Today started with a wake up waaaay to early for me… 4:45… in the morning! Ack! It was for a good reason though, I had to be in Santa Maria at my pool workout buddy Mike’s house early to catch a ride down to Pasadena for the Cal Tech Pentathlon. Admittedly I’m not in pool sprinter shape at the moment, but this is my third year in a row going to this meet and it’s hard to miss… it’s just fun! A 50 of each stroke and a 100 IM, great way to take a reading on how your strokes are doing across the board.
Mike and I left Santa Maria around 6 and jammed down the 101 towards SoCal with no traffic anywhere. Thanks to everyone still being asleep we managed to beat mapquest’s directions by 30 minutes, score! Even though we were half an hour early for warm up there were a few folks on the deck moving about… including a few of my favorites, Pat and Kathleen from Rosebowl. They let us set our stuff up by their tent so we’d have some shade for the day.
Since the competition pool gets pretty crazy during warm up I made sure to get in right away when it opened so I could take my time and feel out the edges. I’ve had issues finding the walls here before so I figured this was good plan. I got in about 200 yards with a lane all to myself and then things started filling in. After 300 or 400 yards I hopped out with plans to get back wet again in the warm up pool when it got closer to my first event. In the mean time I found the contingent of swimmers from my team that were there for the day and tracked down a bunch of friends I haven’t seen in months!
The first event of the day was my best event on the schedule, the 50 fly. Even with my sandbagged time I landed in the 2nd to last heat of the event. A couple heats earlier my buddy Mike swam a 27 something so I figured I had to catch that because if I was going to beat him in anything this was my big chance. I felt like I got a really solid start and my dolphin kicking was good. I was alright through the turn, but on the second half I didn’t really feel like my stroke was connecting as well as it could have. I ended up taking one more stroke than I probably should have at the finish, but at least I landed in the 27′s. Later on I figured out that Mike and I tied with exactly a 27.40, crazy… so close to beating him just once…
Next up was the 50 back, I suck at the 50 back. My underwater kicking off each wall was fine, but the swimming part in the middle… not so much. I swam a 34.2 which is a lot slower than the last 2 years, and didn’t even catch my sandbagged time… that needs some work.
My 50 breast was kind of fun because I had my friend Clive on one side of me and my friend Patrick on the other. Patrick’s wife videoed the race and you can see how it all went below…
In the 50 free Mike and I made up the same exact time and ended up in the same heat directly next to each other. I left my camera with my teammate Becky to grab some video for me. I think I had a pretty strong start, but I made a big mistake on the breakout. I pulled my arm out way to deep and slowed myself down a lot getting to the surface. We turned even with each other, and I knew that would set Mike’s competitive nature in motion. From there he turned the legs on and pulled away from me beating me by a stroke.
We finished the day with the 100 IM… the good news is I finished right around my sandbagged time, that’s also the bad news! I added 6 seconds onto my best time and apparently I needed all of them! I knew I was in trouble when I wasn’t out front during the 25 fly… it was all downhill from there. At the finish I was huffing and puffing pretty hard. Funny thing is I feel better after a 3 mile ocean swim than I do after a fast 100. My friend Pat was in my heat so I have some video for this as well, I kind of fall out of frame through part of it by virtue of not being fast enough to stay in it :)
Once the meet was done I got dressed and said my goodbyes to everybody before Mike and I got back on the road. We stopped for lunch before leaving Pasadena and I inhaled mine! A steak, mashed potatoes, a couple glasses of water and a beer… recovery meal of champions right? By 7pm, 13 1/2 hours after leaving the house, I was home. It was a long day but a good trip. I’m not sure what my next meet will be, but I’m sure I’ll be back in the race pool shortly!