Meet / OW event plans and results from U.S. Masters Swmming events in this category.
I'm not much of a sprinter but I seem to be getting better at it. Last weekend, I joined our local summer league team, Madison Dolphins, along with 6 other Masters swimmers to compete in the Alabama State Games. The facilities were awesome. Half the building was an indoor 50m pool with a diving well. The other half was an indoor track and field stadium. The competition lanes were all 7'+ deep and it was set up with 10 lanes (8 used) running to a bulkhead. 6 more lanes were set up on the other side of the diving area for warm-ups/cool down. Everything was state of the art. The pool was a tad warm but still fast. That might have had to do with what appeared to be an erratic climate control system. On deck, temps were 80-85. It was cooler in the stands but noticeably different from the 70 degree temps in the large connecting hallway.
My only minor complaint with the meet was that they divided us up into obscure age groups to fill out all of the lanes. In general, that may be OK, but I was more competitive with some of the 25-40 year olds than I was with the 50-70 year olds I got placed with. I'm not sure why they didn't just seed it by our seed times. There would have been a lot of better races if they had done that for the masters. I get why they do it for the age groupers. Maybe it was hard to convince the software to do it different ways.
Short story is that I'm the 2013 6 time Alabama State Champion in my age group. Sure, three of those were unopposed and I'm not sure who exactly recognizes such a title. But supposedly, it qualifies me for a trip to the National State Games in Hershey, PA (all expenses paid by me). My 15 yr old son qualified as well and is now bugging me to go since it is apparently located near an amusement park (all expenses paid by me of course). Unfortunately, this isn't likely to be in the cards this year. I'm back to piling up yards for a possible SCM meet in November.
I swam 6 events thinking this would take about 6-8 hours to go through. It took 4. My last two swims probably suffered a little because of this. Ok... it took 8 when you add in the awards ceremony. Masters got medals for places 1-3. Age groupers got medals for 1-3 and ribbons for 4-6. With 7 events total, this took a while. They probably could have cut a lot of that out if they just awarded a high point trophy for each age division for masters. The kids that stuck around for it had fun so I was patient.
Here's the event details:
Seed Time: 2:02.71
Meet Time: 2:03.04
Splits: 29.07, 30.98, 31.74, 31.25
Yikes! What happened here? It looks like I faded at the end but this was mostly botched turns. Bulkheads get into my head for some reason and I kept jamming up on them. I was getting a little tired and I think I didn't warm up enough. Started to wonder if I had missed my taper.
Seed Time: 26.98
Meet Time: 25.97
I was hoping for 25.5 ish but I'll take the improvement. Got beat down by Jay (former college swimmer that spent all of 4 weeks getting ready for this event) who did a low 23. At least from this race, I knew there wasn't a problem with my taper.
Seed Time: 2:22.58
Meet Time: 2:21.75
Splits: 30.25, 41.81, 38.56, 31.13
My typical negative split IM. Here's my feb splits: 31.06, 40.87, 38.48, 32.17. So, I gained on the Fly and Free but lost a second on backstroke. Breaststroke was pretty much a wash. Jay was swimming next to me in this race which helped a lot. He went 29 on his fly and I tried to follow. When I turned for backstroke, I had trouble breathing so I slowed a bit to catch my breath. I assumed Jay was going to leave me but the damage wasn't too bad and I was still within striking distance when I came up for my first breaststroke breath. I caught him at 125 and tried to put as much distance on him as I could before the free assuming he would do what he just did to me on the 50 free race. Fortunately for me, 1) He wasn't a breaststroker, 2) 4 weeks of training wasn't enough to sustain his 100 pace and 3) I didn't know any of that. So, I put my head down and assumed he was on my heels for the rest of the race. Sometimes the imaginary guy chasing you down is worse than the real thing.
Seed Time: 1:10.77
Meet Time: 1:09.53
Splits: 33.03, 36.50
Hit the dive just right on this race. I couldn't believe how fast I was just gliding. I got in one solid dolphin kick + a pullout and popped up w/ good speed at 15 meters. What a ride! Finally broke 1:10 but my second 50 wasn't quite as nice as the first.
Seed Time: 1:10.00
Meet Time: 1:05.02
Splits: 30.45, 34.57
I tried to match my 200 IM fly speed for the first 50 (successful) and then hold on to my pace (no so successful). First 50 felt great. On the second 50, I could feel myself riding lower and lower into the water. I didn't crash too hard but a 4 second difference seems like a lot for me.
Seed Time: 57.83
Meet Time: 56.89
Splits: 27.42, 29.47
Swam next to Jay again and he paid me back for the 200 IM. I "held on" for the first 50 but he was just too fast (I think he split faster than my 50 free time) on the way to a mid 53. It was fun to try anyway.
Looking forward to it next year. Jay ages up into my age bracket next year so "6 time champion" may be a little harder in 2014. Great job to Dave C (4 time Alabama state champion) who I swim w/ on most mornings and Brandon (5 time Alabama state champion) who I swim w/ on Saturdays. For three of our Masters, this was their first meet. One of those even swam the 200 IM! And finally, congrats to the Madison Dolphins who took their team 100 miles to outscore all of the local teams and win the large team first place trophy!
At 1:00 AM this morning, I decided my meet was done. I couldn't sleep because I could only minimize pain. It just hurt no matter what position I was in. It was about time for more ibuprofen so I took it and tried my best to get comfortable. I did sleep because sometime around 4:30 Dave sneaked out of the room to head to Starbucks. I had planned to catch him on the way out so I could ride along and apply some heat to my back from the heated seats in his car. Woke up at 6:00 AM about the time he was getting back in. Everything was painful. Getting out of bed, putting clothes on, going to be bathroom... it all hurt.
