Meet / OW event plans and results from U.S. Masters Swmming events in this category.
I was halfway through writing my meet report and my iPad ran out of power and I lost my report so this my second attempt.
I planned on writing like I normally do each day of the meet but this trip has been a whirl wind and I just never got time to blog so I apologize for the really long blog entry!
We had 8 swimmers at the meet from RAM and it was a really fun meet, a team dinner on Saturday, some really fast swimming and some really fun relays. I love swimming with team mates who are as upbeat and excited about being here as I am! Even with lots of team ups and downs we had a lot of fun and by a big margin, we had way more ups than downs with everyone on our team doing one or more best times and in some cases every swim being best times.
I think I had the most up and down meet I have had as a masters swimmer, but despite this I had a terrific time and other than the 800 hit every goal I had for the meet and season.
My season goal was as many #1 times as I possibly could get and thought I stood a shot in the 50,100 and 200 back, and the 50-800m free. My meet focus at the woodlands was backstroke and my meet focus at this meet was freestyle.
1500m swum as an 800m split. My goal was sub 8:57.11 and was out really fast going 4:23 at 400 but tied up badly and finished with 9:02 which was 2 seconds slower than I went in the warm water at Baylor back in November. I got out after the 800 since I thought I had no reason to complete the remaining 700.
400m free. My goal time was 4:18.55. I ended up in a real back and forth race with a young guy and despite being touched out at the finish, my 4:17.45 was a masters best time and I was very happy with this swim. My splits were awesome going out in 2:07 high and back in 2:09 mid. Unlike the 800 where I had heavy legs I felt leg strong the whole way and even had a final 25 sprint in me. Very happy!
100 back. My goal for this event was a strong swim since my meet focus was freestyle events. I had a very deep start even by my standards and could not get up. I never really made up for the start. Starts and turns seem to be my undoing in back and I have been saying this for a year or more. Note to self - I will work on these! Despite this challenge my 1:02.2 was a solid performance and unlike my early 1:02.0 at the woodlands I did not have quad burn.
100 free. My goal time was :55.78. I had a great swim going :54.50 and getting into a race with Nicholas Oman(41) two lanes over. He was out slightly faster than me and despite not being able to catch him I felt like I was in a good race and had a lot of fun with this one. Unlike the 50 where I don't really have a race strategy this one is a little more controlled and on the 3rd length tried picking up a gear. Like my LCM 100 free at summer nationals I came out the wrong side of the finish but felt controlled and strong the whole way.
200 Men's Medley Relay. I swam the breast leg since our breaststroker Scott Heber was in the mixed relay. I went 32.0 and despite it being a safe relay start and SCM this beats my LCM time by 2 seconds. I was very happy with this one.
200 free. My goal time was 2:04:47. This was my best swim of the meet and I went 1:59.11. This was my masters best by .8. My splits were awesome going :27.5,:29.8,:30.8,:30.8 and like my 400 I was in a race with the same young guy in the lane next to me but this time I came out on the right side of the finish. It was a really fun back and forth race and I felt leg strong the whole way. Our race pace work all season really payed off on this race.
200 Back. On Friday night we looked at the team scores and realized that we were in 2nd place in the small team category and I realized that myself and another of our swimmers lost us team points by not finishing the 1500s. My original plan was to skip the 200 back since my time from the woodlands is likely to standup and it was back to back with the 200 free. Feeling guilty for loosing team points I decided to swim the 200 back but was determined to simply cruise. My hope was 1:10,1:10 which I believed would get me back the points from the 1500. I ended up going out in 1:11 and back in 1:10 with my last 50 my fastest 50 going a :33. I think this event is one of my better events and I really enjoyed this one, going really easy until the last 50. I even felt better after this swim than before it.
400 medley relay. I volunteered to swim on the relay(again for points) and as it turned out had to do the 100 fly. I don't believe meet mobiles split, since it had me doing a 1:01. This was not a fun swim since fly is not easy for me but it was great to see my team mates have fun with there swims.
50 free. My goal was to beat my :24.80 from the woodlands. I had a great start and felt strong. At the turn I was with everyone and had an ok turn. Coming back down the second 25 I felt myself getting going and went half a stroke ahead of Scott Heber, my team mate in the next lane. When I looked up I was :24.90 again which was a little bit of a let down. I like the 50 but and its a big but, there is no room for any mistake what so ever and I never really feel like I get going. I ended up breathing 1 more than usual on the second length and I think I could have been tighter on my turn. I believe 7 of us went under :25 so it was a line of swimmers.
50 back. My goal was to beat my :28.8 I went in the woodlands. I had a much better start than my 100 and felt like I was on my way to a good time going down the first 25. I did my turn and realized too late I was too far out and hit the wall with the tips of my toes. Again not much I could do other than kick hard but my :29.58 was about what I went out in my 100 at the woodlands. This one was a little disappointing!
400 IM. My goal time was sub 4:55. I had no reason at all to think I could do this but it was the #1 time going into the meet. I ended up going 5:07. What I did not count on was feeling as hideous as I did on the first 25 fly. I hurt so so so bad the whole way. It crossed my mind as I pushed off on my no pull out breast turns to get out but stuck with it because of team points. I swear I will NEVER EVER swim the 4IM again! This hurt more than anything I have ever done before. What was I thinking?
200 mixed free relay. This was the most fun relay of the meet and our 1:45.1 beats the next fastest time in the country by about 8 seconds. Scott and I were both :24s(I believe I was :24.2), Leslie was a :27 and Steph Stone was a :28. We had a combined age of 199 and were a couple seconds short of the 160-199 record but faster than the 200-239 record by 1.5 seconds. I also think we were fairly conservative on the takeovers!
800 Men's free relay. This again was done for points and I don't even know what our time was or what my split was. At this point, the back to back to back to back events hit hard and I was whooped. Despite being tired it was fun being on a relay with my team mates.
I can 100% say this is the most swims I have done as a masters swimmer and possibly ever in my life. I was really sore this morning when I headed back to the WPI pool for an easy early morning masters workout with WAM.
