Saturday, November 5, 2016
USMS Short Course Nationals 2016 - April 28 - May 1
I trained really hard for nationals. I was putting in 5 practices a week and working hard on the distance freestyle pacing. I didn't do as much butterfly or any other stroke for that matter. My goals for the meet were in the distance free events. I set my goals to go under 6:00 in the 500 free, under 12:30 in the 1000, and under 21:00 in the 1650. I've only raced these three events one other time in the past decade and that was last year. I knew I was training harder, focusing on swimming and not triathlon. I remember thinking "I wish I could train 2.5 hrs a day, 6 days a week like I did in college." It's hard knowing what you were once capable of and that you could get back to that if time and responsibilities didn't get in the way. So, I did the best I could.
Nationals was a 4 day event. Day 1 I had the 1000 and the 1650. Day 2 was the 500 free and 200 fly, Day 3 was a day off and Day was the 400 IM and the 200 Free.
Day 1: I decided to get a room at the Holiday Inn Wednesday night since the meet started early the next morning and I was volunteering in Greensboro that day anyway. Good move. I checked into the 3 distance races while I was volunteering, so that was taken care of. Both the events on Thursday were deck seeded, so I made sure I got up early, had breakfast, and got to the pool. The check in closed at 7, and they had the 1000 seeded by 730. I was seeded in the even pool, but I didn't get in early enough to warm up in that pool, so I warmed up in the diving well. I wanted my food to settle a bit before getting in, and since there were several heats before mine, I knew I had time. I had a teammate count for me, and coach Harry relayed to her whether I needed to speed up or not, and she would move the counter up and down accordingly. The race went really well, and I felt good swimming it. The only issue was that my counter miscounted on the last 100 and I thought I was done a 50 too early. Thankfully I realized soon enough that I was able to finish and not get DQ'd, but my finish time was "officially" a 12:41, would have been closer to 12:25. It was still about 15 seconds faster than my seed time, so I can't really complain. I knew my counter felt bad, and it really wasn't that big of a deal, definitely not worth getting upset about. So, 4th place finish in the 1000. I had a few hours to wait to swim the 1650, which I was also in the even pool for. The 1650 was tough, but you kind of settle in after a while. my 1000 split in the 1650 was faster than my finish time in the open 1000, so for my PR I will use that (12:35.40). My finish time for the 1650 was 20:47.81, which was pretty close to what I was shooting for, I can't remember exactly what my goal was, but I think I just wanted to be under 21 minutes, which I did. Overall, a 4th place finish in my AG.
Day 2: This was the big day for me. I had a goal of going under 6 minutes in the 500. Of all my races that's the one I really wanted to go after. I didn't anticipate that the depth perception in the pool would be so off. It made my walls horrible. I usually have really good walls, but to be honest, they stunk in this race. I swam as hard as I could, but in the end my time was 6:00.47. So close. Really annoying that I didn't achieve my goal, but I did PR by a good bit, so I couldn't be too disappointed in myself. It was good enough for a 7th place finish in my AG. Once the 500 was over and I cooled down a bit, the rest of the meet was not stressful at all. I just wanted to finish the 200 fly, which I did. It was slow and smooth and I can't really ask for much better not having trained a bunch for it. Ended up finishing 6th in my AG, another medal!
Day 4: I volunteered on Day 3, which was a nice break from swimming. I got to cheer on my teammates and friends for a change. Day 4 I had the 400 IM and 200 Free. Neither of which I was excited to do because I knew I wouldn't PR, but still did them anyway. The 400 IM was smooth and slow again, like the 200 fly. Had a brief DQ scare, but it was the girl in the lane next to me, phew! 5:29.13 for a final time. Not bad! Good enough for a 5th place finish in my AG. Medal #5. The 200 Free, well, lets just say I knew I wouldn't do great considering all I had done before that. I was hoping to do a 2:12, did a 2:14. It was the only one of my events I didn't medal in (14th overall in my AG) and I'm okay with that!