We're scheduled to have a time trial during our swim class tomorrow morning.
The whole point is to figure out our pace in the water for different distances.
I know my pace when I run and I get constant feedback as to whether or not I'm running the pace I want to run by simply glancing down at my watch.
Swimming is a different beast entirely. I am surprised more often than not when I finish a 50m, 100m or 200m sprint and Christine tells us our time. Sometimes I felt like I was flying and she'll tell me a number that was slower than expected. Just as often, I'll feel like I'm fighting against the water and she'll tell me a time that's much faster than expected. You can't judge your speed based on how fast the scenery goes by because there isn't any scenery...other than the odd hair elastic lying on the bottom of the pool. You can't judge based on the person beside you because you don't always know if they're swimming faster, slower or the same speed as they were the last time you swam beside them.
Time trials are helpful because they help you figure out your personal pace for certain distances and then you can get a better idea of your progress and your performance on any given day. Because, when it comes down to it, it's just you against the clock.
The first (and only) time I did a time trial, I had to swim 200m and then 800m. The 200m was ok as it was only 8 lengths of the pool. I headed off at a pretty good clip and was able to sustain it the entire time. The 800m was much harder because it was 32 lengths of the pool. It was impossible to keep track of how many I had done and I had no idea what pace I could sustain for that long. I started off at a conservative pace and was able to speed up towards the end which meant I had obviously been a little too conservative.
This time, we are swimming 300m but we are doing it three times - with breaks in between. The idea is that we can average out our times and get a more realistic number.
So tomorrow morning, we are going to take turns swimming 300m and then timing other swimmers as they swim 300m.
Let's see if my one-pace wonder skills kick in or if all three of my timed swims are completely different.
And let's see if my brand new bathing suit that I bought to replace the one that nearly disintegrated from the chlorine has any effect on my time...
By the way, buying a new swim suit is like buying a new pair of running shoes. The instant you put it on you realize how little support your old one was giving you.