Unfortunately I think our team score was calculated incorrectly, since some of Leslie's individual events did not count for team points(for some reason) and our mixed free relay has not shown up in the results yet. I doubt if we were missing enough points to make up the difference between us and the team from Waltham who won the small team category. We received a nice plaque for 2nd place in the team competition. Even though we did not win, I think our team did awesome. We all had a lot of fun and it was great swimming with Leslie in particular and hopefully we can make meet schedules work next year, to compete with the RAM extended training group from Pitt 😉; Mark Cox, Paul K and Leslie.
My event focus for this meet was the free events and I was really,happy with my 100,200 and 400 free events. I really hoped to take down Kurt in the 800m free but I can't be too greedy and have to be very happy with my season at large. Final SCM results are obviously not out but as it stands right now I have 7 SCM #1 times which is the most I have had to date in masters swimming. With my other 2 #1s from scy and LCM, I am in with a shot of All Star in my age group and will likely have some Fina Top 10 times in both LCM and SCM.
If I take a step back and look at my year at large I am very proud of my accomplishments. I had some adversity this year with Shingles before and during Spring Nationals and emotionally trying to handle my sons double concussions and pursuing issue with the school district. I also had a tough buildup with sickness to Summer Nationals. Despite this I had a lot of fun and my team mates and friends on these forums got me through my challenges; Thank you everyone! My workout group(Bill,Jeremy,Skip,Scott, Chris, Eileen, Nikki, Jayce) as a whole had an awesome year. They are a terrific group and we have a lot of fun. I thank them for motivating me throughout the year and keeping me positive during the tough times. I am enjoying the journey as much as the meets which is something I did not always do first go around. I plan on taking the advice Patrick and Leslie gave me a couple of years ago, and apply it to my continued masters swimming. My interpretation of what they said is to not take the ups and down so seriously; I am a type A personality and i will always want to win and do better than I do, but don't get hung up on bad swims or would-a, could-a, or should-a type thoughts, let it go and move on.
We have a final end of season relay meet next weekend before our team Christmas party at my house which I am sure will be a lot of fun. As I have written before, next year is a big year for me work wise and I am going to have a tough spring. I am not sure what my swimming plans are for the spring season yet and I may use the season as a rebuilding the base phase, but I have not decided for sure. I will continue to do taper workouts this week and will likely do a relay lead off for a scy split this weekend. I plan on coaching a distance group for my daughters team, RACE, starting at Christmas break, which I am really looking forward to. My Ewok friend from Austin, Mr Unruh, is in town visiting family for Christmas and i will really enjoy swimming with Steve again. Beyond that I need to do some thinking and planning.
I am having a lot of fun and this meet reinforced that I made a great decision 3 years ago to get back into the pool. Thanks again to everyone who has helped me by blogging(as I told kk "fly storms" I read your blogs and you really are an inspiring group) and commenting on my workouts and progress.
I got back from coaching a little later than I hoped last night but was able to eat and get to bed before 9pm. I slept really well and woke as my alarm was about to go off. Today's meet is about 45minutes from my house at the Tom Landry center which is an indoor 25m rehab pool. It's a nice pool but the water is hot(I was going to write warm but it's beyond that) so not ideal for distance swimming. My original plan was to swim the 1500 at this meet but they changed up the meet format from 2014 and added some relays at the expense of the mile. When I registered I knew we would be back up yardage and intensity in training, and my prior experience with this meet was that it's run fast so I registered for the 50 free and 800 free. I know this sounds like an odd combination of races but my logic is that over the SCM season I am going to swim these events 3 times. Of the free events these are my weakest and in the case of the 50 most competitive. For this meet they also worked well order wise with the 50 at the beginning of the meet and the 800 at the end.
Unlike the 50 last weekend I had a much better start and the turn felt good. The electronic timing in the lane I was in was not working so I asked for the timers time, who said :24.7 which I was happy with. The biggest challenge with this pool for the 50 is that it's quite choppy so the second 25 was a little wavy. At the end of the meet I found out that my official time was :24.9 which was .1 slower than last week. I think rested I will be quicker so I am looking forward to Boston.
Next up up today was the 800. My hope last week was to be between 9:05-9:10, while today I was hoping for 9:00-9:05. My time was 9:00.3(sorry Patrick)which I was very happy with. I went out faster than last week going out in 4:26.xx and was back in 4:33.xx. I held :33 and :34s throughout the middle of the race and other than my heading feeling like it was going to explode due to the heat I felt strong the whole way. I am really looking forward to swimming this event rested and think I will have a great swim in Boston. Hopefully the meet will be a fast meet.
I still can't figure out how I feel so much better this weekend than last despite going back up in yardage and intensity. All my teammates swam well today and many of those I train with felt the same way. It must be that yucky feeling between the start of the drop and a full taper last weekend.
Updated November 14th, 2015 at 09:52 PM by StewartACarroll
I went out for dinner with a few teammates last night and had a great time. It made for a terrific end to a fun day. I was back at the hotel pretty early and was in bed asleep by 8pm. I got 10 hours of sleep and woke feeling pretty good. When I woke I was still a little tired and had that feeling like it was the second day of an in season meet. I had a nice breakfast at the hotel and ate a little extra food knowing it was going to be a long day.
Despite feeling achy(especially my legs) I felt much better after the warmup and did a little extra yardage which really helped.
First up up today was the 50 free. I went 24.8 which I was pleased with but had hand separation on the start which cost me a little time. I don't know how the true sprinters do the 50. It's so technical and over in a shot which means any mistake is almost impossible to recover from. I also don't seem to get going on a 50 and feel like I should flip and go again I guess I am just not a fast twitch athlete.
I was due to swim the 200 free but decided to skip due to the speed the meet was going.
Next up up was the 100 back and I went 1:02.06. I felt really strong on the first 50 and flipped at 29.8 but was too far away from the wall to get a good push and never really recovered. I did not die but when I was finished my legs burned like crazy. Despite going for a warm down my legs continued to burned for a long time. This one really hurt. I honestly think this swim was as good as my 100 from last year where I was 1:01.4 and without the bad turn I would have been there or there abouts.
Last up up today was the 800 free. I hoped to be between 9:05 and 9:10 today and finished up at 9:09.1 with a significant negative split. I got stronger as the swim went along and regret I was went out way too slow today. This one never really hurt and i felt better after this swim than any other swim today. I am swimming the 800 next weekend and at the Boston meet and hope to significantly drop time next weekend since I have a much shorter program.
