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Basic Anaerobic Threshold Set

This is my go-to Anaerobic Threshold set. For anybody unfamiliar with this term: Anaerobic Threshold isn't actually using the anaerobic energy system, it's aerobic but just under where lactate is produced. So typically 85% effort and above, but under 90% effort. This kind of session will help increase your aerobic training speed and should help... Continue Reading →

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Arena Training Swim Snorkel – Review

As I mentioned in my powerbreather review, until recently the last time I wore a snorkel was as a child heading off for a day of exploring a local beach. Of course, back then we didn’t have ones made specifically for swimmers. I have seen more and more swimmers start to use them in the... Continue Reading →

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The Slog to Slovenia

The counter in the sidebar of this website shows how many days to go until the European Masters in Slovenia. While I am a little bit behind where I would like to be, I am still on track and I have started to increase my number of training sessions per week. This post will give... Continue Reading →

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Ameo Powerbreather (Snorkel) – Review

Until three weeks ago the last time I had used a snorkel was when I was 12 and back then I was wearing one to boldly explore the majestic waters of Tralee bay, as long as those majestic waters were within my depth, or slightly out of them if I thought I could get away... Continue Reading →

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Nine Month Update – The Rome Challenge

We are now 9 months into the Rome challenge and as we are only competing in Munster galas, Jia’s competitive season is over, but her training continues.   The Irish Masters Open  The Irish Masters Open was Jia’s third competition and her first long course competition. We went up the day before to get used... Continue Reading →

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Finis Z2 Gold Zoomers (fins) – review

I’ve read about people online liking these fins, but I knew nothing about them before I tried them. From looking at them I imagined they would be quite rigid like the TYR Crossblades. This changed as soon as I pushed off the wall and started to swim with them. They were surprisingly flexible and this,... Continue Reading →

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Relays are Awesome

Swimming is an individual sport, you might train and travel with others in your club, but when it comes to competing you are all on your own. In your own lane with your own black line down the middle of it, unless of course you are in an open water race, in which case you... Continue Reading →

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Second Gala – The Rome Challenge

Jia’s second competition was supposed to be the Irish Masters gala in Limerick, but a freak cold weather front caused days of snow and the gala ended up being cancelled. This meant that our home gala was her second competition, and what a competition it was. Tralee Gala Now that Jia has actual entry times... Continue Reading →

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Break Out or Break Apart

So hopefully you have read my articles on starts, turns and streamlining, and you’re working on improving yours. If you’ve done things right, you will be moving faster streamlining from the wall or the blocks than at any other time of your race. Unfortunately, physics means that you will start to slow down unless you... Continue Reading →

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Mad Wave Pro Finger Paddles – Review

These are the first finger paddles I’ve ever used, and when I was putting them on I realised they are the first paddles with straps that I’ve used in over 19 years. Which meant I had to do a double take putting them on because I had forgotten how tight I like them and how... Continue Reading →

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February Update – The Rome Challenge

A lot has happened since our last update where we covered Jia’s first ever competition. We are now entering month number 6 of the challenge and I’m not the only person that can see the big changes. Staff members and fellow swimmers have all commented on the difference between September and now. It’s amazing what... Continue Reading →

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How do I get Faster? part 2

How do I go faster? This is a question that I see posted online, and that I get asked by people in the local pool. The answer is “its complicated”. This is the second of two articles on what you can do and what you should consider if you want to swim faster. As with... Continue Reading →

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How do I get faster? part 1

How do I go faster? This is a question that I see posted regularly online, and that I get asked by people almost every week in the local pool. The answer is “its complicated”. The Rome Challenge on this website is an example of what it takes for the casual swimmer to improve their speed,... Continue Reading →

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Start Right

There is no disputing that the start is an important part of a race, of course it’s importance and effect on the race is directly proportional to the distance being raced. Your start in a 50m event will have a far greater impact on your race than your start for a 400m event. If you... Continue Reading →

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Streamline: Why it’s important

The ability to streamline is incredibly important, but while swimming and coaching I’ve often seen it over looked or ignored by swimmers. I’ve even been guilty of it myself, so in this article I’ll try to explain why its important and why people tend to forget or ignore it. First, the obvious, a good streamline... Continue Reading →

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First Competition – The Rome Challenge

Saturday was a milestone for the Rome Challenge, it was Jia’s first ever masters swimming competition. She had never competed an any sports growing up in China, and had only ever done a few 5k fun runs and a handful of sea swims since coming to Ireland (because everyone should swim around Fenit lighthouse at... Continue Reading →

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First Steps – The Rome Challenge

