Friday 15 June 2012

Binge's Adventures Abroad Day 7 (live as it happens)

It's all over, a real lack of commitment in the 200 Breast this morning a very relaxed and unmotivated 3:23. Put me in 10th place for a putty medal and another rubbish swim from Lane 1.

At least the Brits appear to be improving their results. Meritorious Jen smashed the opposition to win the 60 years age group and Dave Milburn also struck gold as he became the first male British Champion (as far as I'm aware)

It is kind of interesting this meet, I haven't fully trawled through the results but there have only been a handful of world records, however apart from the odd phenomenal swimmer (who sadly all seem to be in mu age group) the depth of swimmers has been astounding.

Many of our swimmers who would normally be shoe ins have struggled and British World Champions are very few and far between. With somewhat predictably Jane Asher (the dasher)landing 4 titles to date, and Nic ( we are not worthy) Latty providing a master class in how to beat very tall opponents including Olympic Champions (Claudia Poll). The answer in case you are interested is even pace swimming. Nic went out in a controlled 34 and came back in an even more impressive 34 passing the whole field.

I'm back on the sun lounger at the moment experimenting with blogging on an iPad which explains the poor grammar and spelling and somewhat erratic punctuation.

Thursday 14 June 2012

Binge's Adventures Abroad Day 6 (Altitude Training and the Male Mentality)

Relay day at the Worlds so Binge spent the day recharging her batteries and lounging by the pool, it counts for a swimming day as when I overheated I was able to flop into the pool to cool down and I reckon that I must've covered a whole 60 metres.

Eventually made it down to the pool to collect one half of the Karate Kids and head off for some altitude training in San Marino. It was great to escape what is rapidly becoming an endurance event.

Apart from the huge numbers of entries at this event one of the reasons it has seriously overrun has been the inability of swimmers to estimate their times. I reckon it speaks volumes that the Women's pool has pretty much run to time but as you Binge devotees are aware it's the men's pool that has had all of the problems.

What is it about Men that they have to be overly confident about what they think they can do! I have to say particularly (at risk of being racist and offending our hosts) Italian Men there are huge numbers of them that swim not only slower than their entry times but scads slower than the event entry times, optimistic or what.

One of the other interesting features of this meet is the guy with a horn, or rather a cornet who pops up periodically to serenade the swimmers with such musical classics as the theme from Flipper, the Birdy song and the fanfare which calls American racehorses to the starting line... And they're off...

Well 200 Breaststroke up tomorrow which is going to be exquisitely painful and a further consignment to bl**dy lane 1. So I'm off to bed.

 Flop about 60 - 80 metres

Wednesday 13 June 2012

Binge's Adventures Abroad Day 5 (Relentless or what.)

Day 4 of the World Championships and it continues to grind on and on and on, in fact Day 3 didn't get finished till the early hours of this morning with the men's 50m fly swimming thorough the night under floodlights.

Being cheered on by a substantial crowd who stayed behind and packed out the bleachers to support the swimmers efforts. Unreal; Of course most of the sprinters were back first thing for the 50m free (a great piece of scheduling that right?).

Big event for Binge today 50 breaststroke, successfully negotiated the start without a DQ, in fact I sort of stood on the blocks invited everyone else to start and finally it registered I needed to chase them so I dived in after them and was rewarded with a putty medal for my efforts (7th)

I'm sure you are all relieved to know, we've really sorted the trip back to the villa, finally working out that if the traffic is too heavy to try the Italian inspired U turn across the traffic, we can travel 200 metres up the road and turn round in the turn off for the "Sexy Shop" (you know I couldn't make this stuff up could I)  I'm sure there's a joke there but it's late and my brain has atrophied. So we've cracked Riccione. 

600 warm up
2 x 50's 12.5 sprint 12.5 easy
50m breaststroke 39.53
850 metres

Tuesday 12 June 2012

Binge's Adventures Abroad Day 4 (in which Binge learns that too much Prosecco does not lend itself to coherent blogging)

Not sure if I can coherently blog tonight as I think I've had a wee bit too much Prosecco, can't say it wasn't needed cos this meet just grinds on and on. I left the pool along with the Karate Kids around 7.30 this evening after a thoroughly pleasant hour or so sitting in the cafe, sipping the odd beer and catching up with Michelle Dige (former Heart of England swimmer now based in Germany) and Ulf. There were still 24 heats of the men's 200 free to get through and then a mere 184 heats of the 50 fly.