I really enjoyed this this meet and it was a lot of fun. All my teammates swam great and despite not doing a full taper the week of rest helped all of us. Our plan is to significantly ramp up our workouts over the next two weeks before a full taper ahead of Boston.
After coaching my kids last night I went back to the house and shaved down. I felt good and excited as usual at the thought of racing. I went to bed reasonably early but could not sleep so watched tv for a while. I woke about 4:45 this morning and got ready to leave for the meet. I car pooled with a couple of my teammates. Weather in north Texas was rough today and it rained really heavily all the way down to the woodlands. We made good time and made it down to the woodlands by 10:30 with a short stop at Denys for breakfast.
In in the warmup I definitely did not feel 100% rested and my legs especially were a little heavy. I did my normal meet warmup and tried loosening up and felt OK.
First up for me today was the 50 back. Unfortunately I did not get a chance to swim in the SCM pool before the 50 due to the mile running long and the anticipated main pool second warmup did not materialize. My time was great going 28.9 but this was the race that could have been so much more. My left foot slipped on the start(not bad but it does not help on a 50) and I came up half a body length behind the young guy in the lane next to me. I also got close on the turn as a result of not going as far as I had hoped on the start but went over well, but because of my proximity to the wall I pushed off very shallow. After my race a few people commented yet again how I was the fastest swimmer above the water but got killed on the underwaters. The winner went 28.6! Despite all my technical challenges this is my best masters time so no complaints.
Next up up was the 200 back. I went 2:13.5 which is a solid time. I was honestly hoping to go a little quicker but my splits were solid. My start and turns were all good on the 200. I felt strong the whole way but my legs were heavy.
Last up up today was the 400 free. I went 4:21.11 which I was happy with. I thought I would be around 4:20 so this again was not quite as quick as I hoped but all in all another solid swim. My splits were a little weird with my first 50 being a little faster than I hoped and the rest being a little slower than I hoped. My last 100 was considerably faster than my 2nd and 3rd 100s so I did not die, but I was a little heavy and just not smooth and definitely not easy speed.
My focus for this meet were the back events. Obviously I am not done yet, but I am quite content with my races today. Tomorrow I have the 50 free, 200 free, 100 back and 800 free. I may skip the 200 free to focus on the 100 back but it depends on how I feel tomorrow.
Updated November 8th, 2015 at 07:26 AM by StewartACarroll
After the meet yesterday we went for a team lunch I had arranged at a local Italian restaurant with a few of our out of town visitors. It was a lot of fun! After lunch I had a nice relaxing afternoon and evening with my wife and went to bed pretty early. I woke up a little later than I had hoped this morning and seemed to be running 15minutes late all the way upto the meet, however it all worked out just fine. I was a little sore this morning but nothing bad. I usually feel a little stiffness on a multi day meet and today was no better or worse than usual.
Once again I did my normal meet warmup and felt good in the pool.
8x50 catchup on 1min
4x50 open,close, easy,fast
2x50 at 400 pace
First up today was the 400 free and my goal was to beat my good friend Mr Unruh's #1 time of 4:28.91. I felt strong the whole way and other than a bad turn at 250 felt great. I finished really strong and was happy with my 4:28.05. looking at my splits, my 2nd 100 was too slow but my second 200 was great. I credit a lot of my consistency to the race pace work we have been doing and will definitely continue to work on this. I may add one more aerobic workout this fall on either Tuesday or Thursday morning but I will speak with Tom.
Next up up was supposed to be the 100 breast but at the last minute I decided to skip it. My legs, and my right one in particular was very sore and stiff and I took the extra time to stretch ahead of the 50 fly. The challenge when you have a meet with low numbers(we had 85 swimmers) the meet goes really fast.
The 50 fly is another off event for me and my real reason for entering this one was to push one of my team mates in the lane next to me, Scott Carpenter. we had a great race and he got me on the finish, going 28.5 vs my 28.6. I had a lot of fun on this one despite my time being a few tenths slower than I went a couple months ago.
Last up up we had the 400 free relay and once again I was the anchor. Step Stone did the 200 back in a new best time the event before the relay so we were able to delay the relay start 5 minutes but it was always going to be a tough record. we needed our first two swimmers to be out in 58.5 and 1:04.0 but unfortunately they were both off. Our young ringer had a great swim but there was too much left for me to do to get the record but my 54.9 split was the best I have done as a master and I felt awesome the whole way. It was disappointing to not get close to the record but it was still a lot of fun and our team did awesome.
I really enjoyed our meet and my team mates had a great time. One of our team held a short after meet party which was a nice conclusion to a great weekend. I am already looking forward to doing the meet again next year.
Updated August 17th, 2015 at 03:22 PM by StewartACarroll
I had another good night of sleep and my chest infection is a distant memory. I think my day off on Thursday was a big help. I woke feeling pretty good. I reshaved last night, so pretty much got up, ate, and headed to the pool.
I helped Tom print and post heat sheets and generally helped with the pool and meet setup. I did my normal meet warmup:
4x50 open, close, easy, fast
On my program today was the 50 free, 50 breast and the anchor leg of the 800 mixed free relay. I was hopeful of going under 25 on the 50m free today and was also confident I could swim faster then my time at the Frisco meet on the 50 breast. The real goal however, was to beat the National Record on the Mixed 160-199 800 Free Relay.
First up up was the 50 free and I went 25.39 which is a good time but not as fast as I had hoped. I somehow got into breathing like it was a 100 instead of a 50 and took 4 breaths including one inside the final 10 meters. I had a good start and felt smooth but my tempo is so not a 50 swimmer. If only I could get my tempo up a little I would have a great 50. This was slightly faster than I went in the individual 50 at worlds last summer so I can't be upset. However, this feels like a race where I made so many basic mistakes and any one would have got me my goal time. This one is so frustrating. Oh well!!
I made the decision earlier this year to swim some off events this long course season and the 50 breast was most certainly one of these. I felt really good the whole way and never died but somehow I just spin on breaststroke. I went 34.40 which is a pretty decent time and likely will be a top 10 time. Tomorrow I do the 100 breast and think I will have a good one based on how good I felt on the 50 breast.
