things were looking up, between the masters club, my own swim sessions, and some gym sessions in my building’s gym I was finally started to see progress. I was starting to get back into shape, even better, the Swedish Masters were scheduled to be held in November and it looked like I would get to compete. In late October it all stopped. The pools closed for the public, masters training stopped, even my building’s gym was closed as it was run by a student housing company. Thankfully training continued for age-group swimmers, so I still got to coach, and when my children moved over in February, they were able to join straight away.

I initially waited a week or two, but when it became obvious that the pools weren’t going to reopen, I joined a local commercial gym. Oddly, commercial gyms and private pools are still open. I did get one week of swimming in while I was in Ireland over Christmas, but Ireland went into another lock-down and I was once again limited to walks and runs until I got back to Sweden. I haven’t swum since and it’s beginning to look like I won’t get to swim again until summer and that might be in the sea or a lake. While I am seeing gains in strength in the gym, it simply doesn’t burn the kind of calories I used to burn in the pool and even though it is a huge help mentally, it just doesn’t balance me out as much as swimming does.

So that’s where I am now and that’s why I haven’t written much for this website over the last year. Initially when I lost access to a pool, I lost all motivation for writing swimming articles, and since starting my PhD I have simply been too busy. It does not help that a lot of my usual articles or sessions are inspired from or based on my own swimming. So, when I’m not swimming myself, it is hard to get into the swing of writing about it.

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