Swimming with a Masters Class

Getting up at 5 am is rough. It’s just hard to get up, especially when you are up and down most nights!

However, the Masters Swim class is held on Wednesdays at 6:30 and runs until 7:45 am and, since my friend, Maggie Stovickova Skrine coaches, I try to get there. Maggie coaches for Tarps Total Training at the Aquatic Center at Eisenhower Park.

She is an amazing coach and has helped me get from just learning how to swim to learning how to swim efficiently. When I first started swimming, I was averaging around 3 minutes for 100 yards. Today, I’m easily averaging around 2 minutes per 100 yards.

What I love about Maggie’s coaching is she will tell you what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong and teaches you how to correct it. She knows everyone’s time and knows how to push to get you to the next level.

The other day, was one of those rough days. I jumped in the pool a little late and didn’t get a chance to warm up so I used the drills to warm up. There were six people in my lane, which was 50 meters in length. This guy, Bill, lead the lane, followed by Donna and another woman. I followed and quickly moved up to swim behind Donna. The problem with the group is that we all swim around the same pace so there are times where we are all on top of each other. I decided after that happened several times, to take 15 seconds in between so that Donna or Bill or Steve or whoever, had plenty of time to take off.

The drills were 8 50’s consisting of kicks, backstroke, speed stroke and relaxed freestyle. Then the main set. “We’re going to swim for a mile broken up today,” said Maggie. “I want you to do 2 250’s, 5 100’s and 10 50’s….”

“What?” I don’t know why I couldn’t comprehend… maybe it was not enough sleep, maybe it was too early in the morning.

She said it again and again and again… Okay, now it stuck.

We took off. The first 250, I wore my flippers. I don’t know why I thought she said wear your flippers but I wore them. I went last and quickly caught up and passed each and every member of the group. Bill, the fastest swimmer who also was a collegiate swimmer, gave me such a strange look in the water as I passed him. When I was finished and I was so way ahead of everyone, Maggie said, “Ok, now take off your flippers.”

“Why?” I asked

“Because you’re the only one wearing them,” she said. I took them off. I still had a long way to go and was forcing myself to move forward.

After the second 250, three of the swimmers left to get ready for work. Steve, Bill and I were left and still had plenty to go.

When we finished our five 100’s, we started to do 10 50’s. At the “rest stop,” I said, “how many more?” And Maggie said, “eight more!”

“Jesus…” I said.

“Do you think Jesus will help?” she said.

“I can pray and hope so,” I said and smiled.

I finished with swimming 2,460 yards and feeling completely and utterly pooped!