First World First

8 March 2022


I've been swimming Masters a tad over 20 years, having entered my first meets (aside from a little dabbling in graduate school in the early 90s) in 2001. I generally tried to compete most years, though there were times when work, family commitments, "life" and/or motivational lows kept me from pushing myself hard. Throughout all of this time, when I did try to "gear" up to compete, my primary target event has been the 400 IM. I find it a sublime, beautiful event, one that requires a balanced mix of speed and endurance, and that offers a never-ending array of ways to race it. On top of the event itself, I find that, when I train for it, it gets me in shape for racing pretty much any event except the 800/1000 or 1500/1650.


Over my Masters "career," I have tended to do most of my racing in either yards or short course meters (SCM), primarily because I lived in Arizona most of that time (1997 to 2018) and it was simply brutal to train and race in the summer heat. What I particularly loved about racing SCM is that I could benchmark myself against the world. Over the years, my 400 IM world ranking has varied ...

  • 2005 - 7th

  • 2007 - 5th

  • 2008 - 4th

  • 2011 - 2nd

  • 2012 - 4th

  • 2013 - 3rd

  • 2015 - 6th

  • 2016 - 2nd

  • 2017 - 5th

... but the top of the podium always eluded me ... until last year:

While the last couple of years have certainly been challenging around the world for swimmers to find pool time and competitions, as I looked across the other events, I saw many familiar names. In addition, Canada and Ontario, in particular, was one of the most locked down locales from a pool access standpoint, so much so I had to travel to the USA to find a meet. I expect the times will get faster around the world next year, but this certainly gives me a motivational kick in the pants to keep on training.


With the 400 IM in mind, I had done this main set on Sunday over at my local LA Fitness in yards:

  • Round #1 - 4 rounds of (1oo IM - 3 x 50):

  • IMs are fast on 1:30, ideally at target 400 IM race pace (which I'd like to be 1:04/1:05

  • I was 1:08, 1:08+, 1:09, 1:09+

  • 50s are cruise free with a snorkel on 0:45

  • Round #2 - 4 rounds of (1oo IM - 2 x 50):

  • IMs are fast on 1:35, ideally at target 400 IM race pace (which I'd like to be 1:04/1:05

  • I was 1:08, 1:09, 1:08, 1:09

  • 50s are cruise free with a snorkel on 0:50

  • Round #3 - 4 rounds of (1oo IM - 1 x 50):

  • IMs are fast on 1:40, ideally at target 400 IM race pace (which I'd like to be 1:04/1:05

  • I was 1:08+, 1:09, 1:09, 1:09

  • 50s are cruise free with a snorkel on 0:55

  • Round #4 - 4 rounds of 1oo IM on 1:45:

  • Ideally at target 400 IM race pace (which I'd like to be 1:04/1:05

  • I was 1:09, 1:09+, 1:09+, 1:09

  • 50s are cruise free with a snorkel on 0:55

With an extra 50 cruise between rounds and a decent warmup, this was a long, hard, but very fun 4,700 yard workout. On the way to reclaim 400 IM glory?



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