Swim Swim & Swim!

God I love Swim Meets.

I really do.  This past weekend was one of our larger Illinois Swim meets on Superbowl Sunday.  This is my 5th year I have done it and I still really look forward to it every year.   It is always cold and the windows are frozen to the outside and everyone is buzzing around talking football & swimming soaking wet in huge swim parkas.  Outside temps are usually between 10-20F degrees.  What else is there to do?

The Superbowl meet fell at the end of my bigger week and I was tired.  Plus, with the combination of Graham breaking his wrist & other life things, I was a little cooked on Friday.  So, I threw out my run and swam only a short set on Saturday so I would have some SNAP for Sunday.  Snap being the important word here.

The meet is all day:  Arrive at 7am and leave around 2 or 2:30pm.  In and out of the pool 100x.  Of course I was there by 7am sharp and chatting and warming up.  I decided to do a few things differently.  One, I took a shower before the meet before I left home.  It was SO cold (below 10F that AM when I left) and the competition pool is always FREEZING (which is good to race in) but it leaves me chilled all day.  And, I do NOT like to be cold….so I took a hot shower and that helped a ton.  I also warmed up a TON….more than normal.  I just figured it would be good for me and I do better (ahem) now with a longer warm up.  I probably did over 1500 yards+ of mixed 50s and stroke work and free/starts.

As soon as I got into the warm up and took 2 strokes, I knew it was going to be a good day.  I can tell if I have a feeling for the water very quickly.  I was excited to race!

I was swimming the max # of events, which is 5 events.  Longest distance on the day was the 500 Free.  And, because the meet is so big, they do not run the 1000 or 1650 (bummer).  Anyway, I swam the 500 Free, 100 Free, 200 Free, 200 IM, 100 IM.

The 500 Free is personal to me because I have a goal for that race EVERY YEAR.   And, I laugh at myself because every year, I swim within 5 seconds of the same time EVERY YEAR.  Yawn.  My adult 500 Free time rarely changes.  I was talking to the Masters Coach and she is like, “Jenny…at this point, unless you swim more (!) that 500 time is not going to budge dramatically unless we re-work your starts & turns.”  OK….now, I do not have good turns at all..compared to the uber-swimmers I swim with, but they are not that bad…but every second counts.  If I was a “pure” swimmer, I would fix all of this up and spend hours in the pool to make that happen.  And, maybe after Arizona this year, I will spend more time making my turns faster and better, but for now, it is all good.

Last year at State, I went 6:02.  This past weekend I went 6:07.  Crack me up.  I did not really even consider myself in good swim shape yet….so, I swam well because I was rested and fired up.  I swear, if I break 6:00 at State this year (April) or Nationals (May), I will be done with that damn 500.  I have broken 6 in the 500 but not as an adult.

Oh, and my friend and lanemate, Krista beat me by 1 second in the 500.  We are so funny, we swim exactly the same time for EVERYTHING.  She out-touched me in the 500 and I out-touched her in the 200.  I love the healthy competition and we make one another better swimmers, that is for sure.  She is a great backstroker and I do not even touch that stroke.

Then, I swam the 100 Free, 100IM, 200 Free and won those events.  But, let me back up and say I was disqualified (are you reading Cheryl Stine??) in the 100 IM.  STUPID me….I can’t believe I did what I did.  Back in the day, when I learned how to swim in oh 1970s and 1980s we were able to do a flip turn from backstroke to breaststroke in the IM.  NOW (effective 8 years ago!) we have to do an open turn from back to breaststroke.  I turn my brain off when I swim and especially for the 100 IM, so I just went on auto-pilot and acted like I was 10.  Oops.  My fault and my mistake.  So, while I did win, I was DQd.  Lovely. :)

Oh, and I did pee myself, I think.  The 200 Free is the HARDEST event on the docket.  I would rather swim 4 x 400 IM than 1 x 200 Free.  It is a hard, hard event.   It is an all out sprint but not really.  It is like the 800 on the track.  A true test of speed, grit and anything else you can muster.  I wanted to break my State time of 2:14, but I knew that would probably be a crap shoot (last event of the day)….but I was swimming next to Krista and we were so neck and neck it was killing me.  Anyway, she had about 1/2 second on me on the last 25 and I just put my head down, did not breathe (which I really have a hard time with), gritted my teeth, closed my eyes and went as hard as I could into the wall.  I swear I peed myself, thank goodness I was in the pool where no one can tell.  GASP.  I barely out-touched her and barely kept my breakfast down.   See, good times in the pool, eh?

Our team did well and everyone swam well & we won the meet.  We had 57 swimmers there and it was a fun way to spend a Sunday!

And, since I have been on this swim HIGH….I signed up for USMS Nationals in May!  I have never been (usually in Triathlon season and far away) and since it is in the Midwest, I decided to go.  The meet runs from Thursday-Sunday and initially I wanted to do the entire meet since the 1650 is on Thursday & the 500 Free is on Sunday.  But, it is too long to be gone (4+ days) just swimming and with Mother’s Day & my Mom’s birthday, I need to be home on the weekend.  So, I am just swimming the 1650 Free, 200 Free and 400 IM and relays.  I do not want to do any pure stroke events…and I can not compete in the 50 Free (goodness)…so I just miss the 100 Free and 500 Free and 200 IM, which is OK.  My main goal is the 1650.  I cannot wait!

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