April 22, 2010

1st Masters Swim - wow!

This post may be a little long, so bear with me!

I have been thinking about joining a Masters Swim program for awhile now, but none of them ever fit into my schedule.  That is until I found out about a program at a 24 hour fitness not too far from where I live.  It's held at a Super Sport, which I didn't have access to.  I guess the people at 24 hr. fitness like to think that the Super Sports are far superior than the regular clubs, which is why they charge an arm and a leg to be a member of one.  But, this week, they were running a special where I could update my membership to just $15/mo. and have access to ALL the clubs.  After doing some research about the price of joining a Masters Program, I realized that $15/mo is WAY cheaper than anything else I could find, which was in the $45-$55 range.  And, they meet at 6AM which is great.  I'm able to go to the class, shower, and get home before my husband has to go to work.  Of course, my husband and I had to talk about it because on the days that I do the class he would have to get himself and both of our boys ready and fed, which is something I normally do, but he was all for it.  He is really supportive of me and knows how frustrated I am with my swim.  So, he's willing to take on some extras to help me with my goal.  I'm so thankful to have such an amazing husband!

Anyways, I decided to get to the gym early and swim for about 20 minutes to loosen up before class. Um, I don't think I'll be doing that again (keep reading!).  So, I introduced myself to the instructor and told her it was my first time doing a Masters program.  She was like, "But you know how to swim right?"  I said, "Yes" and I could tell she was relieved!  She wrote down the first part of our workout and I jumped in a lane and started swimming.  After a couple of minutes, more people started coming and the instructor asked me to move to the end lane.  I forgot that the lanes were set up by speed...oops!  But, I wish she would have told me that from the beginning.  Anyways, I went to the end lane, the slowest lane.  There was one other girl in the lane with me, but once we started the main workout she  moved over a lane.  I didn't understand why she would want to be in a lane with 2 other people, but I was kind of happy to have a lane to myself.  But, in the back of my mind I was thinking that she didn't want to be in the "slow" lane with me.  :(  

Now, there were probably about 10 other people in the class and I could tell that they had been swimming together for a long time.  They were laughing and joking with each other and I immediately felt like an outsider.  Plus, I'm pretty sure I was the youngest swimmer there.  Then, once the workout started, I knew I was definitely an outsider.  They were all super fast and they all did flip turns.  Needless to say I was very intimidated.  At one point, the instructor had us do 4*100, odd IM/stroke, even free.  Now, I don't know about you but I cannot do the butterfly stroke!  I looked over at the other swimmers and they were ALL doing the IM.  But, I just kept swimming and doing my thing.  I could not keep up with them and realized that when they were done with their set of 4-100s, I was only on my 3rd.  So, I would just move on to the next set because I thought it would be better for me to get in a variety of sets then just keep doing the same thing.  At one point I stopped and rested because I was pretty tired.  With my extra swimming before hand I had actually been swimming for about an hour already and I could really feel it.  I told the instructor that I couldn't keep up with them and the intervals.  She said that it was alright and that I shouldn't feel like I needed to keep up because the morning classes usually have all of her fast swimmers.  It kind of made me feel better, but not really.  

Overall, the class really kicked my ass!  I mean, I have been doing drills and interval work when I go to the pool, but not at this level.  I had to leave a little early to ensure that I would make it home in time, and when I got out of the pool it felt like everyone was just staring at me.  I'm sure it was all in my mind, but still, I didn't like that feeling.  I thanked the instructor, said goodbye, and went to change.  I'm ashamed to admit that I had a little breakdown involving some tears in the shower.  It seems so silly to say that, but I HATED being the slowest swimmer and not being able to keep up.  But, more than that, I hated that I compared myself to the other swimmers and let that comparison get to me so much.  I  am just so frustrated with my swimming and I don't know what I'm doing wrong.  Why am I so slow???

Obviously, I need to get over my insecurities and just think of this as a great opportunity to become a better swimmer.  I know it will be good for me to go to this class on a regular basis because it definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone (both physically and mentally).  But, I just wish the results would come faster.   

