Friday, October 31, 2008

Michael Phelps Interviewed by Tony Hawk

I found this interview held by Tony Hawk - skate board legend, with Michael Phelps. In it Tony pulls off the amazing. He gets Michael to make a few confessions.

First Michael starts out sort of complaining about wearing a Speedo! He confesses he doesn't know what day of the week it is! Is that too much chlorine Michael, or are you having withdrawal symptoms and need to get back in the pool? He makes a very bad joke (fish out of water .... aaack!). And he makes me feel old (Tony doesn't do that. Why does Michael always do that?). Check it out.

Monday, October 13, 2008

What Kick Board Kicking Does for You

I love kicking, but I notice so few swimmers actually practicing with the board more than a couple laps at a time. I wonder why. This post shares some of why I think kicking rocks!

I fell in love with kicking about nine years ago when I injured my elbow. Since I couldn't use my arms, I concentrated on my legs. Up until then, I could go maybe two laps with the kickboard before tiring. After that month, I could go virtually forever. It wasn't that I did anything different, other than force myself to go longer. That said, I imagine anyone can get over the exhaustion hump if they "just do it"(thanks Nike).

But more came out of my experience than an enhanced ability to push the old styrofoam for more laps. I learned that I could kick harder as needed and easily recover. I learned that an extra kick is what can push me ahead, when I want to boost my speed temporarily (e.g., to pass another swimmer), without having to pull harder with my arms. I learned that kicking makes my legs stronger even out of the pool. I can now climb stairs faster, walk stronger, and even fit into my skinny college jeans again.

Yes, kicking is an unappreciated aquatic skill that needs to be practiced, but the gains can be huge.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Long Course Lap Season Ends - Cry of Grief

The outdoor pool season is over for me. This is sad since I only have access to a 50 meter pool when I swim outdoors and the days are at their best this time of year (clear skies, comfortable temps, open lanes). I'm happy that the pool admin types had the foresight to commit to a firm extended-season end date rather than waffle about what the water temps might be and decide based on that. They went so far as to strike a deal with a guard who agreed to come every day until Sept 30th. Apparently, end of season for guards, is like finding good peaches at the end of picking season. They are there, but the good ones that will show up, are hard to find. In prior years the pool admin folks made excuses like: "we've run out of chlorine and the health department has shut us down"; "the guy swimming in the wet suit was unsteady when he got out. He had hypothermia." (Never mind, it was 75 degrees in the water and long-swimmers often have wobbly legs upon exiting the pool); "Who wants to swim when the water is below 78 degrees?". Well we got down to 72 this season and were quite happy, thank you.

So now it's back to the 25 meters and 84 degree water (uhg!). I'll try to make a point of remembering to pay attention toward the end of each length since the wall can creep up fast on those of us accustomed to 50 meters. I still expect I'll stub a few fingers before the month is out. I'm glad that's not my excuse for not posting for the past month - sorry about that :)