Last up was the big relay. We have been planning this one for quite a while and I was confident we would beat the National Record and we did. The record was 8:54.37 and is a suite era record, and our team went 8:50.2 which is a great time and a new National Record!!!
Yesterday I had false started 50% of the time in practice so decided to play it very safe. Despite a very safe takeover I had a good swim and my split was 2:04.x my wife said I was 2:03 but maybe she got it wrong. Either way I am pretty stoked and this is my first National Record. We have another shot tomorrow with the 400m free record although it will be much harder.
I am off for a long nap and an easy evening. Tomorrow I have the 400 free, 100 breast and 50 fly before doing the anchor leg on the 400m free relay. Should be a lot of fun again!
Updated August 15th, 2015 at 05:44 PM by StewartACarroll
I took a decongestant and an alka seltzer before laying down at the hotel to watch Senior Nationals from San Antonio last night. I watched Michael Phelps 100 fly but did not last the entire session before I fell asleep. I had a great night of sleep but woke a little congested. After I got up my head and chest drained quickly and I started to feel good. Today I had back to back events which is never easy.
Due to our hotel reservations being cancelled by the spire institute the few of us on our team who traveled to Ohio were all staying at different hotels. Fortunately the hotels were only 40 miles apart! I had arranged with one of my team mates that we would head over early this morning to watch another team mate swim the 400. We made good time but unfortunately we arrived to see the heat after our team mates swimming. After apologizing to my teammate I used the extra time to get a longer than normal easy loose warmup. I probably did 1500 free really easy before doing drills and some open,close 50s in the short warmup pool followed by another 400 in the competition pool. I felt ok but could tell it was day 4. My arms and legs felt a little heavy.
First up was the 100back. My goal time for the meet was a 1:03 but adjusted my goal to just win the race and was pleased that I was able to hold off Kurt Dickson. I ended up going 1:04.9. Other than the 50 back I have not felt my normal self this week and seemed to struggle with back half of my races. I looked at some of the videos one of my teammates shot and my stroke looks fine so I think it's just been my energy level.
I jumped into the warmup/down pool and swam until my heart rate was back to normal before stretching and laying with Myers elevated for about 20 minutes. On the 200 I had hoped to beat my time from Montreal which was a 2:04.6 but I knew I did not have a blast a 200 in me today so instead focused on staying smooth on the first 100 and bringing it home fast. I ended up going 2:06.2 going 1:02, 1:04(give or take a few tenths). I felt really strong on the second 100 and in reality could have gone even harder. I believe I turned 4th at 50 which is not how I normally swim my 200s but I won and I did enjoy the race. The alternative would have been horrible. Maybe I am a whimp and should have swum it harder from the get go. I guess I will never know!
Considering I was worried about even swimming I had a great summer nationals taking home 4 golds and 2 silvers, I went under 30 for the first time in my back, and beat my time from Montreal on the 100 free. Above all of this I continue to have a lot of fun. It was great meeting and speaking to so many masters swimmers. Thanks to those who went out of there way to introduce themselves.
I learned from yesterday and took some mucinex and an alka seltzer nighttime cold medicine before I went to bed. I slept really well and also felt much better this morning. My chest has been improving everyday since Tuesday and I am now finally feeling like I can breath normally. Today was a much better day! I swam the 100 free and 50 back and I ended up doing personal masters best times in both.
On the 100m free I had a good start and felt good the first length. I was able to get turn second at 50 and went for it off the turn. I was in lane 3 and breath left which meant I did not see any of the other faster guys the second 50. I think in some ways this let me swim my own race and I felt like I swam on top of the water the entire second 50. In fact I did not tie up at all and other than a small drift to the right inside the flags swam a great 100 finishing in 56.39. When I looked up I could not tell where I had finished but was really happy with the time. It turned out I missed first by .09 but was really happy with my time and the execution of this 100. I can honestly say that I did not hurt anywhere near as bad I as I usually do on a LCM 100m free.
Next up up was the 50 back which was about 2 hours after the 100 free. I took a long warm down and even grabbed a small bowl of soup at the pool food court; the food court at the aspire Institute has been awesome with custom pasta, salads, etc. After eating I took a 15minute break and the. Headed down to the pool for a warmup swim. I again felt good and had a ton of time to stretch and get ready for the back. When it was my time for my heat I jumped in and took my set position. I have been doing a split foot start on back for a while with one foot higher than the other because I find I don't go so deep. As the beep went off my right foot slipped and I had a bad start. It was not a missy franklin start but it was not what I had hoped for at all. I sort of panicked with my underwater sdk and when I came up I really spun the first 25 before really hitting my groove at about half way. I saw the guy to my left out of the corner of my eye and was determined to stay ahead of him. As I finished I looked up to see 29.8 and a number 1 by my name. I have been trying to go under 30 for some time and I was stoked. I now wonder what I can do with a good start but right now I am going to savor this one.
Unlike yesterday I felt strong all day! I will take my 2 masters best times from the day along with a 2nd in the 100m free and a 1st in the 50m back.
I was was able to meet several forumites so far and have had fun meeting many of the swimmers I have trained with during my travels this year. I had a lot of fun today and I hope tomorrow will be equally as satisfying. Tomorrow I have back to back the 100m back and the 200m free.
I decided to not take an alka seltzer before heading to bed and slept well but woke very congested. This cleared once I got up and ate breakfast.
The warmup pool was really crowded today compared to day 1. I felt good in the warmup with no ill affects from yesterday's 800.
Today I just had one event, the 200m back and I was very optimistic I would swim well.
I had quite a long wait ahead of the 200 and went for a second warmup about 30 minutes before the race and once again the pool was like a zoo as people were warming up and down after the 50 free.
I wanted to take the 200 out in 1:06 with the hope of coming back in 1:10 or faster. I had a good start and felt great on the first 50. I had a good turn and breakout and felt strong on the second 50 turning in 1:06. On the 3rd 50 I tightened up significantly and at about half way knew I was in trouble with my arms in particular hurting like never before. At 150 I misjudged the turn slightly and came off the wall shallow and was spent. I came 2nd which was good but my time was awful and I have not felt that bad on the second 100 of a back race ever. I don't know why I tied up but I did big time.
