From Islamorada back to Switzerland

This entry is part 11 of 18 in the series Race Club Diaries

Although I would have loved to stay longer, Friday, October 28, was the day I had to leave Islamorada, The Race Club and my new friends. My flight back to Switzerland was on a wonderful sunny and warm afternoon only one week after Wilma. By the time my plane took off, I knew that at home the winter season was about to begin and the “shorts and T-shirt” season was over for me. After 8 hours of flight time, our plane approached Zurich Unique Airport. It was so foggy that you could see absolutely nothing and I could only feel that the plane had landed.

But let me start a bit earlier and tell you something about my last day in Islamorada with The Race Club. My last day in Islamorada was a bit different from “the business as usual” day of which you have perhaps already read in one of my former diary entries. Besides, you should also know that almost every day in Islamorada is different from the day before even if there are some (nice) habits.

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All the Way to 2006!

This entry is part 12 of 18 in the series Race Club Diaries

It’s a long time ago since I last wrote on this diary entry. When I first started to write about what happened with me and my swim on the Short Course National last December I was always getting so badly excited in front of my notebook that I stopped only thinking about it. The only thing a wanted was to forget about it and never talk about this experience anymore

I needed to get some distance before I was able to write something that can be published on The Race Club website. And that’s the reason why it took me so long to share with you what I think all of you have a right to know it. It would be just not fair to write such positive things about The Race Club and their training methods. I was asking myself how I would feel if someone is saying me that he went through the best training program on earth and didn’t beat anyone, anywhere, anytime.

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What Keeps You Swimming?

This entry is part 13 of 18 in the series Race Club Diaries

For this diary entry I got inspired by the message board on The Race Club website. In these last days there had been made some very interesting posts like “The Art of Taper” or “The sprinter mentality”. And some great personal experiences had been shared.

I now start my 12th year in swimming (so still a rookie). And probably, like most of you, I have had moments of doubt where I was close to stop. Times where I worked so hard for success and earned so little and bad. But hey, I already knew that because one of my coaches once told me:

“Listen – Swimming is hard work and most of the time it pays badly (literally). But when it pays back for all the hard work that had been done, it will be a lifetime experience”

And he was right. Every time I reached my goals I forgot about the struggle before and was filled up with happiness. Although this is not the point of the story. I mean, why didn’t I stop in times where struggle and not success had affected my swim. Sometimes I had to wait 2 years to come back. How could I know that I would succeed again? What was it that kept me swimming?

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Jorge & Yolanda Caragol Masters Invitational

This entry is part 14 of 18 in the series Race Club Diaries

The best way to get your body used to swim fast is to race. For this reason, Saturday morning in Islamorada is race day. Warm-up and get ready to swim fast. Even better than race in workouts is to race in meets.

Somehow in the first part of your preparation cycle, the most important point is not always to swim your personal best but to get the effect of fast swimming. After two weeks of hard work in a camp, I was really happy to join the local Masters swimmer Tanya Hanson for the meet in Lauderhill.

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Still Trying to Catch the Green Flash

This entry is part 15 of 18 in the series Race Club Diaries

Good times – really bad summer weather in Switzerland brought me “back home” to Islamorada. Enjoy some sun and outside swimming that’s exactly what I needed to start my winter season. Another good reason for me to come back of course is that I still need to catch the Green flash.

Green flashes are “rare” optical phenomena that occur shortly after sunset or before sunrise, when a green spot is visible for a short period of time above the sun, or a green ray shoots up from the sunset point. It is usually observed from a low altitude where there is an unobstructed view of the horizon, such as on the ocean (so Islamorada in the Florida Keys should be a perfect place to catch it). Its explanation lies in refraction of light in the atmosphere and is enhanced by atmospheric inversions. Whilst we would expect to see a blue light, the blue is dispersed (this is why the sky is blue) and only the green light remains visible. With slight magnification, a green rim on the top limb of the solar disk can be seen on most clear-day sunsets. However, the flash or ray effects require a stronger layering of the atmosphere and a mirage which serves to magnify the green for a fraction of a second to a couple of seconds. And I was told that it is a good thing to see the green flash. Can’t say if it’s true or not, but I really would love to see a Green flash once.

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This entry is part 16 of 18 in the series Race Club Diaries

Yeah…me again. So if you’re tired reading my diary entries you should stop right away. Because I started this entry a long time ago and never really came to an end and so it got a bit long. Ever since I started to write after my last visit in February, I started to feed this entry with all the stuff (interesting or not) that came to my mind. Yes, I assume, I sort of “abuse” the platform I’m given, but maybe you like it? And if not, STOP reading further.

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As Good As It Gets / Among the Best – Part 1

This entry is part 17 of 18 in the series Race Club Diaries

Can it get any better than this? Try to image the following – You’re about 12 hours back in the Keys and after a first short swim in the morning you’re already out there on the sea to chase some lobster for dinner – read up to the end for the answer.

Only one way to start this diary entry. Let me officially announce that the World Team has a new favorite TV channel – the high definition spear fishing channel.

Sounds weird? … I guess it sure does! But what do you expect from a bunch of swimmers of which, after my knowledge, most would answer the following question with a YES.

“Would you like to be a professional spear fisher and/or lobster hunter?”

Okay, to make a long day (story) short, we’ve been out on the boat for most of the day hunting for our dinner and bringing in a couple of lobster and one fish speared by George.

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As Good As It Gets / Among the Best – Part 2

This entry is part 18 of 18 in the series Race Club Diaries

Lately, I was asked two questions. One of them was easy to answer because someone asked me the same question not a long time ago. The other one was kind of hard to answer on the spot, so I took some time to think about it the next day at breakfast.

Let me start with the question which was part of the table discussion the night I was invited to dinner by Gary Sr.:

“What can we do to make the camper’s (swimmer’s) experience even better?”

No answer that night, so I hope Gary Sr. will be reading this to finally get one. We figured out that I’ve been in the Keys quite a few times and that’s maybe why he thought I had an answer ready.

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Swim Miami 2011

This entry is part 19 of 18 in the series Race Club Diaries

Swim MiamiThe annual Swim Miami was held on April 9, 2011 in a new location at the Miami Yacht Club on Watson Island and Gary Sr, Richard and I were 3 of over 800 athletes to explore the waters that morning and enjoy one of South Florida’s premier open water swims.

The original Swim Miami began in 1989 by Jimmy Woodman, founder of, in conjunction with Florida Sports Magazine and continued successfully through 1998. In 2005, Miami Sports International, a subsidiary of Swim Gym Aquatics, led by four-year University of Florida swimmer Jonathan Strauss, restarted the event.

Miami Sports International helped to develop open-water swimming as an Olympic sport and now promote many other open water events.

Originally staged at the Miami Rowing Club in Key Biscayne, 2005 was also the year I participated for the first time in the Swim Miami while training in the Florida Keys with the Race Club. Swim Miami currently consists of four swims: a ten-kilometer swim, a four-kilometer swim, the traditional Miami Mile, and an eight hundred meter sprint race. Considering our current weekly training, all three of us decided to participate in the Miami Mile.

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