WAW on FYF

24 September 2021


I have been so fortunate over my nearly 50 year swimming career to have had the opportunity to train under some of the world's best coaches. Two of my favorite are Paul Smith and Laura Smith, each elite swimmers and co-founders and coaches at Mesa Masters Aquatic Club in Arizona. I first got to know Paul and Laura in the mid/late 2000s when they started "guest coaching" for a masters team I trained with at Cactus Aquatic Center in Scottsdale. After they built the fantastic team in Mesa, I went down there as often as I could. Each of them brings a different energy to the pool deck, but both bring creativity to all of their workouts, pay attention to all the swimmers in the pool, push them, challenge them on technique, and exhort them to go harder, faster, better.


The recurring dreaded, but also strangely most desired workout of the week was "Whoop-Ass Wednesdays (WAW)," a particularly challenging session in weeks that already had many other challenges. Though I'm far away from Arizona these days, Paul still posts many of his workouts online. When I saw this week's WAW on Facebook, I figured it would be a great challenge for my "F***-Yeah Friday," my day of the week to push the volume to level 11. I had my gear all ready to take this on ...

... but needed to make some adjustments to the intervals on the IM set, and didn't really get going until the round of 10 x 100s.


Warmup (550 yards)

  • 1 x 50: easy

  • 4 x 50: on 0:55, IM order, kick-drill by 25

  • 3 x 50: on 0:50, free swim descend with snorkel, focusing on SPL increase for speed, going 9-10, 10-11, 11-12 SPL on the 50s

  • 2 x 50: on 1:00, power kick, going 10 underwater dolphin kicks fast off each wall, odd lengths on stomach, even lengths on back

  • 1 x 50: scull

Main Set #1 (2,050 yards)

4 rounds, IM order of

  • 3 x 50: on 1:00, kick

  • 1 x 200: swim, supposed to be on 3:00, but my stroke efforts were lame and I had to go on 3:15 (fly), 3:00 (back), 3:30 (breast)

  • I had to do the fly as one lap swim, one lap drill single arm. I am very much out of "butterfly shape!"

1 x 50: easy scull

1 x 200: IM kick

1 x 400: IM swim, tried to go fast, but was 5:41 (which is VERY slow for me!)


Main Set #2 (1,250 yards)

10 x 100: 2 each on 1:10, 1:15, 1:20, 1:25, 1:30

  • My goal was to make the first two and then stay under my Threshold Pace of 1:07

  • Was 1:04, 1:06, 1:07, 1:06, 1:06, 1:06, 1:06, 1:06, 1:05, 1:04

Cool-down - 5 x 50: active recovery on 0:40, 0:45, 0:50, 0:55


TOTAL: 3,850 yards


While I really struggled through the IM set, I was happy with my freestyle efforts. I get a day out of the pool tomorrow and then am very excited as a local area Masters team is sponsoring a time-trial / mini-meet on Sunday morning!

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