Saturday, December 10, 2011

Happy Happy Joy Joy

Date: December 10, 2011
Time: 1:45 p.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Short Course Meters
198 days to Olympic Trials

Today was the first day of the Arizona state short course meters championships. As I have mentioned before, this was to be a barometer of how training is going as I head toward the Olympic Trials. Here's how I did:

100 backstroke: 57.20

200 IM: 2:07.29

Two awesome times! The 100 back is the third-fastest time I've swum in Masters. My fastest is 56.85, done in 2003, and my second-fastest is 57.19, done in 2009 (in a rubber suit). I had a great race with teammate Alan Carter, who was ahead through 75 meters. He said afterward that he had a bad final turn, which is unfortunate. I grazed the lane rope on the second 25, but didn't let it deter me. That final 25 was painful, but it was good to get my hand on the wall first (six tenths ahead of Alan). It would have been great to go under 57 seconds, but I won't complain!

As for the 200 IM, I was happy to have about two hours rest after the 100 back, not only to recover, but to visualize the IM. I knew the first half would be tough. I would need to be at least a body length behind Alan in order to continue to be competitive in the final 50, but when I touched first after the backstroke, I felt a wave of confidence rush over me. Alan is not a breaststroker, and that made me feel good when he was more than a body length behind after that. But I didn't back down. Knowing that he is an awesome freestyler kept me motivated through that 50, even though the pain was excruciating. I was so happy to see that time on the scoreboard. I haven't gone 2:07 since 2009 in a rubber suit. My best Masters time is 2:06.44, done in 2008 (in a rubber suit). I didn't think I could go 2:06 today, but it was great to have competition in the event. I have been racing the clock in the 200 IM for the past two years, and it's not easy. I can race the clock in a 50 and a 100, but in a 200, my mind wonders why I'm swimming so hard, and my mind usually wins. When I'm in a race, my mind is only thinking about getting to the finish first, and usually I'm racing very accomplished freestylers in the 200 IM (Olympians Josh Davis and Erik Hochstein among them). That makes strategy very important, so I have enough energy to hold them off on freestyle.

I don't have the splits from the races, but things felt like they were swum smart. I did see my 150 split on the 200 IM (1:36.5), and that pushed me harder to go 2:07. It felt like my 100 back was split almost evenly, and that is always the goal.

I'm beyond ecstatic about today's swims. Tomorrow will be a big day: 50 breast, 100 IM, 100 breast. I'll only have about an hour between races, so recovery will be important. First up: a good night's sleep!

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