Sunday, October 4

Record Board

Berkeley High School pool
30 years and still there for the 200 and 500y freestyle, earned with hard work during a different era : distance swimming was all about .. distance. My technique as an age-grouper never so good - I relied on a two best cross over which supported a fairly rapid stroke turn-over (to keep the body aligned and hips neutral, my legs crossed in sync with my arms and following two natural kicks or "beats").  Ten miles a day, back-and-forth, in a 25 yard pool.

Today, thanks to guys like Matt Biondi and, famously, Ian Thorpe who single-handedly defeated the Americans in the 4x200 m freestyle relay in the 2004 Australian Olympics, the technique is more about front glide and catch-up. I use this today (having watched Thorpe and others on youtube) and cut my stroke from 20-21 rotations a lap to 12. Just like that.

Regardless of those times back then, swimming introduced me to a committed group of fabulous people. It also introduced structure into my life (6AM swim ! 3PM swim!) which helped my schoolwork and studies. There was no time for goofing off. It gave me my confidence.

Now I find lap swimming a challenge given the boredom. I can barely do 1500m.  What we did then ? No way now.