Wozny: Think Schmitty Thoughts – My First Time Trial

Ashley Wozny is a total newcomer to the sport as a college student. When we say new, we mean nothing, ever. This summer, she caught the bug though. Join her as she ventures into the worlds of both Masters swimming and the much more treacherous SwimNerdery.

Having come into this sport as I have – older (so good for the ego, that adjective) and inexperienced – has left me feeling like quite the imposter.  I don’t know all of the lingo; I don’t know how to identify my mistakes, or correct them for that matter; I don’t know what I’m capable of or what my limits are; and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to accomplish the lofty goals I have in mind.  What I do know is that I am having the time of my life… most days.

One of the greatest was about a week ago.  My coach has initiated a time trial practice the first week of every month and, call me crazy, but I think this is awesome!  If you put in the effort, which I fully intend to, a lot of work can be done in a month.

Let’s take it back to December 5th, aka the day I showed that pool who’s the boss.  I had absolutely no idea what to expect as I showed up to the pool that day.  I probably made it much more serious in my head than it really was, but the second I saw a whistle around our Coach’s neck I knew it was legit.  During my own individual practices I, of course, had been loosely timing myself, but certainly not with a proper reactive start… so I only had a general idea of where my times were.  My nerves dissipated with each blow of the whistle and I ended up timing my 50 free (45.37), 100 free (1:50.13), 50 fly (55.07), 50 back (57.13), 50 breast (55.25), and 100 IM (2:02.14).  Instead of comparing these times to that of swimmers far better than myself, which I have a nasty tendency to do (because seriously, it takes me twice as long to do half as much), I’ve decided to wait a month and compare my times to that of my own… well, mostly.

I am pretty stoked that my 50/100 free times are the second best on my team; the one person quicker than me is also about a foot taller, so I don’t feel so bad.  My coach and I sat down one-on-one this week to discuss what I need to do from here to shave some time off, and she gave me some awesome pointers, but if there is anyone out there reading who has a tip or trick that has helped them in the past, I’m very receptive to tips and open to discussion!

A few other things have happened to me in the pool over the past few weeks.  I’ve built up a nice reserve of #thatawkwardmomentwhen experiences.  One night, the guy in the lane next to me had breath so rank that I could smell it in all its funky glory over the chlorine.  How is this possible?  He left before me, as most people do, but I was tempted to rest at the other end of the pool (because yes, it was that bad).  Instead, I just rested less and stuck to the intervals I’d planned.  Guess I owe Stinky Breath Dude a thank you for semi-motivating me.

I’ve also recently gotten the hang of flip-turns, which has enabled me to finally cover more distance consistently than I have been.  I shocked the heck out of myself when I swam five 100’s in one workout a few Sundays ago.  Yay me.  This newfound ability brings me to another awkward moment in the pool.  I swim with my friend Karen on our Master’s team so she and I will usually share a lane if necessary.  We got the crap end of the stick getting stuck in the last lane of the pool right up next to the wall this week, which sucks for obvious reasons, but also because warm water was coming out of the jets; it felt like we were swimming through pee.  This was not pleasant.  One of our sets was a 4×100 gradual build type thing (re: poor swimming lingo knowledge), the first being 75 easy/25 sprint, the second 50/50… you get the idea.  The first and second weren’t incredibly difficult, but by the third I was kind of dreading going again.  I swam the first 25 incredibly slowly in preparation and also because I wanted to put off that sprint as long as possible.  So I flip and kick off to get that bad boy started, and what happens?  I became disoriented and basically forgot we were swimming anti-clockwise so we collided.  I’m coming off the wall, she’s at full sprint; it wasn’t graceful.

Be prepared for this next one – things are about to get sexy.  At some point in our swims, whether it be somewhere in your 100, 500, or a full mile for you crazies, we all start to lose our breath.  Does anyone else get super spit mouth, or am I alone in this?  I’m crossing my fingers that I’m not because that would make for another even more awkward moment. I cannot be the only person who this happens to – don’t be shy!

I often think back to my very first swim, which was still only a few months ago.  How difficult, pathetic, and eye opening it was.  I kind of just thought I’d do this for fitness and fun, but here I am with my very own goal sheet.  Look at me go!

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11 years ago

Keep working those flip turns of course, and focus on streamlines. A great streamline is of huge value, especially at your level.

Reply to  NONA
11 years ago

Turns are a huge weak point for me… I don’t seem to come off the wall as fast as I should when I turn; my feet don’t plant as quickly as I’d like. I really really really focused on my streamline when I first started because I read up on how important they were, and I’ve been trying to work on my underwaters because I feel like that’s beneficial. Fingers-crossed it all pays off! Thank you for the tips!

cynthia curran
11 years ago

I remember swimming in 1969 in a 33 1/3 pool which is no longer used in competation. I was 11 years old and 12 years old and swam breastsroke and later Butterfly. In my first meet in 25 yards I went 42 seconds in breaststroke in a 50 yard distance, try to see if you can go under 50 seconds for breaststroke.

Reply to  cynthia curran
11 years ago

Breaststroke was my absolute favorite when I first started, but it’s kind of fallen by the wayside as of late. I’m having some trouble with my kick so that’s driving me crazy. Under 50 seems a little elusive right now, but it’s definitely a goal to shoot for! Thanks!

11 years ago

Hey so good work so far. Impressive to start this late in the game.

I have a few suggestions if you really want to drop time. You mentioned that you were the second fastest on your team. My suggestion would be to switch to a team where you are the slowest. Now I’m not suggesting Olympians, but perhaps a team where everyone can do a 50 free in at least 35. You want to make sure you are learning from and are around people that know correct stroke, and I find it hard to image proper stroke being used if people are going any slower than that.

Reply to  Ben
11 years ago

Thank you – it’s certainly been more work than I ever anticipated, but I like to think I’m taking it well!

Second fastest only because we’re all kind of pathetic. It’s definitely not the greatest place to be, but I’m getting a lot of one-on-one with my coach which is nice. I’ve certainly been considering switching lately… I’ll definitely look into it soon enough if I’m not seeing the results I want to.

Thanks for the comment!

About Ashley Wozny

Unlike most swimmers, Ashley Wozny did not grow up on the pool deck - quite the opposite story!  Despite having taken lessons as a child swimming did not resonate with her. Fast forward to the 2012 Summer Games during which a slight fascination (mostly with jammers and muscles) escalated to …

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