About 7:00 Roger came to the room and we discussed the situation. I've gone to practice Monday mornings before after hurting my back playing soccer. However, that didn't involve swimming @ meet speeds and diving into the pool. And I've never tried swimming with this much pain before. We decided it would be taken one step at a time. First, I'd see if I could get into a racing suit. Then, I'd test things out. Light swimming, followed by some easy flip turns and then hard swimming. I planned to start the 500 from the wall for fear I'd hurt my back worse. They had a physical therapist and a massage table available. I was going to give that a try. Finally, I'd take my next dose of Ibuprofen at 9:00 AM about 40 minutes before the 500 start. If it wasn't meant to happen, I'd just scratch races until I felt I was ready. Roger led a prayer for my healing. At this point, I felt like I needed a miracle just to get into my suit.
We got to the pool at about 8:30. The heated seats in Dave's car did feel great but getting out of his car didn't. We got our stuff settled in and I went to the locker room for my first test: the swim suit. I got it on surprisingly easily even though I was very ginger about my movements. I jumped into the pool and it felt amazing. All the weight was off my back and the pain just washed away. Took a few strokes and everything was working. Did some easy laps w/ flip turns and absolutely no pain. Did some breaststroke and no pain. Did some strokes of fly and... ok that hurt a little. But I only had 50 fly left and that was at the end of the day. After 1000 yards or so, I got the courage up to go off the blocks once they opened up a lane. I was unable to start like I normally do but I could reach down and grab the block in something that resembled a track start. I pushed off, hit the water perfect and had a smooth entry with no pain. Great! I was already doing things I hadn't planned on doing. I got out of the pool and the pain was back... but not as bad as it was earlier. Took my ibuprofen and headed over to Roger's Christian devotional. Got more prayers from my back. After that, I headed over to the physical therapist. That was 10 minutes I was not wanting to end. Back still hurt but at least I was more relaxed. Back in the pool for some speed tests. I was a bit slower than I wanted to be. Did a couple 50s @ 500 pace and a 100 @ 500 pace. The 100 was a 1:08-1:09. I was looking for 1:07. Did some more easy stuff and got ready to race.
Seed time: 5:37.54
Meet time: 5:39.09
Splits: 1:06.52, 1:08.78, 1:08.65, 1:08.79, 1:06.35
Start was good even with my awkward stance. It didn't take long for the swimmers around me to start pulling away. I wanted to go with them badly but at this point finishing was a victory in itself. For the first time today, my arms hurt worse than my back. It was a good feeling. I got out of the pool and suddenly felt 100% better. Did a couple hundred cool down and got ready for 200 Br.
Seed time: 2:34.13
Meet time: 2:34.24
Splits: 35.59, 39.62, 39.45, 39.58
This start was much better and I was flexible enough to do a normal track start. I might have chased a faster swimmer in the lane next to me a bit too much on the first 50 but held a consistent pace throughout. I really didn't think about it too much. I was still hoping to just finish. Holding my time from last year was a bonus as far as I was concerned. No cool down or warm up for 200 back.
At this point, I had 200 back and 200 IM left. I knew I could finish the day since the backstroke start would have little risk of injury. I could gut out the 200 IM if something went wrong and I hurt my back again on that dive. It was all downhill and I was determined to finish this meet.
Seed time: 3:00
Meet time: 2:41.39
Splits: 40.44, 40.52, 41.01, 39.42
Turned out that ekw was in my heat, two lanes over. My plans to cruise this event were suddenly cut short. This was the swimming equivalent to challenging people to drag races in a stock ford pinto but I was going to try. I didn't do too bad but Ellen beat me anyway. Next year! Even worse, I lost by a second to the person closest to me in the high point trophy race. And he and I both were in the 200 IM. I didn't know the exact point difference but I knew it would be really close if I didn't win the 200 IM. He was seeded 5 seconds ahead of me and one heat after mine. I decide that if I was going to lose, I'd make sure he had to do a lot better than his seed time to beat me. Obviously, I was feeling better much better as my priorities had changed from managing pain to racing for points.
Seed time: 2:35
Meet time: 2:22.58!
Splits: 31.06, 40.87, 38.48, 32.17
Great finish for the weekend! It was fast enough by about 12 seconds for high point. I thought I had a 2:25 in me but didn't think 2:22 was possible. Took an easy 200 IM cool down.
So, I finished the brute squad meet. 1650, 200 fly, 200 free, 400 IM, 500 free, 200 br, 200 bk, 200 IM. It was fun despite my challenges. The one thing I missed was swimming more breaststroke events. It felt weird to watch waves of 50 and 100 br heats to pass by without me getting ready to join one. Not sure if I'll do this again but I enjoyed every race. I had the strength to compete in them and recovered sufficiently to get ready for the next.
As usual, the meet was well run. AMS always puts on a top-notch even in a really fast pool. Great to meet all the forumites that were at the meet. Seeing all of you and your achievements despite your own struggles was awesome. Thanks to my teammates that encouraged and prayed for me throughout the weekend. I couldn't find a better team. Look forward to next year!
Updated February 17th, 2013 at 10:32 PM by pmccoy
Events for today:
Warmed up for the 1650:
4 rounds of:
* 25 no breath - :40
* 50 free @ 1650 pace - 1:00
3 x 100 free @ 1650 pace - 2:00
Couple forumites are here: ekw, Elaine, swimosaur... probably a couple more.