You know what's funny? I sort of think of myself as a swimmer... and a I think a lot of other people sort of see me as a swimmer... but in reality, I pretty much always just get my ass handed to me at every swim workout I do. I guess that's because somehow I seem to find/attract people who are a good bit faster than me to train with. So in comparison to my training partners, I'm definitely not the one you should be calling a swimmer.
I've pretty much given up on ever trying to keep up with Nalani in the pool anymore. I think when on every swim of every set of every workout I see how far ahead she always is (um, pretty much can't even see her feet on a 100 anymore) somehow I just fall into my own little world as soon as we push off the wall and don't even bother trying. Not sure that's a good way for me to go about it (maybe I should try a little harder to keep up?) but I recognize that I rationalize in my head when she starts to pull away and I just let it happen because it's just the way of the world or something?
Enter Mark. Mark is actually a really good swimmer but he is currently quite out of shape after having not been in the water for a while. He swam with us a couple years ago and he's fun and funny and likes to joke and have a good time while we are killing ourselves (and each other). He showed up out of the blue last week and Nalani and I were stoked to see him! (And of course we gave him some crap about how he totally disappeared for like 15 months.) He started the 38x200's with us last week but bailed after like 24... which honestly is fairly impressive that he made it that far given it was his second swim back! But then he showed up again this morning right on time ready for more and we got right to it.
So Mark was just crushing me in the beginning of the workout this morning... seriously like 10" on the first fast 100... BUT it was a 2K main set and after about 500 of it I could see that he was starting to come back to me. Hmmm. At the wall before a fast 200 in the middle of the set I asked Mark "Can you smell it?" He didn't know what I was talking about... "I smell blood," I told him with a smile (and a <sniff sniff>) and then immediately we pushed off the wall and I swam right on his shoulder for that whole 200. We were both just killing ourselves full on racing and it was awesome. We did it that way for the rest of the set... jamming into each wall like there was a touchpad and a gold medal at stake... 5" rest then go at it again... It was absolutely awesome! At the end of the set today I told Mark that I was pretty sure he was going to be the best thing to happen to my swimming this year. :)