I am not upset but I don't like dieing and have not really had that issue with my swimming before. I took a nice long warm down after catching my breath and tried to forget about the race.
Tomorrow I have the 100 free and the 50 back.
Updated August 8th, 2015 at 07:03 PM by StewartACarroll
I have been feeling bad for a week now with a cold and as I blogged earlier this week I was worried I would be unable to swim today. My chest congestion finally started to loosen up yesterday and I felt much better last night. I once again loaded up on mucinex and Alka seltzer nighttime cold medicine and despite not feeling stellar this morning I felt ok.
I had delayed my positive checkin until this morning and made the call to swim the 800m at about 5am this morning. I feel ok in myself but I am unable to clear my chest. I had decided that I would just swim it and not stress out about the swim or my time. I was seeded in the last heat with a few guys I knew; Kurt Dickson, Ramses Rodriguez and Bruce Thomas along with a bunch of young guys I did not know. My plan was to swim a controlled first 400m and then see how I felt.
The guys in lanes 4-7 went out fast including Kurt who is in my age group. At 300m I almost quit but coughed hard coming off the wall and my chest let go. I did not think anything at 400m but noticed Kurt was a body length up on me. At 500m I felt ok and decided to try to pick it up. At the turn at 600m I was ahead of Kurt. I worked hard to not tighten up and focused on my walls and keeping my stroke long. I finished with 9:18 which was an ok time(slower than world's last year) and my splits were great going 4:37,4:40. More importantly I won the 45-49 age group.
The 800 always hurts but this one could have been a lot worse and I am so glad I did not quit at 300m. Somehow I need to find a way to stay healthy before nationals!
Tomorrow I have just the one swim again with the 200m back. This should again be a great race with Kurt Dickson and Lee Lawrence. I hope I feel better and better as the meet goes on.
I am arranging a 2 day meet in Rockwall the week after summer Nationals and it has made me think a lot about why did I signup to try to put this meet on? Other team members are helping and the meet is by no means a solo effort but I asked myself why do I care one way or the other whether other masters swimmers compete at our meet or not; and even more broadly why am I as passionate about the sport of swimming as I am.
As I have written previously I am a former national level swimmer and quit the sport after the 1992 Olympic trials, burnt out and frustrated. At the time swimming had become something I needed to do rather than something I wanted to do. 20+ years and a lot of weight later I was roped into swimming in a corporate challenge event at work. After competing(I did not win) and having so much fun I decided I was going to give swimming another go. My initial intent was to get back into some semblance of physical shape. Initially swimming was tough but after about 6 months I ventured to Bryan, Texas and competed in a very small local meet. Again my times were not stellar and I was nervous but once again I had so much fun. Unlike the last year or so of my college swimming career where I was not enjoying myself and despite having success Swimming had lost the fun element, masters swimming was a lot of fun.
Again as I have written numerous times on my blog I travel a fair bit with work and no matter where I am I go out of my way to swim. Traveling for work is highly overrated, boring, tiring and most of the time the complete opposite of fun. Despite my job requiring me to meet and interact with large groups of people I am naturally a quiet and fairly introverted person. When I first started dropping in on masters teams both domestically and internationally I was quite nervous but again soon realized that no matter where I went I had something in common with those I choose to join at 0-dark something; a passion for swimming. I was not the only crazy guy who had fun following the black line at the bottom of the pool.
I realized that win or loose I liked the feeling of swimming fast, racing and pushing myself to my physical limit. After a while I even stopped comparing my times to what I did when I was younger and compared my times to my last swims. I still get upset and disappointed with not so great swims but it's no longer a love hate relationship with swimming, its purely a love relationship.
Despite my weight loss and body transition over the last three years I still don't have a 20 year olds body and obviously I never will. When I first started masters swimming I was embarrassed by my body shape and this initially caused me hesitation to compete. Somewhere along the way I realized it did not matter. Everyone in masters swimming has aged from our memories view of our physical glory days and our body shapes and sizes are what they are and are not important. Someone said to me one time that we all have two things in common, we are all born and we all die. He followed this with, what makes a great life is what you do with the time in between these two events. I can't control when my time is up but having the ability to have the highest quality of life while I am here is within my control and swimming has provided me some wonderful experiences. I truly believe, that swimming has given me a stronger relationship with my wife, most of the stress I used to bring home from work I leave at work and I believe I have become less flustered and frustrated as a result. I am still able to keep up with my kids, and my daughter specifically and I have a shared passion and spend time together as a result of swimming. I believe I bring more value to my business because I am more alert and mentally strong at work because of swimming. I have made friends I would not have made and in nearly every case feel like I have friends for life.
So why compete? I believe that meets add even more value to the masters swimming experience. Swimming is to a large extent, a fairly solitary sport. Somehow we get to know each other without really spending much total time talking. After all how much conversation can be conducted in the 10-15 seconds between swims and the 5-10 minutes at the beginning and end of practice? Meets allow us to share more time with our team mates. Meets allow us to support each other in a way we are unable to in practice. I realized in several cases that not only do I share a passion for swimming with my team mates but life experiences ranging from kid stories, work stories, college experiences, etc. My team mates are cool interesting people and traveling to and from meets, hanging out in deck and supporting each other is so much fun. There goes that word again!
Personally I had a very successful Spring Nationals but none of my own swims rank as the highlight of my meet. Seeing our entire team supporting one of our team mates who entered her first meet and completed the 200fly and 400IM was really awesome. Somehow we all shared every stroke Martha made and everyone got something from Martha's achievement. USMS is a big supporter of inclusion and I really do believe that competing enables swimmers to compete as a team and masters meets should not just be enjoyed by the few but rather every masters swimmer deserves to share in the experience and fun associated with a meet.
I hope we have a great turn out at our meet but above all I hope everyone has fun.
Updated September 26th, 2015 at 08:06 AM by StewartACarroll
My daughter and I had meets today, so my wife and mother went with my daughter while I went on my own. My daughter had the tougher of the two meets with me entered in 50s and a 200IM while my daughter was entered in the 100,200 back, 100,200 fly and 100,200 breast. I arranged to meet a couple of my team mates and car pool together to frisco which is about a 40minute drive from rockwall.
