Saturday October 2nd
US Masters Swim Meet
Location: White River Junction, Vermont
Race day, I have been racing this summer, just not in a pool, I have competed in a 4.74 mile, 8 mile and 10 mile event along with two 10km( 6.2 mile) races.
Today is a different kettle of fish, I am racing in a 25 meter pool with starting blocks to push off, lane lines to follow and walls to turn on.
I have read other Channel swimmers training accounts and more than once have read a reference to a swimmer experiencing a decrease in speeds in the pool, ie noticing a 100 Free pace in the pool not as quick as it had been before Channel training began, it would not come as a complete surprise to me as I have been training different energy systems, I have been training for my ” forever stroke” one I can hold for many hours not an all out for 1-5 minute race, I am about to find out how my body performs after months of distance training with less attention to short sprints and non freestyle strokes.
First up the 200 Freestyle, I am in the last heat which is the fastest heat, it is a mixed heat with both men and women, waiting behind the block I jump up and down five to six times to get my body on alert, it works I am ready to explode off the block, first 75 meters I plan to take it out fast, high stroke turn over, then for the next 75 meters lower the stroke rate slightly, get as long as I can to slide through the water with the least amount of resistance and have more grip with my hand on the water allowing me to pull my body past my hand more with each stroke, a longer but stronger stroke. The first 100 I am aware of the other swimmers blowing by me, I am tempted to go with them but stick to my plan, those that manage their heart rate the best will have the best finish I tell myself, I know I can only hold my sprint for 75 meters after that my body will shut down from the byproducts of the lactate acid production, I know I have to back off and let the aerobic energy production source kick in, I do and am able to swim in control, the last 50 is here and it is time to let the cat out of the bag and give it all I have left, it works and I pull away from the swimmers I had been trailing to take first in the heat.
I am hanging on the side of the pool sucking wind big time, wow I haven’t done that in a while and my body knows it. My time 2:27.72, last October I swam a 2:26.12, I am pleased.
Next up the 400 Individual medley, hmmm not alot of non freestyle strokes in my training over the last 5 months apart from some lazy ” I’ve finished my workout backstroke “, swum at a turtle’s pace ( and that may be insulting the turtle!). I am back up on the blocks 10 minutes after my 200 Free ready to go, my heart is still racing from the last effort. The 400 Individual Medley is a 100 meters of each stroke, butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle in that order, there are certain ways a swimmer must execute turns for each stroke.
I am off again, 100 fly complete then on to the backstroke, I instantly slip into my turtle backstroke and on my first turn roll onto my stomach to turn, I am too far away from the wall and execute an illegal backstroke turn, it gives me a wake up call, wow that was close I better step it up, I pick up my pace and return to the snappy turns I should be doing….too late the judge disqualifies me, it was a good call he was right, it is my first DQ ever, the day of firsts begins!
Next up the 100 Breaststroke, followed by the 100 Free and 400 Freestyle, I place first in each, my times are comparable to last year, in the 400 Free I swim a 5:05.91, last year I went 5:05.36.
After the meet wraps up Paula one of my support crew members and masters team mate and I dive in for an extended cool down, we plan to swim 6 x 250 meters, it feels delicious, I instantly stretch out and fall into my ” forever pace” and it welcomes me back, like putting on a broken in pair of comfy woolen slippers. Mid way through we are stopped by lifeguards who are moving the lane lines, ” we are switching back to yards’ they say, this pool can be set up length wise in meters and width wise in yards, we continue on and decide that 8 x 250’s would be much better to give us an even 2000 swim down, the day of firsts continues that is the first time I have completed a swim set that was half in meters and half in yards!
Afterwards it was a game of pig in the kids pool shooting water basketball hoops and a ride around the lazy river, the grand finale a ride down the water slide.
Next up a cold water training swim tomorrow ( Sunday) at the Green River Reservoir, if I have any muscle soreness post meet this will be like wrapping in a giant ice pack…..perfect.
How cold will it get tonight, I ‘ll keep you posted.