Being 26 doesn’t mean you're too old to have your first swim meet, right?! Badger State Games were in town, and so I entered in the 50, 100, and 200 (all freestyle of course). I would have entered longer races as well, but there were not any open to masters. I am a swim instructor and have volunteer coached with a high school boy’s swim team, so while I was familiar with blocks, I’d never done them myself. So the week before the meet, I had my own lessons in them. Anything that I could relate to track, the better.
I’ve done so many swim workouts, and dropped my times tremendously, but how would I do in a swim meet? Sure, I could swim 10x200 on 3 minutes, but how fast could I swim just one 200? Or 50? Or 100? Let’s first talk about warm-ups. Circle swimming? Ugh. This was going to be stressful. Fortunately, I had a lane to myself (all the good people must come early to warm-up) for a while. I swam 1,000 yards to warm-up, then did some starts. On Friday when I went off the blocks, I felt smooth, but this morning, I could not get a good feel for it! I kept pulling up too soon, so my feet slapped on the water. I eventually just gave up.
Swim meets are a strange thing. I have a track background, where before you compete, you are able to jog around, do drills, etc to make sure you are good and warm before you go. Swimming? Not so much. You sit around and wait for your event, maybe move your arms around a little, but that’s about it, then it’s ‘go time’! I had the 50 first. There was only one other woman I had to race against. Apparently her and I were the only female adults at the meet. Of course, she was an actual former swimmer, though she had about 7 years on me. There’s only one flip turn for the 50, and somehow I managed to mess up the turn. My feet slipped and I hardly got a push off the wall. I still managed to beat her to the wall by less than a second, giving myself a time of 31 seconds. Nothing impressive in my books. Drats. I was told I should have been out of breath by the end of that. Guess I need to learn to swim a lot harder. I was ready to go again already.
The next race was the 200, and I was up against a bunch of teenage swimmers. Time to hold on for dear life! I’ve averaged 2:42 in a workout of 11x200 on 3 minutes before, so I should be able to clip along at a pretty good pace for this, right? I came in at 2:29. I did manage to beat at least one girl, but she was probably 10. If I can swim a 200 in 2:40 in a workout, I should be way faster, that’s all I could think. Bummer. The 100 was last, and I was only up against the one other woman again. This was a fun distance. I came in with a time of 1:07.4, ahead by about 2 seconds. Meh. I collected my medals and headed home. I’m not sure if this makes me want a do-over to try and get better times, or just accept that I am not a swimmer. Either way, it was neat to experience at least. I never had the opportunity to be on a swim team in high school or college, so it was nice to have this chance!
I guess I’d do it again.