Swam my first 100 fly since the Olympics at the Orlando Grand Prix on February 14, 2013. I’ve been training in the mornings, but not exactly regularly, and nothing like the 6 hrs a day I was doing before the Olympics. Since the London Games I’ve been catching up on time with my husband and my family. I’ve been traveling around doing work for heart disease awareness foundations such as the American Heart Association and the Simons Fund. Getting back in the water in January, I knew I had lost some ground in the pool, but gained mental strength through my renewed time with my fam!
I was way more nervous for the prelims of my 100 fly than I’ve been in a long time. I have had such confidence in my back half, or last 50 of my 100m race, and then with my reduced training regimen I didn’t know if that would be there. The day before in practice I felt off in the water, but after traveling from Philly to New York and then to Orlando for the competition I knew my body would be feeling the travel. My butterfly started to feel more like myself again by the end of the practice, so with that I got out and started to prepare for the next day’s race.
Reminding myself to breath and how much I wanted to race again pushed back the nerves a little. But diving into the water I was concerned how my last 20m of the race would look and feel. I decided to pick a strong rhythm that was smooth and then hold on as long as I could! And I didn’t fade at all! The prelims race felt smooth and controlled. I touched the wall at 59.01.
Finishing my prelims race at around 11am, the finals were set to begin at 6pm; giving me plenty of time to head to Whole Foods for lunch and then take a needed nap to prepare to swim the race again. At 4;30 I got my coffee and headed over to the pool.
I have developed my schedule over the years, or my pre meet warmup. It changes slightly depending on distance to the pool, the distance of the event, or how many events I have in one night. At the Orlando Grand Prix I am only swimming one race each day, and all are 100m. I start walking to the pool from my hotel 2 hrs before the meet timeline says my race will go off.
I start by doing a routine I’ve developed that is a combination of stretching, yoga, pilates, abs. I put in my headphones, set it to my stretching playlist, and try to get in the zone. About 45 minutes later I am ready to get in the pool. Part of the perks of doing a lot of dryland before I get in is I feel that I don’t have to do as much in the pool to be prepared to swim fast. Often at meets the warmup pool is incredibly crowded, and sometimes a very stressful environment to be in. So if I can do a lot of my warmup outside of it, I like to take full advantage of that.
I jump in the pool, swim around a 400 smooth, followed by some 50s kick/swim. As the 50s progress, so does my speed, until I feel ready to start doing some bursts of all out efforts. I’ll do some build efforts, some fast underwaters, a turn or two, and then just some pieces of fast swimming. Once I feel sharp and ready to go, I’ll swim a 100m easy just to make sure I don’t have any lactic acid in my muscles from the burst! and I get out!
I didn’t feel as energized tonight as I did in the morning prelim session. The fast twitch fibers just didn’t seem to be reacting. But I dove into the water with the intention of taking my race out a little faster than I did in the morning, and attempting to bring the back half back faster as well by doing a stronger build into the wall. When the starter sends us off, I am instantly reminded of the work I need to do on my starts….I pop up behind. But by the 50 wall I have caught the competition. Push off the wall for my turn, and I lose ground on my turn and underwaters, another area I need to work on. This 50 I didn’t catch my competition as quickly as I was hoping I could. My fly normally feels so rhythmical and powerful within the rhythm, but tonight it felt more forceful to muscular, like I was fighting with the water instead of using it. But I pulled ahead in the last 5m and was able to pull off the win! 58.91
When I think about London and my world record swim of 55.9, I realize that my first swim back is a little off, 58.9, so 3 seconds off to be exact, and that’s a lot in swimming. But I was happy to be in the water racing, happy to be learning and feeling new things in my butterfly, and I’m excited to start making the journey back to the 55 second mark, and hopefully surpass it!!