The local master's coach has given me some very good advice over the last couple of months that I've been swimming. I usually take a while to put it into practice but so far I've done everything stroke related that he's suggested. And it's helped.
The one thing that I can't bring myself to do is the intervals. He suggested that after warming up, I do 10 sets of 50s at 1:15, basically giving myself 25 seconds of rest after each 50. Then warm down.
I truly love this idea but just can't bring myself to do it. Then I noticed something odd. I was completing my 40 laps in about 30 minutes. Basically I was doing 20 sets of 50s at 1:30 intervals. So I wasn't far off, I just needed to cut 5 minutes off of my overall time and I'd be there. I just had one problem, those five minutes were all spent hanging onto a wall sucking up as much oxygen as I could.
But that was my hint. If I am ever to become a better swimmer, I need to stop being a wallflower and just swim. My first strategy for eliminating those 5 minutes was to do a continuous 100-150 yard warmup without stopping, taking advantage of still being somewhat strong at the start before imploding a lung. The next step was to take a look at the wall clock at each rest stop and force a limit on myself. With these two techniques, I got it down to 26 minutes (1:18 pace) by the beginning of this week. I just couldn't tell where the last minute was going to come from.
After my swim yesterday, I found my minute. It was at the far wall, the one that I stopped at after only 25 yards of swimming. If I eliminate that stop and swim all 50 yards nonstop, I'd get my minute back (anyone else picturing the paperboy from Better Off Dead yelling "my two dollars!"?). So, I tried it this morning, forcing myself to swim 50 yards at a time, doing a 100 yard straight warmup, and never letting my stop go beyond 30 seconds (except the time or two that I lied to myself to get an extra 5 seconds).
At the end of the swim? 25 minutes. 1000 yards. 1:15.