The Frisco pool was similar to Mr Unruhs pool at Nitro in Austin where the outside windows roll up like a garage door which allows for a nice cross wind. The pool was a 6.5 ft deep Myrtha pool but the lanes were very narrow.
I did about a 1200m warmup and then swam fly,back,breast and free. There were very few entries and as such the events went very fast and almost as soon as I was done with the breast the 200IM was getting on the blocks and I chose to skip the IM. Despite this one no show I had a good day and was pleased with all my events going:
Despite being very happy with all these swims I have a lot of room for improvement. In particular the fly I hit both lane lines with my arms. Off the start I hit my left hand pretty good and then clipped the lane line with my right hand towards the end of the 50. I felt like my back was a good swim and had a much better start than I had at nationals but was a little miffed I did not dip under 30. Considering I went 30.0 at worlds this is a great time for me and gives me a lot of hope to go well under 30 when rested and shaved. The breast was probably the biggest surprise. I had a really good start and felt really good through about 30m where I felt the guy in the next lane and tried picking up my tempo which caused me to loose my great pull and the last 20 felt quite rushed. I had a great start on the free and was clear of everyone else by 25. I felt like I lost a little focus on the second 25 and did not finish very well. This is the fastest I have been unrested as a masters swimmer. I also really enjoyed this one because I had a 19,21 and 31 year old in my heat and it's always nice to whoop up on the younger guys. My only regret is I could not do the 200IM but I will do it at another meet.
We had our nationals team dinner on Saturday night at Brio Tuscan Grill which was near the pool and our team hotel. The restaurant had a large party room and we filled the room. The food was terrific however the speed of service was terrible, the air temperature could only be described as Antarctic and trying to pay was almost impossible taking over an hour. Despite these difficulties it was great fun hanging out with all my team mates.
I managed to get an extra hour of sleep on Saturday night since my first event was not until after the women's 500 free and the 30 minute break. At dinner on Saturday one of my team mates asked if I would count for her which meant I missed out on a little extra sleep but I am so glad I said yes. She proceeded to swim a great 500 and ended up 8th which was really great fun to watch and see her reaction when she was done. Well worth missing out on the sleep. Sunday was my short day swimming the mixed medley relay, 50 back and 100 free. I was the lead off on the medley relay and went 25.9 which was a good time and beat my time on the men's medley relay by .4. Next up was the 50 back. I felt good going in and thought I could go 25.5. I had a terrible start and ended up coming up last but made up some ground before the turn and caught up and almost beat 2nd and 3rd(mike Ross went 23.7 for the win with his incredible underwaters). I went 28.8 which again I was happy with but know I could have gone much faster with a better start. I was very tired before my last event, the 100 free but I was determined to give it everything I had which I did going 49.02.
Overall i REALLY enjoyed the meet. Honestly two to three weeks ago I did not think I was going to make the meet let alone win medals at the meet. The highlight of my meet was the free relay. I so wanted to win the 200 free and be in a stroke for stroke race with Patrick and Steve on the 500 but alas these were not meant to be this go around. It was great swimming with all my friends and especially our extended team mates from Pittsburgh.
Today was was back to work with a bang and I am off to New Orleans with work tomorrow for the rest of the week.
For or those who have been following the traumas of the Carrolls the past few months, my family could not come down to Nationals due to sickness. Also my sons recovery from his double concussion is still ongoing. On Friday we heard some news from the specialist he is seeing and they said they are still concerned about his balance and cognitive recovery and we are afraid there could be some permanent damage; he is still getting severe headaches. Today he went for another MRI and we are hoping to hear some good news based on seeing some positive changes since his last MRI shortly after the second concussion. I will be glad when we can put all this stuff behind us and focus on just normal everyday issues.
Updated April 28th, 2015 at 10:59 PM by StewartACarroll
I had a good night of sleep despite storms that came through last night, however when I woke up to my iPhone alarm I quickly realized the whole hotel was in complete darkness. I also found out that shaving with the light from my iPhone in the sink with cold water is not my best sport!
One of my team mates drove me to chick fil a to grab some food and then we headed to the pool. I was a little sore this morning but felt good after a slightly longer than normal meet warm up(1500). I waited around about 30 minutes due to the delay in starting the meet and then put on my meet suit. I then got back in and swam about 400 with a couple of 50s at 500 pace before I went over to the pool for the 500. I felt nice and relaxed. Like yesterday's 200 we had a false start which added to the anticipation. I had a good start and felt good on the first 50 but as the field started to pickup pace I soon realized I was struggling to hit my groove. I tried relaxing and focusing on long strokes and at half way I was a long way back but seemed to hit a groove and at 300 was able to pick up the pace. I came back strong on the last 200 and finished 5th at 4:56 which was definitely not the time I was hoping for and honestly thought I would be racing against pwb and sunruh. Alas it was not meant to be. I negative split the race and seemed to hit my groove over the last 200 but like yesterday's 200 I just did not feel my normal self.
Unlike previous meets i am just glad to be hear and I did not beat myself up and put it behind me. I had a nice break between the 500 and 200 back and did a nice long loose easy swim. I somehow felt like a different guy after the 500 and felt good and confident going up for my 200 back. The start time for the 200 back was about noon and the sun was right overhead. On the start I finally did not go deep but also did not go as far underwater. As I came up I was blinded by the sun and decided to move over to one side of the lane so I could at least use the lane line as a sighting guide. Off the first turn I was glad I did move close to the lane because the second length the sun seemed even worse. I swam close enough to the lane line the whole way so could feel it but not so close that I hit it or anything. My splits were great going 28 high, 30.x, 30.x, 30.x and ending up with 2:00.13 which is a masters best for me and I took second behind Michael Ross who just ate up everyone with his monster underwaters on the first 100.
