Monday, July 9, 2012

Could'a, Should'a, Would'a - Swimming Edition

This past weekend, I entered the 2012 Marriott Summer Nationals Swimming meet, hosted in Omaha's Olympic Trials pool. I competed in the 400 Individual Medley (IM), the 100 Free and the 400 Free.

The 400 IM went better than I anticipated. I settled into a solid rhythm in the 100 fly and then negative-split the next 100 meters of backstroke. When I pushed off the wall at the beginning of the 100 breast, I was in fourth place in my heat. My breaststroke leg was solid. I overtook 3rd place and began to close the gap on second. But my power waned and I wasn't able to close the gap. Still, I managed to hold off any challenges to finish 3rd in my heat. When all the heats were completed, I ended up 6th overall in my age group, earning a medal (top 10), and five points for the united Nebraska Masters team.

I didn't fare so well on the 100 Free. Whereas the 400 IM is a race of muscle-endurance/attrition, the 100 free is an anaerobic thrashing. I took out the first 50 meters harder than I should have. I panicked and throttled-up too early when I felt that the field was slipping away in the first 50 meters. As a result, I struggled to maintain form on the final 20 meters of the race. If I had swam the race as my coach Todd Samland had advised, I probably would have performed better.  I finished 29th in my age group.  That was a let down.

I got some redemption in the 400 Free on Sunday. I swam a much smarter race by following the advice of my coach. I took the first 100 out pretty quickly, then brought it back a notch and slowly doled out the power over the course of the next 300 meters. For my cycling friends reading this, the 400 free is a race much like a time trial, where you try to 'roll out the rug evenly' until you're giving everything you've got left over the last 50 meters or so. That strategy paid off. At the 200 M mark, I was in second place by well over a body length. But over the next 200 meters, I was able to overtake the leader of my heat and then drop him. To those watching the race, it appeared as though I accelerated to overtake him, when in fact my evenly distributed splits suggested that I maintained power while the competition faded. I won the heat and managed to slip into 10th place in my age group for another medal and a point for my team.

While I was proud of having the courage to enter the 400 IM, I had the most satisfaction of racing in the 400 Free, especially after tasting disappointment in the 100 the day before.

My meet results here

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