(Update 17FEB09: Results for the 2009 Pancake Pentathlon are posted here)


Taken out of context I am totally winning this race :)

Well my trip to San Diego and the Pancake Pentathlon are both done. The meet was excellent. My swims were good, I got to see some of my swim meet friends, and made a new swimmer friend who dropped in for the meet all the way from New York! I really didn’t see much of anything in San Diego, the weather was a little weird and I took the opportunity to do some relaxing instead of running all over the city. The weather was kind enough to just be cold and not rain on the day of the meet, but every time I tried to drive somewhere the rain came down in buckets! It took me and Heidi about 8 1/2 hours to drive home today, not fun.

Anyways, back to swimming! I did the Mid-Distance Pentathlon class which consisted of the 100 fly/back/breast/free and the 200 IM. I dominated my age group (which I happened to be in all by myself) but I was also the 3rd fastest guy overall in my pentathlon class which is slightly more meaningful. A lot of the events I swam on Sunday were my first time swimming them as an adult so a few swims were a little rough around the edges, but overall I think the meet went pretty good for me. One thing that I really liked about this meet was that I got to race with the same set of people in almost every event. I think it’s more fun to race people that you know. Even though there were a few faces in my heats that I hadn’t see before, after you step up on the blocks with them for the 5th time you have a pretty good idea of what you’re up against.

My first event was the 100 fly, I’m really gunning for a sub 1:00 time but today wasn’t the day. I was still getting used to the pool and plus I was feeling a little groggy in my first swim of the day. The pool itself was very nice but a little different. The blocks were the highest blocks I’ve ever started from and the water went all the way to the top of the walls, the gutters were on top of the wall. Since I have a tendency to keep my head straight up when I swim it took me a little bit to get orientated. I ended up swimming a 1:02.90 which isn’t a best time but still very good for me. I need to work on bringing down the time on my 2nd 50. I went out in a :28.98 and finished with about a :34, I’m going to keep doing a lot of fly in my workouts until it gets to be “easy” for me to swim 100′s.

Next up was the 100 backstroke, this is an event I was good at once upon a time but I haven’t swam it as an adult. My start was kind of awkward but my swim was ok. I was a little worried about timing my turns right. 1 of them was pretty ugly but I didn’t DQ so that’s good. I went out in a :35.53 and finished with a 1:11.58. I was hoping to do better, but that wasn’t too bad for a first time out.

The 100 breaststroke was a similar situation, I’ve never tried it as an adult. On this race I felt my start was exceptionally good for me which is super important to my breaststroke, I’m pretty sure my pull down is the best part of my race. After the first 50 I looked across the field and I was up with the pack (save the one guy that beat all of us by at least 10 seconds). I was pretty sure that I was going to get routed so it was a bit of a shock to see that I was competitive! I jammed through the rest of the race as fast as I could and managed to come in second in my heat! I swam a 1:15.95 which was about 5 seconds faster than I would have guessed. Maybe I’ll swim the 100 breast a few more times just to see where this goes.

I had a solid goal in the 100 free, I needed to break 1:00. I’ve only swam 100 free once (SCM) and it wan’t that great. It was at UCLA before I knew how to space out events, I was tired out of my mind for that race. I was pretty tired for this one too, but I had a lot more rest than I did back at UCLA. My first 50 wasn’t very fast (28:70) and I had a nearly disastrous 2nd turn. I screwed up and took 1 stroke too many and turned WAAAAAAY too close to the wall. It was bad enough that Ahelee from Nova noticed it a few lanes over during her turn. Luckily, I still managed to bring it in at :59.58! I am very stoked with that. I think I can get it down to around a :57 by May with a little more practice racing it.

The last swim of the day was the 200 IM and honestly I was nervous for this one. I haven’t raced a 200 at all as an adult and this was the last event of a pretty eventful day. My loose game plan was swim the butterfly portion fast and then hang on for dear life the other 150 yards. I did pretty good in the first 50 as planned, yay! But pretty much everybody caught me on the backstroke. I was so tired by the breaststroke leg that I couldn’t hold my breath long enough to do pull downs off the walls, I just came up swimming! I finished 3rd in my heat by a pretty slim margin. 3rd sounds decent, but it was pretty far away from 1st and 2nd (20 and 13 seconds faster respectively). I’m going to go ahead and call this one a learning experience :)

I really want to point out that this meet was run exceptionally well. There seems to have been some issues with the timing system that delayed the beginning of the meet, but everything else went pretty smoothly. The events were all seeded right away and the results were posted extremely quickly. So a big thank you to the meet staff!!! Also thanks to Patrick from Rose Bowl Aquatics and his wife for letting me and Heidi share some space under their pop up tent! I had a good time and this meet is on my list of events that are worth the drive.


Nice pool, but notice how the water comes to the top of the wall


The meet was seeded and results were up REALLY fast! Yay Good job!


100 fly, I’m kinda underwater at the moment


I’m underwater somewhere in this one too…


Finally! Proof I was in this race!


100 backstroke


My 100 Breaststroke


Beginning of the 200IM, I’m doing ok…


little tighter…


…and now I’m not so close…


Doing the math to figure out how bad Ahelee beat me:) 

4 Responses to “2009 Pancake Pentathlon Wrap Up”

  1. Anonymous says:

    How to swim a 200 IM:

    - Take it easy on the fly – steady speed, but save your legs. If your best 50 fly is 30, go 33.
    - Regular backstroke gets up to half its power from the legs, but backstroke in an IM is a different stroke: save your legs. Concentrate on a steady turnover. Build your cadence – you should feel like you’re going faster at the end of the back than you felt at the start. Breathe a lot.
    - Remember how you were saving your legs in the first 100? In the breastroke, you spend all that you saved. Stretch out on the glide, and put everything you have into the kick.
    - On the free, breathe every stroke if that’s natural for you, and build your speed: when you hit your last turn, you should be going as fast as you can. On the underwater after the last turn, say a prayer that you don’t have to get out and walk the last 10 yards, which in any case will hurt a lot.

  2. Rob D says:

    Thanks for the 200IM game plan! The next time I swim it I definitely need more of a plan besides jump in and finish.

    I think my big problem is pacing butterfly. I have a hard time slowing it down… I seem to only have 1 setting for it. My 50 split on the 100 fly, the 200 IM and the 50 fly I swam at UCI were all within about 1 second of each other. Plus fly is my strongest leg of the IM so I tend to over do it.

    I think I’m going to give the 200 IM another shot sometime next month and see if I can do a better job with it.

  3. Abby says:

    So great to meet you guys last weekend in SD! Sorry I bailed without saying goodbye, but I had to get back to my hotel to check out before 1:30, otherwise they were charging me for another night. (Note to self: check out of hotel BEFORE the meet next time!) Anyway, I had a blast at the meet, despite the chilly weather and really appreciated you letting me crash your corner of the pool.

    I hope your meet today was equally successful, even if the pancakes weren’t free. If you ever make it to New York, definitely drop a line– you are always welcome to come swim with Team Red Tide!

    Swim fast,
    Abby (from NYC)

  4. Rob D says:

    Abby, you missed out on the complete domination of your age group! I figured you had to run off to the hotel to check out, at least you have a picture to prove that you were there and you didn’t have to swim that 200IM.

    It was nice meeting you last weekend, hopefully I’ll find an excuse to swim a meet in NYC sometime in the near future!