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!