I am a runner

posted Jan 20, 2009, 8:55 AM by Craig Oney

I am a runner, that borrowed a bike, tried a triathlon and became a triathlete!  I stand on the waters edge and ask - why do I do this, I hate water. I don't like being cold, wet, I can't breathe, and those who know me I can't talk when I swim..."NO FUN".  

So I went on a couple of years doing triathlons - only to swim during the races themselves - that was enough swimming for me!!  Being in the fitness field as my day job, I started to listen to my own advice. I was telling people if they were going to improve their running/strength/flexibility, whatever it was that they wanted to improve that they needed to commit to stay consistent and try to at least get 3 times in a week of what they were trying to improve upon.  It only made sense that swimming is the same way, if I truly wanted to get better and not just make it through, I needed to practice.  So... I tried doing it on my own - finding open swims here and there, swimming a couple laps taking a break every other lap, trying to use the kick board for variety only to barley move.....it just wasn't working for me.  If I could find something else other than swimming to do - I would.  

So I joined the MWM- I think I have been a member for 3 years now, every year has gotten better.  Every year I swim more and learn more and it just feels more comfortable.  I still don't do flip turns- Yes Coach Dankert- I will work on that this year!  I have had great time drops in my swims over the last 2 years in my triathlons.  I feel more confident in the water, not only did it make my swim time drop, it helps me transition quicker and enjoy the races more.  I am thankful for the practices, it is the direction and help I need in the pool, coming from a running background.  I still haven't figured out all the swim lingo... and can't remember the order of an IM, thanks to my lane buddies I follow their lead.  

The MWM is a great group, I am sure glad I made that big "LEAP" into the pool!  

Thanks, Jenny Jackson-Powelka

I've had a great tri season thanks in part to the joining the Master's this spring

posted Sep 6, 2008, 7:46 PM by Craig Oney

I don't know how much of a testimonial it is, but I've been telling everyone that the only reason my swims have improved this season is because of the few short months working with the Master's this year at Kennedy.  Last year's Olympic was at Hy-Vee which was a challenging course with lots of turns compared to the triangular swim at Big Creek this year.  
This summer I really missed the workouts, the structure, the coaching and my swim buddies!  I hope it continues!

Thank you. Last year's Pigman Sprint swim: 10:49; this year: 9:37.  Last year's Olympic 44:56 (no wetsuit), this year's 34:47.  Last year's Pig 1/2; 48:09; this year: 42:20.  I bet that if I were able to get to the morning workouts this summer, my times would've been even better.  Except for the running, which has been hampered by injuries, I've had a great tri season thanks in part to the joining the Master's this spring.  I can actually feel that my swim stroke has improved.  Since only learning how to swim five years ago, my swimming has improved tremendously.  Nothing beats having a coach on deck to tell you what your doing wrong, to give direction and a regimen.

Thanks a lot, and thanks for volunteering!


swimming has become a very satisfying method of fitness

posted Sep 4, 2008, 7:17 AM by Craig Oney

I came to MWMasters around the first of this year, not being a very accomplished swimmer. I have never had any formal 'lessons' or been on any swim team. I more or less taught myself to swim over the years and, as a consequence, taught myself some inefficient and/or useless techniques. Since swimming with MWMasters, I have increased my efficiency (coach and others have given me pointers) and my endurance. So, if you hang in there, get some pointers, and swim on a regular basis, your swimming cannot help but improve and become more satisfying. I continue to swim in one of the 'slow' lanes, but swimming has become a very satisfying method of fitness.
Regards, Mark Snider

I couldn't have done it without John's help and all the great people in Milky Way Masters. THANK YOU!

posted Sep 2, 2008, 12:13 PM by Craig Oney   [ updated Sep 2, 2008, 12:15 PM ]

When I first joined Milky Way Masters, my swimming ability was somewhere in the beginner category.  I have always been able to swim, just not efficiently.  I first met John Dankert at a triathlon course for beginners at the MAC in Cedar Rapids.  This course helped significantly, but he told me if I wanted to be really good, I should check out MWM.  After two months of consistent practice and John's help, there was a night and day difference.  I went from being unsure if I would make it to the other end of the pool, to "let's see if I can swim two miles in today's practice."  I improved my drill work, swimming technique, and overall time.  While all of this was happening, my comfort level in the water was increasing as well.
I just finished a 1.2 mile open water swim for a triathlon and felt great about it.  I couldn't have done it without John's help and all the great people in Milky Way Masters.  THANK YOU!
Bill Grabe

my stroke is so much better and I feel amazing in the water!

posted Sep 1, 2008, 2:29 PM by Craig Oney

“I have been swimming since middle school and after college I was still not ready to give it up. I was so excited when I saw that I could join the Masters. When I joined I was so far out of shape that I was nervous I wasn’t going to be able to keep up, but the practices were just my pace and the coach helped me improve. Now almost a year later, my stroke is so much better and I feel amazing in the water!”


Little did I know that I would actually complete the 2.4 mile swim in the Gulf of Mexico in 1 hour and 20 minutes

posted Aug 19, 2008, 10:31 AM by Craig Oney

When I registered  for Ironman Florida, I knew that I had to get serious about this event. I knew that my swim times at that point were iffy and could possibly prevent me from even finishing the swim part on time. I was doing 40-45 minute miles at the time with no ocean experience. I talked to a friend about this and he immediately recommended Milky Way Masters. I thought I'd give it a try and after a few sessions, I could feel a difference. I faithfully got up and attended the 5:30 AM sessions, along with half of the Saturday sessions. Through John's coaching and advice, I felt confident that I would complete the swim part of Ironman in time. Little did I know that I would actually complete the 2.4 mile swim in the Gulf of Mexico in 1 hour and 20 minutes. I thank John and Milky Way Masters for cutting THIRTY MINUTES off of my swim time!

Have a terrrific day!


I never thought I would be a "Swimmer", but I am now!

posted Aug 19, 2008, 7:33 AM by Craig Oney

When I joined the MWMasters in February 2008, I was at VERY Beginner level.  I basically knew how to doggy paddle and keep myself afloat.  I always knew what the freestyle and breaststroke looked like though!
My first day at the Masters was intimidating, but everyone was so encouraging and motivating.  The on-deck coaches walked me through, stoke-by-stroke, breath-by-breath.
As Coach John Dankert says, I have come a long way.  My first Triathlon was the PigMan Sprint, June 1st, 2008.  I finished the .5K (547 yard) swim in just under 12 minutes and even helped someone to safety on the way in!
Because of MWMaster's training, I feel comfortable in open and deep water and my breathing has become much more relaxed.
I never thought I would be a "Swimmer", but I am now!
Rachel Reed
Iowa Masters Member since 2/11/08
US Masters Swimming

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