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  • Mar

    The Quest to Qualify: Competing Again

    If you’ve been following along this blog series, you know that I set a goal to qualify for the U.S. Masters Swimming Summer Championships in Orlando, Florida. In late January, I made an effort to get back in the water and train on a more consistent basis in an effort to get qualifying times in the 400m and 800m freestyle events. After my first swim meet in February, when I had a better idea of where I stood in terms of times, I began doing more research on the championship meet.

    Plot twist: you don’t actually have to qualify!

    This year, U.S. Masters Swimming wanted the Pan-American Masters Championships to be all-inclusive, so they did away with any pre-qualifications. This changed things for me. Not only did it put a damper on my 2018 goal of qualifying, it made me feel a lot less willing to travel 3,000 miles for the meet.

    Now, instead of setting a goal to qualify, I am simply setting a goal to reach the times that would have admitted me in to the meet.  While the pay-off is less exciting, this new goal will still require the same amount of dedication, commitment to compete at local, sanctioned meets, and countless hours in the pool.

    This past weekend, I swam in my second swim meet of the year at Spieker Aquatics Complex in Berkeley, California. Back in the peak of my swimming career, the 500y freestyle was my jam, so I was excited to compete in the event for the first time in 10 years. I had an idea of what my personal best time was (from 2008), but I didn’t know what to expect for this race. To my surprise, the race was bad and my time was even worse. From lap five, and on, my legs felt like lead, my cap was slipping off with every flip-turn and my chest was tight. After my race, my coach said, “You haven’t been getting enough pool time.” Even though I'm getting in a decent amount of yardage (3,000-4,000 yards) per swim, he was right.

    With a busy travel schedule, for both work and leisure, I hadn’t been spending enough time in the water. This swim meet was a wake-up call. While I’m undecided if I’ll make the journey to Florida in July for the Pan-Am Championships, I do know that competing in local swim meets is something that I’ll continue to do throughout the course of the year. That being said, I’m more aware now of how vital it is to commit myself to my training if I want to see improvement. 

    Hopefully next month I can report back with faster times!

    Email Address Invalid. Please enter an email address in the format: xx@yy.zz
    Lelah
    2 years ago.
    Keep going! I didn't enter my first master's meet for probably 8 mos after I got back into the pool. Even still, I was terrified. :D
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