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Of Swimming Bondage

Nats Day 1 - A tale of two swims

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Swimming offers so many opportunities to learn and to put things into perspective. Today's experience over two swims was a perfect example of that.

Friday - 400 IM (Not quite) the worst of times
Despite a bit of a short night of sleep (due to a 5am work call I had to make), I felt quite good in warmup and was excited for this race. As it turns out, maybe I was a bit too excited and a bit too enthralled with the great racing opportunities present in my heat. Despite telling myself that I was going to take this out like I was swimming a 200 fly (target was 57-high to 58 mid), I got caught up in the excitement of my first race and really gunned the fly, hitting the wall at 56.8. I still felt pretty good, though, and laid off my legs on the backstroke. I negative split that leg and was marginally slower on that leg (1:04.39 vs a target of 1:03+), but was still out in 2:01.22, which was very close to where I was in Greensboro (2:00.79). When I finished the first lap of the breaststroke, though, I started to feel the burn from going out as fast as I did on the fly. My legs got really tired. Usually, that starts around the last lap of the breast. From that point onwards in the race, I just didn't have much 'get up and go.' I proceeded to record my slowest back half 200 ever at a Nationals.

I ended up at 4:21.21, putting me in 4th place in the age group, with easily the strongest field of 400 IMers I have raced. Hats off to Sergey Mariunuk who won the race in a blistering 4:13.02 (in a brief) and took down Dennis Baker's 4:14.17 National Record (done in a tech suit).

As for perspective taking, here's the way to look at it:
  • This was 6 seconds faster than my two previous swims this season
  • This was 4.5 seconds faster than when I swam at this pool in 2001 at age 34 at my first ever Nationals.
  • Taking out the tech suit times, it fits within the range of my Nationals efforts over the years ...
    • 2001 - Santa Clara - 4:25.72
    • 2002 - Hawaii - 4:22.20
    • 2003 - Tempe - 4:20.07
    • 2008 - Austin - 4:17.04
    • 2012 - Greensboro - 4:15.17

  • ... but it still wasn't a great swim.
  • On the positive side, I clearly have enough speed and endurance to race a 200 ... and that was born out in my next swim


200 back - The best of times
After cooling down, I went back to the hotel room to catch up on work and to stay out of the sun for the ~3+ hours between my IM and my 200 back. I got back to the pool in perfect time to do a little bit of dynamic stretching / dryland warmup, put on my suit and grab a 400 warm up in the diving well. Interestingly, with so many swimmers here and truly not much warmup space, it wasn't all that crowded (certainly better than I remember Atlanta). I did an easy 200 IM kick drill followed by 8 x 25s where the odd ones range from 12.5 strong to 25 strong and the even ones were easy. I really focused on a long stroke, deep catch and emphasized my shoulder roll. I felt good. I got out with about 1.5 heats to go before my race, dried off, put on my speed cap and headed to the blocks.

Contrary to the plan I had noted a few days ago (
http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?5013-pwb), due to my legs dying in my 400 IM, I decided to try to go long and strong the first 125 with very light legs and then rev up the arm turnover for the last 75. I pretty much executed that plan, except that both my legs and arms really started to fall apart at about the 155 mark -- I came up from the 150 turn and just gutted it out for the rest of the race. I was really, really, really wiped at the end of this and it took me some time to get my goggles off to see the time. Imagine my surprise when I saw a 2:01.37 and third place. My previous best was a 2:03.15 and this converts to a 2:14+ in SCM, faster than I went last December. I was truly happy with this swim.

Of course, I still think I can go under 2:00 ... so that goal is still out there.

My splits were pretty solid, but do demonstrate diminished power and endurance as the race went on - 29.10, 30.36, 30.60, 31.31. Still a 59.1 - 1:02.3 splitting is a nice race.

Day 1 Summary
I am ready to race 200s and so happy I chose the 200 instead of the 500 free for Sunday. Going to take care of a few work calls this afternoon, maybe get a quick massage on my legs, watch the new Spiderman movie and sleep in tomorrow.

