A Day in the Life: Laura Smith, Day 1

DENVILLE, New Jersey, February 20. WE have a special treat for our Masters swimmers this week as three-time USMS All-American and former 18-24 800 SCM freestyle USMC record holder Laura Smith checks in for a week on the hot seat of the "A Day in the Life" series on SwimmingWorldMagazine.com.

As Laura will explain in her first entry today, her participation came about in a much different way than most of our Day in the Lifers. Typically, we either seek out specific people we'd like to hear from, or accept volunteers that would offer an interesting week for our dedicated series readers. (Feel free to drop Jason Marsteller a line if you'd like to suggest a specific person to be part of the series.)

However, Laura came to us as one of a few people that voiced some concern about the extremely high bar Dennis Baker set during his run as the first Masters swimmer in the series, which can be found here.

You can read the rest of what happened in Laura's words.

Monday, February 19, 2007, Day 1
To initiate my weekly entries, I feel like it's necessary to outline why I was selected to outline my life in the "A Day in the Life" series. I am not a former Olympian, Trials qualifier, or Division I superstar. Quite simply, I complained. I sent a letter to Jason [Marsteller] and the staff of Swimming World Magazine after I had finished reading Dennis Baker's incredible outline of his week, and I "innocently" asked them to profile a more "typical" Masters swimmer in the future. For as amazing as Dennis Baker's career has been throughout the years, I wanted the column's readers to understand that his training is generally not the norm for most Masters swimmers. The moral of this story is that I need to be more careful of what I complain about in the future. (Editor's note: We're really excited to see Laura's week play out, and welcome any comments on our site.)

Statistics from US Masters Swimming (USMS) vary, but about 30 to 40% of all registered USMS members compete in sanctioned meets. There are many incredible examples of USMS swimmers achieving amazing, jaw-dropping times throughout all age groups, and I envy their biomechanical skill, dedication to training, and commitment to personal excellence through goal-setting and competition. The remaining 60 to 70% swim for a wide variety of reasons: fitness, health, friendship, being part of a team, or it's just simply fun. In my mind, it really doesn't matter if you're a competitive Masters swimmer or not, for all adult swimmers are united by a love of the sport of swimming and what it does for our lives.

I consider myself a "typical" USMS member. I swim four or five days a week (sometimes three…I have to be honest). I do not have a coach. I write my own workouts, and my entire training schedule revolves around a busy pool schedule at my YMCA and my very busy life. I swim workouts when there are general lap lanes available, so that means 5:30 a.m. most days. I swim alone on some days, guarding my "side" of the lane like a shark to prevent people from circle swimming with me. I have several workout buddies that inspire and motivate me. I wish I had more hours in my day for dryland, weights, and some running, but with a full-time job and two young children and a husband, something has to give.

I guarantee that there are many USMS members with the exact same profile. But what makes me a little different is that I am preparing for my first meet in seven years. The meet is a small, local USMS event in New Jersey, and I am tapering this week. I used to be an elite USMS swimmer, with national age group records, multiple All American swims, and numerous Top 10s. Then I climbed the corporate ladder and had two children, and my swimming life changed. My workouts this week are geared towards the meet on Sunday, Feb. 25, but it's been so long since I've tapered that I am kind of clueless. I have an incredibly sore left shoulder, so I am doing more fin work than I typically would have done at this stage of a taper back in the day:

Here was today's workout at 5:30 a.m. by myself, all yards. Honestly, I felt terrible, and I can tell that I am babying my shoulder.
Warm Up:
200 swim / 200 kick with fins, no board / 200 IM, all drill / 200 free, all drill, swim continuously
4 x 50 descend 1 to 4 on :45, all free

Main Set:
5 x 150: #1 & #5) 50 fly drill, 50 kick no board, 50 fast swim free. #2 & #4) 50 back drill, 50 kick no board, 50 fast swim free. #3): 50 breast drill, 50 kick no board, 50 fast swim free. All with fins, all on 2:10.
5 x 100: All free, no fins. Descend 1 to 3, and hold the fastest one for #4 and #5. All on 1:30.
5 x 75: All kick, with fins, with effort. All on 1:05.
5 x 50: 25 drill stroke, 25 free, no fins. All on :50.
5 x 25: All free, no fins, on :30
100 cool down

Thanks again to Swimming World Magazine for giving me the opportunity to profile another side of Masters swimming! Stay tuned!

Keep Swimming,

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