Saturday, May 5, 2012

Surprise, Surprise (reprise)

Date: Saturday, May 5, 2012
Location: Tucson, AZ
Long Course Meters
51 days to Olympic Trials

At Southwest Classic
Session 1, 7:30 a.m.

1500 warmup

200 freestyle: 2:05.14

400 warm down, then 15 minutes break

100 backstroke: 1:01.48

500 warm down

Session 2: 4:30 p.m.

1000 warmup

100 breaststroke: 1:05.69

400 warm down, then five minutes break

200 IM: 2:18.64

400 warm down

The Southwest Classic has always been essentially an intrasquad meet for the Ford Aquatics team, as not many teams bring top swimmers to challenge them. Every year except for 2006, I've shaved and tapered for this meet and done quite well. Because I'm so close to the Olympic Trials, I didn't want to rest too much for this meet. I only rested one day, as you can see from this week's workouts. During warm up this morning, my body felt OK, and I tried not to think about how good I felt at sectionals in Seattle, since that would be like comparing apples to juicy strawberries. My body felt like a juicy strawberry in Seattle; today, it felt like a semi-ripe apple.

I had no expectations for my 200 freestyle today, though my coach, Mark Rankin, was sure I would be close to breaking to two minutes. My 2:07.00 seed time was the best time I've ever done in the event, and I hadn't done it shaved or tapered. I felt I could go faster, but maybe just two seconds. When I dove in and took my first breath to my right, I was almost a body length ahead of the swimmer to my left. That never happens to me. I'm usually a little behind, especially on non-breaststroke starts. That gave me a little confidence for the first 50. The next 150 meters I was swimming alone. It's not easy to do so. On the third 50, I held back just a bit to make sure I had energy for the final 50, and that might not have been a good idea. Since I went out in a :59, I didn't split the final 100 very well. But, 2:05.14 is a best time, so I'm not upset! And I moved up from 25th seed to 13th place overall! And the 200 free is, like, my eighth event!

I swam the 100 back less than 30 minutes later. I did a pretty good warm down, and again, didn't have too much of an expectation for this swim, given the short time between events. I wasn't very aggressive the first 25, because I wanted to see how much my muscles had for this race. Things felt OK, and I built the first 50 to the wall. When I turned to flip, I saw that I was right with the leaders. That wasn't in the game plan, since their seed times were almost four seconds faster than mine. I knew for a fact I wasn't going under 1:00, but I was exited to race, especially after a lack of such in the 200 free. I could see Matt Hurko, a junior at Arizona, right next to me, and wanted to beat him badly! I managed to get my hand on the wall three tenths ahead of him for ninth overall.

I didn't get much of a nap between sessions, but was glad to have about six hours rest. I watched "Batman Forever" and gave my cat a bath. (Hey, life goes on!)

This afternoon during warm up I felt quite sluggish and got very worried about how I would swim my 100 breast. I didn't change my warmup much, only doing more breakout sprints to get my body to wake up. It didn't work too well. Did I feel this bad because I didn't take a nap? I also didn't have that big of a lunch. Was I running low on energy? I took a couple extra Enduroboost adaptogen pills this morning to prepare for the extra load I was going to put on my body and maybe that helped me recover from the morning session, and possibly give me a little bit of mental boost as I continued to doubt my performance.

Needless to say, my 100 breast performance surprised me! The first 50 felt comfortable, but that was because I was trying to save some energy for the final 50 sprint. When I turned at the 50, I saw that I was a body length ahead of the field, and that gave me a little boost as well. The final 15 meters was painful, but not as painful as I thought it would be. I can't explain why I swam so fast after just one day of rest, and I guess some things defy explanation. My stroke count was right on par -- 20 strokes for the first 50, 24-1/2 for the final 50. I was told that my first 50 was 30.4.

So many things to be happy about that swim, but I'm not going to get overzealous about how this will translate for taper. All I know is that training is going very, very well so far, and I'm going to keep things on the status quo for the next 40 or so days.

About 15 minutes later, I swam the 200 IM. I considered scratching, but I had paid money to swim the event. Plus, it was the last event of the day, so why not? I decided to take the first 100 easy, and apparently I took it very easy. I was told I was out in 1:08, thanks to a 38-second backstroke split! I turned at the 100 and saw I was only a body length behind the leaders, and made a goal to turn first after breaststroke, no matter what it might mean for me physically on the freestyle leg. Everything hurt on freestyle, but I saw the guy to my left catching me, so I kicked harder and picked up the stroke rate. I got to the wall first!

This might be my last meet before Olympic Trials, but that's not an official decision. Arizona will have two or three more meets before Trials, but I tend to stay away from competition in the last month of training. Based on how I swam today, I might turn back on that decision.

Until then, I'm going to enjoy two days off!

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