It’s been a while since I last posted on my blog, no I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth, I just hit the off button for a while. About three weeks ago after finishing my final exam of my 2nd year of University I felt the need to hit the off button for a little while. After doing well at Nationals this year I came back to school with the intention of securing my selection as an Academic All American. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it is an award given to student athletes who have excelled in their sport and in the class room during that year. I believe that to be considered as a swimmer, you must be in your second year of university, have had a swim fast enough to qualify you for the National Meet as well as have a grade point average of 3.5 or higher. That looked easy enough to achieve at the beginning of the year when it was written on my goal sheet… In reality, not so easy. Despite a couple of freak out sessions and a lot of help from Carla “The Best” Van Heerden I managed to achieve my goal, which you can read about here.

Working towards achieving my goal in the class room kind of took it’s toll on me and once that last exam was done, catching up on some sleep, spending some time with my mom and enjoying some quality early summer season training without the pressure to do anything that required thinking too much was definitely the order of the day… I heeded my own advice on sleep and got some. Three weeks later I’m back and ready to roll.

Although I spent the last couple of weeks not thinking much I have put some solid work in at the pool and in the gym, and this last weekend I got my first opportunity to see where I stand early in the season when I headed up to Pasco for the Tri Cities Invitational Long Course Swim Meet with the Spokane Waves.

The New Pool In Saturday’s Sun

I really had no idea how I was going to swim as we drove through some pretty torrential rain on our way to the brand new, outdoor pool on Friday morning. It would be the first time I would swim in a long course (50 meter) pool since the South African Olympic Trials in April 2008. After spending the last two years training and racing short course (25) yards, my first reaction when I saw the long course pool was “holy *#&! it goes on forever!”. We were also at the end of a tough training cycle and I was by no means feeling fresh, rested or ready to go. Oh, and did I mention the cold and rainy weather?

After a cold warm up and an attempt to find my stroke count and race pace I stepped up to race the 200 Breastroke with little to no idea of how to attack the beast. Diving in, in the rain I took it out at a comfortable pace splitting 32.5 at the first 50m and then settling into a relaxed rhythm where I was able to split 37.0 37.1 37.0 to give me a final time of 2.24.7. After seeing my splits and talking about the race I was initially a little disappointed but after reflecting on it further I am pretty happy with the time. If I factor in the bad weather, lack of experience in a 50m pool and my level of fatigue I think I am about spot on for achieving the goals I have for the end of the season.

On Saturday the rain gave way to some glorious sunshine and I spent most of the day coaching, timing, advising and reassuring the other swimmers on the Waves team. I squeezed in a 50m Freestyle race for a bit of fun, unfortunately there was a timing system malfunction, but coach Kevin’s unofficial time of 24.5 stirred up similar reactions to my 200 Breast the day before.

Sunday saw the rain and wind return to the pool and I had a much busier day as I raced the 100 Breast, 200 Free and contributed a leg to the 4 x 100 Freestyle relay.

I didn’t want to make the same mistake in the 100 Breast as I did in the 200 of slipping into a comfortable cruise pace, so I went out and attacked from the beginning. This strategy has not worked well for me in the past as I end up rushing and forcing the stroke a little bit too much, and this time was no different. I finished in 1.07.1, which was a little slower than I was hoping for. In the 200 Free I had a hard time settling into a rhythm like I did in the Breastroke, and my splits were all over the board, but the 100 Free leg I swam in the relay gave me some good news for the weekend as I split a 54.3.

Although I felt like the swims I had this weekend were not as fast as they could have been, I am feeling pretty good about achieving my goals for the summer.

As a team this weekend, the Waves Head Coach, Kevin Wang and I looked after 30 swimmers who raced to 140 best time and 23 team records. It was a pretty impressive show by the kids. In the last two years Kevin and his deputy Keddy have done an incredible job of raising the standard of the Spokane Waves Aquatic Team, it’s pretty fun to be apart of. Following are some pictures I took of the Waves Swimmers…