Great North Swim -Training Update

Well my training for the Great North Swim is progressing. I’ve been attending Masters classes at Wyre Forest Swimming Club three times a week, and I’m experiencing a little of what my son goes through when he trains for his County and Regional competitions.  I do an hour on Wednesday which is what my coach calls an “Edge Session”, basically it’s balls out swimming, little or no subtlty ..  Friday, I do an hour and a half with WFSC Competitive and Junior Competitive Groups which are the ‘second tier’ groups.  They might be ‘second tier’ but even the poorest swimmer in those groups is way better than me!  Total respect for what those children voluntarily put themselves through several times a week …   So that’s a toughie and I’m ready to admit I don’t manage to do everything in that session.

Finally on Sunday I do two hours of my favourite session which is a highly structured session of warm-up, drill technique and then endurance set.  Our coach Graham is great and very clear in what he wants us to do.  Not to say I’m not cursing half way through 12 times 100m Freestyle of various flavours  repeated every two minutes – by the end of it I’m totally exhausted, but pleased in a strange way.

Well this last weekend, on the urging of Graham , I took part with him, and another lady Christine who will be joining me on the Great North Swim, in the Staffordshire Masters and I’m pleased to say I won a medal and finally got some timings on various strokes and distances:

100m Freestyle : 1 min 27.33 seconds (Bronze Medal for Age Group)

50m Freestyle   : 37.99 seconds

25m Backstroke : 23.64 seconds

25m Breastroke : 22.27 seconds

25m Butterfly : 20.67 seconds

Here’s me (on the left) with Christine and Graham (my coach):

WFSC Masters Team

WFSC Masters Team Staffordshire Masters 19 Feb 2012

You may notice that Christine has two gold medals and a Silver, that’s because unlike me, she is a good swimmer. Notice that Graham has a Bronze and a Silver , that too is because he is a much better swimmer than me! Hey ho, I’m just getting going …

So it’s back to training.  You may wonder why I’m not just swimming 1600m straight 3 times a week and be done with it?  A number of reasons really.  Firstly I want to learn to swim and I mean really swim, not just flounder around in the water or to have to rely on brute strength to get me there.  I marvel at the children I see swimming at the training I attend, they seem to glide about two times faster than me with barely a splash and seemingly without effort.  I want that to be me …  Secondly having done sports training before I know that it is technique which counts, but you also need the endurance to match.  Simply swimming the 1600m target will not really benefit me.   You develop muscle and stamina by stressing the body then letting it recover and stressing it again.  This interval training builds up cardio-vascular capacity which will aid me in the target swim.  Finally doing a straight 1600m is boring, and I want to actually enjoy myself and swimming as part of a group is fun.

Well spring is coming soon, I hope and in March I’ll be heading over to an open water lake where they do open water swimming sessions, this will be the real tester for me as far as I’m concerned, I’ll let you know how I get on….

Oh and don’t forget, I’m doing it for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) who are a charity who run all of the countries Life Boats around the UK coastline. I’d really appreciate any sponsorship you might care to give to this highly worthwhile cause.  You can donate online via


Dave Mc


About davemcmahon81
Software Developer & Architect, User Group Leader, Speaker, Writer, Blogger, Occasional Guitarist, Man-made Global Warming Sceptic, Climate Change Believer, General Optimist but most of all proud Husband and Dad ...

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