Last up for me today was the men's 200 free relay. I had a gap between the back and the relay which allowed me to grab some food and watch my team mates who all did awesome. We had a lot of swimmers in every event and I got some great photos for our team website. As the relays approached I did yet another warmup and felt pretty good. As our team assembled I went to put on my goggles and noticed that the clip on the back of the speedo vanquishers had snapped and had to do a quick knot to avoid any mishap. Luckily it was the clip and not the side which would have meant completely broken goggles with no time to get a replacement pair since my stuff was over in the indoor pool. It was crowded behind the blocks which made staying relaxed and loose difficult but we managed it. I was on lead off since the other guys had either swum the individual 50(Scott Heber and Mark Cox) or had led off a mixed relay yesterday(Scott Carpenter). Off the start my hands came apart but I quickly pulled them back together and did not loose too much. I no breathed the first 25 turned and double dolphin kicked and broke out well, however my right hand hit a wave and my first stroke was very short and deep. I still felt good and ended up coming in at 22.36 which is another masters best. I am pretty sure with a few minor changes I can go under 22 from a flat start 50 but I will leave that for another day. Scott a Carpenter was 2nd and went 22.4, Mark Cox 3rd with a very fast 21.9 and Scott Heber closed with an incredible 21.4. We had good take overs but Scott Heber's start in particular was unbelievably quick. We missed the National record by .4. Between Scott Carpenter almost missing the wall on his turn and my couple of mistakes I really think we could have been under the record. We won by some distance against a very fast Rice team. This was SO MUCH FUN! In fact all four of us were not even back to the indoor pool before we started talking about other meets to go for the record again.
Tomorrow I get to sleep in and I close the meet with a mixed medley relay, the 100 free and the 50 back. Should be more fun tomorrow.
We had a fun night last night watching college football, eating food and laughing and joking. Great stuff. I still managed to get to bed at 9pm. I fell asleep pretty quick but woke around 1am with my stomach in knots and feeling really dehydrated. I guess my dinner did not settle as well as it went down. I felt better this morning but my stomach was still doing loops. Luckily as the day went on I felt better and better. I was a little nervous that I would suffer in the pool today but as it turned out I had another great day and finished off a great meet.
There was an issue with lane 6 the entire meet with numerous stoppages trying to fix an issue with the bulkhead. Today just before the women's 200 they finally decided to close lane 6 and reseed everything. Apparently the bulk head wall had a hole in it and they felt like it was a hazard. As a result of the reseeding I was moved out of the fastest heat of the 200 into the center lane in the second to last heat. I felt good ahead of the race and was ecstatic with my time of 1:59.9. This was my goal time for the swim and it was great to achieve it. My splits were a little off but who cares. I was out a little fast but hung on pretty well and I was a long way ahead of everyone in my heat.
My my last event was the 50 back where I went 29.1 and was again happy with the time. I had a tough time at the start going a little deep and despite trying as hard as I could not get going like hoped. This is a great time for me but I think I have a faster 50 in me.
Overall I had great fun and a great meet. I am really happy I swam at this meet and will be back(thanks Patrick). I have a week of work in California and will try to hold my taper this week around a busy work schedule. Next weekend I swim in the USAS LPA meet at our pool in Rockwall and I am hopeful I can carry my taper into next weekend. I am swimming with UCLA masters while in LA.
I had another late night last night but I guess I must be adjusting to local time because I did not feel nearly as tired. I had an excellent nights sleep and woke around 6am local time. I had a good breakfast with Stephanie and Ray Stone and my team mate Bill Elizondo before heading to the pool for a warmup. I once again felt great in the water although I could tell it was the second day of the meet and not the first. Today's line up was the 400 free and the 100 back.
The 400 free I ended up with a 4:17.7 which I was pleased with but my free turn challenges really caught up with me in this race almost coming to a complete stop at the 275 turn and again at the 350. I don't know what's the deal since I have swum scm many times before. I did hear quite a few people saying similar things so I was not alone. I think the most encouraging thing about this race was how strong I felt and if it were not for the turns I think I could have been even faster.
My second event today was the 100 back and unlike the 400 I hit everything right in this one with a final time of 1:01.3 and splits of 29.9 and 31.4. I would love to see this one on video. One of my friends said my underwaters sucked but I was the fastest swimmer. The great thing about swimming is no mater who you are or how old you are there is always something you can work on.
I have the 200 free and the 50 back tomorrow. Fingers crossed I will have a strong finish to the meet.
I arrived in LA at around 7pm (9pm central and way past my bed time) thursday night and then sat on the I105 east for about 1.5 hours. Despite LA being a fun city, traffic totally sucks 24/7 and reaffirms that it's not the place for yours truly. When I finally arrived at my hotel I was caught in the dilemma of eating or not. I decided to grab food at the hotel and choose pasta which is always a safe choice ahead of a meet. I finally got to bed around 10pm(midnight central) which is closer to my normal wake up call than my go to bed time. I woke around 6:30am pacific after a good night of sleep and felt good. Stephanie Stone who swims with us from time to time, and I headed over to the pool together for a warmup swim. Again I felt good. After the warmup we headed back to the hotel where I ate, shaved down and even grabbed a short power nap.
We had a little bit of a worry around 12:30pm when we heard the meet was running an hour ahead of schedule. When we got to the pool it was ahead of schedule but the meet organizers said the meet would stick to the original timeline and there was a warmup between the 1500s and the 200 IMs which worked great.
My first race today was the 100free and I was in the fastest heat in lane 1. I had a really good start but messed up on both my turns at the bulkhead end of the pool. Neither was a complete stop by any stretch but both were softer than I would have hoped. My goal time was 53.99 and I ended up with a 54.3 which all things considered I was very happy with. I felt strong all the way.
My second race was about 45 minutes later which gave me time to warm down and prepare for the 200 back. I was in lane 8 in the fastest heat and as things turned out I was the outside burner. I have not raced much back and as such I have next to no expectations which may actually be the ideal way for me to swim. I was entered on my unrested LCM time from this past summer(2:25) and hoped I could go under 2:20. I ended up going 2:12 even with a challenge on the last two turns. This time I decided to wear clear goggles(I usually wear smoke) because it was getting dark. These worked great other than I forgot to put anti fog drops in the goggles and they got harder and harder to see out of as the race progressed. Even with this challenge I was absolutely shocked with this one and felt awesome. I know it's hard comparing lcm to scm but this was 13 seconds faster than my entry time and 8 seconds faster than I thought I would go.
A big thank you goes out to Patrick for his post on this meet last year. I read it and was really inspired to one day attend this meet. I am really glad I was able to make the meet and catchup with friends like Patrick and Kurt.
