The family that swims together ...

9 June 2022


... stays together, even if they are far apart and only virtually swimming together.


I come from a swimming family. My father grew up swimming in Florida and went on to swim at the University of Southern California in the early 60s; one of his brothers followed a similar swimming path and competed for the University of Pennsylvania. Growing up in Richmond, Virginia, I, my two sisters and my brother all swam competitively at various levels, with my sisters and I competing through university. I, with great support from my wife, passed the competitive swimming bug (or addiction / affliction / burden) onto my three daughters. Most of us retain a relationship with the sport and we share this passion via text, emails, phone calls and SnapChats.


My siblings and I keep in touch with each other daily via SnapChat, a habit we started in the depths of the pandemic when getting together in person wasn't possible, a habit that's turned into a really fun way to stay "in" each other's lives even though we live hundreds of miles apart. I've got the same daily "Snap-habit" with my oldest daughter who lives far away from me in Vancouver.


As I awoke this morning, I received a snap from my brother as he went to the pool to prep for a sprint triathlon this weekend, another from my sister who was heading out for an ocean swim, and an "oooh that speed workout hurt" snap from my daughter. A few traded snaps back with my daughter and I realized her main set was the "200 race pace" set that I know as the "(Grant) Hackett 200" set:

  • 16 x 50: in a pattern of 1 fast followed by 3 moderate

  • 12 x 50: in a pattern of 1 fast followed by 2 moderate

  • 8 x 50: in a pattern of 1 fast followed by 1 moderate

  • 4 x 50: all fast

I decided to raise the bar on her freestyle version and did all of the fast efforts butterfly, using a 0:45, 0:50, 0:55, 1:00 interval by round ... but then I added a "Masters Minute" (at 90 seconds long) easy 50 between each round. I did the moderate efforts backstroke. The dream, of course, would be to hold 29/29+ on these (which I think I could barely do a decade ago), but I was very happy with my results today:

  • Round 1 - 31, 31+, 31, 31

  • Round 2 - 30+, 31, 31, 31

  • Round 3 - 30+, 30++, 31, 31+

  • Round 4 - 30+, 31+, 32, 32

The key to making this set brutal is to really go as fast as possible on the hard efforts. I did that today and was rewarded. The last two fast 50s most closely simulated the "my arms are dying, my quads are cramping, my stomach's screaming" pain that almost always accompanies the last 100 of a raced 200 fly.


I emerged from the pool tired, but happy.


And, while all the virtual stuff is great for staying connected, what's really wonderful is that I can look forward to two chances this month where I get to swim together with my family:

Swim together, stay fit together, stay together.


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