If I had a bucket list, “Compete in a swim meet” would probably be on the it, and today I would’ve crossed that sucker off with a giant Sharpie marker. I’m proud to say that I swam three events in the Pieter Cath Memorial Intersquad Meet in Lakewood. I was of course joined by my “swim sisters” Karen and Carolyn, who once again over dinner and drinks roped me into another swimming adventure; however, I’m so very glad they did.
My decision to swim in the meet was not without my typical pre-race waffling. I’m completely out of shape and due to my annual winter sick-fest I was really lacking in my pool practice time. On Friday night I was certain I was not going to compete, but Karen gave me the pep talk I needed, and on Sunday I found myself on the starting blocks staring down at the chlorinated depths. Did I mention that I’ve only gone off of the blocks a total of 10 times my entire life…and that all of those 10 times were at my last swim practice two weeks ago? I was nervous, to say the least – especially since I had lost my goggles 3 of those 10 times – but today, as I made my way up the deck to my lane for my first event (the 50 free), I pressed those suckers into my sockets, got on that block, curled my toes around the edge, and sprang forward with every fiber of my being! It was over in a 38-second flash, and just like that I had done it. I climbed out of the pool heaving, coughing, and utterly elated.
In addition to the 50 I swam the 100 free and the 100 backstroke. The latter was purely for fun, and I’m quite sure I posted the slowest time in the history of this event. Still, I had a fantastic time. The 100 free was the event I was looking forward to the most and is the race I am the most disappointed with, but it was also the race from which I took the most. I asked Karen to record it on her phone so I could show my husband, but it has served as an unexpected and helpful tool in my effort to improve my swim. In the video, I can see that my legs splay when I kick very quickly, that I cross my midline when I am feeling fatigued, and that my “open” turns are…well, a total disaster. Though I wish I had done a better job in that particular event, I’m happy to have the opportunity to view my mistakes and focus my improvement on those specific areas. All in all, for an open-water swimmer/triathlete, I think I did alright.
As for the next swim adventure, that’s still to be determined. However, over some post-race beers there were murmurs of possibly signing up for an 4-mile open water in May. Seriously, when will I learn my lesson: alcohol + the Swim Sisters = ridiculousness. Lucky for me the ridiculousness is always a ridiculous amount of fun.
*Special shout-out to Carolyn who qualified for Nationals with her 100 backstroke time!