Sunday, July 8, 2012

One Day to go!

Yesterday was my second day of competition in the 2012 USMS Summer Nationals. It was long, exhausting, and unbelievably fun.

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. If you have not done so yet, please click on My Donation Page on the right to help rebuild the Autism Center that was completely destroyed by the Joplin tornado last year.

One thing that worked out well yesterday, although it was a very long day, because of how the event order worked out, I didn't even bother heading to the pool until after noon. It was nice to have a leisurely breakfast with the family, then I just lounged around the hotel room with the boys while Stacy went to get a pedicure. Stacy has been so supportive of me through my training, and especially during this meet, she deserved a little break!

I headed to the pool for a nice long stretch and warm up. Up first was my most dreaded event, the 200 meter breaststroke. The event, by my standards, is very long. And the pain that results from racing breaststroke can be extremely intense. I prepared well, and went behind the blocks to relax a little in between cheering for my team mates that were in the heats ahead of me. And I noticed something weird, there appeared to be a man with a video camera stalking me. I tried to ignore it and focus on my race. I think I executed the race really well. The plan was for the first 100 meters to go long and strong strokes, and make the pull outs as long as possible, then build the 3rd 50, and fight like hell the last 50 meters. That's just what I did. The only change I might have made was to maybe push the first 100 a little harder, but as little as I get to race this event, expecting perfection is a bit unrealistic. So, I was pleased with the race. If you read my blog from yesterday, you can guess I'm not happy with the time or placement, but I have put that behind me.

So you ever watch a big time swim meet and wonder why they always interview the athletes right after their races when they are still really out of breath? I now know what that is like! As soon as I climbed out of the pool, and took a few seconds to get myself vertical again, I was ambushed by that man that was stalking me with a camera, and Laura Hamel of USMS. If you are thinking it must not be easy to give an interview right after a race, you are right! Just another reason to respect those talented athletes that work so hard, because those post race interviews are tough. I tease, but Laura was lovely, and very helpful. USMS had heard that I played a part in the construction of the building the meet was in, and wanted to know what it was like for me to compete in it. You can see the interview here. I'm on the Day 3 video. Watch the whole thing, its a great video! Look for me at about 4:45 into the video. My team mates are all over the video in their blue & yellow tie dies, and yellow and blue MOVY Masters swim caps!!

I was up in the next event, the 50 meter backstroke. This is an event I almost never do, and after racing it, I wonder why I don't do it more often. Of course my start was sloppy, my breakout was ridiculous. But once I was up, it was just sprinting backstroke, and it was pretty fun. The giant scoreboard hanging above the pool is a bit distracting though. I managed a somewhat respectable time, and just missed a 10th place medal by 0.12 seconds. How about that?

I had a bit of a break before having 2 relay races. First was the mixed freestyle relay and my team included two young ladies I had never met before. So that was fun to meet a couple of new people and race with them. My split time was a bit off from what I did the day before, but not too far. The second relay was interesting. It was the mens medley relay. The backstrokers and butterfliers go to the start end of the pool, and the breaststrokers and freestlyers go to the far end. So as the breaststroker, I went to the far end with our freestyler, my team mate from Lincoln Northeast High School. Wouldn't you know, in the lane next to us, swimming next to us was the Nebraska Masters team, which had swimming breaststroke non other than Rich Nolte, a great breaststroker from Lincoln Southeast. And their freestyler was J.B. Barr, also a swimmer from Lincoln Southeast. Now Nebraska Masters may have beaten our MOVY Masters team, but the Rockets combined to out split the Knights by more than a second! Ha!! Once a Rocket, always a Rocket!

Today is the last day of competition. First up is the mixed medley relay, where I'll have a married couple on my team, Troy and Kelly Reynolds. Right after that I'll have my 3rd consecutive 50 meter breaststroke. Then I'll have a wait before I close out the meet with the 200 meter I.M. It's going to be tough to stick around for that one since it will go into late afternoon, and we'll still have a drive back home after it. But I'm glad I signed up for it because MOVY Masters is in 2nd place in both Mens and Combined category. I'm seeded 5th in that event, so I'll be glad for every bit I can help score points. Although I'll be glad to have this meet behind me, I'm sad it is about to end.

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