1st goal: get onto the USA’s World Championship swimming team
2nd goal: to then work to defend my World Championships title!
Goal one accomplished!
First and foremost I had to get myself onto the USA team. We have incredible depth in our country and in some instances top four at our trial selection meets could be top four in the world. In other words, it’s extremely competitive. After taking the fall off and getting back in the pool in January, I only had 5 months to get in some hard training while keeping myself mentally sane after the intense Olympic year (Read my blog My Approach to the 2013 Season for a more in depth view on my mental preparation). Every practice I was at I tried to learn as much as I could, think about things in different ways, learn from freshman Elizabeth Pelton and Rachel Bootsma on underwater work, basically use all the resources I had at my disposal to make the most of my time.
After time out of the water (sometimes even just a few days) I feel strange when I get back in a pool. I made this a positive thing for me this spring. My coach Teri McKeever could see some of my bad habits, I could feel things in my stroke that weren’t benefiting me, and Teri could then helped guide me to figuring out how to create better habits.
Arriving at the World Championship Trials I was still pretty nervous. Honestly I told myself that making the team would obviously be a positive, however, if I didn’t make the team, I had my husband, my pup, and a fabulous home to go back to. So I went in to the competition with my new mindset of just standing on those blocks and simply seeing how fast I could go and looking for places to improve. I didn’t know exactly where I was going to be, hoping that it was faster than the field, and all that I had done to be almost a second in front of the Olympic field last year would keep me ahead!
I won the final heat, going a 57.5, a time which put me 3rd in the world thus far. I was happy to be 57 anything at this point. Earning my spot on the team gave me another month of training I could accomplish before the start of the World Championships in Barcelona, Spain.
I’m putting in the work now to defend my title and continuing to find ways to be faster! It’s never been about repeating a swim, or trying to get the same feeling as when I set the World Record. I want to be faster than that, it’s not going to feel the same. It’s been a year, I’m a different person, had different experiences, and every swim I do I learn from. Heading into World Championships I’m going to step up on those blocks and simply put everything on the table and just go as fast as I can!
Wish me luck!!