Sub 5:30 500Posted on 3.29.12
Two weekends ago, I swam the 500 at the UCI SCY Masters meet. I really only swam the event because I did well in the event last year (when I had been swimming primarily yards) and it’s close to home so I knew I could spend the day with my parents. My training has been going well, but I knew I wasn’t going to rest for it. Also, the vast majority of my pool swims have been long course meters, so I’m not really in shape for yards. Regardless, I decided to enter just the 500, swim very easy and a lot both before and after it (because the meet fell on a Sunday, my normal recovery day) and do my best to recover the remainder of the day since I had a big week ahead. I helped that process with a great massage from Bea at Dynamic Touch.
My splits from the race are above and below is a graph of my 50 times.
I was happy with the time - my best Masters 500 by 4 seconds over last year, a time I thought I was in close to my best shape ever. So I was pleased to see improvement there. Even more exciting was how I swam the thing. If only I had the restraint to pace a 500 that way as a youngster!
So that got me thinking…I was never a super fast swimming growing up, so my big barrier in the 500 was 5:30. Always trying to break 5:30. I spent two years just on the cusp (too bad no one told me about sport psychology then!), and then finally I went under, 5:28. And I only did that once, ever. Less than a year after that 5:28 I had quit swimming for what I thought was for good. Naturally, I can’t help but want to go after that barrier again, but this time smarter. I have a lot more experience now, especially in the mental game of swimming. It’s not about the barrier, it’s about going four seconds faster than I did two weeks ago. 0.8 seconds faster per 100. Not the huge deal I used to make it out to be. And I think I can handle that.
Jeff Crosson, long time friend of my dad and uncle’s, and still blisteringly fast, just so happened to be seated next to me at UCI. He swam a self-admittedly terrible race at 5:38, allowing me to beat him for the first time ever. So he also needs to break 5:30. We signed up for the UCLA Masters meet this coming Sunday, but there’s no 500, just a 1650. We entered close but obscure times in the 1650 so hopefully we’re near each other again, and the plan is to break 5:30 in the 500. For our times to be official, we must finish the 1650, but I told him not to even think about that part of the race until you’re five and a half minutes in. The officials have to be alerted, and it’s good form to let your heat mates know you’re going to blast the first 500.
Timing couldn’t be better, with this week being a ‘moderate’ week with lower total yardage. I’ll throw in some sprints and 500 pace sets and hopefully be ready to swim fast Sunday!