Monday, February 16, 2009

Epic Swim Meet Post

Two Saturdays ago, I did something I have never done before.

I swam in a race. I swam butterfly, which I could do four strokes of in September. I swam 50 meters of butterfly in a meet populated by three colleges and a swim masters program. I got into a bathing suit in front of guys with washboard abs and girls that have never been over 20 on their BMI. I dared a girl on my team to slap the butt of a boy who wore a suit that said, simply, "ROCK." (She didn't, and apparently the Rock is some sort of high school in Missouri.) I sat in the hot tub after my race.

My race! That's what you want to know about!

My race was the third race from the end. I arrived at the pool to sit nervously with my teammates. Our club's president told us not to be nervous, and soon we loosened up. After all, I had about an hour and a half wait once the meet started before I swam.

But then, the men swam the 100 fly. I watched mesmerized as the guys did double the race I would be doing.


I turned to my friend Matt at the end of the men's race and said, "Matt, that is my 50 time."

He laughed and said, "It's ok, Mama."

So by the time my race rolled around, I was convinced I would be swimming for 20 seconds by myself, that everyone would be finished when I was making my first (and only) turn.

Thankfully, there was another young woman in my race who was swimming the fly, and she kept me company. Kept me so much company that she almost beat me in the last 15 meters of the pool.

Yes, that last 15 meters.

Wait, I'm getting ahead of myself.

So, before I knew it, my race was called. I stepped up to the block. There were 3 other women swimming in my race. One was my friend Andrea and another was a different girl from my club (I don't know her, being that she's apparently in the top group).

I had practiced my start during warm ups. I have no idea if it paid off. I have no memory really of jumping in. I was thankful that my goggles stayed on. Suddenly, I was swimming. I got three fourths of the way down my first length and thought to myself:

I've never swam this fast before!

Excitement abounded. I saw, briefly, that Andrea was a ahead of me, but not 20 seconds ahead of me. I had no sense where the other two women were.

I FLEW to that wall. And I touched it and turned the best I could (butterfly being one of the strokes where, thankfully, you don't have to do a flip turn -- had I had to do a flip turn, there was real possibility that I would get so dizzy I would swim straight down instead of where I was supposed to, or, alternatively, flipped right into another person's lane).

I turned -- only 25 left.


I'm not joking. Died.

There's a yellow rope they hang above the middle of the pool (I'm not sure you'll be able to see it on the video or not, because it's thin). I am convinced that this yellow rope holds an invisible wall that comes down to disrupt your last 12 meters or so.

I totally hit that wall.

Hit it so much that while I was about a full body length ahead of the girl next to me, she caught up and almost beat me.

But ALMOST is the important word here.

I beat her by a slim .26 seconds. I had no idea of this until several days later, when I got the results. Because I didn't hit the timing block hard enough when I finished, so my time didn't clock on the computerized thing.

Not that I could have seen it anyway, because I didn't have my contacts in.

I wanted to do the race in under 50 seconds (which is a terrible time, but, hey, I could only swim four strokes of the fly four months ago). I swam it in 47.6. So I'm pretty pleased with myself. I am also pleased that I did it at all, regardless of hte outcome.

I present to you the video of the race. I apologize for the bounciness, as a person I don't know recorded it after Hal threw our camera at her when he realized I was actually on the blocks. I am in the second lane from the top. Andrea is above me. I did throw in some pictures that are much clearer.



BoufMom9 said...

I think that was awesome! Well done accomplishing what you hoped you would do!
Very exciting watching your video and loved the music ;)

Laura said...

My husband is a swimmer and started a swimming blog...
It's on my blog list.
"Swimming to Hemmingways"
You may find it interesting.
All you swimmers can talk about strokes, laps, and drowning.