Saturday, October 20, 2007

A Few Good Reasons to Swim With the Masters

It's well into fall now and I'm back to swimming with my Saturday morning Master's group. As I was tagging along on some very fast 100's this morning (I love the turns you get to take at the back of the line, especially because you don't have to count or keep track of anything and can let your mind wander), I was thinking of all the benefits to swimming with a Master's group. Since I don't get the chance to do it all that often in the summer months, I really have come to appreciate the opportunity when I take it back up again in the fall.

So, in no particular order, here are the benefits to swimming with a Master's group that I was thinking of this morning:

- You get the opportunity to swim faster than you normally could, for longer than you normally could hold onto that pace. This morning we did a set of sixteen 100's at a faster-than-1:20 pace. None of us could've swum that fast for that long on our own, but by each leading for four of those 100's, we maintained it for the whole set. This can push you to be able to swim at that faster pace on your own.

- Camaraderie. You can't beat the opportunity to whine and moan to others about the hard workout the coach just put up. When it's just you in the pool and you're making up your own workout, you can hardly complain to yourself about it. The guys I swim with are Master Bitchers and can work up a good head of steam about a tough set. It always makes me smile.

- You have to do things you would never make yourself do. Our coach is very fond of underwater yards and breath-holders. I would never in a million years make myself do those. And he adds in a lot of drills, which I also get lazy about doing on my own.

- The yards go by fast. 4,000 yards by yourself is a chore. 4,000 yards with a group flies by a lot quicker

- You push yourself to keep up with others. We often do sprint sets and I know for a fact that I would never swim that fast if I wasn't trying to keep up with the guys.

- You get to hang out with fun, friendly people. As one guy pointed out in our hot tub post-swim yak session, swimmers are usually just a fun bunch of people. It's a thinking person's sport, and swimmers always seem to be an opinionated yet good natured bunch.

- You learn how to draft, a very useful skill for a triathlete.

I'm sure there's even more reasons, but those are the few that came to my oxygen-starved brain and managed to stick there.

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