Tuesday, November 20, 2007

2007 UBC Results

Those who read my blog know there were some misgivings about what I’d be able to achieve this swim meet because of my inability to get up to speed the past few weeks. I cheated a bit last week and cut back on training to rest up but it seems I was right to be apprehensive. Not that I had a bad meet, I just didn’t have any good races. Take my first race of the afternoon – the 50 back sprint. This was almost a gimme for a personal best. Not only am I swimming backstroke faster than back in April but I haven’t put together a good sprint yet, so I had two ways of improving – pure speed and/or better technique. Unfortunately this weekend’s sprint was also the first one where I cared about the result, and that was enough for me to tense up and swim a really horrible race. By the last ten meters my breathing was so out of whack (along with pretty well everything else about my stroke) I gave up and just held my breath until the end for fear of breathing out of turn and choking on some water. As a small consolation, however, the time was only a couple of tenths off last season’s best so I know the speed will be there sometime, just I have to figure out a way to get it done in a race. My second time out was the dreaded 200 IM, dreaded because I’ve already bonked twice in this event, the only times it’s happened to me swimming. Starting out with a decent opening fly I held it together on back, struggled with my breast, and then brought it home, albeit very slowly, with a cautious free. I had real problems with my turns, likely because by the time my backstroke rolled around I had decided I really didn’t want to make any more turns (i.e. would rather make an open turn instead of putting my head under in a flip) and each time the momentary delay as I considered what to do meant I was flipping far too close to the wall. Worse, in my haste to surface to resume breathing that beautiful, oxygenated air, I was pushing off without regard to my body position. Combined with the pool’s slippery walls I was popping up everywhere except the middle of the lane, including one time I almost swerved underwater into a neighbouring lane. So bouncing from lane line to lane line I made my way through the medley, finally finishing with a time a few tenths slower than my personal best, tired but on a slightly upbeat note not totally exhausted. Really nothing to be pleased about except for a strong belief it surely will be impossible to swim as badly the next time. Finishing my individual medley meant I was left with two more events – the 100 breast and 100 fly, neither one close to my heart. On the contrary, if breastroke had a throat I’d gleefully knife it. Of course if my race events really did come to life then I’d have to flee for my life when 100 fly came looking for me! Bizarrely I was seeded lane five in the second to last heat; a great example of how few people can swim proper breastroke and I cannot express how strange it was to lead in a breastroke race knowing I wasn’t swimming well. Of course this is, after all, just masters where anything can happen. Once again my time was a little off my personal best, and breast finished I was left with 100 fly as my last event of the day. Now I have really poor fly technique that has always spelled my doom when trying to race. For me judgment comes like clockwork just a little after my first fifty, when the effort to get out of the water finally grinds me down to a spastic lurch followed only a few meters afterwards by my dolphin kick reverting to a child's single beat, and then my rear goes down and I’m trying to finish the final few meters from a seemingly vertical position. Brad says I’m working far too hard and getting too high out of the water. I can’t agree more about the working too hard part, but my clearly unnatural mania for breathing seems to be working against me in perfecting my fly. I suppose more practice is called for.


Tony Austin said...

show me a person who does not 'bonk' on a 200 IM and I will show you a fish. I fear that race and the 200 fly.

You swim all the macho stuff. Don't be hard on yourself.

Scott said...

Well we masters fear those races, but the kids can take them in stride (the 400 IM, however, may be an exception even for them)

Joe said...

I'm with Tony, you DO swim all the macho stuff!