Unexpectedly, this morning we were all scheduled to take the 30 minute challenge. I did it last year, and managed to swim 1500 metres in that time. This year, the stakes were a tiny bit higher.
First of all, there would be no stopping this year. Secondly, the coach wanted timed 200m, 400m, 800m, and if possible 1500m intervals for us. So, rather than swim conservatively, trying to measure ourselves over the full half an hour, we were supposed to go fairly hard up front, and keep on going.
We started with a self-directed warmup. I did 4 sets of 100 free + 50 breast. After a short break, I did 250m freestyle. We rested for a few minutes, then we were off.
There were four of us in our lane, and I was suprised to find myself lapping people after 200 metres. That wouldn't last, though. I felt pretty strong at 400m (and was clocked at 6:46), but around 600m I felt myself weakening a bit. I tried to stay strong until the 800m mark (though, of course, I'd lost track long before that). Eventually, I settled into survival mode, and just tried to keep moving. I started noticing my 50m splits when I turned. I saw one or two that looked like 60s splits, so I got motivated to pick things up a bit. After 800m, I went through a long spell when I didn't pass anyone. It was nice, but I also realized that it meant that I'd slowed down. It motivated me to pick things up. I started focusing more on my split times, too. I got a couple of passes in, and was closing in on a third when I heard the coach say "three minutes!. 100 metres later I was right on someone's feet, but traffic had somehow congested up, so there would be no passing. I coasted home at whatever pace open water gave me.
The coach had me at 1725m for 30 minutes. That's 15% more than last year, which is awesome. It's also an encouraging sign for this summer's triathlon season. Sure, there's a huge difference between open water and a 25m pool, but at least I was capable of doing the distance. The 1500m for olympic triathlons seemed well within my abilities, and even the ~1900m for half iron doesn't seem too far out. I certainly could have kept going at the end.
Of course, my left shoulder was pretty sore when I was done. Actually, both were (are!) sore, but I think my left was sore enough to change my stroke. I wasn't really able to fully stretch it out in free, so I did mostly breast and back for cooldown.
It felt good to do an encurance set for a change.