Sunday, May 22, 2011

2:17.99 vs. 2:17.87 = .12

So what exactly does 12 one hundredths of a second mean anyway? Today, to Madison, it meant the difference between the qualifying time for US Junior Nationals, a trip to Palo Alto, CA this August to race against the fastest 18 and unders in the country and her new best time. Splits for her swim – the 200 yard breaststroke - were 31.5 – 35.1 – 35.0 – 36.2. This is her first trip as an individual qualifier to the summer Junior Nationals meet. Trust us when we say, it is a very big deal. To qualify for an individual event at this prestigious meet is an indication that a swimmer has reached a very high level in the scheme of things in US Swimming.

Her fastest time in the 100 breast is currently 1:04.4. We told her that we believed if she was out in a 1:06 mid on the way to her 200 she could indeed make her qualifying cut. She did exactly that. She did fade a little on the last 50. This was her 5th day of very competitive racing in 9 days. She was running near the end of her tank. Yet she mastered her swim with the skill we see in veterans.

This swim is a testimonial to Madison, her diligent work in pursuit of her goals and her unending belief that the best is yet to come. And of course as is often the case, she is not yet done. She goes to college in the fall, making her coach and new team very happy. As she said shortly after her breakthrough swim, “I think I am going to be swimming this event a lot next year.”

All those 5 AM workouts, those heavy lifting sessions in the weight room, the endless search for perfection in stroke technique, the ups and downs of a season and the balancing of school and sport all are easily worth it when you shave off an all-important 12 one hundredths of a second. Ask any swimmer, they will tell you it is so. So, to Madison and all the swimmers who have had breakout swims this year, we say congratulations!

You are the reason we coach…and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

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