Sunday, March 6, 2016

SunBelt Swim Meet Race Report

I've never done a swim meet before. Like, Ever.  As is exceedingly obvious, I did not grow up swimming.  Especially not competitive swimming.  Some people have done/been to hundreds of swim meets.  Not only have I never competed in a swim meet, I had never even been to a swim meet. It's just the way things happen.  I've been to hundreds of track and cross country meets, and I'm sure some people have never been to any.
Reita Made Shirts for Everyone at MSA who wanted them
So I've been swimming with the Mecklenburg Swim Association (MSA) for a little over a year now.  Coach Patty has been a competitive swimmer her entire life.  Competing in swim meets is something that she encourages everyone to do.  I had never really thought about it before, and before a few years ago, I'm not sure I knew these types of meets existed outside of high schools, colleges, and the olympics.
The Huntersville Facility was quite nice
The Sunbelt Meet is one that typically most of the MSA people do every year.  It is a 2 day meet, usually in late January.  Since I coach my son's basketball team, I knew I would only be able compete on Sunday.  Looking at the Sunday events, I figured I could do the 50 Breast, 100 Free, and 500 Free. Coach Patty said that we would also do some relays as well.
They have a diving program there
The weekend of the meet was forecast to be a big snow/ice storm.  They postponed the meet that Thursday for the first weekend in March.  We did end up getting some precipitation Friday night, so I think they made the right call.
The Starting Blocks
Sunday morning I drove up to Huntersville and got to the pool around 7:30 am when the warmups started.  I probably didn't need to be there that early but I wanted to check everything out.  I was pretty nervous the night before and in the morning.  I did a warmup in the pool to check out the turns.  With the movable bulkhead in the pool, the turn there was a little tricky.  I kinda snuck up on me a few times.  Then I tried some diving.  We did a little diving practice on Friday at Blakeney.  I really wasn't too sure about going off the blocks.
A little warmup
So swimmers use these starting blocks.  I guess they are kind of like starting blocks for sprinters in track.  Although in track, you are not jumping head first, trying to keep your goggles on.  The jumping head first part I got.  The keeping the goggles on part, I didn't.  I tried like 6 different times with varying ways of putting the goggles on.  I guess I just couldn't get them tight enough.  I mentioned it to Coach Patty and she said to try this competition pair she had.  They were super tight.  Like, it was possible they might go through my eye socket into my brain, tight. So I practiced a little with those and they stayed on.  I may think about getting a competition pair.  I would never wear those in practice.  I'd have a headache real quick.
The competition clock/scoreboard
So I was ready.  I didn't feel ready.  But I was about as ready as I ever will be.  I was in the first heat of the 50 Breaststroke.  With all the old guys. Seriously.  The other guys in this small heat were 58, 60, 66, and 58.  Anyways.  They keep the heats going.  I mean after the last heat of the girls, it was like 10 seconds and the whistle blows to get on the block.  You get 3 whistles to get ready.  You get up on the block and luckily you don't have much time to think.  They say set and the horn blows.

Coach Patty in the 100 Back
So I jump.  My goggles stay on (Yes!).  And then for a millisecond I forget that this is the breaststroke, but I stop myself before I embarrass myself.  I'm off and running doing the breaststroke.  I make it to the turn and, it's not pretty, but I make a legal breaststroke turn.  I try to push as much as I can.  I actually got kinda tired near the end and pushed for the pad.  And it was over.  That quick.  I did a 44.95, a new Personal Record! (Nevermind that I have never actually been timed in the 50 breast before).
Jeremy in the 400 IM
Then I had a good bit of time until the 100 free.  The 50 breast was event #32.  The 100 free was #44.  I ate a banana and a protein bar and went to the bathroom.  I had to go to the bathroom a lot.  Nervousness, I guess.  For the 100 free, I was not in the first heat! Obviously they go from slowest to fastest for these.  I was in the second heat.  Everyone in my heat was at least 8 years my senior (up to 78 years old).  I got on the blocks, got a good start, goggles stayed on, and I just tried to push.  I got kinda sideways on my flip turns once, and kinda misjudged that bulkhead once as well.  But overall it wasn't too bad.  I came home in 1:19.80, a new Personal Record!

Then Coach Patty threw me into a 200 Free Relay, event 46.  I swam the anchor leg, after a bunch of old guys.  Pretty fitting, really.  It was kinda fun standing there on the pool deck cheering on my teammates.  The fast MSA team swam in our lane in the next heat, so we all just stayed there and cheered them on.  My split for the 50 was 35.35, a new Personal Record!
People hold lap numbers for the 500
Then the next and final event was the 500 free.  This event, they go fast to slow. So I was in the second to last heat.  Nice to have teammates to hold the lap counters.  Again a good start.  I just tried to stay focused and swim hard.  It went by pretty quickly.  My lap counter didn't quite stick the board down far enough for me to see it underwater.  I peaked up once or twice to see where I was.  I kinda kept track for the first 200 then didn't worry about it.  I did pretty well on my flips, but not so well on my streamlines.  I'll have to work on that next year.  I finally saw the orange counter, which meant 25 yards to go.  I pushed for the finish and touched at 8:23.82, a new Personal Record! Unbelievably I got 3rd in my age group.  Nevermind that there were only 3 participants in my age group.
My Results
I'm super glad I did this swim meet.  It was fun hanging out with teammates most of the day.  The meet was over by about 1pm.  I really just did this meet because I had never done one before.  But I definitely will be doing it again next year.  The goal for next year is to not be DFL in my age group in every single event.  Now it's time to focus on the tri training.  I have a good 3 week block coming up before the Bridge Run.  Let's do this!
A little GoPro Fun