In my last post, I alluded to the fact that my goals this fall would lie outside of running.
My long term goal is to focus more on speed than distance. This applies equally to running, cycling, swimming, whatever. I've asked myself "how much further can I go?" enough times, for now. (For now!!) In order to continue developing as an athlete (that part sounds SO weird), I need to focus on doing what I can already do, faster.
My first short term goal as part of this plan is to swim a World Masters qualifying time in a race, sometime this swim season (before next summer). The qualification times for Perth are listed here. (NB: I am NOT going to Australia, even if I qualify!)
Here's a quick analysis of where I stand with regards to these standards:
Freestyle: 50m is right, right out. I'm not powerful enough to sprint like that. 100m looks tempting - I'd have to improve by about as much time as I did last year. Wait, I'd have to improve by MORE than I improved last year. Of course, I should improve by less time, even if my technique improves by the same amount. So 100m is unrealistic, but I'd like to think I can get close.
200m involves losing 30s. 400m involves losing a minute. I actually suspect I'll make more gains on the 200s and 400s than on the short distances this year, but that's a huge delta.
Backstroke: Get real. (I don't have a single recorded backstroke PB. Now you know why.)
Butterfly: My time from 2 years ago is only 1 second off the qualifying time for the 50m. Wow. Um, seriously wow. Interesting...
I don't seriously believe people swim longer than 50m of butterfly, though. Not if they're sane, at least.
Breaststroke: This has always been my best stroke. So let's see...
My PB is within 2 seconds of the 50m qualification time for the 50m. Nice. The 100 breast qualification is, I think, around 7 seconds faster than I've ever done. That's tough, but honestly, with the speed I had even last season, when breaststroke got the last amount of work, it would be a question of holding a "doable" pace. I really think this might be doable.
The 200 breast time looks extremely fast. They don't let you drop much pace at all from the 100. Also, that would be 200m of crazy leg burn. I really don't think it's doable, but I should probably try some 200s and 400s in training anyways, to get my legs used to the burn.
Individual Medley: My 200 IM swim from last season is "only" 8 seconds off the qualifying time. Two seconds per fify in one discipline sounds reasonable, given enough work. Two seconds per fifty in four disciplines is really only going to happen if you work very hard in all four disciplines.
I really don't see this happening.
The idea of even attempting a 400 IM is just funny at this point. If you're not sure why, read my comment on the idea of doing 100m or more of butterfly. (The 400 IM STARTS with 100m fly....)
Summary: Breaststroke looks like my best chance (big surprise). In 3 years of swimming, though, my breaststroke times really haven't improved much. I may really need some help shaving off even a couple of seconds.
For anything else to happen, my kick is going to have to improve by leaps and bounds. Stronger legs can only help my breaststroke, so I expect to suffer my way through lots of kick drills this fall. If I make a breakthrough on flutter or dolphin kick, the 100 free or 50 fly may be on the cards.
In order to help give myself a chance to succeed in any of the above, I've applied to switch from 2 mornings a week to 3 in master swim. I find the very notion a bit surreal and bizarre, as I only started out doing swimming to cross train, and maybe stop myself from drowning in triathlon. Suddenly, I'm planning 6 months down the road for a swim meet.
Still, this is as close as I'll ever come to sprinting. It seems as good a place as any to start on my long term goals.
Plus, in the middle of January, I'd rather by driving to the pool than running past it.