I began swimming with a masters team in February of 2012. Our practices are on Monday nights from 6 to 7pm and the great group of folks that I have the privilege of spending one hour a week with have a different set of goals and expectations when it comes to swimming than I do. They never kept their identity in a box labeled "swimmer". They are not trying to qualify for US Masters Nationals. They are not telling themselves a story that ends with them setting a national record, or getting elite status as a triathlete, or being a quasi-pro athlete. They are real. They are real good for me. I think that I am good for them too. I don't only swim with them, indeed I try to get in the water 2 or even sometimes even 3 other times per week, but I try not to miss swimming with them. Athletics and success in training is at some level about belonging to a community of thought. This is bigger than being a part of a team. A beer-league softball gaggle of guys in matching blue shirts is a team. A community of thought is something else entirely. It exists as an entity whose life-force is made up of the connections between the members. Its power grows with the strength and number of those connections.
I don't do very well without those connections. Creating them, for me, has been the key to whatever small amount of success I have had in my life. The danger for me is that my intensity can burn up the connections.
At the Az Masters State Championships on 1 April 2012 I qualified for 2012 Summer Masters Nationals in Omaha, Nebraska. That day, after 12 to15 practices of 1800m +/-, I swam pretty well. 100y Fly 1:02. 50y Fly :28.5. 500y Free 5:52. 100y free :58.7.
Swimming, and in truth butterfly, is a singular and strange undertaking. You don't want to do it, but you need to do it. It is like drug use. You might think that you own it. You don't. It owns you. I am relapsed. My addiction is active again. I am signed up for another meet in Las Vegas on 16 June. Indeed the week after I swam in this meet here I competed in an open water race in Tempe, Arizona. That is a story that will have to wait. You will have to read about it in another entry.
Come fly with me.