First, if you haven't been here before, I'm a father of a child with Autism and I'm competing in the 2012 US Masters Swimming Summer Nationals, and raising money for the Ozark Center For Autism. Go here for my intro blog.
The KCCC swim meet is an awesome event. This year, 131 companies participated, and 1,293 people competed! Our Burns & McDonnell team was shooting for our 8th consecutive Division B win, which was exciting.
The KCCC swim meet fell on the calendar roughly a week and a half before the meet I'm training for, the USMS Summer Nationals. So I was going to have 8 races over 4 nights, which is actually not a bad way for me to get ready prepare for my next meet. Then I looked at what I might be able to do in my new 40-44 age group, and realized all of the records appear to be attainable. I thought 2 of them would be easy for me, and the rest I could be really close if I have good swims, especially since I'm already 1-1/2 weeks into my taper, and I'm wearing the full body suits that are banned everywhere but KCCC. I thought that would be a really cool accomplishment to walk away with all the records after this meet. Then my stomach started acting up. I thought it was just nerves, its not uncommon for that to happen to me to some extent. But, I normally am able to recognize that, and calm myself down. I wasn't able to settle my stomach, but I didn't think much of it. I knew what I expected of myself this week was pretty huge, and it might get to me a bit.
I swam my first race, the 200 yard freestyle, and I thought it went really well. With the exception of running into the lane rope with about 10 yards to go, I can't think of any mistakes. I look at the clock for my time, 1:53.99. That's a great time for me, and it’s a gold medal! But, the record was 1:53.60. Bummer! So close! Stupid lane rope!!
Next morning I get ready for work, and start packing my stuff for the meet that night. That's when I knew I was in trouble. I noticed even under the ceiling fan, I was really hot, and sweating, and my stomach was still very upset. I forced half a bowl of cereal for breakfast, but that was all the food I got into me that day. I knew while even sick, that night I would be okay. It was the 50 breaststroke, and the 100 individual medley, my 2 best events for KCCC. Those records would still be easy for me, I just wouldn't be able to go as fast as I wanted. And that is just what happened. My 50 breast was 27.27, which took roughly 3 seconds off the record, and the 100 I.M. was 58.38, over half a second under the record. Now I just hope this is a 24 hour thing, and I can take a good shot at the next 3 records.
Wednesday morning, I got up feeling a little better. I managed to choke down a peanut butter and honey sandwich for breakfast. But as I drove to work I started feeling worse, and that continued as the day went on. Now I not only had an upset stomach, I’m starting to feel week because I haven’t been able to eat. I knew the records were out of reach. My first event was the medley relay*. I knew I would be fine with just 50 yards of breaststroke. I was wrong again. I swam just a hair slower than the night before (relay splits should be faster), and I felt I was about to pass out. When getting out of the pool, I was very happy to see an empty chair. I didn’t even watch my team mates swim, I couldn’t. I stumbled to the warm down pool, and was really worried by a dizzy spell I had when getting out of that pool. Fortunately from that point, until I left the pool, I started feeling better. I had already given up on records, and was just hoping to keep the gold medal streak going. Next I won the 50 backstroke, and actually came about ½ a second from the record. By the time the 50 butterfly came around, I experienced the fatigue from leaving the house at 6 am, and still racing at 10 pm. My time of 26.81 was more than a second slower than last year, and even farther from the record I wanted. And, I nearly lost my grip on the gold medal sweep, but pulled out the win by 0.06 seconds. The race felt tired and weak, and the time showed it. But I had the gold, and felt like I could maybe eat, but that changed before I got home.
Thursday was the last night, finally. 50 freestyle, and Free Relay*. I’m starting to feel better, and was actually able to eat some breakfast, and lunch. My stomach was feeling much better, maybe at 60%, but I still felt pretty weak. My 50 free was 23.51, good enough for my last individual gold, and was actually only about ¼ of a second off the record. So, not too bad. Then after some pleading with my team mates to help me finish the meet with 8 gold medals! They really came through. We came in just 1 second ahead of 2nd & 3rd place teams. And I was very happy to anchor the relay with a 23.41 split.
So, if there is a point to this blog, it’s that anything can happen. You just have to make the best of it. I trained really hard for months. I prepared my body, I was ready to go. A stomach bug crushed my plans, but I still have to be very happy with 8 gold medals. I have to be at least 4 individual swims that were the best I’ve ever done at the KCCC meet, including my best event, the 50 breast. So what does that mean when I race healthy next week? That’s the exciting part!
Sure I could have done better if healthy, and I would have had most, if not all the records. That would have been really cool, but what I did accomplish was pretty cool as well. And, Burns & McDonnell did get our 8th consecutive Division B win!
I’m driving to Omaha tonight, and taking the family to watch the Olympic trials tomorrow. I’ll be relaxing, and checking out the venue I’ll be competing in next week! I can’t wait!!
*Big thanks to my relay team mates! Medley Relay was Eric Sullins, me, Dana Weir, and Jamie Precht. Free Relay was Joji Calabro, Jenny Macy, Jamie Precht, and me. Without you guys, 8 golds would not have been possible.