Adult-onset Swimmers of the MSF, Unite!

IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
edited June 16 in General Discussion
There are those of us who did not have the benefit of twice daily team workouts as youth. I say benefit because, while I heard my best-friend complain about those workouts, I know that now as a 40-something year old, he gets in the pool after a couple-decades off period, and within a few weeks he's at 1:10 per 100m free. Meanwhile, I started serious swimming 12 years ago at age 35 and was terribly excited a few months ago when I did a 1:16 SCY 100 free!

So, I thought I'd start this thread for the other adult-onset swimmers out there in the MSF so we can commiserate with each other. Share ideas. Complain about these fast(er) swimmers next to us to (seem to) use little effort to go fast. Point out how much we hate these kids who swim through the water like fish. ;)

Adult-onset swimmers of the MSF: UNITE!

Comments

  • SydneDSydneD Member
    I Love this! I took beginning swimming when i was in graduate school, when I was 26 years old. Who knew it would change my life completely?? I remember my first 500 yard timed swim, which took me 12 minutes and I felt like I would die!

    The idea that I now swim 15 miles would have been incomprehensible to this girl who used to lie to get out of swimming lessons.

    Now, in addition to my OW training, I swim on a Masters team that is almost all women--except for my lane where it's all men who are former college swimmers, many of them still in their mid-20s. I spend a lot of time playing catch-up and reminding them "Hey! I'm old enough to be your mother! Be nice!"

    Can't wait to hear from and commiserate with all other Adult-onset swimmers!
  • Yeah, I'm not gonna take it anymore! I started swimming 5 years ago so I could be a triathlete. In the last 2 years I stopped tri and began swimming exclusively. My times are pathetic but my technique has improved a bit. I spent a few minutes this past weekend trying to learn flip turns. That's gonna take a while but it will be worth it when I am stuck in the pool next winter. My swim buddy has been swimming for 30+ years and we go on 2-3 hours forays in the river. I barely keep up with him and he is kind enough to stay near me. What really erks me is when he does backstroke for an hour so he can get a workout. That said, I am glad and blessed that he will hang out with me.
  • I,too, despise the kid-fish. I did the Swim Across the Potomac and realized that these kid-fish beat me handily. It is very humbling to know that a 13 year old could beat me by almost 10 minutes. My excuse is that I have never been on swim team, I have only been swimming for about a year and I still don't know what I'm doing. That being said, I'm working my butt off, meeting for my first coaching session tonight and trying to get a clue.

    :)
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf Member
    I will say though one of the great joys of being an adult onset swimmer is that I am as fast as I ever have been in a pool, and getting faster.

    While aging will likely* one day slow me down, after 5 years of swimming I still have a lot of room for improvement, and being able to see that progress is a great motivator.

    So there is definitely an upside to being an adult onset swimmer - our glory days are right now :D

    *given I was beaten at the Rottnest Swim last year by Dieter Loeliger who turned 80 on the day, clearly there is scope to continue to swim faster than I do now quite late in life :-)
    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    Here here!!
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    @dc_in_sf, I feel like I've already told this tale somewhere here in these forums, but it is germane to this particular thread, so:

    My first ever swim meet in 2005, I managed a 1:27.40-something in the SCM 100 free. I was so excited. I went home, checked the mail, and there was that month's issue of the USMS Swimmer. In that issue they were reviewing the spring (summer?) nationals, and there was a picture of the guy who won the 80-over (or some such age group) SCM 100 free in 1:40 and some change.

    I remember thinking: Damn, if I can just hold my speed for the next 40-odd years, I'll dominate the old guys!
  • I started swimming just four years ago. About 6 mo. into my learning I had a back injury that helped me "see the light" and embrace swimming as my sport. No more trying to convince myself that running was fun. :)

    I've been incredibly fortunate to have been carefully coached by coaches that identified with my passion and wanted to work with me.

