Claiming New Speed Or Merely What Was Lost With Youth?

I swam 3000m today starting at 14:00. The pool was 29 degrees C.

500m warm-up, with 200 hand, 300 FG

1500m timed, hold SPL at 16. Splits were 8:40/8:40/8:26 = 25:48. This was a 1:40 pace, 1.37 tempo.

100 BR recovery

100 KK w/ zoomers

10x (25 fist, 25 sprint) Hold SPL 18 and hold :20 for sprints, on the :30. SPL for Fist was 19.

300 cool-down


I got less than 6 hours of sleep last night so I was not 100% but I was not weak either. I wasn’t sure how I would feel in the pool because I just wanted to sleep, but there is not much napping in a house with 4 kids, the pool is stimulating and I am just tired, not run-down. So swim I did. I tentatively aimed to do a timed 1500 then see how I felt to decide what else I might focus on today.

I did some mental calcs and aimed for 1:40/100m splits with 16 SPL, which I made. I checked at the first 100, then at the 250 to make sure I picked a reasonable goal.

I feel like the SPL control sets help me perform better than tempo control, because I focus on the rhythm of the stroke rather than just aim for the beep. I held 16 SPL fairly strong with occasionally an extra long glide to the wall when I did not have quite as good a push-off from the previous wall. Then on the last 500 I showed that I could up the tempo a bit while holding that same SPL to claim a few more seconds. It seems to work better for me to dial in stroke rhythm via SPL control then gradually increase tempo- I am not thinking about “more tempo” I’m thinking “faster recovery arm, stronger pull, reach farther”, rather than set tempo and try to lengthen stroke.

This 1500 was a PR for this season, but I don’t think it was revealing my current potential yet. 16 SPL is a good rate but I see I could simply improve my catch strength and endurance then I would be able to increase the tempo earlier in the swim.

Afterward, I felt it would be good to do some sprint temp threshold work in this nicely tired state. So I set :20 25m splits at my target. I immediately settled into 18 SPL for the open-hand 25s and 19 SPL for the fisted ones. I didn’t use gloves because they take too long to put on- holding fist works fine for short distances anyway. These 25s were done hard but not to-exhaustion. I hit :20 with room to spare. The last was at :19 with a tempo around .97 .

Maybe I am stumbling onto something- when I do long SPL control sets I keep improving speed and efficiency. I work at or just under the target-distance pace threshold and then these sets have the effect of stretching out my ability. So I have been doing these long SPL control sets and at the end I still am able to hit a new 100m PR- they really do stretch me out. Of course, I am only swimming 3 days a week so part of it may just be that I am still working within my range of fitness and re-awakening my already developed abilities. Have I been claiming new ground or merely taking ground I lost years ago? It will be seen then how to make progress when I start pushing into speeds I have not achieved before, or at least for 20 years.



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