Sunday, March 8, 2009

2009 National Swimming Championships

The team after the last day of competition
We finally made it back to Manhattan after what felt like a week of nonstop swimming in Buffalo. I'm absolutely exhausted, and I'm also one of the only people on the team not fighting off some kind of cold, flu or other ailment.

But what an amazing week it's been! 

Erie College's Natatorium 
We started every day with warm-ups around 9 am. Preliminaries began at 10 am and went through until about 12:30. Then we'd grab lunch and some days we'd rush back to the pool for diving at 1 pm. After diving came nap time, and then back to the pools at 4:45 for another warm up. Finals began at 6 pm and went until about 9 or so. I really haven't done that much consecutive swimming...ever...and my body now feels a little like overworked taffy.

Captain Kristen, Coach Mike, me and Gwen at the banquet on the first night.
In between our races and workouts, it was so exciting to watch the rest of the meet. There were some absolutely amazing swimmers and we saw quite a few record breaking times (a 19 second 50 free and a 54 second 100 breast....INSANE). It really inspired all of us to work even harder for next season and to make sure to stay in top shape. One of my favorite parts of meets of this size is the finals when the top 8 swimmers are paraded out to the blocks to music. It's so much fun to watch! 

I swam four events, three relays and one individual. The 100 backstroke, the 200 Medley Relay, the 200 Freestyle Relay and the 400 Freestyle relay. 

To be honest, I didn't really have a chance to place in the 100 back. I'm so happy to have qualified (I qualified for the 200 back as well...but decided not to swim), but right now I really don't compare to some of the girls on the other teams. I held my own though and had a really strong preliminary swim. Then, to my surprise I was moved on to the consolation finals! (The top 16 from the prelims go on to finals: top 8 to the real finals, and the rest to the "consolation" finals...this is cool but also meant I had to swim it again in a few hours!) I ended up dropping a second off my time in the finals which is great.

The 200 medley relay had some pretty fierce competition as well. I swam backstroke and had a pretty good split of 35 seconds. We didn't place but were happy with the results until we found out our team and two others had been disqualified! (Apparently someone left the blocks a millisecond too, but oh well!)

The freestyle relays were another story. We had pretty good competition, but knew we could pull off some solid times. The 200 came first and to my surprise I swam a 29.5 second split! That's the fastest I've ever gone (in case you don't know swimming numbers: the guys that win do their split in 19 seconds or faster and the girls do it in 23 seconds or my 29.5 is relative, but pretty fast for me!) The other girls on our relay swam even faster and we won 6th place medals!

6th Place in the 200 Free Relay!
Then, the last night of competition, came the 400 freestyle relay. I think they save it to the very last second because it's pretty exciting and pretty competitive. We just wanted to place in the top 8 to get medals and more points, which meant winning our heat. Going into it we weren't sure it was possible because one of the girls from our rival team had posted a super fast time earlier in the 100 free individual event...faster than any of us swim. But the race came together well and we ended up winning our heat by a few seconds and securing 8th place medals! I swam a solid split even with water in my goggles!

My 8th place and 6th place medals from the 400 and 200 Free Relays
Overall FIT won 9th place in the meet (out of like 15? 17? something like that...) That may not sound super exciting, but we're a really small team and a first year team. I think we definitely proved ourselves and earned the respect of the other more established teams! We left the meet on a definite high and to be honest I'm really sad the season is over. I can always keep swimming on my own or with friends, but there really is nothing like competing with a team!

The essentials: cap, nose plug, goggles, and athlete credentials.

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Vincent said...

good job this weekend!

I love race season, I know the feeling when your sad its over, but at least that proves you had a good season and didn't burn out.

Good luck in holding off the cold everyone seems to have gotten.

Jill Costantino said...

Congrats on your races - it sounds like you had some great results and pb to boot!