…and then there were NINE 1

Editor’s note:  Up to the time of this writing, Ginger had set eight of the nine available Pentathlon records in her current age group (70-74), and her goal was to get all 9 of those records.  All she had to do was to legally complete the final necessary five swims, and the record was hers.  This article was written to celebrate her completion of those nine records!

Ginger Pierson

Ginger Pierson

In December, 2017, I competed in a Pentathlon in Bend.  My participation was due to the fact that I desired one of the illustrious microwavable drinking glasses.  Then I had another shoulder surgery on January 28, following that meet.

Yes, it hurt to swim that event, but in the surgery after the event (5 surgeries within that one operation) the pain was excruciating.  Oxycodone didn’t work, Vicodin nor Tylenol 3 didn’t work – nothing did.  So after a month and a half in bed, trying to sleep sitting up, I decided to try to “get back on track”.  Flexibility was the primary concern at the time, and adding a little water work seemed encouraging (much stretching, walking, reaching, back sculling, etc.).

For those of you who know me, goal setting is a must.  Knowing that I could no longer set WR’s or NR’s, or even PR’s (no records to go after – none, nada), I had to find something to keep me in the water – “just complete it”.  I still hurt before, during and after the swims.

Then I remembered the Pentathlon records.

These records were very attainable, since only two of the nine possible swims had a record in place in my age group, and the other seven records could be set by just completing the swim.  If I could just finish legally I could set a Pentathlon record.

  • Short Distance = 50 of each stroke + 100 IM……………… 300
    (for LCM, you swim a 200 IM instead of a 100 IM)……… 400
  • Medium Distance = 100 of each stroke + 200 IM………. 600
  • Long Distance = 200 of each stroke + 400 IM……………. 1200

I knew the 70-74 age group, SCY, 50s record would be the most challenging, so I saved those swims to attempt at the last.

It was kind of like tapering: no records to go after …and then there were NINE.  Yes, I could do that.  It’s still painful for me to swim, and I may still be faced with another surgery on my “good” arm.

The most rewarding of all of the records was the SCY Sprint Distance, since it was set in 1983 by Olympian Dawn Musselman (the other record was set in 1989 by Maggie Wells).  The other feat that came out of all this was that I was the first and only person to hold all of the Pentathlon records, in any age-group, at the same time.  The times are very slow, but attainable, so that just about anyone could get my records, but I challenge someone to go after all of them in a single age-group.

Of course, as per the rules, the Pentathlon must be swum in one day.  Try finding a one day LCM with all the events needed.  That in itself is a challenge.  (If you need suggestions/help finding those meets, you can call/email me).

…and then there were NINE

Thanks to Bob Bruce for introducing the annual pentathlon meet with drinking glasses included, and to Steve Darnell and Matt Miller for updating the records.  After Matt got wind of my goal, he quickly emailed me to remind me that in 22 months (age up) I’d have another nine to attempt!

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