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Comments

  1. StewartACarroll's Avatar
    Congratulations Patrick. With all the work wrapped around your swim I think you did incredibly well. Both swims were terrific. Good luck the rest of the meet.
  2. Water Rat's Avatar
    I noticed your 200 back today. That was excellent. Sorry you were a bit disappointed with the IM but to come back with an event like your backstroke a few hours later is really great. get some rest. see you tomorrow.
  3. scyfreestyler's Avatar
    Nice swimming, Patrick!

    Glad to hear that the warm up pools don't seem overly crowded. I'm hoping the parking isn't too much of a madhouse tomorrow morning.
  4. thewookiee's Avatar
    Nice job Patrick! Best of luck tomorrow!
  5. ourswimmer's Avatar
    It all depends on your definition of "crowded." If your definition is "Atlanta 2010," the warmup pools are an outer-suburbs Y at mid-afternoon. If it is "Clovis 2009," the warmup pools are chaos. Get there early tomorrow morning to avoid parking chaos; then, please, let us women warm up for the 500. (Then later stop by the MAM tent, either on deck or outside the fence, for a bit of socializing.)

    Back on point, that is really the way to swim a 200 back, I think: Lay off until you have about 75 to go, and then pour it on if you can. Glad you had a good swim today!
  6. The Fortress's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by StewartACarroll
    Congratulations Patrick. With all the work wrapped around your swim I think you did incredibly well. Both swims were terrific. Good luck the rest of the meet.
    Agree, it's definitely hard to concentrate and swim fast while also working. Jim calls it the "cranial brownout" when work takes up your mental energy. Glad you rebound with a splendid 200 back! Go get 'em tomorrow!
  7. jaadams1's Avatar
    Very nice swimming!!
  8. pwb's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by StewartACarroll
    Congratulations Patrick. With all the work wrapped around your swim I think you did incredibly well. Both swims were terrific. Good luck the rest of the meet.
    Thanks, Stewart. With only 200s left, the rest of the meet will be awesome.
  9. pwb's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Water Rat
    I noticed your 200 back today. That was excellent. Sorry you were a bit disappointed with the IM but to come back with an event like your backstroke a few hours later is really great
    Yeah, Mark, it looks like you and I both re-bounded well after a slower than expected first event.
  10. pwb's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by scyfreestyler
    I'm hoping the parking isn't too much of a madhouse tomorrow morning.
    You and me both. I'm a bit worried about there being room today, but we shall see.
  11. pwb's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ourswimmer
    It all depends on your definition of "crowded." If your definition is "Atlanta 2010," the warmup pools are an outer-suburbs Y at mid-afternoon. If it is "Clovis 2009," the warmup pools are chaos.
    Very true. Clovis was wonderful, though I only ended up swimming one day of that meet.

    We really need to get SoCal to host a SCY Nationals at Irvine with their 2 x 50 meter pools right next to each other. Although, it looks like we'll have a great setup of pools next spring in San Antonio.
  12. pwb's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by The Fortress
    Agree, it's definitely hard to concentrate and swim fast while also working. Jim calls it the "cranial brownout" when work takes up your mental energy. Glad you rebound with a splendid 200 back! Go get 'em tomorrow!
    Thanks, Leslie. RE: work and swimming fast, I think it is not a coincidence that I swam exceptionally well back at the Rowdy Gaines meet when that meet fell at the end of a week of vacation. Similarly, I swam well in Greensboro and Austin, both of which felt like mini-vacations as I took at least a day off ahead of each meet and was hanging out with family throughout the meets.

    I can't really blame work for my 400 IM, though, this time - poor race execution and, admittedly, probably a lack of conditioning due to the 'lost time' from my foot injury mid-January through Feb.

    It is a good reminder, though, that when I really want to have a super-focus-peak-swim-out-of-my-mind meet, I need to detach from work ahead of that.