Catching up with Roxane Lyons

This week, we’ll get to know Roxane Lyons, one of our May T-Shirt Challenge winners! When did you start swimming and why?
Roxane: I’ve always loved the water and I grew up spending all of my summer days at the local swimming pool with my brothers. I competed in age group swimming with the summer swim team from about age 12 – 15 and loved it. The years went by and I still spent a lot of time at the pool and beach, but I didn’t compete again until three years ago when, after a 44 year break from competitions, I joined the Central Illinois Masters Swim Team.
I was inspired to start swimming again when my grandson started age group swimming. Hanging out at pools around the world (he’s a military kid) and watching him swim made me realize how much I missed it  – so I started swimming laps on my own. After about a year of doing that, I decided I needed a bigger challenge and jumped into Master’s swimming. My grandson is now 14 and is posting some amazing times – he’s much faster than me –  but it’s great to have a common bond and it’s always fun talking swim strategy with him. When he was 11 or 12 he told me that he enjoys beating swimmers that are older than he is. I told him that I enjoy beating swimmers who are younger than I am. It made me wonder when that dynamic changes. But we both know that, while it’s fun to compete and even more fun to win, the main thing is to do your best and always strive for improvement.
Swimming is my passion. I love to swim and to compete. The competitions are great because they give me goals – times that I’m shooting for and personal bests waiting to be attained. I also enjoy the social aspect of swimming. I’ve met a lot of great people through swimming and the folks on my swim team are my swim family. I will say that, although I love the competitions, I still get very nervous before them.  A sign in my swim locker says “Be fearless in pursuit of things that make you feel alive.” Words to live by. What is your favorite set to swim?
Roxane: I swim with the Masters team three times per week and I love that the coaches provide a nice variety of sets for us. They also do a great job of mixing it up so that, leading up to short course season, we focus on sprints. When going into open water season, we start picking up the distance and work a lot on pacing.
In the two or three times per week that I train on my own, there are several sets that I like, but here’s my favorite:
400 warm up
8 x 50 drill/kick
250 swim, 50 kick, 250 swim – 30 seconds rest
200 swim, 50 kick, 200 swim – 30 seconds rest
150 swim, 50 kick, 150 swim – 25 seconds rest
100 swim, 50 kick, 100 swim – 20 seconds rest
50 easy
10 x 25 – fast / sprint set
300 cool down
3000 Total What are your training goals for this year? 
Roxane: Right now I’m training for open water swims (Central Illinois Open Water Swim and Madison Open Water Swim). I’d like to improve my times from last year but as everyone that swims open water knows, water conditions (wind, temperature, etc.) play a big part in your times. Even though you’re swimming the same course, your times can be very different from year to year. However, everyone is swimming with the same conditions and I just need to focus on swimming my race and think about all those things my coaches are constantly reminding me to do. What is your favorite feature on
Roxane: My favorite feature is the interval display on the Apple Watch. For those who haven’t used it, you just need to swipe right and it will display the interval you just swam. The feature displays the interval distance, interval time, 100-yard pace and your average number of strokes for the interval. Knowing your pace for each interval is very helpful for things like descending sets or anytime you’re trying to vary your pace. You can also use it if you just want to swim a bunch of laps and see what your total distance and average pace was – no counting or calculations needed!

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