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!