My focus event this summer—the IGLA championships in Seattle August 13-18—is just 9 days away, and I’ve been making final plans and preparations for that event. I’ll be competing in 3 different aquatic disciplines—pool swimming, open water swimming, and diving--plus it looks like I might do the in-water choreography for our team’s entry in the closing Pink Flamingo competition. Here’s what my schedule will look like:
Arrive Monday 12 August evening
Tuesday 13 August: dive practice + easy swim at competition facility, counting for teammates’ 1500s
Wednesday 14 August: 100 FL, 50 BK, 200 IM, (4 x 200 FR relay)
Thursday 15 August: 50 fly, (4 x 100 medley relay), 1m dive competition
Friday 16 August: (4 x 100 FR relay), (4 x 50 medley relay), 3m dive competition
Saturday 17 August: 50 breast, (4 x 50 free relay), dive exhibition?, Pink Flamingo
Sunday 18 August: 2-mile open water swim
Here’s how things are looking:
It was a race to the wire to learn enough dives to compete in the 3m competition as well as the 1m. Last Sunday I learned a back dive with a half twist from both boards, which gave me a seventh dive, and one from the twisting category, on the higher board. So now I’m good to go.
(As a woman, my competition lists will include 6 official, scored dives on each board. But because FINA requires 7 dives for men, women at IGLA are given the opportunity to do a seventh unofficial “equality” dive to protest this gender equality. In addition, all five groups of dives--forward, backward, inward, reverse, and twisting--should be included among the 7).
So on the 3m my dives will be:
Front dive tuckFront 1½ somersault tuckBack dive straightBack flip straightReverse dive tuckInward dive tuckBack dive straight with ½ twist
This has to be among the lowest degree-of-difficulty dive lists you’ll ever see—but hey, I’m just thrilled to be competing!
On the 1m I might replace the twisty back dive with a front somersault with a full or half twist—I have some choices there—and I do the back flip in a tuck position rather than lay-out. I have three more practices to make everything better and to practice doing the different dives one after the other, rather than working on just one or two per practice.
As for the competition itself, Federal Way is a great diving facility—Olympic Trials were held there in 2012. Competition runs from 1 to 2:30 each day, and there are platform and synchro competitions as well (both on Friday). I know there are 16 divers total (about half from my team, half from various elsewheres); I’m not sure if there will be anyone else in my age group. My goal is to do all my dives legally, and to maybe hit one or two really well from each height. Whatever I do, since this is my first official meet, my scores will automatically be lifetime PRs!
Oh, and Kent Ferguson (former world champion on 3m and 92 Olympian) will be one of the judges at the competition. Very cool!
This is a short course meters meet, with 2 courses going simultaneously. Men’s and women’s events are separate, and championship seeding (by age groups) is generally used for the shorter events. Turns will be guttered rather FINA walls, and starting blocks will have wedges (my first time using those). Swim competition is scheduled to run from 8:30 to 12:30 each day. Federal Way is supposed to be a fast pool.
My goals here are to score points for my team and to have fun racing. Team New York won the swim competition at last year’s IGLA in Iceland by a huge margin, but this year we come into the meet as underdogs—the DC squad has 69 swimmers to our 61, and also has way more women. (Women at IGLA meets are key, since the swim meet skews about 80-85 percent men—women typically score points in any event they swim, whereas the men’s events, especially in the 20s-40s age groups, can go several dozen deep). So my focus is on placing as well as I can in all my events, and contributing what I can to relays.
I picked my events (50 FL/BK/BR, 100 FL, 2IM) to avoid swimming too much on days I have diving, and to avoid having swim events that overlap with diving warm-ups. (Some relays might be going on at the same time as diving warm-ups, in which case I’ll shuttle back-and-forth between the diving well and competition pool as needed.) My swim training has taken a back seat to dive training and to rehabbing a calf injury this past month, and I was a little worried about my endurance in the 100 fly, especially since it’s not one of my usual events. So I have to admit I was a little relieved when the psych sheets came out, and I was listed as the only one swimming the 100 fly in my age group.
The two events where competition will be toughest are in the 50 BK and 50 FL. I’ve been trying to do very focused work for these events, but it’s been hampered by not being able to do many wall push-offs yet. Luckily my calf is healing well, and I’m hopeful that by the time I arrive in Seattle I will be swimming pain-free, if not as well prepared as I might like. I’m imagining that the swim events will feel like a comfortable respite from the diving, where everything is new and a little scary. Some diving teammates are in the opposite situation, new to swim competitions but old hats at diving—it will be nice to look to them for mutual support and encouragement.
In addition to my 5 events, we are allowed to swim 4 of the 5 relays. With 60+ swimmers and all the combinations of ages and genders possible, doing the relay assignments is a huge task—I don’t envy Coach Scott in the coming days! I’ve told him I’m happy swimming anything, and am looking forward to swimming with friends old and new.
After 5 days in an indoor pool, I get to cap off the week with a 2-mile swim in Lake Washington. What a treat!
IGLA competitions always come with plenty of social events, and the Seattle crew seems to have done a ton of event planning. There’s an opening party at the Seattle Aquarium, hosted dinners with local swimmers, a women’s Garden Party and dinner near Alki Beach, a sunset cruise in the sound, closing banquet, etc. I’m singed up for all of those except the cruise (it runs too late for someone who never seems to adjust to west coast time when I'm out there). I'm also looking forward to making a trip to Colman Pool to try out the water slide, swimming in the sound (hoping to find a local guide for that!), and doing some other touristy stuff. Back at the pool, there will be water polo (go TNYA!) and synchro competitions in the afternoons, plus Pink Flamingo rehearsals. I have to get out my guidebook and the IGLA schedule and see what other things I want to shoehorn in.
IGLA 2013 websiteMeet SwimPhoneLive Streaming
Questions for anyone who has read this far:
Does anyone have any recommendations for things to do near Seattle that I shouldn’t miss? I’ve stayed downtown lots of times and have seen most of the things within walking distance of the downtown hotels. This time I’ll have a car and am interested in stuff within easy driving distance from Federal Way.
Any advice on starting from wedge blocks? What do you do differently from a regular track start?
Updated August 4th, 2013 at 11:20 AM by swimsuit addict