Going into the meet, I decided to swim two event each day, as I was not sure about the rest I would be getting between swims. Although everyone told me that it would take all day, I was a bit wary due to the fact that in the two mini-meets I swam this winter I had swam four events in the course of 1-2 hours, and was really tired! I picked my strong events (all the backstrokes), plus added the 100 and 200 freestyle races with a 100 IM kicker - boy, do I loathe breaststroke!
I woke up around 8am Friday morning and went to breakfast that the hotel with the family. Residence Inn has a lot of choices (hot and cold buffet, with Belgian waffle maker) and I was able to get a good variety of fruits as well, even taking some to snack on at the pool. I returned to the room and finished packing, then headed to the T stop down the block to ride to the Harvard Square stop and walk the five minutes or so to the Blodgett Pool across the Charles River. I was able to help an elderly guy buy a ticket for the train (apparently he had a birthday a week before so his Charlie Card was not working properly), and talked with him on the ride to the Square. Upon entering the pool building, not much had changed since my last meet there in 1996. I just so happened to run into my buddy from the Cape Cod team, Jim, as I headed up the stairs past the concession stand to round the corner into the spectator area -- remember that I met Jim at my first meet at Simon's Rock and he said all along I could hang out with the Codders at Harvard if no one else from Bennington came.
After getting changed we headed down for a warm up swim at the far end of the pool while the 500 freestyle event was still going on. I checked in on deck for my two events of the day before getting into the water. I swam my usual 1200 yard warmup, then walked to the competition pool for sprints from the blocks during the 15-minute period that it opened up after the 500's completed. I then went back to sit and watch the swimming before my first event of the day, the 100 Free, and was joined by my lovely daughter Emma and her boyfriend Maddison.
(Let me note here that I swam the same 1200 warm up every day, which comprised of 200 yards each free, back, then fly/breast drills, 4 x 50 yard kicking, 4 x 50 yard drills, and then 200 easy. I also hopped into the water before each event, swimming 100 yards easy, focusing on the stroke for the upcoming event, and then I stretched out with 200 yards of relaxed swimming after each event. Pretty standard (and boring) for me, even from when I was in high school.)
The 100 Free went quick, as I was swimming out in lane one in heat 15. I had a good start and went into my usual 100yd swim strategy of long and strong the first length, build the second length to be sprinting into the wall, all out on the third length, and keeping the reach long and rotation fast on the final lap. My turns were ok, but a little too close each time. Overall, I swam well, winning my heat with a time of 52.60 and placing a surprising 3rd overall in my age group (I was seeded 12th).
The 100 Back was the second and my final event for the day. I enjoyed watching the Codders swim before me, then got to business for my swim. I started in lane three of heat 13. My starts lack much, and I tried to compensate with a longer than normal dolphin kick. I followed my regular strategy, but I have not felt efficient in the back at all this season. I am sitting lower in the water than I used to, due to 15 years and 25 pounds no doubt! I have been working on adjusting my head position in the water as well as getting a better shoulder rotation, but still just not feeling like everything is clicking just yet. Finished under a minute again, 59.62, earning my second 3rd medal.
A quick warmdown and I walked back to the T in Harvard Square and caught a ride to our hotel. It was a warm and sunny afternoon, so I took a walk with Lena and Preston down to the Charles River, and we walked along the path on the north side of the river as folks jogged and biked by us. It is so neat to see the city from foot, away from the hustle of driving around the city, and walking under the Longfellow Bridge and back to the hotel though Kendall Square. As we got back, Emma and Madison met up with us, and Lena made a wonderful pasta supper in the room, and then the kids headed down the road to get some ice cream. I was really tired, and got to bed early to rest up for Saturday's event's to come (including a visit from Aunt Pat!).
I have to praise to Jesus for the ability to swim this well again after such a 15 year break from competitive swimming.