For some of our younger less experienced swimmers this is a very big meet. Over 250 teams from the west coast plus several from the east coast come out to this meet. The first two days were warm and sunny and spirits were high and times were fast. On days three and four the weather turned ugly. Sunday was 50-ish, winds gusting to 40 and heavy rain. Did we mention the meet was held outdoors? You get the picture.
For our older high school age swimmers this was a training meet. We have been pushing very diligently in the pool for 4 weeks now. We asked the group to pick one day of the four and go race since we knew the level of competition would be high. It was an opportunity for them to see what they could do in a tired state. (One of the things college programs look for is swimmers who can race well when tired.)
As we went through the meet, especially today, we kept reminding the swimmers to do the best they could with what was available.
10 year old Claire entered the day with a best time of 29.8 in her 50 free. She left the day the same. She swam a 30.1 and was so disappointed since she has in her mind a 28 something. But we reminded her that she held her breath off the turn – for the first time! – And was very close to her best…in the pouring rain. We turned tears into smiles.
17 year old Allan swam a 5:08 in his 500, out in 2:33 and back in 2:35. This from a young man who kicked 10x100 on the 1:40 on Friday, most of them under 1:15, several under 1:10. A very solid training swim in our minds.
Madison actually improved her 100 breast from 1:17 to 1:16 by executing much better pull throughs. We have been working on this aspect of her swimming for a while and today…in the storm…she pulled it off.
Sandy swam his 200 im in 2:03…his best is 1:53. Yet his under waters in backstroke were a full 10 or 11 yards…not the 12+ we are looking for but much better than he has done before. He was out in 58 for the 100. This is from a 15 year old swimmer who is headed for the top of the mountain. His last 4 weeks of training are spectacular. This swim today is really good. He then followed it with a nice, clean start and turn 50 free in 22.7. This is a very impressive morning for him.
His 13 year old brother swam his 200 fly breathing every other stroke the entire way for the first time. Scott actually swam his best time improving from 2:14 to 2:11.
Charlotte has been training up a storm of her own. On Friday in the sun she swam 54.5 in her 100 free which is darn fast for her. Today in the storm her 50 was 25.3. She was disappointed but the effort was solid, out in 12.1 back in 13.2 which if you consider the dive is negative split. Charlotte has very little easy speed right now. She will go a 23+ in 7 weeks at the high school championships and 52 in her 100. She is a sophomore who is going to make some college coach very happy.
As we went through the weekend we were reminded that no matter what meet you go to not every swimmer will record best times. It matters not your level of preparation or rest. No meet winds up at the 100% level…not even the Olympics. And yet there are many swims that are noteworthy for a wide variety of reasons.
Our task as coaches and swimmers and parents too is to find the value in every attempt regardless of the outcome. Each of us has swum or witnessed a race that resulted in a best time that was nonetheless not constructed well nor executed the way it was intended.
We are cursed in swimming with the non-subjective valuation of the stop watch.
Do the Best You Can With What You Have