Meet / OW event plans and results from U.S. Masters Swmming events in this category.
As usual, Conner and his team put on an exception meet! And we were especially spoiled this year since the SEC championships will be held in Auburn next weekend. That meant some serious upgrades to an already very nice swimming pool. The pool was drained and repainted. The tiling on the deck was redone. I think someone said they got new bulkheads. At the very least, the bulkhead at the start end was much wider. They set the pool up between bulkheads to minimize any wave reflection. The water did feel a bit warm... maybe 82-83 but I didn't have any way to measure it. The coolest thing was the new starting blocks. These had the adjustable wedge and were hooked up to measure response time. The best part was that they were fitted with a couple rows of led lights that flashed green at the start of each race. This feature was cruelly snatched from us on Sunday. Apparently the lights are hooked into the response time system which had issues and needed to be shut off. I was able to go back to listening for a sound but I have been forever spoiled by the lights.
As for me, the meet did not go very well at all. For one thing, I'm about 15-20 lbs overweight. But the wheels really came off during taper. The first 3 days were great and I felt like I was way ahead of last year. But over the weekend I got a sinus infection followed by a mysterious illness. In practice I had speed but no endurance... even for the very short taper sets we did. Friday morning, I woke up nauseated and considered not going at all. By noon, I was improving so I went ahead and made the trip. That night, I swam in the Auburn pool but still wasn't feeling great. Saturday morning, I was a little better but far from 100%. As the meet progressed, I was slowly starting to match my meet times from last year. So, for times it was mostly a lot of disappointments. Here's how the events went:
200 Fly - Seed: 2:21.24, Time: 2:29.07 (34.17, 37.91, 38.31, 38.68)
This was the first indication that things weren't going to go well over the weekend. The first 50 was fine but I quickly fell off the pace from last year. The last 10 yards or so, my body went into shutdown mode. Fortunately I was close enough to the wall to gut it out. During cool-down, all I wanted to do was throw up.
100 Breast - Seed: 1:09.53, time: 1:13.63 (35.59, 38.04)
Not sure what to say about this. It was just slow and I botched my first pullout. I was in a heat with a bunch of 1:05 ish swimmers which just amplified how slow I felt.
200 Free - Seed: 2:04.61, time: 2:05.89 (29.62, 31.65, 32.46, 32.16)
The girl next to me was seeded at 2:00.00. She went 1:55. I tried to keep up and didn't do a very good job of it. But at least I was in the ballpark of one of my worst swims from last year. Even better, I had a little extra for the last 50.
400 IM - Seed: 4:59.20, time: 5:05.12 (1:11.74, 1:22.44, 1:23.52, 1:07.42)
I really just cruised this event. I had a relay coming up and nobody was in my age group contesting me. There were really only two of us with seeds under 5:00 and the other guy scratched. So, 5:05 wasn't terrible for holding back a bit. In fact, this was probably my best swim of the day. It definitely felt better than the others did.
200 Breast - Seed: 2:33.97, time: 2:35.52 (36.14, 39.51, 39.79, 40.08)
I didn't feel completely warmed up for this race but it was a lot of fun. The swimmers on both sides of me had excellent swims and we pushed each other pretty hard. I started off about a second off their pace and then slowly chipped into their leads. I actually overtook the guy in lane 3 with 25 yards to go but he out sprinted me on the last leg. The guy in lane 5 had us both at the last turn but couldn't bring it home. I touched .01 seconds ahead and the finish.
200 Back - Seed: 2:41.39, time: 2:38.08
Finally beat a seed time! And this was a personal best. This was from a couple years ago and my backstroke has improved a lot since then. With nobody in my age group contesting this, I relaxed it and got ready for the final two events.
50 Breast - Seed: 32.16, time: 33.58
Not great but not terrible either.
200 IM - Seed: 2:24.40, time: 2:24.30
Not my best but I beat my time from last year. Finally started feeling closer to 100%.
Despite my struggles, I did win high point. I had a lot of fun (as usual) and I got to swim in a really nice pool with all the trimmings for a big NCAA event. Definitely worth the time this weekend and I'm glad I decided to go.
Before I get into day 2, I completely forgot about one of the cool things from day 1. Dave and I showed up early to check in for the 1650. Turns out the Auburn swim team was just winding down their workout. I'm 6'1" and about 185 lbs. There aren't a lot of places where I feel short and fat. This was one of those places. So, we sat down in the bleachers on the pool deck and enjoyed the rest of practice while head coach Brett Hawke paced back and forth in front of us. Suddenly, he turns around, looks at us and says "watch, this is one of the fastest swimmers in the world." We were partly shocked that he was even speaking to us mere mortals but equally intrigued at what was about to happen. Marcelo Chierighini (admittedly, I could not have picked him out of a lineup before this weekend) steps up on the blocks and rips off a 9.6 25 sprint - clock stopping after his feet touched on the turn. Cool stuff!
So, day 2 started off great but I got slower as the day went on. I'm coming to the realization that there's a hefty price to be paid for going all out on 4 long swims the previous day. I like the longer events. I do well in them and the points I score help my team compete against teams 20%-30% larger than we are. But don't think I can keep expecting to swim 8 events in 2 days and see time drops in all 8 events. I'll probably still enter 8 and swim them but I'll be a little more careful about which ones I decide to target for time drops. Here's my results for day 2:
Seed time - 5:37.54
Meet time - 5:29.47 (1:03.11, 1:06.41, 1:06.62, 1:07.18, 1:06.15)
This is about what I thought I would do last year but my back injury kept me from going full speed. It's a good 8 second drop so no complaints. Might have taken the first 50 out a bit slower. The last 200 was very painful but I was able to maintain my speed.
