Stepcount Tri-Meet

Continuing my adventures in counting steps, one day this week I strapped on three different devices to compare step counts: My iPhone SE in my pocket An older Fitbit Surge on my left hand My Withings Steel HR on my right arm ... for three different activities: Morning dog walk A 3 mile run-walk on a treadmill My 'travel steps' from the time I got in my car to head to the airport through the flight, rental car pickup and until I reached my hotel I expected to see differences, but I believed that the two watches would be closely correlated and the iPhone would be the outlier. At a minimum, I expected consistent differences. But, both of my hypotheses were wrong: It was very interesting to me

Harvard and London 2012 - LA style

Sometimes it takes a little extra sleuthing to find new pools and a way into them, but the return is always worth the effort. I like to think of my morning swim with the LA Swim Club's Masters group today as "East Coast meets West Coast by way of London" as the Harvard-Westlake pool was modeled, in large part, on the London 2012 Olympic pool. As I've swum in both ... ... I can see the connection. Aside from the LA pool being outside and having part of the pool (to the right in the picture above) with a deeper part to accommodate diving boards which were not present in the main London 2012 competition pool, it's a very close replica. Another stunning way to start the day.

Always be learning

Someday, with my incessant quest to enumerate things, I'll go through my pool list and create a parallel list (or at least count) of the different US Masters Swimming teams I have trained with on my aquatic adventures. Without fail, my training with other teams has included a warm welcome and a good (to great) swim workout. What's more often than not been a bonus is learning something new about the sport of swimming. Today, I was at the exquisite setting of the Westlake (California) Athletic Club with a handful of swimmers in the water and coach Kevin Lane on the deck. Kevin is an assistant coach at the nearby Cal Lutheran University and had brought some drills over from those workouts to

Olympic Dreams - Unrequited

Part Three - The Bucket List I have already recounted the Olympic Pools I swam in, as well as my near misses. This final post covers all the remaining pools to fill out my Olympic Pool Bucket List. I better start saving my air miles and seizing the moment when I'm in the right city! 1924 Paris Olympic Pool - now reincarnated as Piscine Georges Vallerey: This one kind of hurts as I've been to Paris more than a handful of times between business travel and personal travel, but, not only did I not swim in this pool, I cannot recall swimming in any pool in France. I will not let this one slip away then next time I am there. 1936 Berlin Olympics - Olympiapark Schwimmstadion This is not one of t

Aqua-town USA: Mesa, AZ

I imagine that, when most people think about swimming towns, Mesa, Arizona doesn't automatically rise to the top of mind, but I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a city that has invested more broadly or spectacularly in swimming facilities than Mesa. When most cities across the country struggle to invest in even one 50 meter pool, Mesa built two, world-class facilities - the Kino Aquatic Center and Skyline Aquatic Center (pictured below). These pools have hosted mega-aquatic events like US Masters Nationals at Kino in 2011 and the globally-significant USA Swimming Pro Swim Series, made most famous back in 2015 when Michael Phelps used this event at Mesa's Skyline pool for his return to the

Pool crush: The Richmond Plunge

When I was doing a bit of research into architect Julia Morgan's pools, I came across this article from the National Trust for Historic Preservation that added a few pools to my wish list. The only one that seemed potentially in my near-term grasp was the Richmond Plunge on a point in the East Bay of San Francisco north of Oakland and Berkeley. I finally managed to align the stars to get in a swim here this past week and have found another pool crush. From the moment I walked up to the building, I knew I was in for a special treat: The original structure dates to 1926, one of the oldest municipal pools in the country, but the building ultimately fell into disrepair in the late 90s, exacerb

Great Olympic Decision

As a slow-twitch distance swimmer myself and fan of watching distance events (see this video for the best 1650 race ever), I was always struck by the oddity of the Olympic swimming event lineup which eliminated the 1500 meter freestyle for women and the 800 meter freestyle for men, events which are both contested at National and World Championships. Finally, the International Olympic Committee has come to their senses and we'll get to see both of these events in the 2020 Olympics! The addition of the mixed-gender medley relay will also be quite cool, as it seems that 'elite' swimming has finally caught onto one of the most fun events we've been doing in Masters Swimming for decades!

In what countries have you swum?