    I struggle a bit with envying the fast kids. But what we bring to the table is enjoyment of the process of training. We aren't burnt out by the years of non-voluntary(often) swim team and 2x/day training. Heck, I am tickled pink to swim 2x/day! I love the daily training, and I love seeing the honest incremental improvement in my times and technique.

    The fast kids envy my joy.;p
  • dc_in_sf said:

    I will say though one of the great joys of being an adult onset swimmer is that I am as fast as I ever have been in a pool, and getting faster.

    While aging will likely* one day slow me down, after 5 years of swimming I still have a lot of room for improvement, and being able to see that progress is a great motivator.

    So there is definitely an upside to being an adult onset swimmer - our glory days are right now :D

    *given I was beaten at the Rottnest Swim last year by Dieter Loeliger who turned 80 on the day, clearly there is scope to continue to swim faster than I do now quite late in life :-)

    I'm with you dc_in_sf, I started at 46 and have been improving each year (7) since and will be giving the Rotto solo swim a bash Feb 2015 at 53.

    And IronMike, the Masters motto is "outlive your competition"! :)

    gw
  • tortugatortuga Member
    I started swimming for Triathlon about 5 years ago. Got addicted to the "let's see how far we can push this body" mentality. 2 yrs ago I did an Iron distance tri, last year I ran a 50 mile ultra, swam 3.5 OWS and did another IM. This year I decided to run 100 miles and swim 10. 100 miler is done. I'm freaking a little over the swim in Oct (Swim the Suck). Like Ricky Ricardo says; "Lucy!! you got some trainin to do!!".
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    @tortuga, StS is incredible. Don't sweat it. You'll get a bit of a push from the dam (in 2012 we got about 10% push), just stroke and relax. Let your kayaker navigate and just enjoy swimming w/o having to lift your head to look where you're going.

    The area is beautiful and Karah is wonderful. You'll enjoy and before you know it, you'll have met your year's goal.
  • Love this... We should have a AOS week... where anyone that swum in their teens has to tow a sea anchor behind them...
  • I started swimming at 6 years ago 44. I've never been part of a club and used to swim on my own. I built it up from 500m to 4k a day. In 2 weeks I have a 10k open water swim and hope to go longer from there. A late starter and churn only out 20 minute/k's but I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction from swimming and know the fitness and toning is an investment in my health going forward.
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    20 minute/k is the standard (IMHO) for us adult-onset swimmers! Good luck on the 10K @WarmWater and welcome to the addiction.
  • Thanks Mike, I reckon the only way to win my age group is to keep upping the distance til thers no one left!
  • @WarmWater, That was my plan!
  • I started swimming in 2012 while recovering from a metatarsal injury. After trying water running and feeling like a fool I switched to swimming and since I do most things to excess...

    Thanks for starting this thread.
  • MichaelGMichaelG Member
    edited August 27
    Self-Taught Adult Onset Swimmer as of 4 years ago, I swam my first 2-mile swim (I finished the swim in 1 Hour, 5 Minutes) after only a month of getting in the pool for the first time since I was 5.

    Despite my (obvious to others) natural ability, I didn't do anything in excess of 2 miles (a week!) until I really began training as a "Marathon Swimmer" in January of this year. In the (almost) 9 months since I began training, I've completed multiple 5k and 10k events, both in current and non-current assisted water.

    My training has peaked at a 22.5k Ocean Swim (7 Hours, 30 Minutes), followed the next day by a 11.5k Pool Swim (3 Hours, 30 Minutes). That was two days ago.

