My name is Vicky, and I am a retired nurse midwife. My husband and I live in the mountains north of San Jose, Costa Rica at 6,200 feet above sea level.
We have 4 dogs: 3 Great Danes and 1 very spoiled Golden Retriever. I also have 3 daughters and 2 grandsons who live in the U.S. I spend my summers in Sausalito, California with my daughter. While I am there, I swim with the North Bay Aquatics Masters Team. Go Tuna! I also enjoy swimming in the San Francisco Bay.
I am one of 4 “old lady” masters swimmers on the Milenio Masters Swim Team in Escazu, Costa Rica. I compete in national and international Masters meets, along with local open water events here.
My Swimming Story
I can’t remember when I couldn’t swim. As a child, my mother and grandmother would drop us at the pool while they played golf. I remember spending hours and hours at the pool and loving it.
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When I was a young adolescent we moved to Massachusetts and I started summer league swim team. Year round clubs were not readily available at the time. I spent my summers at Lake Winthrop, where we had swim practice in the lake between 2 rafts. I learned to water ski and took a Red Cross Lifesaving class, too.
Jump ahead to my mid-thirties, when my oldest daughter became an avid swimmer. After dropping her at the pool for early morning practice I would drive across town to the other pool for Masters swim practice. I also dabbled in Masters synchro.
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When I moved to Costa Rica, I started swimming and using the gym at the Colegio de Medicos. I saw a poster for an open water event and decided to train for it. The editor of “Outdoor Swimmer,” Simon Griffiths, was offering a free training plan for a 1500m open water race, so I downloaded it and started swimming 3 times a week.
I competed in several open water events that year (2016) and at every event I would go from tent to tent asking folks which team they trained with. Finally I found a team in my area and I joined immediately! I competed in my first swim meet in October 2016.
Swimming has been amazing for my health as I age. It helps me maintain my weight and manage my asthma.
I started swimming Masters back in the bad old days when we swam with our heads elevated, a thumb entry and an S curve pull. After about 5 years I started having a lot of shoulder pain and in spite of therapy I was never really able to swim on a regular basis.
In 2016, my shoulder pain got out of control. After a long year of therapy, surgery for a labral tear, 6 months of rehab and no swimming, I regained full range of motion and strength in that arm. I am now meticulous about technique and am cautious with paddles because I want to keep swimming for many more years!
My Swimming Goals
I am a middle distance swimmer so I am looking to get faster in the 200 backstroke, 400 freestyle and 200 freestyle. As always, I am trying to improve both my speed and my technique. In short course meets I swim the 100IM, but my butterfly is still not strong enough for the 200IM — that is another goal!
I also plan to compete in all of the open water swims that I can this year. I am planning to do the 5k across Culebra Bay in Papagayo this November. It will be the first time I have swum it since my shoulder surgery! Next year I would like to go for a 10k event and possibly swim the width of Lake Tahoe. If the Panamericano Masters Meet In Colombia happens in 2021, I will most likely participate.
Before the pandemic hit I trained for 90 minutes 5 days a week with my team. Right now I can only train 4 days a week for 75 minutes because of Coronavirus restrictions. Even though it’s not my usual routine, I am so happy to be back in the water!
How I Use MySwimPro
I swim with a coach so I use MySwimPro on my Apple Watch to record my workouts and review my splits, heart rate and weekly meters on my phone afterward. I have logged more than 244 workouts — and almost 600,000 meters — in the app!
Right now I am working on my pacing for 200 free and 400 free, and the analytics in the app give me amazing feedback to help me track my progress. Knowing that I can review my stats later helps me stay present mentally during practice!
I am a devoted Whiteboard Wednesday fan and watch all of the technique videos in the app, too.
My Tips for New Swimmers
- Don’t Get Discouraged During Breaks: The first 2 weeks starting or after a break are the hardest – stick with it!
- Focus on Technique: For Masters swimmers of any age, the most improvement comes from refining technique, unless you have swum all of your life!
- Prioritize Injury Prevention: Good technique also prevents injuries, so don’t skimp on drills and other technique work! Make sure you take recovery days and get enough sleep, too.
- Get a Swim Parka: Trust me, you will be happy to have it!