A swim meet? In a pool? Me? haha… it’s been a while hasn’t it? Saturday morning I found my way into a meet here locally in San Luis Obispo with my swim buddy Kelly. The masters meets here in town are usually just 1 heat of men and 1 heat of women so they mix us into the existing kids meets. When Kelly and I got to the pool it was packed with kids! There’s a metal bleacher section that the masters usually gravitate towards but it had been over taken with pop up tents, fold out chairs, towels and swim parents. We ended up finding some free space in a far corner back behind the blocks. Other grown ups joined us eventually. A new local team, the Avila Bay Masters, set up next to us and they had a good little contingent of 5 swimmers. Not bad for a new team! After getting deck entered and socializing on deck a bit Kelly and I went to warm up a little. I swam a few hundred yards of mainly free with a little fly mixed in before hopping out. My back was really tight and I was kinda worried that would be a problem later in the day. I hopped out and dried off while Kelly kept going. Once I figured out about what pace the meet was going I texted my girlfriend to let her know about when my first event would be so she could come check it out since she’d never been to a pool meet before, as a bonus she was my chief of photography for the day.
My first event of the day was going to be the 100 fly which I haven’t done in quite a while, even in practice, so I was curious to see how that would go down. Since it turned out only 2 masters were going to swim it they combined us into a heat with the kids. It was a pretty eclectic heat… a girl in her early 20′s, a big bald overly-bearded guy, and then a couple teenage guys. I felt ok off the start and kicked out as far as I could, I was a little deeper than I should have been though and probably lost a little time just getting back to the surface. I tried to hold back a bit up front so that I wouldn’t gas out at the end, I wanted an even application of power… that’s a fairly unreasonable request, but it’s what I wanted. I turned at the 50 feeling ok but knew my last 25 wasn’t going to be super fantastic. At the last turn I took a big deliberate breath before pushing off and inhaled some water out of my mustache, whoops! Hazard of mixing sprints with adventure beards I guess. I got no real underwater action on that last turn and did my best to finish strong. Half way down I could feel the piano starting to lower itself onto my back, but I kept my stroke rate up and finished first overall for the masters! Out of 2… but hey who is counting right? I swam a 1:03 which isn’t that great for me (I’ve been as low as 58 in USMS), but better than I thought I was going to do without training for short races. I figure once you account for the beard I’m totally under a minute though :)
Next up was the 50 breast which has always been more of a palate cleanser type of event for me. I’ve never been a breaststroker so I’ve never felt any pressure to be any good at it :) This race was all kind of a blur to me. Dive, pull down, glide… glide… glide… stroke like crazy for the wall and turn so I can get back to that underwater part I’m sorta good at. I finished somewhere around 35 seconds which would make it my worst scy time ever… heh, alright go team! Remember when I could pop off a 31? Those were the days… oh well, still had fun.
I finished up the day with the 100 free and it was pretty rough. My back was really starting to seize up and I was pretty sure I only had this one last event in me so I made sure to scratch out of what would have been the last event of my day, the 50 backstroke. From the get go this race was a mess. My back freaked out off the start and I could barely kick. My whole race was arm driven. Each flip turn hurt a lot and I didn’t get my usual big push and dolphin kick action from them. I tried to up the kicking on the last 25 but it just wasn’t happening. I cruised into the finish in a 1:01, another personal record in the wrong direction.
After the meet Kelly, Jamie and I went to downtown SLO for lunch and some beers at Firestone Grill. Not a bad way to finish a meet :) Although my times weren’t so hot and my body is feeling a bit of a mess, I had a good time. It’s always fun to go do some sprints in the race pool and hang out on deck with your friends. It’s also good to know where your speed is at by checking it like this. The bad news, my speed across short distances is hurting. The good news, I’m not focusing on short distances these days. I’m not sure when/where my next pool meet will be, but I need to plan out a few of them if nothing else just to be social and go see my SoCal pool friends.