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Double Whammy Times Two

No matter how it’s done, finishing pool Long Distance Championships fills swimmers with a sense of satisfaction. Several members this summer went the extra miles and decided to knock out both the 5K and 10K in the same day. For members planning on competing in these two “postal” events, named because you complete the event on your own and mail your results in, the deadline for completing the swim is September 15 and the deadline for sending in your results is September 25.

Oregon Masters swimmer, Allen Larson, 57, first swam the 5K in 1:21:30.99, then immediately after, the 10K in 3:09:21.99. Why? Apparently it was his only shot at getting them both done in time in order to register with Ft. Lauderdale Aquatics and accommodate the requisite 60-day waiting period when changing teams. He needed to be registered with FLAQ so he could swim with his mother and sister on a family relay in Puerto Rico at the Summer Nationals.

He started at 7 a.m. and swam the 5K. He took a twenty-minute break, and then took on the 10K. “I thought I’d use it as a cool down, but it didn’t quite work out that well,” he says. At about 4500 he started feeling shoulder pain and had to begin alternating breathing sides and changed it up with some breaststroke. “I will never pull that stunt again,” he says.

Sarah Thomas, 28, who swims for Colorado Masters, also did the two swims in the same day. She did the 10K first, which she managed to even split, then she took a quick locker room break and got right back in and did the 5K, faster than the two 5s she split in the 10K.

Thomas is new to the pool long distance championship events and has found that they are useful training for her real passion: open water swimming. “I probably wouldn't have done them back to back like that if I wasn't using it as a training swim for Catalina,” writes Thomas. A few weeks after her 10K/5K day, she swam the Catalina Channel, a distance of 22 miles, in 9 hours and 6 minutes.

Unlike Larson, Thomas would consider doing the swims back to back again, and is indeed considering swimming the 3000 and 6000 yard Championships back to back when they start on September 15.

Both Larson and Thomas plan to complete all five long distance national championships. This year. For more information on these unique swims, visit the Long Distance page at usms.org.

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