Day one has come and gone here in Knoxville and it was a decent one for the Pirates. We sit in 18th place after finals last night with a load of events still to swim!

Kate and Austin got us started in the 500 Free yesterday morning with solid performances. Kate came into the 500 Free seeded 32nd with a 5.04.30 that she swam at conference last month. Swimming in an outside lane she put together a race that looked almost identical to her conference race finishing in a 5.04.43 which was good enough to move her up to 26th in a field of 45! A very solid performance from arguably her weakest event this week.

Austin looked like a man on a mission yesterday morning as he started the 500 Freestyle. He came in seeded 16th on a 4.33.55 but all of us that have been training with him over the last 8 months knew for sure that he was capable of faster than that. He proved us right yesterday morning! Swimming a beautifully split race where he essentially descended each 100 throughout the race he touched the wall in 4.31.54, the joy and relief on his face when he turned and looked at the score board was priceless. There were mixed emotions though about 5 minutes later when we found out that he missed out on being in the top 8 finalist by less than 3 tenths of  a second and that he missed the Whitworth school record by 1 tenth of  a second. Never the less he went out last night and raced the B final like a man!  Unfortunately it looked like he got stuck in a bad rhythm from the start though and although he descended the race in a very similar pattern to the morning but a little slower. He finished 16th in the final scoring our first points of the meet with a 4.36.70.

Mike and Kalen both swam the 200 IM yesterday morning. Unfortunately both of them seemed to struggle to get going during the race though. Mike didn’t seem to have the closing speed that I am used to seeing from him and Kalen just didn’t have the consistency through the strokes. It could be the time change, I’m not sure, they both have more swims to come this week though so I am hoping for improvements as we go!

I was up next in the 50 Free. This is an event that I do not have a lot of love for. The two requirements to swim a good 50 Free; power and explosiveness. Naturally I have neither of those two attributes. I have worked hard in the gym over the last  year to try improve on my power and yesterday I saw a little pay off for that. I have been 21 seconds consistently in season for the last three years but have never managed to break the 21.00 barrier from a flat start. For the first time yesterday morning I managed to do it touching the wall in 20.93. A small mini victory that gives testament to the fact that if you work hard enough at something, even if you don’t have those specific skills, you can develop them. It was also a new team record. Aaron also swam the 50 free yesterday morning, he was a little deep off his start and so wasn’t out as fast as he usually is. As a result he was a little off he entry time, but still managed a solid 21.09 – very good for his fist ever swim at a National Championship.

The highlight of yesterday was probably our mens 200 Medley relay. We entered the meet as the 15th seeds in the event and managed to move up into 12th place last night. Nathan led us off with a solid backstroke leg (25.00) , I took over on the breaststroke (24.90) , Aaron put in the fly leg (21.90) and Mike anchored us with the Freestyle (20.44).

I’ll let you watch the video for a feel on how the race went. We are in lane 6, three from the top. If you lose us, we are the pasty ones 🙂 and I’m wearing a red cap during the breaststroke leg! Enjoy!