The success of our members is our reward.
I've been a member of Swim Las Vegas for over two years. After moving to Vegas in Christmas of 2008, I was keen to find a masters swim group that swam more freestyle than most others. Coming from a swimming background at high school, I was initially skeptical that I could improve on my swim stroke or my swim times frankly, but I was proven wrong so very quickly. I asked Coach Paul, "can you make me faster?" to which he replied "absolutely, without a doubt"...and with that we set about to get 'er done!
Paul and Kara plan their training sessions around goals and goal #1 for me was to break 30 minutes for the swim portion of my next Half Ironman. This would mean knocking at least three minutes off my previous race times. In August 2009, I came out of the water at Vineman in 29 minutes, tick, goal number#1 done. Goal # 2, a little more ambitious for sure but I wanted to break 60 minutes in the 2009 Silverman swim portion of the race. Paul trained me hard and week after week I slowly but surely was able to push out faster times during those hard interval sessions. In November 2009, I exited the water in 59 minutes - goal #2 done! Thank you Paul for pushing me to success in 2009, your dedication to my training was flawless and you definitely made me realize I could swim faster at age 41!
In March 2010, I was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect that had gone undetected for 41 years. Emergency open-heart surgery was required to fix my heart and prevent it from failing. I had already signed up for the 2010 Ironman Arizona race which was to be held in November 2010 but heart surgery brutally halted any training or frankly any notion of being able to realize my dream. Paul, however never gave up hope and even when I was in the hospital, he was still planning and discussing my return to training. In July 2010 I was able to get back to training to some degree and under Paul's watchful eye, once again I started to improve my times and my fitness level. My doctors were amazed at my recovery and finally gave me the green light to compete in the Ironman.
On November 17, 2010 I began my Ironman day in Arizona in Tempe town lake. The lake was cold, the wind was up and the clouds were preventing the sun from shining through but for me the swim portion of the race was fantastic, and there was never a doubt that I would post a good time. I felt great the whole way and my pacing was perfect, all thanks to coach Paul, who had religiously gone over this with me countless times in training. Paul, keen to watch my race live, had driven from Vegas to Arizona to see me compete. I exited the water in 1 hour and 3 minutes but better than that I felt relaxed and ready to take on the rest of the day, 112 miles of riding and a full 26.2 miles of running - bring it on! I heard Paul shout my name from the crowds which just spurred me on further. 12 hours and 37 minutes later, I crossed the finish line and heard my name "Ellen Charnley, you are an Ironman" - never have I felt so alive.
Paul was waiting for me at the finish line and gave me a bear hug that nearly crushed my poor worn out body. I realized my dream, almost 8 months since Open heart surgery. I could not have achieved this without Swim Las Vegas.
Kara and Paul have created a phenomenal training experience, which works for every level of athlete from the elite to the beginner. They focus on swimming for triathlons and it works, they simply 'get it'. Thank you Paul and Kara for helping me realize my dream.
I first met the team a week before the 2009 RAGE Triathlon and have been swimming with them since. One day I joined the group for an open water swim.I have never had any formal training on the freestyle stroke and was only swimming 800 m in a pool.Wow, I was in for a surprise!
Their warm-ups were 400 m and then they kept on swimming to the different buoys over and over again! I was trying to keep up and swim straight, but my sighting was way off! Kara was so nice that she stayed with me when I fell behind and tried to teach me how to sight the buoy and swim straight. Even though, I didn’t train with them during the RAGE training series, her comments helped me so much for the swim on the RAGE. I listened to what she said and was able to stay in the middle of the pack and swim straight on the course!
After Rage, I was able to take a stroke clinic and learned the correct technique I never knew how efficient a swim stroke should be until I joined the club. The weekly workouts helped too, which reinforced the stroke drills and increased my endurance.
When we moved to the open water, I noticed that there is definitely a difference between swimming in a pool and at the lake. I believe swimming at the lake is more difficult because you cannot see the bottom and you do not have lap lanes to help you swim straight. Kara and Paul were in their kayaks as support, but also as coaches. They were able to look at my stroke and coach me in ways that I can improve in the open water. This has helped me be more of a confident swimmer in the lake.
During the group training plan, the coaches were able to design workouts specifically suited to help me swim more efficiently. They always offered quick feedback to any comments that I had and even coached me during the week! Even though, the race distance was 1600 m, they had me swimming up to 3500m. I never thought I could be able to swim that much! It was just five months ago, that all I did to train for the RAGE was swim 800 m!
I participated in the Amica Sprint Tri in September. From their training plans and coaching support, I was able to take off 2 minutes from my 800m RAGE swim time. I also successfully finished the 1600m swim, under my timed goal, at the Pumpkinman, and was not fatigued when I transitioned to the bike.
Now, I am able to maintain my swim endurance of 2000m and I don’t get bored swimming!
Just because I learned the correct swim technique, doesn’t mean I have mastered it by any means, so I will look forward to swimming with the club in 2010!
-Jennifer P., Las Vegas, NV
Now, I am a Swimmer!
I'm a runner! For many years, my wife (she's a triathlete!) has been trying to get me to swim and bike more so we can actually spend
some time together. Before we moved to Las Vegas I took a couple of swimming lessons at a friends place last year but really wasn't inspired — it was just nice to go for a dip at lunchtime frankly.
We moved to Las Vegas over Christmas and my wife managed to persuade me to sign up for a four week stroke clinic— which I was soon to learn was nothing about styling hair or massage techniques.
Off we went to the pool. It was cold.
Needless to say I lived in dread of the following three Saturday mornings.
I really had a hard time not breathing properly and so I would pull my entire head out of the water gasping for a breath and putting my swimming brakes on every two strokes. Needless to say—not a very stylish or stealth like approach to gliding through the water.
The coaches were quite patient with me and pointed out different things I needed to work out—some parts of the stroke improved. It wasn't until I had my 5 minutes of fame on camera (the underwater video taping) that a penny suddenly dropped. Elle and I went along for the DVD sessions and Elle was an Oscar winner. I on the other hand was like something out of Dumb and Dumber…no nominations expected. Paul and Kara did point out very clearly though the things that were causing me to swim backwards and I actually couldn't wait to go and practice.
Much to Ellen's surprise, I actually did just that and went and practiced during the week—without prompting —on my own—unsupervised! Stunned by my enthusiasm Ellen then mentioned Rage. I couldn't understand why she was so angry… I thought she'd be pleased that I was into the training. Of course I then realized she was talking about the Rage Triathlon, and I said "Oh that's nice" and carried on running.
Anyway - we signed up for the Rage training sessions—four weeks in the the pool that was like a hot bath compared to the 55 degree Lake Mead which followed. One morning in I just felt like it was working and the following week I really WAS gliding in the water. Hurray for Swim Las Vegas! I was caught by the bug and I signed up for Rage. The swim certainly wasn't easy, but on the way back into shore I actually felt like I was gliding a bit and really enjoyed it—who would have imagined I'd have that feeling a couple of months earlier.
Now I'm a swimmer!”
—Donald B., Las Vegas, NV