Do any of you go to a Masters swim class?  If so, how do you like it?  Do you think it has helped your swimming?  

26 comments:

trifitmom said...

i have not done a masters class but i did join in a swim class with ironlady and the first few classes i felt so bad b/c the others were fast and i was sure they were pissed at me. but everyone has a right to workout and swim so everyone needs to get over it and support each other

TiffersRunsTX said...

This is so funny, mainly because it's like I'm reading one of my own posts regarding joining a Masters team and the cost variables and what not from about three months ago! Lol! I love my Masters team, though I often get agitated with working on other strokes. I quickly get over it. :)

Jon said...

You gotta start somewhere! I think you did great and this will improve YOUR swim. Look up to the other swimmers as inspiration and not as "they are better than me." They have been swimming a LOT longer than you have. I think you are going to see HUGE improvements swimming with this group, even if you are slower (right now). Hang in there! I'd be sharing that lane with you if I was in your group!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Masters will def make you a swimmer!!!!!

misszippy said...

First of all--good for you for "jumping in" to masters! I have swum masters off and on over the years. I was lucky, however, b/c my first experience was with a group coached by Troy Jacobson (I remember you do spinervals, right?) and it was all triathletes. So--only freestyle, yay! But I don't have that option anymore, so I have tried a couple regular master's classes. I also don't do stroke and have yet to learn it (not doing master's right now) You're right, lots of swimmers in there who have been swimming all their lives and they are FAST! But don't give up--keep going, keep talking with the coach and you'll be surprised at how quickly you can improve.

Caratunk Girl said...

WOW!! Good for you for getting in on a master's class - it will certainly improve your swimming!

Frozentriette said...

How awesome you joined a Master's. I soooo want to do that too, haven't made the time for it yet. I know without a doubt, I'd be dead last no matter what we did, but I'd love the opportunity to get better!! Good luck with that, don't give up, you will get better just by showing up and being around strong swimmers. :)

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

Good for you Aimee! I am getting ready to join a master's group next month and will be in the far left lane too so you and Jon better share (-: Thanks for sharing your experience as I will remember it when I begin my first class and stick with it!

Christi said...

I am so proud of you for going to Masters swim class. That is the first step and I am sure you will get better every time you go. I wish I could get my scaredy cat butt to our class but I keep stalling. Maybe this will help me get motivated!

Regina said...

Oh my God. I swear this is what my experience was when I joined the Master's here at my Y in February. I had been training with Coach Michelle since November and was really seeing improvement, so she encouraged me to find a masters program (that wouldn't break the bank-they cost a fortune in NYC). Well...I am only a fair swimmer in breaststroke, backstroke is a little better and butterfly is nonexistent. I stuck with it for a month three mornings a week and then we decided it was not for me. I got back to my own schedule and was slower!!! I've had to work hard to get my 'speed' (ha) back. Now, this is not to say that Master's is bad. I happen to only be interested at the moment in freestyle for tri's and this was not tri specific for me. That said, I am interested in taking some classes this winter to improve my other strokes, but for now I'll pass on Masters.

oh, they did make one correction to my freestyle stroke that helped, so it wasn't a complete loss. I now swim with Team In Training once a week and get some eyes on instruction and tri specific workouts.

Jill Costantino said...

Okay - so the fact that you are upset that you were the "slow" one just shows how badly you want this. It will come in time and the more you go and the more you get to know people it will be better. For the fly, right now try 1 arm fly until it gets better or do fly until you get tired and then go to 1 arm fly. I STILL can't do breast stroke for the life of me and well my fly sucks too! Keep going though, because I'm sure you are going to make some good friends and improve on your swimming - just give yourself time!

Velma said...

I go to masters, and I am the slowest one. It makes me bummed out sometimes. I do the freestyle when they do stroke. The masters coach also suggested I try fins when they do the IM sets. Keep with it. People at the class are always great - everyone has been there!

Kelly said...

