I’ve been a bit delayed in posting about the meet on Saturday because I’ve been super busy and they didn’t release the results until today. This was my second US Masters Meet and it was a good experience. I really debated whether to attend or not because it required a lot of driving, but I decided that I need to take advantage of every opportunity I can to improve my swimming and test myself physically. The meets don’t happen very often so you can’t let one slip away. (I wish they would advertise the meets more. It would have been so nice to carpool.)
Compared to all of the open water/masters meets I’ve attended previously the USU meet felt very collegiate, young and competitive. Indeed, when they released my scores I was the only swimmer in my age group (women 30-34). This means I technically finished first in all my races! 🙂
It really felt more like Utah State’s swim team and 10 of their friends and while I don’t participate in the meets to win, it is more fun when things are a bit more casual. My friends Josh and Sabrina came and Josh posted good times, but aside from them there was nobody else to really talk with or get to know.
Anyway, it was still a fun experience. I swam in 4 races the 200 meter freestyle, 50 meter freestyle, 500 meter freestyle and the 50 butterfly. The latter two were the most difficult. The 500 was the longest meet race I’ve done (last time was the 400) and it was tough! It’s funny you wouldn’t think swimming 500 meters would be hard after swimming 1.2 miles but the pace is faster at a meet and the flipturns drain a lot out of me- especially towards the end when I am gasping for air.
However, I am proud to say I finished all my flipturns and made it under my goal time of 13 minutes with a time of 12 min 22 seconds. This was particularly satisfying as my swim cap kept riding up my head until I ripped it off and threw it on the pool deck. Thankfully I had my hair in a pony-tail underneath my cap or the situation would have been bad! Still, I was proud of myself for maintaining my focus and not letting the cap incident rile me.
It was also funny at the end of the 500 I was at least 2 laps behind anyone else in my heat. It seemed like the whole pool deck started cheering me on. I felt like the underdog in a sports movie. Never mind that they were cheering me because I was last- I’ll take what I can get!
Once I finished the 500 I felt spent and wondered if I could get through the 50 fly. The meet went along at a fast clip and it seemed I was always rushing to make my heat. (They didn’t have a loud speaker to announce which heat was going when and that would have been very helpful). I just wondered if I would have time to regroup and get through it. It had been since high school that I had competed in a butterfly competition and I knew even a 50 meters was going to be tough.
Never wanting to back away from a challenge or give up, I just had to do it. Into the water I went and I pushed through the pain to complete my 50 fly. I know I have tons of work to do but I was proud of my 1 minute 9 second time- only 3 seconds slower than I had done in practice.
My other times are 200 m at 4 min 31 seconds (better than my 4 min 57 sec at the last meet) and my 50 free was a personal best at 49.2o seconds- first time under 50 seconds!
If anyone is reading this and is interested in participating in meets look up the US Masters swim team in your area. I really wish there was some way I could promote or advertise the masters/open water swim programs in my area. I know there are people like me who would love to participate but simply don’t know about it. If anyone has any ideas I’d love to hear them.
In the meantime, I will have to promote events from this blog- sending the word out in the best way I can. My only wish about US Masters is that they had some kind of participation award or medal- like maybe something for a person who participates in all of the seasons meets? I like looking at my medals for the open water swims and wish I had something for the meets. Plus, it is fun to show them off to friends and family! Oh well!