Are you slower than a fifth grader?

I have several training goals this winter, to try to keep things from becoming too dull and routine in the long, pool-bound months.  A 200 fly is one of those goals, just because I think butterfly is the coolest stroke (the butterfly would so totally have a tattoo and nerdy black glasses and live in downtown loft).  Another goal, which candidly seems painfully (and I do mean painfully) far off, is a 25-minute 1650. I am just going to go ahead and admit right here, for all the world to see, that to reach this goal will require dropping a good minute and then some off my best, most caffeinated distance pace, and the experience of my past year of training suggests that I’ll have to claw my way down second by second.

Those of you who were already swim-meet veterans before you’d aged out of the Sesame Street set, who can knock off a 25-minute 1650 on an off-day warmup with one leg tied behind your back, are no doubt singularly unimpressed by this goal.  You are the kind of people being addressed in all those swim-advice columns and websites with their blithe talk of 1:20 100s on the recovery laps. You are probably finding it hard to imagine how a person in possession of four functioning limbs and not actually dependent on water wings could possibly take so long to cover a 1650.

But me, I took up competitive swimming at 45, and never mind that the other day I noticed that the lowest USA Swimming time standard for 11-12 year old girls in the 1650 is 25:16, and that therefore I am apparently decidedly slower than a 5th grader (in my defense, I’m also shorter than a lot of them), I’m off to the pool again.


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