Leatherstocking Swim Meet – Hartwick College

IMG_1385.JPGThis was my 13th race event in 13 weeks. I was looking forward to it because it wasn’t an endurance event like everything I’ve done up to this point. This was more about speed, however, the last few days leading up to the race wasn’t going very well. I hadn’t done any speed work leading up the beginning of the week so I knew I needed to get some in. So Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday was all about the speed work. I was signed up to swim the 25-yard freestyle & breaststroke, 50-yard freestyle & breaststroke, and 100-yard breaststroke. I had intended on taking Friday and Saturday off but at the last minute, I went to the pool on Friday which is when things started to go wrong. I wasn’t going to do much, just get in a warm up then some breaststroke practice. I had a little stiffness in my right shoulder during my first few warmup laps  but as time went along it went away. I figured it was because of all the swimming I’d done over the last week. I to the deep end so that I could dive off the deck (no blocks at the pool) and do a quick 25-yard breaststroke. I dove in, did my glide, popped up and went into my stroke. I might have gotten through 2 kicks and had to back off. The inside of my right thigh started throbbing. I thought I was going to pull a groin! I finished off the length of the pool slowly then just stood in the pool for a bit. I did a few freestyle laps just to see how it felt. I didn’t feel anything doing that stroke but I knew I need to test the breaststroke again. This time I pushed off the side then went into the stroke and I could still feel it high up on my inner thigh. Now I wasn’t happy so I just decided to finish off the session with some freestyle and rest up to see how I’d feel for the race. Well during those slow laps I felt a little ache in my neck. Every time I’d turn to breathe I’d feel it. OK, the old man was starting to fall apart…time to get out of the pool and chill. Later on in the day, my neck just got worse. It got to the point that I couldn’t even turn my head to the left. Needless to say, I had a restless night dealing with it trying to sleep. I spent Saturday on the couch watching football. A couple hot showers made my neck feel better. When I went to bed I was able to rotate my neck without much pain so I was going to decide when I got up if I was going to swim. I felt OK when I got up so I decided to make the trip. I was still concerned about my groin but I wouldn’t know how it was going to be until I got in the pool for warm-ups.

I was a little nervous getting into the pool. I was really worried about my leg. I swam 100 yards freestyle then went into a breaststroke. I could feel the soreness in my thigh now. I tried changing my leg kick a bit and it seemed to help but I wouldn’t be able to swim fast that way. I took a few practice laps off the blocks, my neck felt fine but I could still feel the aching in my inner thigh so considering my first race is a breaststroke I’ll know soon enough if I’d be OK…oh well, let’s do this!

50-yard Breaststroke
I got a good start off the block and I got great depth on my entry with a good glide. I popped up and went into my stroke. I completely forgot about my leg and just went into my normal kick. I was doing a glide on my first 25-yards and was in a great position to hit the wall and make my turn. After I popped up for my second length I immediately went into my high turn over rate. I really felt good and wasn’t winded at all. I hit the wall and looked over to see who was there…2 guys. I’d just finished in 3rd place overall…1st in my age group (well I was the only one in my age group in the race…lol). And guess what, a new PR for me in 36.24, what the heck was I worried about!!!

25-yard Freestyle
I only got about 9 minutes rest before this event but I was ready for it. The last time I did a 25-yard race I was late off the block and dove too deep. I was not going to make that mistake again. I got a better start this time but got a little water in one goggles. I got into my stroke quick and powered to the wall without taking a breath. I felt Like I had a little glide at the end but I felt good. My biceps were pumped up so I knew I put it all out there. I looked up at the timing guy and he said 12.74…another PR…woohoo! Again, I was the only one in my age group in the race so that meant another age group win!

100-yard Breaststroke
I only got about 6 minutes rest before this one. My biceps still felt a little pumped but I don’t use them as much doing this stroke. The seed times have me as the fast guy in this heat by over a second so I should be able to win this one easy so I’ll be racing against my time. I was a little slow off the block but I quickly went by the guy in the lead. I took my time getting nice long glides off a strong kick. I had no issues with my thigh, I didn’t even feel any soreness. I could see after each turn I was getting further ahead of the other guys. After I made the last turn I popped up a little too quick. I had lost my breathe so I had to surface sooner than I wanted. But after that, I kicked in my high turnover to the finish. Now I was tired…really tired. I was breathing really heavy and it took some effort to pull myself out of the pool. I finished in 1:26.85 nowhere near a PR but a win is a win and I’ll take it.

50-yard Freestyle
Oh no, I only got about 3 minutes rest before this event. I went to the blocks still breathing hard. I know my heart rate is still elevated. This was not going to be good. One of the timing girls came up to me and said this is going to be a PR right? I probably not…I’m just going to try and get through it. Normally I wouldn’t take a breath on the fist 25 but I think I took 3 going down then after the turn I think I took a breath on every stroke. I had to take the latter to get out of the pool. I finished in 33.something. 7th out of 7 in the heat. Probably still good enough for the age group win but I won’t know until the final results are posted. It was my slowest 50 ever. They took a break after the next heat…I could have used it a little earlier.

25-yard Breaststroke
I got a good long rest waiting for this event, probably about 15 minutes. So I was ready to put it all out there for my last race. I got a great start and as soon as I popped up I went into my high turnover. I kept my head low as it came out of the water and powered to the wall. I looked up and 2 guys were at the wall. 3rd overall but another age group win. I checked with the timing guy and he had me at 15.76, another PR but this one was by almost a full second!

The ride home was sore one, especially the back of my neck  (cracking my head jumping off the blocks does that to me) but I was pumped to have done so well considering…feeling blessed that I can do this stuff!!!

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