My pool list has a few fundamental problems when it comes to enumerating the full-range of my globe-swimming adventures: it only covers pools, I only started tracking these in 2007, and it's focused on where I've done actual workouts If I relax all of those rules, the list of countries in which I've swum outside of the US is much broader ... Countries in which I've swum Canada - our great neighbors to the north are well-represented on my pool list and I've swum in one lake in BC. Notably not on my pool list is the Canada Games Complex in Thunder Bay. Over 1992 to 1994 when I was in grad school, I coached with the Madison East YMCA year-round team. We took a team trip there in '93, I think

El Cerrito-Richmond Walkabout

My perfect morning when traveling for business is to wake up around 5/5:30am, down some cold espresso and then head out for a walk to a nearby pool with early lap swimming hours. If I can be about 1-2 miles away, this is a perfect way stroll through otherwise busy city streets, taking in the sights while the caffeine wipes the sleep away. Thanks to Apple’s developer conference driving hotel rates to the stratosphere on the Silicon Valley side of the Bay and client meetings in Emeryville, I booked a nook up in El Cerrito that ended up being almost exactly 1.5 miles from the Richmond Swim Center ... ...where I got in a great 2,500 yard workout in a lane to myself. Along the way back to my pad

Try Masters and defy time

We're approximately mid-way through the June 1st to 11th "Try Masters Swimming Week." You might think this 11 day week is yet another example that swimmers can't count, but I like to think it's yet more evidence that regular swimming allows you to defy time. But, don't take it from me (I'm biased): check out the science and this sensational story from the Growing Bolder website (a great source for powerful stories of aging with grace, style and impact): Guys like these are my swimming idols. I just turned 50 and went through physical therapy for a nagging shoulder over the early part of this year. When the doctor and the PT asked me what my long-term rehab goals were, it was simple: to be

Can your step-counter count?

As someone who probably should've been diagnosed with hyperactivity disorder decades ago, I've never really had a problem being active and never really understood the 10,000 step bandwagon that many people have jumped on. What I have been interested in, though, is finding a good heart-rate monitor that I could use in the pool from time-to-time on certain training sets to help benchmark my conditioning and performance. I tried models over the last couple of years from both Mio and Fitbit, but found them frustrating for two core reasons: bulk of the wristband and lack of a true 'instant read' feature. And, while I'm not a slave to fashion, they were also pretty darn ugly. My oldest daughter

Swimmers can't count

Probably the most common question in any swimming workout is this, "How many have we done?" Depending upon the coach, a swimming workout can be a mind-bending math test combining ... Number of rounds, Varying intervals, Differing distances, Alternating stroke, kicking, drilling, ... and more If you add onto that complexity the wondrous meditative trance that swimming can induce, it's no wonder that swimmers spend much of their rare time on the walls asking each other about the precise count of where they are. At least when swimmers get to racing longer pool events, they get lap counters, but even those don't stop the best of swimmers from zoning out and losing track of where they are. One

Onward thru the fog!

One of my early posts encouraged swimmers to look beyond the goggles to other cool and useful training equipment, but I was reminded again recently that many swimmers are apparently still unaware of the most valuable goggle-life-extending trick I ever learned. I mentioned this in another post over a year ago, but wanted to bring it to the forefront so that every swimmer can live the dream of life-long, fog-free goggles. Johnson's Bay Shampoo (or your favorite generic equivalent) and a little water is all you need for fog-free goggle longevity. Just periodically soak your goggles overnight in a mixture of water and baby shampoo about every 6-8 weeks. Take 'em out, rinse 'em off and you've g

Did you earn your free donut today?

Donuts rank #2 behind ice cream on my personal 'food vice' list. As I've advanced in years, I've both had to cut back on them and do more work to earn them. However, as it's National Donut Day and I live about two miles from both a Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts, I figured it was my duty to do a back-t0-back taste test of their Boston Creme donuts, my favorite kind. The winner surprised me: And, while I know the calorie counts of these two donuts will easily outweigh the workouts I did before them, I did get up at 5am to get in a 30 minute dog walk, 2500 meter swim and 20 minutes of yoga to at least negate some of the extra (yummy) calories. Now, go get in your workout for the day and ge

What's the oldest pool you've swum in?

When I was in New England last summer and made a detour over to swim at Dartmouth, I was initially bummed out that their main training and competition pool, the Karl Michael pool, was closed for repairs. I wanted to swim in that pool as it has a unique setup: in addition to a standard 25 yard competition course, there exist two 50 meter lanes that apparently go into a tunnel of sorts. I still got in a swim and it was, at time, an historic swim as my workout in the 1919-built Spaulding Pool made it the oldest pool I'd ever swum in: Based upon looking around the internet for the oldest pools still in existence (e.g., here, here, and here) I was pretty sure that Spaulding would remain my olde

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