Sunday, April 19, 2009

Competition Builds Friendship

This weekend has been so much fun! For the first time ever, I competed in a swim meet, Oregon Masters Swimming Association Championships. I had only a vague idea of what to expect, having previously participated in only 2 all-comers meets. I was actually surprised by the number of swimmers!

The 3-day event began on Friday evening with just two events, the 400 yard IM and the 1650 yard freestyle. I was entered in the 1650. Having completed two postal events in the past few months (3000 yard postal in November and the 1 hr postal in January), I was confidant that I would be able to complete the distance. My goal was to exceed my seed time (predicted time) of 29:00.

I started off the block and wouldn't you know it, my goggles slipped off slightly. I tried adjusting them mid-swim but that didn't work so I stopped at the wall and made the necessary correction. From then on, I was pretty steady according to my teammates. I have a hard time getting the feel for my pace when I am swimming. I am pretty consistent running and can generally gauge my pace pretty well - but not in the water. I finished in 29:08.25 - good enough for 3rd place in my age group (note, however, there were only 3 entries in my age group). I felt so much better with the first swim behind me. I don't know why I had been so nervous.
I didn't compete on Saturday as we had a number of other obligations. One of which was the Sons of Norway social where I finally had the opportunity to get my picture taken with Priscilla Welch. She was inducted into the National Distance Running Hall of Fame in August. She holds several masters' women's records at a variety of distances, including the women's masters' marathon with a time of 2 hours, 26 minutes, 51 seconds.

Sunday morning, my girlfriend picked me up and we arrived at the meet early. One of the best parts of the weekend was getting an opportunity to meet Jeff of Oregon Adventures. I love how the internet brings people with shared passions together. Without my blog, Jeff and I would likely never have met otherwise. Having a buddy there made the event even more enjoyable.
I naively didn't sign up for many events on Sunday. In retrospect, I wish I had done the 500 yard freestyle - I'll know next time. As it was, as each event passed, my anxiety level grew. I was getting quite antsy so I opted to jump in and warm-up earlier than I initially planned. I was glad that I did - the events preceding mine (the 200 medley relays) went by much quicker than I had anticipated. Originally I thought I was going to compete in one ... but in the end 2 other swimmers had to scratch and coach had to pull our entry. Bummer.

My performance in the 100 yard back far exceeded my expectations. Based on my performance in the all-comers meet, I had predicted to finish in about 1:55. I spent a lot of time the past couple of weeks though working on my flip turns and I think it made all the difference. I nailed all 3 turns and finished in 1:38:56 (5th place of 6 entries) ... I was delighted! Thankfully, Jeff was there at the finish and helped to lift me out of the pool - I was just too tired to climb out on my own. As I swam in lane 5, I didn't have time to move to the side of the pool and the next heat was nearly on the blocks.

The best part of the entire weekend was the opportunity to watch my teammates swim and cheer everyone on in their respective events. It was fun to watch the elite swimmers - it is so amazing to watch their form and a good opportunity to learn where I can improve.

I'm looking forward now to competing in an open water event this summer and potentially a triathlon. We'll see how the calendar falls out when DH and I can sit down together.


  1. Fantastic swim meet and it was great to meet up with you!

  2. Great job on the swim! You are one speedy backstroker! Brilliant!!!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.