Thanks for the comment re: St. Louis, Aimee. It was a good race. I swim masters here in Austin, and it has helped me SO much. Came from a swimming background, and neglected it for 3 yrs here b/c I did not want to pay. The past 2 months has done wonders. Whitney Hedgepeth and UT Masters is AMAZING! I am all for the groups for swimming! Not as much though for cycling and running... Best of Luck to you!!
Kelly

Jess @ THIR said...

I'm a coach, and highly recommend the squads and things for the older swimmers!!!
It sucks though, there are none around my area. My tri club does some swimming, but 6am is not a time that suits me, I start work at 7!!

But, it's definitely a great idea. Just think, in 6 months time, it might be YOU doing the tumble turns and kicking everyone's arse.
Good luck with it!

AM-GoalsfortheWeek! said...

oh, i sooo hear you on the 'slow swimmer complex' front. That's my song sister. But you're right, this master's swim WILL make you faster. you're stoked to have that available to you.

Libby said...

stick with it, it will help you out a ton. I wish you would have had a better experience though. I hate when I join a new master's group and its kind of "clique-y" just stick with it. you will get better and the coach will help you out as you come more regularly. keep your chin up and keep at it!!

Tracey Kite said...

I am no swimmer, but I totally understand the frustration with being the slowest. I think this class is going to push you to places you did not know you could go. You had not pushed yourself like that before and all those other swimmers have been doing it for awhile so if you keep going you WILL move up to the fast lane, or at least closer to it!

RockStarTri said...

I've found that master's classes make me stronger but I need to do swims on my own to make the improvements stick. Keep at it!

Julie said...

Hi Aimee,
Good for you!! I am a terrible swimmer..the worst! I have to give you credit for taking the time and being dedicated enough to start a masters swim class:) You will get stronger and faster....then your swimming will be as fantastic as your running:)

Steve Gupta said...

I am the slowest person in my Master's team (Jeffco Aquatic Masters) also, but the coach is really terrific. I swim in the mornings and I would often be in the pool the same time the team was practicing. I finally talked to the coach and started working out with the in December. It is a little intimidating, but swimmers are a really friendly bunch. I still don't complete the full workouts, but my freestyle is a lot smoother and I am learning the backstroke. After some proficiency, I will try to learn breaststroke as well. It is tougher on days when the workouts are geared towards competition. I could not imagine coming off the blocks or doing the IM. Of course maybe after a year of organized swimming, things will be different.

Rebecca DeWire said...

That group sounds really intimidating, but sticking with it will bring your swimming to a whole new level. Good luck.

Angela and David Kidd said...

I think we've all been there when we started a masters program. I don't know why it's so freaking intimidating. But gradually it will make you faster and eventually you'll get to know the people. It takes longer than cycling or running groups because you spend so much time underwater and not interacting but you will begin to make connections with people. Just keep plugging along.

Aleta said...

Aimee, remember all those early morning 6am swim team practices. You were so strong and fast. And you did the fly then. You will get there because you are determined and on a mission! Stay the course!

joyRuN said...

Thanks for posting that dirt cup recipe - can't wait to try it!

My first few masters swim sessions were hella scary. I went with a buddy at first & that made it easier. Fortunately we haven't had to do other strokes, because other than freestyle & back stroke, I don't know how to do anything else.

The sessions have definitely helped my swimming. I'm so very glad to have signed up.

Good luck.

Kathleen said...

Yep, that sounds like me. However, I haven't build up the guts to join a master's swim class. Good for you for taking the "plung".

I too am a member of 24 fitness but don't swim there. If you ever want to meet for a swim let me know. You will certainly get the feel of what it is like to be faster then someone in the same lane :)

Paula (Adventure Junkie Mom) said...

I am glad to hear I am not the only one that feels that insecure. I recently talked to a coach at the pool about their Masters class. He encouraged me to join, and said it would make a HUGE difference. I told him I was ridiculously slow, and he said it didn't matter. Well....sad to say, I didn't go. I wish I could. I just cannot fid the courage, really.
I am SO proud of you for going. It takes alot of guts, and YOU DID IT!! I hope you stick with it, and that you see the improvements that you are looking for. Maybe you can push me to get going!!