"Keep doing what I'm doing"
Like many of our 1998 Masters Swimmers of the Year, Lavelle Stoinoff had a prolonged absence from the sport. After competing as a youngster, it wasn't until age 44 that she began again because her daughter was swimming and she wanted to lose weight. Her first event was a 1650 in which she did poorly. "I was upset, got energized and won nationals the next year," she says.
Those words seem to characterize Stoinoff's assault on age group records. Currently, she owns world marks in the 400-, 800-, and 1500-meter freestyle and the 200-meter back (5:54.90, 12:23.32, 23:42.01,3:16.02). She also holds women's 65-69 national records in the 200-, 500-, and 1650-yard free (2:32.93, 6:45.03, 23:09.53).
On the way, she has benefited from a variety of "great coaching," including training in age group workouts from ages 50 to 58. Earlier, in her mid 40s, she had one coach who emphasized stretching. Today, she stretches 15 minutes a day with rubber cords—after weights (every other day) and before she enters the pool.
Pool time consists of 5:15 to 7 a.m. supervised workouts six days a week at the 18,000-member Multnomah Athletic Club in Portland. Two days are long course, the rest are short course with average yardage at 4,000-plus. A typical main set might be 20 x 100 on 1:35. She also jumps rope and runs two miles on the days she is not lifting.
Stoinoff also eats well, monitoring her fat intake. "Carbohydrates are my downfall. My husband loves to cook, and I eat a lot of Power Bars after I swim."
Her goals for 1999? "Try to keep healthy and keep my body in halfway decent shape, improve my stroke and keep doing what I'm doing." The healthy part is important because she has had two rotor cuff surgeries in the past that required almost a year of rehab.
Originally published in Swim magazine, March-April 1999