Red ribbon season

The US Masters short course yards (SCY) season is over (for me). Registration for the Nationals meet in Indianapolis closed mid-week last week, and I decided not to go (even though I swam qualifying times in all three breaststroke events). I decided I didn’t need to go to Indianapolis to have my butt kicked by people much faster than me.

I am only slightly regretting that decision after my races this weekend. I really wish I had one more chance to swim the 200 breast to see if I could squeak into the top ten times for my age group in that event. As it is I think I’ll probably be in the top fifteen. Which is good, but I’m so close to breaking into the top ten… if only I had one more race… 

This weekend was the Pacific Zone’s SCY Championship swim meet. I swam four events: 200 breast, 100 IM, 50 breast, and 100 breast. I swam season best times in all but the 50 breast (where I was only a few hundredths of a second off my season best time). I placed second in my age group in every single one of those events.

Why second in every single one? Because, you know who else swam every single one of those events (and some others as well, just to make it look that easy…)? This woman named Andee Bell who is hella fast. She is, I think, two years older than me, and faster than anyone I ever swam with in high school. She was busy racing this 22 year old, fresh out of college swimming, and probably didn’t even notice me. We were never in the same heat, and she was busy setting Pacific Masters records. 

I’d seen her name in the “top ten times” before, and she was listed as swimming in the heat sheets for one of the meets I swam in earlier this year, but she never showed. I was wondering if she was still swimming, and sort of hoping she wasn’t because I have no chance of ever beating her… I mean, did you see those times

Honestly, I should be focusing on how well I did this season after just getting serious about swimming again in January. I’ve really only had about three months of training. And I didn’t get close to the yardage that other masters swimmers do daily at practice (them: upwards of 3k yrds per practice, me: between 2k and 3k for the last month or so — less before that).

I’m sad it’s over so quickly, and now I have to wait another eight months before next season starts. In the meantime, I think I’m going to try some open water swims this summer, and definitely a long course meters meet or two, if there are any in the Bay Area. And, I am pretty sure that short course meters season coming up in the fall will give me something to look forward to… 

I also have eight months to train, train, train and get fast, fast, fast (still, probably never as fast as Andee Bell, but I’ll take what I can get… like faster than high school would be nice…).

Here is what I learned over the past three months:

  • Swimming is awesome. I love swimming. (Why in the hell did I wait so long to get back in the pool?)
  • I had terrible endurance in high school (glad I kept such good records of my times so I can compare to now…).
  • You can swim FOREVER! (and some of the older women are faster than me!)
  • Competing makes me so much more excited about training. I am actually excited about getting out of bed early and going to the pool.
  • I am better at endurance races than sprints (bring on the 200s! …maybe even the LONG distance stuff…)
  • My best event is the 200 breaststroke — I am pretty sure I’ll end up with a “top 20” time, maybe even “top 15” in my age group, and I finished 5th overall at the Pacific Masters SCY Championships. (Plus I’ve only raced it twice!)

So, for all of you that are sick of me talking about swimming, you can be happy that my main racing season is over, and you’ll likely not have to read a bunch more swimming related blog posts for a while. Of course, I’ll still provide updates in my monthly “by the numbers” posts.

Thanks for bearing with me while I’ve obsessed about swimming for the last three months, and thanks for cheering me on!