Great story, Allen.
I don't have anything as miraculous as a WR to add to this, but one of the joys from my youth that I re-discovered this summer was the sheer joy of racing, almost regardless of the outcome. I swam three USAS meets this summer, all of which were prelim-final affairs. Before the first one, my attitude was that I would scratch finals and just do the typical one try effort that we masters often do. However, a strange thing happened on the very first day of the very first of these meets. This was Memorial Day weekend and I had done zero LCM training after Mesa, but I wanted to get a baseline time for the 200 fly. I was fully intending on just swimming it in prelims and calling it a day, but, as the meet was not huge, I made it back to finals with a time that was 2 seconds faster than I had previously gone (admittedly, I don't race much LCM). My wife then guilted me into swimming in finals, saying I had to set a good example for my 3 swimming daughters. That night, instead of playing my usual cautious self on the 1st 100, I decided to go out and race the kids ... it hurt like a beast, but I dropped another 2 seconds.
Over the rest of the USAS meets this summer and the one Masters meet I've been in, I have managed to find people to race, ranging from a scrawny 15 year old who pushed me harder and faster on the 1500 than I thought I could be to a 20-something who toyed with me before powering back the last 25 meters of a fun 200 free race. Even though I was not really rested for any of these meets, I really discovered the benefit of simply loving to race again and having fun just by racing. In some cases, this lead to some spectacular bombs, but in most cases it lead to me swimming faster than I thought I could.
As I head into my taper meet this coming weekend (SPMA/Southwest Zones), the only real mental "game" I'm taking is two-fold: have fun and enjoy the race. I'll have some goals, for sure, but this summer has re-taught me the pure joy of just racing and letting the outcome be what it is.