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Five Days of Rest in Five Pools

Updated: Dec 25, 2023

17 December 2022


While it is certainly not my preference to have a business trip right before a taper meet, this happens more often than not with my jobs over the years. This week was no different, with a flight out Monday and a planned flight back on Thursday evening.


Monday, December 12th (Meet Minus 6 days) did not start well. I dropped into one of the city of Toronto's newer community centers on the way to the airport, hoping to get in about 2,500 meters with a mix of speed sets six days ahead of Race Day. The center is absolutely beautiful and modern, and the pool has so much potential ...

rs... but my fellow lap "swimmers" (I use this term generously) seemed to have no clue about the basic etiquette of both choosing one's lane relative to the speed of the other swimmers and basic circle swimming. I got out after 1,100 frustrating meters, but it did count as pool #560.


Fortunately, Loudon County, Virginia redeemed my day when I managed to find (thanks to the Swimmers Guide) the Dulles South Recreation Center, a fitness mecca for all manner of working out, about 20 minutes south of the airport. While the place was absolutely hopping with an age group team and learn-to-swim lessons, they had dedicated lap lanes. Over my 1,550-yard workout, I shared a lane with a teenager for maybe the 1st half and then had a lane to myself. Bliss in pool #561:

Tuesday, December 13th (Meet Minus 5 Days) found me back at my main, "go to" pool in Annapolis whenever I am visiting my company's HQ in nearby Bowie, pool #491, the Arundel Olympic Swim Center (AOSC). I dropped my total yardage down to 2,100 yards and made a run at the 400 Kick-for-Time, recording a 5:41.90. That's the best I've gone this season and hopefully sets me up to get under my best ever, 5:35.77, when I make my final attempt next week.


Wednesday, December 14th (Meet Minus 4 Days) was back at AOSC for my 8 x 100 Heart Rate / Pulse Plot test set, done after 1,050-yard warmup sets. As my peak speed is right around a minute these days in a workout, my goal is to try to go 1:15 (70% effort), 1:10 (80% effort), 1:05 (90% effort), 1:00 (100% effort) and then repeat those times on the last four as the effort backs off. I was fairly close to my target times, though I often struggle to go as slow as needed on the first and last efforts: 1:09.4, 1:07.1, 1:01.9, 59.4, 58.9, 1:04.2, 1:09.4, 1:11.7.


Comparing this with roughly the same time ahead of this spring's Canadian Masters Nationals and going way back to the 2012 USMS Nationals (my best meet ever as a Masters swimmer), I performed quite well ... as the trendline moving down and to the right is a positive result (though I didn't reach as fast a peak speed as I did a decade ago):

Friday, December 16th (Meet Minus 2 Days) found me still in the DC area, as a snowstorm in Toronto forced a cancellation of my Thursday evening flight home. This meant I had to cancel my planned Friday morning, pre-meet massage, but I managed to find an appointment with a most excellent masseuse in the vicinity of Reagan airport late on Thursday. I stayed out of the pool that day but walked over on Friday morning to the LA Fitness National Gateway, a pool (#497) I had first been to about a year ago, one that I quite like for its four lanes and digital pace clock. I dropped my yardage down again to 1,550 yards total and started to feel a glimmer of power in my stroke.


Saturday, December 17th (Meet Minus 1 Day) and I'm back home, swimming in my local LA Fitness for a short day before meet 1,050 yards:

  • 1 x 400: IM kick drill

  • 6 x 50: gentle descend in 3s on 0:50, free (33.7, 31.9, 30.0) and back (35.6, 33.4, 32.7)

  • 1 x 50: easy

  • 8 x 25: on 1:30 per pair, 25 fast stroke, 25 easy free

    • Fly 13.7, back 14.6, breast 16.7, free unknown

  • 1 x 100: easy

My body feels exactly how I want it to feel the day before racing with one exception: my nose is congested ... just my nose. It's more annoying than painful and not COVID (I tested). In the water, it feels like everything's working well, so I'll just need to get a good night's sleep and then see what I can throw down tomorrow!

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