Tuesday, March 06, 2007


In the Navy, it was common to receive tests back with the cryptic scribbling "RTWQ!" scrawled across the answer to a question. It was also common to see a note indicating how many points were lost on that question.

RTWQ is shorthand for Read The Whole Question. The implication is that the answer provided by the student was good, and might have warranted full points if it had only answered the entire question. Generally, RTWQ was all the student needed to figure out why points were lost. They would reread the question, see the part they missed in the fog of testing, and slap their head on the table. Hard, if they happened to do exceptionally poorly on the test.

That is what was going through my head during my swim workout, this morning. If you can recall all the way back to yesterday, you'll recall I was giddy with excitement about the short swims of the week. Well, as long as we consider the "week" to end on Friday. Saturday, that's less exciting. Even so, the short swims of the week looked great.

So, this morning I'm headed to the pool thinking about my 1500 yard swim. That's barely a workout. I've done straight swims as part of longer workouts that exceeded 1500 yards. What a break. As I head to the pool deck, I'm start reading the set list. Warm up 300 yards by 25s, IM.

Okay, wait. Stop. IM? I don't suppose that stands for "Imagine what it will be like to be an IM finisher while you do this warmup." I've heard the term IM associated with swimming, before. That would be that butterfly, backstroke, breast stroke, freestyle thing. Well, that about flushes the "easy swim" thing down the drain.

Well, perhaps it can be modified just a bit. Butterfly isn't happening. How about just replacing it with a freestyle length. That should be doable. So, free, back, breast, free. Repeat three times. That will work for the warm up.

Main set. More of the same. Suddenly, 1500 yards looked a whole lot longer than it did on Sunday night. My "easy" swim got a whole lot more difficult.

Even so, I did complete the sets as modified. I even did an actual (using the term loosely) backstroke. Note to local YMCA. Now that I understand what those flags ABOVE the pool are for, I suggest we invest in a few.

I'm feeling it. And I know it will help. I understand better why others have said the backstroke helps you better understand rotation (because it's impossible to do the backstroke without good rotation). I feel different muscles being worked. And I know I can rely on alternative strokes in the event I need to in Louisville.

Now that I know to RTWQ, I might be more open to adding more IM sets in the future.


stronger said...

You mean you don't want to swim a 2.4m butterfly??

I don't know if you know: in the absense of flags- you can use the lane ropes. The solid color at either end is your indication to count strokes to the wall.

Ellie said...

You gonna do the IM swim as an IM? Heck, why not? Might finish fresher...