Thursday, April 11, 2013

An Ode To My Lanemates

I first started going to Team Pittsburgh Masters (held at the University of Pittsburgh Trees Hall pool) about 7 years ago.  Actually, because I keep disturbingly meticulous logs of all the training I've ever done in my life, I can tell you exactly when I first went to a Pitt Masters swim: May 11, 2006.

Just for kicks, I looked up some of the first few workouts I ever did with the team.  It's obvious I didn't understand the concept of swimming on an interval because I was very confused about how long we got to rest after each swim.  After a few workouts though, I must have figured it out because this was the first entry that made any sense:

20x100 (SCY) as 2x100 on 1:50,  4x100 on 1:40, 4x100 on 1:35, 4x100 on 1:30, 2x100 on 1:25, 2x100 easy, 2x100 on 1:22

As usual I bit off more than I could chew and I noted in my log that I didn't even make all the 100s on 1:30 (which means I definitely didn't make the ones on 1:25 or 1:22!).  HA!  It's good for me to be able to look back on these early days because I can see that (even though it doesn't feel like it!) I have made progress through the years.  Although it seems like I've been working on a 1:15-1:20 base FOREVER, I see that at one point, I couldn't even handle swimming on the 1:30!

Other than learning how to use a pace clock, swimming with Pitt Masters has taught me a ton.  I learned how to do flip turns there.  I learned how to really push myself in the water.  I learned that I LOVE to swim in the morning and I much prefer the 5:45 am practice to the 5:30 pm practice.  I learned that a beautiful pool and nice cool water makes you swim much faster.  I learned that swimming with others and under the watchful eyes of an amazing coach (thanks Jen!) REALLY makes you swim much faster.  I learned how to dive off the blocks (while keeping my goggles in place!).  And I learned that the people you struggle with as you all try to get faster, makes the journey what it is.  Super cheesy I know, but I think we can all agree, life wouldn't be the same without our lanemates!

Our pool is awesome.  I know you are jealous.

Through the years I've slowly moved up in lanes and have met such awesome people as I went!  Why I really wanted to write this blog though, was to thank my current lanemates for all that they have done and continue to do for me.

For one, they put up with a lot.  My current lane situation is this: I can't *quite* hang with them but, that doesn't stop me from trying!  I'm like the little sister that desperately wants to hang out with her older brother and his friends - and luckily they kindly oblige.  (it should be noted that *technically* I'm older than about half of these guys but whatever... :)  So thanks guys, for letting me try to hang with you.  For not getting too annoyed when I only leave 3 or 4 (okay, sometimes 2) seconds behind you, desperately trying to hang onto your feet so I can make the set.  Thanks for not judging when I pull out the paddles.  Thanks for encouraging me and cheering me on and well, thanks for being so darn fast so that I always have someone to chase.  ONE of these days I'm going to make the main swim pack in a race and I'm going to have you all to thank for it.  In the mean time, thanks for all the early morning smiles and laughs and all that pain.  Like I said, it makes my journey that much sweeter.



  1. I love this post. SWIMMING! And, I saw you in 2008? 2007? when you were here and Spencer and I both said, "SHE has a ton of potential" and look at you! And, I love athletes that embrace the Masters swimming, b/c, at the end of the day, it works. AND it is fun! :)

  2. That *is* a gorgeous pool and I *am* jealous! I'm just discovering the joys of lane mates. I recently switched from swimming with my gym's little masters swim program to a large, well known and (to me) slightly intimidating masters group the Davis Aquatic Masters. The program was started largely by the Scott (as in Dave) family in the early 80's and is now one of the largest in the country. What a difference that has definitely shifted my attitude towards swimming and will hopefully have the same effect on my performance. The coaches are interactive, tough and motivating. The lane mates are hard core, dedicated and encouraging. The pool...not quite so beautiful ;-).

  3. YES! Having a masters team that feels like family helps a LOT. I say that from past experience, not to say I am swimming like a fishy all the time now - because I am not! ;)

  4. Teaching triathletes how to read a clock is always "fun". You have made some big improvements girl!

  5. Why am I not surprised that you keep meticulous training logs and know the exact date of the start to your masters swimming, that's why I like ya Mrs. Shutt!

  6. I loved this post!! I started swimming with a true Master's group last summer (in an outdoor pool - bliss!) and, after years of swimming, finally learned what it meant to do workouts on an interval. And do something besides freestyle - such a big difference! Congrats on all the progress you've made through the years! And cheers to continued progression (because even though it might feel like you've hit a plateau, I'm sure with hard work you'll continue to break new ground!)