On Friday, Coach Kevin and I headed over to Wenatchee, Washington for the Starlight Invitational Swim meet at the Wenatchee City Pool. I was ready for the last long course swim meet of the season, before the big Championship meets begin. I was set to swim the 50 and 100 Free and the 100 and 200 Breaststroke, as well as help coach the 45 age group Spokane Waves swimmers also competing in the meet. Looking at the weather forecast the week before the meet, we knew we were going to be in for a scorcher. That I was prepared for, but sitting in a frying pan all weekend however, is something I did not expect!

The Wenatchee City Frying Pan – Without the Water!

The Wenatchee City pool is a nice 10 lane, 50m by 25 yard oasis with a dive tank that was used to warm up and warm down… but it is surrounded by a large, very hot, very reflective slab of concrete which made it feel like you were sitting in a frying pan. Even with the wind blowing, sitting out there you were destined for crispiness! I’m certainly not complaining about the heat, lets get this straight; I hate the cold and snow that comes with Spokane’s winters, I can live with the heat. I like the heat… except of course when you sit in the heat for 11 hours of the day and still hope to swim a fast race.

A good friend of mine, Roger Thompson lives and competes by a rule, I believe it is Rule #76  from the Rules of Wedding Crashing and it says: “No excuses, play like a champion”. I really like this so with that in mind, despite being tired and very hot I headed into the 100 Free on Friday afternoon determined and ready to race. I went out hard turning in a 25.5 at the 50m mark, I came off the wall in good time but at about the 75m mark the lactic acid monster attacked in a big way and my untapered legs refused to work through it. I came home in a 29.1 for a 54.6. I was pleased with the effort I put in and as it turned out, that swim was a new Spokane Waves team record.

Preparing for the Pain.

On Saturday afternoon I stepped up for the 100 Breaststroke. Again I was looking to push the pace and see just how fast I could be before heading into the taper this week. The fastest I had been in the 50m pool this summer was a 1.07.18 and I was looking to drop that down to a 1.06 something. I made sure to go out fast but without spinning and managed to do so turning in a 30.2 and then attempted to turn it on coming home. Again the lactic acid monster was waiting for me at the 75m mark, I put up a battle this time, and the monster and I went back and forth, I had the upper hand in one stroke he got me the next and so it continued. I finished the second 50m in 35.5, finishing the 100 in 1.05.75. I am very, very happy with how that race went. It hurt a lot but it has given me a huge amount of confidence heading into the taper and then into Senior Sectionals next week. As a bonus for my efforts, it was a Spokane Waves Team record, but also an IES record. (USA Swimming splits up the country into different Zones and Local Swim Committees. The IES, Inland Empire Swimming, is one of the 59 local swim committees in the United States. Click the map to find out more). A swimmer named CJ Nuess who was a NCAA Division 1 All-American at Arizona State University between 2004 and 2008 held the previous record of 1.06.27.

Video courtesy of Jessi Thompson

By Sunday, Coach Kevin and I had been sitting on the frying pan for nearly 17 hours and although I was making sure I was well hydrated and shaded, the heat was starting to catch up with me. I had a headache (probably from not wearing prescription sunglasses for 17 hours!) and was feeling sluggish. Regardless, I had the 200 Breaststroke and the 50 Free back to back and I wanted to get out after them. The 200 Breaststroke started out very well, I turned in a 1.07.4 at the 100m-mark feeling comfortable. But as in the 100 Free and the 100 Breaststroke that lactic monster appeared shortly after the half way mark and this time he won. After turning in a 1.07 I came home in a 1.16 for a 2.24.00. I was very happy with how the first half of the 200 went, and I will be looking to be out in about the same time at the 100 next week at Senior Sectionals but I would like to come home in a 1.11 instead of a 1.16. I am feeling confident that a week and a half’s worth of good rest will be enough to get me there.

Stroking It Out
Feeling the Burn – Photo by Jessi Thompson

The 50 Free 10 Minutes after the 200 Breast did not quite go according to plan. After taking the 100 Free out in a 25.5 I could only manage a 25.46 to finish off the weekend. I was disappointed with that swim, but I gave it all I had at the time and sometimes you have to be happy with the end result. Overall considering the circumstances, I am very happy with the weekends swims.

Here’s the last half of my 50m Freestyle.

Video courtesy of Jessi Thompson

On the coaching side of things the Waves team had a fantastic weekend. The team had 3 individual High-point winners, swam over 150 best times, re-wrote 18 team records, and finished in 1st place as a team. I am particularly proud of the little ones that I coach, Josh Millet, Rachel Deobald, Tommy Madill, Emma Thompson and Ryan Foote. When you are only 3 and a half feet tall a 100m in a long course pool is a long, long way to go, yet whether it was the 50 Free, the 100 Fly or the 200 IM these kids threw everything they had into it and there wasn’t a single DQ all weekend.

Tommy Madill 8&U High Point Winner
Nate Endebrock Boys 13 -14 High Point Winner – Photo by Jessi Thompson
Izzy Madill 11- 12 Girls High Point Winner – Photo by Jessi Thompson

Next week I head to Greshem, Oregon for the Western Region Sectional Championships (the blue area on the map of the USA above). The Waves team has 6 swimmers heading to the meet along with Coach Kevin. I will be sure to let you know how it all goes.