Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It's A Small World At The Top

In Austin, I swim with a very accomplished and focused masters group.  Whitney coaches with an iron fist wrapped in a velvet glove, and the facility makes every practice feel like the regular-guy Olympics. 

Since I took up triathlon, I have struggled to find a similar masters group in Madison with which I can swim while home visiting.  The groups I have tried are unfocused or inefficient, swimming in laughable facilities (20 yard hotel pool, anyone?), or simply not interested in allowing drop-ins, even those who pay.

In October, I saw a flyer at my Gold's Gym advertising free drop-in swimming with the gym's masters group.  It was worth a try; I could always leave mid-swim.

The coach's name was Beth, and despite being completed in a new, but four-lane, high-lipped, shadowy gym pool, the workout was meant for serious swimmers.  She walked the deck with a stop-watch, calling out splits and encouragement.  On the way out, I saw another advertisement for kids' swim lessons, also with Beth "a double gold medal winner."  Hmmm.

So I Googled and I found this.

Whitney (left), Beth (middle), Kriel (RSA, right)
Beth beat Whitney in the 100m back at the 1996 Olympics in Athens.  Beth was 15 at the time.  That same Olympics they both swam on the 4 x 100m medley relay and won gold.

At the next practice I told Beth that Whitney was my coach in Austin, and we laughed at the random ways of the world.  She said "wow, it's a small world."  I said "yeah, at the top."

Not to mention the group's other coach is Cindy Bannick, who coached Gwen Jorgensen to this year's Olympics.  Between them there are no easy practices.

If anyone is looking for a masters group in Madison or the surrounding area, I really recommend Beth's at the Gold's Gym in Fitchburg.  I've experimented with any number of groups, especially in Madison, and I hope these swimmers realize just how lucky they are to receive such high-quality coaching in a gym pool in a suburb of a medium-ish-sized Midwestern city.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...