I have the 400 free and the 100 back today so I have another fun day in store. I am really digging doing the back thing and maybe I have found a new event or two for nationals.
Yesterday I swam in the city of Richardson corporate challenge. This is a special event with a great cause. Companies in the DFW area compete and raise money for the special olympics. This meet is special to me also since this was the meet that precipitated my return to swimming two years ago. One could say this event changed my life. Like the two prior corporate challenges I have participated in this one was enormously fun. My company had about 8 participants which is a little low compared to prior years but like the other two years those who participated had great fun. I remember how nervous I was two years ago and how intimidating I found it showing my belly and body that I was not comfortable in front of strangers. Like me once people see that they are just like everyone else and get the first sim out of the way it's no where near as intimidating and everyone on my team said they had a great time.
In terms of the meet, I swam well and finished first in my two individual events(50 free and 50 back) and our relay which I always find the most fun won coming from behind. The past couple of weeks I have been very stiff and sore and this feeling continued today. I was able to get my normal 1300scy warmup in before the free and had decent warm downs after each of my races. Despite the soreness I had some decent times today.
Free - 22:83
Back - 26.42
I feel like a duck out of water whenever I swim a 50 free. I seem to always mess up one or two aspects of the swim and today I had a decent start but glided into the turn and had a slow turn. Despite my turn I felt strong the whole way. They swim the meet in 10 year age groups which meant I was not with the young guys which I would have preferred. Two of the younger guys who were my speed swam with body suits which I have not seen in a long time. I have struggled for over a year on my back break outs. My under waters have improved a lot but I go slightly too deep and struggle getting up to the surface before I am forced to take my first stroke. Today was no exception and I had this problem on the start and turn and in both cases I took my first strokes while under water which causes an almost immediate stop. If I can fix this issue I really feel like I have some good back races in me this year and beyond.
I am off to DC with work this week so won't be swimming today but will be swimming with Alexandria masters all week. I have really enjoyed swimming with this group before and know many of there team we'll so it's always nice to see friends and train with another competitive group.
During the award ceremony I met Karri Kennedy aka FlyStorms and had a great conversation. It's always so wonderful when you know people through dimming and get to see them. karri and I have known each other for about a year through the forums but had never met so it was great to finally put a face and name together. You swam great Karri and offer to come train with us still holds.
This weekend is our South Central Zone meet at the Woodlands pool just north of Houston. This meet is special for me because I had four other team mates competing at the meet and my daughter came with me to the meet. We had a good drive down yesterday afternoon and I had a nice swim before we left and another after we arrived.
Last night I swam the mile and used the fact that I had not swum a USMS mile before to enter a NT and swam at 6pm in lane 5, heat 1. There were 10 heats and the last heat did not start until almost 9pm even with two pools being used to speed the meet up. I swam my own race and felt pretty good through about 800 and the pain build from there. I held it together pretty good and finished with 17:29.92. This was not as fast as I had hoped but still not a bad time at all.
Today we had warm up at 8am and the meet started at 9am with the 500 being the first event of the day. I knew this was going to be a real race between Steve Unruh and I and that's exactly how it turned out. I swam from the front the whole way but Steve was no more than half a body length back the whole way. I knew he was going to pick it up the last 150 so made sure I had enough left to pick it up also. We both went under 5mins with my final time being 4:58.92. This was not as fast as I went shaved and tapered for USAS in January but was a really good in season time for me. I really enjoyed the race and was very happy I evened the score with Steve after he beat me at the SMU meet last month. I suspect we will have some more great races over the next few years.
Despite warming down well after the mile and the 500 I was very tired and sore before this race. I was seeded 4th but ended up 2nd in the heat and 1st in my age group. The time of 2.06.83 was not that special, but I was happy with the splits which were 30,32,32,32. I think I will swim this event more next year and with some work on my turns I think I have a lot of room for improvement.
Tomorrow I have the 200 free and the 1000 free. There are about 6 guys entered under 1.50 on the 200 free so this is likely to be a very fast race. I am seeded first on the 1000 and hope to have a fast race. If I swim close to the time I did in January in the USAS meet I will get close to the zone record of 10:24.
------ Update on Day 3
I had a pretty horrid day 3 of this meet. My daughter got sick on Saturday, with a fever and a stomach ache. I woke up on Sunday morning with my stomach in knots and had to spend most of the gap between the warm up and the 200 free in the bathroom. I erroneously decided to swim the 200 but without getting into any nasty details at 135 my stomach did a twist and knotted and at 150 I knew I needed to get out and head back to the restroom, unfortunately I flipped and had pushed off and had to get to 175 inorder to get out, which I did without really embarrassing myself but only just. On the offical record it was a DQ but reality was it was a DNF. I tried rehydrating and decided to swim the 1000 but more to just stretch out. I ended up going about 10.32 and negative split it pretty big, and actually by the end felt much better.
I can honestly say that this was not only a masters first but a life time first, with a DNF, and almost another very nasty first, but I wont go there!!! Its a shame because I was feeling pretty good and the guys I was with all went under 1.50 so I believe I would have been between 1.48-1.50, but alas it was not meant to be.
Updated March 31st, 2014 at 05:26 PM by StewartACarroll
I had some great races today but came out on the wrong side of some close finishes in all my events. Despite the disappointment of loosing races I REALLY had fun today.
Todays events and times
50 back 27.08
50 fly 25.55
500 free 5:04.91
200 free 1:51.61
100 IM 59.10
i was very sore when I woke this morning but loosened up pretty good in warmup. I have never swum a 50 fly or a 100 IM in scy so I can officially say I had life time best times in those events. The other times are ok but not that quick. As I said though to some extend the times were irrelevant today because I got to race and that was a lot of fun.
The only crumby thing today was that I missed my daughters meet where she had a bog break out. She dropped time in all of her races and in the 100 IM dropped 10 seconds and her 200 free where she dropped 12 seconds. Her other events she dropped 2 seconds in each and considering one of these was a 50 free she rocked. Unfortunately I missed her swim due to this meet. At least I get to see her swim tomorrow!!
Its been a good weekend in the Carroll household so far!
Updated February 22nd, 2014 at 08:23 PM by StewartACarroll