Seed time - 2:34.13
Meet time - 2:33.97
This was a personal best but that's kind of a hollow victory. Here's my times from the last 5 years: 2:42.67, 2:39.09, 2:34.13, 2:34.24, 2:33.97. All of my 200s have improved far more than this over 5 years. Part of it may be that breaststroke was my best stroke when I started swimming. Part of it is that I was just tired at this point in the meet. But I think most of it is because I never practice it. I practice kicking breaststroke a lot and my kick times have improved. But aside from sets where we swim IM, I rarely swim breaststroke. This is something I want to change for next year.
Seed time - 32.33
Meet time - 32.16
Same as above. It's great to get a personal best but with my kick, I should be swimming the 50 closer to 30 seconds.
Seed time - 2:22.58
Meet time - 2:24.40
This was every bit the train wreck that my 200 free was. I ended up in between two 30-34 year olds battling it out for 1st place in their age group. I went out 30.3 in the fly but both of them went well under 30. Their wake converged in my lane and I took two mouthfulls of water in my last 4 breaths. My backstroke push-off was mostly a coughing fit. Once I could breathe, I started hyperventilating. So, I slowed things down, focused on good long strokes and caught my breath again. After checking my splits, I was still close to what I had done last summer when I went 2:21. But by then, I'd had enough and just wasn't interested in pushing harder. It was just not my race but no big deal... I'll swim it again in the summer.
I split 25.99 for my free relay. It felt a lot faster than that but we won the relay. In all, I had a blast this weekend. Can't wait to get back to grinding out the yards.
Had a great first day today. I put in roughly 90 miles preparing for 7 200+ yard events and one sprint over 2 days. For the most part, it has paid off pretty big with some significant drops in time. As usual, the meet is well organized and has been as on-time as possible. Very much missed Ellen (ekw) and Elaine. My thoughts and prayers are with you both. Hope to see you next year! Saw Swimosaur who gutted out a 200 fly and 400 IM with me. On to the events:
Seed time - 19:17.76
Meet time - 19:04.24
I was seeded #2 with my teammate #3 and Ellen's teammate, Eric @ #1. Eric had a 19:02 for his seed. Since I was shooting for a sub-19:00, the plan was to push Eric hoping to wear him out so my teammate would have a chance to knock him off (they were both in the same age group). The problem was that Eric came to swim. I stayed in contact with him for 500 yards before he started swimming away to an 18:40. If he had gone closer to his seed time, I think I could have put in a better effort. But as it turns out I was miserable after 1000 yards and pretty much swimming on my own. At 1200, I was ready to give it up. Somehow I gutted out the last 400 yards and turned in a pretty nice time. It's not sub 19:00 but I'm not going to scoff at a 13 second drop in time.
Seed time - 2:30.63
Meet time - 2:21.94 (32.43, 36.15, 36.37, 36.29)
This was just a really fun swim. I was in lane three with my teammates Roger and Dave in lanes 4 and 5. Swimosaur was one more over in lane 6. My fly has improved a lot over the last year and the way this set up, there was a lot of motivation to do well. Roger got a second on me after 50 and held of my charge at the end. I was hurting after 150 but far from gassed and had plenty to make a run at Roger.
Seed time - 2:02.71
Meet time - 2:04.61 (28.92, 31.48, 32.30, 31.91)
As much as the 200 fly was one of my better swims, this was one of my worst. After a poor dive and bad turn @ the 50, I lost the mental battle, fatigued and just blew it. The 200 free continues to elude me. I'm capable of a sub-2:00 but can't ever figure out how to get there.
Seed time - 5:08.96
Meet time - 4:59.20 (1:09.30, 1:22.66, 1:20.82, 1:06.42)
I was going for a sub-5:00 time and knew I could do it but had doubts after the 200 free. I was very happy to turn around a bad race and make a goal like this.
Tomorrow - 500 Free, 200 Br, 50 Br and 200 IM.
Did a one hour postal Saturday. I'd like to think I can hold a 1:15 pace for that long but I had some doubts going into this. Turns out that I can. I finished with 4785 yards. I could probably go a lot further with a shave, better suit and some rest. My lane wasn't the best either. I got the transition lane between the deep end and shallow end with a jet blowing warm water against me at the far end. Neither really bothered me but I'm sure the jet didn't help any. I took the first 1000 out fairly conservatively and then picked up the pace after 2000. What helped is that the swimmer next to me (who lapped me at 600 yards) was starting to fade. For the next 2000 yards, I could focus on unlapping myself and eventually passing him. That got me to 4000 where I picked up the pace again and gave it everything I had left to the finish. While it might have felt like I was picking up the pace, I was in fact merely holding steady. I pretty much even split just over a 1:15 pace throughout the race. Here's the splits for each 500:
500 - 6:15 (+0 vs 1:15 pace)
1000 - 12:32 (+2)
1500 - 18:50 (+5)
2000 - 25:08 (+8)
2500 - 31:24 (+9)
3000 - 37:40 (+10)
3500 - 43:57 (+12)
4000 - 50:15 (+15)
4500 - 56:31 (+16)
4785 - Finish
Thanks to Jeff and the Huntsville Nat team for putting this on and getting timers. Look forward to seeing how far I can go next year.
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.