Article image

by Richard S Bober

July 19, 2000

Keeping swimming constant

Richard S. Bober lives in Charlotte, N.C., and swims for North Carolina Masters Swimming. He writes: "For the last 23 years, the only consistent thing in my life has been Masters competitive swimming. I have had several jobs, lots of different friends, and a variety of other great experiences, but Masters competitive swimming is the one thing that has remained constant.

Since my involvement on the national level at the age of 25, I have been nationally ranked in at least one swimming event in each of those years. Some years the streak has been in jeopardy. In 1990, I had just started a new business, and my wife was expecting our first child. As a result, it was very difficult to find time to go to any meets, which are mostly out-of-town. The one meet I was able to attend that year was in my hometown of Charlotte. At 7:13 p.m., the night before the meet, my wife gave birth to our first child. I stayed at the hospital for the best portion of the evening. The meet the next day started at 1:00 p.m. I went by the hospital that Saturday very early in the morning. By meet time, all our visitors were encouraging me to go to the meet. Even my wife felt it was important for me to go because she knew I had a long, consecutive streak of national rankings. I swam one event, the 200-meter backstroke, in which I attained a ranking of second in the nation for the year. Thus, the streak continued. My best accomplishment in Masters competitive swimming is setting a world record, 30.30 seconds in the 50-meter backstroke for the 45-49 age group in 1996.

Swimming has been a very good emotional and physical outlet for me. Through Masters competitive swimming, I have been able to visit some outstanding, beautiful places, including Montreal and Quebec de Ville, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Kentucky, Indiana, New England and Florida. In these places I have been able to meet very interesting people from all walks of life.

My best workouts are generally 3,000 to 3,200 yards. I like long, slow warm ups of approximately 1,000 yards. I next kick about 500 yards for time. This is followed by 700 to 1,000 yards of stroke drills. The workout is then completed, with the balance being short, interval sprints with 100 seconds rest between each. I follow this routine for 13 days with a day off on the 14th day. I only work out like this for about two months prior to a big meet for which I peak. The rest of the year I swim about four times per week, putting in about 1,500 to 2,000 yards per swim. As a result, I have been able to maintain a weight of 165 pounds, a pulse of 45 beats per minute and a steady blood pressure of 120/80.