200 freestyle was up today, yet again I ended up in the lane of death, what is it about this meet there are 10 lanes in these bl**dy pools and I've found myself in Lane 1 every time I've swum. Rubbish 200 free although maybe not quite as rubbish as I was anticipating.

Didn't even bother warming up cos the 5 lane 25 m warm up pit was just a tad crowded and I survived for a  whole 100 metres post race swim down, then spent the rest of the afternoon chilling on some sunbeds.

50m breaststroke at some time tomorrow night, perhaps the most unpredictable of the events, oh yeah I move from the lane of death to the only marginally better lane 2. Better watch my start!

200 free
100 swim down
300 total

Monday 11 June 2012

Binge's Adventures Abroad Day 3 (including an encounter with the World Championship's Temporal Anomaly)

As predicted with 3 events today the world and his wife converged on the pool  and the place was simply stowed off.  There's a lot of outdoor space for swimmers to set up camp around the pool but by 3pm this afternoon trying to find a spare spot of grass to park yourself was rapidly becoming a bit of a challenge. The competition started at 7.30am with the warm up at 6.30, not surprisingly I dipped out of the opportunity to test out the outdoor pool at that time of the morning.

My roommate Meritorious Jen however didn't swim yesterday and was keen to try it out so she left the Villa at some infeasible time in the middle of the night. Returning to kick me out of bed for breakfast announcing that the pool had been chocker, chaotic and a complete waste of time. (leaving me feeling just a little smug).

Jen, myself and the Karate kids were all swimming the 100 breaststroke, so we calculated it would start at about 1.30 and planned to arrive at the pool by 1pm. Yet again we encountered the Temporal Distortion Field that surrounds these events. I've been to enough of these things to know that time marches to a completely different drum at a FINA event so it should have come as no surprise that they were running late. 

I eventually made it into the water at about 3.45pm and yet again was assigned Lane 1 (lane of death). Better swim than yesterday and improved about 9 places. The winner of my age group just went 1.15.50 I mean that is just uneffingbelievable.

Anyway as I write this it's 19.24pm and they are 28 heats through the men's 100 breaststroke, only another 102 to go! Honestly  you've got to be here to appreciate the scale of this thing, there were 224 heats of the men's 100 freestyle that's nearly 1300 swimmers. We've just driven past the pool on the way home and at 9.52 pm they were still going; that's a seriously long day. (did you spot the little bit of time travel here as I stopped blogging at 7.24 to go and find some food.) 

So after dinner in the company of Batman and Robyn who arrived on their supercharged hotel Batbikes, we set off to try and find our way home. Could Binge and The Karate Kids make it to the Villa avoiding the deadly dirt track? Fortunately you don't have to tune in next week at the same bat time on the same bat channel because I can announce that we've finally worked out how to get back to where we're staying avoiding that particular piece of unmetalled road. 

We discovered that the problem appears to be, where Tomtom wants to bring us off the main road, the junction is closed, but no one told poor Tom. Sumo solved this problem tonight with the most spectacular U turn across 4 lanes of traffic. A piece of driving that was truly worthy of an Italian! and confused the hell out of Tomtom.

I'm deciding at the moment whether to spend my day off watching the relays on Thursday or to simply chill in the extremely pleasant surroundings of our temporary home mmh that's a hard one particularly as I know that by Thursday I'll have had 4 full on days of this madness and World Championship Fatigue Syndrome will be creeping in.

Today's yardage
Warm up
600 swim
2 x 50's 12.5 metres hard 12.5 metres easy
100 Breast 1.29.58
800 swim down
1600 metres

Binge Abroad Day 2

The 14th World Masters Swimming Championships opening day had one event, the 800 free style; a mind boggling 1300+ competitors. The event started at 7.30 this morning and I figured that I'd be in the water around 2.30 3pm, wrong, I eventually started swimming (excruciatingly poorly) at 5.10pm. You can imagine that this is the aquatic equivalent of watching paint dry.

The pool was fairly busy but I reckon that by tomorrow the place will be really packed out. It's all about trying to stick to your own race plan, despite the noise and bustle and unpredictable time table.

