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Of Swimming Bondage

Nats Day 4 - Blue Moon and the GEOAT

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by , May 1st, 2016 at 02:44 PM (243 Views)
While I wasn't one of the people responsible for apparently draining all the kegs ordered for the Beer Garden at the meet on Saturday night, I did decide to chillax a little at our family dinner that evening and had a Blue Moon beer with dinner. Normally at Nationals, I never drink until the meet is over, but, after how dead I was concluding the 200 IM on Saturday, I figured one beer couldn't hurt my 400 IM this morning.

I slept like a dog last night - out cold around 11:30pm and I awoke on my own at 6:45am. I did some light yoga, had a bowl of instant oatmeal and hit the Starbucks for a quad espresso before heading over to the GAC. Strangely, given how poor my IM performance was on Saturday, I was probably more excited and more calmly pumped for my 400 IM that I can recall ever being at a Nationals. Traditionally, it is the first event on Friday and, hence, my first event of the meet. As it's my favorite race, it is also the race that I normally place the most expectations on myself and so I'm usually anxious and jumpy before it.

Today's mood was about as close to 180 degrees away from that as possible; I was just looking forward to a good race. I knew I wasn't going to keep up with Nicholas Granger in lane 5 and so determined to just put blinders on for that side of the pool. Fortunately, I was next to Dave Wharton in lane 7 and I figured, based upon the meet he was having, that the race for second would be with him. Knowing that I'm a stronger backstroker and he's a stronger breaststroker than me, I just aimed to stick as close to him on the fly as possible, tried to get as far ahead on the backstroke as I could, hoped I would not lose too much ground on the breaststroke and then steeled myself for a gut buster to the finish on the free. The race played out almost exactly as I expected. The one part of the race that surprised me was the back to breast turn. I had purposefully done an open turn instead of a rollover to try to get a big gulp of air before the breaststroke pullout (always the strongest part of that stroke for me), but I guess I had expended a bit too much energy on the backstroke as I pushed off and quickly realized that I needed to get to the surface for air. This is only the second time in my life I can remember NOT doing an underwater breaststroke pullout (the last was Omaha 2012), but it was the right decision.

I somehow managed to hang on for second and was extremely pumped to see 4:20.28 on the scoreboard. While I've been faster at three Nationals before ...
  • 2012 - 4:15.17
  • 2008 - 4:17.04
  • 2003 - 4:20.07

... this was faster than the 4:21.19 from Santa Clara in 2014 and that was my only goal for this event for the meet.

I know that everyone would agree that the 400 IM is the Greatest Event Of All Time so you can understand my special joy in wrapping up Nationals with a great swim in that wondrous event. As I've not done a lot of focused IM training this season, this time really left me pumped and feeling like I can get under my 4:15 best time next year!

Off to get some good pit BBQ before the flight home and then a couple of days away from the pool!

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  1. SwimDogs's Avatar
    Nice swimming this weekend Patrick. I have only three additional comments:

    1. How'd you let your daughter beat you by .17 in the 500 (and not mention that in your blog).
    2. The 100IM is WAY better than the 400IM.
    3. I had a chance to be close to you in Stage One of the Postal Swimtathlon, but there's no way to even compete against you in Stage Two or Three.

    Have a safe trip home!

  2. knelson's Avatar
    When you can out touch a former world record holder and Olympic silver medalist in the very event in which he achieved those accolades it's pretty darn cool!
  3. Water Rat's Avatar
    That was a great race to watch Patrick and a great way to wrap up a really successful meet for you.
  4. gdanner's Avatar
    Ah, I had forgotten you were going, I wish I saw the live feed of the GEOAT. What a turnaround from that 2 IM! Sweet time.

    Quote Originally Posted by knelson
    When you can out touch a former world record holder and Olympic silver medalist in the very event in which he achieved those accolades it's pretty darn cool!
    So right! You had some tough competition in all your events.