Things are moving ahead with our Rome Challenge. Jia is now registered with Kingdom Masters and her entry for her first competition, the Mallow Masters, is about to go in. The first two months (we had started before the first article went up), have been all about creating a solid base. Before we started Jia... Continue Reading →

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Me, my tech suit, and I

My junior club swimming was all done in the 90s, and in Ireland back in those days it was hard to come by decent swimwear (and forget about apparel from the top brands). Most swim hats were latex and the fanciest swim suits were lycra. This typically meant you would have your “good” suit for... Continue Reading →

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Making a Master Swimmer – The Rome Challenge

  While Jia and myself were sitting in the stands of the World Masters in Budapest surrounded by vibrant energy, by swimmers of all ages, and the general party atmosphere we started to wonder. Could someone that was in good shape, but had never trained or competed in swimming, or any sport, take part in... Continue Reading →

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Tough to get going

There are a few times throughout a season when training can get tough for a swimmer. I don’t mean physically tough, training is generally tough if you are doing it right. I’m talking about those times when you get that “wonderful” combination of training being physically and mentally tough. These times are usually, in my... Continue Reading →

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FINA World Masters – Recap of Day 3

My third day started very early, the men’s 50m free was the first event and my heat was the 8th in my pool, so I would be up 4 minutes after the event started. While I wasn’t at all worried about the race, it’s a splash and dash, I was determined to make it in... Continue Reading →

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FINA World Masters – Recap of Day 2

I was still a little down on my second day of competing, but also eager to get back in the water. I was determined to leave nothing to chance and myself and Jia left for the pool very early. I should mention how lucky I was to have Jia with me for the trip. She... Continue Reading →

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FINA World Masters – recap of Day 1

My first day of competition, was a bit of a disaster in hindsight things had gone wrong from the very start of the day. After we had gone to the bus stop for our bus to the Duna arena we realized I had forgotten my wife’s entry ticket, so I went back to our apartment... Continue Reading →

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Taper Time

It’s less than a week to my first race in Budapest. I had planned on only doing two weeks taper, but our masters coach, who is also the head coach of our junior club, advised me to start the taper slightly earlier as I’m in my mid-30s. It’s great to have such a resource I... Continue Reading →

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Wall of water

Tuesday marked four weeks to my first swim in Budapest and last week I started to really step up the training. Last week included another 7 pool sessions, with one gym session for strength and conditioning and one circuits class that my wife convinced me would be a good idea. I managed to fit in... Continue Reading →

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Work those walls

Walls, walls, walls. Most of us are guilty for not putting enough into our turns. I’ve known masters swimmers who didn’t view their turns as important, admittedly I’ve been one of these people. It’s also an issue with Junior swimmers and while I try to instil good habits and awareness into the swimmers I coach,... Continue Reading →

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Keep swimming up that hill

It’s been a good week training wise for me, 7 pool sessions and one gym session. Also this week, for the first time in my many years of swimming I ended up vomiting after a session, my first anaerobic session of the week. While I made the bathroom for it, I was a bit shaken... Continue Reading →

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To be a Masters Swimmer

It’s hard being a masters athlete when you’ve been an athlete most of your life, especially if you’re a masters athlete in the same sport. Every year you become more and more aware that you are fighting the inevitable. Getting those PBs become harder, you begin to simply aim for old times or look for... Continue Reading →

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50s Can Be Tough Too

There is sometimes a perception that a training session has to consist of sets of 100s of meters, I’m guilty of it myself sometimes. This session is all based around short distances, its goals are to help with pace, speed and should give a good overall workout. It also is one I use for days... Continue Reading →

A km of Fly

This session started as an idea between myself and my sister. As teenagers we both had some “fun” butterfly sessions, but we are now masters swimmers and not quiet up to the same amount of punishment. So, a few years ago when we were only training a few times a week we came up with... Continue Reading →

Rome Challenge Sessions – Round 4

These sessions cover Jia's training over January and February, and continue from round 3 (hence the numbering). Most of the sessions still focus on aerobic work and technique work as we build a base for the second year of the challenge. I'm using a new format for these sessions, it should make them easier to... Continue Reading →

Back-end Breaststroke

There are two goals for this session: to get some aerobic backstroke work done, and to simulate the breaststroke leg of a 200m IM. Breaststroke is my weakest stroke and on a 200m IM (or worse a 400m IM) when the lactate is starting to pump, it’s very tempting to ease off for that part... Continue Reading →

The Classic

The main set of this session was a favourite of my coach back in the day, usually if we were doing anaerobic work we were given this set or the nausiator set with a dive. I’ve added a warm up and cool down. Ideally you want to do 800m or more for a warm up,... Continue Reading →

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