An early decision to have lunch on arrival at the pool, turned out to be a sensible one as I wolfed down an extremely healthy (!) sausage sandwich, (carefully considered and selected for its nutritious value! Yeah right it just smelt great!)

They adopted a really interesting marshalling system, firstly and thankfully you marshalled outside the pool, away from those horrible cramped and claustrophobic call rooms they used in 2004, you turned up about three heats before you thought you were going to swim and they simply called you out in your competitor numbers until they had a full heat. Very efficient and quite simple but I wondered what happened when they arrived at the penultimate heat and found they only had 11 swimmers would the fastest swimmer (theoretically anyway) have the chance to swim in splendid isolation as Billy no mates?

Fortunately I didn't have to worry about that problem being ranked at 374. Eventually, my number was up and I was called out to find that I was assigned the lane of death again. Lane 1. Aargh what a horrible swim, I'd felt pretty good in the warm up but I hit the water and it was like swimming through treacle. I have to confess by about 150 I was seriously considering stoping and by 400 I figured I should just treat this as a warm up. I was spectacularly last in my heat and so far behind the rest that the scoreboard had been switched off by the time I finished.

Warm up
600 metres steady
2 x 50's 25 hard 25 easy
800 race....bleargh 12:12.21
300 swim down

Sunday 10 June 2012

Binge Abroad Day 1

So after an absolutely manic 10 days with no time to blog, things started to fall into place; Swimming Times articles submitted just about on deadline, drinks reception arranged, new passport arrives (with 48 hours to spare) and after a 17 hour day in the office, at 12.10am on Saturday morning finally escape from work, I reckoned I'd covered enough of the contingencies that were likely to arise in the next 10 days to enable my liberation;  

I arrive home, pack, 4 hours sleep, (well almost)
 make it to the airport to catch up with the Karate Kids, Sumo and Judo, and leave a very wet and rainy Newcastle for the (initially) wet and rainy Adriatic coast of Italy. Chilled drive down to Riccione from Venice and en route we are struck by the realisation that none of us has had the presence of mind to bring the details of where we are staying! 

2.30pm hit Riccione; navigation entirely on instinct and the combined intellect of Sumo and Binge (which might just scrape into double figures) surprisingly delivers us to the pool without any difficulty. Of course yet again none of us have brought a copy of our registration or any of the other bits of paper we might require, but no worries flash the new passport recieve accreditation and we're in, a very painless process. 

Next stop the British Drinks Reception a hastily organised but very successful couple of hours at La Spaggio del Cuore, catching up with the other Brits out here. Then back to the pool for a swim, mental note to self, it's never great swimming after a couple of glasses of Prosecco and a beer or few, but successfully road tested both pools (mainly the outdoor. An inspired choice of time to swim as the pool was pretty quiet and the sun was setting; it made for an atmospheric early evening dip.

After a spot of dinner, the challenge of finding our accommodation. Smartphones to the rescue and having located the address off Facebook, tried to input the address in TomTom on my ipad (I'm giving away my gadget geekiness here) without success. No option but to navigate from a two inch iphone screen of google maps in the dark.

Sadly my eyesight is not what it was and Farneto and Farreto look very similar under these conditions, but are crucially quite different! The Karate Kids were extremely tolerant and patient but even they were exhibiting signs of anxiety as I took them off the road and up a dirt track which climbed a very steep hill. 

Praying this wasn't a dead end as there was no way that we could turn the car around on the dirt track without ending in a ditch; and reversing down the hill in the pitch black would be an entertaining experience, and probably wasn't a realistic option. At the top of the hill we found a metalled road but realised we were hopelessly lost. 

Expecting locals to speak English in rural Italy was probably always a bit of a stretch although we managed to understand "I haven't got my glasses" as we tried to show a native dog walker the address on the iphone. Anyway to cut a long and increasingly boring story short we stopped, turned round to retrace our steps and saw a sign for the Villa, (right at the top of the dirt track. So check in, bed and a straight 10 hours sleep bliss... just that 800 free tomorrow to worry about.

Warm up
800 meters mixed outdoors
4 x 25's dive in outdoor pool
1 x 50m in the indoor pool
2 x 25's for dive indoor pool
1150 metres