Ok so I’m finally back home from Long Beach and I can give a better break down of my weekend swimming the 2008 SPMA Short Course Meter Championships… I had a really good meet! I beat all my times and I didn’t have a swim that I felt like I didn’t put everything I had into it. Since my update yesterday was more pictures than actual details I figured I would give it to you all from the beginning.

Saturday morning I got to the pool right at 8 when they were opening up for warm ups. Honestly I was kind of nervous on the way to the pool but once I got inside I mellowed out and remembered I was just out to have a good time. Since I really don’t like sharing a lane (I’m spoiled from my solitary late night training & horrible at circle swimming flip turns) I got in right away and put in a few hundred yards in an empty lane. I know a lot of people do long purposeful warm ups but I usually can’t stick with it for more than 3-400 yards. I did warm up with a little more butterfly than I usually would but that was because Heidi was trying to get a good picture of me. She kept sending me back to the other wall to come back so she could try again. I think the one she finally got of me looks pretty intense for a warm up!

During warm up I noticed that my suit was feeling kind of loose so I decided to scoop up a new one there at the pool. The vendor there was blowing out TYR speedsuits! I bought a TYR Aquapel Jammer in black for $25. They had a ton of TYR stuff for $25 from jammers to leggings and even short-johns. By the end of Saturday it was starting to look like the meet was sponsored by TYR because so many people were floating around in new suits. The biggest size they had was one size smaller than what I would normally wear on purpose but for $25 I didn’t really care. It was tight but it fit, sort of.

My first event of the day was the 50 fly. I’ve been going about 31.5 and I’ve really been wanting to trim sometime off of that. I felt like I had a pretty solid start and got a good amount of underwater dolphin kicks in before I broke the surface. I spun my arms as fast as I could and bounced straight off the wall at the turn. I had enough air in me to get a good distance off that wall underwater and finished strong. I came in at 31.08 which is about a half second better than usual but still not quite as fast as I’m shooting for. In high school my 50 fly was actually faster than my free and I’d like to revisit those days. I wore the TYR jammer in that race and didn’t really feel much of a difference.

The next event was the 200 freestyle relay that I swam with Conejo Simi Aquatics. This was my first relay in about 10 years and coach put me in the anchor slot so I was feeling a little pressure to at best not suck, at worst not DQ. Everybody on the relay swam real fast in comparison to their current 50 times and I broke 30 for the first time in short course meters! I went 29.2 and I had a ton of fun doing it.

After the relay I had a big chunk of time to hang out and eat lunch. Heidi went exploring the neighborhood and got some sandwiches for us. We sat on the backstairs of the pool that face the ocean. The views from this pool are ridiculously beautiful. During lunch I finally decided to break out my TYR Aqua Shift Short John that I bought a couple months ago. I still think it looks silly but practically everybody had on some type of tech suit on and I was starting to feel left out! I hopped in and did a quick test swim in it and I totally get it now, I’m sold. I don’t know if the suit actually made me any faster but I totally felt different in it. It felt like it totally changed the way I floated. Plus I’m not exactly a small gentleman so it really trimmed in my midsection which is probably a good thing from a hydrodynamic perspective. The jammer I was wearing was made from the same basic material and it did nothing for me, but the short john was a total difference. I’d like to try out a more advanced suit but I don’t think I would want to cover my arms and take away that feel of the water I get on my forearms.

My next event in the pool was the the 200 medley relay, I got the butterfly leg. We ran the same crew with one substitution for a breaststroker. And just to show you what a small world it is our breaststroker grew up in the same county as I did in Wisconsin and I would put money on it that we’ve swam against each other in high school. I find Wisconsinites in the weirdest places, we seem to be everywhere except Wisconsin. Anyways… everybody did great! We beat our seed time by 10 seconds and I think we were 6th overall in our age group. I turned in a sub 31 second time (I think it was 30.5 or 30.6 but my brain is fuzzy on the numbers) which was another half second improvement for me. I really had a good time swimming relays with the guys from Conejo Simi and hopefully we can do it again soon!

