Another swim meet another PB. This weekend I took part in a dual meet and raced the 400 and 1000. I think swim meet are really the best way to measure your swim progress. Many triathletes only ever do swim races during the swim portion of a triathlon, unless you happened to be one of the few that comes from a competitive swimming background. Does this really make sense? What if the only time you ever ran a 10k was in a triathlon, would expect great 10k results? One of the keys to good performance is race experience, so why shouldn’t we get swim race experience. Meets and time trials are a great way to do this. To feel what a fast time feels like how it should feel at the beginning and at the end for you’re of the race for your personal PB.
I can’t count the number of times I swam a tri race and thought I had a good swim, ie it felt good, but was disappointed with the time. This is because tri swims are not a good place to get a reference point of your swim fitness for several reasons. Conditions in open water races are extremely variable from course to course and from day to day. One day the current could be with you the next day it could be against you. The people or pack of people you are with varies from race to race. You may get lucky and suck off someone’s feet the whole race and if that someone is just a bit faster than you, you’ll be well on you way to a pb. Finally, and most importantly, despite all the advances in GPS technology and satellite photography (I’ve heard theUSMilitary can see the brand of cigar that Fidel Castro smokes from space) race organizes can’t measure a swim course to save their lives. Hell sometimes they can’t even measure the run accurately.
Bottom line is it is really difficult to gauge how effective your swim training has been by racing triathlons. The solution is to at a minimum do some time trials and ideally a swim meet or 2, because there is nothing like looking over at the other lane and having someone right there who is pushing you every length to drive you to do your personal best.
When Ayesha is angry she sometimes says that I am as useful as a fish with a bike. Considering the progress with my swimming lately; maybe she will have to eat her insults ;).
Mike “the biking fish” Medeiros