The Race Club Family,
Thank you for the tremendous opportunity that you’ve created for swimmers of all ages and backgrounds to train with The Race Club. We truly enjoyed our week in the Keys and the opportunity for our daughter to spend time with world-class athletes and coaches. We decided to bring Nadia to train with you because the values and mission you shared with us for The Race Club aligned with our family values and the type of coaching we wanted our daughter to be influenced by. As non-swimmers we were not clear whether she had the talent needed to pursue her dreams but we knew a week at The Race Club would definitely challenge her swimming abilities and her desire, will and confidence. While we were excited about her opportunity, we were a little nervous since she was only nine, and not sure how she would respond. We were amazed with her response.
For starters, you provided us with a “profile” form to gauge our expectations and we independently accumulated feedback from Nadia and her coach and then provided our own insights into our daughter. You arranged all of our accommodations and training schedule and then you picked us up, to the delight of both Liliana and Nadia in the van. Their time with you was great. Read more
Lately, I was asked two questions. One of them was easy to answer because someone asked me the same question not too long ago. The other one was kind of hard to answer on the spot, so I took some time to think about it the next day at breakfast.
Let me start with the question which was part of the table discussion the night I was invited to dinner by Gary Sr.:
“What can we do to make the camper’s (swimmer’s) experience even better?”
No answer that night, so I hope Gary Sr. will be reading this to finally get one. We figured out that I’ve been in the Keys quite a few times and that’s maybe why he thought I had an answer ready. Read more
Can it get any better than this? Try to imagine the following – You’ve been back in the Keys for about 12 hours and after a first short swim in the morning you’re already out there on the sea to chase some lobster for dinner.
There is only one way to start this diary entry. Let me officially announce that the World Team has a new favorite TV channel – the high definition spear fishing channel.
Sounds weird? I guess it sure does! But what do you expect from a bunch of swimmers of which, after my knowledge, most would answer the following question with a YES.
“Would you like to be a professional spear fisherman and/or lobster hunter?” Read more
Yeah…me again. So if you’re tired reading my diary entries you should stop right away.
Because I started this entry a long time ago and never really came to an end and so it got a bit long. Ever since I started to write after my last visit in February, I started to feed this entry with all the stuff (interesting or not) that came to my mind.
Yes, I assume, I sort of “abuse” the platform I’m given, but maybe you like it? And if not, STOP reading further.
Ok, let me start with a quote I found by chance and couldn’t stop thinking about for a long time. The truth of it lies as much in the words as in the metaphor that it produced for me.
“The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.”
-Vidal Sassoon, hairstylist Read more
Good times – really bad summer weather in Switzerland brought me “back home” to Islamorada. Enjoy some sun and outside swimming, that’s exactly what I needed to start my winter season. Another good reason for me to come back of course is that I still need to catch the Green flash.
Green flashes are “rare” optical phenomena that occur shortly after sunset or before sunrise, when a green spot is visible for a short period of time above the sun, or a green ray shoots up from the sunset point. It is usually observed from a low altitude where there is an unobstructed view of the horizon, such as on the ocean (so Islamorada in the Florida Keys should be a perfect place to catch it). Its explanation lies in refraction of light in the atmosphere and is enhanced by atmospheric inversions. Whilst we would expect to see a blue light, the blue is dispersed (this is why the sky is blue) and only the green light remains visible. With slight magnification, a green rim on the top limb of the solar disk can be seen on most clear-day sunsets. However, the flash or ray effects require a stronger layering of the atmosphere and a mirage which serves to magnify the green for a fraction of a second to a couple of seconds. And I was told that it is a good thing to see the green flash. Can’t say if it’s true or not, but I really would love to see a Green flash once. Read more
It’s amazing how, given a little bit of inspiration, we’re able to conquer fears. I personally have a fear of sharks (probably shared by many). That fear is heightened when I find myself in murky waters where I can’t see what’s happening below me. It’s a fairly sensible fear mostly, except that I sometimes have irrational visions of JAWS chasing me down!
Today, I was absolutely blessed with an amazing experience that helped me at least momentarily overcome my shark phobia. Me, John Carter (my team-mate from Sydney University who is training with me in Florida) and our friend Dewey were out on the speed boat cruising with the wind in our hair. John called out that he’d spotted wild dolphins in the murky waters of the Gulf we were crossing over. Read more
The best way to get your body used to swimming fast is to race. For this reason, Saturday morning in Islamorada is race day. Warm-up and then get ready to swim fast. Even better than to race in workouts is to race in meets.
Somehow in the first part of your preparation cycle, the most important point is not always to swim your personal best but to get the effect of fast swimming. After two weeks of hard work in a camp, I was really happy to join the local Masters swimmer Tanya Hanson for the meet in Lauderhill.
We left Islamorada early on this Saturday morning to be on time for the warm-up. After a bit more than an hour and a half we arrived at the pool. The weather was not perfect on this Saturday morning with a chilly breeze. But nobody cared about it and I started to feel the meet atmosphere coming up to my body. At least for me, this is something very important. I can swim fast in workouts, but never do it the same way as in meets. Something that probably can be seen as a weakness (personally, I think it’s a point where I still can improve, but on the other hand I also think that it is one of my strengths). Read more
For this diary entry I got inspired by the message board on the Race Club website. In these last days there have been some very interesting posts like “The art of Taper” or “The sprinter mentality.” And some great personal experiences have been shared.
I now start my 12th year in swimming (so still a rookie). And probably, like most of you, I have had moments of doubt where I was close to quitting. Times where I worked so hard for success and earned so little. But hey, I already knew that because one of my coaches once told me, “Listen, swimming is hard work and most of the time it pays badly (literally). But when it pays back for all the hard work that had been done, it will be a lifetime experience.”
And he was right. Every time I reached my goals I forgot about the struggle before and was filled with happiness. Although this is not the point of the story. I mean, why didn’t I stop in times where struggle and not success had affected my swim? Sometimes I had to wait 2 years to come back. How could I know that I would succeed again? What was it that kept me swimming? Read more
I am just getting ready to go to bed but I have to write this to you because I feel like a stronger athlete, both mentally and physically. I can’t believe what a difference 2 days at the “Race Camp” made.
Starting out as a gymnast from age 4-13, I new I would always compete in some sort of sport. Volleyball, cross country, track and softball; that was my life until a softball injury caused my ACL to rip in half. Of course, trying to prove to Dr. Ellison in Key Largo that I knew best, I started competing in Triathalons. That was in 1999, now once again I am training for the Key West Mini-Tri in March and thought I might need some help. Read more
It’s been a long time since I last wrote a diary entry. When I first started to write about what happened with me and my swim on the Short Course National last December I was always getting so badly excited in front of my notebook that I stopped only thinking about it. The only thing a wanted was to forget about it and never talk about this experience anymore.
I needed to get some distance before I was able to write something that can be published on the Race Club website. And that’s the reason why it took me so long to share with you what I think all of you have a right to know. It just wouldn’t be fair to write such positive things about the Race Club and their training methods. I was asking myself how I would feel if someone was saying to me that they went through the best training program on earth and didn’t beat anyone, anywhere, anytime.
Now laying on the couch in the Race Club house and seeing the sun for the first time again after a long period of cold and grey weather in Switzerland, I think I found a way to finish what once started with so much anger. Read more