Breaststroke, you see, is in harmony with the universe.
Fun, Non-traditional Events
41-Minute Breaststroke Postal
Why should plodding freestylers own all of the distance and postal events?
Have a separate Breaststroke Postal. Half an hour (30 minutes) sounds a little whimpy, so go for 41 minutes, which is a nice arbitrary figure that allows a warm-up, swim, warm-down, and a congratulatory drink of Gatorade (or whatever), all within a one-hour time period. Add a little food afterwards and now you've got a real event.
Everyone who swims it could get a custom T-shirt, but there's no need for other awards, other than maybe bragging rights. Keep the entry costs down to just the shirt and postage to mail it to participants. Besides, we know that all breaststrokers are innate winners to begin with.
Okay, I had to go to the dictionary for this one. I know two events is a biathlon, three is a triathlon, five is a decathlon, and ten is a pentathlon, but my working knowledge of Greek didn't include the number "nine." It's neun, or at least that's what my trusty old Webster's New World Dictionary, College Edition, says it is. Hence the Neunathlon. Plus, it sounds neat to say: neunathlon!
Here's how it might work. During a single calendar year, keep track of best times in the 50/100/200 short course yards breaststroke, the 50/100/200 long course meters breaststroke, and the 50/100/200 short course meters breaststroke. Then, at the end, add the nine times together.
Send copies of your meet's breaststroke stickies or other official documentation of the times to a central location for compilation, and voila!
See who are the top Breaststroke Neunathletes. It sounds cool to say that, too.
It's T-shirts for everyone!
Fun at Traditional Events
Who ever said that the 400-meter or 500-yard free has to be done freestyle? Do it breaststroke instead!
In fact, get some fellow breaststrokers together, have each person put down 12:30.00 for a seed time so you'll all be in the same heat, and have a distance breaststroke event just for yourselves.
I did the 500-yard breaststroke at the St. Pete Masters Short Course Championships in 2002 and actually enjoyed the event; it was much more pleasant than a harried sprint (although I rarely harry anywhere for any reason, but it's the thought). So I swam the 500 free doing all breaststroke, focusing on turns, long pull downs and glides, breathing every other stroke, and counting strokes for each 25.
I had ulterior motives, though, rather than just messing with everyone's mind. However, that turned out to be an added bonus. I was going to the USMS SCY Nationals in Honolulu six weeks later and wanted to do well in the 200 breaststroke. It worked -- I finished 7th at Nationals, taking 6 seconds off my previous lifetime best, and I also medaled in the 50 and 100 breast. I'll never be a Top 10 swimmer, but as long as I improve my stroke and times, I'm happy.
And to answer your question, I finished the 500 freestyle race at St. Pete in 5th place in my age group. To answer your next question, yes, there were more than five swimmers in the event. And to answer your last question, no, I wasn't the last one in my heat either.
©2004-2007 Dick Brewer