For the first 18 months of so of my swimming training I pretty much trained alone, almost exclusively in hotel pools. This was brought about both by my travel schedule for work, and being somewhat intimidated by the concept of a Masters workout. I’d never swum competitively growing up, so the whole swim workout was a bit of a mystery to me, as was basic things like lane etiquette etcetera.
In 2011 I managed to get a block of time where I was not travelling for work every week, cast around for some recommendations and overcame my fears and signed up for the masters swim team at the University of San Francisco.
The paperwork around signing up and trying out had all sorts of things about needing to be able to do all four competitive strokes (I can’t swim butterfly to save my life), and all sorts of dire warnings about needing to show up to training all the time, so I was somewhat apprehensive about the whole thing.
As it turns out, the coach Val is a lot more relaxed than the literature had indicated, at my tryout he watched me swim a few lengths, was not fazed when I said I couldn’t do butterfly.
I got great use out of swimming at USF, often getting in 4-5 sessions a week, and tacking on extra yardage after training. I did my first 10km swim in that pool (while it was configured as SCY!), then in 2012 I ended up back on the road for work and let my membership lapse.
A couple of weeks ago I ended up paying the drop in fee at USF to get a Friday evening workout in – work had interfered with getting training in during the week and I was jonesing for a swimming fix. I ran into Val at the pool and his welcome made me re-sign up for the Masters on my way out. Last Friday I managed to finally get to my first Masters workout in almost two years.
It was a pretty easy workout, but after not doing interval training for all that time (I tend to just get in an do 1km or 1mile repeats depending on the pool), it was nice to see that I could still keep up.
From a financial perspective it may not be the smartest move (for the number of times I’ll go the drop in fee is cheaper), but having access to a masters workout again is great, and for those weeks when I work from home I’ll try and take advantage of it.