United States Masters Swimming Short Course Spring Nationals Update: Becoming a National Champion
|Lindsey and I after Friday's competition. |
Not bad for one day of swimming!
After a late night arrival and less sleep than I'd have liked before a competition like this, we were up and at the pool just in time for my teammate's 400 yard individual medley race.* While reading up on the day's events and Thursday night's competition, I learned that a 95 year-old woman competed in and set a world record for the 90+ age group in one of the toughest events out there - the 1,000 yard freestyle. (Reminds me of these ladies!) One of the most incredible things about the meet itself was seeing men and women from every age group competing and just as excited to be a part of the event as some of the younger swimmers. Not to mention the fact that a number of women in the 35-39 and 40-44 age group had impressive and incredibly fast swims.
I had at least an hour to wait before the general meet warmup even started, and the waiting game is all part of the fun of meets this size. With over 2,000 swimmers competing over the course of the weekend, it was an incredible task for USMS officials and volunteers along with the GAC team to keep the meet running smoothing, but they did a phenomenal job. The competition pool was split into two separate pools with ten lanes, allowing heats to run simultaneously. Thanks to their estimated timetable, which was incredibly accurate, and the live streaming video of the meet, friends and family from near and far were able to follow along with every event.**
|The last 25 yards of the 100fly...ouch! (L. Weiner)|
Then, I finally got to swim the event I'd been waiting all day for, my best event, the 50 breaststroke. I hadn't officially raced it since I was much, much younger. (The 50 freestyle used to be the only 50 you could race competitively after age 10!) My goal was to best my time from the meet in January and hopefully finish in the top three in my age group. Imagine my surprise when looked up at the clock after touching the wall and saw a "1" next to my name. As of now, I'm the reigning USMS national champion in the women's 25-29 50 yard breaststroke! It's certainly not equivalent to making Olympic trials or winning another caliber national meet, and I still find myself looking for ways to minimize my new "national champion" status. I just happened to beat the swimmers at that pool at that time on that day. But given my goal for the weekend was to keep things in perspective and have fun, I'm trying my best to be proud of the achievement regardless.
Thanks for reading and for your support! USMS posted video recaps of Day 1, Day 2 (the day I swam), Day 3 and Day 4 of the event, and all of the final results here. USMS did an amazing job with the recaps; my favorite video is from Day 4 where meet referee Joel Black talks about what it takes to pull off a meet that size.
*When you register as swimmer with United States Masters Swimming, you're asked to register as part of an affiliated team. That team's three or four letter abbreviation then appears next to your name in meet programs. It can be a great source of pride, being part of a team and wearing that abbreviation on your cap and gear. Because both my friend and I didn't register as part of a team, nor did I spend any significant amount of time training with a team, we registered as "unattached." The four-letter abbreviation that appeared next to our names in the program, therefore, was "UNAT." Though Lindsey was my UNAT teammate, we were also "unattached" with almost 80 other swimmers at the meet - a pretty large "team!"
**One of my favorite parts of the day was getting a text from my mother after every event! The fact that she was able to follow along with all of the races and see me in the pool from over 500 miles away was fantastic.