    Now all that's left in this calender year is an attempt to swim across Lake Tahoe. With Pilot and Nutritionist already along for the ride, I just need the appropriate permits, an observer to oversee the swim, and a boat to guide me! September 15th (3 weeks out already? Yikes!) will hopefully be a glorious day.
  • KatieBunKatieBun Member
    edited August 28
    Adult-onset Swimmer, love it, but it does sound like a condition one has to apologise for. I had improver lessons at 39, to take me from head up, screw kick breaststroke to 54 seconds per length of painful front crawl. Worked on it, joined Masters at 40, tried a mile in open water in 2008, got in the sea in 2009 and then built it little by little. Slightly out of control, now. ;-)
  • WarmWaterWarmWater Member
    edited August 28
    Miss Bun, congrats on your 'slightly out of control' EC swim last week. I assume you'll be doing a double shortly? :-h
  • When hell freezes over, Mr Water! :O
  • WarmWater said:

    Thanks Mike, I reckon the only way to win my age group is to keep upping the distance til thers no one left!

    Nothing wrong with that, brother. My dad is 85 and still runs 10k races about every other weekend. Then he comes over to my house wearing all of his new bling, bragging about winning his age group, "again." He's patiently and unwaveringly waited for this phase of his life for 60+ years. He's not particularly (remotely?) talented or physically gifted (a perennial MOP'er), but he by god stuck with it as the competition faded, one by one. So even though we all know no one else showed up in the "80+" group, we celebrate every medal as if it was an Olympic podium.
  • I occasionally wonder how good I could have been if I had been exposed to competitive swimming as a youth. But on the other hand, much more often I talk to someone who swam in high school or college and has no desire to swim again or occasionally has bad feelings toward the sport.

    I don't envy them, the folks who at some point in their life really enjoyed swimming but somehow had it drummed out of them.

    There are also the people who try to come back but can't get past the fact that they will never come close to their previous performances and end up leaving the sport quickly because they can't get past that mental aspect.

    So all in all, I definitely like my current position. As someone else mentioned, within reach of my fastest times ever and still enjoying it.
  • Love this thread! I was exposed to age group swimming as a child, but the minute it went from 25yrds to 50 meters (read nine years old), I became a sometimes diver. I was the lazy kid in my family. Jump forward 25 years and I am swimming sporadically for exercise. Ten more years and I have kids doing rec swimming and they can swim faster than their mom by the time they are six. I am not kidding. They are fast fish. This sparks my interest, I find open water swimming and within five short years I have become a Triple Crown Swimmer(EC, Catalina and MIMS plus Gibraltar, SCAR and Cork Distance Week) (and a member of the half-century club).
    I am now a channel/marathon swimmer who travels internationally to enjoy my sport. I swim six days a week religiously. I dare anyone to call me lazy! But man do I wish I had really learned to swim as a kid. I would kill for that natural technique and grace. I am excited for a 1:25 100 SCY I am sorry to say... but I can swim for over eighteen hours...
  • Another adult-onset MSFer reporting for duty. I always loved lurking in the water, but did not grow up in a country that fostered age-group swimming or in an environment that encouraged competitive sports. While I'll never be as fast as my friends who swam as kids, I'm so happy to have the experience of swimming marathon races at an age and stage in life that I can afford them!

    I'm also really happy that I can encourage my students to be fit and athletic. I routinely auction out Alcatraz swims at our public interest law auction, so every year a couple of students swim a race with me. Invariably, they are faster than me, but the really nice thing is that for many of them it's a way to get back into the sport after years of being jaded and burnt out from high school/college team practice. More converts to open water swimming ---> a victory for all of us.
  • I'll weigh in as well. I was a long time distance runner that injured my knee in a pretty bad fall - not much meniscus left in my right knee. After the repair, I started having more difficulty. As I am attached to what is left of my joint, I decided to do something else. Biking didn't do it for me. My son was an age group and high school swimmer so I decided to give it a try. I started swimming 10 years ago at age 48. At 58, by working on technique and strength, I am still getting a little faster. Started moving into longer swims a few years ago. Did the Boston Light this year as part of a two person relay. Going to try to get a solo spot in the lottery, I have a few other long events in mind.

    It has been an interesting and fun journey. I am envious of the life time swimmers for whom technique seems so easy. It is always a treat when I can pick a few of them off at our local races.
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