My last event on Saturday was the 50 free. Best I can tell everybody was in the 50 free. I was in heat 9 of 22 for the men and I was swimming with one of the guys from my relay that also broke 30 for the first time that day in the relay. My best individual time with a regular start has been 30 and change and I really wanted to duplicate my sub 30 time in this race. I churned through my race as fast as I could, I wanted to feel like I left everything in the pool. I had a solid turn and dolphin kicked off the walls way past everyone else in my heat. I finished at 29.2 again and I feel really good about that. My teammate came in under 30 again as well so we were both pretty stoked with our races.

That night I was exhausted. Me and Heidi went back to the hotel and ordered dinner to the room and ordered a movie on the tv. It felt like a waste to not go exploring Long Beach a little bit, but I was smoked and she was pretty tired from watching like 9 hours of swimming to only see me race for 2 minutes.

Sunday morning we didn’t get to the pool until 9 because even though I was in the 4th event of the day we know we’d have a long time to wait for it. Today was definitely lighter in attendance. There was still a lot of people but nothing like yesterday. I only had one event on my plate for today – the 100 fly. So all my eggs were in one basket on this one, it wasn’t like yesterday where I got to swim each 50 two times.

I was seeded into lane 4 for my heat and I had the guy that beat me back in San Luis Obispo a few lanes over. After some kind of delay for a tech glitch or something we got up and the blocks and we were off. I just pushed my race without any thought or pacing I just wanted to go as fast as I could for as long as I could. My walls were strong and I held a lead through most of the race. I started gassing out after the third turn and the guy next to me managed to catch up and out touch me. I did however break my personal SCM record with a 1:09! Since I did my first 100 fly at UCLA in late October I’ve gone from 1:13 to 1:12 at Santa Clarita, the equivalent of 1:10 in SLO (1:04 in scy) to 1:09 today. I am super stoked with this time and that much closer to my goal of beating my high school time of :59 in short course yards. As an added bonus I was 4th in my age group so I got to walk away with a ribbon. I was seeded 10th in my age group so that was a big jump forward for me.

And like I said yesterday I got to talk in person with Joel and Tony from the17thman and SCAQ blogs respectively. It was really cool to spend some time actually talking to these guys face to face since most of our communications tend to be in the form of blog comments, e-mails and the occasional twitter message.

A big thank you to Coach Nancy and Conejo Simi Masters for letting me be a part of their team. It was really fun for me to be on some relays and get some coaching feedback. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to swim with them again real soon. Also a big thank you to the Grunions and all of their volunteers. I can imagine being a timer and doing all the stuff that makes a swim meet run is a pretty thankless job, so thank you everybody. This is the second event I’ve been to that the Grunions been in charge of and they are an excellent host team!

phew… that was a lot of writing… so there you go, 2008 SPMA champs in much more detail than I could go into yesterday.

Bonus pictures!

BTW I brightened up some of the pics I posted yesterday so you can see them a little better… the Belmont pool is pretty hard to take pictures in.

5 Responses to “SPMA Championships Wrap Up – Sunday”

  1. Wendy says:

    Well done!

  2. Scott says:

    Great progress and some really good races there Rob. As your lead off fly in the medley relay is an official time taking a second off your best coming into the meet goes a long ways to swimming with the big boys like Joel. :>)

    P.S. If Joel isn't from California where's did he come from?

  3. Rob D says:


    The medley relay lead off with Backstroke so I didn’t get a clean official time out of the deal but that’s ok with me. My personal record standards are much looser than USMS’. No one needs to measure the pool when I’m done for verification :)

    I’m pretty sure Joel is a New Englander of some sort.

  4. Scott says:

    Jeez, how could I have mistaken fly for backstroke lead off in the medley relay? I'll chalk it up to a hiccup of the brain. And thanks for the guess about Joel's origins – but you do know there's a Californian accent (and yes, a Canadian accent [sigh]) too eh? ;>)

  5. Rob D says:

    I’ve always thought California was pretty accent neutral but that’s probably because of tv and movies… myself I have a 95% successfully repressed Wisconsin accent.