Monday, December 12, 2011

What a Difference a Day Makes

Date: Monday, December 12, 2011
Location: Phoenix, AZ
196 days to Olympic Trials

I've been doing a lot of examination, both inward and outward, since yesterday's despicable swims in the 50 and 100 breaststrokes. It wasn’t until late last night that the pieces of the puzzle started coming together.

During one of many emotional discussions with my partner, we figured that the issue wasn’t my training, my diet, the weather or funky planetary alignments. To paraphrase Occam’s Razor: All things being equal, something must be wrong with my breaststroke. Since I qualified for Trials, more than a few people have offered up tweaks to my stroke in order to be faster. Those who have followed my blog since the beginning will know those names well. I took all the advice to heart, and plowed ahead in my training. Some of these people have reached the pinnacle of this sport, either in the pool or on deck. I was not going to question them, even when my in-season times weren’t as fast as they should have been.

Does this sound familiar? It should, if you’ve read my autobiography. I am following the same path I took in college, when I took the advice of my highly-accomplished coach, only to find that the stroke change was not effective. The only difference between then and now is I am aware that the changes aren’t working, and that I should return to the stroke that has worked for me. Back then, I trusted that the change would eventually make me faster. It didn’t.

I’m confident that all the other new things I’ve embraced in the past few months are working, especially my dryland training with J.R. Rosania.

The slow swims still sting today, but not as much as they did yesterday. Twenty-four hours ago, I couldn’t find my way out of that haystack of emotions. Today, I have a little better sense of optimism. I’m getting back in the pool on Thursday, and almost immediately I’m going to deconstruct my breaststroke and re-assemble it. I know the strengths and weaknesses of my stroke, and I think it’s best to make my strengths stronger (through dryland and time in the pool) in order to hide most of my weaknesses. I’m going to be extra vigilant about any changes to my stroke in the next 196 days, but not so much that I lose the enjoyment of this journey.

I hope to have things back in working order before mid-January, when I compete at the Austin Grand Prix. If you see me on deck and want to give me stroke pointers, feel free to do so.

Just don’t be hurt if I decide not to take your advice.

No comments:

Post a Comment