Ernie Glass from Charlotte Swim Masters wrote this fun report about last weekend's competition:
USMS Short Course Nationals
May 20 - 23, 2010
Georgia Tech Aquatic Center
After spending a year getting ready for this meet my taper program got really off track. First we got kicked out of the MCAC for the 2 weekends (Friday an Saturday) prior to the meet and had to swim at the Harris Y. In addition I had to go to Las Vegas for 4 days the week prior to Nationals on a business trip. That actually worked out pretty good because I got to work out with the Las Vegas Masters and it was fun seeing them again at Nationals. We planned to do our final taper workout at the meet pool once we got to Atlanta on Thursday. Upon arriving at the pool as the last heat of the 1650 concluded we were informed that the pool would close in 30 minutes. I was able to get in for about 20 minutes - but did not get to complete the final taper workout. After giving the meet personnel a piece of my mind (it did no good) we went back to the hotel and went to dinner. This was the biggest ( over 1900 swimmers) and fastest nationals I had ever been to. I thought if I swam really well I could get in the top 10 in one or two events. Maybe the Blue Seventy I borrowed from Ken Johnson (by way of UVA) would help! I was clueless as to how this would all turn out!
My first event of the meet was the 200 free - an event I love to hate. Too long to be a sprint and too short to be a distance race. I was really nervous about this race because it always hurts! I was seeded 14th and swam the race of my life. I won my heat with a blistering 2:03.58 (out in 59 & back in a 1:04) - the best time I had swam in over 30 years by 5 seconds. I was so shocked I thought I was looking at the wrong scoreboard! I wasn't. Only 4 guys in the fast heat beat my time so I wound up in 5th place. I was ecstatic!
My next event was the 200 back - an event I had only swam one other time. I entered it as my "throw away" event. After 125 yards I was thinking this hurts so bad I don't think I can finish. I did manage to finish in 2:35. 17 which placed 9th. This beat my previous time by about 12 seconds. Day one is over and I'm thinking, "Maybe the taper worked out OK".
This was a long day. Had to go to the pool early for the 200 free relay and then wait around until about 3:30 for the 100 free and then the 50 back. Donnie Gilchrest (another Wake Forest swimmer) lead off the relay and I went 2nd. Coach Patti told me my split was 23.9 but when I check the results it showed 24.5 - still not bad! Our relay would up with a 5th place. I then waited around for about 5 hours wearing that Blue Seventy suit before the 100 free. I don't know how women ever wore girdles - that thing was not comfortable! But it sure was fast! I always get real nervous before the 100 free - it is a sprint and you know it is going to hurt on that last 25. I was seeded about 16th. I had a great race and smoked my heat on the last 50 and finished with a 55.58 - another best time in recent times. That was good enough for 7th place. The next event was the 50 back and I was ready to get it done - got second in my heat with another recent best time - 31.90. That managed to squeeze into the top 10, barely! - 10th place, but a medal nonetheless! Couldn't wait to get out of the suit. One day to go!
Had to get to the pool early again for the medley relay. Same 4 guys - I swam the free leg and we wound up 5th again. I decided to wear a different suit for the relay and then get out of it while I waited for my last two events the 100 back and 50 free. Boy did that feel better! The 100 back is not really my specialty but I did win my heat with another personal best time of 1:09.40. I then watched the fast heat of the 100 back - first 3 guys were well under 1:09 - the next three guys were all 1:09+! Fourth through seventh were all separated by about .8 of a second - I wound up in 6th place. I was real happy with that. Now for the signature race - the 50 free - the only event in which I was seeded in the top 10! Watching guys get ready for the 50 free is like watching a bunch of race horses before a race - everyone is intense. My heat finally came. I looked at the guy next to me and he looked like he was 6' 6" at least - "Crap, I hate these tall guys!" I had a great start and smoked the tall guy but had a lousy turn. I finished 5th in my heat with a 25.15 - a really good time but I couda done better! Still, my time was good enough for a 6th place finish.
After finishing my 50 free I stood around to watch Olympic Gold Medalist Cullen Jones go 19.14 for his 50 free. That is fast!
Meet over! To my amazement I placed in the top 10 in all six events I swam. Our NC Masters team finished second - a mere 20 points behind Georgia: 2085.5 to 2065.5 points.
Time to go home - Gina and I leave Saturday for a week at the beach - I'm just going to fish and make pina coladas while Gina will read books on her new iPad.