Sunday, March 22, 2015

Now THIS is how you age up!

Peter Phildius turns 85 today, but instead of celebrating with his wife in Florida this weekend, he competed at the New England Masters SCY championships at Harvard. Pete's journey to age group champ is an interesting one. He didn't swim competitively until age 68, when he "trashed his back running marathons and triathlons."  He got a coach and started 2-a-day swim practices. By 70, he was third in the country in the breaststroke. As he aged up he met a lot of amazing people through swimming. Meanwhile, clearly seeing his potential, four of his grandkids recently challenged him to become a certified lifeguard, which he did. So, Pete now works the early shift at the Longfellow Club, rising at 3:30am to open the pool. I won't complain about morning practices ever again!

Pete also learned the dark side of aging up. A successful businessman, Pete found discrimination, not continued challenge, in his work world. Channeling his energy, he started an initiative to help people age gracefully and combat the obstacles of age discrimination.  Sadly, his close friend and partner in this effort died suddenly in December, and the loss is profound for Pete.

Yet Pete doesn't want admiration for his athletic accomplishments, he wants to win. He knows exactly how many people were in his former age group (500 in 80-84) and how many are in his new age group (150). He likes his odds in this new AG. This guy is a stud. I hope we will see a time where people like Pete are the rule, not the exception. Happy 85, Pete!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Swimming Through (and with) the Decades

As I made my way to the pool on Saturday for a cram session to prepare for the upcoming NEM meet, it dawned on me: I would be swimming that morning with a twenty-something, a thirty-something, a forty-something (moi), a fifty-something, and a sixty-something master's swimmer. As I arrived on deck I mentioned this to the fifty-something, who said he thought about the exact same thing on his way in. I am hard pressed to think about any other competitive sport where there is a forty-year difference between the youngest and the oldest and we are all doing the same workout on the same intervals. But it happens in the pool, and it speaks to the uniqueness of master's swimming. I have written before that master's is a meritocracy - what you do for work, how much money you make, or how old you are doesn't matter when you get into the pool, but how you swim does. The exception, of course, is that the people who make a lot of money buy those fancy technical suits, but notwithstanding that, it's about equal. I will say that age and experience did come into play late in the workout. The sixty-something began to crush everyone, as is usually the case.

300 swim
2 x 75 drill/swim
2 x 75 kick/swim
2 x 75 descend
300 on 4:20
300 on 4:10
300 on 4:00
200 on 3:00
200 on 2:50
200 on 2:40
100 on 1:30
100 on 1:25
100 fast
400 pull
4 x 75
2 x 50