Well, I was one of the Masters swimmers to brave the cold to attend the Pace/Maker's meet on Sunday, 1/23/2011. My first competitive swim meet since August of 1996. With Lena, Emma, Preston, and Madison in tow, we drove to Simon's Rock College in Great Barrington, MA, as the outside temperatures hovered in the single digits, passing through Pittsfield and Stockbridge (Norman Rockwell's old stomping grounds) with a few "shortcuts" in between. Warm ups started at 12pm and the meet at one - a great facility that boasted an eight lane pool with electronic timing and lots of old folks ready to churn up the water.
|We found the pool!|
After a long warm-up, during which I switched between two pairs of goggles to find the best fit as I got used to the layout of the pool, and some sprints from the blocks, I met with the other swimmers for a quick meeting with Bill and the referee for the event. I volunteered to join in a medley relay with some swimmers from Pittsfield who were one person short, and then stretched out before the meet began.
I swam the backstroke in the 200 relay, and our team finished first with a very respectable time under 2:10. Dan, one of the guys from Pittsfield, commented that he hoped I would get tired out before the 100 backstroke event later in the afternoon. Quickly thereafter I took off for the 200 freestyle, and did well despite mucking up the turns due to curved ends of the pool. Hey, I have to blame someone other than myself for flipping multiple times way too close to the wall! haha I finished first with a time on 2:06, so I was very pleased. I can tell that my endurance is not as strong as it used to be when swimming 5-6 days a week in high school, but for a middle-aged, overweight guy practicing 3-4 days a week I am content.
Seemingly minutes later, I took off from lane 3 for the 50 butterfly. I churned hard and fast, but was third into the wall for the turn. I was able to edge out the guy in lane 2, but was beaten by the fast guy in lane 1. So second place with a time of 28.34 was alright for me. So at this point, I was feeling pretty tired indeed, and we all had a great time swimming hard with little rest. I was able to sneak in a few easy laps before the IM's to strech out, and say hi to my lovely roving photographer wife and kids in the the galley above the pool.
Last up for the day was the 100 backstroke, with Dan swimming in the lane next to me. I had a good start and went strong into the wall, then started churning the water hard. The 50yd split was 32.34, which was much slower than the rest of the swim, so my attempt at negative splitting was basically a success, but practically a failure. I finished out the second 50yd split at 30.76, for a final time of 1:03.10.
My first meet was now ended, and I learned a lot about getting back into the competition of swimming. I am finding that the pace of the meets are much faster than my old times with the Marauders, as I was finished with the relay and my three swims in just over an hour. Also, my lungs are shot and I need to work more on alternating my breathing and my lung capacity. I am sure the extra 20 pounds since high school does not help the situation. I also enjoyed the supportive atmosphere of the meet, as everyone was approachable and helpful as I dove back into the water for the first time.
I am looking forward to two more meets in the next couple of months. I will be heading to Framington, Mass during the middle of February for an afternoon meet, and then I will complete the winter season at the New England Championships at Harvard University in the middle of March. Now, time to keep training!