Sunday, March 20, 2011

Saturday Recap: NEM Championships

Saturday morning started off much like Friday - headed to the breakfast with the family and enjoyed another Belgian waffle.  Mmmm. With the plans to meet up with Aunt Pat, I decided to drive to the pool today and pay the $5 charge to park across the street at the Harvard Business School lot, instead of the $10 it costs at the stadium, which is only a two minute shorter walk.  I am pleasantly surprised how well I can still navigate the streets of Cambridge after all these years - Lena still does not think I "navigate" all that well but I can get to the final desitination in one piece.

I was able to meet Pat almost as soon as I sat down in the bleachers - she took the T into the Square and walked over to the pool.  It was great to see her, like the good old days many moons ago when she would join my mom and dad and they would be cheering on my siblings and me.  I introduced Pat to Jim and then slipped away to warm up in the big pool.  After returning, Pat shared with me the recent news that caffeine has been 'proven' to boost performance, not just the anecdotal accounts that many people have after having a cup of joe.  She treated me to a cup of Dunkin (yep, even swimmers run on in) and we talked about life in general and the fun of pharmacy.

I was a bit disappointed that my events for the day were the 50yd Backstroke and the 100yd I.M.  I have never been the best sprinter due to a lackluster start and feeling like I need more than two lengths to get up to full speed, and the I entered the I.M. so that I had a second event to swim (and I didn't feel like waiting until the last event of the day, the 50yd Freestyle).  Pat gave me some good encouragement as checked out the heat sheets for the backstroke, which was nice.

I again cheered on the Codders in the backstroke events from the deck.  Patty swam really well, despite hitting the lane line three times - it has happened to me before as well: you hit the blasted thing once, and then it keeps calling you back for more punishment like there is a magnet attached to you.  She was happy with her time despite this, so that was good.  I hopped into heat 17, lane 3 when my time was up; the start was ok and I again focused on the dolphin kick at the start.  I felt like I had good shoulder rotation and a strong turn the first length, but was very surprised how easy the second lap felt.  I was riding much higher in the water for the first time in a long time, and had a good lunge to the wall to finish second in my heat.  I was seeded 5th going into the event and did not expect to place much higher, but my time was one second faster than my seed and I  finished the race with yet another bronze medal!

Pat was really pumped about the placing, and then the folks from the Cape started asking if I was going to get any medal other than bronze!  I said that I like that color better, and laughed as Pat and I grabbed a slice of pizza and sat outside, near the basketball court, to take in the cool, windy day.  It was really sunny yesterday, but just overcast today.  

After vegging for a bit back in the stands, I went down to the pool deck to get ready for the Individual Medley.  I swam this at the Frammingham meet a few weeks ago, so my seed time was accurate and I figured I would just sprint the first to legs of the event (Butterfly and Backstroke), then try to survive the Breaststroke before laying it all out in the Freestyle on the last length.  I was seeded in 15 place so I figured my bronze streak would end here.  And it did! haha   After mortifying Emma (due to my very skimpy Speedo - haha), I had a good start and swam a fast 50yds to start.  I was so worried about the 'legal' way to incorporate a single dolphin kick during the pullout of the breaststroke that I forgot to do it, then just powered home to finish a very surprising 13th overall in my age group!

We all loaded into the van and headed back to the hotel.  It was neat driving by the different buildings and art installations on the M.I.T. campus - wild stuff.  Lena was thinking of making dinner in, but Pat was looking forward to a celebratory dinner out on the town.  A short detour for Preston to check out a store, and we wound our way through the construction and traffic to the Government Center area for a meal at the Hard Rock Cafe.  Expecting a long wait, we actually got to a table in less than two minutes, and then had a great meal and conversation.  Pat was nice enough to cover the supper (and the parking - thanks, Pat!), and headed off to the T on her way home as we wondered around Quincey Market. Emma and Madison made plans to watch a laser show at the science museum - I was feeling really tired and did not have the gumption to take it in.  Lena, Preston and I headed back to the hotel and relaxed before the final day of events.

Click there for:   Meet Results 

I have to praise to Jesus for the ability to swim this well again after such a 15 year break from competitive swimming.

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Don't Be Like Mike

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Thankful that God has granted me a second chance (quite a few, actually) through my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I love the Lord, my family, and enjoy endless laps of swimming and circles on a motorcycle. Follow Jesus.