We are all home from Minnesota having wrapped up the NCAA Division 3 National Championships and Whitworth has a lot to be proud about! Our team of four lovely ladies managed to score a total of 70 points to finish in 17th place overall. Our team of three men managed to score 54 points and finish up 16th! This is an incredible feat, there are 248 Division 3 schools in the NCAA that have a swim program and with only seven swimmers we managed to finish as high as we did! I am incredibly proud to be a part of Whitworth Swimming, not just the team that went to Nationals, but our entire team who put in the same amount of work through the season which led to our men to our 8th consecutive conference title, and our girls to their 2nd title in 3 years! We are on the up and up! This is a team that I really hope will go from strength to strength. Top 10 on both sides next year!

We had miles, relays and the 200 Breastroke to swim yesterday. Kalen and Christine swam the mile in the morning as only the top 8 seeds swim at night in the mile. Both of them swam very well. Kalen was looking to break 16 minutes in his mile and he certainly started out looking like he was on target. Unfortunately he dropped off the pace a little in the middle of the race and no amount of waving or whistling from us on the deck could get him to pick it up… Until the last 200 when he brought it home in a 1.49! He said afterward that he lost faith in his conditioning a little bit in the middle and didn’t think he would be able to finish strong if he continued his early pace all the way through… I said in my last post Nationals play games with your head – next year will be different for Kalen. He went a 16.02.39 which was good enough for 14th place.

Christine’s mile was solid too. She swam a 17.33.17, 11 seconds faster than she went at Conference, holding  pace consistently throughout. She was in lane 8 so we were right next to her on the deck, if she started to drop off her pace at any point she really had no choice but to respond to our waves and whistles and picked it up immediately! She came into the event seeded 24th and finished 20th, a very solid performance on the national stage!

Natalie got to swim her mile last night in the finals session as she went in seeded 5th on a 17.05. She swam a fantastic Natalie Turner race, where she got stronger and stronger as she went on. She looked in control and actually made it look easy! She has graphically described to me in what it feels like to swim that mile and I know easy is no where in the description! I must say that for her final individual race at Nationals it really was a good one to go out on. She broke the 17 minute barrier, going 16.54.73 and left yet another very impressive record on the Whithworth and NWC books.

Our girls 400 Free relay managed a very fast 3.31.86 in the morning prelims to break the old 3.31.93 NWC record held by the University of Puget Sound set back in 2002! The swim bumped them up from 21st place going in to 12th place! They were only slightly slower in the evening going 3.32.47 which gave them 15th place.

I have mixed feelings about my 200 Breastroke yesterday. I am extremely happy with the way I swam the race, both in the morning and in the evening. I don’t think that the strategy was wrong, I took it out in the splits that I was looking for and I am very happy with my second place finish. My mixed feelings come in because of the time I went in the final. Steve and I have worked very hard all season to go under the 2.00 mark and I wholeheartedly believe that my body was ready to do it, however, when I pushed at the 100 mark my body just did not respond in the way that I thought it was going to. I felt a little tired and heavy and just couldn’t get the drive that I wanted. I really don’t want to be the guy that is full of excuses about why things didn’t… blah blah blah, that’s not me… But this is my blog and I am allowed to put in my two cents worth :-p haha. I do think that being sick this week affected my recovery a little bit. Mentally I was able to overcome the sore throat, blocked nose and cough when I raced but I think that my ability to physically recover between the session and more importantly after the 100 the night before affected the surge that I thought would be there. It was a solid swim, a new school and NWC record but I have major unfinished business with that race, I will break that 2.00 mark and it will be sooner than this time next year. I don’t think I can remember the last time I have felt this strongly about something. I wish that what came to mind was not the lyrics to an 80’s pop song but unfortunately “Hungry like the Wolf” is all I can say for myself – thank you Duran Duran. LOL, guess what my ring-tone and alarm sound is going to be for the next little while…

Double Gun Salute!
Stroke This! – Photo Courtesy of Marc Lecoq

On a side note, Ian, the swimmer from Kenyon that won the 200 Breast couldn’t have been nicer. I first talked to him in the ready room before the 100 Breast the night before and he sounded like a genuinely nice guy. When I looked up at the timing board last night and saw that he had won it from an outside lane I was truly happy for him. While we were waiting for the award ceremony one of his teammates told me that he is one of the most consistent hard workers on the  Kenyon team, and if you know me, you know how much I appreciate hard work.

It’s now Spring Break and I am looking forward to having the week off, relaxing, sleeping, getting healthy again and thinking up ways to make sure that the next meet I swim is better, faster and stronger than this one was!

My Woody’s! The photo doesn’t do them Justice!