Sunday, February 20, 2011

Masters Swim Meet #3

Today I swam in my third Master's Swim Meet against YMCA teams from across my region. I'm new to competition so the times I am about to report won't be impressive to most of you, but I am still really pleased at my performance. Plus, I had least eventually.

The first event in which I swam was the 100-yard freestyle race. For purposes of review, at my last swim meet I swam the 200-yard freestyle race and became physically sick afterward from the exhaustion. I did not pace myself, so I burned through all my energy in the first 100 yards and had almost nothing left for the second half of the race. I finished in a little over 3 minutes. Based on this time, I conservatively submitted a seed time of 1:30 for today's 100-yard race. But earlier in the week my swim coach and I worked on pacing in preparation for today's event. He taught me to swim at 80% effort level for the first 37 yards or so, and then go all out at 100% effort for the remaining 64 yards. In training, I did this successfully and swam the 100 yards in 1:06 (1 min and 03 secs). I therefore had every expectation that I would beat my seed time. At today's competition I swam the 100-yard freestyle in 1:13. I was fatigued but not completely spent at the end. I also had a lousy flip-turn at the 75-yard mark. I am pretty sure that my strokes were too far out to the sides of my body, and I think I probably bent my neck too much while breathing. Good things about the race include the fact that at the 50-yard mark I was still leading my heat. My dive seemed reasonable, and unlike last time, my goggles did not fall off!

I had some Gatorade, a couple cookies, and did a "cool down" swim in the heated pool next to the lap pool, and I had plenty of time to rest before my next event.

My time for the 50-yard breaststroke event was 39.79 seconds. I had submitted a seed time of 39.0 seconds because the last time I swam this race competitively was in November 2010 at my first Master's Swim Meet and I had a time of 39.72 seconds. Thus, my performance today was nearly identical to what I swam before. I did not beat my heat--in fact, I think I was last--so this race didn't feel as good to me, despite the fact that I swam just as well as in November when I pulled a surprise victory against everyone in my heat.

My big coup d'etat was my third event, the 25-yard butterfly. I signed up for this without input from my coach. When I told him I was doing butterfly, he said "Wow, that's a big step." I replied, "Sure, but it's only 25-yards. What could go wrong in 25-yards?" My teammates were also surprised that I would attempt the butterfly. But ultimately, I swam very well! I finished in 16.90 seconds, faster than the 18.0 second seed time that I submitted (the latter being a simple guess based on the prior times of teammates with my similar level of skill and physical build). I also out-swam everyone in my heat with several body lengths to spare, and this made my spirit soar. The people I am competing against within my heat are not necessarily my peers in terms of age and gender. I still swam slower than a lot of people NOT in my heat, but I beat my skill-level peers. That felt good. My competitiveness is showing!

I am very happy tonight. I am swimming against people who have swam all their lives. In contrast, I never swam in school or college, and I didn't know how to swim until about 20 months ago. In fact, I wasn't taught the butterfly until fall 2010. Thank you, J.G., for teaching and coaching me so well.


  1. Congratulations! I would be scared to death to swim competitively.

  2. Oh yes, I have a nervous stomach at the start of every meet. This is frustrating and I chide myself for getting anxious. Winning an event or breaking a personal record feels great, but coming in last really makes no difference at all. Just being there and finishing a race makes me a winner. Intellectually I know this, but emotionally I still get scared.