When the pool is configured for short course swimming we do something called monthy 200s the first Tuesday of every month. If you have forgotten what day it is you are reminded when you see the coaches putting a tile and a mechanical pencil at the end of each lane.
The way it works is in month 1 you swim 4 x 200 descending. You write your time for each 200 on the tile. The next month the coach, who has recorded your times in a notebook, reminds you of your time on the 2nd 200 from last month and you start there, descending the next 3 from that time. It is hard and it is aimed to force you to work harder and try to swim faster as the season progresses. Some people hate them – I love them but it wasn’t always so.
For the first couple years that I swam I simply could not descend over 4 200s. I would try like hell, thrashing in the water like a hungry sea otter but not really making any headway. In fact, it was typically my nature to descend 2 from 1 and then the effort and the time would go up. It was maddening.
Then I started figuring this swimming thing out. Today I had my very best set of 200s ever. My times were
3:57, 3:53, 3:52 (curses! it felt so much faster!) and then 3:50. I did it! I was ecstatic to have all of them under 4:00. For me this was some serious progress.
While I was working hard and trying to do what I was supposed to do I thought about Greyhound and the lovely tribute he just wrote to his grandfather . If you have not read this piece I recommend you get on over there and read it right now.
The beauty of monthly 200s is that I know I need to work really hard for the next month so that I can start at 3:57 and keep descending. It’s game on, people! The season has officially started.