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Pete's swim blog

06.22.13 - Alabama State Games - finding my inner sprinter

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by , June 24th, 2013 at 04:47 PM (1575 Views)
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:

200 Free
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.

50 Free
Seed Time: 26.98
Meet Time: 25.97
Splits: N/A
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.

200 IM
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.

100 Breast
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.

100 Fly
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.

100 Free
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!

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  1. pwb's Avatar
    Great job. My first Masters meet ever was the Badger State Games back in 1993 and I hope to get to the Grand Canyon State Games meet in July. I have found these meets to be even lower key than a typical in-season Masters meet (e.g., bordering on flatlining), but I like them. In fact, thinking about the thread elsewhere on the forums about participation in meets makes me wonder if these State Games meets might not be the right place to get 'new Masters swimmers' into competition.

    as far as your results, I think you are being too hard on yourself about your 200 free splits. They look solid and well-split to me.

  2. ekw's Avatar
    Sounds like a fun meet! Maybe next year it won't conflict with the Southern Masters LCM meet so I can take my shot at Alabama glory.
  3. Karl_S's Avatar
    I think that the State Games of America will be at the Central York HS pool. It's quite nice. 8 lanes. Start at the deep end and turn at the bulkhead where it is still 6' or so. Lots of parking and lots of seating.
  4. StewartACarroll's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by pwb
    Great job.........In fact, thinking about the thread elsewhere on the forums about participation in meets makes me wonder if these State Games meets might not be the right place to get 'new Masters swimmers'
    Yes really nice job champ.

    i like your idea Patrick, and agree this maybe less threatening for some, although it will probably require travel for most and this may also prove challenging.
  5. pmccoy's Avatar
    This definitely was the meet to introduce/recruit for masters. The age groupers were mostly part of Alabama Parks and Recreation Association. Some swim USAS but most are just summer swimmers. So, you have a bunch of parents in the stands watching when grown-ups dive in and have a great time mixing it up. I'm sure some of them are thinking "maybe I can do that". At the same time, it was definitely low key but at a "big meet" venue with all the bells and whistles.

    Bigger states will surely have travel issues. Texas and California would involve some travel. But most states are about like Alabama. Maybe 4-5 hour drive would be worst case. They even do an opening ceremonies the night before for people that are staying overnight. I wish we could have gone to that.
  6. rxleakem's Avatar
    way to go!